What will you do differently next year?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Caesar753, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2009

    I saw this in the Elementary forum and decided to make a thread over here for us Secondary folks.

    What are you planning to do differently next year?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm sure I'll be adding to my list, but here's what I'm thinking about right now:

    Organize my class periods a little better. I want to have a more standardized daily schedule. Right now we just sort of do what needs to be done and I think it's a little frazzled.

    Figure out a good system for handling absent work. Right now the "absent binder" seems like the best way, but I still have to iron out some kinks.

    Write a curriculum map and do my best to stick to it. Now that I'm more familiar with my materials and standards, I think this should be easier.

    Teach the Roman holidays. Ideally, I'd like to have parties for each one of the big ones, maybe focusing on a particular food or god or something for each one.

    Prep my kids for the National Latin Exam. There are a few things that are covered on the NLE that I don't usually teach before my students take the test, mainly because I just don't get to it in time.

    Figure out how to handle missing work. I don't want to give zeros for missing work because I don't feel like it appropriately reflects student understanding. At the same time, I don't think it's fair to just excuse all missing work, either. Can I keep kids after school for a homework detention sort of thing? That's my big plan but I don't know if it's kosher at my school.

    Communicate with parents more about the good stuff.
     
  4. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Great idea, Cassie!

    Assuming I get a job next year, I want to incorporate Literature Circles in my class. Still need to work out the kinks on that one.

    I'd also like to do a cross-lesson with SS or science on proper note-taking skills. So many kids today have no idea how to read the textbook, let alone take notes. Possibly cross-teach with SS or science to model the SQ3R method.

    I want to build in time for vocabulary review using manipulatives rather than a drill-and-kill approach.

    Actually do data analysis so I see where I need to improve teaching on certain standards.

    KEEP UP THE CLASS WEBSITE (I'm not great at it)

    Finally - a class newsletter to go home once a month.
     
  5. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Wow, it would be a long list for me, but here goes some of them.

    I too want a more structured day... and even more structured units. Each day and each unit would follow a similar pattern. Something like -- 1. Bell Work, 2. Notes/Discussion, 3. Review Assignment/Homework

    I need a more effective late work policy. I've found myself accepting late work more than I should, and it has become a major hassle. I need to decide on a policy and stick to it.

    I need a better handle on classroom management. While most of my classes are good, one drives me nuts, and I need to set a better tone next year. I think I've let too many things slide in the past, and need to be more consistent next year.

    ... there's more, but that's the most important....
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    These are all good ideas!

    I've been thinking a lot about what I teach to my seniors, and I'm toying with the idea of treating my class like two separate subjects. I would teach literature on Monday and Wednesday, for example, and composition on Tuesday and Thursday - just like college classes. I could alternate Fridays, or use them for specific assignments.

    I definitely want to focus more on writing with my seniors. I need to carefully plot out the year with schedule a series of assignments that I can realistically give and grade.

    I need to ramp up classroom management. The students are getting more and more unfocused, the text messaging during class is rampant, etc. I'm going to pull in more Power Teaching, and I'm going to absolutely outlaw cell phones - if I see it, I take it.

    Those are for starters...
     
  7. Ranchwife

    Ranchwife Companion

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    For me, I need to push to get through with my first two standards quicker so I have more than 4 weeks to do my last standard, and review with the kids before the state test.

    I have one standard that I need to come up with a lab to help the kids understand a concept better.

    I am going to be more strict on students leaning back in my chairs (I know, petty, but I'm tired of them breaking my chairs).

