This was my second full-year in the classroom. I definitely improved a lot of things and here a few notes I wanted to share:
Things I’m Glad I Did
- Standards Based Grading (SBG)
- General thoughts: I’m glad I set up an ActiveGrade account. This was a big paradigm shift to how I was previously using the traditional 100-point system. It took a few months to adjust and having no one to talk to about this, I had to find my own solutions (i.e. buying a book, digging on the Internet, asking other teachers online).
- Marking: I also include SBG marking for my students, I write a mark out of 4 on the top of their pages and have a rubric on the front wall of my room.
- Student use: I need to work on getting my students to log in and check their ActiveGrade accounts.
- Handling multiple sections: Sorting my students in different sections meant that I had to retype assignments onto each page. Next year, I will have list students of different sections onto the same page but add a code in their names to sort it easily.
- Naming assignments: Try to use the exam name of the assignment (i.e. type in the title directly. Identify tests by the number and use consistent titles; however, if students in the same course of different sectors are listed together, this won’t be necessary.
- Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD)
- Fun quizzes: Kahoot was fun, but I found that the timer caused a lot of anxiety. Kahoot quizzes only work if they are super easy and review the foundational concepts. They’re fun for being silly too; I used a question last week that asked, “Who is your favourite science teacher?” and all the multiple choice were descriptions of me. Ha! Socrative seems to work much better and I’ve since added a few more quizzes for my Sec 4 course.
- Passwords: Up north, kids don`t bother too much about cyber-bullying or hacking into each other`s accounts. Last year, I had a duotang at each computer with all the passwords printed. It was a nuisance because I wasn`t interested in printing a new list every time I had to update someone`s password! Instead, this year, each student had their passwords written down in their binder. They were responsible for their own passwords. This worked a lot more and it also forced them to rely on their personal resources
Things to Improve On
- Long-range planning: I still suck at this. It causes disorganization from a week-to-week basis. I can’t be doing this in year 3. I don’t follow my own plans!
- Math booklet: I would love to have organized math notes and booklets like the teacher of Math Equals Love does.
- Math Puzzles: Have things on hand for fun. So far I just have Set card game. I would like to have games, puzzles and books that students could just go to if they’re done.
- Graphing: It wasn’t until the end of the year, when I was teaching the Grade 11 students to use Desmos as we were working on polygon of constraints that I started to see the lighbulb go off in their heads. I need to use Desmos more often and give an incentive for them to install it on their electronics and their apps.
There are definitely a lot more things I could write, but I will continue adding to this list as I think of them.