Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Now Where Was I?

Well, here we are a year later and I have learned a thing or two. One thing is that getting started is not necessarily the hardest thing about blogging. Obviously I have yet to "buy into" this whole process seeing as I am currently averaging one post per year. This has not been the end of my learning though.

This last year was full of professional learning opportunities. There was most likely a day or two that I spent feeling sorry for myself last year but now there is a sufficiently large temporal space between here and there that I can take pride in surviving that first year. I was teaching seven core courses at a small school with very unique demographic. Did I mention that all of these courses were middle school math and science? But now I have climbed my Everest and the view from up here is very different than what I expected. Now I know that I'm on a mountain and I think that I can see the summit! This will undoubtedly be an entirely different yet comfortingly familiar experience. I can't wait.

I am still at the same school but I have a couple less classes. I will only be teaching Math 5, 6, 7, 8, and Science 8 to two groups of kids. I even have a prep this year!!!

How will this year be different? Well last year I did not have a plan, that's for sure. I had no idea about planning and the planning that I thought that I was doing was more reactive than proactive. This year I have full year plans for each of my courses. I have some unit plans from last year but they are just a starting place.

I realized that one of my biggest weaknesses last year was my hodge-podge assessment. It was a nightmare for me and confusing and frustrating for my students. This year I'm going in with an assessment plan. A regiment if you will. I've been reading some Anne Davies over the summer and I can see now that I was killing them with assessment last year and at the end of the term all I had was a bunch of marking and numbers.

This year I will have a four pronged approach. The first three prongs will be based on a rubric that we will flesh out together. I'm aiming for a gauge of procedural knowledge, ability to communicate mathematically, problem solving skills and conceptual knowledge. These three prongs will be Work Samples, Unit Projects, and On-going Observations. The last prong will be straight up summative assessment in the form of a Unit Final Multiple Choice Test. I sure hope that this is closer to a winning combination. Time will tell and then I will try to remember to tell you.