1) Working with their peers:
My kids work with one another every day in my class, except test days. In the beginning of the term, they were quite silent when we turned them loose for group work but now there is this "busy bee" noise that is just wonderful! They're discussing their findings, they're explaining how they came to those conclusions, they're helping one another and they are talking math! It's been wonderful and I think my students are successful at collaborating with one another because we got them started on day one of working with one another. In addition, we change their seats every two weeks so they are constantly working with new people and developing their collaboration skills. In addition to this helping them develop their content knowledge and collaboration skills, "teens find it most interesting and exciting when there is a little bit of talking involved. Discussions help clear the tense atmosphere in a classroom and allow students to participate in their own learning" (Wolpert-Gawron).
4) Clearly love what you do:
I absolutely love what I do. I feel best when I am in that classroom and working with my students. I believe I emulate my love for this content and what I do just by being enthusiastic with my students. I don't believe telling your students every day that you love what you do is an effective way to communicate that with them because actions speak louder than words. Because "enthusiasm in the classroom really makes a student engaged in classroom discussions. Because even if you have wonderful information, if you don't sound interested, you are not going to get your students' attention. I also believe that excitement and enthusiasm is contagious" (Wolpert-Gawron).
8) Understand your clients - the kids:
I know my students very well. I administered a survey the very first week of school and analyzed their information in the Aeries database and really came up with a wealth of knowledge on my students right out of the starting gate. In the survey, I asked questions about their learning style, their opinions on homework and technology in the classroom and about their interests. It provided me with so much information and I was learning from them. From a student's perspective, "students don't really like to be treated as 'students.' Teachers can learn from us students. They need to ask for our input on how the students feel about a project, a test, etc. Most importantly, teachers need to ask themselves, "How would I feel if I were this student?" See from our point of view and embrace it" (Wolpert-Gawron).
These are 3 that I have already committed to and plan to always commit to. Three new ones that I want to commit to working on are: 2) working with technology, 3) connecting the real world to the work we do/project-based learning and 9) mix it up.
I want to work on technology because from my survey, most students think that using a calculator in math class is use of technology (yikes!). There are so many neat ways we can implement technology to reach our students, such as Kahoot! I want to show them that there are many ways to successfully implement technology in a math class that will enhance their learning. I want to strive to connect every lesson to the real world. Some students have a hard time understanding mathematical concepts and I believe a lot of that could be that they aren't understanding where it is coming from and what possible use they can get from it. If I ensure that each lesson clearly connects to the real world and possibly their lives, the content could be seen as much more accessible. I also want to mix it up! I think routines are important for students but I also think that routines can become mundane and boring. Mixing it up keeps the students on their toes and provides them the opportunity to explore new avenues of learning.