Week -1: Organizing for Smooth Sailing through 2017-18
This post is my contribution to this week’s #MTBoS Sunday Funday challenge: Classroom Management. I wouldn’t call it a “challenge” but rather an “invitation to blog” every week on a pre-selected topic. You then submit your blog post using this Google Form. On Sunday, Julie @jreulbach 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!!
This week’s challenge is “Everything Organization.” So I’ll share some of my “organizational” strategies with you.
Planning My Courses
I use an Excel spreadsheet to map out the year for each course. I used to use paper copies of this, but now I’ve gone electronic; easier to copy from year to year, easy to edit and easy to share with course colleagues. I can also color code….just love the colors! I love to plan out my year in detail (with the mental permission to change at will – you know, when a great idea shows up on a blog or Twitter or Pinterest or wherever) so I know I’ve got time for critical content and engagement activities. I used to hate when teachers took their time early in the year but then crammed so much in the last 3 weeks of a semester “because we got behind.” I purposely budget a couple of blank days later in each semester as “buffers” for unanticipated time needs.
Create/Revise Learning Targets
I have learning targets for my course posted on my daily agendas (more info below) but after reading about #SBG and various blogs by @druinok, @mathequalslove, @samshah, @lisa_tilmon, among others, I decided to create ones I can share at the beginning of the year with students:
The code is: NY = Not Yet, P = Proficient, M = Mastered. I plan to include unit copies in my table folders (more on this below) so that each student can self-assess/communicate daily progress on the various critical learning targets for the unit.
Table Management: Roles and Resource Tubs
My students are in table groups of 4 for most days (except assessment times). I have used group roles (team captain, facilitator, reporter, resource manager) for years; this year I want the roles more visible to me and the others in the group. I saw this post by @mathequalslove and thought, “brilliant!” I made these puppies and put them in the group resource tubs, along with the red-yellow-green cups, set of 10 markers, rulers, highlighters and other materials. The resource manager picks up the tub for the group.
I’m trying a new management strategy I read about on blogs by Anna Vance at typeamathland.blogspot.com, @druinok at statteacher.blogspot.com, and Sam Shaw at samjshah.com. . My hope is that table folders streamline the processes of handing papers out, back and getting timely feedback from students through exit slips I collect daily. Although I haven’t worked out the entire procedure to teach my students yet, I think I’ve decided to have either the Team Captain pick up and return the folder every day or assign a Class Organizer each week to hand out folders to each table group daily along with other class jobs for the week.
How do you organize for a new school year?