Saturday, July 30, 2016

My school and our curriculum

My school is fantastic, of course I have only worked at one school so I dont have much to draw on. But my school is great. I love working here.

I work at Brewster Academy, a private boarding school in Wolfeboro NH.

Its on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, its absolutely beautiful. You could not ask for a more distracting view. Although the winters are a bit cold if you're not used to New England winters.

But, enough showing off and bragging...

My school is divided into teams, one freshman team, two sophomore teams, two junior teams and one senior team.  Each team has one teacher of each core subject, two instructional support teachers, and one or two art teachers.  The senior team has double the amount of teachers but still meets as one team.

My department has eight teachers, one freshman, two sophomore, two junior, and three senior teachers.  We meet once a week to talk about the going on's in our school and in the department. There is not as much collaboration or sharing of ideas that I would like to see, but we have a new department head this year so hopefully he will turn it around.

Our Curriculum  Last year was my first year teaching and I love teaching. I didnt like the way I ended up teaching what they gave me.  At the start of the year my mentor math teacher handed me a flash drive and said "here, this is all the packets for the whole year." I went home and opened it up on my computer, and there was a folder for each unit and a daily packet.  Each day I printed out the packet for the class and went through it.

They are all about direct teach;
  1. The teacher explains what the students are going to do today
  2. The teacher does a couple examples
  3. The teacher has the students (that are in groups of 4) work on examples and floats around the room
  4. The teacher goes over anther set of examples
  5. Rinse and Repeat
EVERY DAY I was doing this... Now for a first time teacher this was fine for me because I was trying to keep a hold of everything else that comes with teaching, and not having to worry about what I was going to be doing the next day was a HUGE PLUS.

That lasted all about 3 months.

As winter rolled around I started to realize that the students were just memorizing facts and examples. SURE they were working together, but the "accelerated" students would finish and then the "standard" students would just copy off them... 

I was frustrated, I was disappointed as to how I was teaching our students. So I googled "great math lessons" found Dan Mayers site and then it all started.

ted talks

The flood gates opened and I was overwhelmed quickly, VERY quickly... 

At the end of the year our school sends two math teachers to the Phillips Exeter Anja S. Greer Math Conference.

Where I meet a lot of awesome people and took a class that @MaryBourassa taught, and I honed my inner passion to change what we do.

What I want to do/try this year;

-Actually have ACTIVITIES in my classroom
-Spiraling part of one of my classes
-Go grade less or at least standards based grading
-Create great hooks at the start of each lesson
-Which on doesnt belong

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