Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monitoring My GAME Plan Progress

The following questions help me monitor my GAME plan progress:
  • Am I finding the information and resources I need?
  • Do I need to modify my action plan?
  • What have I learned so far?
  • What new questions have arisen?
It seems that I am always finding new information and resources to help reach my goals. Some of the resources I mentioned earlier have produced a lot of material I can use in my Math lessons. In addition, as I talk about this plan with my fellow teachers, they have provided some great feedback and additional ideas. We often discuss how difficult it is to keep a class of middle school students interested and engaged for 90 minutes each day. Making the lessons more relevant by providing more real-life applications is crucial to student motivation, but it is hard work! While some applications seem so obvious to me, my students do not share the same set of background knowledge that I have, so it is not obvious to them. Although I was once a teenager...and I raised two of is not always easy to understand what is important to them. That's why I am asking them for much more feedback now. Their ideas and thoughts are definitely one of my best resources. I just wish I had tapped into that much sooner. As I mentioned in a previous post, when you first ask them for their opinions, they will give all kinds of off-the-wall answers. However, once they see that you are not only listening to, but actually implementing some of their ideas, they take it more seriously.

While my goals remain the same, I have made an important modification. To begin with, the projects will be of shorter duration. I believe nine weeks is the maximum amount of time to cover, rather than a semester. In the early stages, I am starting with Chapter projects. As I develop the units and learn from the experiences, I hope to eventually link several Chapters together into a single project.

To date, I have learned that implementing my goals will take much more time and preparation than if I just continue to do things the same way. I expected that, but I might have underestimated just a little! However, I remain focused on the idea that once the outside 'prep' work is done, the students will actually be doing more work in the classroom than I will.

Progress is usually accompanied by more questions. Some are not unexpected:

  • Will I be able to access the technology I need each time a new unit or project is started?
  • Will I be able to make adequate progress on these goals and still meet content requirements in the same time frame?

More difficult ones to answer are:
  • Will these changes produce measurable results?
  • Is the additional preparation time worth the potential benefit?

As I continue to work on these goals, I am sure that more surprises await me!

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