Day 4 – Professional Learning Conversations & ISN’s

Yesterday I found out about a meeting I needed to attend today that all of the interventionists/specialists from the district were invited to attend. It is the first of four professional learning opportunities with Dr. Pam Rosa. Here is what I found out about her online, prior to attending the meeting: Dr. Pamela Rosa, a certified Danielson Facilitator, and a consultant of educational initiatives, specializes in teacher and principal evaluation, professional growth processes, as well as mentoring and coaching. She has worked as a teacher, literacy coach, principal, district administrator, and state board consultant. Her educational leadership and policy degrees are from Illinois State University and University of Illinois.  I wasn’t sure what the focus of the meeting was going to be and because I only met my 6th grade students yesterday, I decided to attend the meeting for the morning portion and come back to teach my students.

We received the book Learning-Focused Supervision – Developing Professional Expertise in Standards-Driven Systems.  Dr. Rosa talked about how the title should really be Learning-focused Conversations because Supervision makes it sound like we are higher than the teachers we are working with, which isn’t true.  We had a lot of great conversations in our groups and I am excited for the next three meetings to continue the discussions.  It sounds as though my district is trying to move towards having the interventionists also be “coaches” to work with teachers as well as the students we are working with.  I LOVE this idea and it is something I think I will be good at, however I thing they should be separate positions.  If the interventionists are really there to assist struggling learners across all grades in their school, then there is little time to really focus on helping teachers in an effective way.  This isn’t finalized, just an idea I think right now, but I will be interested to see how it all pans out.

Today in 6th grade students completed a reflection on yesterday’s Pentomino activity for their warm-up and were given their composition notebooks for their Interactive Student Notebooks.  Times have changed and students are not issued textbooks anymore because our math resources are fully digital.  However, we still need to practice good note taking and have a place to show our work and practice, so the students and I will be creating our own textbook this year, called the Interactive Student Notebook (ISN). I have used ISN’s for a few years now and love them.  It will be different working on it along side the digital math program, but I am sure we will find a process that works well.

I collected their homework from the night before which was the pennant about themselves. I had two students not color or decorate even though the typed directions said to and I had one student who didn’t complete it. When I asked him why and had him complete my missing homework form, he stated he had soccer practice and couldn’t do it.  Seeing as though it was the FIRST assignment that required them to tell me a bit about themselves, I was a little surprised…I could expect that from an 8th grade student, but I wasn’t expecting it from a 6th grade student.  I had a conversation with him about making sure he brought it on Tuesday and I debated the rest of the day whether I should use this as a first contact with his parents.  I decided to let it go and see what he brought on Tuesday.

They completed their “I Notice/I Wonder” again for Friday and some of the things they wrote were adorable and insightful:
I Notice
“That I am making new friends.” (I forget that the 6th graders come to us from 3 different elementary schools.)
“You are a really fun teacher.” (YIPPEE!)
“That you wrote back from yesterday.” (I heard them talking when they sat down that I wrote them back. I am glad they liked it.)
“Everything is organized! I love that!” (Awesome…a girl after my own heart!)
“There is a basket that looks like a basketball hoop.” (Yep, bought it last year for Trashketball!)
“You play music everyday for math.” (Yes and I need to get more music to play. I use an app called Seconds to organize music with breaks and this idea came from Mr. Vaudrey and I have LOVED it since I started using them! I think it will work better with the 6th graders too.)

I Wonder
“When we will have a party.” (Hmmm…this is middle school, no parties. Unless we are celebrating Math!)
“If I’ll ever memorize my passwords.” (Yikes, we even tried to make them easier for students by having most logins & passwords for multiple sites be the same. But this is all new for the 6th grade students.)
“If Math will always be this fun.” (ABSOLUTELY!)
“What digits is about.” (I need to explain this more. It is our districts adopted digital resource for our curriculum.)
“How many pages we will use in the composition notebook.” (All of the pages! Actually, good question, close to all I think.)

