Your "Big" Changes

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mathmagic, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Sep 4, 2017

    I've found that I've felt most confident when I'm focusing on a few key "big changes" (plus some small ones here and there) to my approach. For me, last year, it was my approach to independent reading and growth mindset in mathematics.

    What are yours this year, whether you've started already or are starting tomorrow/soon?

    [Here are the ones I can think of off the top of my head for me:]

    Big:
    Changing spelling to Words Their Way sorts instead of the weekly Wonders word sets
    Trying to insert more number talks and low-entry, high-ceiling tasks into EnVision
    Really trying to focus heavily on unit planning

    Smaller:
    No classroom library checkout (just take and return)
    Utilizing reader's notebook as a conversation about their independent reading
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2017

    Big:
    Completely changing the way I'm teaching History--more integration into Literacy, focus on inquiry.
    More consistent number talks (I'd love to do it every day, but 3x/week is more realistic)
    Reading a picture book every day--could be to support any subject area, or just for fun.
    Having an underlying theme of social justice throughout the year.

    Smaller:
    How students respond to their independent reading--trying to find the balance between too much and not enough.
    Changing where and how students keep their notebooks and folders in the classroom; I've been in my room for 3 years and haven't found an ideal system yet.
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Sep 4, 2017

    I love seeing all the similarities! Our last recess got pushed back 15 minutes, so I decided to move my usual "morning work" time to the math block (just doing IR in the first 10 minutes of school as a soft entrance), and re-purposing it to do number talks some days, and then occasionally a math review, math game, or some open-ended task that gets them thinking (there's one Week of Inspirational Math activity that works perfectly right before factors/multiples/prime/composite teaching).

    I'm also trying to up the picture book reading - though this year with the kiddos: I think I'm going to have them check out one a month (or so), and utilize that to work on their fluency. We have new surfaces, and so I think I'll videotape them so they can see their progress throughout the year...and then find some way to make it purposeful, too, where they read to a sibling, or another young kid in the school.

    And lastly, that responding to IR -- I did virtually zero last year, and while it was obviously still a vast success, I'd love to now take that IR and capture as much as I can out of it, so I'm hoping to get them writing letters to me and I write back...though I have to find a balance because of 28 students and not wanting to destroy my main purpose of the shift in my IR approach.
     
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  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 4, 2017

    With a couple of students who will not stop talking, I've decided I need to try a different approach. Taking recess, moving seats, and talking to parents had done nothing. So starting tomorrow, I think I'll try that 10x2 strategy - talking with them for two minutes for ten days straight. This year's been so busy that I haven't had much time to get to know these kids (we're departmental too, so time is limited).

    I'm also trying to meet with more small groups this year. Again, our time is so limited, but I'm trying to pull my low kiddos and differentiate even more than before, because this year I've got a huge variation in reading levels.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2017

    This is the struggle for me.
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Though it sometimes seems like a cop-out in my silly mind, I think I might end up asking students for their feedback, along with seeing what works for me. I want it to be highly meaningful, so I want to write thoughtful responses, so while perhaps it might be once a week (~6 responses/day), it might have to be once every two weeks. I might try one way, then ask students to share with me: are the "letters" to each other too often / too few / helpful & engaging / pulling them away from enjoying the book? Since I don't anticipate using it as a grade whatsoever (except perhaps keeping the convos in my mind when adjusting report card grades), it can be extremely flexible.
     
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  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Sep 4, 2017

    Big Change--I'm doing community service projects with my advisory class. The class is also working on goal-setting, current events, and novel reading. I

    Small Change--I did some reorganization of my room a bit. I have done that in the month school has been in session. I move things around as I see the need. My DH is outside in the garage right now making an old bookshelf into a standing desk for me.
     
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  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    What a fabulous idea!
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    This is something I want to try with my fourth grade class this year: after starting with Wonder, brainstorming and going through a year-long process of finding a way to benefit the greater community (whether school, another class, the city, some other community in a different place). No idea how it'll turn out, or if it'll get anywhere, but hugely rewarding if so!
     
  11. heatherberm

    heatherberm Comrade

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    Sep 4, 2017

    Changes for this year:
    - growth mindset focus, especially in math
    - number talks, at least 3 times a week - I teach special ed and my 3rd grades are very low and have very little self-confidence so I want to do more math tasks that don't feel quite so math-y
    - more self-tracking of goals, individual conversation with students about their goals and progress
    - more use of video and audio in checks for understanding/assessments of knowledge - I didn't have consistent access to tech last year and I'm super excited that that'll be different this year. Giving my kiddos a break from paper and pencil while also being able to document their thinking will be awesome.
    - more independent, just for fun reading time
    And for myself I've made some organizational changes in an effort to keep better track of all my progress monitoring.
     
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  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    To add...
    More of a focus on the observations and conversations areas of the assessment triangle, not just the products.
     
  13. nstructor

    nstructor Comrade

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    Sep 4, 2017

    What projects are you planning to do?
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Sep 4, 2017

    Big: I want to some major hitting of the basics. I think before I just wanted to wander along the 2nd grade core with the requisite interventions here and there, but now I want to really hit those math and reading basics hard.
     
  15. agdamity

    agdamity Enthusiast

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    Sep 4, 2017

    Big: returning to co-teaching, and making it work this time! I've co-taught with this sped teacher before, and it was a big disaster for a number of reasons. We had a frank conversation at the end of last year to clear the air (we were both at fault for how badly things went several years ago). So far, it has been light years better than I could have ever dreamed! We've been parallel teaching in math and station teaching in reading.

    Small: I want to make sure I do more writing conferences and project based learning.
     
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  16. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Companion

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    Sep 4, 2017

    Big: Use a coaching stance with students. Make time to eat well and exercise so I can be present fully at school.
     
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  17. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Big: We'll be doing some service learning too. I'm also trying to be a more well-rounded teacher this year. Last year we did so much test prep, test prep, test prep (school wide) - and I don't know that it yielded any better results than if I had just taught how I'd like to teach. So this year I'm going to slow down and try to make sure we're spending adequate time on thinking critically about what we're learning about.
     
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