Saturday, August 3, 2013

Who doesn't love a makeover?

If you didn't notice, I've done a blog makeover!  Who doesn't love a makeover?  Have you ever looked forward to something and it didn't turn out quite how you expected (think of all those Pinterest ideas that didn't look quite like the original pin!)?  Well this is definitely NOT one of those times!  The new look exceeded what I envisioned and I couldn't be happier!

I'm also working on making over my classroom.  Not necessarily my classroom decor (although I am making a few changes), but the "culture" of my classroom.  If you've been here lately, you know that I've participated in the "Minds on Mathematics" book study.  The book, and the discussions the other great teachers and I have had, have really made me think about how I've approached teaching in my classroom and why there is need for a makeover.

First, the classroom and lessons, need to be more student centered.  I feel like I do a pretty good job of this at the beginning of the year and then somewhere around November/December I get tired and slip into bad old habits.  The work of the classroom, i.e. the learning, needs to belong to the students, and the only way for that to happen is for the students to do the "work".  A teenager doesn't learn to drive a car by watching videos or someone else do it; they have to do it themselves.

With this in mind, I sat down the other day to pencil out some plans for the first week of school.  On the first day, we see all of our students, but we have some classes for a bit longer than others.  We don't really do "much" on the 1st day except some introductions.  On the second day, I usually go over my expectations and some procedural "stuff".  I have a letter that goes home to the parents welcoming them to my classroom and giving them information about how to contact me.

As I thought about this second day, I had an epiphany.  Why was I going over the letter with the students?  It was the students who needed the information so wouldn't it be better if they read the letter themselves?  So with the math workshop format in mind, the welcome letter, will become the work time for the second day of the school  During this work time, students will read through the letter with their groups and highlight "important" information.  Our "closing" will be going over any questions that the students have.  By doing this, I'm promoting collaboration (an important 21st century skill!), the students learning about our workshop format from the beginning, and I'm sending the students the message that they are responsible their learning.  

I'm really excited about so many things!  Stay tuned for my next classroom makeover blog-i-sode!


  1. I'm your newest follower... Megan designed my blog too! I teach 5th and 6th grade math :) Looking forward to hearing your ideas and tips!

    Floating Through Fifth

  2. Hi Liz! Thanks for stopping by. Don't you love Megan's designs? Here's to a great year!


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