Wednesday, April 6, 2016

EdCamp, Praxis, NY Teacher Leadership Summit, Test Prep, Post-Test, PBL & BIE

Despite the weather feeling otherwise, Spring is indeed here!  My students have been taking their ELA state test this week, and then next week is math.  It's so wonderful that they have unlimited time this year, and so far, everything has been running smoothly.  Needless to say, though, that I've had a lot a time to think, while actively proctoring...

April Events: EdCamp, Praxis, NY Teacher Leadership Summit application
I think my biggest realization so far has been "Wow, I have a lot going on in April, but man I am happy about it."  It's true, every weekend in April, I have something work-related going on.  This weekend I'm participating in EdCampBrooklyn, the following week I am taking my Praxis exam for MfA, and I am scoring state tests the last two weekends.; and some of my amazing colleagues and I have been working on our NY Teacher Leadership Summit application, which I will be submitting for us later on this month.  So April has been busy, but I see myself growing and learning so much!  A year ago, I felt... stagnant - I was overwhelmed, and didn't feel like I was growing anymore.  What a difference a year makes!  I also recently got reacquainted with something I wanted to do more than a year ago, but never followed through - Teaching Matters Micro-credentials.  I signed up with my old school, but never did anything with it, but now I think I am in a much better place to take advantage of these opportunities.  

Another thing that has been on my mind as I proctor, is, obviously, what to do after the test, and I think I have a rough idea.  My station work reviewing for the state test next week has been going well.  I really like my structure of four stations (multiple choice questions w/o calculators, multiple choice questions w/ calculators, constructed response questions, and grading constructed response questions (and if I want smaller groups, or have more time, sometimes a fifth station of online practice) but I really like how it works.  It gets kids moving and talking, and is a different way to review for the state test.

After the test, however, my 6th graders will be studying statistics, so I think their final project will be either be a quantitative or comparative investigation.  I skimmed the CMP unit project, and it looks like it has potential.  I may skip the post-test standards for my 7th graders and have them participate in the MIND Research Institute's Game-a-thon as their big project for this year and then I want to start on 8th grade CMP, even though we don't have the books yet.  The Game-a-thon project ties in nicely with our current unit on statistics and probability, and would work out perfectly for our family engagement night in May.

Next Year
Another thing that always comes to mind this time of year, is "how am I going to make next year awesome?"  In addition to our NY Teacher Leadership Summit project (even if we don't get picked, we are gonna try and make it happen anyway), I want to explore standards-based grading and project-based learning more.  My AP even shared this awesome PBL resource, Buck Institute for Education (BIE), with me earlier today.   I will most likely be moving up with all of my classes next year, so I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade/ Algebra 1, so lots of opportunities for growth next year.

2016 MoMathlon
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to bring ten of my 7th graders to the 2016 MoMathlon, and even though it was a cold, rainy Monday, we had a great time and one of the teams was even able to bring home the 5th place trophy!  I was so proud of them, and so grateful to all the parent support.  It was our first time participating (I had brought students to the Bronx one the past few years) and definitely gives us room to grow, so I am excited.

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