New School Year…New Start…New Teaching Techniques

The start of the 2012-13 school has come and gone. I am very happy to begin the school year with the current students that I have. I have a great bunch of returning 8th grade students, and an interesting group of 7th graders that I haven’t yet figured out.

This year I have a few goal that I am trying to meet. So far I don’t think I am doing too bad. Here are my goals:

1. Be more organized

2. Try new things

3. Stay on top of the calendar

4. Give more positive feedback quicker than in previous years

Be Organized

The one thing that I have been accused of by more than one important person in my life is that I am not organized. To be honest, they are right. I just flounder around in stacks of paper and projects. I know where most things are, but I couldn’t tell you where it is at any single moment. I used to say a “messy desk means your smart.” I have found that a messy desk, means you are just unorganized. Its fine to have a messy desk if you are working on things, but if the papers haven’t moved in a while and you keep adding to them, then I am not really doing a service to my students.

To get more organized, I am using a hanging file holder on my wall. I am breaking them down by class, and by when the folder is for. So far in the past few weeks it has helped.

I have also created a project calendar. I broke this down by weeks. I only see my students one a week, so I can see what I want to get done week by week. I can also adjust this as needed. I also decided this year to teach more units than stand alone activities. To do this, I created a Unit Check List. I gave this to my students so that they can see what the unit will cover and what activities we will be doing in the unit.

Try New Things

This year I am also decided to try new things. I often tell my students that they need to get outside their comfort zone to succeed. So I am following my own advice and doing just that. I am teaching this year in the New Tech style of teaching. This is a project based learning style. I have done bits and pieces of this style, but I have never really done it fully. I am biting the bullet and going all in. My first project with my students is to find why our school district has low school spirit. We are going to try to find some solution to this problem. So far the student reaction has been positive.

I am also looking into doing projects that I don’t absolutely know the answer to or outcome for. For me, that is scary. I like to know what the outcome is so I can teach to it. But when looking for solutions, there can be many possible answers.

Stay on Top of the Calendar

As I have said before, I have decided to keep a project calender to organize my classroom, but I am also trying to make sure I am aware of meetings that go on in the building and making sure I am prepared for them.

Give More Feedback

One area that I lack in is feedback. I grade papers, and I record the score, but is that real feedback? I don’t think so. For this school year, I am giving more written feedback after each project is done. I take notes on students attendance, behavior, and work ethic. At then end of the unit, I am giving students real feedback on there project along with the four areas listed above.

I am also creating more rubrics for my students. Sometimes we will make them together based on their project, and other times I will give them on already made. This will also be another opportunity to give constructive feedback.

I am hoping with these new goals for the year, I will be a little more successful than in past years. Stay tuned to find out.


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