Math = Love: Goals for the 2020-2021 School Year - PANDEMIC STYLE

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Goals for the 2020-2021 School Year - PANDEMIC STYLE

Earlier this month, I shared the files and inspiration behind my 2020-2021 lesson plan book. One of my new pages for this year is a goals page. I decided I wanted to pick 5 priorities for this school year and commit them to writing. My plan is that once per month, I will reflect on how I'm doing and how I can further improve.


So, what are my goals for 2020-2021?

1. Google Classroom
2. Parent/Student Contact Log
3. Blog Regularly as Reflective Practice
4. Stop Reinventing the Wheel When I Don't Have To
5. Desmos Computational Layer

I'll elaborate on each below.


Google Classroom

This is my third year using google classroom. Each year, I've tried to use it effectively. But if I'm honest, I only really used it to send out assignments when I was unexpectedly absent OR to post answer keys to study guides.

Maybe it's cheating a bit to set this as my goal this year because I don't really have a choice in the matter. I MUST master google classroom this year. We are teaching face-to-face, but we frequently have students quarantining after being exposed to COVID or because they are exhibiting symptoms. Sometimes these quarantine periods can last up to 24 days. Students need to know exactly what they are missing when they can't be in the classroom with me.

It is my goal that my Google Classroom classwork tab for each class will represent a comprehensive list of what we did EVERY DAY of the ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR. Does this do away with my need for a lesson plan book? No, not at all. My lesson plan book's purpose is to provide me an "at a glance" view of what each course is doing each day. It's a place to write notes to myself about what went well and what needs to be overhauled in the future. I will say that when you get three days behind in filling out your lesson plan book, though, that google classroom then provides an excellent resource for remembering what you did each day!

We're currently 14 days into the school year and my google classroom is still up to date, so I guess I'm doing good so far. I've learned some lessons about using google classroom effectively, but I will save those for my first goals check-in post.

Parent/Student Contact Log

Parent contact is an area which I can definitely improve upon. It's probably one of my weakest areas. I often wait until parents contact me, and I know I need to be more proactive in my approach. This year I'm teaching almost entirely juniors and seniors, so I'm hoping I can also be more proactive in communicating with them to hopefully avoid having to do as much bad news communication with parents.

In the past, I tried to keep a paper-based parent contact log. It did not work at all. I would fill out a page or two, and then it would sit collecting dust the entire rest of the year. As soon as I forgot to log a single conversation, I would decide that it just wasn't worth it to keep logging conversations since my log was no longer 100% comprehensive. This is one of those areas where my perfectionism flairs up. If I can't do it perfectly, I just don't want to do it at all.

This year I tossed all my old (blank) parent contact forms and have taken a digital approach. I don't let myself archive any emails from my inbox until I've added them to my contact log, so that's forcing me to stay of logging things as I strive regularly for inbox zero.

I based my digital log off of a log my school required us to keep back in the spring when we were first experiencing distance learning. I don't want to share too much until I make sure it actually works.

Blog Regularly as Reflective Practice

When I first started blogging as a student teacher, I was constantly reflecting on my teaching practice. I talked about what was going well and what was going not so well. Somewhere along the way, my blog posts shifted into "Here's a cool puzzle!" or "Here's a printable activity I made for my students." That shift isn't a bad thing. It probably resulted from just gaining confidence in myself and my teaching skills.

But, like everyone else in the teaching profession right now, I'm feeling like a first year teacher all over again. I don't have perfectly polished digital activities to share with you that you can implement tomorrow. But, I do have built and my reflections on what worked well and what didn't work at all. This year, I want to focus more on blogging to share these reflections. For it's through the writing of these reflections that I get a chance to learn from these lessons. And, hopefully you learn something, too.

Stop Reinventing the Wheel When I Don't Have To

I don't have to make all my own activities. I don't have to make all my own videos. It's okay to borrow and adapt resources from others. It's okay to borrow them and not even make any attempt to adapt them at all. I didn't write it as a goal on this list, but my number one goal for this school year is to SURVIVE. I have three preps this year. Even though I've taught each of them before, I've never taught any of them in the midst of a pandemic. I've never taught any of them using only digital resources. I've never taught them to students quarantined at home.

I need to remind myself that I am still a good teacher even if I am relying on the work of other teachers. So this year, I will create resources when I feel inspired, and I will adapt and use the resources of others when I need to.

Desmos Computational Layer

I've played around a tiny bit with Desmos Computational Layer, but I know I have SOOOOOO much still to learn. As I make my own activities this year, I hope to become more proficient in CL. I've already learned a bit this year that I'm super excited about. But, learning this little bit has shown me how much more there is to learn. I'm hoping to share one tiny tidbit of CL I've learned each month when I post an update on how my goals are going.

I'll be back next month with an update about how my goals are going. I'd love to hear about your goals for this school year!

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