July Blogging Challenge

I came across a blogging challenge, and I’m going to try this out. I’m a regular reader of math teacher blogs, and I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to jump into the ring.  The challenge suggested to start with a reflection on the past school year using the prompt, START/STOP/CONTINUE, and I think that’s a great way to begin.

3 things to START:

  • A couple years ago I used a lot of photos (art, architecture, etc) to launch lessons, but that fell off this past year. I want to start doing that again.
  • Planning lessons and activities with a focus on making thinking visible and the type of thinking in which I want my students engaged (inspired by a book I’m reading Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchart)
  • Regularly reviewing previous content and connect it to the new material.  I found that the students struggled to retain some of the content, especially vocabulary, after we moved on to a new unit. I occasionally would give ‘Throw Back’ homework assignments that would bring up some of these topics and the students appreciated it. I want to start this right away next year, and implement it weekly.

3 things to STOP:

  • Traditional homework problems…I’m finding that many of my students either don’t do homework, copy it from someone else, or end up solving the problems incorrectly and form bad habits. I’m still thinking about how (flipping, written reflections…), but I know it needs to change.
  • Over-booking each lesson. I tend to be overambitious in my lesson planning resulting in us working to the bell (which is good), but I then sacrifice the summary or exit ticket (which is bad). I need to either stop overbooking OR stop things early to get to the summary.
  • Feeling pressured to move on at the end of the unit. I got away from spending time with the students reviewing their tests at the end of the unit. I want to incorporate both test corrections and a written component at the end of each unit.

3 things to CONTINUE:

  • Interactive Student Notebooks! This was my first full year trying out this method of note-taking, and I’ll never go back! I used it in both Geometry and Pre-Calculus. The students loved it, I loved it, and it had a great impact on their learning experience!
  • Games and activities that increase student talk. I started incorporating more pair work at the end of the year focused on practicing content and verbalizing their thoughts. The students were engaged, talking about math, and happy. =)
  • A problem-solving strategy that I regularly implemented this year, Notice and Wonder. It really helped to develop my students’ confidence with open-ended and word problems. Notice & Wonder Record Sheet

Thanks for the challenge! Day 1 completed! =)

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