My Summer To Do List

Phew! What a whirlwind the end of the school year was! I’ve been out just about two weeks now and already it feels like it has been months…I love that feeling!

I wanted to document my summer to do list to help me accomplish more of the things on it.¬† Sadly, due to changing the classes I am teaching and a few other things, I will be doing a lot of work this summer! No summer off for this teacher! (Does any teacher ever really have the summer off?) ūüôā

Books To Read

  • Making Thinking Visible¬† – started, just need to finish
  • Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess – somehow I missed joining the Twitter discussion about this, but I am looking forward to reading it!
  • Embedded Formative Assessment byDylan Wiliam
  • Measurement by Lockhart
  • There were a few other titles flying around the blogs and twitter, but I can’t remember them, so this is my list!

Curriculum to work on

  • Geometry – I need to look at the new Geometry Common Core Curriculum that my district put together and see how it lays out in the year. Geometry is brand new to me and because I will be teaching gifted students (2 years advanced in math), I am thinking the classes should be more like an Honors course, rather than the regular curriculum.¬† I want to go more in depth, more discussions, more discourse, more debates.¬† I want to find resources to add to my lessons, things like 3 Acts, Algebra Review Warm-ups, Estimation, Cooperative Learning, etc.¬† I want this class to be challenging, interesting and fun and I feel the more I can find and prepare now the better off I will be.
  • US History – I get to teach 2 sections next year, which I am fine with (I’ve been teaching one section for the past 11 years). But I’ve wanted to change a few things for a while…shorten the Colonies Unit maybe with a project (We start with Colonies and go through present day.), which gives more time for WWI or WWII.¬† I want to figure out how to incorporate Current events better…I’ve tried and failed miserably in the past.¬† I want to incorporate cooperative learning activities, debates and interesting/fun projects, etc.¬† We do sort of plan history as a grade level and as a team, but we all still do our own thing.
  • Advisory – Advisory is going to be different this year since it is at the beginning of the day instead of in the middle of core time.¬† I want to loosely lay out a few of the units we have done as a grade level in the past and weave in a few other things.

Classroom things to work on
I have a new room next year too and we share rooms, so I want to figure out how to organize all my stuff.

  • Go through my MOUNDS of stuff and PURGE! I know I have things I can get rid of…I just need to do it. Why is this so hard for teachers to do?
  • Update some of my signs and stuff to say Geometry and not Algebra

Interactive Notebooks
I started last year and can’t imagine not using them in Geometry. I just need to find resources! I need to get as far ahead of myself as I can.

  • Find or create foldables for Geometry topics
  • Left Side ideas – I STUNK with this last year, improvement is necessary.
  • Vocabulary – going to create a glossary in the back of the ISN using Frayer models folded in half. I think we can fit 6 per page. This means I need to know AHEAD of time how many vocab words we will have.¬†**Need to create/find a list of Geometry terms
  • US History ISN foldables and resources…I kind of want to do them in History too, just not sure this will make it off the to do list.

Standards Based Grading
I have done this for 4 years now and I believe in it. I am nervous and scared to figure out how to apply this to Geometry in my first year teaching it.  I do not know anything about pacing of curriculum or levels of questions, etc.

  • Find SBG Geometry resources online
  • Look at district teacher’s chapter/unit tests from previous years
  • I want to use the Common Core standards when labeling skills/standards, so I need to figure that out.

Dang.¬† I thought my list was long, but didn’t realize just how long until I typed it all out.¬† It feels really ambitious right now, but it all has to get done at some point…I have more time this summer than I will when school starts.

Wish me luck!


Sweet Tweets

Earlier this year¬†Rachel Kernodle (@rdkpickle & started a collective author blog titled One Good Thing and invited anyone to join in and write their one good thing for each day.¬† I have written a few times, but wanted to point you to my one good thing a few weeks ago because it has to do with sharing the *Love* around Valentine’s Day.¬† Check it out here:

I started this post that same day, but never got around to finishing this one.

Because my Advisory class gets along so well, I thought it would be fun to have a Valentine’s Day party. Another teacher on my team suggested it and I thought “Why Not?”.¬† We talked about having the students write nice things to each other and I shared that they enjoyed writing Tweets when we do it in math, so we came up with our Sweet Tweet idea.

Students would be given a class list of who is in their Advisory and they needed to write one Sweet Tweet for each person. Everyone loves a well-deserved compliment and this was a different take on “Valentines” that will hopefully help spark new friendships and help build class unity.¬†We encouraged students to really think about someone’s strengths. They would be passed out during the Valentine’s party, but would be due to me the day before so I could easily compile them for the students & paperclip them together.¬† (This didn’t end up happening as we ran out of time, but it worked fine having the students given them to each other.) Here is the file that we used for the tweets!

Even my 8th grade students were excited to read their “Valentine’s” and you could hear a pin drop as they read them. A student from the other teacher’s class mentioned he was surprised that someone wrote down they thought he was smart, but was beaming from ear to ear when he read the tweet.¬† THAT is what this was all about, reminding students that they are awesome and special and people look up to them. I will be doing this again next year!