Goals for 2016-2017 Year

As part of the Day in the Life series that I’m participating in, I need to think about my goals for the year, so that I can revisit them each month. I think if I stick to three goals, that’s a reasonable, manageable amount of goals. I will try to make them “SMART” (ish) goals, but I make no guarantees.

  1. I want to improve my classroom conversations/discussions. I think it’s important that students know how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a whole-class setting. I know using talk moves strategically will help with this (having them revoice or summarize each other’s ideas or use someone else’s strategy for the next problem). I know that having them do turn-and-talks is even more powerful when they know how to take turns talking to each other and responding to what they hear. I want to be deliberate in my class conversations, making use of the 5 practices on a regular basis – which means including rigorous and meaningful math tasks in the classroom!
  2. I want to get familiar enough with the 6th and 7th grade math curricula that I feel comfortable with different student strategies (both successful ones and unsuccessful ones based on common misconceptions or overgeneralizations), and I’m prepared with ideas about common mistakes.
  3. I want to be thoughtful about the homework assignments I give students, and give them a manageable amount, while keeping it mostly meaningful. I want to be strategic about the problems I give them to work on, and I want to give a combination of writing and practice problems.

I know I said just 3, but these are a few other things I want to be thinking about this year:

  • Pacing: my new school uses predominantly 43 minute periods, which is much shorter than my 88 minute doubles at my old school. We only teach 6 periods per class instead of 8. So I don’t want to try to cram too much into one period, nor do I want to run out of time at the end of the year because I didn’t fit in enough. I want to find the happy balance both for myself as a teacher, for the content from the scope and sequence, and for the students, so they feel it goes at a “goldilocks” pace.
  • I want to ensure all of my students are learning (and being challenged!) daily. While there might be some review days, I don’t want students to be bored or feel like I’m teaching them anything new. I worry about how to balance the depth I want students to understand the math and the level of challenge they may wish for. I think with some topics, achieving this will be easier and more straightforward for me than with others.
  • I want to revisit my policies and procedures and ensure that I have a good sense of which procedures I’m going to continue using, which ones need to be modified, and which ones need to be ditched altogether!
  • I want to work on being more of a “warm, but strict” teacher instead of either a push-over or simply strict. I need to strike a balance here, so that I can ensure a calm and peaceful learning environment, but also to maintain positive relationships with my students.
  • I want to focus on building relationships with my students earlier in the school year. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I think the ideas that are swirling around are going to come out in a post very soon!
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