    Other than those, and minor gliches that I see come up, I think things are pretty set for next year. Of course, after 12 years, things are quite a bit easier than when I first started.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Things I want to change:

    -Revamp my notes and power points to be more interactive and have more multimedia. Rockguy kev's are my guide.
    -Complete more DQBs and Essay questions with both my Honors and AP US History classes.
    -Find the best way for students to comprehend their readings. I am right now testing out different systems: reading response miniprojects (of the students choosing), guided reading notes and terms, notes on the reading, etc. I may allow students to choose to do one of the following for each reading or group of readings.
    -Develop miniprojects/activities to do with at home readings.
    -Create projects and activites that incorporate differentiated forms of the multiple intelligences.
    -Find more simulations, history labs, activites, etc. to complete in class. My students really learn from these and I need to do more of them
    -Incorporate student laptops and smartboards better into lessons and individual assignments.
    -Incorprate a larger research paper to complete with my AP Students.
    -Incoporate more smaller writing assignments, as well as in-class essays and DBQs to complete with the students.
     
  9. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Kevin has awesome ideas for the activities. I use the smartboard all the time, the student enjoy being able to use it as well. There are also websites that have activities specifically for Smartboards.
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Mar 25, 2009

    History Activities?
     
  11. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    I want to start out heavier with homework and stress that it is important that they review their material at home. I have too many kids who are not doing any work outside of the classroom and I am finding this mentality hard to break midyear.
     
  12. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I'm going to take more days off.
     
  13. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2009

    That sounds like a great list. We've talked about simulations before and I was wondering, do you have any simulations on Standard Oil, the Gilded Age, or anything late 1800s America?
     
  14. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    So many things come to mind - this is a great thread!

    - Mock Trial Competition
    - History Fair Competition
    - Class Website - keep it updated
    - Revamp my supplemental readings to make them more HS student-friendly and easier to comprehend
    - Model UN competition
    - Podcasts online of all lectures
    - New makeup work policy - this is the biggest thorn in my side
    - Utilize SmartBoards, Mimeos, etc. and continue to research technology in the classroom
     
  15. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I do not right now. I want to add one, but haven't in the pass becuase of time constraints. I really would love to develop a simulation that allows students to really understand the corporations including Standard Oil and why monoplies were bad.
     
  16. studytips

    studytips New Member

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    More fun in the classroom

    I decided to open the floodgates of fun for next year. I am going to go out of my way to have a fun/unique activity each week. I have found several new websites that will allow me to play more games in class.
     
  17. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    There are several changes that I want to make next year:
    --I am getting rid of binders and going back to bound composition books for lab journals. I thought binders would be easier because they could put lab handouts in them but then they lose everything.
    --I am going to use more formative assessments and let them guide what I still need to teach on a subject.
    --I am going to use graphic organizers for notes for my freshman classes. I have actually started that for the 2nd semester and it has had an improvement on their understanding of the material.
    --I want to add more labs to my freshman classes. I feel like I cheated this group out of the fun of doing labs but I have not taught this class in at least 10 years so I was teaching and getting materials together.
     
  18. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    I hope Harry Wong didn't see this...with his views of "learning" and "fun" and all.:)
     
  19. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Yes Brendan..on his website he has activities for history. He teaches Social Studies/History..however you want to word it. I've used them before. They are divided into different amount of timeto complete them. 10 minutes, one hour, a day, a class period etc. My students have fun with them when we do them..I've not done them in a while. but I'm going to revamp next year and try to use them a bit more.
     
  20. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I always put in some sort of activity that goes along with the material at the time. We have about 2-3 days of notes, depending on the length of the chapter, then I try to do 1-2 activities-if they are small I do more than 1 or just have 1 that lasts a couple days-usually involves group work and presenting in front of the class. Then we review for a day and have a test.I don't like to do lecture/notes then test; lecture/notes then test. Some students learn better with other methods. I also try to through in a video or two as well.
     
  21. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I don't like Harry Wong...must just be me.
     
  22. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    What are these Smart Board Activites you spoke of historyteaching?
     
  23. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I think he's just like anything else, you take the bits that work and throw most of it out the window. I tried modeling my class exactly as he prescribed for a couple years and it just didn't work for me. Fact is, I am the center of learning my room. I've got 35 12 year olds who have had little to no history instruction in their entire lives. I should go home exhausted!

    I do agree with most of his management ideas though, just not the curriculum stuff.