ISN Pages – I will link to my printable pages or where I found the pages.
Title Page – Math Coloring Page
Author Pages (in Pictures & in Words – Sarah Hagan’s Math Autobiography Foldable)
Study Buddies & Clock Partners
Table of Contents (TOC booklet – Shelli’s great one page TOC)

They seemed excited about the ISN and I was reminded that I need to get more tape dispensers and glue sticks.  The materials I had from last year didn’t quite make it. I purchased new materials bins with lids that don’t come off, but they are smaller, so I think the tape and glue sticks will have to stay somewhere else.

I am looking forward to a nice long Labor Day weekend.  I have planning to do for next week, but I will probably save it for Monday!

 

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Day 3 – I have students!

Yippee! Today was like Christmas! I finally get to meet my 6th grade math class of 16 students.  The day started with a whole school Advisory lesson on CHAMPS, which are the school wide expectations.  There were 8th grade student leaders presenting to the 7th grade students.  It was great to see and there was good conversation about  a few of the items.

7th grade co-taught – We started their ISN’s today.  The teacher I co-teach with took my ISN professional development class last year and implemented them last year and loved them.  She has mentioned a few times how excited she is that I can help with foldables and ISN stuff, that will definitely be fun!  So they started with their author page (it was assigned for homework) and then we glued in the TOC.  We had a good discussion about what an ISN is and how we plan for them to use it.  They were either really sleepy or are great kids because they worked quietly to accomplish the task.  This will be a fun group to work with!

I worked with a couple of teachers today to assist them with the new Pearson digits product the district adopted last year.  We had to work through some bugs, but I think we figured it all out.  It’s a great program and resource for teachers to use and it’s all digital, which is fantastic. Our students do not receive any math textbooks and have not for a few years.

8th grade co-taught – They came down to my room (The MALL) to log into Digits and take the first Unit’s Readiness assessment.  The readiness assessment is a pre-assessment on skills necessary to be successful in the coming unit.  When the students are finished, the program automatically assigns them intervention lessons on the topics & skills they need the most work.  I plan to use those readiness assessments with all teachers in all grades to help identify students who will need more assistance with math this year.  The students didn’t really have issues logging in, but the assessment was a little harder than they thought.  Many said they were happy it wasn’t going to be for a grade.  This is a rowdier group of students, beside myself and the classroom teacher, there are two other aides in the room for 28 students.

My 6th grade math class is coming! I had planned a day of fun math problem solving, no rules for me…they heard them from every other teacher.  I basically told them the same rules apply to my classroom and that we would discuss them as needed.  I greeted them at the door, told them to choose any seat and follow the directions on the daily agenda.  I LOVE Rachel Rosales’s Name Plate activity (& have used it before), so they were working on putting their name on the front along with 4-5 pictures to help me get to know them.  I will say having 16 students is going to be nice and easy to get to know!  They had the length of two songs to complete that part before we moved on.  Then I introduced myself again, told them a little bit about me and asked them to open the flap on their name plate for Thursday and complete the “I Notice” (from Drexel University & Max Ray) before we did anything else.

Then I explained the Pentominoes Activity they were going to work on in their groups, handed out the materials and let them play.  I wanted an activity that had a low entry point, where their previous experience and understanding of math didn’t stop them from participating.  I also wanted a good cooperative group beginning activity and when I saw it on that blog, I knew it was the perfect activity.  They worked really hard and there was great conversation, frustration and perseverance.  After about 15 minutes I did provide them with a few hints, but none of the groups were successful in solving the puzzle this time around.

8.28.14 photo 4

A great question from one of the students was, “What does this have to do with Math?”. We took a break to discuss and the students came up with answers such as “Area, perimeter, shapes, Geometry, problem solving, working together, etc.” I mentioned that this was a math activity, but the main focus was to work together to accomplish a task. I really liked being able to walk around and observe the students while they work to start learning about who they are as mathematicians.

