End of the Year
Well, the end of the school year arrived. Reports were done. End of year trips were done. Graduation came and went. The classroom is packed up for the summer. I, and the students, learned a lot this year. I had a very good group this past school year. They were enthusiastic learners, and were willing to try all of my new ideas including a variety of new technology ones. I will miss them a great deal. See my previous post as to how they were my muses.
The day 5 math challenge was born out of a triple math period. Both grade 8's had them. I read a lot from Jo Boaler the last two summers, and, wanted to implement her principles. I think that most important for my students was that mistakes are okay, and even important, and struggle is good. It is okay to be a little slower as sometimes deep thinking takes time. I wanted them to also feel successful in math. I wanted them to be active. At graduation, the day 5 challenge came up many times as the best memory of grade 8. I will be doing it again next year.
We did many challenges and then I discovered Digital Breakouts (see another previous post). The kids loved them. They asked for them. I delivered. They take time to make but I got to be faster. We learned together. It was great!
The other thing I did this year was spend more time getting to know my students as people. I spent breaks with them just listening and hanging out without any of the academic pressures. I started this as an endeavor to be an external conscience but discovered that I liked listening to their stories. It did help them think about what they did and said when I was in the room, but also when not in the room as they never knew when I would appear. They claimed I had "psick ninja skills". I just call it good timing, listening and awareness. I also think that students respond better to you when they know you care about them as people. It is true. I also teach better as I get a better understanding of their interests, their needs and their strengths.
As summer really kicks off, the problem is now disconnecting. I actually do miss them. I would often spend more time with them than my own family at home. So it is a bit hard trying to adjust. Life will go on. There are summer projects, reading and vacation time as well as planning for next year to do. Indy, is already pretty happy as he gets to spend more time with me.
|Happy to be sprawled on the Deck|
I wish them a fun summer. I wish them good luck next year. And I hope they remember some of the key lessons we learned no matter who teaches them in the future. My students this year have been my inspiration, my raison d'etre and because of them I am a better teacher. Future students will benefit.
Enjoy your summer. Recharge your batteries. And, make math fun. It really is worth it.