I had started writing another post here yesterday about my first day back, but I thought that that would be more appropriate on my personal livejournal, so I put it there. It's basically about my first two days at my new school. Not only did I change schools, but my school moved buildings, so the last two days have been spent unpacking boxes mostly. Unpacking has been OK because our rooms and hallways are supposed be be painted before school officially starts next week, but as of this afternoon it still hasn't happened yet, so I can't really hang things up or set up my classroom, so it's mostly been organizing than decorating the past two days. I'll probably go in at least one other day this week to get some more stuff done.
One of the things we talked about during yesterday's PD were our school's values, inclusion, inquiry, and responsibility, and specifically focused on inquiry-based teaching. That talk seemed to solidify my decision to go with CMP3 as my main curriculum this school year. I had been debating it a lot this summer (and last school year), but the truth is, I really to believe that it is the best way to learn mathematics. I had a lot of fun when I taught it two years ago, and my scholars really became mathematicians. It's still going to be a learning process for me, and of course no curriculum is perfect, but I am happy with my decision, because in my teacher gut (at least for right now) I know that it is the right one. I think I'm gonna pilot using JumpRope for standards-based grading, mostly because it's free and I have some exposure using it already.
I also decided to steal a page from my 6th grade colleague last year and make my baseline assessment (IA #0) and end-of-year assessment the same. In other words, I will test my 6th graders on 6th grade standards, and my 7th graders on 7th grade standards. My reason for this will be to give me the pre-assessment data that I need for each unit right away, so that I can see which standards I need to focus on (based off student mastery) and what standards, if any, I can hold back on. I'm also going to use Khan Academy again for skill practice, which will hopefully complement the inquiry-based classwork.
Well that's it for now. I'm sure I'll have more to update as the week goes on. Hopefully I can keep this up as the school year goes on.
PS It's been two days, and I still cannot believe that I can actually walk to work now (no more hour plus long commute each way for me)... that alone is already making this year pretty darn sweet ;)