Some of the things I talked about doing last year came to fruition. Many didn’t. It was pretty disappointing for me. I did more creative/thinking-focused/choice-incorporated/knowledge-building assignments. Students begged for “math class” – to many students, a place where the teacher explains exactly what to do and how. I tried to give purpose for my choices and show how rewarding this work could be. Maybe (maybe) now in late February, students have (kind of) come on board.
I did more product-focused assignments. Making sure that the product-making didn’t become rote, that the product required new and deeper thinking, communicating to students how that deeper thinking looks, what that deeper thinking is was truly challenging.
I gave students far more work time (and far less me-talking time). Even with lots of rich tasks and choice, management is challenging. 45 minutes of work-time is a lot of time for a 9th grader. Keeping students focused remains my personal hardest struggle.
Maybe I’ll too hard on myself? But this is just to say, this work is challenging. Planning (and using good research) to teach in a way I believe in did not just magically make everything click. I am more happy, mostly, with what the students’ are learning and how much they are thinking, but it has not been, so far, everything I imagined.