2015-2016 New Year Goals/Expectations

Being a teacher I find it easier and more fitting to set goals at the start of a new school year, it feels like a fresh start…the perfect time to revamp what I want to do, where I want to go and what type of teacher I want to be.

Classroom Environment

  • High-Fives Every Day – From #TMC15 (even though I couldn’t go) I heard a lot of people talking about Glenn Waddell and how he high-fived every student every day this past school year. Read his original post about it here. Then he posts later about how giving the high-fives changed the mindset of the students BEFORE they entered his class. BOOM! That’s it, I am all about Growth Mindset and Making It Stick…changing their mindset is important. This is a great way to build relationships and break down mindsets. I love it!
  • Continue Music Cues – I have used these for years since Matt Vaudrey & I connected about using music in the classroom. But last year I got away from it because my schedule was all over the place and hard to keep up with.  I think that going back to music will help keep me on track a bit better this year.
  • Warm-ups – I have plans to revamp my weekly warm-up sheet and change out a few things. I will keep the One Good Thing (one of my favorite parts of their weekly warm-up).  I want to include Which One Doesn’t Belong? along with a few other ideas I have floating around. I just need to solidify it all and get it done.
  • Create a Culture of Trust – so failure is seen as a learning tool and not something that is bad. This is hard, but I believe focusing on Growth Mindset and SHOWING students that we learn from failure will help create the environment I want.  This will be a part of my first few days plans.
  • Continue Good News Notes – I have always done these, but last year I was the most successful with them.  I decided to use email to communicate with parents about something good their student did that day. I tried to focus on mathematical thinking, perseverance, etc. but there were times that the good news was more generic or focused on choices and behavior.  Regardless, these notes were special for both my students and their parents and I need to make sure I make this a part of each week. Also for every hard/not happy email I send, I send a good news note. I need to keep track this year so I know who has gotten them and when.
  • Student Writing & Reflection – It is important that students take time to write and reflect about their own learning. I want to make this a more prominent part of my classroom. Not just something we do when we can.
  • Whiteboarding – I need to bring my large group sized white boards back to school and clean up all my individual white boards. I really NEED to spray paint the back of my individual white boards with black spray paint. I say this every year but never do it and I am reminded why I need to do it the first time we take out the white boards and a student tells me about the inappropriate picture drawn on the back of their board. This sounds like a great thing to do this weekend. 🙂
  • Bring my Ipevo doc camera – I love having students show their work presented to all students at the front and this also would help with ISN pages and note taking as well.
  • Find a way to keep the posters on my walls – They didn’t make it last year. I tried everything…I want this room to feel less bare and more homey for myself and my students, even though it is a computer lab and not just *my* classroom.


  • Go Digital – I am giving up my paper plan book this year (EEK!).  For the last few years I have designed and created my own plan book and loved the result, however this year I get to teach Geometry again and one of my FAVORITE people in the world that I worked with for 12 years is also teaching it, but she teaches at a different school within my district.  She is teaching it for the first time and in order to share in the most effective way, I made an online planner in Google Docs.  So far I like it because I can link to blog posts, activities and items in my Google drive. And I used the Table of Contents add-on so I can jump to the week I need. This will also force me to save things in my Google Drive and get them off my flash drive. 🙂 Here is a link to the document so you can copy it to your drive and modify it for what you need!
  • I am still keeping a paper monthly calendar so I can keep track of meetings and day to day items that pop up that are outside the norm of my school day.


  • Make my class websites useful for my students – This means that I update them with items that will help my students and even turn over the reflection and updates to the students.  I need to set aside daily time to sit down and do this.
  • Use Remind with my students and my swimmers – I love Remind and how it eases communication, I need to go back to using it more often.
  • Find a way to get a grant to use ReflexMath with my intervention students – This is a GREAT intervention fact practice website that has shown great growth in students from my school.  However, we do not have the funds to purchase it. Last year ReflexMath had grants they gave out, it doesn’t look like they will be doing that this year, so I need to find another way to get this for my students.


