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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to School... OH SO SOON!

     I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer as much as I have.  Well aside from that silly surgery I had!  Right now I'm getting prepared to go back to work.  I only have a week and a half before teacher in-service begins and two and a half weeks before I'll be standing in my classroom in front of my students. Every teacher knows what this means; the classroom must be prepared, and the lesson plans must be ready to go!  This year I have added a new class to teach, so I can't rely on what worked great last year to supplement my new stuff, I am starting from scratch for this class.  I will be teaching 6th and 7th grade math, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra I.  I'm really excited about adding Algebra to my line up.  It was my FAVORITE class in high school. 

     This summer I have been revamping my lesson plans to include more activities and more student involvement.  I want them to discover and learn more and I want there to be less of my lectures up in front of them.  I've been reading two really great books this summer (click on the book covers to see them an Barnes and Noble):

     Flip your Classroom is by Jonathon Bergmann.  I'm sure everyone has heard of this teaching model.  I read an article in a publication about this approach and was really interested in learning more.  I will be flipping my classroom 3 or more days a week this year.  It isn't the exact model they did in their classroom, but it will work perfect in mine.  I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know how these two teachers made the journey.   They help you out by giving not only their successes, but their setbacks as well!

     Learning to Love Math is by Dr. Judy Willis, former teacher and current neurologist.  This book gives great insight into learning from a neurological standpoint.  Learn what happens in the brain when learning is happening!  I'm not quite finished with this book but I will say I am learning so much and I am surprised by what I have learned that is in concert with the flipped classroom approach.

     My other addiction this summer has been Pinterest and following other middle school educators' blogs.  I have learned SO MUCH.  As an added bonus I've gotten lots of freebies to use in my own classroom.  Everything from organizational materials, lesson plan ideas, and foldables.  Oh how I love foldables for math.  We will be working on an interactive notebook this year because I am going to incorporate writing into the lessons to prepare my students for the new Common Core tests. 

     I think it is safe to say I am excited about this school year.  I really hope to start a classroom blog, but we will see how I do with keeping up with this one first! 

     What are you doing to prepare for the new year?  What are you trying that is new?