First few days of school

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Sarge88, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Sarge88

    Sarge88 Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2017

    Hello All,

    I'm trying to think ahead of how I want to begin the school year. I'm teaching 7th grade math in a middle school setting. Since I made the decision to move up to 7th grade, I will have the same students again for the most part. With that being said, what are your thoughts on how the first couple days should be spent? Obviously I plan on going through my boring syllabus/class expectations, handing out workbooks, and collecting supplies.

    My plan is to hit the floor running and not waste too much time and then find myself cramming content before the state test later on in the school year. Would it be smart for me to do some kind of diagnostic test just to see how much these students have retained over the summer? I would like to begin my first lesson by the second or third day of school. What else should I implement on the first or second day of school that is important?

    Thank you all in advance!
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jul 5, 2017

    I think a diagnostic test would be a good idea. I would also do some sort of team builder. While you will have the students again, the class make up could change and it will be important to build a new atmosphere.
     
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  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 6, 2017

    One thing that struck me in your post--you mention the "boring" syllabus, etc. Don't start your year with boring; that will let the students know what they can expect from your class. Have a look at the Week of iMath (Inspirational Math) here. The activities are a fabulous way to set the tone for the year.
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 6, 2017

    Why?
     
  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jul 6, 2017

    I agree with this.

    Why not leave the syllabus / expectations for the end of the day - and make it a quick couple-minute bit? Focus the day around establishing what the students expect from each other in an authentic situation with the WiM that MrsC links above! Then, the expectations that would otherwise be "boring" would then have purpose, thus no longer being boring.

    For example, if one of your expectations is that students are expected to participate, this could be emphasized through showing that several different people had several different solutions/ways to approach a problem, and without each of them sharing, others would miss out on valuable learning!
     
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  7. Sarge88

    Sarge88 Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2017

    I should have been more clear. The reason why I said boring syllabus is because usually they are boring when you just read through it with your class. That's not what I plan on doing. I'm just going to hit the highlights and make it a quick one. I don't plan on spending much time on it at all.
     
  8. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2017

    +1 for week of inspirational math. I did that last year with my 7th graders and it went well.
     
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  9. Sarge88

    Sarge88 Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2017

    I will have to register and give it a shot. Thanks for sharing Mrs. C!
     
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  10. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jul 8, 2017

    I hate "first day stuff", always vow to do it differently, and manage to wind up still droning through the syllabus, expectations, and procedures three times a day to classes of zoned out faces who have heard it all before.

    This year, I THINK I've got a much better idea. I'm revamping a lot of stuff, and the first day of school will adjust to accommodate. I still think it is vital to "cover" the same information, but rather than me standing up there like Charlie Brown's teacher ("Wonk, wa-wonkwonkwonk") class after class, I'm going to create centers that cover each of the important areas that the kids need to know about for my class. Some of these centers will actually have them getting started on content (weekly vocabulary and daily grammar). Some will be more about the expectations and procedures of the classroom. I've come up with these centers:
    1. Vocabulary - my vocab has videos that accompany. I'm going to have a TV/DVD on a rolling cart at this center. Students get their first week's words and watch the video to fill out definitions.
    2. Grammar - this will be at the Smartboard where the daily grammar sentences are projected and corrected.
    3. Notebooks - at this station, students will have instructions for how to set up their notebooks for my class. They will label and organize everything as instructed.
    4. Meet your Books! - Here, students will "meet" their literature books. They will have a sort of scavenger hunt to complete that will get them focusing on the books and preparing them for the required reading of the class
    5. Classroom Rules - This will take place in the area of my podium where I have my classroom rules posted. I have five main rules, and students will brainstorm specific examples of how one might violate those rules and an appropriate consequence for doing so.
    6. Computer Use - I have 6-7 laptops set up on counters that line my classroom walls. Kids in this rotation will go to a laptop, log on, go to my teacher webpage on our district's website, go to their class's Canvas site, and go to the ReadTheory site. They will also learn the rules for using the laptops in my classroom.
    7. Student Body Biography - This will be in the hallway. There will be a life-sized outline of a person on a large sheet of paper. As groups rotate through, each student will add stuff about who they are. There will be magazines they can cut from, markers and colored pencils, construction paper, etc. The goal is to fill the outline with fun stuff about them. There will be a new "body" for each of my three classes and I will hang them up in the classroom when they are done.
    I'm going to allow about 10 minutes at each station, which doesn't leave my time for dilly-dally (Princess Bride reference!). If needed, I may devote a portion of the second day to finishing up anything in the centers that kids wanted more time to complete.
     
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  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2017

    Though I'm elementary, GPC, I love the idea of doing stations to some extent on the first day to cover some of the usual teacher-directed portions. My goal has always been to do a mixture of whole-class, partner/group, and individual activities on the first day, fitting in all the nitty gritty in the first of those three, but it tended to be a lot of me talking/showing. I bet I can turn some of the nitty gritty learning into station work where they have a task like your idea, and they are working together to accomplish it.
     
  12. Sarge88

    Sarge88 Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2017

    I guess teaching math is a little different as every content area will be a little different. I feel like every time there is a new lesson that's taught, I have to show my students through modeling how to solve the problems and then they are able to do partner/group work with each other. If there is a day 2 of that same lesson, usually the students are self-propelled and then I can focus on the students who are still struggling or what ever the need may be.
     
  13. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jul 9, 2017

    Since I teach seniors, I ask them to raise their hands if they've been in a classroom before, then say "Okay -- you know how you're expected to behave. Let's begin." They copy a short poem off the board and write a short analysis. I also have them fill out an information card that requires an answer to what I can do to help them have a successful year. That night I go through the cards and put some responses on a PowerPoint, along with some I've kept from previous years. Day 2 I go through the presentation, which gives me a chance to address a variety of concerns to my classes at large, and I can also sneak in some humor. I usually don't even distribute my syllabus until the third day when classes have stabilized. There's usually some shuffling of schedules at the beginning.
     
  14. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Jul 10, 2017

    You should check out Jo Boaler's book Mathematical Mindsets. Lots of great research and advice for math. Also, the Youcubed site at the link posted above is awesome.
     
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