First Day Dilemma (of sorts)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Shanoo, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 25, 2009

    So, the first day of school for me is exactly two weeks from today. It's a half-day orientation for our incoming Grade 9 students (I teach Grade 9).

    The way the day is set up to work is that they meet with their homeroom teacher for half an hour and then follow their schedule for that day on the school cycle, meeting their teachers and seeing where their classes are. Each "class" lasts approximately 15-20 minutes. Well, with the way the school cycle falls this year, I will have my homeroom group for the first 3 blocks - the 30 minute homeroom block plus the two following 15 minute class blocks. About 1 hour in total.

    On top of that, I know about 75% of the students in my homeroom class. I taught them when they were in Grade 7. I would feel silly going through a bunch of 'get to know you' activities when I know most of them and they know the majority of their classmates like the back of their hand. At the same time, I don't want to leave out the students I DON'T know.

    So. My dilemma. The stuff I need to do with them - lockers, explaining school rules, etc. I can probably make last about 30 minutes or so. I have 30 minutes to play with.

    What would you do to fill up the time?
     
  2.  
  3. iluvteachin

    iluvteachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 25, 2009

    I'd still do a little 'getting to know you' exercise.

    perhaps do a "goals" activity where you decide on class goals - individual goals - for the year, etc.

    ?? sorry i'm not much help! :)
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,938
    Likes Received:
    682

    Aug 25, 2009

    Have the kids introduce themselves to each other and say one important thing about themselves.

    Explain grading. Give them an exercise with hypothetical grades and ask them to find the average. If that is too easy, ask what minimum additional grade would be needed for that hypothetical student to average an A.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 25, 2009

    I'm not big on Getting to Know You stuff, except in homeroom.

    Like you, we sometimes have big blocks of time.

    Last year I made up a huge word search, with a list of words that "might or night not" be on it-- in case of typos.

    The kids had fun with it, and they mingled a bit as they played "have you found ____?"

    My school also has the incoming freshmen make up a coat of arms. The kids get a blank template of a sword-shaped thing, broken down into thirds. They have to show 3 things that are important to them. They can include ethnic background (maybe an Italian or Haitian flag), sports, hobbies-- pretty much anything. There's also room at the bottom for a motto.

    It gives us a tiny bit of insight into the kids. I always post mine for the first few weeks of school.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,938
    Likes Received:
    682

    Aug 25, 2009

    There is a cool number puzzle that is fun to do. It has a bunch of things on it like this, for example:

    52 C in a D the answer is cards in a deck
    13 P in a BD the answer is pastries (or pieces) in a baker's dozen


    The actual puzzle has quite a few math-oriented statements, but you can make yours up any way you want to.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Aug 25, 2009

    You could play "Find Someone Who..." Give them 8-10 blocks with phrases such as ..has the same birthmonth as you, favorite color, someone who can say the alphabet backwards, went on a great vacation, etc.
     
  8. mathrulz

    mathrulz Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 25, 2009

    1. If you decided to do a different kind of get to know you activity, you could do "Two Truths and a Lie" using index cards.

    2. Or, you could gently ease into the subject. I don't know what subject this would be (or if it would apply), but you could give them prompts or a worksheet to get them to search their textbook.

    3. You could have them take a quiz to determine their learning style and discuss what that means.

    4. You could give them an assessment to see at which level they are coming to you.
     
  9. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    7

    Aug 25, 2009

    Bleh, I never bothered with such activities. Many of my kids have been with each other in classes for many, many years... even by the time they reach high school (we're a 6-12 building). And while *I* may not know them all, the feedback I got from kids was that such activities weren't useful for them. And I can get to know the kids over time anyway....

    So I do my rules, class policies, and dive right into content. On the very first day. I typically use some sort of content-related pre-test, and then assign a brief section of reading to get them used to their new textbooks.
     
  10. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 25, 2009

    Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm gonna have to do a little more thinking on it.

    I think I agree that get to know you activities aren't going to be useful, especially for this group. I might, however, get them to work together to perform a task and make it so that they work with people they don't normally work with.

    A little background - these kids are coming from 2 feeder schools. Two years ago, I taught at one of them (where I taught these kids Grade 7). The students have been in the same class, with very little change in class roster, from Grade 6 through Grade 8. They know each other well. Very well. Probably too well. I'm not sure exactly how the other school was run, but if I had to guess, it would be the same - only with fewer students.

    Therefore, I'm going to see if I can get them in groups where they are working with kids from the other school (or a previous class different from the one they were in).

