August 24, 2014

Goal Setting

My brain is still in summer mode but I've managed a few moments of clarity where I've reflected on my summer experiences and past years to make a plan for this year. I've come up with four goals, two that I am setting for students and two that I am setting for myself.

Student goals:

Develop (or strengthen) a growth mindset

Catch phrase: YET

Message: You can learn everything I ask of you (and more!) if you do the work. You don't need to be told how to do every step, you are capable of thinking.

Monitoring: I am required to give four interim assessments throughout the year as predictors for the state test. Along with each of those I will have students complete a growth mindset survey.
Question: How do I convince students to answer with their true belief rather than what they think I want to hear (it's specifically named a survey not quiz and is ungraded, right now I have a question for name but I'm not attached to including it)
Hope: Taking a growth mindset survey before taking a test that they aren't necessarily prepared for might encourage students to see difficult problems on the test as challenges to look forward to accomplishing.

I have a (draft?) of my survey as a google form and figured out how to get the spreadsheet to score it for me! Make a copy of the form to save to your own drive. I don't think the spreadsheet and form will be linked if you copy both of them so don't do anything with my spreadsheet yet. You'll need some data to see how this works, so take the survey. Then go back to your editable form and select "view responses." Insert a new sheet in this spreadsheet and then copy the first two rows of my sheet 2 into your sheet 2. It should score your responses automatically. Once kids fill out the form their responses will be in the first sheet only. To score them, highlight cells A-Q in row 2 of sheet 2 and use the autofill dragging feature (drag the square in the right corner of selected cells down until you've highlighted as many rows as were filled in sheet 1). If that's totally unclear leave a comment or send me a tweet (@crstn85) and I'll try to help you figure this out. I wish forms were as easy to share as other things!


Catch phrase: You are responsible for your own understanding.

Message: We provide resources to help you learn. It's important that you figure out how you learn (this is especially important since I teach many students with learning disabilities). Use group space and alone time wisely. Find your math soul mate(s) and use them wisely. Take the initiative (to ask a question, to do extra practice, to take a break).

Monitoring: In my Algebra 1 classes I will use a modified form of the stamp charts we used last year. (I'll share my new notebook setup once we've tested it and determined if there are major bugs.) The chart hits on many of the elements of responsibility and will communicate both to the students and the teachers what areas of weakness are. Perhaps in my PreCalc class I will use participation quizzes.

Teacher Goals:

Build in review

After attend Kathryn's Math Maintenance session at TMC14 I realized that I need structure in order to successfully build in review. If it's not a routine then it never happens. I'm taking her Math Maintenance routine and using it for homework. Each night there will be several problems on the topic from that day. In addition, there will be one problem on the review topic of the week and one problem that is sort of bootcamp for an upcoming topic. I love the idea of taking an open response question and spreading it across the week. It's also an easy place to put multiple choice practice (state test, SAT etc.). As an added incentive, I'll count the week's worth of review problems as sufficient to retake a test/quiz on that topic. In discussing this with my new colleague he mentioned that teachers at his previous school put problems that many students had struggled with on a recent assessment on the homework. I love this idea!

Balanced Units

There are some units that include many skills that are easy to separate, those units see many quizzes. There are other units where I've found great tasks, lots of great tasks, and I want to do all of them. Part way through second semester last year I realized that my gradebook was becoming very uneven and I decided that I needed to be planning more medium picture. I have the big picture of which units happen in what order, and I plan the day to day, but I wasn't taking time to look at the unit to see if it was balanced in investigation vs. practice vs. assessment. This year I'm going to decide on skills and tasks before I start each unit. I will make a document with this list to go into the unit folder and then write comments there after completing any lesson that went particularly well or poorly and at the end of the unit. Ideally I will get my colleagues to comment on these documents as well so we can have a comprehensive unit overview to refer to next year. (Idea for the shared doc that people reflect in comes from a PCMI presentation.)

I'd love for the monitoring on my teacher goals to come from you. Ask me sometime to share my progress?

What are your goals for the school year?


  1. Great goals! Thanks for posting the link to the Math Maintenance. I missed that session at TMC and I really like the formatting, but will need some time to mull it over and figure out how to make it work in my classroom.

  2. Thanks, Tina for reminding me of the importance of these things. Here are my own goals for the year:

    Also, thanks for sharing about the Participation Quizzes. Have you tried them yet? I definitely want to do them next week for our group-work day.