Entry 25 – The Homework Debate

Entry 25 – The Homework Debate

This week's reflection prompt: Do you think we give too much homework as a school or not enough? As I was preparing to write this reflection, I did some research on Alfie Kohn's homework ideas and theories.  If you're not aware, Kohn is probably the lead voice in criticizing most homework practices and stating their ineffectiveness (as well as writing a lot on rewards/punishments as motivations...another topic I have a lot of thoughts on but will save for another blog). I generally agree with Kohn but also feel that he is a bit of an idealist with most of his…
Read More
Entry 24 – My Lesson Plan Workflow

Entry 24 – My Lesson Plan Workflow

This week's prompt: What is your lesson plan workflow? I was the one who proposed this question to the teachers who reflect at my school as I'm pretty curious about how people work.  Here's my general workflow based on the type of class. MATH CLASSES I design a lesson around one learning objective.  Most of my lesson planning is revising previous lessons from last year rather than starting from scratch. 1.  Develop the learning objective.  I'm trying to make these more about the concept rather than the ability ('students will be able to use the distributive property' versus 'students will…
Read More
Entry 17 – Needing Math Teachers Willing To Comment on Student Blogs

Entry 17 – Needing Math Teachers Willing To Comment on Student Blogs

It's Thursday of the first week of Christmas break.  Thought I'd reflect a bit on something new I tried in this last week of the semester. STUDENT MATH BLOGS My school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school.  In IB schools, students write an Internal Assessment (IA) in math their junior and senior year; a thesis on an exploration of some mathematical concept.  While preparing middle schoolers for the upcoming IA is part of why I have students writing about math in math class, the bigger reason is to give me a way to assess their conceptual understanding; can they explain a…
Read More
Entry 16 – Why I Put the Answers on My Most Recent Math Test

Entry 16 – Why I Put the Answers on My Most Recent Math Test

Last week I gave a test in Pre-Algebra assessing their ability to perform all the operations when working with rational numbers.  In my previous post, I talked about how I typically have not let students use calculators on this unit but I did this year.  Then I thought, 'well why not take the power away from the calculator and just give them the answer and have them show me that they know how to get to that answer.'  The plan was solidified when I was listening to a math education podcast and the guest talked about doing the exact same…
Read More
Entry 09 – Frustrating Moments in Middle School Math

Entry 09 – Frustrating Moments in Middle School Math

This week's prompt was the following: How does your curriculum / teaching style here at Headwaters compare to the way you taught in other private schools, public schools, or schools outside of the US? I feel I kind of answered that after my first year here at Headwaters (formerly known as Khabele).  I wrote a post that talked about all the differences between my time in a public elementary school to my time at this private middle/high school.  You can check it out HERE.  I guess this post will be more of a reflection on the week instead. We had…
Read More
Entry 08 – Dealing With Student Pushback

Entry 08 – Dealing With Student Pushback

One of my favorite things about teaching middle school is the magic of students being old enough to connect with on a more personal level (much more so than elementary students) but they're also young enough that they sort of buy in to most of what you have them do.  While there's value in students beginning to think independently and challenge the status quo, sometimes teaching is a lot easier when students generally trust most of your decisions.  I feel they're more in that trusting place in middle school.  I also like that kids aren't too cool to get excited about…
Read More
5 Innovative Ways To Create Positive Classroom Culture

5 Innovative Ways To Create Positive Classroom Culture

**This was a guest post I had written for curriculum.org.  It was my first guest post!** Teaching three years in a public primary school and the previous two years in a private middle school, I’ve gotten the chance to spend time in two very different classroom environments.  I noticed that the main thing that really affected the ability for students to connect not only with the class content, but with each other and with me, was the culture that was developed in the classroom.  I view culture as the the overall vibe and mood of the room; what are the…
Read More
Art Is Theft – Entry 1

Art Is Theft – Entry 1

I've been vlogging a lot lately.  I got inspired by a guy name Casey Neistat.  He was the first vlogger I watched that I didn't get bored by (most of them are just people talking to their camera for 15 minutes).  He made his vlogs pretty cinematic (like here and here).  I've always been one who video taped the things going on around me, especially in college, but I didn't make nearly as many movies out of those videos as I had hoped.  Seeing his vlog though sparked some ideas on how to creatively share stories of everyday life. A comment was left…
Read More
How Do You Brand Yourself As An Educator-Entrepreneur?

How Do You Brand Yourself As An Educator-Entrepreneur?

Lately I've been working to establish my own online brand / identity.  I have GibsonEdu as my name on most social media.  It's sparked a ton of ideas and things to wrestle with that I never anticipated when I made that GibsonEdu twitter account 4 years ago.  I was thinking I would go with a brand of GibsonEdu Media and a tag of 'Educator. Blogger. Filmmaker.' but that's led to a lot of questions. A LOGO? I'm starting to explore getting a logo made, but I'm trying to figure out what the logo should say.  Should GibsonEdu Media just be…
Read More
Why Do I Believe In Jesus?

Why Do I Believe In Jesus?

I'm currently going through the membership process at my church.  Part of the process is to reflect on how I became a Christian.  Below are my thoughts and reflections on it. I became a Christian when I was 8 years old. I hadn’t gone to church much up to that point but my sister and I were staying with my grandparents for the summer and they took us to vacation bible school. Each day during the week, they had an invitation where everyone put their heads down. They didn’t play music or anything, they just asked people who wanted to…
Read More