Start of Year Notes

Published: 2015-07-31 02:59 |

Category: Teaching | Tags: reflection, todo

It seems appropriate to bookend my summer writing hiatus with some notes on the start of the year on August 6th. I’ve got a lot of things planned and I’m excited to start the year fresh in the same building and same course I was teaching at the end of last year. It’s an opportunity I haven’t had in a while and I’m looking forward to having some direct continuity. I’m also excited because I can take my notes from last year and apply them immediately in context.

These are in a quasi-hierarchy based on how much I’ve thought about it over the summer.

  1. Every lesson is completely intentional.
  2. Every assignment is linked back to an observable standard or skill.
  3. Class procedures will be established early and used consistently to set a culture from day 1.
  4. Students staying organized is a higher priority.

I’ve also made it a goal of mine to make sure anything I create is reusable and immediately helpful. I’ve learned that I get caught up in how “pretty” something is – big images, clean lines, etc. It’s a distraction and doesn’t necessarily help the learning. To fix it, I’m taking my class website back to bare-bones. Students need information and they don’t want to dig for it. So, my website is now a collapsing tree of links that is so minimal it works on everything. (Turns out, when you don’t care about images, you can build a mobile-ready site in minutes.)

new site menuness newsite-mobile

The goal is usability. Titles are descriptive and in sequence. They’re also hidden until the students wants to see it. The arrow icons on some items show that they’ll be taken to another page (usually a Google Doc with more information). This is also lightning fast because the entire website comes in around 10KB right now (compared to an average website, which comes in at 2MB).

There is a lot that will probably change, and that’s okay…teaching is a learning process.

Comments are always open. You can get in touch by sending me an email at