Math = Love: Day 1: Done!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Day 1: Done!

Well, Day 1 of Year 5 is in the books.  I haven't spent this long on my feet in a while, so I'm definitely feeling exhausted.

The first task I set my students (minus my trig students whom I've all taught before) was to make a name tent to set on their desk.  I have SO many freshmen this year which means SO many new names to learn!

Next, I gave my students their first quiz of the year.  This caused some major groans!

After three minutes, I went through set of slides to reveal the answers.  I gave the student in each class period who got the most questions correct a certificate and a piece of candy.

Then, I turned the tables and had them write a quiz about themselves for me to take.

The kids, of course, complained that they had to give me choices for their questions when I didn't give them any questions.  I explained that they had to take ONE quiz about me.  Tonight, I was going to have to take SEVENTY OR EIGHTY quizzes.  I deserve multiple choice.  ;)

Next, we talked about what supplies they would need.  I gave out quarter sheets of paper with a supplies list.

I intentionally chose not to discuss the syllabus today.  I wanted to keep my students active and engaged instead of having them sit and listen to me going on and on and on.

Our main task for the day was Sara VanDerWerf's 1-100 Activity.  If you haven't read her blog post about this activity, stop everything else and do it now.  I decided to do this activity on the first day because it really emphasizes and starts a discussion with students about what makes group work effective.  Tomorrow, we'll start delving into more of the nitty-gritty of group work by working through Broken Circles and Rainbow Logic from Elizabeth Cohen's Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom (affiliate link to 2nd Edition / 3rd Edition).

This meant I was able to introduce group work on Day 1, and I'll introduce group work roles tomorrow on Day 2.

I've never seen my students as engaged as they were during this activity.  It was like magic!

This activity is most definitely a keeper.  I can't recommend it enough!  The kids were super-engaged, and they didn't want to stop.  We did the 1-100 activity twice with a one minute break in between to discuss strategies in our groups.

After the 1-100 activity, I asked students to share what this activity demonstrated about effective groupwork, and they actually had responses.  This is the type of question I'm used to asking and getting dead silence in return.

With some of my classes, this activity took us to the end of the class period.  With others, we still had 10-15 minutes left over.  Most of this difference between classes can be attributed to widely varying class sizes.

With my classes that finished early, I introduced them to the game of Petals Around the Rose.

 So far, I've only had one student this year earn the honor of joining the Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose.  Members get this card:

Students also sign their name to my Petals Around the Rose poster that hangs in my classroom.

With my stats class, they had already done Petals Around the Rose last year, so I decided to have them play Left Center Right (affiliate link) instead.  

I actually had more students than the chips in the tube allow to play, so I used colored bingo chips (affiliate link) in lieu of the chips in the tube.  We sat in the floor in a giant circle and played for a good 10 or 15 minutes.  I thought my students (juniors and seniors) might think it was a lame game, but they got really into it.  They even asked if we could play again some time.  This game is actually more stats-related than trig-related, but it was a fun community-building game for my small class.  

As for my physical science class, I had to plan an entirely different lesson for Day 1 since almost all of my physical science students are also enrolled in one of my math classes.  

We started the "Survival in the Desert" activity from Kagan's Cooperative Learning book (affiliate link).  Though, a search for this activity on google shows that it is included in numerous books.  See here, here, here, here, and here.  

Sadly, we didn't get to finish the activity.  I blame that mostly on the fact that my entire class was pulled out for an assembly during the middle of class.  

I liked this activity, but I had to rewrite it since the original version mentioned both cigarettes and alcohol.  I can't have my students going home after the first day of school and saying that they learned about vodka in physical science class.  

Here's my edited scenario.  I did notice today that I missed a period in the first paragraph.  Now, that's driving me crazy!  

I had students fill out an individual ranking sheet that I printed two-to-a-page.

Here's a close-up:

 I had to make the ranking from 1-14 instead of 1-15 because I deleted the alcohol from the story.

Then, I had students complete a group ranking sheet together.

You can find my files for this activity here.  

Today was also the first day of my school district's out of the door by four policy.  The principal came over the intercom at 4 p.m. and instructed us to go home.  It's part of my district's plan for saving money this year.  I've never been a leave school early person, so this is going to be quite an adjustment for me. 

Shaun and I did take advantage of the fact that we got out of school at a reasonable time by coming home and going for walk around the neighborhood while we talked about our days.  It's part of our attempt to fit more exercise into our daily routines.  

I'm sure there's more that I could write about today, but it's getting late.  And, I'm first-day-of-school exhausted.  


  1. Congrats on what looks like was a Great and Productive Day! Today was also our first day with students. I have been enamored with your site this summer, so I am happy to see the fruit produced from your work! Have a great Round 2 tomorrow!!

  2. I would love to do the 1-100 activity! Do you have a link to the numbers page?

    1. It's on Sara VanDerWerf's blog.

  3. I'm just curious, what state do you currently teach in?

  4. Thank you for sharing your day. I look forward to reading your blog everyday. I love that 1-100 Activity. Just downloaded it.

    Do you have the Getting to Know You Quiz templates you could share?

    1. Maybe I overlooked it--how did you down laid the 1-100 Activity?

    2. *download :)

    3. The 1-100 activity is from Sara VanDerWerf's blog:

      I haven't posted the quiz templates yet. Sorry!

  5. I did the 100 Numbers activity this year for the first time and I also shared it with a new math teacher at my school. We both spent quite some time talking at lunch yesterday about how it really is MAGIC!! They were so engaged! I think I am going to put all the pictures I took up on a bulletin board - they were shocked that they were so focused that they didn't even notice me taking pictures.

  6. Looks like you had a fantastic first day!!! I know the kids will be looking forward to learning and working well together in class for the rest of the year now!