Saturday, August 24, 2013

Feathers Again

I went back through my 'hope' tag and found my end-of-year self-assessment series. I hadn't realized it was so long since I'd revisted it!

There's a lot that's still relevant. Portia is still a nauseatingly sexist portrayal of womanhood. Composition books are way better than binders or spiral-bound notebooks. I still haven't kept in touch with parents as often as I feel I ought to (although I've improved and I probably call at least as much as I need to). We still do silent reading each day, although I switched it to the start of class instead of the end. I punted the journal-style writing assignments to homework, because the plain truth of the matter is it's far more challenging to fake those!

But a lot of things have changed, as well. As I look over the list, it's very reassuring (even encouraging!) to see that the changes have been positive. I don't really notice anything where I'm like "oo, I used to be awesome at XYZ, and now I suck at it! bugger that!" Like, last year I didn't do small-group literature circles as much, and for a little bit I felt bad about that... but then I realized I did more with individual choice reading. So there was something of a tradeoff there. However, one of the things I'm going to attempt for THIS year is kind of blending the two. (Keep your fingers crossed for me.)

I'm also trying to be as specific as possible with my goals. I hear that's important. So here they are:

  1. Go to the library each Monday. Return all of the books from the previous Monday. Read at least the first ten pages of each book and log it in Goodreads.
  2. 20 parent calls per day first 4 days. 10 parent calls each Monday beginning 9/9.
  3. Review coding lessons on Tuesday.
  4. Unit plan reviewed and revised if needed each Wednesday. Plans for upcoming unit emailed to department head the Wednesday before it begins.
  5. Write a chapter of fanfic on Thursday.
  6. Homework grades input daily; quizzes, projects, tests, essays graded by Friday.
  7. Check that focus question, standards, and quickwrite for the next day are posted before leaving.
  8. Progress reports handed out every Tuesday. (I have planning at the end of the day, so I’ll print them Monday and hand them out Tuesday.)
  9. More student work posted to the class website. This is going to be iffy – we’ve lost access to one of our two labs as it’s been set aside for online classes. This is important to me but I can’t count on students having their own internet access, so if it works, it works, if not… I’ll just hope for next year.
  10. Try using individual choice books in literature circles. Not sure how that's going to work when there's a mix of novels and nonfiction, but I guess I'll find out!

The coding thing is because I'm still mad about blogger screwing up my click-throughs. I'm working with Codecademy and so far I've reviewed HTML (I really need to get rid of some of my bad/old habits, but it's harrrrd!) and moved into CSS. I think the problem is in the definition of the "fullpost" descriptor. But I haven't yet learned how to define descriptors. I suppose that's more advanced.

The writing thing is harder. I mean, I started trying to write more because Penny Kittle said so, but she (and Mardie! *hearts*) also say that it's important to write WITH them. And I just don't know if I can do that. See, the thing is, I'm not by nature a Professional Person. I'm pretty casual and quirky. And I have to squish that part of me at school. I can't wear jeans except on Friday and then only with a professional-casual shirt, because the T-shirt featuring Chernabog that we got at Disney was deemed inappropriate. If I dye my hair, it has to be normal-looking colors. So when I've tried to model writing for my students, I have to have "writing something that won't get me in trouble" as a priority ahead of "writing truthfully."

Hm. I hadn't actually realized that before. Interesting. Clearly I'll have to give it some more thought.

So I have ten new goals for this year. That sounds reasonable. And I think I'll submit five of them to my evaluator. We aren't required to do so, but I don't find rubberstamp evaluations particularly helpful. I would rather take charge "pursuing professional excellence," as I put it in my tag, on my own, rather than waiting around for a bunch of legislators to tell me how they've come up with some kind of computerized algorithm that's going to rate me based on how well my students do on tests. No thank you!

Now I'm going to take my own advice and go back and update the HTML in this post.

Image thanks to


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