This post is motivated by a number of things. First and foremost, there are so many nuggets of brilliance that I’ve collected over the summer – at the Exeter conference, Twitter Math Camp and the concomitant recap blog posts – that I need to sift through and prioritize into concrete Goals for This Year, Hope I Can Try This Year, and Keep for Future Reference and Inspiration. I will be meeting my fall term students in less than a week, and I’m struggling with bringing it all into sharp focus. Writing will help [force] me to do that.
I’m also tremendously excited by the Day in The Life project being spearheaded by Tina Cardone. The online community has nourished and supported me as a professional and as a person; our commonality and heterogeneity create a vibrant network of passionate educators I have yet to see duplicated elsewhere.
In my journal, I have underlined and starred this:
How will I build relationships with students this year, and what norms of classroom culture and discourse do I want to see in my classroom?
- I will begin the year with Name Tents as I have for the last three years. I love them – they give me a chance to learn my students’ names and communicate individually with them right away.
- I will let my students know a little bit about me through Ms. Menard in Numbers.
- The students will begin to learn about cooperative work and discourse with and without words through the 100 Game and other activities (I’m thinking about Broken Circles, Personality Coordinates, and maybe even Math Human Bingo – I have 5 classes, so maybe I’ll try them all!).
- The students will write mathographies and begin to express their own math identities.
- Taking a cue from the amazing Sara Vanderwerf, we will go through the Top 10 Things Not to Ask Me About Your Calculator in my three sections of Algebra 2. This activity will introduce the students to Desmos, familiarize them with some simple but critically important (and pain-saving) functions of the TI calculator, provide a model for note-taking model, and lay the groundwork for the independence and self-advocacy I expect.
- Shamelessly borrowing from Sara yet again, I will use the open middle task How Great is Your Total? in my Discrete Math classes. I love how this task has students challenging themselves and each other, and how it provides formative assessment on such a wide range of mathematical and social competencies.
- I will implement (as my #1TMCThing) the instructional routine Contemplate then Calculate which promotes collaborative problem-solving, and most important, growth mindset.
I want to fight the “I am Not A Math Person” mentality and promote equity in my classroom and school; much of my self-chosen professional development and reading focuses on this overarching goal. I have a personal goal of breaking my silence in the face of racism I encounter at school (and elsewhere), asking questions, and reflecting honestly about my own biases. I have a list of items to do/complete/achieve along these lines as well.
- This fall, I will be co-facilitating a Professional Learning Team with Jose Vilson on Racially Relevant Pedagogy at Math for America. Jose and I will also be co-facilitating a single session workshop to extend this conversation to the larger Math for America community.
- I will be participating in Restorative Justice training through the NYC Department of Education.
- I will advance my understanding of institutional racism and its historic roots in America by continuing to work my way through this reading list (did I mention the fabulous used book stores I visited daily while in Vermont last month?)
After all of these very specific items, I still have the following items that I intend to appear in my classroom/teaching practice this year:
- Google Apps for Education (my school just purchased a subscription);
- greater use of Desmos and Geogebra activities;
- less talking by me;
- visibly random groupings;
- some type of Explore Math activity a la Sam Shah; three years ago I did a Math Munch project (borrowed from Fawn Nguyen)
- intentional use of group work (Designing Groupwork) is on my reading list as well).
Most importantly, I want to hold on to the energy I gleaned from the myriad of inspiring teachers who spoke and shared at Twitter Math Camp this summer (pretty much everyone!). Last year was a tough one personally, and I found myself counting days until I could rest and restore more than once. But the summer has been long and enriched, and this year, I want to count EVERY DAY as a day of development and learning for both my students and me.
Gotta go plan now…