Goals, goals, goals…

Scary word that is used a lot in our profession.  It carries a heaviness that gives many educators a slightly metallic taste because it can sometimes be accompanied by judgement if certain prescribed benchmarks are not met.

I am going to choose to read that word as if my 2 year old just scored in his first soccer game – maybe he ran down the field, without stumbling, and swung back his leg with absolutely no intended direction, but that ball, backed by all of his energy, hit the net with a sweet, soft, finality.  He did it!  He worked so hard!  GOAL!

That’s what I am choosing to work for, and by viewing them this way, I am excited to get to work.

So, here are my math goals for this upcoming school year…

1. To make math purposefully fun!  I want to see my students approach difficult mathematical concepts with excitement – NO TEARS!  This will take intentional planning on my part, and thoughtful modeling at the beginning so my students understand that we are going to work together, make mistakes together, and develop understanding together as a team.

2. To better document student successes and struggles.  I could listen to a student talk through their thinking for hours, and while I might at that time see why they recorded it the way that they did, 2 days later their scribbles and labels normally look a bit hairy to me.  I need to make sure I’m taking notes, everyday, on what these kids are explaining to me, and keep them organized and together so I will continuously be building a better picture of each young mathematician in my classroom.

Not big, flashy, or by any means ground breaking goals – but the impact it could make inside my classroom is giant!

Not that simply typing those goals means that they will be met.  Just like my sweet boy in his soccer game, there are lots of pretty flowers, shiny rocks, and mud that could trip me up along the way – not to mention, the running skills of a 2 year old, while adorable and entertaining, are still incredibly unsteady.

I can foresee 1 major roadblock, taking multiple shapes and forms, getting directly in my way this year – I AM normally TIRED.  Countless meetings on campus, runny noses that make sleeping difficult for the 2 kids under the age of 2 living in my home, getting behind in any (and possibly all) other content areas… Sometimes you just walk out of the door at the end of the day, shoulders down, hair looking crazy, searching for chips, salsa and happy hour.

… Sometimes those days happen everyday.

But, that’s when I need to remember how Miles, my messy, loud, wild 2 year old boy, would react to making that first score – he’d smile, cheer (for himself of course, he’s just 2 after all!), and he’d run down the field ready for the next one.

We can do this!

… And let’s be honest, happy hour NEVER hurts!



  1. nancyqsmith · August 2, 2015

    I have observed you several times and excited to be part of your journey!!! We can do this!


  2. rrelemmath · August 4, 2015

    I like your interpretation of goals. Since everyone in our cohort is choosing to be part of it and spend the extra time to learn together, I want your goals to be something you personally want to strive for. I’m not looking for any data beyond you feeling empowered to teach math in the way you just described. I look forward to visiting your classroom again this year, and I look forward to all of us helping you accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Just like a soccer team, we can do it TOGETHER! 🙂


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