I am on a journey that I started July 27th- my 45th birthday! I’m not sure what happened between July 26th & July 27th but within that day I changed. It’s like my mind kicked into overdrive because I turned 45. It’s like my mind told myself that I need to have a mid-life crisis. So, here I am, smack-dab in the middle of my very own mid-life crisis.
What I’m experiencing is new. I don’t know what I want to do, personally. The one plus is that I’ve figured out what I want to do professionally. I’ll talk about that in a later post. What I’d like to talk about is my mid-life crisis. Being in this situation is like my state of mind when I’ve lost something- I had it and I didn’t. That’s how I feel- I was feeling fine, I knew myself, I had most of “it” figured out- then I didn’t.
So, that’s where I am now! I started this blog to explore and reflect on my growth and that’s what I’m doing! I’ll keep you apprised during this journey.
I am officially a Google Classroom user! I am so proud of myself. At this time last year, I didn’t know half the stuff I know now. I cannot believe that I’m this tech savvy. Just one of my many goals that I’m crossing off my list.
Pinnacle (Grading system)
I’ve been in serious reflection mode. One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is why I simply refuse to stay happy. Whenever I’m happy for too long, I’ll invariably do something to sabotage myself. Something just came to mind. It happened when I was about 6 or 7. I was on the monkey bars and I was on a roll. I made it almost all the way across. I was beaming from ear to ear. I only had one more bar to go when I fell. I didn’t just do an ordinary, everyday fall. I fell and bruised my ribs. I was so embarrassed. It was in front of most of my classmates. I cried so hard. My mother came to pick me up that day from school because of my injuries.
What happened afterward isn’t the important part. The important part is that I’ve finally gotten to the root of why I don’t like to get too happy. Isn’t it funny how something so seemingly innocuous that happened in our childhood marks us for life?
Well, that’s my reflection for the year! I’m happy that I was just thinking back to the time when I was a kid; the time that marked me for about 40 years. Now I know!
Lesson plans are taking longer than it used to to complete. “Why?,” you ask. Well, my plans are more complete and I’ve been more purposeful in all of my planning. My charter school expects to see Checking for Understanding (CFU). We can do that by asking for a simple thumbs up or thumbs down, a 1, 2, 3, or 4 (with 1= I don’t understand at all, 2= I understand a little, 3= I understand it, 4= I understand it and can teach it to someone else). So, I’ve built that into my lesson plan. I sometimes use an Edmodo poll, a Google Form, or a simple 1-4 thumb check. It works really well.
My planning is also taking a little longer because I assess the student’s learning during the whole lesson, which is something I didn’t use to do. This extra planning can take the form of Google Forms and/or sheets. After every concept that I introduce, I have a mini-assessment. I’ve taken to naming them 5 Quick Questions.
It’s working like a charm. It’s very helpful because the students know what to expect.
*Update- My students thought that 5 Quick Questions twice a week was too much. So, now I give them the same 5 Quick Questions three times per week and take the best of three.*
While these extra bits of assessment and consistent CFU may be common for someone else, it wasn’t common for me. I now consistently teach rigorous, purposeful lessons and I’ve been able to see a difference in my student’s grades & responses to my lessons. I’m also going to start using Google Classroom next week.
I’ll write more later as I have a little bit more work to complete. By for now!
During the first week of school, I worked on ice breakers, assessments, & different surveys. One of the surveys I use, that I use every year, is a Multiple Intelligence survey that shows “how” students are smart. The survey gives eight options for “how” students are smart:
The students really enjoyed this survey.
I was also able to get a writing sample with the “I AM” poem. I also introduced them to my new policies, which I’ll write about later. I got so much done the first week. It was so much that it doesn’t feel like the first week of school.
For the second week of school, I worked on:
- Executive Functioning Skills
- S.M.A.R.T. Goals
- Cognitive Dissonance
Next week I’ll be working on:
- Cognitive Dissonance & how to overcome it
- the student’s disability. They will complete research on one of three disabilities that predominate in the class- A.D.D/A.D.H.D., S.L.D., & Autism.
I’m actually really excited about helping the students learn about their disabilities. I’ll keep you in the know. Bye for now!