Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A new year around the corner

Ready or not here it comes! I'm about to start year 15 of my teaching career. It really doesn't seem like FIFTEEN years... that would make me old! 😉 But it also doesn't seem like I should have a 12 year old either...
I've done a lot of reflecting this summer on what kind of teacher I am and where I can improve. Education is constantly changing and we have to be willing to change with it to keep the students excited and engaged. 

Here are a few personal positives from last year: 
  1. Honored as being a state-level finalist for the PAEMST (Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching). This was a game-changer for me. I went through the application process the previous year and learned so much about myself as a teacher and my students.  It's a very reflective process! 
  2. Classroom climate- I feel like I truly. Objected more with my students and their parents last year by sending hand written notes. Throughout the year I gave each student a personal letter from me. I sat and thought about positive characteristics I wanted to praise them for and give them encouragement for the future. (100 students). Also, each week as I observed their behavior, I chose one or two students from each of my four classes to get a "Happy Note Home." I mailed a cute handwritten card (complete with stickers 😊) to their parents bragging on their behavior or accomplishments. This created a good rapport with the parents. I was even asked to write a publication for www.gettingsmart.com on positive relationships. https://www.google.com/amp/www.gettingsmart.com/2017/02/3-ways-to-build-and-implement-successful-classroom-relationships/amp/
  3. Creating exciting lessons- we all know how much time and effort anything extra is! Last year I did several stand out lessons and the reward of the students' excitement was well worth the preparation! I created an Escape Game complete with locks, keys, puzzles, test prep, and of course racing the time clock. I set up a restaurant in my classroom with the customers in a dining area, management in another area, and a drive-thru window! The students placed their orders, counted change, wrote payroll checks, and calculated catering events. Some of my fabulous coworkers collaborated on an end of year field day type of lesson to review all subjects before state testing began. This included playground equipment, hula hoops, basketball, building blocks, hopscotch, puzzles, and test prep questions. Sooooo much fun!!
  4. Data- I was a serious data collector this year! But not only a collector, I REALLY USED THE DATA! I had a data wall in my room with several different areas of data on it: weekly Tenmarks class averages, Accelerated Math objectives, Math Facts Fluency, and iReady graphs. The students were very competitive, but it was collective. They always wanted to beat the other classes. I even found an old trophy that I awarded winning classes based on data. I took a picture of the class with the trophy and they had bragging rights for the week. They LOVE bragging rights!! 
Goals for this upcoming year:
  • Go digital! I want to incorporate Google Classroom and other websites as much as possible. This will help with grading as well! 
  • Help build a "Sunshine Committee" to boost school and teacher morale. 
  • Dive deeper into data! Have the students keep an ORGANIZED data folder. Also keep my data wall in my classroom and a folder on my desk. 
My super cute room decor!!! Our theme is "We do not hide success, we parade it down the street!"