I can no longer avoid the Back-to-School sales. It's already August. I am trying to plan this year.
I have been with my district for 4 years this upcoming September, and I have taught the following:
- Accelerated Biology (biology for the 'average' 10th grade student)
- Accelerated Science 9 (physical science for the 'average' 9th grade student
- Microbiology (junior-senior level elective course at an "accelerated weight")
- Environmental Science (junior-senior level elective at an "academic (below accelerated) weight")
Originally, I told myself "well, then FINE". I will put in the bare minimum. Many of the teacher who have taught Science 9 told me to use their stuff and not make new stuff. And I really considered it...
But I couldn't. I am not someone who does a crummy job on really anything, so this past summer I have been buckling down. I almost have all of the material (Powerpoints, test, quizzes, worksheet packets, labs) for all of the chapters up to the midterm covered.
I am really worried about behavior issues (one of my biggest problems last year), so I've been reading up on teaching books. I re-read the First Days of School (I have two copies--one I got in college from our professor, and one I got as part of my new teacher induction program from the professional development staff).
I made a whole list of things I want to do differently this year from the book:
- Always maintain a "No EXCUSES" attitude--no more late homework. Ever.
- Create corrective assignments for tests
- If permissible, earn points (not full amount, but some amount) back on test?
- If showing a video, skip the dreaded WS but pause frequently to initiate discussion and quiz at a later date
- Post a daily schedule DAILY (I would be good and then stop for a week or more...) with learning objective, etc
- Chunk big research projects even better so no portion of the assignment is over 5 days long
- Start of the year with an email home (I did this every year but last year)
- Send an email home about each chapter (there is a parent letter with the textbook; I plan to modify that)
- Simple discipline reminder
- Observe stu's reaction
- Say stu's name
- PLEASE (followed by request),stu's name
- Thank you, stu's name
- I will have to practice this A LOT!!!
- Have the seating chart projected on the board the first day so they don't whine about being moved right away
- Have the first warm-up (I am trying to be cute by calling them brain energizers) be to fill in their info sheet
- Have THEM take attendance (beaker cutouts they can decorate; then they move from a folder to "present" on a bulletin board when they walk in
- Velcro? Magnets? Pushpins? Clothespins?
- Have 5 core rules--no more
- WEEKLY discipline (I think I was too forgiving last year giving 4 strikes DAILY)
- Name on board--warning
- Check next to name--email home
- Two checks next to name--detention to fill out behavior modification plan; parents called
- Erased every Friday
- Come up with a dismissal procedure and actually PRACTICE it and STICK TO IT
- Come up with an attention-getting procedure and actually PRACTICE it and STICK TO IT
- Use objectives for each chapter with test questions (I want to go into more detail, but I'll save it for another day)
Do you have any goals for things you want to do differently this year? One of the things that I like about teaching is every fall we get a new start...