Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July Blogging Challenge Day 15

I am a bit late to the game, but I just found the July Blogging Challenge from Teaching Statistics, and I am joining midmonth.  I've already had a few blogposts this month, but a challenge is way more fun.  I also appreciate the idea of the built in social network, and I've already learned a lot by reading posts by some of the participants.  

A bit of background info about myself is that I am beginning year 2 as a teacher on special assignment for my district. The job is still in development, and I get to wear many hats (new teacher support provider, professional development, technology integration, etc.).  This start-stop-continue post is very specific to my current role, but I expect that my blog posts in the future will be more about classroom activities and strategies.  If you read some of my other posts you will notice that I LOVE Geogebra, but I don't expect to be so Geogebra-centric in the future, since that is more of a summer project in preparation for the work that I will do with teachers in the fall.

Below are some things to work on for next year:

-More classroom observations.  I am hoping to capture many of the wonderful strategies that are already in place, and hopefully create more of a culture where observation is the norm.  Since I am on special assignment and have no classes, I can cover classes so teachers can observe each other. 
-More demo lessons.  Last year was my first year on special assignment as a math support/resource teacher, and while it went well I didn’t have much time to get into the classroom.  I am also hoping some teachers will be willing to let me teach an entire unit with their students. 
-Blogging once a week.  I’m not sure I can pull off a 180 day blog, especially since I don’t have my own class, but if I don’t have something interesting to write about once a week maybe that is a sign that I am not spending enough time with students.

-Reading math education books/articles without taking notes.  I wish I could remember everything I read, but unfortunately I end up forgetting a lot of details.
-Reviewing homework with students in the traditional manner.  I would love to find a way to review homework that is more active for all students.

For this last one, I was inspired by Robin at Making Math Visible (cool name!).  She says in her “Stop” section,
-Over-booking each lesson. I tend to be overambitious in my lesson planning resulting in us working to the bell (which is good), but I then sacrifice the summary or exit ticket (which is bad). I need to either stop overbooking OR stop things early to get to the summary.

I am guilty of this as well, and I’ve seen how powerful the summary portion of a lesson can be.  I’d also like to focus on ways to make the summary more visible.

-Planning common lessons with course teams.   This has been an authentic and fun way to integrate common core lessons and lessons that involve technology. 
-Tech lunches.  At one of the schools that I work at we’ve had several informal lunch meetings to learn about a new tool in Geogebra, or to learn a new program.  We even had a lunch to learn how to use Pinterest in the math class! 
-Using mini-whiteboards.  I am making a travel set from sheet protectors, and I recently learned that felt works well as an eraser.  After reading all of these posts, I am also going to buy the red-yellow-green cups to keep in my travel bag.


  1. Thank you Shelley. This blog was very informative for me. I am on the verge of becoming a TOSA myself, a math academic specialist, working with on-site coaches as well as teachers. This is a new position for our district, and much of the position itself is yet to be developed. I appreciate your post and thoughts about what you do.

  2. I'm glad to help in any way, even if just by sharing my experiences. Congrats on your new position. My position was also a new position for my district when I started last year. It was both a challenge and a joy to develop it over the year, and I'm really excited for the opportunity to continue to develop the position and our math program over the next year.