I'm feeling really weird that I haven't formally set any goals or resolutions over the last two years. New Year's Day has always been a *secret* favorite holiday of mine. I love beginnings, fresh starts, organizing, listing, etc.
When I was younger I would always write letters to myself and a couple years ago I got really into bullet journaling. In 2016 I accomplished a lot and then it's like I've just been...coasting every since.
But also I feel really happy with myself and my life when before I've always had so many things I wanted to work on.
So of course I had to tweet about it.
Feeling guilty that I haven’t really set any goals in the past two years. Also feeling happy with where I’m at in life and teaching. But feeling guilty that I haven’t tried to improve in any tangible way. But if I force myself to set fake goals aren’t I setting myself up to fail?— Elissa Miller 🦄 (@misscalcul8) December 28, 2018
I received two helpful responses.
Move to Oklahoma. There are more scholarships available. I have heard that every teacher should set a goal to change 10% of what they do every school year. 10% sounds doable. Set goals that you know will increase student learning & commit to two new lessons a month, that's 10%.— Cindy Johnson, NBCT (@Johnsonmath) December 28, 2018
This led to:
One of my weak areas is problem solving. I’m thinking open middle problems might be my “two new” a month resolution. Is this a good place to start? https://t.co/xhwHgq6ZWu— Elissa Miller 🦄 (@misscalcul8) December 31, 2018
Someone also suggested using Illustrative Mathematics so I guess my goal is two new problem solving tasks per month.
The other helpful response was:
I am always inspired by your writing. Great topic. Think it is okay to take a break and hone what you know. AND never okay to STOP getting better. AND I am positive that you tweak and twiddle and make what you say and do a little better every day, because, that is who you are.— Amy Ellen Zimmer (@zimmerdiamonds) December 28, 2018
That IS who I am. But it feels weird to not have a tangible goal for those daily tweaks.
I do have on tangible goal that I work on every year and that is to use less handouts than the year before. I use handouts for study guides before every test but the rest are basically when I haven't come up with or found a better way to practice. I have a few 'investigations' that I use every year that I like but I'm working on turning handouts into dry erase activities or review games. I label every handout in the footer.
I can't believe it took me so long to think of this but this year I started tracking handout numbers in a spreadsheet after making several mistakes with my numbering.
And now I just love it so much!
I've been using spreadsheets a lot more this year. I wrote about my planning log back in August. I added this new tab for logging handouts and also the weekly wrap up questions that I ask my students.
Another new thing I tried this year is using Delta Math. I assign 5 problems from 4 different topics every Monday that is then due the next Monday. I use zero penalty and I give them 10 points a week based on their completion rates. I don't specifically give them time in class to do it but they can work on it when they finish class work early.
Which means....another tab! I started tracking the topics I assign so I can decide when or if it needs to be repeated.
This doesn't really bring me a lot of resolution to the problem of not having resolutions...but I guess I can make a new tab and track the Open Middle or Illustrative Mathematics Problems I choose for the rest of the year.
What do you use spreadsheets for?