Thursday, November 17, 2016

Welcome to November.

Welcome to November.

It’s hard to believe that the first semester is almost over! I have had so many aha moments in my teaching methods this semester. I have tried and failed at many things since beginning my #vanjourney and am so excited to continue to try small shifts to become better every day.

One of the push points I am currently trying to explore and refine:

·       Accountability
What you need to know. I’m crazy. No but really I am. So here is my problem with accountability. When I am working with my small group I get super excited. Like super excited. I love talking to my students and listening to their perspective on different ways to solve and how to explain a million trillion things. #mathlife. So the problem here is I am so outrageously engaged in what is going on in my small group that I forget to actually hold the other groups as accountable. Whoops. Sorry.

The problem: I work in middle school. Obviously they are going to get off task if you let them. Duh. So my students have mastered the art of fake working. They are really great at it. Ok, ok, no more pervasive language…. SOME of my students are masters at the art of fake working!
I’m actually fairly impressed. Adults try to master this skill all the time. Bravo kiddos bravo!
Anyways I obviously have things in place that I am supposed to do to hold them accountable.

Let’s list them all:
·       The google doc- I should be checking each night. Yaaaaa…..

·       The group accountability- you know where they check each other… Yaaaaa……

·       The daily reflections at each station that they write. Wellll…

·       The time I’m supposed to walk around and stamp where they finish each day to keep track that I don’t do.

Basically what I am saying is that I’m not checking on them every day like I should.
But why?
I have been placing my priority on what is happening in my group. They get to ask me anything they want when they come to see me, they get to explain their thinking and use sentence stems to explain WHY something works not HOW to do it. Since I am placing my priority here the work they are doing in other places is falling further and further behind on my things I actually have time to do list.

My next plan is to have students track what they have accomplished each day on a poster in the room so that they can hold each other accountable. (Quick backtrack… when students are not with me they are working through a travel itinerary combined with computer lessons, differentiated practice on computers that provide scaffold supports, and group work reviewing and practicing new and old mathematical problems. see travel itinerary over there <-). We shall see how this public tracker works. I’m still working on logistics of how

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