So I was hoping that my second post would be a tour of my classroom, but unfortunately, even after four days of hard work - it's still not finished. It is getting there though. So, since that plan went up in smoke, I decided to share my goals for this school year. This summer I spent a lot of time on pintrest and perusing teacher blogs for ideas - and I got a TON of great ideas! So many in fact, I began to feel completely overwhelmed by how many things I wanted to try this year. I eventually realized that unless I wanted to go completely insane and get so overwhelmed that I completely gave up on all of my new ideas, I should pick three and focus on those. That being said, here they are:
1) Math Notebooks - I have tried to use these before, but never really followed through, mainly because I didn't have a plan of action. I have spent a lot of time this summer researching math notebook ideas, looking at how other teachers use them, pinning ideas on pintrest, and reading blogs. Lots of my ideas I've gotten from Runde's Room, including the posters on how to organize your math notebook (see the picture below).
I decided at the end of last year I was going to use three subject notebooks for my math journals, so I'm lucky that they were added to the seventh grade supply list for this year. We are going to start using them the very first day (just decorating the cover), and then really get them set up the second day. I have a different colored notebook for each class so I can work with students as they complete theirs. I also have a purple one - but I've misplaced it in my classroom somewhere. I'm hoping it will turn up - that's going to be the one I complete ahead of time to make sure I know what I'm doing.
My goal is to use the first section for notes and foldables, the second section for vocab - I'm going to try out Fryer's Model for vocab this year, and the third section for warm ups. I'm going to try to do something, other than warm ups, with our math notebooks at least once a week.
2) Math Stations - This is something I used almost daily and with a LOT of success back in VA, but I struggled with implementing it in middle school with larger classes and without my familiar resources. When I moved out here last year I didn't have a job lined up, and since the Air Force had already moved the hubby out we had three suitcases to move my entire life. We forgo moving school supplies since I didn't know if I was going to get a position and if I did, I didn't know what I would be teaching. Anyways, I tried stations once or twice but couldn't make it work the way I wanted.
As I was researching math notebooks this summer, I came across some ideas on how to organize stations in the middle school, and so I'm going to try to implement them more this year. I love math stations because they are so easy to differentiate, they can provide multiple methods for learning the same topic and because students love them. They get to move around and it helps keep their attention since they aren't focused on the same thing for an entire class period. Also, on these days, the homework is usually to finish their station work - and they don't want homework so they get it done.
My goal is to use math stations at least once every other week. I'm hoping that as the school year goes on we can use them more often, but this is a good start.
3) Math Bucks - Let me start by saying I stole this idea in its entirety from a teacher on Teachers Pay Teachers (which, by the way, if you haven't found yet - go visit - it's amazing) named Jim Bennett. He describes them as his most popular math incentive and I'm so excited to try them out. Essentially its an economy system, but based around your math class.
Students earn math bucks by turning in homework, working hard, asking thoughtful questions or whatever you want. Then, they can 'buy' things such as homework passes, right or wrong answer on a quiz (you tell them whether its right or wrong - not what the answer is), or so on. I'm adding a few other things, like bathroom pass or late assignment pass. I'm also going to try and tie it in with my classroom management plan - if you break a rule, then you get fined. My husband asked me what I was going to do if they didn't have any math bucks - and I think I'm going to have them make up the time during lunch.
My goal is to implement this system and use it! I've already printed and cut out $150, but I know I am going to need more. I also made this poster to show how they work, and I'm including them on my syllabus - I'm hoping that will be good motivation to keep going.
What are some of your goals this year?