My first instinct was to go over the syllabus on the first day, but I've decided against that. First of all, the students won't be getting their schedules until the first day of school. We are going to have an assembly on the first day and then pass out schedules. I teach at a very small high school. We have approximately 180 students in 9th-12th grade. There has been an incredible amount of teacher turnover, new administration, and lots of changes occurring. The counselor is expecting the students to be in shock on the first day.
To be honest, I'm not even sure how long I will have my students on the first day of school. We have 50-minute class periods, but I'm assuming they will be shortened due to the assembly on the first day. I guess they will let me in on this information soon. :)
Bellwork: Students will enter the classroom, pick up a dry erase pocket, and follow the instructions on the board. (Hopefully, they will be up on the Smart Board. My projector doesn't work. The school has ordered new projectors, but they haven't been installed yet. School starts in less than a week...) Students will write their name, their grade in school, and exactly 6 words to describe their summer.
Introductions: I plan to introduce myself and then have each student introduce themselves. They will tell everyone their name, grade, and the 6 words they chose to describe their summer. I expect to have small enough classes that this will be feasible to complete in a reasonable amount of time.
Procedures / Expectations: I plan to go more in depth on these on the second day of school, but I want to give students an overview of what to expect. I plan to share my expectations on entering the classroom, bellwork, etc. I will also give them a heads-up on exit tickets. Each class period will start with bellwork and end with an exit ticket.
Problem Solving: This year, one of my main goals is to teach my students how to problem solve. I've devoted an entire bulletin board to problem solving strategies.
This problem is taken from a collection of problems called Stella's Stunners. Each day, students will be presented with one of these problems (or a similar one from another resource) as bellwork.
My Goals In Doing This- These problems help level the playing field between students. It doesn't matter what grade you made in math class last year. It doesn't matter if you did or didn't do the homework last night. If you've been absent for a week, it doesn't matter. Students should have no excuse not to try.
- Students will likely look at these problems and have no idea where to start. That's a good thing. That's also one of the reason I created a bulletin board of problem solving strategies. When students take their end of instruction exam or any standardized test, there will almost always be at least one problem on the test where they have no clue what to do. Instead of having students just guess "c", I want my students to know that they have options for how to proceed. They will have strategies in their problem solving tool kit.
- Though these are non-routine math problems, they are still math problems. By working on these at the very beginning of class, students will be in more of a math / problem-solving mindset when the day's instruction begins.
Carol Dweck's Mindset book is a must-read for every teacher!
- Whether a student figures out the puzzle or not on any given day, I believe they will all still benefit from it. Great conversations will be sparked. Students will be engaged. They will have tried strategies, saw what worked, what didn't work, and learned from their experiences.
Exit Ticket: I read somewhere the other day about a teacher who has students complete the sentence Math is... at the beginning of the year. The teacher (I wish I could remember who it was) said that asking this question gave great insight into a student's attitude and previous experience with math. So, I had planned to give this as my exit ticket on the first day.
But, then I read Kristen Fouss' great #MyFavFriday post this morning. At the end of the year, she had students summarize what trig is in the form of a tweet. Students had 140 characters to define trig (#trigis). I really liked the idea, but I'm not teaching trig. A few hours later, I had the epiphany that I could have students do their Math is... exit ticket in the form of a #MathIs tweet. Again, students would be limited to 140 characters. I actually think that by formatting the exit ticket in this way I will get longer and more thoughtful responses.
Additionally, I plan on having students repeat this activity at the end of the year. I think it will be fun to be able to compare a student's view of math at the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
|#MathIs Tweet Strips|
So, I made a fun little form to hand out as my exit ticket. I also stole Kristen's idea of making a page with 140 little boxes to help with the character count. I was able to fit 4 tweet strips to a page.
So, here it is. I'm so excited to use it!
Download file here.