Two years in one blog post
Two years. REALLY? I must be old(er)…nah. Reflect:
1) What have I accomplished in the past two years? and
2) Why am I back?
The answer to #2 is really easy, but it requires an answer to #1.
#1. Since the fall of 2011, I have been busy with standards-based grading, my master’s degree and a move.
We successfully implemented a standards-based approach in Calculus AB in my school, a public high school in Northern Virginia. I was the department chair and was the leader of the 3-person curriculum group, so it was easy to get buy-in. However, it wasn’t cramming it down their throats, I achieved buy-in through creating a vision that a standards-based approach would achieve. The vision? Simple.
Teach for learning.
This makes you look at assessments completely differently. I was so tired of fixing all the problems giving big tests made. The loopholes of tests that put learning second to cramming, cheating, absences, point-grubbing, and the attitude that nothing was worth doing or learning if it wasn’t on the test literally disappear if you teach (and assess) for learning. Just ask yourself the age-old questions. What is it you want them to know? (learning targets) Do they know it? (assessments) More on that later, one blog, two years. The school made the decision to implement standards-based grading in all non-honors math classes in the 2012-13 school year, and has expanded it to include honors math classes in the current year. The school is becoming more project-based, transdisciplinary and holistic, so the standards-based approach fit right in.
In the fall of 2011, I began a two-year Master’s program in Education Leadership. Only mentioned that because of the time factor. I have been completely overwhelmed in the past two years. However, the school, program and cohort I was a part of was nothing less than brilliant. Lead for learning.
In the spring of 2012, when I was halfway through the program, and nearly through one full year of standards-based calculus, my husband accepted a job with a company in Georgia. I stayed in Virginia for one more year while my daughter finished high school and I was finishing my master’s program. I moved to Georgia in June and have a job teaching math at a public school. I have not lived outside Virginia since 1973. So much is different for me. There is so much to learn from this school’s population which is so different from the last school. I’m giving “tests” and am living the loopholes of testing again.
The answer to #2, then is: While I’m learning and am craving a collaborative team to share ideas in “teaching for learning”, I turn again to the grand internet PLC of caring teachers who I followed so thoroughly and learned so much from two years ago. I am back. Now enough about me, let’s talk about learning math.