After looking at this past year and trying to figure out what went wrong and what went right, I have set out a simple plan to work on areas I see as areas of improvement.

1) Attend workshop on NGSS run by district – I am one on of the coordinators but I still learn at these meetings. The best part for me is talking with other teachers from around my district who teach what I teach and seeing how they are approaching things.

2) Work on developing anchor phenomena for each unit – I will be working with a few different people from around Kentucky and the nation on this task and I am excited. Trying to get that phenomena to be the center of why and what we are doing within that NGSS unit is critical.

3) Work on assessments – My assessments sucked last year. They were horrid. I am ashamed. So, with that in mind, I am setting out on a plan to go with smaller, more timely assessments that address all three dimensions of learning. I am toying with getting rid of the large, end of unit test in favor of smaller tests that are given more frequently. With each test, keep pulling some previous content or skill forward to keep the students thinking.

4) Vocabulary – Still working on this one.

5) Science Fair – well, this is going to be a huge change for me. There is a whole convoluted plan that is actually starting to take shape. Suffice it say, my students are going to be altering how they approach the science fair this year and will be blogging about their work weekly. On these blogs, they are going to interact with practicing scientists and engineers who have agreed to read and offer comments/thoughts on the students work so far. Also, I have managed to get a local university to agree to have some of their undergrads/grad students work as mentors with my students. This is very exciting and nerve wracking at the same time!

6) Motivation – I plan on having a theme each month, such as Leadership, creativity, and grit. This is still a very rough plan but the thought is to show a TED Talk or other appropriate quick video on the subject, have a discussion and then keep coming back to it throughout that month.

7) Practicing Scientists as Guests – This is more of a continuation of last year. I had a variety of practicing scientists Skype or Google Hangout with my classes. It was a fantastic success! This year, I am planning on asking them back and trying to pair them up with the appropriate content/standards. If there isn’t a good match that way, well, we’re going to probably go for it anyway. It can’t hurt to let the kids talk with a practicing scientist right?

8) Professional Learning – I plan on taking part in at least one book study online with a bunch of fantastic individuals. We are planning on reading and discussing NGSS for all Students! Looking forward to it.

9) Unwind – Seriously, if this isn’t done, I will be no good to anyone. I have to find time for my family, to have those adventures this summer. I want to play with my kids and spend time with my wife. This is my time to recharge, to get rejuvenated, to find that spark that makes me remember why I love my job. If I don’t unwind, I can’t come at it fresh and excited.

Anyway, that’s my plan. What do you all think? Any suggestions?

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