First NBI (and ever!) post

Thank god for this New Blogger Initiation. Otherwise this would never get off the ground. Hopefully participating in this will achieve two goals:

1. Get me to write more.

2. Encourage me to publish more posts that are just drafts now. Many of the organizers of this have expressed surprise how many of us are “nervous/scared.” I might not go that far, but it’s definitely a little intimidating (even when invited and welcomed so warmly) to be around so many people who are clearly awesome.

Anyway, in response to:

Meetings are starting up. School is revving up. You are teeming with ideas (which is why we’re doing this Blogging Initiation now). What is one goal you have for the first week of school?

I am about to start at what seems like a great school. Everyone I’ve met who works there seems amazing and all reports are that kids (for the most part) are treated as adults and thus act as adults. One concern is that, somewhat in the interest of space, somewhat in the interest of simulating college, teachers have offices but no fixed rooms.  This leads to my:

Goal: Start to figure out what “mobile solutions” I can use to make my classes run more smoothly and create the classroom culture I want.

Maybe this is my own nerdiness shining through, but I feel a little sad when I see all the amazing #Made4Math projects filling my reader. Who wouldn’t want a painting of Felix Klein in their room? It’s also stressing me out a little because I feel I can’t really start figuring this stuff out until the year really gets going; at least in my school we have a week-long advisory workshop before regular classes start. Here are some of the aspects of my classroom for which  I want to figure out “mobile solutions” in the first week of school:

  1. Norms, rules, and regulations in the classroom. If I had four walls of space, I would want everything from mathematical habits of mind to the bathroom policy clearly posted. That’s just the way my brain worked as a student. I am attempting to jump in the SBG deep end and want a way for that policy to always be accessible.
  2. A space (real or figurative) for student work. I don’t know what the hallway situation is yet at my school re: student work on bulletin boards and the like. While that would be nice, even better would be a way of showcasing good mathematical work in the space of the classroom during normal class time. I want evaluation of past work to be part of the regular rhythm of class.
  3. Little stuff: I really don’t want to deal with a pencil-less student in the middle of a college-level statistics class (apparently this can be an issue especially with the younger students). How do I not waste the relatively short math periods at my school having students rearrange the desks?

Some of this can be solved digitally; I am (incredibly) lucky that most of my students have computers at home, and they all have access to a SWEET lab at school, so things like my grading policy can go up to my site. That said, one of my biggest weaknesses teaching right now is focusing on what I’m saying at the expense of how (often) I’m saying it, so I’d like to figure out something that feels more “immediate” for students. If I were a student in my class feeling down about a C average, I might not feel very motivated to take time out of lunch to schlep to the 7th floor computer lab and check up on the grading policy.

My school will be open later this week, so hopefully I can go in and poke around. One reason this is one of my primary goals is that if I don’t make it a priority, I’m someone who will easily lapse into disorganization. Hope it works!

 

 

3 comments
  1. samjshah said:

    ZOMG I need mobile solutions. I will be in four different rooms next year (unless things randomly change) and I have done this before and there was no good solution for me! It took all my energy to be in the room on time, and forever to get situated so we started up properly.

  2. I am not in the same situation as you (yes, I’m one of THOSE teachers…😉 ) but I think some of the things you have presented are things we all have to think about. Good luck with figuring out your answers!
    –Lisa

  3. Nora said:

    That’s an interesting concept with offices. I’ve always been lucky enough to have my own room, except for the one month where I was a long term sub. In that case, I felt like an intruder because it was someone else’s room. But that’s not the case here. The only thing of can think of right now, is since your rules and grading procedures can’t be posted in a room, how about their notebooks? Posting student work? How about a class website? I found that my students liked when I recognized them on the internet. I suppose they thought it was more public and their parents could see it as well. Keep us posted on what you come up with!! Keep up the blogging.

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