At the end of the class, with no solutions found, I clarified that in this class sometimes we will be frustrated and unable to solve a problem within our class time and that is OKAY! The most important part is how we problem solve and go about trying to figure out the solution. We closed with having them complete their “I Wonder” for Thursday and turned in their name plates and grabbed a Who Am I flag pennant to complete for homework. I used her free template, but changed what I wanted them to write in each box.  I will use those to decorate the classroom or maybe one of the bulletin boards!

I found an online version of Pentominoes for students to play and sent them the link via Remind. The HARD level in this game is what we were working on in class. http://www.scholastic.com/blueballiett/games/pentominoes_game.htm.

It was nice to finally meet my students today. Keep in mind I haven’t taught 6th grade since my first year of teaching…I’ve been 8th grade since then.  They are definitely smaller and less edgy than the 8th graders are. I am not a convert yet…I love my 8th graders, but I think it’s going to be a great  year!

Conference presentation

Day 2 of the Wisconsin Math Conference started out with my Cooperative Groups presentation.  I had a great group of attendees and learned a few things from them (my favorite part of presenting!!) Apparently CPM, College Preparatory Math, has strong emphasis/basis in cooperative grouping…I plan to check it out more.  I do wish the conference center had good wifi, so when I was talking about Kahoot I could have shared the site with them.  I had put together a fun intro game to kick off my presentation, but was unable to use it for that reason.  I hope in the future the wifi improves so teachers can share and interact with each other.  I’m thinking #Edcamp style, where there is a google doc that all can take notes on during the presentation and have access to at any time afterwards.

I also attended a few presentations, one on Standards Based Grading and picked up a few new ideas. And another on Interventions.  I took good notes for both and will share when I actually have them in front of me. 🙂

I ended the day with the last possible time slot, 2:30-4:00 and my Interactive Notebook presentation.  I had a dozen or so people there, I was surprised, especially since there were already two presentations on them from other people on Thursday.  We had a good time, I walked away with a few new ideas as well.

It was nice to meet a few teachers from Chicago on Friday, though there weren’t many from out of state.  All in all it was a great conference, on a beautiful site right on the lake with all locations convenient and easy to get to.  I look forward to presenting and attending in the future!

6/30

 

Note taking, no textbooks & ISN’s, how does it all fit together?

*WARNING* This is a longer than planned post and involved…I am asking for ideas and help…proceed with caution! 🙂

At the end of each quarter since I started teaching 14 years ago, I have had my students complete a survey/reflection on the quarter. It’s evolved and improved over the years, but the idea was the same…I wanted to know what they thought about my teaching, our classroom, the activities we did and anything else they wanted to share.  I used to just read them and reflect on my own; I would come in the next quarter with ideas, some changes based upon the survey and some that I already knew I wanted to do. I would clarify misconceptions and provide more reasons and examples as to why certain things were done.  I always found them valuable, sometimes in a kick in my backside type of way and sometimes reassurance that what I was doing was working.  I found students to be honest, sometimes more than I expected, but I grew as a teacher from it.  In the last handful of years after I have given the survey, I crunch the data, toss some in graphical format and share it WITH the students.  I have asked them to review the graphs, the information shared and to tell me what it means. I share the comments they write and we talk about it together as a class.  I want them to know that I value their opinions, that I take them seriously and I am always striving to make our classroom better.  It has been within this type of situation that students have mentioned they feel heard, valued and that they have a say in the classroom.  Do I change everything? No, but we have honest discussions about it; I consider it and I might even poll them again on a specific topic to help make a decision.  I still toss in a few changes that I knew I wanted to make, but overall it comes from them.

It is in this situation where I am stuck currently.  I gave the quarter 1 survey (google doc this time around), I knew they completed it because I had looked at a few of the responses.  Today’s class was the day we were going to talk about the results, so last night I finally opened them up and read through them.  I will skip over the love they have for the class and the way we do things, their love for SBG and their love/hate relationship with cooperative learning for this post and yet focus on another aspect dear to my heart, the Interactive Notebook.

