Okay, maybe it’s not technically Day 1. My colleagues are still on vacation. They report back for a Professional Day on Friday; that will be the first school obligation from which I will be absent. But my own kids are back in school today, so it’s my first opportunity to really take a crack at my Sabbatical To-Do List.
The list is loosely divided between “School/Math” and “Home” items. (Or, in other words, “Fun” and “Not-So-Fun” items.) I am going to focus on the “Home” items in these first few days, to see if I can get that list whittled down, but here are a few of the “School/Math” items that are on my radar:
- Prepare my artwork for JMM
- Brainstorm ideas for additions to my Shapeways store
- Think more seriously about the structure of my Advanced Topics course
About that last one. If you follow me on Twitter you know that I get to do some pretty cool stuff with my Advanced Topics students. I’ve always prided myself on just “going with the flow” in that course, and doing a lot of meandering, and deciding day-to-day what I will ask the students to do, both in and out of class. But I think that both I and they would benefit from more structure. Which is not exactly my strong suit. (By “structure” I mostly mean a consistent, transparent approach to things like assignments, assessments, and grades.) So I’m going to take some time to think about what kind of structure I could place on the course that would still allow it to maintain its free-wheeling nature.
I think some “backwards design” is in order. Step One will be answering questions like: How do I want my students to have changed by the end of the course? What skills and habits would I like them to have acquired? Only then does it make sense to think about what kind of structures would help me achieve those goals.
Okay, I’m off to the DPW. They owe me a $200 rebate check for the washer and dryer we bought. A rebate for which I initially applied on July 17th, and which has just been delayed, and delayed, and delayed. I don’t make scenes in public, but any more runaround, and I might decide to try it.