This post is really really hard. I started reading blogs during winter break of the 2013-2014 school year and immediately my Feedly was filled with almost 100 blogs to follow. Right now I’m at 194 that I follow. I haven’t read every single post, but I do save them all for later so I can read many of them eventually. As I’m reading I tag them in Evernote if they’re about something content-specific. That way when I’m lesson planning I can search the MTBoS Search Engine and my Evernote.
But this post is hard because there are so many posts out there that made my life better/easier. Here is a compilation of some, and I’m sure I’ll be thinking of others after I post this:
For lesson planning:
- Meg Craig’s Files – Meg didn’t know it at the time, but she saved me so much stress last year when I was the only teacher in a school teaching four different preps. I used so much from her that I can’t thank her enough. I love that she not only puts her files up as Word documents so you can edit them to fit your class but also that she usually shares her teacher keys so you can see how she goes through everything with her classes. My favorite by far was her advice on Graphing Polynomials, which I taught in College Algebra and then later in Algebra II. My classes ended up dancing like John Travolta and playing R. Kelly’s Remix to Ignition (for the bounces) all the time after that. It was so fun and it just clicked for the students.
- All the Virtual Filing Cabinets. Here are some to name a few: Sam’s at Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere, Beth’s at Algebra’s Friend, Elissa’s at Misscalcul8, and Julie’s at Sad Armadillo
- MTBoS Search Engine – duh, just do it
For engagement and just straight up awesome teaching:
- Everything from Sara VanDerWerf. I go to her blog so frequently that it’s one of the suggested sites from Google when I open a new tab.
The post I go to the most is The Pursuit of 100%. Practical Ideas for Engaging Students. I learn more every time I go to it. I’ve used so much of it this year and I’m impressed every time at how my students are really engaged more than I ever had seen before. And this post is long, but every word is important. Sara is so intentional in what she does and makes sure that when she shares something, she shares why she does it. If you haven’t read anything from Sara yet, stop reading this and go spend the rest of your time on her site because it will blow your mind.
And I always have blog posts to catch up on. I think I do it wrong – since I save everything before I read, I still have posts from people’s beginning of the school year at the bottom of my saved posts. So on the days where I read blogs, I usually try to read a few from the top and then also a few from the bottom, and sometimes a few in the middle. I used to just read the bottom of the list but then I started to miss things from people like Dan Meyer’s [Pseudocontext Saturdays] and would feel left out when I saw references to it on Twitter. It’s also kind of fun to read old posts and see how things have progressed throughout the year. So here are some posts I read recently that I learned from and/or they improved my life in some way:
- Let’s be honest – homework sucks for everyone by Jon Corripo on Alice Keeler’s blog Teacher Tech – after much consideration, I have decided to not give homework in my Math 2 classes. I’ll probably blog about that later, but Alice is the main reason for this decision
- Three Things from Jonathan at Infinite Sums – learned the word “nascent” and have now used it more than once
#MTBoSBlaugust Parent Communication from Beth at Algebra’s Friend – the idea to comment on a recent activity when I send out my unit emails is something I probably should have thought of before but now I will do it every time!
- #ObserveMe by Robert at RobertKaplinsky.com – I would love to do this but I’m too chicken/don’t think anyone would come in. I’ve talked about it to some people at my school and the outcome of the conversation just leaves me feeling down about the whole thing, but one day I hope to have a school culture where we can all do this
- Preparing Students for Boring Teachers by Dylan at Five Twelve Thirteen – I get told that I’m not preparing students for college with the way that I teach more than I’d like to admit. Usually it’s from people that haven’t been in a high school in a long time but occasionally it’s from other teachers. I’ve never really had a good response for that comment until I read this post.
- These Twenty Things by Fawn at Finding Ways – it’s a post by Fawn. Do I really have to say more?
- Other People’s Posts from 2016 (+ my stuff) by Michael at Teaching with Problems – this is just a great compilation of other posts about teaching and reminded me of some other favorites, like Lisa’s What even IS good teaching?, which made me feel better about myself because Lisa is obviously great and if she has terrible lessons some days but knows everything’s ok because she has great relationships with all her kids and in the end that’s what matters most, then I can have some terrible lessons and still be an ok teacher because I know I have pretty good relationships with most of my kids. I could write a whole blog post on this, too, so maybe I will.
- A No Fail New Years Resolution by Jenn at Communicating Mathematically – This made me laugh but it was also a good reminder that it’s ok to have a day where you only get one thing done and that thing can be “breathe” or “make a mistake”
- Ways I’m Staying More Organized This Year by Sarah at Math = Love – Putting copy stacks in plastic sleeves is SO much better than the alternating-direction stacking I used to do! I can’t really make my own copies at my school (I have 250 copies per month with my own code but the math department is unlimited if I go through the copy lady) so I try to get things copied ahead of time and this just makes things so much nicer
Vous êtes supers!