the mathsmith collage

the mathsmith collage

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My First Few Days of School - This Year, All Bets Are OFF!

This year, I'm starting a new school with a new schedule type: trimesters...that are 72 minutes long.

So, I've been thinking about how I'm going to post my first day/week of school...At this point, since I haven't gone to our in-services yet and figured out the lay of the land and the amount of technology I'll have on the first few days, I can't post what I will be doing this year until we are pretty much there.  I have every intention of posting what actually happens this year.  From what I know already (thanks to my very informative and helpful new math dept. head), the "first day" is a shortened schedule with freshmen and other new students to help them navigate the school without getting trampled.  I don't even have to plan for that day...they have things for us to do each period with the students, such as ask whether students were able to get to their lockers, etc.  The "second day" is really the first day with everyone.

Anyways, my first day in the past looked like this:

Seating Chart Activity:

I created a coordinate plane out of the desks (when they were in rows).  I used masking tape on the floor to create the x- and y-axes.  I labeled the origin and explained which direction was up, down, left and right.  As students walked in, I gave them a notecard with a coordinate on it.  I told the students to wait until I explained the exercise, but most of the time, the students dove right in (especially honors classes).  Once everyone settled into a seat, I went around to check to see if everyone was in the correct seat.  If students were mixed up, we discussed how that student got there and where he/she should be.  This is a handy way to review simple graphing on the first day, to see how students think, and randomize the seating chart.

Introduction Power Point:

I used a power point presentation as a guide to everything I wanted to tell the students that day (mainly so I wouldn't forget anything).

It started with a few slides to overview my syllabus, which I passed out to students after the seating chart activity.  The first slides included supplies, how I weighed grades (total points...but this is where I also explained homework quizzes and how many points quizzes and tests typically were worth), my 3 class rules, class procedures, and the reminder to have students and their parents sign the syllabus.

Student Notecards:

I use student notecards to randomly call on students during a lesson.  I also use them to record book numbers, log parent contact, etc.  Once we were done reviewing the highlights of the syllabus, I had the students retrieve a textbook (from either under their chair if I was super organized that year or from the shelf) and fill out their notecard:

I, then, revealed a slide of what MY notecard would look like to let them get to know me a little bit:

Sometimes, kids ask questions, like "What's disc golf?", etc.  After I answered those questions, I had them pass their notecards in strategically so that they were in the order that they were sitting.  That way, I could fill in the seating chart correctly even if I didn't know all the students' names right away.

Usually, by that time, the class period was over.

Second Day:

The second day, I gave a diagnostic test of things I expected them to know for the class.  I warned them about it the previous day and let them know not to worry.  I told them that they would receive participation/completion points.  For Algebra 1, the diagnostic test included fraction operations, integer operations, and solving one- and two-step equations.  This gave me an idea of how much time I would need reviewing certain skills before moving to the curriculum.

After the students were finished with the diagnostic test, I gave them an interest inventory to fill out.  Some of the things were covered in the notecard from the first day, but the interest inventory gave me more of an idea of what the students were interested in.  The idea is to use the students answers to create word problems that cater to their interests.  This is something I would like to amp up this years past, I would use them at first, but it wouldn't last.

If we had time, we played the game BUZZ to review multiples and get the students out of their seats.  How it works is the students stand up and form a circle.  Then, a student chooses a number between 3 and 9 as the BUZZ number.  Then, a student picks a number that is 30 or higher as the STOP number.  Next, we start counting around the circle.  Whenever we get to a multiple of the chosen BUZZ number, that person has to say BUZZ.  When we get to the STOP number, that student has to say STOP.  If a student says the wrong thing, such as the number instead of BUZZ or BUZZ instead of the number, etc., then that student is out and has to sit down.  The next student has to start over with 1.  If we get to the STOP number, the last ones standing get a sticker or a stamp or something indicating that they won.  The person who said STOP gets to pick the next BUZZ and STOP numbers.  Then, those that were out get to rejoin the game and we play again until the bell rings.

1 comment:

  1. Love your seating chart idea! Is it chaotic for students to get to their seats? And BUZZ is one of my favorite class games, too! It's especially fun for my ESL students to play, so they can practice their English numbers. Thanks for the ideas!