    As far as changes go I want to:
    -Finish all my video lectures to hopefully once and for all solve the problem of absences.
    -Teach AVID again
    -Revamp all my notes again to encourage more interaction on a daily basis
    -Fill up my classes to 35 ASAP so I don't get kids coming in half way through the year
    -Find a way to encourage students to perform beyond "just enough" on their projects.
    -Integrate my Alternate Reality Game directly into the curriculum instead of as an afterschool activity
    -Have a computer lab on campus that students can actually use.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    So your school is keeping the AVID program? Our entire district is dumping it as part of the budget cuts.
     
  25. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Next year, I want to have more fun activities and more work too! I also want to revise my grading--I find that I keep getting bogged down in grading every little thing (or else the kids won't do it) and then my grades don't really reflect objective outcomes. Somehow my kids (middle schoolers) seemed to have been trained not to do anything if it is not worth points! But it is insanely time-consuming to give points for everything in a fair way, and then when it's time to sit down and do grades (like tonight)(so why am I on this website?) (I am a terrible procrastinator!) I realize that their grades don't really reflect what they know. I need to figure out a way to encourage the work and the practicing, while still grading much more on the standards. I think I need to revise some of the projects and the ways I present the projects, rubrics, time for revising, to get better results, so that I can grade some written projects, some presentations, some activities and tests, and not give so many points just for behavioral things like bringing the textbook to class and turning in work.

    The real problem I see with this is that my students are so far below grade level---just looking at standardized tests, this year, I have not had one student who performed at the proficient level in anything. Class averages are below basic, with many students in the far below basic category. And if you look at the rest of their work, the standardized test results don't look tremendously off-base. So if I just graded on standards, would they all get F's?

    It's something I need to work on more for next year.
     
  26. Exclaimation Po

    Exclaimation Po Habitué

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    Mar 31, 2009

    orangepurple I also teach middle school. I do not grade everything. My students have to turn in everything because they never know what will be counted for a grade and what won't. When asked how many points something is worth I tell them it doesn't matter. Whether something is worth 1 point or 1000 points, if they don't turn it in, they still get an "F" for it. I give them the same answer when they ask how doing the assignment will help their grade.
     
  27. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Well if you are giving completion points for everything, then they do not affect the learning outcomes. I teach math and history, in both I grade almost everything for accuracy. I often have students turn in all their homework or classwork from a unit and then I randomly grade questions from each assignment. I started doing this at the begining of this year and it greatly reduces my grading load. Some assignments though I will still grade in full. To insure that assignments are complete on time, if I am not collecting the assignment on its due date, I stamp the assignments with my date stamp. For each late assignment I will take off points off their "packet" of assignments.

    In math, my students get completion points most of the time, however I insure that they fix their incorrect homework problems, by giving an open notebook section of my weekly quiz.
     
  28. iluvteachin

    iluvteachin Rookie

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    I will be on maternity leave from late September to late November - so I am not sure how many changes I will be able to make but these come to mind:

    -more interactive activities in my history and math classes
    -a better make-up policy (starting on day ONE)
    -being more organized weeks in advance (I tend to pull stuff together a day or two before the unit)
    -teach other things that aren't in the textbook
     
  29. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    1. More consistent discipline (hey, it's my first year, rookie mistake!)

    2. Better (and also more consistent) late work policy.

    3. Better handle on paperwork (one inbox and one outbox just doesn't work when I have 5 classes. I need a better filing system)

    4. More routines in my classroom. In an effort to always keep things new and different, I feel like my students don't have any structure or routine. They come into class never knowing what to expect.

    5. Put more time into my large assessments (i.e. tests). I just feel like portions of my test are hastily put together, and I owe my students more than that.

    6. ...I'll think of more! Give me time!
     
  30. mrsnikki

    mrsnikki Companion

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    I love the idea of separating your class in to two separate classes! That would keep me more interested if I were your student!:)
     
  31. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead Rookie

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    A lot, I'm going to use the computer much more, especially pages like Page Creator. I want to make the students use the computer for more than just chatting and playing games. If I can prove to the powers that be that my students are really using the computers for their studies then I think that they'll put a few more computers in my classroom. I may even get a printer. If this happens then everyone wins. Can anyone recommend any sites for secondary school?
     
