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What I Know I Am Going To Change

Ok.  It is the first day of spring break and I am sitting here thinking about what I am going to differently about next year.  Yes...Already.

    • This year I was wishy washy.  About January (ok yes I was gone for about 2 months) I noticed that the only students that I had that were getting an A were the ones that were turning in all of their homework.  So I started making EVERYTHING count.  I mean do nows, homework, daily-work, exit tickets.  They were all worth 4 points meaning that each day you had the possibility of getting 16 points.  Worked amazing for student buy in....sucked to be me.  I have 156 students.  I am going to go little MATHY on you....that is 624 assignments that I was grading per day, or 2,496 points per day.
    • I tried rewarding students...but then I would forget. <---bad teacher.
    • I tried a sticker chart...I tried a stamping thing.  Problem is....I WAS TRYING IT.
      • NEXT YEAR: a student will have a job called "grader"  They are going to go around and check for homework on a clip board.  Students will get points based on that.
      • NEXT YEAR: I am only going to give points to homework and in classwork...not do nows and exit slips.
      • NEXT YEAR: I will start this from day one.
      • NEXT YEAR: I have to figure out a reward system...thoughts appreciated.  Keep in mind I have 49 minutes with my students. 
  • ISN's
    • I LOVE THEM  I am still going to use them but I started to implement a few things mid year that I wish I would have implemented from the beginning. 
      • NEXT YEAR: Unit Table of Contents. 
      • NEXT YEAR: Tabs (I love tabs and use them in EVERY BINDER I HAVE) on each hit section. 
      • NEXT YEAR: write the goal down in the ISN too!  I have my students write the goal down on their do now everyday, but this is just one more way of having the students hold them selves accountable for their learning.
      • NEXT YEAR:  Every-once-and-a-while let my students have an OPEN NOTE TEST.
      • NEXT YEAR: One of the things I have definitely noticed with my sixers this year is that they have never been taught how to study, or how to take notes.  I was providing them with study guides and other things that was not helping them on this journey to be a good student.  I purchased a pack from 4Mula FUN where she had a create your own study guide.  What an ingenious thought...have students create their OWN study guide.  I will be incorporating that into every unit next year.
      • NEXT YEAR:  the great glue debate.  STICK OR LIQIUD?  Liquid is so messy.  STICKS get thrown.  LIQUID boys pour on their hands. LIQUID easy to refill, but do I want to, STICKS cheap, but do I want to spend the money.  STICKS not messy, LIQUID stays better in notebooks.
      • NEXT YEAR: VOCABULARY!  holy hanna I need to teacher it intentionally and specifically. 
    • I have this wall.  I love this wall.
And I have this wall.  I did not really know what to do with this wall.                
I liked these walls for a few they had enough space on them to do some fun stuff with them....and two as a new teacher I had no idea. 
      • NEXT YEAR.  I am going to use the wall above my book shelves as a space to put giant versions of my ISN's.  They are basically anchor charts.  That way students will be able to make up any work as well if they missed something. 
      • NEXT YEAR the rule going to shrink.  So that I have space for more student work.  I have a pretty small space...but got knocked points on observations for not having work up.  boooo <---again bad teacher
    • Well...the age old question of the word wall.  Well this year I had one...I purchased it from Grade 6 Math Addict.  I like it a lot.  I had it printed in 11x8.5 and 3x4.  I use the large ones on the "current unit wall" and then when I am done with them I put the small one up above in a traditional word wall.
      • NEXT YEAR: Add a few words or ask her to add a few words.  Hers are so darn cute it would be nice to have them all the same format.  I noticed though because I live in Minnesota we have not adopted the math CCStandards.  Since we are not using the same standards we are not using the same vernacular. 
      • NEXT YEAR: Use less space for my "word wall"  I have it taking a lot of space that I could use for accountable talk posters or something else..maybe standards or birthdays.
    • I started to use binders for each of my preps.  that means Like many of my readers who are elementary teachers I have 5 lesson binders going.  6th grade math, 6th grade support, pre- algebra, pre-algebra support, algebra.  I also have data binders for each of these subjects. So instead of reading, science, writing, math, social studies....mine are just different grade levels. Same idea. Same amount of work.
      • NEXT YEAR: Start early!  It is so nice having everything for the week just planned out!  All you have to do is make copies!!!! 
      • NEXT YEAR: Make a separate binder that is huge that houses everything I did.  So the year after I can pull from that (even though I desperately do not want to be teaching middle school next year after next year)
    • Our district uses the 5 easy steps.  Which I would argue are NOT easy to implement in a class that is about 3 years behind anyway.  when you only have 49 minutes of learning, and 15 of them are spent on filling holes from 4th is hard to fill in the new holes....if you know what I mean. I also hate how we have to TEST them on it.  Realistically I was looking at all the times I tested this year. we have 36 standards that we test on.  That means 1 pretest day, one post test day.  I am already at 72 of my teaching days are testing days.  Take out the three reading MCA test and the 3 math MCA testing days are now at 78.  THEN on top of that every other FRIDAY is supposed to be a DMR(daily math review) test.  that is 17 more test days.  MY STUDENTS ARE TESTING FOR NINETY FIVE DAYS A YEAR!!!!  what!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
      • NEXT YEAR: focus on what holes need to be filled to meet the standard we are working on. For example we are working on a geometry unit right now....I might put on my DMR area of a square, name the shape, and plug in the value.
      • NEXT YEAR: No tests.  I do not care if it is a district thing.  I will figure out a way for my district to have DATA that they can look at and show that I am filling holes.  NO WONDER MY KIDS HAVE HOLES>>>>>WE SPEND TO MUCH TIME TESTING AND NOT ENOUGH TIME PRACTICING AND TEACHING
      • NEXT YEAR: do DMR at the end of the hour...that way...oops we did not get to it today.  :)  <---can you tell I sort of hate DMR?
      • NEXT YEAR:  I am contemplating doing more of a calendar time.  Something where I can put it in a sheet protector and we just change out the sheet on the inside every so often.  I just saw an IG post by @TAMLYNNMO That I think would work really well for what my current issues are in DMR. Thank you for the idea.

    • This is an area I feel I do pretty well at.  I call parents not only when their child is "having issues" but also when they are rocking it in my class.  I send home news letters and post cards.  What I did not do was invite into my classroom
      • NEXT YEAR: ask other adults that I know to come volunteer in the classroom so that students know it is a valued and trusted thing.  Make sure students know that they are not going to be made fun of if their parent comes in. The more adults I can get in my class the more it will look normal!
      • NEXT YEAR: invite parents to be twitter/BLOG hosts for the classroom.  Explain what is going on, how they are struggling as parents with the math that I am teaching.  For many of my students, their parents are just as new to the country, have no education or in other cases are drop outs.  I know that one of the reasons I do not have parent involvement is that parents are scared to get involved thinking they do not know the content themselves. 
Ok that is a massive list!  LOL!

I would love you input or to see what your NEXT YEAR to do list is!



  1. I love that you are thinking about next year already! It inspires me to do the same! :)


  2. All the best with all of this! So good to be reflecting on every thing at the end of a year!

    Learning to be awesome

  3. I'm impressed by your self reflection!

    I've nominated you for the sunshine blogger award! Check out my blog for details:



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