1/8 down...

So far I'm 95% happy with the changes I've made this year!

1. I didn't assign seats. But you know the students sit in the same spot every day!  I may encourage/force them to move around now that I know their names. :)

2. I abandoned my table folders, sadly. Instead I keep a bin by the door for each class and put papers in it for them to pick up on their way in. Turning stuff in hasn't been a big deal because I'm not collecting much.  Sometimes I have the kids put their work in that same bin, sometimes I just walk around and pick it up.  In the past I've been horrible about returning work, but so far so good.  I even just passed back a packet of problems that the kids turned in yesterday!

3. In Precalc I've been using Quick Quizzes over topics about 2 days after we learn it. It helps us all see how things are progressing. I've allowed the kids to re-do those if they'd like, so while it's technically a summative measure that I'm kinda using formatively, that second chance makes it not as bad.

4. I'm weighting my grades in both Precalc and Math 3. I've been counting most homework for a grade in Math 3 so having the weight makes me feel better. I feel like the overall grade is a better indication of what they know instead of how much homework they've done.

5. I'm not counting much of the Precalc homework for a grade, so while I constantly encourage and remind students to practice problems, I also tell them that if they're getting several correct in a row to skip around to different types of problems. It's not necessary to complete them all. As a review for today's test I gave them several options to practice (2 online, 1 paper)... I heard students discussing what they'd done to get ready.

6. I have less than 100 total students this year, which has to be an all-time low. In my two Math 3 classes I have 29 students, so today I had them fill out a goal sheet saying what was going well, what they needed to work on, and goals for the rest of the year. I printed out their grade sheets and sat with each student individually to check in with them. It was great! We had a chance to talk about what was good and review what they could do for me to make things even better. One of my super quiet students wrote that she'd gotten her first ever A on a math test in here, so that gave me a chance to celebrate with her.  I never would've known it was her first one (and that she was proud of it) otherwise.

7. I invested in some dry-erase sleeves over the summer when someone posted that they were on Groupon. LOVE THEM!  I've been putting a lot of warm-up puzzles in them and the kids just grab one on their way in the classroom. Yesterday for a review game (Quizlet Live) I'd put in a blank piece of paper so they could just flip over from their warm up to work on that side of it.  I found this book at 5 Below this summer (for $4!) which has some awesome puzzles in it. We use them a lot.

My classroom is basically brand new; while it's the same space I have new floor & ceiling tiles, whiteboards on three walls, two short-throw projectors, and air conditioning. Aside from the days where the temperature was a brisk 64 degrees, it's been great. The desks are on wheels, so instead of using pizza boxes as dividers during a quiz, I just have the kids separate themselves. It's nice to be able to see everyone as they're working (the pizza boxes didn't allow for that).

All in all, so far so good!