Sunday, August 18, 2013

MSSunFun: Goals!

Last week when I read the topic for this Sunday, I thought to myself ... great idea!  Then my brain seized up ... and no goals came to mind!  Last year, my goal was to survive!  Returning to the classroom after several years was more difficult than I expected it to be.  And if you had asked me about mid-November how I was doing, I would have told you I was definitely not going to make it.  I experienced many of the same feelings that new teachers feel - as documented by research.  Fortunately by the end of the first semester I determined that I could at least finish out the year :) ... and surprisingly by May, I was ready to sign on for the next year!

So this year I want a different goal or two.

Goal 1:  I want to talk less.  I have a tendency to talk too much, to explain too much, to demonstrate too many times.  Instead, I want to give students more time for inquiry work, more time for problem solving, more time for cooperative work.

Goal 2:  I want to promote and develop student curiosity. 

My first step is to ask students what they notice, what they wonder.  And not just pose those two questions, but to record their responses, and invite students to explore them in class and on their own.  This means I need to start with better "problems" ... problems without questions already posed, problems in context that allow for noticing and wondering.

I know more goals are too many but a third goal is to do more with student mistakes.  One strategy will be to use the "favorite no" activity - especially in short review activities.

So ... I was impressed by Mary's measurable SMART goal.  This is the first year in a very long time that I am not teaching a tested course.  So I won't have formal state testing data to examine.  Since my goals go together, talking less, posing better questions, the hard work will be in planning my lessons.  And then ... I must, must use a timer!  I often use a timer for student work, but now I must apply that same strategy to my talking!

I am in that anticipation phase ... excited about the possibilities for this new year!  What goals do you have???


  1. Hey Beth! I have an unspoken goal; it’s is to talk less as well :) I can't tell you how many times I say to students, "I need to shut up."

    The king of silence is Max Ray. His Global Math Department's Noticing and Wondering presentation was fabulous.

    What particularly impressed me was what he DIDN'T do. It was his magnificent use of wait time--utter silence--while teachers typed their noticings and wonderings in the chat window. The "dead air" was superb.

    Have a great start to the new school year. That graphic is spot on.

    1. Thanks, Mary! Best wishes to you as well ... I look forward to our online collaboration and encouragement!