Monthly Archives: June 2018

Year-End Reflection and Changes

This is another first year in a new school for me, so there was a lot to learn this year. I am very excited to be teaching the same two classes (Algebra 1 yearlong and Precalculus) and building on these two classes. Here are some of the ideas I have for next year, in no particular order.

  • I need to rethink my textbook organization for Precalculus. At the end of the year 2 textbooks went missing. I keep textbooks on a shelf in the room because we use them every day in class and students are allowed to take their textbooks home. Two are unaccounted for, so I need to rethink what classwork looks like in Precalculus, which goes hand-in-hand with the next one.
  • We need to do even more spiraling. I assigned weekly HW assignments which were all review, but too many students didn’t do their homework and too many copied their friends (a few even admitted as much!). I need to have them do review problems in class where I can monitor and give feedback. This will require me to make/copy problems into “sets” which have current material and review material. I want to read “Make It Stick” to get a feel for the optimal re-learning time.
  • Students need to be more independent when doing the “work together” time. It’s almost always on the whiteboards, but I could do something where students use part of the board for their groupwork effort and then part of the board for individual effort. This can be recorded using the next point.
  • FreshGrade. It looks like an app/website/system where I can take pictures and record, both with photos and with videos, student work. The students have a stream and, if I can setup SBG, then we could use the stream to grade students on their success on a given topic as we’ll have lots of evidence. This will also help with spiraling, even in Algebra 1 where I’m loath to do it (but that means I need to do it all the more!)
  • I also want to include some peer evaluation components to the groupwork.
  • I need to model more of all of this. I need to model:
    • Good groupwork
    • Good self-grading (even when they get an answer key!)
    • How to watch the videos
    • How to do test corrections
    • How to talk about each other’s math ideas in a non threatening way.
  • I want to leverage my teacher website as a resource. It can have all the problem numbers from the textbook, but of course, I now want to include problem sets, so ideally I’ll add those to the website.
  • I want to improve my visibility in the community and for the students. Attend more sports and academic competitions. Attend more events, performances, and just things in general.
  • I want to make students grading themselves as a point on the standards based grading scale for their quizzes (does this fit into the SBG mindset?). Too often I find that students aren’t so much correcting themselves as just marking “right” or “wrong”. Sometimes I’ll hang out by the turn-in tray just to ask students “Can you correct this paper better, please?”
  • I want to continue to improve the videos, certainly re-recording some of them, but also focus on the questioning in the videos: always moving from low level (recall) up through high level questioning (analysis). Perhaps I should make a “question chart” to have next to my desk so that I always follow Bloom’s Taxonomy or DoK or something like that.

What will be the biggest change? Probably the FreshGrade, if it works. If it does, then I’m going to use a different grading scheme and get permission from my principal. I’ll need to have it all laid out clearly. That’ll come in a later blog post. Oh, and we’re supposed to have access to Schoology at some point, but we don’t know very much, as in “will we be allowed to plug in grades there?” And “Can I do SBG there?”. If not, I may just have a separate program to keep track of SBG grades and then update them weekly into the school system grade book. Yes, it’ll take longer but that time will be spent reflecting on where my students are and where they need to be.

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