Although my school has less than 180 days in our school year, I have decided to try a "Teach 180" blog this year. In the past, I have written blogs that are long and that I agonize over. (It can easily take me 2-3 hours to write one blog post.) This year I will write shorter blogs and with that there will hopefully be less agony.
Today was the first day of school and I could talk about my classes and how they went. Instead, I am going to focus on something that I read as I was registering for Math Madness. (This is an online math competition that some of my students have participated in for the past four years.) The Math Madness website lists the following as its pedagogical foundation:
The idea behind Math Madness is to create a structure that motivates students throughout the entirety of a school semester, one of enough time duration and frequency that students can observe actual progress, and in turn, amplify their efforts to continue on that path.
Math Madness has a structure that allows students to work toward improving in problem solving by beating their own personal best. This made me wonder, "Do I have a structure that allows students to work toward improving in my classroom?" In the past, I would put a sticker on a "A" quiz or test. However, for many students a "C" or a "B" is their "A" or personal best. This doesn't mean that in my room "everyone will get a trophy" for simply showing up. What is does mean is that I need to do a better job at recognizing not just the "A" students, but also recognizing those students who work with determination to "amplify their efforts" and ultimately, become more successful.