Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Need An Action Plan!

I've bumped into this image twice today, here and here, both by teachers recapping their experiences at TMC14. I don't know, but it made something click in my head.
I have always considered myself a great starter - but sadly not a good finisher. Look at the half knit scarves, half filled scrapbooks, half read books, unused gym memberships,... I love new ideas and beginning new things, but along the way I tend to stop. I wouldn't say give up, but I get distracted by the next cool thing I want to start.

I feel like this completely sums up my growth (or lack thereof) in my teaching. I spend so much time learning, reading blogs, articles, attending conferences, etc and I get caught up in so many amazing ideas. I start making plans for amazingthing1, and then get distracted by amazingthing2, and on and on until I hit amazingthing100 and look back to see the trail of half finished, not quite completed plans I have. And thus I get discouraged, because if nothing ever gets finished, then nothing ever really changes!

I laughed with the other BTSA SP's this year about how we kept getting emails to turn in our "Action Plans" because it is something I just don't do. When I saw this graphic, and saw line #2 I had to take a deep breath. There I am. Sitting on line #2, all full of vision and skills and incentives and resources and FALSE STARTS. I need to build an Action Plan!

But I can't make a plan for the 100 things I want to change. Not gonna happen. Narrow it down "they" say. So I sat and thought for a while this morning, as the temperature in my back yard crept towards 100 degrees. What two or three things do I really want to change this year. Here are my ideas so far:

1. Student graphing skills are awful, and every time I say graph they act like I've said "I'm going to do dental work on you!" With 1 to 1 iPads this year, I want to do something with Daily Desmos and/or Graphing Stories once a week. 

2. Exit tickets or other formative assessment that I actually LOOK at. Start now to build quizzes with Socrative that I can have students do consistently and that really tell me what they're thinking.

3. Find one meaningful modeling problem for each unit I do. A Three Act or something of the sort, to introduce the lesson and build into the students the need for what we're learning. The SSTI conference I just went to was amazing, and I don't want to lose the inspiration and challenge I got from it. (Or the jealousy I won from my co-teachers for this little selfie...)

Okay, they're down in writing. Now what exactly does an Action Plan look like???


  1. WOW! I feel ya. I am so dumb-founded and amazed by all of the changes I want to make in my classroom each year that I get overwhelmed and realize I just can't do it all, so I decide to not do any of it. Part of the problem is that I still don't have the material perfectly written and mastered the way I want to, due to it only being my 3rd year teaching, so I have no energy to add in all of the cool things I see, hear, or read. I spend all of my energy just doing the bare minimum that I have none left to add pizazz. Ideas appreciated!

    1. Thanks! One big thing I've had to get over is the "don't have the material mastered" fear. I always feel like I can know it better. That fear would keep me from doing anything ever! Ive found my students like it when I make mistakes, because then I fit right in with them. Its a good thing!