This time of year is tough. Soccer has been in full swing since Thanksgiving and there's about 3 weeks left in the high school season. Middle school season kicks in about 3 weeks after that ends. Though middle school is super low key in comparison. Most of what I was able to plan over winter break has been used up, so we're in full survival mode right now. Lesson plans are figured out just in time, I'm running to the copier as the students are entering the room, etc. Earlier in the week a game got canceled offering a rare opportunity to get ahead. I enjoy being more experienced because what I can come up with on short notice is far better than it used to be. In fact, this year seems to be full of ideas that were thought up in the 11th hour. Spring Break starts spinning the wheels for how I will spend summer, so a collection of ideas from this semester and what I'd like to do in the future:
- Algebra II needs boot camp. For serious. I think to the point where we spend one day a week or two weeks hammering a skill. Squaring negatives, inserting parentheses, combining positive and negative numbers, you're all on deck. Calculator skills as well.
- Pre Cal boot camp needs to be rethought. Perhaps I should actually do what I said and hold them accountable for these things all year. Perhaps take away the calculators?
- Develop a way to get them better accustomed to modern ways of doing calculations. I have enough iPads now, it could work. TI-84s are for suckas.
- May 1 brings the start of Pre Cal video production. Need to dust off the design document.
- Assessment could be deeper. I almost don't like traditional testing days. I love the buzz in the room during a group test but feel it's giving strugglers too much of a safety blanket. Versioning and little blinder folders are easily subverted, letting them use notes all the time seems like too much of a crutch. But finding a way to self-pace 150 students seems like a nightmare of a task.
- The switch to tables fuels my dislike of how assessments work. I want students close together, yet having them face to face during an assessment only ups temptation.
- I constantly want to slap me from the past that had accelerated sections with 10 students in them. Oh the things I could do with a class that small now!
- Algebra II curriculum needs an overhaul. We cover way too many things and are only able to give them lip service. It would take an entire semester to cover quadratics the right way. Our efforts to adjust to upcoming state testing of the subject may not matter.
- I should dedicate most of my time to second semester material this summer. Generating engagement through inquiry isn't really happening right now because I simply have too much going on.
- Overall, my stress level related to content delivery is at an all time low.
Finally, a word of advice, don't tell a class "behave for 2 minutes" and not expect some horrible attempt at a Harlem Shake to happen in your absence:
I don't think a lot of education degree programs cover this scenario.