Here are some things I've changed and liked so far this year (or have done before and tweaked and am on the road to liking):
* Answer Banks! Heavens bless the answer banks. The students get immediate feedback and are willing to work harder on the problem. Of course, this is barring any teacher mistakes, ahem. They are used to the *few* mistakes I make, and my rationalization is that it makes them think a wee bit more carefully to justify their answers before they check with me. Then the NEXT year's class will think I'm SOOOO perfect (once I fix the mistakes) and .... who am I fooling, there will be new worksheets and fresh new exciting mistakes.
* Peer Checking! In my project-based classes, I have jumped on the peer checking band-wagon I observed in an English class once. For every step of their projects, they have to get another student to check the part and make sure it is correct before they get me to sign off on it. We have a discussion on why this job is important and how you don't want to let the check-ee down. It also gets kids to talk to each other and to see how others do things. I make it so that they can't ask the same person to check everything. I also like to break the projects down to little parts, and sometimes I grade the little parts, so that their WHOLE grade is not dependent on JUST the final product but on the process.
* Writing and Justification questions! Oh my was I in for a surprise when I asked some "gimme" questions on a calculus exam (or so I thought). What it "gimme"-ed to me was the fact that even though the kids MAY be able to get the right # answer, they did not have a deep understanding of the meaning of things or how things fit together. Oy. I have started the slow process of adding such questions to their homework assignments. This I hope will further their deep(er) understanding.
* Taking time to just enjoy the kids and all their goofiness. My 9th grade IED class during the last block of the day is basically a room full of little wriggly puppies that bounce around and have joy in their eyes and just want to be scratched behind the ears. I love them. They are a salve to my hurting heart. I make sure to keep a nice voice and humor when I redirect them for the 9,999th time each class to get back to work. They do get their work done, but I am so used to the 11th and 12th graders who are just so much more low energy and quiet. It's a nice mix of kids of all kinds in all my classes.
* Focusing on being present. With 6 preps to plan and 31 recommendations to write and yoga to teach and NHS duties and PLTW duties and after-school duties and spanish class homework and ...... well, you've been there. I just put my blinders on and for the most part just concentrate on this day or this block or this span of time. So far I haven't dropped too many balls. I'm also nicely distracted during the week. I also remember that in all the previous years, everything always seems to get done one way or the other, and I will not stress too much about it. Deep breathes and just doing my best.
* Time for fun. I make sure I have things to look forward to outside of school. I am loving my Spanish class, and one day will be fluent and travel to all sorts of Spanish-speaking countries. My art class is awesome. I get to work on what I want and the time flies. I am also doing the Kayla Itsines exercise program and am on week 20 and LOVE it and am seeing some body changes. I also binge shop for books and see movies and LOVE all of the sudoku books by djape. Then there are the puzzle and game apps on my iPad. ...
Okay, super proud of my art class so far, here are two exercises I did:
(copied from a pinterest picture)
(unfinished 1/2 my face copied from a black and white iPad selfie)