I thought this would be an appropriate time to revisit some resolutions I made back in August and see how I did. If you didn't see this linky party last year, Amanda at Teaching Maddeness hosted a New School Year Resolutions link up. And I really hope she does it again this year (hint hint hint) as not only was it fun, but also helpful in setting up some long term goals.
My first resolution was:
1) I resolve to create a classroom environment that is comfortable, organized, and positive. Which means, I will do a theme, throw out half of the clutter, and make a concerted effort to minimize the use of negative statements.
I think my room was pretty comfortable. I chose a robin blue, a lime green, and a brown to decorate with, and I thought it made the room bright but not over stimulating.
With the exception of keeping up with random important pieces of paper, my Promethean Board pen, and my keys- I did keep everything else organized.
As far as being positive, I started out really strong, and then sort of flatlined later in the year. I lost my oomph. I never did succumb to systems of shame though, and I did make sure I told my kids I loved them everyday even if they had driven me crazy. You know, it's one of those things you just have to keep practicing. Three years from now I'll be Pollyanna.
My theme was pretty limited to the color scheme. By mid year I'd added in some moose knick knacks I'd come across, and by the end of the year I figured out that I should have just done a forest theme in general. So at least I know what to do come September.
I did throw out half the clutter. I might have even thrown out 3/4 of it. I'll let Flamingo Fabulous have a final say on that number though.
And it was a concerted effort in the beginning to minimize the negativity. But I do admit to getting to the point where I said "seriously?" By the end of the year. We all turned into fruit cakes after Easter.
2) I resolve to keep consistent lesson plans. I have a real tendency to go gang busters, and then slack, and then observation time rolls around and I go gang busters again, and then slack. I am a roller coaster of efficiency. This has never really been an issue before, since at my old job they never ever ever EVER looked at our lesson plans. My new place though, we actually turn them in at the end of the year to be archived. So I've got to step up my game and do what's expected.
Gangbusters first and second quarter. Lost steam on week four of the Third, and I didn't plan a single thing for the fourth.
Yeah. I know. Big fat F there.
I'm not sure exactly what to do about that. I guess I should admit that I did much better than previous years and be happy for the improvement. I am looking into having an online planbook next year though, and collaborating more with my team for planning. Maybe that will help.
Does anybody have an opinion on this one? I guess I'm imagining myself sitting with my teammates each week, putting together a basic layout- then copying and pasting to everybody's plan book. Then we can add in our special flavor to each week, but still be on the same page.
3) I resolve to keep a consistent grade book. Yeah, welcome to Slackerville! I totally put it off until report card time and then stay up for hours crunching them in. It's a ridiculously foolish thing to do on my part, because I always end up doing it at home and I need to keep that time free for my family- not a laptop.
Ok- so I did the first quarter at report card time. And then I did second and third quarter at the third quarter report card time, and I sort of kept up with the fourth quarter except for the last four weeks.
BUT, I did always have my reports done on time. Still an F, but an improvement from the previous year. And I don't know how to fix this either, except to try collaboration. Like an exercise buddy. Except it will be a grading/planning buddy.
Last year, Flamingo Fabulous had done our long range plans, and had I just utilized them as I should have, then this would not have gone south. But I didn't. Shame be upon my head. And now this year the document has to be rewritten, so I've lost my opportunity for an easy peasy practice year.
4) I resolve to keep a better data wall- establishing that the word "better" means I'll actually keep one. Luckily, Karen did make a note of each type of assessment and date due on the long-range plans, so I just need to keep up with them.
I did this one! Pretty proud of myself actually. Room for improvement of course, but I can check off the "successful" box here. I enjoyed making it part of our morning meeting at each quarter so we could talk as a class about our successes and goals for the next quarter.
Here's an example of how I presented our number sense data. Yellow O's are like, they almost have it but not yet. And Green X's are for mastery. You can see at this point in the year, I hadn't taught estimating sums- so after we talked about this data together, we knew as a class that we would be focusing on that during the rest of the quarter. They were also able to identify that they needed the most help in rounding and in telling time. I was able to incorporate specific math centers to help with this.
5) I resolve to actually complete all of the necessary reflections in the PYP Binders including student sample work AS each planner is completed, rather than doing a half-assed epic fail of it at the end of the year. And again, thanks to Karen, each week that this should be done is noted on the long-range plans. Ah me, that girl will have saved my life this year.
I did a pretty poopy job on this one. Better than the year before- there were actually items in the binder this time, but I didn't really keep up with it like I should.
Keeping the portfolio became as task for ME, a task I didn't really have time for. But it's supposed to be the STUDENT's portfolio- so I am looking in to how to make them more responsible for it. In that vein, I'm investigating digital portfolios. If I have the kids creating things, I feel it's easy enough to teach them to save it to a jump drive. Then everything is nice and tidy, less bulky than 23 three inch 3-ring binders, and not all on my plate.
I ran across this website after reading a post from Raki's Rad Resources:
It looked pretty cool actually. And I've been looking into edublogs as well, after taking a free webinar a few weeks ago.
So, if anybody has any opinion on either of these they'd be willing to share- please do.