As I approach my tenth year teaching at CDS, I've learned to be more realistic about my goals for the year. And while some aspects of this job get easier each year, I think it's important as a teacher to constantly try out new things in the classroom and spend time evaluating and reflecting on what's working well and what isn't. For that reason, teaching 6th grade math and science is never "easy." Additionally, groups of students have different personalities, and because of that, projects and activities that are successful one year may be a bust the next. It's important to be responsive to your students and be able to "meet them where they're at." My classes are constantly changing and evolving to fit the needs of the students I am teaching. With that in mind, my goals for this year are as follows:
1. Incorporate more "math play" into my math class.
This summer I read Jo Boaler's book What's Math Got to Do With It, which I found highly influential. One major takeaway from the book is that kids need to learn that numbers are fun and having the opportunity to play with numbers helps keep kids excited about math. She has developed a website www.youcubed.org that provides weekly lessons and ideas. I've already tried out a couple of the activities suggested, and they were very successful with my math kids.
2. Provide more opportunities for "re-do"
We talk a lot about "growth mindset" at this school, but some if it is more talk than action. In evaluating what I do in the classroom, I've realized my math and science classes, I should allow opportunities for re-do the same way that an English teacher might make suggestions on a paper and provide multiple opportunities for editing before receiving a final grade. I hope to find ways to make this possible in my classes in hopes that it will provide more opportunities for growth and learning.
3. Post at least one blog/month
While I've always reflected mentally on things going on in the classroom, I'm excited about blogging about my experiences. While I've never been much of a writer, I am looking forward to the challenge of stepping outside of my comfort zone in such a public way.