actually classroom focused

It’s 10:14 which, while slightly embarrassing, is often past bed time here my apartment but today I passed out at about 6 for an hour so I am wide awake and going to blog about my classroom a bit.

Things I did badly last quarter:

1) I didn’t make the warm ups worth anything which is like me telling the students that they have no value.  I get the whole grubbing for points thing and all that but to be fair sometimes trying to convince a 11 year old to do something just because they are supposed to is really really tough.

change: This quarter I am going to try this with my 8th graders and then see if it is effective:

This is for this week.  I think the advantages are that it makes me plan warm ups ahead of time (which I believe will help the students give them more value) and it allows me to review a little bit each day.  Some days I will go over it and some days I won’t but there will always be something for them to start as soon as they come in the room.

2) My notes kinda sucked.  When I give notes (which I try to do as little as possible) I do not do a good job of conveying to the student how they should look.  Part of this was my new smartboard and my lack of ability to use it properly and part of this is that in general I am a hot mess.

change: So again I am trying to use my 8th graders as test subjects.  Today we did these notes and it went super well so we’ll see.  It’s a lot of extra work for me BUT I can see the classroom management and learning benefits.

3. I didn’t use my smartboard as well as I could.  It is NOT a fancy fancy white board.  I need to use it for more than that.  The new notes make that easy in that I can have exactly what the student have on their desks up on the smartboard but really doesn’t that just make it a giant overhead?  I have another training for the board on the 9th and since they had to switch me in to the responder class (instead of the slate) I get to have a guy come after school and teach me about the stale one-on-one which is pretty neat.

One kind of good thing I have been doing is writing the steps on one slide then split screening my board and keeping the steps up there as I go through examples. I even made notes today that look like that so the students could have their paper look like the board. (yay visual learners.)

4. Lastly I have an aide in my class 3 of my 5 periods.  Now one of those aides is not the most effective but for the other two periods I have a new guy who seems to be in it to win it.  My goal is to use him as effectively as possible.  I have some ideas but I am always looking for more. If you have good resources on this or just ideas please let me know.

I did a lot of things well too but my focus is on getting better so for now these are my main projects. Wish me luck.

on a side note: i did use the smartboard today to let a kid do this but come on! I couldn’t remember the song and it was killing me.

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2 thoughts on “actually classroom focused

  1. I like your notes a lot. Neat, organized, easy to understand. I’ve been sucking with my notes this year too. Last year I had pretty good ones but they never used them to study or anything so I have gotten away from them more this year. I try to write assessments first (or at least plan them) and then plan activities that will get them to that point of understanding. I guess I am trying to focus more on understanding concepts rather than taking good notes. Whether or not that is working…

    And if I had an aide (which I never will because, what. high school doesn’t need them?), I would totally utilize them in a way where I could conference individually with students one-on-one. If there’s some way you could do stations where students rotate and an aide can supervise, you could check in with students just to get their input or hear their concerns or do quick checks for understanding. That would be my ideal.

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