If one thing is constant for me as a teacher it is this: nothing is ever the same from year to year. I often spend my summers reflecting on the previous year and on the lessons I learned with my students. It is on this basis that I make changes or adjustments in September. Often, what worked for one group of children won’t work for a different group. This “difference” is what makes teaching come alive for me year after year. It’s never the same because I never teach the same group of students or teach under the same circumstances; I am never the same teacher from one year to the next. In fact, the opposite is always true. Now, if this makes teaching hard, so be it. Whether or not teaching is harder than most other professions is up for grabs. See this: http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/poll/poll-about-teachers-make-sure-you-vote-in-this-poll/#disqus_thread
So, after a summer of reading, reflecting, and planning I am ready to make changes in my classroom practice. I may experiment with a new teaching strategy, make adjustments to classroom structures, or study up on a specific aspect of teaching. This summer my focus was on math. I asked myself three questions. How can I get children to love math in the same way they love to read and write? How can I make math class interesting and challenging for everyone and not just for the children that get it right away? How can I infuse an inquiry perspective to our math time?
I tend to teach math whole group with some time set aside for practicing the focus of a lesson. I find that whole group instruction does not allow me to effectively differentiate my teaching to the needs of my students or to effectively scaffold learning math in Spanish. So as I experiment by using small group instruction, one-on-one conferencing, and math workshop choices, I will be blogging about how these changes in the organization of my teaching of math, impact my student’s understanding of big ideas as they are challenged to communicate and work in their second language. I look forward to your comments.