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Sunday, September 7, 2014

A new school year has started....

In addition to getting ready for a wild new year, it is always wise to take a look back and reflect on what you could have done better, what worked, and what didn't.  Of course you can't forget that when a new year of school arrives, there are always PLENTY of changes.  The one thing I've learned is that change is always taking place whether that is administration, teachers, students, or curriculum.  I can almost put a tick mark on everyone of those categories, but change doesn't mean bad things.

This year I have a new curriculum and so far I'm having a love/hate relationship with it.  I love the differentiation, the technology inclusion, and the rigor.... I'm not loving the bugs within the program.  I feel that the textbook company should not have launched this platform if they weren't ready with the same features as the older platform, and if they weren't sure that they had all of their lessons in the correct spot!  Nothing is more frustrating than assigning a homework assignment and your students email you to tell you that they've never seen that type of work before... the homework assignments should definitely match the lessons!

Something new I'm doing this year is called "STEM Friday"  Every Friday each class will be working on a STEM type project that reinforces the things we are learning in math and science.  Most projects will take 4 - 6 Fridays to complete, but so far they have been a success with the students.  My Algebra I class is currently working on the Barbie Bungee project.  I had to give instructions from my 6 year old before I was allowed to let my students use her Barbies!  A colleague of mine and I got the idea for STEM Friday after attending a conference this year hosted by NICERC.  The great thing about this conference was not only did we get free STEM curriculum, but we also got $2500 in grant funding to pay for the project materials.

This year due to enrollment being low (which means funding is low), I am also learning and helping to teach the Robotics program.  The inner nerd in me is pretty excited about this, but with so many things on my plate this year I'm hoping I didn't bite off more than I can chew!

What changes are going on in your classroom this year?  Happy New School Year!