    I don't want to start in on content right away, simply because I don't have time. I teach them two subjects - Math and French. If I were to divide my time that would mean only 15 minutes apiece. Not enough, in my opinion, to do anything meaningful. That's not the point of the day, anyway. Nor can I give out textbooks. I have none to give.

    What I was thinking, was to give them a word problem/logic puzzle kind of thing. It would get them working in the groups I mentioned above, the logic part gets them thinking mathematically and it would be in French, prompting their language skills.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. mathrulz

    mathrulz Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 26, 2009

    I don't know if this is what you were thinking, but I found this website (puzzlersparadise.com) that offers logic puzzles (where you have to determine missing information to the story based on a certain number of clues using process of elimination). It is all in English so I don't know how much work that would be to translate that into French (either for you or the students). But, if they will be working in groups, I suppose that would cut down the number of problems that would need to be translated (for you) or they will have help with their partners (for them) - depending on how you organize the activity.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,642
    Likes Received:
    62

    Aug 26, 2009

    I'm going to steal your word search idea Alice. I can make up a bunch of words having to do with Earth Science or things in the world related to the study. I am planning on starting off with a mini-lecture/activity sequence on why they should study this stuff, so this would be perfect. And give me some insight into who is going to gravitate towards working with who.
     
  13. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 26, 2009

    A fun game to play is "either /or" No prep needed. It is even fun for kids that know each other.

    Students are forced to take a stance. Designate two sides of the room. Make sure you have a few feet between the two so kids can't choose the middle or claim "I don't know."

    Have a list of preferences/situations/issues

    For example:
    beach or pool
    pizza or burger
    only child or have siblings
    born in Hawaii or not born in Hawaii (I live in Hawaii)
    Speak one language or speak more than one language
    xbox or ps2
    text or talk
    parents married or not married
    Lilo or Stitch

    Anyway you get the idea.

    Students have fun seeing the similarities and differences. You can be superficial and deep.
     
  14. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 26, 2009

    Oh and btw, we've been in school since July 30th!!
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 26, 2009

    I agree for my math classes. But the OP's question is different: It's homeroom; there is no content.
     
  16. rookieteach82

    rookieteach82 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 26, 2009

    thanks. good idea.

    This was helpful Ron. I would like to dive into content myself but am lacking some of the materials I need to plan ahead but the plan you have suggested seems helpful.

     
  17. rookieteach82

    rookieteach82 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 26, 2009

    Also maybe assign a diagnostic exam so that you can have a starting point to work with. Figure out what they know. Don't know if someone suggested this.

     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 26, 2009

    I've given these to my frosh before:

    http://www.braingle.com/Logic-Grid.html


    My homeroom is always in aphabetical order (it makes collecting those bazillion forms so much easier all year!!!) Maybe you could make 2 teams: rows 1-3 vs 4-6; you should get a pretty good mix of kids from both feeder schools. Give them 2 or 3 of the puzzles; they vary as to difficulty. Let them work together or alone; one correct answer per team is a point for the whole team. The problems that are more difficult, of course, are the ones that have the potential for more answers (and more points.) Print up the grids-- they're a HUGE help!
     
  19. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 26, 2009

    Alice, I was just looking at puzzles like that on another site! The ones I found were much too hard (my boyfriend and I have been trying to figure one out for an hour now!). I like how the one's you found give degrees of difficulty. It might make finding an appropriate one easier!

    I've decided against going anything more content-related than that. This isn't the first day of classes...it's an orientation day. I think these kids will be stressed enough with being in a new school with new kids, etc. I think giving them any type of pre-test or exam will send them over the edge!! Thanks for the suggestions, though. I'll probably use many of them when classes do get underway!
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Aug 26, 2009

    I think people are missing the fact that it's homeroom, not an academic class.

    I'm all about hitting the ground running in my math classes, but homeroom is a totally different matter.

    And for the record, I used those logic puzzles last year. I ran off a set of 4 and used it during our "not a snow day, but enough snow on the ground that classes are only half full" day. I gave each class the set of 4 Christmas-related puzzles. I told them they could work in groups or on their own, and that that the entire class (well, at least those in school that day) would get extra credit if any one puzzle was solved by any one person or group in the class. They loved it, they didn't consider it a wasted class, and every class got the extra credit.
     
  21. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    761
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 26, 2009

    That's a great idea! I might take some time today and translate some of them, since I teach in a French Immersion program.

    Thanks the ideas! Much appreciated!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Morah,
  2. kelly33
Total: 238 (members: 2, guests: 207, robots: 29)
test