The Journey…

It’s hard to write an action plan when you are already busy putting the plan in action! (uh oh, I just saw a little connection to unit plans in that sentence – mental note: get your unit plans done!). And now that we’re on the topic of unit plans and backwards design, what are, in fact, the objectives of my Cohort21 adventure? I’ve mentioned them in previous posts but here they are again in case you weren’t following along in the back row:

image courtesy of

image courtesy

  • Foster independence and responsibility in my students
  • Create flexibility in delivering lessons
  • Make mathematics more accessible to my students

In part, these goals are a career-long journey, not to be checked off my to-do list at the end of one school year. On the other hand, making solid progress on any or all of them will (hopefully) profoundly affect both me as a teacher and my students as learners. As an added bonus, I expect the unexpected: new ideas and opportunities will arise as a result of the process. As the Germans say: “Der Weg ist das Ziel”, … the journey is the goal (ok, evidently they got that from Confucius).

The journey, therefore, will include the following in this school year:

  • Build a mixed synchronous / asynchronous classroom model using flipped lessons, google hangouts, and cloud tools for collaboration
  • Leverage existing tools for increasing student independence (lessons, resources & materials available online)
  • Curate (!) a set of resources, including graphics, videos and articles that show mathematics as a way of thinking rather than just as a school subject

As I said above, the plan is already in action. I have been away from school for workshops and stayed home due to illness in the past few weeks. My smallest class is just 2 students, 12th graders who are highly motivated. They are my guinea pigs. I took a break in writing this post to attempt a google hangout from home in order to explain the solutions to their homework problems. The hangout was a failure, so we will have to practice with the technology. However, their lesson video for today awaits them on Youtube, they have extra practice problems waiting on Blackboard, and one student has posted solutions to some problems on a virtual whiteboard.

The journey is underway.

6 Replies to “The Journey…”

  1. Let’s hear it for student independence! And bravo for setting this journey in the context of a lifelong journey. Too often we focus on short-term goals, and lose sight of the whole plan. It is worth communicating this sort of message to our students as well. What is the long-term plan for math knowledge and how does this unit fit into that plan?
    Sorry to hear the Google Hangout didn’t Workout!

  2. This is getting even ME excited about learning math…how much do I wish that you were teaching me the subject when I was in high school!

    I haven’t tried using Google Hangouts with my students yet, because while our school is Google’d up to the max, we have the hangout capability turned off. I’m assuming that you had the students set up their own personal Gmail accounts to hang with you…but I found this site that might give some helpful guidance in setting this up:

    What a treat that you have the ability to test-run these things with a smaller (very small) class and work out the kinks for your larger classes!

  3. What great goals! Good for you to give Google Hangouts a try. Given my limited experience with it, it certainly seems like something one needs to play around with to learn its inner nuances. Still, it’s pretty inspiring to hear that you’re making inroads on your action plan even while sick and away. I hope you’re feeling better and I’ll see you soon!

  4. Ruth,

    We are really looking forward to your action plan post and the area of teaching and learning you would like to explore. Remember that before publishing your post be sure to add an action plan category and tag to your post.

    Refresher How-To Video :


    * Be sure to read at least one other blog and comment on it.

    * Don’t Stress… Your Action Plan post can be in the form of a question, musings, or concrete task. It can be short, it can be long………it just has to be meaningful to YOU!

    Go flipped library!!


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