Summer reading, relaxing and revamping….

For Summer 2016, I plan to do a lot of relaxing, enjoying time my family, cleaning out closets and thinking about next year. I also plan to revamp my grading and record keeping. And overhaul my unit plans. I want to think about making things easy for students in terms of being able to understand what’s expected of them and what their grade depends on.

For next year, I’d like to make unit packets for students that consist of

  • Pre-requisite skills questions
  • Sample test problems
  • Practice Sets
  • A portfolio project
  • Open questions
  • Note organizers
  • Formulas
  • Reflection prompts
  • Spiraled review questions

I know, that’s an ambitious list. Well, I’m an ambitious gal. But, I’ll leave myself some wiggle room. I may not include everything on every plan. Or, it may turn out that some things aren’t needed while other things are, depending on the topics. Some spaces will be blank, allowing students to fill-in as we go. After all, I don’t want to toss all the cool open questions out in a lump. I want to use those to set a low entry point, an opportunity to engage students and an opportunity to talk to the class about options. Those will likely be saved for openers during block periods.

I also think, it will get easier as I get through the first couple of units. I’d like to have the first two units ready to go before school starts. That’s my summer goal.

I want to start the year with a mini-unit on study skills for math. I want to talk with them about passive versus active learning and how that makes wanting success and high grades either a wish or a goal. If you are passive, then your goals are more like wishes. If you are active, your goals are more likely to be achieved. I want them to know what working towards a goal is versus doing the minimum and hoping for a high grade.

Another part of that mini-unit will include how to handle absences. We have a lot of absences at my school. I kept a record in May/June (see photo) because it was really getting to be too much to compensate for. We have block periods, so when kids are absent, they miss a lot. However, I think these unit packets will help them when they are absent too.

20160607_165821.jpg

The top display is for my Tuesday/Thursday classes, the bottom is for my Wed/Fri classes. Everyone meets on Monday. Some of those percents are pretty high and there are perhaps too many days with more than 10% absent. I didn’t even include senior ditch day.

So, the absences are driving my desire to make things really clear at the start of the unit and have a packet so that kids can know what’s coming and when. I don’t plan to give them a 50 page booklet, but at least an outline, a schedule, a grade tracker, etc. I think I may handout homework packets on Mondays and collect them the following Monday, too.

Part of my planning will be doing some reading and research. I’m looking forward to re-reading some books and finding some new ones. Teaching Struggling Students in Math is my newest acquisition and should be a good one. Check out my new and ever growing list of favorite books for teaching, especially teaching high school math.  My Favorite Books on Teaching Math

Enjoy your summer!!

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