When students enter class today I will have the Student Profile Sheet already on their desks so they can begin filling it out immediately. Although, these profiles are a bit long to read for every student I do find that it is worth the time as it gives me a good picture of the kids as a math student. I also like to use these profiles to help me make my seating charts. I find it helpful to look at students’ answers for questions #10-15. I try to group my students in a mixed ability groups, but without extremes and try to spread out my students that love math. They hopefully can help us spread the love! I find that students do a good job at self-analyzing their ability in math and any student circling that they want to earn a D in the class raises some red flags for me.
Preparation: This activity takes teacher preparation time before class. So be sure to see the Beach Ball Directions linked here if you want to use this activity.
To help us get to know our students and to help students get to know each other, I like to have students do a Beach Ball toss. Basically this is where kids toss around a beach ball that has icebreaker type questions written all over it (just with black marker, nothing fancy.) When the kids catch the ball, they must answer the question that is under their left thumb. I then have students sit once they have answered a question just to be sure that we get around to everyone. If students weren’t able to finish their profile sheets earlier, now is a good time. Just keep their heads up! It’s not fun to be the kid pegged in the head with a beach ball on the first day of school. So note to teachers: try not to let that happen. Also, you may want to preface the activity with your expectation of them keeping it school appropriate. They can get quite creative with some of these questions.