Monday, March 19, 2012

Thinking About Next Year

We're teachers.  And we all do it.

When we flip that calendar in our brains over to "Fourth Quarter", we start thinking about next year.  We start thinking about how we're going to do things differently next school year.

This year, as I've thought of ideas, I have even run them by my current students.  I think more than anything, I've gotten, "Uh!  That's not fair!  Why do THEY get to do that?"  :)

Guess I'm coming up with some good ideas, huh?

I'm planning to take a different approach to my grammar & mechanics teaching next year.  I'm going to be using the schedule from a book called "Mastering the Mechanics", by Linda Hoyt & Teresa Therriault.

This text has a year-long planning calendar for how to really hone in on the editing side of writer's workshop and I am LOVING it so far!  It will go hand in hand with how I already run my writing program and I cannot WAIT to start using it with my kiddos next year!

In terms of Reading & Writing instruction, I really want to continue using my workshop format and take elements of the Daily Five that I love too.  I want to start really looking at how I can integrate my Reading & Writing instruction with Science & Social Studies more than I already do.  I know there are so many areas in the for subject areas that truly do overlap!

For math, I'm really wanting to move to a Math Workshop method of teaching.  I want the students to spend more time exploring & practicing concepts and journaling about them in their math notebooks.  I want my students to figure things out for themselves and write about it.  They do this now, but I know that by expecting more in the area of explanations and reasoning, I'm only going to be moving them deeper into those levels of higher thinking that I'm looking for!

Next year, I have several personal goals and I'm already looking for ideas of how to make these goals realistic as I'm preparing for 2012-2013.

1. Make my classroom more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and less cluttered.

I'm completely inspired by so many blogs of teachers around the world.  One of my favorites is Clutter-Free Classroom.  I go there often for inspiration on presenting ideas in a more interesting way.  I also recently bought "The Clutter-Free Classroom Guide", which is an eBook about setting up your classroom in a stream-lined manner that is best for kids and best for you.  I've put some of the ideas into practice this year and am looking forward to doing a whole classroom overhaul this summer!  Check out the Clutter-Free Classroom blog here.  And pick up a copy of the eBook here.

Our elementary is using a sports theme next year and my classroom team is the Duke Bluedevils.  I'm going to really focus on making the elements of my classroom reflect this theme without being "too much".  Less is more, Hannah...less is more.

2. Track assessments in a way that leaves data more readily available to students and parents.

This year, I've really gotten down the assessment side of my instruction and am using it daily for instructional purposes.  I'm also giving parents a print-out of student performance with each quarter's grade card.  Next year, I want to move past the quarterly report to a more ongoing record of assessment.

I've got a few ideas of how to do this.  First of all, I'm planning to use the iPad app TeacherPal for tracking behavior and academic data.  I'm also really looking strongly into the paid version of the Mastery Connect site.  I've got the iPad app that includes the Common Core Standards that we're all moving towards next year and I think the tracking element to the paid version would really be integral in meeting my "goal number 2".

3. Share with other teachers as I plan, assess, learn about my students, succeed and fail.

I really believe that teacher collaboration is very important in our field.  However, I think that sometimes we do so much planning and assessing and grading and recording that we get a little lost in the day-to-day and forget to TALK to one another!  Sure, we vent with each other occasionally or share a funny story about something that a student said in class that day.  But we don't spend a lot of time planning with each other, bouncing ideas off of one another, or just watching and learning from one another.

So next year, I want to be better at that.

Those are my three big goals that I've got in mind for 2012-2013.

I want to be a better teacher.  Every year.  I want to keep learning.  I don't want to feel like I'm ever "there".  I want to strive to take my students farther every single year.

For now though, I suppose I should get back to 2011-2012.  :)

1 comment:

  1. I am using the Mastering Mechanics book for my student teaching. I really like using the book. It gives a lot of good ideas on how to teach the topic and what to say. I like it because I can pull different things from it and not have to follow it to the letter. I am also getting to see Daily 5 Math. The students love to do this and ask everyday if they are going to get to do it. The teacher gives them the choices of Problem of the Day, Independent Practice, Partner Practice, Fun Facts, and Guided Math. For Independent Practice we review what was taught the day before. We usually give a worksheet so we can use it to put the kids in groups for the next day. The groups constantly change and I love it because it shows me where we need to go to get the kiddos to understand what we are trying to teach them. For Problem of the Day (POD) she uses the questions from Envision. For Partner Practice she also has books from Envision I believe. For Fun Facts she made up the games for them to play and chart how well they do each time they play. She uses playing cards, dice, and flash cards. For Guided Math we split them into groups of 4 on a good day and groups of 5 or 6 when we are short on time.
    By not doing whole group instruction I am able to see where the kids are and how they are doing with the concept we are trying to teach. If you have any more questions please let me know and I will try to answer them.