I had a section about the notebook asking questions about it, but it was in the very last box titled “Anything else you want to share?” where some *unprompted* shared their extreme love and/or hate of the interactive notebook.  The dislike for it took me by surprise, not one peep from my lovelies about them in a bad way since day 1, NOT ONE. Yet here they were (to clarify THEY = the 15 students who dislike the ISN or parts of it out of the 114 students that I use them with), sharing without any fear or filter, which is what I was looking for.

Here are the negative comments: (only sharing these because I want to focus on how to make this better)

  • I would rather work in a class where some students teach others than tape things into our notebook.
  • isn is really bad. its a waste of time. parents will agree
  • I really think we shouldn’t grade ISNs because nobody really graded our notes in past grades. Previous teachers have graded what comes out of our notes and understanding such as tests and quizzes. At first, I was really enthusiastic about having everything organized in the ISN… but as I thought about it, i realized that I wasn’t learning much from the foldables and coloring. I’m just a type of person that really likes to take my own notes in my own method. I don’t think we should have to worry about decorating our notebooks and having things taped in and secured on top of so much other work that we have to do. This has nothing to do with your teaching because I feel like I’m able to understand what you teach me better than I have with other teachers in the past but I just feel like we shouldn’t have our ISNs graded. Again, this is just my opinion and you don’t have to listen to this by any means, but I just wanted to let you know! Thank you, and I can’t wait for a great rest of the year!
  • I really dont prefer the ISN and really like using my own notebook that is not so strictly scheduled and my own notebook helps me alot more for studying
  • I find it completely ridiculous that the ISN requires you to color the left hand side pages.
  • I really don’t think the ISN is helping me.
  • I enjoy class, but sometimes the ISN can be a lot to keep track of.
  • I like working with groups but also on my own. I am not a huge fan over the ISN-when notes are not my own, I find them more difficult to understand. It also takes away time that we could use to practice concepts and understand them well. I like the traditional way of taking notes.
  • I think that to learn material well, the ISN isnt totally helping bc it is very easy to slack off. a better way would be to use a textbook and do worksheets.
  • I would like to bring up the topic that the ISN wastes valuable time where we could be learning but instead we are taping I know many who agree and I don’t know how many were willing to say it on the survey but I would prefer to use an actual textbook to help me with practice problems, and I do know I can get practice problems in other places but i prefer to get them in a textbook.
  • I like taking my own notes instead of taping in notes in the ISN because I understand the lesson more if i write my own notes. I don’t like the ISN at all. The ISN doesn’t help me with anything because everybody’s notes are the same. I study better with the notes I write and I think the ISN is useless. I would rather have my own notebook than the ISN.
  • I don’t really like the ISN because its a lot of gluing and cutting. Also, I have to pay more attention to the ISN then learning material because I know its a grade.
  • I don’t enjoy using the ISN. It is not really my style.
  • I don’t think the ISN is very helpful
  • I enjoy math class a lot, but I wish to use the textbook more.  the ISN is a helpful study tool, but sometimes feels as if the ISN is like a scrapbook! 🙂 but overall, I am very happy as to how math class is going and I am looking forward to the rest of a wonderful school year!

I do find it cute that they share their dislike for the ISN and their excitement over the rest of the year within two sentences…I love middle school!

Before I went crazy with things spinning in my own mind, I turned to twitter to share it with other minds to help me:

My mind was racing and I knew that I wanted to use the student comments to clarify a few things, but that more importantly I had students that wanted a different way to take notes.  What was I going to do? And my online PLN responded with ideas and questions of their own.  It was Megan (@mgolding) who suggested a blog post and discussion, so blame her for this long post! 🙂

Things to note:

