Wow! I can’t believe another school year has already come to an end. Our last day was Thursday, and I feel like I have been going nonstop since then trying to catch up on everything that I did not have time for during the crazy end of the year period. I made sure to find time to reflect on the school year while it is fresh in my mind. In doing so, I came up with some things that went very well, and some clear goals for next year.
Today, I’d like to share three of my successes from the 2018-19 school year.
I truly believe in trying new things as an educator and as a person. Sometimes, they work out great, and other times… not so much. Either way, I always learn and grow. I never want to be the person who says, “But this is the way we’ve always done it.”
So… here are three things I tried this year that worked out very well.
I loved using the Homeroom app. This is a great way to connect with parents about what is going on in the classroom. It is basically like a closed Instagram account, so there are no worries about unknown people peering into your account. If you are not familiar with Homeroom, you can read more about it here.
Parent response to this was very positive. I would always end my posts with a question they could ask their child. For example, if I sent a picture of students playing a math game, I would suggest that the parents ask their child about the strategy he/she used while playing the game.
Explaining the “new math” to parents can be a challenge because math has changed so much over the years. I am very fortunate to have parents who want to work with their children and reinforce what we are working on at school. I wanted to find a way to clearly share strategies with parents. This year, I used Screencastify to record myself working out math problems on the SMART Board. I shared the videos with parents, so they could see the entire process of solving the problems (including underlining the question and circling key words). This Chrome extension was a huge help! My only regret is not doing this earlier in the year. I will definitely add to my video library next year.
If you’d like to read more about how I used Screencastify for math, you can read this post.
I have used Planbook.com for my lesson plans for several years now. However, this was the first year that I tried out the grade book feature. (I’m not sure when this was added.) I love that you can add notes to a student to help you remember specific information (e.g. “Great job showing work!” or “Correct answers, but he needs to write in sentences.”) Another great feature is the ability to generate performance reports for individual students. These come in very handy for conferences. You can also excuse students from assignments or mark them as missing. Planbook has great video tutorials that do way better job explaining the features than I ever could. If you’d like to see their grade book in action, you can click here and view video number 17.
Although I had a great year, there are definitely some areas I want to continue to work on next year. Later in the week, I will share three goals I have for the 2018-19 school year and some resources I plan on using to help me accomplish my goals.