Monday, February 17, 2014

My year in numbers

I feel like I'm behind this year. There's a constant feeling of playing catch-up. I'm in my 11th year of teaching and while I don't have all the answers, and I'm constantly trying out new things, I feel like I should have a better handle on everything. I use to be great and knowing every name, first and last, of every student at first glance. This year I find myself pausing more and more to recall names. I'm not as instantly quick as I use to be.

Am I getting older? Am I slipping in some way? Or is it a numbers game and I'm hitting my data limit...?

Here is how my year breaks down, by the numbers...

25 available instructional periods a week
3 tech support periods
22 instructional periods, 21 unique classes

2nd grade - 153
3rd grage - 159
4th grade - 156
5th grade - 121
12:1 Inclusion - 11
Total: 600

I see 600 students a week. 568 of those I see once a week, for a single 50 minute period.

600. Students. Per Week.

So how does this break down?

An average of 27.27 students per period.
(some classes are 25, some as high as 32)

Each period is 50 minutes.

50 minutes per 22 periods is 1,100 minutes of instruction available per week. That's a 1.83 minute average per student if I'm looking at it in terms of individualized instruction.
(and that's not counting mini-lesson, line-up, etc)

What I haven't figured out yet is how many periods have been lost. I've lost periods for 4 days of professional development, but I've left plans for those days and I've Skyped into those classes whenever possible, so those are not a complete loss.

The other periods I've missed have been for a snow day, various field trips & assemblies, random schedule changes, and so forth. There have been classes I've seen once in a 5 week time period.

At the end of the year I think I'll add it all it (I keep track of who I missed and why in my plan book), get a sense of how much instructional time was available, how much I actual had, and what that breaks down to on a per student basis.

This is the largest volume of students I have ever had in my previous 10 years.

I'm not complaining, just observing. Of course I'd prefer to have half the students and twice the time with them, but that's not the world I live in so I don't spend much time worrying about it. There is a benefit to having such a volume....
... I have more opportunities for students to support each other. With every class having such a large number of students, the range of skill and ability is equally as large. This provides great opportunity for students to support one another, teach one another, and learn from one another.

Next year it is possible I could have more. Classes are projected to average closer to 30 and it is quite possible I won't get the single double-period and the 3 tech support periods. Next year's average could very easily reach 750 students per week.

750 student per week. Wow. Just typing it is a bit overwhelming. But if that's what it is, that's what is. It'll be a challenge, but one I'm more than eager to take on. After all, if I can teach 750 student a weeks, get 750 students to do quality research, blog, make presentations, present their work to their peers, tweet, and collaborate, than there's pretty much nothing I can't tackle.

So for now I am pushing the limits with my 589. We're tweeting and blogging. Researching. Creating presentations. Moving toward building sites to showcase all we do.

Check out PS10Tech on Twitter and to see a small sampling of the great work my students are producing.

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