  • This is a small amount of students who do not like the interactive notebook, the rest love it and have said so in the survey, in person and even after today’s in class discussion.
  • We DO NOT have textbooks, so learning from a textbook and just doing worksheets, isn’t going to happen.  We have an online version and a handful of books in the classroom, but our curriculum jumps around the “book” anyways.  It is not a useful resource for the students or myself. This is a HUGE change from last year for the students.
  • These students really do prefer “traditional” teaching and learning. This is what they have known, this might be all they have known and I have hit them with cooperative grouping, open ended tasks, SBG and Interactive notebooks.
  • These students are good students, many have their own way of organizing and taking notes already, which is different from any of my previous classes of students.
  • These students are used to learning FROM a textbook, like “read this, look at the examples and figure out the 20 homework problems”. Not much in regards to shared notes or class discussion. They are used to creating their own notes from going through the material on their own.
  • The cutting & taping (which seems to be a big issue) takes 5 minutes, maybe 10 on a long day…BUT it happens while they are doing their warm-up or something else.
  • Every parent that I have spoken with or heard from loves the class and the notebooks. The parent reflections on the notebooks for quarter 1 back this up.
  • This year my goal was to improve the left side of the ISN, which has happened, but that is where the “coloring” comes in…working on the creative side of the brain.
  • I have told them the ISN is their textbook, their reference.  It contains notes, examples and practice problems.  And it contains their reflection on their notes.
  • I have dabbled in the flipped classroom where they take notes at home while watching a short video and we practice all day the next day in class.

The issues

  • I am dealing with “traditional” learning students. The ISN might not be the whole issue, I think some of it is the way I am asking them to learn and how it is so different from what they know. How do I make it easier?  Example: they told me today they want me to create powerpoints with screen shots of the book and go through the examples in the book with them. 🙂 Ummm….no that sounds awful, there has to be a better way.
  • Some students want to take their own notes (which again I find interesting because they currently take their own notes, just happens to be in foldable format provided by me). How do I incorporate this desire into the classroom?

What I am considering:

  • Giving up on the coloring.  All classes asked for this, easy to give up…no big deal. But I can still ask them to reflect.
  • Allowing students who want to take their own notes to do so, but I might ask them to conference with me about it first so we can be on the same page with our expectations.  Rather than let them jump into a whole new format, I think I am going to ask that they take them in the ISN, but can do so however they want.
  • Teaching students how to use notes to study, this seems to be an issue this year, not knowing HOW to prepare for math tests and how to use their notes. Is it different because it is Geometry? Last year my students loved their ISN’s  in Algebra and 8th CCSS and used them all of the time. The students above claim it isn’t useful, is that because they don’t know how to use it, how to find things within their notes? This discussion also came up during our Twitter conversation.

I need your help, your suggestions, your ideas.  I want to improve my classroom for second quarter and I want to help my students understand the importance of notes in any format.  Is the current trend to change  classroom dynamics to being student centered removing the aspect of notetaking? How do you disseminate important information to your students?  Do your students keep a notebook? binder? etc? As we move to classrooms without hard copy textbooks, what does that mean for notetaking? How do you help the “traditional” students become comfortable in a student centered classroom?

If you made it this far, WAY TO GO! Thanks for hanging with me!

 

Assessment Reflection & End of Quarter Reflection

I had planned to blog about my End of Quarter Student Reflection, since they just completed them and I have been reading through them. Then yesterday I jumped in a Twitter conversation between David (@delta_dc) and Julie (@jreulbach) that started with David’s question “Is it okay if a student is surprised by his or her grade on an assessment?”. There were a lot of ideas shared and when I jumped in I mentioned my during assessment reflection that I have used in the past.  So now this post will cover both reflections. 🙂

Assessment Reflection
I have used this in the past (not yet this year) to help students slow down a bit during assessments and to help identify where they went wrong and why.  I’ve had it for years and created it with teachers at my school, but don’t know if it originally came from somewhere online (if it’s similar to something of yours, please let me know so I can properly cite!).

I’ve tried to upload the Word Doc file instead of the PDF to Scribd for you. However, it then formats funny and doesn’t use my fun/cute fonts.  🙂 I am sure you can figure it out.

