Friday, June 17, 2011

Teacher Reflections

Where did the school year go? Summer is perfect for looking back and reflecting over the year and making plans for next year- setting new goals- doing research- and catching up on my reading. This summer also includes teaching a "Thinking with Technology" course for my district as well as attending a class on the new Common Core Standards. So much for just relaxing by the pool all day! Looking back, I had a great group of students this year- and we covered more material than I usually get around to. For the most part my students had positive attitudes for just about every activity or lesson we covered. I noticed that students talked about what they did in math class that day over lunch- that's pretty cool! I also got one of the nicest compliments that I have ever received from one of my students in his letter to next year's 8th graders they wrote at the end of the year. He said he loved coming to math class because he never knew what to expect- everyday was different. I have all my fellow bloggers to thank for that. I am always finding great ideas and strategies to use in my classroom reading and learning from all of your blogs. I managed to incorporate a lot more differentiated instruction than in years past. I also incorporated a lot more technology and multi-media into the classroom this year which students seemed to enjoy. I have to admit when I run into students from a few years back I have a somewhat guilty feeling inside. I truly feel that I am a much better teacher now than I used to be. I guess that really is a good way to feel. I hope I continue to keep getting better each year.

What didn't go so well? I had a goal this year of being "less helpful" (dy/dan)allowing more opportunities for kids to discover the math- breaking down the math themselves- time for more student-directed learning. I had a really hard time accomplishing this goal in my 40 minute class period. In order to cover the required standards/indicators that I needed to as well as allowing for the time to practice the skills, my classroom was more teacher directed than I had hoped. I am not sure how I can get around this either. Lessons that allowed for students to discover the math themselves were hard to fit into the 40 minute period. What I would do for at least 10 more minutes added to my classes everyday! This is something that I plan on looking into more over the summer. There has to be a way to accomplish this in a 40 minute block of time. If anyone has any ideas feel free to share!

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