It’s July!!!! ????

Seriously, I can’t believe it’s after July 4th already.  Since my school year typically ends at the beginning of June and we start in the middle of August, July 4th is about the halfway point that starts the slippery slope to the school year.

This year I have SO much to look forward to…I am no longer the Math Specialist/Interventionist and will be teaching 7th grade this year with a fantastic team of teachers.  I have never taught 7th grade before, but I did co-teach it a few years ago, so the content isn’t foreign to me.  I took time the last few days of the school year to print new signs/posters for my classroom, get them laminated and cut so they are all ready to go for the new year. I then spent the first two days of my summer going through all my classroom stuff that was in my garage the last three years, tossing, keeping, donating and getting excited to start a new adventure in the fall.  (WHY do teachers keep SO MUCH STUFF?!?!)

I gave myself June to relax, travel, focus on my grad classes (getting my Administration degree/certification) and “think” about school…but to try and not take much action.  A lot of that was due to waiting patiently for the Illustrative Math Open Resources curriculum to come out…I am still waiting…but it will be out this month.  I didn’t want to plan a bunch of stuff and then see the IM stuff and want to redo it all, so I decided to wait. I spent a lot of June sending myself links, saving things to look at later, creating posters (that’s another post), reading all the edu books I have picked up in the last few months and enjoying the fact that it was summer.

But now…it’s July and it’s time for me to hunker down and start figuring out what kind of classroom I want to have, what kind of teacher I want to be and what kind of difference I want to make.  I love a new school year because it’s always a fresh start, I can change the things I didn’t like from previous years, try something new and raise the bar for my students. I think that’s something I love about being a teacher….I can always be better, do better and help my students be better…there isn’t an end to my learning and trying to be the best I can be for my students.  That’s also what I like about teaching middle school, by 3rd period my lesson for the day is solid and all the errors or issues made earlier in the day are worked out and noted for the next year.

I am already a little overwhelmed with where to start and how I want to kick off my school year because I don’t want to mess it up and I do want my students to know from day 1 that we think, do, create and challenge ourselves in my classroom.  I also want them to know I care and trust them to be good students.  I have done Jo Boaler’s iMath to help with growth mindset in the past, but our 6th grade teachers have used it before, so I am trying to avoid hearing “we did this before”.  There should be a new week of iMath out before the year starts, so that will be something I will definitely check out.

So I decided to take to Twitter, my favorite PLN, to find out how others start their school year.  The responses have been awesome and helpful.  Why do I forget about Sara VanDerWerf’s stuff??? I have now saved the links shared and will use it this year too.

The best part about Twitter is being able to ask a question and get helpful responses within minutes AND get helpful responses over the course of time because people see the tweet at different times and will respond on their own time.

So…it’s official…I have started planning for the school year and I couldn’t be more excited!


To kick off my year and start right in with Growth Mindset, I used Sarah’s Tweet idea and had my students, my 8th grade gifted who are in Geometry and my 6th grade regular math students, complete a “tweet” telling me in 140 characters or less what they thought intelligence is. We did this before any discussions about growth mindset.  The idea came from Sarah who blogs over at Math = Love, check out the post that inspired me here.

The responses are fantastic to read, so much so I wanted to share them here.  I will let you decided which class is which. 🙂 I did not correct spelling errors, I typed what was written.  Which tweet/quote is your favorite and why?

Class A Class B
I think intelligence is the things in your brain. Intelligence is knowing things that will help you in both school and outside of school in the real world.
Well let’s begin with something we learn, and it is something we use in our everyday lives. It is also what we use to imagineate. Intelligence is knowing things education related and world related.
I think intelligence means intelligent cells. Intelligence is knowing useful facts that will help you in the real world. It’s knowing important facts and ways to do things.
Intelligence is being strong, smart and standing up for others. I mostly think it means smart. Intelligence is the amount of brain power your brain has. An IW test can be taken to see at what level of intelligence you are capable of.
Intelligence is being good at something. Also, it means that you make smart choices because you have to be intelegent to do so. Intelligence is what people do with their brain. If someone is doing good, they are intelligent.
Intelligence is being smart in school and in real life. Intelligence is also not playing into drama and making good choices. Intelligence is what you know currently, and what you have the ability to know.
Intelligence is when you do think about something and don’t just say you don’t know and don’t care to know. I think intelligence is someone’s competence about everything in general and their ability to think and learn new things.
Intelligence is someone who is smart. It is also means that you are good at something. Intelligence is the art of being smart and showing the right characteristics of understanding any problems in all subjects.
I think intelligence is standing up for other people and doing the right thing. Intelligence is being able to make wise decisions and process new information well.
I think intelligence is having a lot or somewhat knowledge of many things. Intelligence is based on being in the right mind when making decisions. It is not about how smart you are, but your effort and thoughts on things.
Intelligence is when you say something smart. I think intelligence is an ability that everyone has that lets them understand or figure out concepts and things.
Intelligence is when you really know something or guess. Intelligence is the ability to learn and retain new knowledge to use in experiences outside of your learning environment.
Being smart about what you do and act like you know what your doing. Intelligence is a topic that you have mastered really well that you could teach to someone else.
I think intelligence is something that your good at. I believe that intelligence is not only the knowledge that a person obtains but also the determination and effort the person uses to answer.
I think it’s someone or something that has a good ability to do something. Intelligence is a thing that is used to measure someones basic level of brain power. One’s ability to be smart.
I think intelligence is about when you help someone out and you listen in class. Intelligence is how your brain can react to certain situations and find a way out.
I think intelligences is being smart, but not in all subjects. Intelligence is when someone has the knowledge to answer multiple types of questions easily. Intelligence also means to be fairly smart.
I think intelligence is how smart and valueable someone is. Intelligence is being smart and being able to have a lot of knowledge.
  Intelligence is how much knowledge your brain has.
  Intelligence is being smart consistently for ever. Being intelligent also means being good at many subjects at once.