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Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Today I made a mistake I regret.

Where did the mistake arise from, and how could I have avoided the error.

I think the mistake mainly arose from my will to help all students achieve in math with success. There's lots and lots to teach--the pace is quick and the standards are many. There's no room for misbehavior or lost time to reach the goals, yet I'm working with a large diversity of learners--learners who want to play, learners who have other interests and goals, learners who are enjoying the holidays, learners who are advanced, learners who are working on foundation skills and much more variety.

So I started the lesson with a strong message that there was no room for misbehavior and that everyone had to listen. I was missing the supports I typically have due to absences, and there were many to help. I figured that a strong start would get everyone on track and I could help as many as possible. Yet that didn't work, and the lesson began to go awry.

In hindsight, I should have abandoned the plans and shifted gears. The lesson as planned relied on the support of two highly qualified teachers who were absent, and without their help, in hindsight, the lesson as planned would not work. There were many avenues I could have taken to teach a better lesson, and I wish I had the foresight to do that.

So the big lesson is to slow it down. Teachers are not superhuman, and sometimes the goals, the pace, the standards, and the expectations set are simply too big for the resources, time, and people available. With that said, it doesn't excuse my error. I apologized and hopefully those impacted will be able to forgive me. Onward.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Today's Focus: December 11, 2017

After a morning of big think, it's time to focus in on the day ahead--a very busy day.

The day will begin with our usual business minutes and quiet reading then move on to a school meeting. After that we'll focus in on the math goal of multiplying with decimals using the US traditional multiplication algorithm, models, and fractions--it will be a meaty lesson that requires good attention. They'll be plenty of time to practice that skill in the days that follow.

Our reading group will continue to learn about Joey Pigza and his will to solve everyone's problems and make peace in a family/neighborhood situation that's anything but calm. Later I'll cheer on our high school swim team and join family members for a special event. Onward.

Revisit Goals to Set Priority

I revisited my school year goals today to set priority, my main efforts as I begin 2018 include the following:

Math Education

  • attention to standards-based teaching
  • time for extra help sessions
  • attention and care related to students' individualized service/learning plans/practice
  • research/planning related to new curriculum
  • implementation with a focus on hands-on, investigative, relevant learning
  • focus on environmental stewardship
  • focus on STEAM teaching/experiences
Teaching Community
  • TPL, TAC, Faculty Senate, Focus Groups, Teacher Collaborative, (Child Study when time avails)
  • Local union efforts
  • Culturally proficient teaching efforts: WPSF signage grant, student/family events/efforts, curriculum efforts
  • Grant to develop continued teamwork, collaborative goal setting, planning, collective teaching
Professional Learning
  • Special education course via MTA professional learning events
  • Application to summer National Endowment of the Humanities Institute
  • Continued reading/study related to culturally proficient teaching, and embedding that research into math, science, and reading teaching efforts
  • Renewal of certification - Fall 2018
Knowing what's on the priority list makes it easier to say yes or no when learning/teaching opportunities present themselves since we can't do it all.