Focus in 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018 5 comments
New year, new you, amirite?

I wanted to pop in and write a quick post about my goals for the year.

I have been seeing all over the internet the idea of choosing a word for your year instead of resolutions, and I absolutely love it!

Of course, that is not enough- I have also been working on goal setting using the S.M.A.R.T. technique.

So for 2018, my word is FOCUS.

Being a mom, teacher, wife, scientist, runner, PERSON can get overwhelming. After my second daughter was born, people would ask how it was going. My word then was relentless. The demands were never ending; a constant wave after wave of everyone else's needs.

But I did not choose that word, life, at that time, had chosen it for me.

Now that my girls are older, I am able to move back into making myself and my goals more of a priority.

In choosing the word FOCUS, I am making the decision to intentionally work on my goals.

Next, I tackled my goals for the year. 

S.M.A.R.T goals are ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed. This makes you have to be more accurate than just saying "I want to be healthier".

Bear in mind that the more time and thought you put into making your goals S.M.A.R.T., the more likely you will be able to reach them.

I separated my goals into 3 categories- personal, school and business, and limited them to no more than three in each category.

Personal -
1) Run Broad Street 10 miler in May and the Half Marathon in November
2) Lose 15 lbs
3) Run a 5k each month

1) Reach and keep a minimum income until the beginning of next school year
2) Get my business parts streamlined

1) Create a cohesive yearly curriculum for all classes that incorporates my values
2) Create a classroom that feels like an "internship" style room that encourages students to become problem solvers and inventors
3) Create a more interactive system of work using the digital tools I am required to use

My personal goals laid out in my bullet journal

For all of these goals, I went through and identified how I will measure success in each one, what steps I will take to achieve them, why achieving that goal is worth it and a date when they should be completed.

This took me a few days- I kept writing and revisiting them over and over until I was satisfied.

The toughest ones will be the school goals- this is my first year in this school and with this subject (STEM  taught in PBL manner) so it was hard to put into words what I wanted. For a couple of my goals, I am still unsure how they will be measured, so that is still a work in progress.

I also created pages in my bullet journal for tracking the steps to my goals, and check in points where I can re-evaluate as I go. Because, life...

So far, I feel empowered and on track! I have an incredibly positive feeling about my goals and the steps I have already taken, that at times I almost have to hold myself back from rushing forward to complete the next step!

But, then, I focus. 

I take a close look at the step I am at. Am I on track?

Am I completing this step to the best of my ability, or to it's full end, before rushing along?

I remind myself, I took a lot of time and careful thought to ensure that I have time to complete everything.

I think this year will be good.

What word, goal or resolution did you make? Do you have a plan to achieve it?

Comment below and share it with us!

Teaching STEM using PBL in 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 1 comment

Well, it has been a bit since I posted! This year, I started at a new school, teaching 8th and 9th grade STEM, along with an Urban Gardening class. While I am super stoked to be at my new school, as you can imagine, I have been a little overwhelmed!

When I was hired on, I kept trying to get a handle on what I would be teaching. 

"You will be teaching 9th grade Life Sciences/ Biotechnology- but it isn't biology!" 

"Teach your passion!"

"Just teach STEM!"

Here's the kicker- because my class is in addition to the regular science classes, I have to basically avoid the major topics for those grades!

For example, I was going to do a study on GMO and genetics with my 9th graders- nope, they are doing that in their other science classes.

I started my 8th graders with an ecosystems/ invasive species unit- surprise!- they are learning the exact same thing in regular science! 

I also decided to teach STEM using project based learning (PBL) method. 

I have never done this before. I don't know anyone else who has done this before. 

There has been a bit of a learning curve...

So, for the first half of the year, I have been focusing on putting together meaningful learning activities about topics that I feel strongly about- environmental impact and personal action. 

I have also been learning as much as I can, as fast as I can, about teaching STEM, PBL and grading based on standards and rubrics. 

Now that I have a plan for the rest of the year, I am looking forward to sharing with you everything I have been learning, as well as working on new products for my TpT store!

My resolution for 2018 is to write about once a month on the various going-ons of the classroom and about my journey into STEM and PBL. I will still be sharing recipes and fun kids activities as the come up as well.

Thank you so much for coming along on this adventure with me! Stay tuned for my next post about STEM!