My professional goal just became personal. After having conversation with a colleague about my transition from a classroom teacher to a math coach within the same building it dawned on me. She said to me, “you have seeds in the ground.” As teachers we have the opportunity to plant many seeds within the students we encountered, good or bad. There were a lot of things I attempted last year to plant positive seeds within my students. More times than not, we never have the opportunity to water, till nor harvest the fruit that is produced from our work. When my colleague uttered those words, I realized I’ve been granted a chance to do more than plant.
My professional goal this year was to move us to have more of a balanced approach to math instruction. My plan for getting us there was shared in this post. I get to oversee the growing process and if there’s water too much, not water enough, provide the wrong fertilizer or don’t allow in enough sunlight, the fruit will not grow properly.
When I conduct PLs I’m educating on ways to tend to their gardens. When I visit classrooms, I’m helping to see if plants need pruning or support staffs. I’m looking for ways to help them produce the ripest, sweetest, plentiful fruit.
The end of the year is fast approaching, which prompts continual reflection for me. I can honestly say I have no regrets. I wouldn’t change anything, I would only make adjustments.
Standards Based Grading
Provide a rubric and explanation of the standards for parents in terms they can understand.
Incorporate the observation rubric more. Less papers you have to grade for formative assignments (required by district).
Emphasize backwards design. This will help determine what needs to be emphasized “instructionally” and what does not. This will also help me balance conceptual understanding with procedural fluency.
Have 3 options for demonstration of understanding. Make it quick (use of technology), concise and manageable (this I’m still thinking through).
Incorporate more of it. Think of building conceptual understanding and practice like tasty lemonade, it has to have the right blend of lemonade flavor, sugar and water. Conceptual understanding, problem solving and practice or procedural fluency.
Be more consistent and don’t be afraid to try with all classes.
Don’t get stuck on having accountability pieces.
Always remember we are teaching mathematics so it can be applied outside of the school setting as well. We are developing thinkers and problem solvers. Students (and parents) may be resistant in the beginning, which could be due to their inability to see the big picture. We must still push on, plant the seeds and water our crops. Teach without regrets, reflect and make adjustments.
This post dedicated to Pam White.