I used to play soccer when I was younger – AYSO style, all day at the town soccer field. My dad was a ref. My favorite part was buying candy from the snack bar. I quit in 8th grade because some of the girls were a touch too competitive for my tastes and they kept yelling at me to run. Which I wasn’t good at and didn’t want to do. Our goals were not aligned and there was tension. So I quit. I’ve since decided team sports aren’t really my thing anyways and I would have been better at something like tennis or swimming. Oh well. Now I have Zumba.
Luckily teaching is my thing and I do have goals that are deeply aligned with the needs of my students and my practice. Here they are in no particular order. I have included the ones from last year as well. Our principal has us do this at the beginning of each year. As I prepare for maternity leave, we are supposed to check in. I am pleased to say I have remained committed to these goals and to taking steps to improve in each and every one. Feels like a big step up from that quitting 8th grader I used to be.
2014 – 2015
1) Assessment: In math, I want to implement a system of regular assessment to use in designing differentiated lessons. I plan to use a “show what you know” model for pre and post assessment. I did this some last year, but not regularly. I will continue to select activities and problems that allow me to assess during instruction, but find a more systematic way to document the work done by students and to more regularly group and regroup students according to what they need.
2) Differentiation: This goal continues from last year, but will focus on math. I found last year that most of our writing and social studies activities were open ended enough to allow a variety of students to be successful. Our method of conferencing is improving and I was able to give better feedback, so I will continue working on that. Using improved assessment I hope to provide a more individualized math experience. Last year I found a way to discreetly provide students with activities at their level using math folders and I plan to start this earlier.
3) Essential Questions: Last year I began a project to determine the essential questions available in each of our units of study. I am continuing that work, fine tuning the questions, and this year I plan to explicitly present them to students and use them to guide our work. We are now regularly asking students to reflect either in discussion groups or writing and I would like to use the essential questions during that process to better assess student learning throughout the projects.
1) Developing a more comprehensive system of portfolio assessment for each child. I would like to successfully implement student blogs as a logistical tool for doing this.
2) Improving instructional and assignment differentiation across subjects to reach students at varying levels of remediation, practice, and extension. This will involve more effectively utilizing the team teaching model and classroom space to organize lessons and activities. I would also like to be more deliberate in determining which skills students are working on and keeping track of their progression.
3) Offering more consistent and useful feedback to individual students. I currently find this task overwhelming and do not have an organized system for giving meaningful commentary after an assignment is completed, beyond verbal compliments and questions. Again, I am hoping compiling work via the blogs and being able to comment digitally will assist with this task.