Wednesday, July 26, 2017

First Day of School.

School, Examination, Learn, Png For most people, the first day of school should be happening sometime within the next 6 weeks.  My students have their first day of school on August 15th.

By the time students hit high school, teachers tend to pass out syllabus, go over the grading policy, talk about attendance, or give a test to see what students remember.

That first day of school can be a bit hard for students who may have spent the summer going to bed late and sleeping equally late in the morning.  Its a sudden readjustment for both them and us.

I've read things which suggest a teacher can put off all of the usual business until the second or third day

I usually start the first day by having students work on remembering math terms. All they need is a piece of paper, a white board, a tablet, and something to write with. They need to write the alphabet vertically so A is at the top of the paper and Z is at the bottom.  I give them 10 minutes to write down mathematical terms for as many letters as they can.  At the end of 10 minutes, I have them place their list on the desk right in front of them. 

I have everyone get up and check out everyone else's answers.  They may not touch but they may look. At the end of 2 minutes, I have them sit down before giving them 2 more minutes to add to their lists.

At this point, I ask for suggestions for each letter.  I always write down several choices and if someone gives a suggestion that is boarder line, I ask them for their justification before students vote to decide if its acceptable.  I often run out of time before we get through the whole list.

My students enjoy it.  I tell them it is a way to get their brains back into thinking about math.  I never grade this activity.

One suggestion I've seen is to have students do a self portrait or write an auto biography so the teacher can learn more about them. Along the same line , have students write four clues about themselves on an index card and sign it with a code name.  Gather these cards up, shuffle, and pass the cards out to the students. Challenge them to find the person whose clues they have.  They become the detectives.  Students will have to question each other in order to gain information.

Let the students brainstorm ideas for new years resolutions for the classroom.  Resolutions should be positive and can be recorded on cloud shaped papers which are pinned to the bulletin board with the words We Resolve: What about organizing a scavenger hunt where students look for the pencil sharpener, paper, hall passes, etc so they get to know where you keep things.

Keep your eyes open for the next list of suggestions for the first day of school but it won't happen for at least a week.  Let me know what you think.