  • BLOG! – I blog for me and I need to remember that. I think having the reflection piece as part of my weekly planner will make blogging and reflecting on my days much easier. Anna Blinstein and I are going to encourage & remind each other to blog.
  • Tweet – I miss Twitter and need to find a way to continue to stay involved as an educator because it is important for my learning and growth
  • Continue to build my Essential Oils business – I am passionate about wellness and love the changes the oils have brought into my life. This is something that means a lot to me and I want to remember to build and foster the growth of my business.
  • Make time for hobbies – I find that come November I have forgotten all about my hobbies and doing the things that make me smile that aren’t work.  I need to make sure I have time to continue pursuing the things I love to do, like scrapbooking, refinishing furniture, decorating, etc.
  • Unplug from technology – As much as I love all things that blogging, tweeting and being involved online can bring, I need to remember to foster my face to face relationships and turn off the devices.  This is not easy to do as even my oily business is almost all online, but it is important to take a break and be present with those you love.

That’s a lot, but they are all things that are important to me. Magic is the day I find the balance between it all, but this is a good start, a good reminder of what I want to do.  I will check in at the end of each quarter and see where I am. 🙂

13 thoughts on “2015-2016 New Year Goals/Expectations

  1. Inspiring and ambitious (for me too!)
    Positive notes and high fives… Yes!
    Mistakes regarded as growth instead if failure. So hard for them (and me) to understand in the moment.
    And the dreaded November… Gotta plan something that can’t be “pushed aside”.

      • Strangely enough, I haven’t given much thought about my own goals.
        Posting inspirational messages is one I’d like to do, despite the fact I teach in lots of different rooms which “belong” to other teachers. Kids pick up on things as their eyes and thoughts wander around the room.
        I definitely hope to slow myself down. I often teach in a frenzy, that doesn’t work well for the nervous students. I really need to talk less and say more.
        I want to write the homework on the board (or their Moodle page) at the beginning of class, and make sure they have time to start it in class. I tend to throw it out to them in the last minute of class.
        Which brings me to a related point: starting and ending the class with everything calm and controlled (by me, not them). Let’s just say that class time-management is not my strongest skill. I need to consciously break up the hour of class time into distinct “task blocks”.
        Thanks for asking. It’s been useful to think about and write it down.

  2. I use my Ipevo for doing ISN pages every time so I can demonstrate how to take notes and so they can see what I want the page to look like when they are done. I’ve used it for students to come up and show how they solved different problems in class which has lead to some great discussions!

    Your goals are ambitious and amazing, you can do it!

  3. Thank you for sharing all these great ideas. I’m excited to try the high-fiving and music cues, and also thanks for the Google calendar template… I’m so ready to get rid of all the paper plans! (It’s a little scary though) Looking forward to hearing about how everything plays out during the year!

    • Thanks for reading and I’m glad you found something useful. I definitely like the Google planner, but need to find a better way to keep track of other items I used to put in my planner. 🙂 I hope you have a great year! I would love to hear how any changes you implement turn out!

  4. Jessica, this is so incredible; thank you for sharing your organization and thoughtful preparation. I am having a hard time getting focused on the coming school year because of a great summer and a major renovation about to start at home, so this post is nothing short of a miracle for me. Hope you have a great school year!

  5. Pingback: T-48 hours | Her Mathness

  6. Jessica – Thanks for sharing your Lesson Planning template. I planned on doing the same thing so I have a better record of what happened this year in class. One of my goals for this weekend was to make my version a lot more user friendly and now that task is finished!

    • Happy to help make it easier for you! I am loving using it so far, lining to docs, sites, videos, etc. to have a good record of what I did. I am also finding the reflection piece aids in improving it for future and reflecting on the lesson overall. I hope you find it as useful!

  7. What do you think about MathXL? Have you found it helpful? (I see you’re using it from your plans.) Do you find useful questions in it?

    • I do like it, there are tons of questions to pull from with variety. I like that the students can work on their own and get help as needed. We use MathXL a Pearson product that comes with our online book, which is different from IXL. (Just to clear off)

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