#MTBoS Yule Blog Days 1-5

Perhaps I have a bit of a overly analytical personality or maybe it’s the time of year, but I decided to take a few moments in the midst of my winter break to look back at the current school year’s peculiarities.  Consider this post my replacement for days 1-5 of the #MTBoS12days Yule Blog Challenge.  It’s a value that cannot be beat!  5 blog posts in 1 meandering ramble!

Day 1 (Holiday Favorites)

  • Favorite Treat- Kolaczki (I don’t make them, I just eat them)
  • Favorite Inexpensive Gifts- Candy and Baked Goods
  • Favorite Memory- Going to the nearby zoo to see all of the cool decorations

Day 2 (Success Stories from Last Semester)

  • Consistency with No-Frills Interactive Notebooks.  I have more structured notes and even some foldables compared to Mr. Claydon’s classes, but the idea is similar.
  • Spiraled homework for my General classes.  I ended up creating the vast majority of these assignments, which required a fair amount of time and creativity.  At the start of November, I questioned the value of this practice when I compared the time I spent making assignments and the time students spent completing homework.  Two events encouraged me to continue spiraling homework.  First, I noticed an increase in homework completion and quality.  On average, the completion rate for this year’s classes was 10%-20% higher compared to the previous year.  While many factors influence homework completion, students this year seem to like that half of most assignments are guaranteed to be review.  Second, parents brought up homework at fall conferences.  A couple parents complimented that the assignments, “force kids to remember what they learned,” and a few others noticed increased confidence in their students.  Armed with data and feedback, I plan to continue spiraling homework in the spring.
  • Questioning.  I spent more time thinking through my questions and questioning strategies this semester.  Last year, my plans usually focused on problems and tasks with the occasional emphasis on questions.  This year, my plans resemble more of a mixture of questions and tasks than an agenda.

Day 3 (How I Relax and Rejuvenate)

  • Reading Blogs and Books
  • Spending Time with Family and Friends
  • Playing Guitar and Bass
  • Watching Movies

Day 4 (Books)

  • Books I Read This Semester: For some reason I got on an R. L. Stine kick.  I read Superstitous from Stine and a few of his Fear Street novels.
  • Books I’m Reading: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  I’ve read this book 3 times before and I love the way the author describes 1890s Chicago.
  • Books I want to Read: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.  I watched the first season of the Amazon show inspired by the book.  I know the book is at least 10 times as good.

Day 5 (Start, Stop, Continue for Next Semester)

  • Start:
    • Searching the #MTBoS even more for new resources
    • Some sort of student self-monitoring of grades/mastery
    • Coaching basketball
  • Stop:
    • Review days?  I’m questioning if reviewing in class is necessary and actually impacts student performance.
    • Starting sentences with the words so, okay, and alright.  For some reason, I only slip into this habit when I teach in front of an entire class.
  • Continue:





4 thoughts on “#MTBoS Yule Blog Days 1-5

  1. I want to start spiraling homework this semester so I’m glad to hear it was good for you! I also am starting to doubt the validity of review days but I’m not sure if I can give those up just yet. I like review activities too much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My review realization kinda of came about gradually as I saw the benefits of spiraled homework. Spiraling is time intensive even with me teaching the same subjects as last year, so don’t feel pressured to try it with every class right away. I heard about abandoning traditional review days at ICTM in October and I thought the idea was little far fetched, but it’s sounding more and more plausible as I see student retain more with help from spiraled assignments. I plan to try no review for my next test. Regardless of the outcome, I’ll blog about the results.


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