End of Quarter Reflection
I had the students respond to a survey on Quarter 1, which included questions about my teaching, our activities, the ISN, SBG, etc.  I have compiled those results for an in class discussion on Tuesday so we can make changes, clarify misconceptions and move forward in our planning for Quarter 2.  I want my students to feel a part of the decisions I made and the things we do in the classroom.

However, the reflection I am talking about here wasn’t that one, instead I created a reflection for students to reflect on themselves as a student for Quarter 1.  I asked them to reflect on their mastery of skills, their participation as a group member and then write their own comment about themselves as a student for first quarter; similar to what a teacher might write about them.  This was a GREAT reflection to share during parent teacher conferences this week and students were honest, open and striving to improve in their performance during second quarter.

Overall, we did a lot of reflection at the end of the quarter. Students even reflected on the ISN AND I had parents reflect on the ISN; that was awesome to read, the good and the bad about the ISN. 🙂 I like taking the time for students to reflect AND taking the time on my end to read and respond to all of it.  It helps me become a better teacher, to reach the students I have THIS YEAR and it helps them learn that reflection is important, especially when you take something from it and work to improve or change.

Starting my ISN off right

I have a list of blog posts to write, most importantly my reflection of #TMC13, but it seems so hard to put that into words right now, so I will procrastinate with another blog post. There has been a lot of discussion about ISN’s (interactive student notebooks) recently, especially at the #INBjamboree at #TMC13.  At the start of summer, I put together an entire binder for my planning purposes that I am pretty excited about.  I also took the time to outline my opening pages because I after reflecting on last year’s ISN, I need to improve a few things.  I have shared this list via email with a few of you and thought it would be easier to share as a post so you can help me start my ISN in the most effective manner.

What do you like about my list? What would you change? Am I wasting too many pages? (My #1 fear!)

Geometry ISN
Here is the start of my planning for my Geometry ISN. These beginning pages could be used for any class, I titled it Geometry because that Is what I am teaching. I am not sure this is what I will do exactly yet, but I started writing down ideas.

I am using the Planning pages from here: http://schooloffisher.blogspot.com/2012/09/interactive-notebook-planning.html. I printed enough for the entire composition book ISN and 3-hole punched them for a binder.  I DID NOT plan this way last year, so I am hoping this will help me avoid the last minute searching for a foldable or creating (a bad) one.

Important note: I print most pages two per page so they fit nicely in the composition books with minimal cutting.

Current Outline (Links to documents & places where I gathered ideas are provided where available)

Students decorate cover with Numbers About Me at home over the first weekend or so. I didn’t do this last year, but I like the personalization part to help make the notebook theirs. Suggestion is to use packing tape to protect the decorated covers…not sure how this will happen if I choose to decorate covers.

Inside Front Cover – Grading Rubric for ISN (I wanted it more visible, last year put it inside back cover.)

Page 1 – Title Page – http://www.doodle-art-alley.com/school-subject-coloring-pages.html (I did email the artist and ask if she would do one for Geometry, haven’t heard back yet) My students last year liked to color…a lot…so I incorporated coloring pages where I could. They can choose to color or not, but most did especially after a test or quiz is when I would see many coloring.

2 – Author Page – Describe themselves in pictures with color (doing it this way allows the first use of the true left side/right side aspect of the ISN)

3 – Author Page – Describe themselves in words – My Directions for both Author’s pages

4 – Study Buddy Page – Using this example & modifying a bit. Also considering to put Clock partners on this page (Good explanation here). Even as groups change every 6 weeks, the Clock partners would be the same all year, provides trust, comfort & consistency.  Especially if the groups are rough one quarter, could use these partners more, rather than dealing with switching groups. To hide student phone numbers shared on this page, the clock page would be a flap over the study buddy information, just taped at the top.

