Organization Woes and the Future

What is the opposite of a “type A” personality?

That is what I am. Whatever that is called.

as an example, this post. Unorganized thoughts at the end of a school year.

Student’s system:

In geometry I give each student a 1 inch 3-ring binder (which I keep in my class and re-use each year) and a composition notebook used as interactive notes. Most of the time students store their notebook inside of a pocket in the binder. This year students set up dividers labeled:

  • warm ups
  • Learning Targets
  • practice
  • projects
  • assessments

I am hoping to focus more on spiraling the curriculum and verbal assessments with student portfolios. I am considering students organizing their binders next year dividing it by hexter (my schools equivalent of quarters – we use sixths of a school year)

I still need to plan over the summer how I can do to things with geometry:

  1. Spiral Curriculum – resources to get started:
    1. Geoff Krall
    2. Alex Overwijck
  2. Although I use standards based grading. I want to improve it. I need to do a better job of measuring student learning using a body of evidence, not just one or two written assessments. I want to include an face to face interview / portfolio discussion with each student as a key element of their grades.
    1. When I do give a written assessment, include pace for feedback & student corrections or response as part of the assessment.

My mess:

I’m on a mission to take up less space in my classroom. I currently have a big laptop cart, a huge desk, 2 bookshelves, a cabinet, a tall file cabinet and a large table all for my crap. It is getting ridiculous. I’ve noticed that regardless of how much space I make for myself in my classroom, I use all of it and it is all always covered in papers. So I found a much smaller desk, and I am eliminating the big table. I am getting rid of anything I haven’t used in the past 2 years – or at least getting it out of my classroom. Here it is today. I’ll post an “after” pic and update in a few days.

2015-05-28 13.17.52


Talking Points as End of School Survey

At the end of last school year I had students complete a survey to help me improve, but it took a long time and I think students just started clicking anything towards the end because it was the end of the school year and they were just done.

This year, I decided to use talking points in lieu of a end of school year survey. Hearing their discussions gave me better feedback on what they thought about the class and what they learned during the class then the survey from the previous school year. I’m considering doing talking points as a sort of informal pre / post test at the start and end of each unit.

Here are my talking points for Geometry and the results:


I also listed the major (and memorable) tasks that we did all school year and asked students to identify the activities that were their favorite, least favorite and the ones where they learned the most. It was a good way to have students discuss and recall the activities that we completed throughout the school year. Here are these results:


Kahoot is popular and students like the interactive notebooks. I’m surprised how many students claim to have learned a lot from the Surface area with Doughnuts activity. It is also obvious that students appreciate activities involving food.