I’m two days into a new school year, and it’s time to write down the goals that have been stewing for the past few weeks. Here’s to learning a ton about teaching and learning and mathematics this year. I have too many goals, but I have too much to learn if I want my students to become their best mathematical selves.
Teaching: Students do the work. Talk less, have students do and talk more.
Planning: I plan units, not lessons. Before each unit, I plan a rough sequence of objectives, select and sequence tasks, and write down the key understandings students need to come away with. Exit tickets and problems students will explore to introduce new topics will be sketched out before the unit begins, and I identify key skills to practice, in and out of class, and anticipate key misconceptions.
Number Sense: During number talks, students engage with each other’s thinking — they identify whether an estimate is too high or too low, identify why different strategies work, and evaluate which ones they like best. They share these ideas with students around them, and write daily about the strategies they see.
Assessment: I plan and execute formative assessment tasks before a new topic is introduced, and use that information to inform my instruction — without giving it a grade.
Classroom Management: My classroom is not a place where learning is optional. If you’re having a bad day, or you’re confused, let’s talk about it and make a plan. But when I ask you to turn and talk to the person next to you about a problem, you turn and talk, on topic. When I ask you to try a new problem, you put forth your best effort. When I ask you to write down your reasoning, you write it down, no matter how well you understand. When I ask you to work silently, it is 100% silent, and when I ask you to listen you show respect for other students’ opinions by listening silently and attentively.
Personal: I eat lunch, every day, no matter what. A Clif bar is not lunch.
Relationships: When a student is struggling, for whatever reason, I ask how they’re doing, or if anything is wrong, before correcting them or giving them a consequence. I always assume the best, but I also don’t lower the bar.
What are your goals this year?