5 – TOC – Planning to do booklet style to save pages

6 – Class Policies & Expectations – Trace your hand on the page. In each one of the fingers write one of the most important things you should know about this class. (Can color, decorate, etc. the hand & page)

7 – Class Policies & Expectations – My syllabus goes here (I plan to create a larger version of this foldable using two sheets of paper because I like the idea of having the tabs for the main ideas in the syllabus.

8 – ISN information – On the page below, give some predictions you have for your ISN this year. Draw pictures (& can have captions)

9 – ISN information – 2-sided page explaining ISN (they have never seen or used an ISN before)

10 – Key Parts of the ISN – Reflection of page 13, need to include a drawing piece (Key Parts files from @cheesemonkeysf)

11 – Key Parts of the ISN – foldable with most important rules (my students liked this one last year as one of their first foldables)  –  Can follow up with a ISN quiz

*12 – Multiple Intelligences – Graph information from survey / Or True Colors profile?

*13 – Multiple Intelligences – survey would be on this page / Or True Colors Profile? (Sorter and Learning Temperaments)

*14 – Learning Styles – On the page below draw 5 picture of ways that you can use your learning style to help you study

*15 – Learning Styles – 2-sided survey & page of learning style suggestions

16 – Unit 1 – Coloring page – http://www.doodle-art-alley.com/number-coloring-pages.html

17 – Unit 1 – Standards/Skill List or “I Can” Statements (Vocab words just listed on bottom with page number reference to back of ISN?)

Pages 184-200 – Words Worth Knowing (WWK) – Basically a glossary of terms. – Using Frayer models from Sarah Hagan at Math = Love. I figured folded in half I can fit 7 frayer models per page, which is around 119 words.  Since I haven’t made my Geometry vocabulary list yet, I don’t know if that is the right amount of pages, but I thought I would start there until I finalize my vocabulary list. Anyone have one they want to share? 🙂

Inside back cover will be a formula/measurement reference sheet (like most books have & most composition books already have this as the inside of the back cover)

*Not sure I am sold on using any of these pages. I like the idea of the learning styles and how to use the learning styles to help study, but I don’t know if I will use these pages.

Random Ideas

I have these randomly written on a sheet of paper, so I thought it would be helpful to share.  I am literally copying them word for word, so it may be a little unorganized.

  • I want to include the 8 Math Practices, idea & foldable from here.
  • I also want to include Estimation180 as part of our warm-ups, each day? once a week? Not sure, but I love this handout and explanation.
  • Use QR codes (as3x10 labels?) to print and tape/put on ISN pages to link to internet resources (video/review lesson/practice/challenge) for the lesson.
  • Use 3×10 (or different size) label stickers for questions prompts on left side pages. Easy to make, distribute to students & no glue/tape necessary!
  • Test Day journal pages? – students grab and do as activity/HW after tests…gives them something to do and allows sharing and writing reflection in the ISN as well.  What would go on the opposite side page? I am in love with these FREE journal pages and I *think* they would be a fun writing addition to the ISN (& for when my students read their ISN in 20 years). 🙂 I only have 7 Unit Common Assessments, so it wouldn’t be too many pages….thoughts?
  • Collect & grade at end of each quarter? Or collect and quickly grade on test days? Big FAIL for me last year, only graded 1st quarter. Improvement is needed!
  • Use Color With a Purpose!!! – need to research more.  Ex. Use same color to highlight vocab all year.
  • Date stamp to check pages daily – makes grading easier – need self-inking date stamp. I have a stamp pad date stamp and stopped using it because it was messy.
  • Left hand side options, provide sheet with options, students can choose how to reflect, but can only use each format option twice a unit
  • Left hand side idea – pick 4 of the HW probs to write neatly & explain why chosen or explain how to do. (better as an entrance slip?)
  • At end of Quarter – 2 pages for reflection (student, parent, notebook plans/goals for next quarter & grading rubric)

Okay, there you go…my ideas for starting my ISN off right this year.  I asked before and will ask again, What do you like about my list? What would you change? Am I wasting too many pages? (My #1 fear!)

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?) 🙂

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!