  32. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Reply to Lindsay Lou

    1. More consistent discipline (hey, it's my first year, rookie mistake!)

    A constant battle for me especially as the year goes on and we are all getting tired and antsy. It has gotten better over the years. I found that if I KISS (keep it simple stupid) and have only a few major rules/consequences, then it all runs more smoothly. I may not use all of Harry Wong's ideas, but I found that having a set of rules and procedures keeps things running more smoothly.

    2. Better (and also more consistent) late work policy.
    Let me know if you find the magic way to do this! :)

    3. Better handle on paperwork (one inbox and one outbox just doesn't work when I have 5 classes. I need a better filing system)

    I found a sorter at COSTCO that is 6 slots high and has two columns. I have my class secretaries collect papers, put them in number order, and place them in the correct slot on the left side. (each student has a number based on the overall team roster. This number must be on each paper collected. It helps when I enter grades because everything is in the same order as my grade book and it is easier for the secretaries (and me) to alphabetize by number than by name). When I finish grading, I put the graded papers in the right side of the appropriate slot.

    In addition, I will take time *usually when the slots are getting filled or if I have spare:lol: time* and I file their work in a folder. Each class has a crate with a hanging folder for each student in that class. In the folder is a colored pocket folder and a manilla folder. I file work in the manilla folder. Then, once a marking period, I have the students get the folders and sort the work - big writing projects go in the pocket folder, notes, study sheets, etc. that are good for review before the state exams stay in the manilla folder and all other papers may be recycled or taken home. There are two bonuses to this system: One is I spend minimal class time on returning work, the second is that if a child claims they did the work and I have it listed as missing, they can go to the folder to look for it. Sometimes I may skip entering a grade (ok, so I'm human). If the paper isn't there, they then check binders, lockers, backpacks, the dog's bed, etc. and the responsibility is theirs. 99% of the time they never turned the work in and either find it or have to do a makeup for a lower grade. For tests, I usually walk around during bell work and tell each student what grade they received - I try to grade the tests overnight. Some tests we review as part of the classwork. I usually fill out rubrics for major projects and will hand that out during bell work and field questions as the first activity. Then as a quick activity, I'll have them return the rubric to the manilla folder, or I'll collect it and file it later.


    4. More routines in my classroom. In an effort to always keep things new and different, I feel like my students don't have any structure or routine. They come into class never knowing what to expect.

    I have vertically partitioned off the last three feet or so of my front board using thin duct tape. Then I horizontally split that section into two. The top is labeled SOL/Objectives. In that section, I post the number of the standards I'll be working with, and then I list the objectives for the day or unit. The second section is labeled Homework and I list the homework assignment for the day, due dates for long-term assignments when we get within a week or so, reminders for various upcoming events, etc.

    To the left of this partitioned area, I have a label - AGENDA. I list the activities I plan on covering. I don't always cover everything, but this way I never answer the question "Are we doing anything in class today?" or "What are we doing today?" Then in the center of the rest of the board, I have a label - Bell Work. I always have bell work and the first item listed is always Copy HW. My bellwork will vary from day to day and includes things like take out notes and study, respond to the following quote, etc. That is where I introduce a little "fun" or change every day. I've found that for the most part, my classes start in an organized way. Of course there are the kids who need engraved invitations every day to do the bellwork. Sometimes my bellwork is projected on the board along with multiple choice questions, or I may hand out a WS or pop quiz as they enter the room.


    5. Put more time into my large assessments (i.e. tests). I just feel like portions of my test are hastily put together, and I owe my students more than that.
    I share your pain on this one. But, I think that comes with time - I've gotten better over the three years I've been teaching.

    6. ...I'll think of more! Give me time!
     
  33. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Apr 28, 2009

    THANKS for all the advice, Aussiegirl, I really appreciate it!
     
