Monthly Archives: July 2014

Summer Planning

I was really excited this summer that I would actually have the whole summer to plan and prepare for next year. (Last year I was hired less than a month before school started, and didn’t have materials until about 2 weeks before school started, and as a first-year teacher I didn’t really feel like I knew where to start with the whole planning thing in the first place…) I don’t have a specific list of things I wanted to get done this summer, but I knew I wanted to be better prepared than I was last year.

Yes, I know “better” is not specific or measurable. I learned about SMART goals too.

I’ve been spending most of the summer relaxing, with short bursts of energy to work on planning.

Things I Have Accomplished This Summer:

  • Watched nearly 6 seasons of Burn Notice on Netflix.
  • Moved to a new house.
  • Almost completed the first 4 weeks of the Couch to 5K plan (we’re ignoring the fact that it’s taken me almost 8 weeks to do so since I actually started before school got out).
  • Read a couple of books (not actually productive, education-type books… so this falls under the “relaxing” category).
  • Spent 2 weeks out of the state on vacation.
  • Participated in 3 Global Math Department webinars to prepare for next year.
  • Written two syllabi.
  • Spent a lot of time looking at, where I’m getting materials to organize a micro-economy within my Financial Literacy classes.
  • Also spent a lot of time looking at, which I’ll be using to assist with behavior management in my freshmen Algebra 1 classes.
  • Written a brief outline of what the first week of school will look like for my Algebra 1 classes.

I will be implementing interactive notebooks in my Algebra 1 classes, and I thought about creating a rough outline of a notebook for the whole semester or year, but have since read blog posts discouraging that idea. Everything will change once I actually teach the lesson, and let’s be honest, probably everything will change between the 2nd period class and the 3rd period class. My roommate is also teaching Algebra 1 this year (she has 4 periods, like I did this past year) and she is really excited that she can follow my lead in planning and teaching those classes. Since we are moving to new curriculum calendars and not-textbooks, this year will be very different from last year, but at least I’ve taught the concepts before.

Returning teachers report to school on July 31. School starts on August 4. That’s 3 weeks. So…

Things I Have Left To Do In the Next Three Weeks:

  • Write syllabus for Financial Lit
  • Prepare sample interactive notebooks
  • Write an outline of the first week for Algebra Support and Financial Lit
  • Write actual lessons for all 3 classes
  • Convince someone on the custodial staff to move my desk in my old room to my new room, which is a request that I submitted almost 2 weeks ago
  • Move my files from my old room to my new room
  • Convince someone in IT that having a student computer in my room would be really helpful for me this year and they should give me another computer
  • Figure out where my textbooks and resources for Financial Lit are and get them into my room
  • Figure out where the calculators we ordered for me are and get them into my room so I can figure out how I’m going to store and keep track of them

That list got longer than I expected.

Things I Am Currently Doing:

  • Ignoring the dryer that just beeped
  • Ignoring the fact that I still haven’t finished “moving in” because I need to find permanent homes for the crap scattered around the house
  • Writing a blog post
  • Debating turning on the TV or reading the new book I checked out from the library yesterday, either of which would suck up the rest of my day really quickly
  • Planning to take the dogs to the dog park in a couple of hours after the temperature starts to cool off (hopefully meaning it drops from 100 to 95 degrees)

I might work on writing my overview of the first week of Algebra Support. I need to make sure I treat that class as a whole separate prep instead of just throwing things together at the last minute like I did last year. (It will probably help that it’s my first class of the day this year instead of the last.) I’ve got some very specific ideas for things I want to make sure I do in that class to make it better, partly thanks to Mathy McMatherson‘s writing about what he refers to as the “Answer-Getting Mentality” and what he has done about it.

My current mental state: I’m ready to be seeing kids every day again, but I’m not prepared to be teaching lessons.