Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Plans for 2012

As I do every summer over the holidays I think about the coming year and what I want to aim towards.  As I found last year, as well as setting those goals, I need to be open to what just suddenly inspires me and follow that track as well, it can take me down surprising paths.

However for now I am thinking just about from February to April - our first term. Term two will be a sabbatical term, and who knows where I will want to track after that.  I find that writing and publishing my goals helps, it makes me more accountable.  I have said it, and now I want to live it out.

At this time of the year this picture shows  how my brain feels,  getting something written helps to put some shape on things, and the picture more complete!

School goals

1. Read children's books, during school term at least one a week - leading to at least 52 in the year.

2. Encourage some of my students to join Goodreads where they can discuss books among themselves and keep track of their reading.

3. Teach students how to write once a week a reading response in the form of a letter that will provide ongoing discussion between them and me about what they are noticing in their reading. (see" Guiding Readers and Writers", Fountas and Pinnell.) My goal is to respond to each, one from each student each week. This will be rotated - 5 students per night.

4. Sharpen up my skills with conferring with reading conferences first and then writing conferences. At present I am reading "Conferring: The Keystone of  Reader's Workshop" by Patrick Allen.  I have used his form to make my conference form.

5. Use Evernote for recording notes from reading conferences.  I am not sure at this stage whether I will revert to paper and pen, which for me is a lot faster, however I like the organisation that will result with Evernote.  I have already drawn up a page for it.  I was very pleased as once I had a master done I was easily able to put a copy in each student's notebook.
Screenshot from my ipad.
6. Give my more able Maths students more control over their own learning.  So I am going to trial using a Maths Daily Five type schedule with them but modified to suit us.  Hopefully they will be able to work at what they set as their goals and I will conference them individually once a week, and meet with them in smaller groups as needed.

 I am going to give five options that they will engage in:
1) Maths problem solving and writing an explanation of how they solved it.

2) Maths with a partner - I will have some options for them, I think our Figure it Out series will be a good  beginning.

3) Maths work by self - I will have a variety of text books that they can choose to use to practise whatever they believe they need within Number and Algebra for Term One.
4) Maths using technology - I will have some digital pathways from Digistore set up for them as a start. NZ Maths have it all well set out. I will set up a wiki where the students can easily access these learning objects. This slot could also involve making Showme type videos as tutorials for others.
5) Maths game with one or two others.

I have another group of students who will need a lot of hands on from me, and that is where I hope to spend the majority of my time.

7.  Track and meet the commitments made for global connections.  I have already made myself a page where I can see easily what projects we are involved in, who is running them, what we need to do when and a link to the web site.  Now I am not holding it all in my head.  I need to visit the plan at least twice a week to keep on track.

8. Improve the quality of commenting on blogs in my classroom.  See my previous post. 

9. Settle into a new classroom space. Adapt it as we need, explore the possibilities of it.  Just moving to it has been a big job. Still not settled in there yet.  However I am organising it more thoroughly than I ever have before.  Organisation of things etc is not my strength - it doesn't come naturally.

What are your goals at the moment?  Do you set goals or are you more of a let's see what happens person?  Personally I think there is merit in both ways.


  1. Hi Miss T,
    I think your goals are great but very ambitious. I particularly like the goal of reading more children's books yourself. I try to do this as much as possible and really enjoy it. To encourage myself, I have a corner table in my bedroom on which I display a few books I borrow to entice me. I make sure to return and borrow more books after I've read one to keep an active rotation.
    I also love the reading response letters and will try this in the future.
    In terms of maths, I have a few ideas for ongoing maths projects on my blog that could be great for extending students, including 'build your dream house' maths where students design their own house and use maths to 'build' it.
    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to keeping track of your progress in 2012,

  2. Anna
    Thanks for the great idea of always replacing a returned book with another one. Keeps up the momentum indeed.
    I must check out your blog for the maths activity as I am open to any suggestions around Maths.

  3. Wow Miss T,
    I am impressed with your online tracking. Thank you for sharing that as I am always trying to find a way to organise my projects (in a way that doesn't need further organisation).
    My goal is to listen and learn from distant expert-peers (via blogs and the Twitterverse) and reflect on that learning in my own blog. I'm a goal-setter but try(!) to be flexible in achieving them, as sometimes I get hung up on the result I want and can be blind to seeing other opportunities for learning along the way.

    1. Laughing at the try.with the exclamation mark, to be flexible, it's a trial for those of us who like to to aim straight ahead.
      I love picking up ideas from everyone though, I wish Twitterverse was around years ago!

  4. Hi Kathryn
    There are some fantastic goals here. You're going to be a very busy teacher this year. I'm interested to see how you go with Evernote, I was using it last year just to take informal notes as the children read to me. The organisation of it is fantastic, and I also recorded kids with a microphone to make it even better. I used it sparingly, but found it very useful at reporting time. I'm sure I could use it in a much more effective way this year. I look forward to hearing your progress with it.

    Professionally, I have never been one to set goals. But I will definitely be sitting down this weekend to map mine out for the first part of the year. I realise now that are important in keeping you on track and motivating you to achieve great things in the classroom!

    Good luck this year.



    1. Jarryd
      Yes I will be experimenting with evernote, I am not sure of the table I have set up, it doesn't stay stable, size changes when I wnter data. Also am very good taking quick notes with pen and paper, but can only trial it.
      We started back today,seems so much to do! I know my maths lovers are going to be saying, where is Maths. I'm not quite ready yet!


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