1) I've been ignoring Geometry this year because we're going to get a new textbook. However, I'm really frustrated with the huge contrast between how fun my Algebra classes are and how lame my Geometry class is. I don't think I can wait until June to start making changes. It's time to make the same leap I did for Algebra. My goal: incorporate either active learning or problem-based at least twice a chapter for Geometry starting in December.
2) I fell out of the habit of doing on-going cumulative review. I used to use my textbook's review problems at the end of each section. I moved schools about a year and a half ago and they use ancient textbooks from like the early 90s and late 80s. You think I'm kidding? Google Moise-Downs Geometry and Paul Forester Prentice Hall Classics Algebra 1.
3) Use Steve Leinwand's idea of distributed practice: 2-4-2.
- 2 problems of the new skill
- 4 cumulative review problems roughly drawn from the day before, the week before, last month and perhaps a diagnostic readiness check for the next lesson
- 2 problems that require showing work or explanation and support problem solving and reasoning and justification.
- ...and never more than four exercises on the same skill.
5) Refocus my efforts on questioning. I want to push students towards explaining their thinking:
“Tell me what you see”
"How do you know?"
"Explain that please"
"Draw a picture"
The 5 practices helped me tremendously in this area but I've still got room to grow.
6) Become an NCTM member. I've rationalized not being a member for almost 15 years now. Attending my last math conference helped me realize that I have something to contribute to my professional community. It's not about what NCTM can do for me--it's about learning together as a math education community. It's time.
7) Begin writing encouragement notes to students. One per week. I think this has the potential to be powerful. Thinking back on middle school and high school, I don't remember what I learned in specific classes. I remember how I felt in those classes. It's time I started intentionally investing in the emotional lives of my students.
8) Look at “Principles to Actions” by NCTM. This book gets mentioned about every other time I have a conversation with a group of math educators. Time to put it on the reading list.