End of Year Thoughts 2013

16 Jun

Excellence: Not just doing your best, but trying to do better all the time.

Overall it was a fantastic year. I tried some new things with the students, and I tried some new things -period-. Here’s the highlights of the year.

— Master Teacher: I took on the role as master teacher. I was a bit apprehensive in accepting at first because I thought it would be a lot work for me to do it well. However. in reality it was such an advantage for *me*. I got a mature student-teacher who was a total can-do sort of person, and she just jumped right in. The students were the real winners; they had two teachers to guide and support them.

— Saturday tutorial day: Before STAR testing, I had about 25 students come to a 3 hour Saturday math practice session. We all had a fun and productive day. We used white boards (individual and group size), played a math game, and ate pizza. Parting comments were, “we should do this once a month!”

— Technology class: The last quarter of school I taught a technology class, but I taught it more like an engineering class. The students learned to program using Scratch (2 weeks), built bridges (2 weeks), build roller coasters (1 week), and experimented with electronics and simple machines among other things.  A true STEM experience.

— Large white boards: A few months ago I went to Home Depot and bought white panel board which I had them cut into 24″ by 32″ rectangles, resulting into group-sized whiteboards ( $2 Whiteboards) .  After giving student-partners a big white board, I posed challenging word problems to them. Instead of grunting and groaning, they got busy modeling and trying to solve the problems on the boards. These boards are magic. I think since they are so easy to erase, the students feel more free to experiment with their thinking. I can’t wait to use these next year.

New challenges for next year:  moving the an 8th grade team where I will teach Algebra 1 and Project Lead the Way ( two STEM classes: design & modeling and automation & robotics).  And lots of common core stuff to work on next year. Can you say, full plate?


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