Time to commit! This is my first official blog post! Thanks Mary for spurring me on with your first post! I have intended to start blogging for over a year now. I just wouldn’t ever get started.

I have spent my summer reading for my own professional development more than ever before. It has caused many ideas to begin rambling around in my head. So many things I want to try in the upcoming school year, but I know must pick only a few to focus on at a time. The overarching theme I want throughout all of my classes comes from Jo Boaler’s “Mathematical Mindsets.” I want students to develop a “growth mindset,” become problem solvers and know that making mistakes is a positive thing in my classroom. That is how they know they are growing and learning.

I teach high school mathematics at Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning (AACAL) in Amarillo, TX. As of now, I will be teaching Pre-Calculus, Algebra 1 and Mathematics for Medical Professionals (shortened to Med Math for obvious reasons). For Algebra 1, I will be planning with other teachers on my campus, so I am not sure how much I will be able to influence them to try some of the things I want to try. We will just see. For Pre-Calculus and Med Math, I am the only one teaching these courses on my campus, so those will be the courses I will try out some new stuff.

I know for both classes I will be starting the year with the Week of Inspirational Math from youcubed.org. I used this last year and my students loved it. However, I did not do a very good job of continuing tasks and activities to encourage a growth mindset the rest of the year. This year I want to increase the number of “low floor high ceiling” tasks in all my classes. I know, though, that I will have to come up with many of those on my own, especially for Med Math.

My first focus for the school year will be Pre-Calculus. I have students that will be at many different levels as they come into this class. Due to our scheduling and availability of faculty, this course can only be offered as Pre-AP/Dual Credit. I have students that wanted to take Regular Pre-Calc that will be thrown into this course. I do NOT want them to be afraid of the math. I want to show them that no matter where they are now they CAN be successful at the Pre-AP level. I believe every one of them can learn and gain a deeper understanding of the math. Now, it is my job to make sure I get them there. This may turn into a call for help!

Thanks Mary Gambrel for posting your first blog! I, too, will be joining the MTBoS Blaugust!