Wednesday, June 5, 2013

End of Year Reflection

As the end of the year approaches, I like to look back and reflect on things that have gone really well this year and some things that, well, haven't.  I started the year with three big goals that I wanted to accomplish: using math notebooks, learning stations, and math bucks (you can read my post about them here.)  Overall, I was really pleased with how I accomplished those goals.

1) Math Notebooks

I am THRILLED with how my math notebooks turned out!  I loved how they required students to keep everything in one place, and because everything was glued in it meant that they weren't losing the notes we had taken throughout the year.  I am able to tell students to look up something we've already covered that they might have forgotten (integer rules, or common fraction to decimal conversions) which puts the responsibility back on them instead of me. 

I used their notebooks as a quiz grade at the end of each quarter, which helped keep them responsible for them.  I still had a few students who would spend the last two weeks of the quarter desperately updating their notebooks because they hadn't kept it up to date throughout the nine weeks, but overall they did very well with them.  One thing that I will make sure to focus on a bit more next year is the table of contents - my students didn't understand how to fill that in correctly using their own notebooks, and often would wait until the end of the nine weeks to come in and copy mine.  It wasn't until the third nine weeks that I realized this was happening (when I hadn't updated mine and they were all in a panic because they didn't know how to do it).  Next year I'll make sure we really cover this at the beginning of the year.

I am going to try to do a really in depth post on our math notebooks over the summer - I'm even thinking about including a video so you can see EVERYTHING we did with them!

2) Learning Stations

How I organize stations (ignore the voting in the corner - that was for something else)

This is probably the one thing that didn't go as well as I had hoped.  I started off they year strong, but about the time I started slacking with the blog, I started slacking with stations as well.  It's a shame too because my students really enjoyed them and got a lot out of them.  I created quite a few activities for the stations that worked really well and that I will continue to use.  Whenever I did stations I tried to have one technology station, one game station, one independent practice station, and one partner practice station.  I was really happy with the technology and game stations I came up with, but really struggled to come up with meaningful independent and partner practice activities.  On top of that, creating the technology activities and games was also very time consuming.  I am hoping that next year, since I have some of these already created, it will be easier to implement consistently.

3) Math Bucks

You can find math bucks here, on Teachers Pay Teachers - (not my product)

I was happy with how using the math bucks in class went.  It was a very effective classroom management tool and my students loved it. One thing I did up changing part way though the year was the cost of certain things (mainly right or wrong on tests, and hints).  I realized around Dec/Jan I wasn't handing them out as often as I really needed to for them to be effective, so I dropped the 'price' to reflect that.  I have gotten better since then, and I think I will start with the original prices next year, and just really try to make sure I am handing them out more often.

One thing that did not go as well this year as I had hoped was this blog.  I got very overwhelmed around the beginning of the new year with my husband deployed, the graduate classes I was taking, math department chair, our impending move back to the states (woo hoo!), and the roll out of all the new technologies (1:1 laptops and new SmartBoards).  I was really hoping to have a new post at least every week, and that obviously didn't happen.  I would like to use this summer to try and post about some of the things I did this year but just couldn't find the time to write about.

What are some things you're reflecting on that went well, or maybe not so well?




  1. This is awesome. Thanks for explaining the stations. That is one of my goals for next year.

    1. Thanks! I am glad you got something useful from this - I love stations for so many reasons but they definitely take some time and planning to implement effectively. One of my goals for next year will be to use stations more often. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  2. Hi Brittany,

    I love your ideas about Math notebooks. I am going to be looking over my lessons and see how I can begin using them (at least once per week for this first year.)

    I admit that I always loved math and I love inspiring kids to love math too. I teach Math 7, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra II in Vermont. This will be my 16th year (!) teaching in a structured classroom, and I thank you as a younger teacher for begin glad to share your ideas. Now I can try something fresh for my class and give more inspiration to my students.



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