5 Teaching Resolutions for the New Year!

As 2016 wraps up, I–like many others–start to think about things I want to do better in 2017.  I have tons of personal goals (get healthy, get more organized, etc), but today’s post has a few musings about some classroom goals I have to better meet the needs of my students in the new year.  
Ready for five of them?

 My first “resolution” is to incorporate more deliberate instruction on how to write about math.  My students have really struggled with this…they seem to be conditioned to “write the algorithm” and instead of explaining their THINKING, they simply tell me what they did.  They might write:

I put the 483 under the 820. I crossed out the 8 to get more ones…  (you get my drift)

What I WANT them to do is explain WHY they did what they did…and to look for patterns…and to make connections.  I made this anchor charts a few weeks ago but haven’t done nearly enough with it.

I am going to use the problems in this resource to help–because each problem is available in three formats–one of which requires students to explain their thinking!

 Another big goal for me is to spend more time conferring with students about their reading.  I have so many strugglers–and I find myself scrambling to pull together intervention groups and lessons.  I need to make sure to not ignore my top readers, so I am really going to make a concerted effort to keep up with my status of the class and anecdotal records.  It’s such a nice time with students–even a few minutes a week helps keep me really connected to what they are reading and how they are doing.  Here is a blog post with more details about what I do…just CLICK HERE!

Another goal I have is to do a better job giving students feedback on their writing.  I feel I do a pretty decent job TEACHING writing…but I know I have a long way to go in giving them timely feedback on what they do.  Each student is, of course, at an entirely different place with their writing, so simply doing great whole-class lessons isn’t enough.  I need to do more quick collections of work with a fast turnaround time.  Even ONE piece of specific feedback can make such a difference. 

 A fourth resolution for me is to build in more time for creative thinking activities.  Before break, we did a few different things in class and my students were SO engaged and had some AMAZING discussions.  It doesn’t take long–and the benefit of thinking outside the box carries forward into other learning.  I also love these exercises because it allows some students who are less confident with our academic content to really shine and be actively engaged in what we are doing.  It was great for community building AND to get those neurons firing in new ways!

Finally, I am going to rework my math workshop time to find more minutes for EXPLICIT fact strategy instruction for my students who need it–and it’s QUITE a few of them.  I started off in the fall pretty strong working with those students who needed review on doubles, tens, and fives but then things kind of fell apart.  I NEED them to be more fluent with their facts before we get into big multiplying, so I am really going to be diligent about working with them.  They love the activities…it’s matter of ME doing a better job scheduling my time!
So…in case YOU want to set any of the same resolutions as me, I am marking these five products on sale until January 1!  Grab them and make a difference in your teaching for 2017!
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