Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#MTBoS12days - Semester Success

There have been a lot of first and seconds for me this year and all in all I'd count it as a pretty successful first semester for the year.  This is my second year at my school and second year back teaching high school math, but my first as math department chair at my school.  This was my first year to be involved in curriculum writing in my district and first year to be part of several leadership teams on my campus.  To say that I have been dragged out of my comfort zone is an understatement.
I consider myself a worker bee.  I love being behind the scenes and doing what I love doing, teaching and planning, so it has been  a little uncomfortable to be out in front of my teacher friends, leading.  I've gotten good feedback from some of the projects I've been involved in, so I must be doing okay, even though I feel inadequate at times.

In my classroom, I have seen many successes this year as well.  Lots of failures and areas for improvement too, but today I am focusing on success.

Success #1 - Incorporating technology into some of my lessons.  We are not a 1:1 campus, but most kids have their own devices so my goal was to get my students to use them in class.  I don't want to be one of those teachers that constantly harps on her kids to put their cell phones away.  Cell phones are a fact of life for these kids and I'd rather spend my time teaching them ways to use them for school than punishing them for sneaking a look at a text or a post.  What I've found is if I treat them as if its no big deal that they have them out on their desks, then it really does end up being no big deal.  Sure there's an occasional text message sent or email checked, but for the most part I keep them busy and it becomes a non issue.

Being BYOD can be limiting sometimes, but we have had some great lessons using Desmos and Geogebra.  I've used Quzalize and Google Forms for formative assessments.  I'm using Google Classroom for all of my classes this year and have tried turning in electronic homework with on again, off again success.

Success #2 - Twitter and Blogs to extend my professional learning.  I am still in awe of the vast knowledge available to me as a teacher through twitter and blogs.  I would read an occasional blog before this year and had a twitter account that I rarely used, but this year I've finally figured out what those two things can do for me.  Getting active in the #MTBoS has really transformed my teaching.  The challenging part has been finding a system to organize all of the information I am finding.  When I find a great lesson idea for something that I don't teach until April, how do I help myself remember that idea.   I think I've figured out something that is working for me, but I'm sure this will be evolving over time too.  Any of you with great ideas on this one, please chime in here.

Success #3 - Student Relationships.  For whatever reason I feel like I have developed some great relationships with my students really quickly.  Usually about March or April I can look back and see that I've finally won all of my kids over, but this year I am already feeling like I'm at that place with them.  I have almost no discipline issues and my kids work for me.  It doesn't matter what silly or rigorous activity I plan, they are always great about playing along and giving it their best.  As a result I'm usually in awe of the conversations that are going on about math in my room.  It's a real boost when I have other teachers asking me about an activity we did in my class because my kids were still talking about it when they got to their class.   I hope to continue building onto these relationships with the kids as it makes taking risks and trying new things with them easier.

I'm looking forward to an even better second semester too!

1 comment:

  1. What a great bunch of successes. I agree about getting involved with #mtbos. It has really helped me this year.