Sunday, May 31, 2015

Coming Soon: The Year I Won't Change Everything

I wrapped up the 2014-2015 school year a few weeks ago. Since then I've been simply enjoying the time at home. This week I hope to work in my classroom a day or two, so I thought it was time to reflect and collect my thoughts a bit.

I am proud of the two major projects my colleagues and I accomplished this year:

1.  We implemented SBG. We still have some work to do . . . but the best part is that we know, better than ever, what our students do and do not know.

2. We used our standards as the starting point for deciding what to teach. We focused on making sure we had all the standards covered and worked on a cohesive skills list to follow students from 9th grade through trigonometry. It is not a finished product, but we made a ton of progress!

We set a few goals to accomplish as a group for next year:

*Continue refining skills lists for 9th-11th. Add 12th to the list.
*Adjust how SBG scores are converted to grades . . . we are concerned that a few students ended up with passing grades even though they had multiple skills still un-mastered.
*Stop giving points for things that don't directly reflect students' knowledge. (Looking at you, binder organization grade). Figure out how to encourage & support organization skills without this grade.
*Work on strategies to help students RETAIN what they've learned beyond the assessments.

In other news . . . an exciting family update as depicted by our five-year-old:

We're blaming our daughter, as she has ended almost every day for years by praying for a brother or a sister. Baby brother arrives in late September . . . and so I am hoping for a productive summer and crossing my fingers for a very capable substitute teacher to take care of things while I'm away in the fall.

So here's my (paired down) summer list:

1. Leave calculus and physics (mostly) alone.
2. All changes for my Algebra 2 classes should be smaller adjustments. No re-inventing of the wheel. Not this year.
3. Plan all my classes through the first semester. Is this realistic? Repeat #1 and #2 out loud.
4. Look for ways to incorporate review, but more in a spiral-y way vs. the "review this because its going to be on the test tomorrow" type.
5. Stay calm. Take some guilt-free naps. Enjoy my summer.