I find that over the summer it is far too easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking about all of the things that I could “fix” for the next school year (and I don’t think that I’m unique in this). First off, this is probably even the wrong mentality to entertain. While I certainly have things to improve upon, this is a different framing than having things that I need to fix in my teaching. Secondly, I want to try to rein in my goals to a manageable level this year.
I am teaching the same content this year, Geometry and Honors Geometry, that I have taught for the previous 3 years. I feel good about my content and pacing. I have a good variety of activities that I am able to incorporate through the year, both with technology and manipulatives. I am happy with my current policies about homework, corrections, etc. Knowing myself, I will certainly be tweaking those things throughout the year, but I don’t think that those areas need to be my focus.
The two things that I would like to focus on this year are warm-up/closure activities and technology policies. Some of the strategies that I am hoping to utilize in pursuit of these goals are:
- Use a format that I read about on Twitter over the summer for spiral review in warm-ups with one question each from the previous day, week, unit and year. In order to keep it manageable for myself, I’d like to try this once a week, focusing on my Geometry courses.
- Try Google Forms for exit tickets this year. To that end I made up several templates for myself, just using some general exit ticket questions. I tend to push my lessons probably a little bit too close to the bell, so I need to also work on my lesson pacing in order to ensure time for exit tickets or other forms of lesson closure.
- I am pretty hands-off in regulating technology use in my classroom, which generally works for me, but I would like to see how students could benefit from developing a little bit more discipline in this area. One app that I recently heard about is called Pocket Points and it offers rewards for staying off of their phones. Right now I’m trying to decide if I want to try it out just in one class or dive in and try it with all of my classes.
Its tempting to keep brainstorming about what else could be improved upon, but I’m really going to try to focus on these pieces for sustainable improvement rather than a burst of change in August and then a return to my typical teaching habits.