Excitement for the new year

This past week was a nice way to ease us all back into the teaching routine after the Christmas holidays. We started with the Australia Day public holiday followed by two staff development days with time allowed for planning, then on Thursday years 7, 11 and 12 started the school year and on Friday we were in full swing with years 8, 9 and 10 starting up too.

I’m pretty excided about a few things this year:

  1. Each year everyone in our staffroom moves desks. This year I’m seated next to my closest colleague and already we’ve had some amazing conversations that are made so much easier now that we can just spin in our chairs rather than walking the length of the staffroom. We’re helping to keep each other grounded – reminding each other to pick one thing in our classes to focus on and make amazing rather than trying to improve everything all at once.
  1. I’m working with Year 7 for the first time this year. I’m pretty excited to be teaching younger students and new content.
  1. I’m flipping my classroom! Last year I had a beautiful Year 9 class full of hardworking and enthusiastic students, and I asked (really nicely) to have them again this year. It was beautiful to have a student say “Miss I almost cried with happiness when I found out we have you again!”. Anyway, I feel like I know these kids and I think they trust me so I figure it’s a perfect time to try flipping my classroom. Last year all the teachers at my school were given iPads so in the holidays I played around and made some videos. I’m planning of flipping this first topic (rates) and then evaluating how the flipped classroom went and asking for feedback from my students. I’m using Google Drive to share all the videos with my class, and I’ve made a Google form where students need to answer 3 questions about the content and I get all the responses in a spreadsheet. That way I get a snapshot of their understanding and I can highlight any misconceptions I need to address with individuals at the start of the next lesson. I explained all this to the kids at the end of the first lesson and they seemed pretty impressed with the idea… “So we watch like a 5 minute video, take some notes and answer 3 questions – and that’s it for homework?!”. The only concern anyone raised was that they might not be able to watch videos if they had work or other commitments after school, but we talked about the fact that it should only take 15 minutes and that they would have the same problem if I gave then a page of questions to complete for homework. I really think this will be amazing if all goes to plan but I’m a little scared because really, how often do things go according to plan when teenagers are involved?

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