This school year marks my second year out of the classroom.
Yet, I still consider myself a teacher. If anything, the last school year and this one thus far has given me a lot of time to think about what I did, how I taught, and how I would teach.
- Technology, but not all the time: Admittedly, there were times when I wanted to use technology so badly it not only defeated the purpose but resulted in a worse learning opportunity. I once spent hours constructing a geogebra lesson that was over in twenty minutes and did nothing but frustrate my co-teacher. It was a great lesson to be sure, but could have just as easily and probably better been done with a protractor and compass.
- Use Twitter/Social Media more: Admittedly, Twitter itself was founded in March 2006 and I started teaching February 2006. Yet, I would have made a concerted effort to share what I was doing with more people and not been afraid to share as much. In the last year or so of teaching I probably overshared because I was so happy to have opportunities like Teaching Channel Teams, Twitter and Facebook groups (plus Math and Beer nights!) to share ideas of projects. Shout out to Zach Niles, Tommy Fredrickson, George Finocchio, Denise Klinger, and Jonathan Muster among many others for responding to my emails, texts, and project ideas. Not sure HOW, but i would probably try to Periscope what my lessons were about before the day started to share and solicit feedback.
- Become Google or Apple Certified: Might not be too late for this yet, but I would have done this BEFORE I had a kid and moved from Fresno. However, a Masters Degree was pretty cool to be able to do and Tri-This took 90% of my free time for a good 4-5 years and was WELL worth it!
- Tech tools I would love to use/have used more:
- OpenEd: Only formative assessment tool with a strong content library that actually shows students resources based on formative assessments. And I work for them/wrote hundreds of questions. I’m really excited about our new Textbook Lesson Plan feature that can help engage students who might otherwise be stuck with boring, non-engaging textbooks.
- Desmos: Another fantastic math tool that has grown SO much than being just an online graphing calculator. Aside from Function Carnival, the student-facing tools are top notch as well. I really see Desmos as a tool for students and teachers to EXPLORE mathematics, not just see it. It does things I wish Wolfram Mathematica Demonstrations did, but viewable on any browser without the need for a large plug-in.
- Teaching Channel Teams/Interactive PD tools: While I wish I’d been able to use it most often in my early years, peer-based professional learning through video is incredibly powerful and PD tools make it easy to do. It’s awkward, difficult at first and no tool is perfect, but like OpenEd with videos to immediately give positive reinforcement, it’s well on the right track. I also really like what I’ve seen of BloomBoard but haven’t used it.
- Plickers: I can’t help but love this ‘plucky’ tool that bridges the low-tech/high-tech divide. For rapid multiple-choice questions to get discussion going, nothing beats it for ease of use and simplicity.
- MARS lessons – map.mathshell.org is a treasure trove of great tasks that help kids get thinking and more importantly to me, guidance to teachers.
I made the decision to come to the private sector to help more teachers. While it’s an adjustment in pace and lifestyle, I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the work I’m doing!