  34. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Well, even though I teach grades 6-12, I teach every subject except history. I thought about goals for most of the classes already:

    1. Reading- I want to, like another poster said, alternate days I do things. My reading is over two hours. So I do want to read every day. I want to rotate writing and other things. For example, I want them to learn some life skills reading. Most of my reading class will graduate with a special diploma so I am aiming for functional skills with them. I also need to give them more writing practice

    Algebra- I want to give bellwork everyday from 7th and 8th grade math. They tend to forget these things and its the end of the year, and I have to keep reminding them a negative times a positive is a negative. I think the bellwork from past learning will help.

    I am still thinking about science, and I don't know what elective I am going to teach next year so we will see.
     
  35. SAteach

    SAteach New Member

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    I need to be better organized. This year has really gotten away from me! But the kicker is that I am in the process of redoing all of my syllabi (I have "stacked" classes), and my principal has decided that the campus needs to be more project-based. I have to admit that I do not know that much about PBL and I am a little freaked out. Anyone have any experience with project-based learning? Preferably for an English class?
     
  36. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    We do this in my school with English and regular US history and it works great. Both depts collaborated to plan projects to re-enforce learning in both classes. For instance, they read Great Gatsby while learning about the roaring 20's and do one big project for both classes. Since I teach APUS, I haven't done these projects in years but I know they kids LOVE them and learn a lot.
     
  37. GeorgiaSPED

    GeorgiaSPED Rookie

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    May 3, 2009

    I have so many things I would like to do differently...

    Top is get more organized. I like to keep samples of student work and all their tests for IEP meetings, but filing it is nearly as tedious as grading for me.

    Grade more efficiently

    There is so much more...but some of it depends on what classes I will be assigned to teach next year.
     
  38. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    May 24, 2009

    My goal is to make my math classes more "fun". I plan on incorporating Survivor Algebra into my math classes.
    One thing I plan on doing is not being so mean. I don't want to be known as "the mean teacher", but I also don't want to be known as the "let's walk all over him" teacher.

    I plan on using Interactive Notebooks for math as well.
    I thought about using Power Teaching, and tried to do it in the beginning of the year, but it's just not me. I'll try again next year.
    I plan on using the whole "Homeworkopoly" thing but in teams, not individuals.
    My biggest struggle is student engagement. How the heck do I teach an entire math lesson in 40 minutes while trying to get them up and moving and all that stuff?

    Be more organized
    Assign student jobs
    Have a station where kids can go and get the missing assignment.
    I was thinking about changing my late-work policy from NO LATE WORK, to letting them turn it in a day late, but that seems like a nightmare to me.
    Having file folders where students store all passed back work and tests for the each half of the trimester.
     
  39. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    May 24, 2009

    I'm going to be a lot more hands on with organization with my students. I've always believed everyone has their own form of organization that suites them best. Therefore, I've never done any type of "notebook setup." I've made suggestions on how to organize their papers, but never required it.

    Well now that we're reviewing for their finals, my students keep asking for extra handouts from Sept - on. Now I told them to keep all their papers for this reason, but (and I know it's a lot to ask) didn't happen.

    So next year I'm making binder requirements and checking them once or twice per quarter. Also, I'm doing a more hands-on do-now system. I'm giving them a calendar that has a box for each day of the month. In that box, they have to fill in the following information for each day:

    Topic: "Causes of the Civil War"

    Starter: "Based on last night's HW, what reason do you feel contributed MOST to start of the Civil War? Be ready to discuss."

    HW: "Complete Handout / Project Due Tuesday"
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 24, 2009

    Soccer Dad,

    I really like your idea of having a calendar on which students record daily starters, topics, and homework. I think I might try that next year!!

    Thanks!
     
  41. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    May 24, 2009

    I'm excited about it myself, Cassie. I've tried many other systems, but this one will have it all consolidated onto one page for each month (and it acts as a table of contents with dates of topics listed)--which will hopefully be helpful come time to study for the quarterly exams I give.
     

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