Monday, May 26, 2014

In limbo - ready for summer goals!

I still have 8 days of school ... 4 with students, engaged in exams, and 4 required teacher days.  But I feel like I am in limbo; I am so ready to let this year be done and begin working on the next.  I am pumped to do a better job!  Ideas are already swirling!

In order to keep attention as much as I can in the present, I'll write down goals for the summer here.  They will be ready and waiting, after students leave on Friday!

Summer goals:

1.  Relax, work on balancing out my life with reading, gardening, swimming, playing.  (I write this goal first because it is one of the more difficult for me to achieve!)

2.  Read professional literature.  Top of my list to read is Building Powerful Numeracy for Middle and High School Students by P. W. Harris.  I'm not sure what else to read this summer.  I do plan to keep up with the articles at Read, Chat, Reflect, Learn.

3.  In light of the reading, develop a consistent routine for building numeracy in my classroom.  I plan to create at least the warm-ups for the first semester.  Those warm-ups will include fractions, mental arithmetic, estimation, and ... more?

4.  This past year my students had laptops and I tried to blend learning with meaningful technology activities.  I want to do a better job, I know I can.  I've already begun to brainstorm how that might look.  This summer I want to build at least the first 4 - 5 units of instruction with technology embedded.
  • I'm building a consistent starting place on my website.  So students know to go to that place when they enter the classroom.  All of the links they need will be there.
  • I want to use technology to build in more student reflection.  I plan to use Google Forms to capture their reflection.  So when students enter the classroom, the first thing they will do is enter their homework reflection and if the homework is done on the computer, that's where they will give me the link to their work.  In this reflection I want students to tell me something about the effort they put into the homework, and what challenges they had and/or what was easy for them.  At the end of lessons, I envision using Google Forms as exit tickets.
  • I also want to revamp activities to use Demos more effectively ... and explore what other online tools might help our topics come alive for students.
  • Student blogs fascinate me ... I'm pondering what that might look like.  Trying to be realistic - with 150 students.
  • I used Edmodo this past year but I bet I can use it more effectively!
  • Last year I made tutoring videos on very specific problems we worked in class.  I want to catalog those, maybe make more?
5.  Hang out with my online PLN #MTBoS ... through twitter and blogging!


  1. Beth,

    I'm also struggling with how to implement technology--not just for technology's sake. In the fall our 7th and 8th graders will be issued iPads and we'll be using the Canvas platform, which is a wiki on steriods. We've had some PD on the SAMR approach for selecting technology tools.
    Frankly, I was disappointed with our PD. I want to reach for higher levels such as Modification and Redefinition, but everyone was treated to learning simple Substitution apps.

    Just a thought on using google forms for reflections. If you're not aware forms doesn't maintain a copy for the student to keep. It becomes your "record" not the theirs. In other words they can't look back on what they submitted.

    What I want to do is easier said than done-- use forms as a quick check for understanding. I'm thinking of creating multiple choice questions where the distractors inform you of the type of mistakes the student may make. Their choices then become a quick sort and you can regroup immediately.

    You could also have the students use Screencast-O-Matic to record their work with Desmos or GeoGebra.

    Speaking of GeoGebra, this teacher has figured out a way to embed GeoGebra into a Google Form. I haven't tried it, so I can't attest to it.

    Have a restful summer and keep in touch!

    1. Mary - when you complete a Google Form there is a checkbox at the end asking if you want the responses sent to yourself. So students can keep their form responses. Our students all have gmail accounts.

      I understand the difficulty with PD being aimed at the lower uses of technology.

      This year when students created work on Desmos I had them send me the link. I collect their links through Google Form. (First students create an account on Desmos). This worked amazingly well and I will use it more this coming year!

      I'll check into how the teacher embedded geogebra in Google Form. That is interesting to me. I'm not very adept with geogebra - I concentrated on Desmos this past year. Now I'm ready to learn the more.

      One of the things I created on Google Forms is a "choose your own adventure" for PD about the MTBoS. You can use this process to differentiate instruction. Each answer selection can be set up to send students to a specific page in the form ... for advanced work or to review.

      We have Dell PC's ... so our work will be a little different ... but I'd love to collaborate!

    2. I wasn't aware of the check box; thanks for pointing that out. I read your post about the choose your own adventure and I'm intrigued. I'll have to look into that over the summer.