Paper Trails II

Previously on misscalcul8....

  • How to fit all of this in 45 minute periods?
  • Could the vocabulary be part of their learning log?
  • Aren't you overwhelming yourself with these ideas?
  • Shouldn't you include verbal vocabulary practice too?

How to fit all of this in 45 minute periods?
Class will start with a timed warm-up. I'm thinking 7 minutes. We'll end with the exit slip and learning log. Another 7 minutes. That leaves 31 minutes for everything else. The rest I don't have broken down to the minute. What I would like to do is teach, practice, teach, practice alternately during those 30 minutes. Man, it sounds like not enough time when I say it like that. But, structure is what I need. I want my students to be focused and engaged as much as possible for as long as possible. I've got to work on my classroom management and this is the best way.

I've been told over and over to work on procedures. I did an okay job of starting class and a terrible job of ending it. By making the warm-up timed, I'm forcing students to get  focused and get started quickly. By ending with the exit slip, I'm summarizing what they've learned. With the learning log, I'm (hopefully) giving them time to reflect on what we did in class and hopefully spot any misconceptions early on. By alternating between teaching and doing examples, I'm hoping to break up the 45 minutes into short bursts of focused learning instead of a monotonous 45 minutes of lecture with an undisciplined bunch of people. Hoping.

Could the vocabulary be part of their learning log?
It most definitely should be. I don't know if I've mentioned this or not but I also want to give weekly vocab quizzes. I'm pretty certain they will be separate from skills assessments but probably given on the same day.  I'm thinking the learning log should encompass everything they need to study for assessment on Friday. Still thinking this through. Liking the idea of a giant packet thing. But, paper trails...*sigh* Just give me 21 laptops already!!!!

Aren't you overwhelming yourself with these ideas?
In a word, yes. These ideas in addition to sbg (which I am currently procrastinating out of fear) are killer. But last year I was idealess. This year my ideas are overflowing and so, of course,  I want to do them all. Knowing your own limitations is a strength, and fortunately one of mine. I know when I have taken on too much and if I take on one more thing, it will be too much. But I have to do these things.. I have to. Once I get the structure I want and my templates created, the rest is just doing it. SBG is the real beast. None of  these ideas will be executed perfectly, but none ever are.

Shouldn't you include verbal vocabulary practice too?
I really don't know enough about vocabulary to speak to this issue. Definitely we will be pronouncing and using these words during class, but what other things do we need to work on verbally? Using them in other contexts? Using them in complete sentences? Spelling the words out? Which makes me think, should I count off for spelling on vocabulary quizzes?

Ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated.


  1. misscalcul8,

    I think you could cut your warmup time by half, depending on its content. One or two problems can be done in <5 minutes, esp if you have them displayed/available as the students come in the room. They can use what's left of their between class time to get started.


  2. That's true, bur knowing myself the way I do, I'd like to plan more time than necessary. =)

  3. Hi Misscalcul8,

    I think a lot of your readers are teachers or perhaps in some area of education and so I’m writing to suggest www.school-counselor.org as a resource link on your blog. This website provides career and licensure information for those who are interested in moving into the school counseling profession.

    Hope this is helpful,

    Seth Sanford

  4. Thanks so much for taking my survey! I'm going into my 4th year, and the more time that goes by, the more conversations I have with myself like this. It's like my first couple years I had no idea how many things I could have been doing better. It gets overwhelming to be sure. My only suggestion would be to focus first on the thing that is likely to make the biggest impact on your student learning, and spend less time on the smaller details. Easier said than done, I know.

  5. Stacy,
    You are right and I hadn't realized that yet. I should focus the most of my time on what makes the most impact. Thank you for reminding me that I am procrastinating. =)

  6. While I'm aware that math is definitely different than history, I feel my classes need to be more open to adjustment. I don't plan things to the minute. And I honestly have things that I don't get to most days. Sometimes they just roll over to the next day, or I just say, "I don't need to use this, they got it."

    I guess that's part of the 'art' of teaching. Seeing what your class needs and adjusting on the fly.

  7. Mr. Duez,

    I don't have the classroom management skills to keep me out of trouble so I hope to plan and structure my classes in a way that makes classroom management easy. I love plans, even if I don't go by them.