(subtitled In Response to “For the start of this school year, I am excited about…” at thegeometryteacher.com)
This morning, I read Andrew Shauver’s blog post (highlighted above) which motivated me to let go of my ‘so long to summer’ gloom and look forward with enthusiasm. In that spirit, I offer the following list of things about which I am either excited or anxious (or both) as the 2014-15 school year begins.
- My newly crafted Geometry course – I have been given the opportunity to teach a new geometry course (entitled Geometry Fundamentals) which is “Regents-optional” for the students. I spent the summer working on the curriculum map, seeking hands-on/discovery-based activities to supplement and/or replace much of the direct instruction I have used in the past. It will definitely be a challenge – the students in this class are those that have struggled with math classes in the past, and a new course means writing new curriculum – but I excited to implement so many of the strategies that I don’t usually have time for in Regents Geometry classes, as well as using Interactive Notebooks.
- A second pass at Algebra II – I wasn’t satisfied with how this course finished up last year; besides the Regents results which were below par, I know I could have done a better job (a) with student mastery of the content (or as Rick Wormeli so accurately describes, automaticity) in the fall and (b) deep understanding of trigonometry in the spring. I’m convinced I can improve in including appropriate conceptual activities while maintaining the pace required by our curriculum. This morning I am especially excited to borrow an activity from Glenn Waddell; my students will learn about Desmos by playing with it, like I did here.
- My newly crafted classroom! – Because I am considered the only math teacher in my school who would be happy to have tables rather than [old, graffiti-drenched, right-handed only, hard-to-group] desks, I have been placed in a brand new classroom, complete with tables whiteboards, and bulletin boards (all a rarity in my school). I will be sharing the classroom, and it doesn’t have a locking supply closet [yet], so I will still be using my beloved cart (Donorschoose proposal #5). Luckily, the classroom is on the same floor as my office, so I will be spared the long wait for the ancient and only elevator. I am looking forward to being able to decorate my room, and….
- Bulletin Boards – I have been put in charge of the math department bulletin boards, and although I may have thought of this as a chore in the past, I can’t wait to remove the Jeopardy board with Pre-Calc questions that was on the wall when I started working at this school three years ago. I have wonderful monitors who love a creative challenge (they did my MathMunch display last spring); cheery elves to help with the work always make it better!
- Mathletes – I can’t wait to see my math club – again, their enthusiasm, their desire to tackle problems – discuss and argue different solutions – make staying late a pleasure. One of the students attended the NY Math Circle’s Summer Program and I am looking forward to hearing about his experience; this is a child who loves a challenge, to learn -or teach himself – something completely new.
- A New Co-Teacher – There are two new teachers in our department this year, one of whom will be my co-teacher in the inclusion section of the Geometry class. Last year, my cooperating teacher and I were not so cooperative (read any of my blog post’s from last spring), but he was only temporarily placed at our school, which probably undermined his commitment. I’ve had wonderful relationships with cooperating teachers in the past, and I’m determined this one will be added to that list.
- Talk Like A Pirate Day – Just because we need to have a little fun, and I’ve never done this before.
- My New Attitude – I am DETERMINED to achieve greater balance in my life – both personal and professional this year. I have set goals for myself (see Conundrum), and am envisioning how I will meet them and stick to them. I’ve tackled and survived a lot worse.
I want to thank all of you in MTBoS who have already gone back to school and have been blogging about it; your energy, insight, and honesty have all helped me get ready.