Week -4: Goals and Dreams for 2017-18
It has been a while since I blogged. I think my type-A, perfectionist over-exuberance at wanting to blog at what I envisioned was “top-level” just burned me out. But since getting back to Twitter (and getting in on the flurry of conversations about TMC, #, and # ) I’ve realized that the reflective nature of blogging feeds my teacher soul.
Last year I dropped blogging early in the school year because I was doing too much. And writing doesn’t come easy to me so my blogs were taking 1-2 hours to complete – I so admire those who type fast and write succinctly…can you school me?? Everything in my life was suffering and so blogging was the first (but not the last) thing to be purged. Now as I look back at the year this summer I realize the rest of my school year lost its glitter. Without the daily reflecting in writing via blogging and taking pictures of my kiddos while they were learning, the excitement fizzled and “Killer Routine” took over. Now don’t get me wrong, I did reflect but it tended to be quick, on the fly and lacked depth; I didn’t have a running commentary to look back on to review my progress, to relive the successes and to reminiscence about the changes that worked.
But I also realize I can’t keep up with blogging for each of the 180 days of the school year. So Blog 180 was out for me! As luck would have it, I learned through Twitter that during TMC17, Carl Oliver gave a keynote, Hitting the Darn ‘Send’ Button at TMC (Twitter Math Camp). He said just #PushSend; what you write doesn’t have to be perfect and what you have to say will resonate with someone. Most importantly for me I realized, the act of putting my thoughts to paper is an amazing growth experience. All of this talk about blogging inspired me. So I gave myself permission to blog once a week. In my mind I call it my new initiative: Blog 36+… I’ll blog once a week (but maybe more).
The stars aligned because soon after TMC, the #MTBoS got busy, spearheaded by Julie @jreulbach to revive the #MTBoS Sunday Funday challenge . I wouldn’t call it a “challenge” but rather an “invitation to blog” every week on a pre-selected topic; this week’s is Goals. You then submit your blog post using this Google Form. On Sunday, Julie will post the week’s list of amazing blogs to go read! I can’t wait to read all of the goodness my peers have to offer!! But I also realize I need to contribute….so my blogging life begins anew!
2017-2018 Goals and Dreams – at least planning for Goals
We don’t start school until August 30th, so my school brain is still on vacation! And I’m not sure I’m ready to have my goals set in “electronic stone” yet. So instead, I’ll share my first steps in creating goals for a new school year.
Here’s how I’ve done my goal-setting for many, many years. In early June, when I begin to get twinges of frustration and end-of-year-itis, I start my “Beginning of Year ‘##” folder. I’ve been doing this now for over 25 years and I really love to see how some things have come and gone, while others have become my pedagogical “rocks.”
*Wish I could get into my room to take a photo of all of my previous folders!!
On the inside left flap I have lots of categories: Goals, Keep-Change-Try, Theme/Focus. These help me think through the big picture for my classroom. Still adding thoughts as I read tweets and the many awesome blog posts shared this week!
- Goals include student, professional and personal goals for the year…these are actually the final culmination of the other things.
- Keep-Change-Try is just that, a running list of what I want to keep from my past practices, change or revise for the next year, and new things to try because they sound so promising.
- Theme/Focus is the catch phrase that encapsulates all of the above thinking, especially the goal. Usually a word or phrase that I post in big letters.
On the inside right flap I have lots of focuses that support the Goals and Theme: Engagement, Climate-Relationships, Retention, SBG, Technology, and Procedures.
- Engagement helps me think through authentic engagement experiences rather than “fun” activities that don’t move students’ learning forward.
- Climate-Relationships is a new focus for me this year. Although student evaluations say I do a great job at this, my personal perspective is that I need to work at this better to connect with EVERY student.
- Retention includes thoughts about how to insure long-term retention. This became a goal for our department last year (which I was so happy about – cartwheels in the aisles) so there was so much more collaboration around retention and how to help students with it.
- Standards Based Grading (SBG) is also a new addition, although I have been reading and thinking about it for a few years. I’ve found some good resources online, but don’t have any face-to-face colleague to share and reflect with…yay for Twitter. I am getting some help there.
- Technology has been an ongoing focus since I can remember! It is so fun to see how much technology has evolved over the years as well as how my practice in including it has changed so dramatically. And the use of technology has grown from just a tool to a learning-enhancing opportunity for students if used thoughtfully.
- Procedures is the last focus this year. I have been at this a long time, but every year some procedures need to change, mostly to keep my sanity and to make my classroom more studentcentric (is that even a word?!). Things that “bug” me in June are procedures crying out to be changed in August.
Already today, because of tweeting and reading blogs, my lists are expanding and evolving. So what are your goals and dreams for 2017-2018? Can’t wait to hear about them (and maybe revise mine based on your amazing thoughts) so just #pushsend!!