On the first day, I want students to realize that this class will require more of them than other math classes. I have two mottos that I discuss with the students. For bell work I ask the students to write what they think "Make Ms. Sparks happy" means. While the students are writing their thoughts I am taking attendance and checking schedules.
The first 3 to 5 days can be very confusing with changes in schedules and new students coming into class. We average almost 200 new students for our building during the first month of school.
Today, we will discuss the Bell Work after we do the Getting to Know You team building activity.
This is how I begin to learn students' names and they begin to learn about me. I start by giving students information about who I am, how long I have been teaching, and some interesting facts. For example, my dog's name is Einstein and I am a recommended 3rd degree Black Belt in TKD.
I then ask students to give me their name and tell me 1-2 things that will help me remember their names. (I am terrible remembering names. I used to tell my Freshman that it was not a good thing if I knew their name on the 2nd or 3rd day of school.) I will write notes for myself to remember the students.
After introductions are made I explain that the students will make the seating chart to begin the year (I need a seating chart for substitutes). So, I ask the students to sit in a seat where they feel comfortable for learning during the next class period. I only stipulate that the room must be full at the front and not the back. I do shower everyday and I will be sitting in the back of the room.
I am attaching a video of my classroom.
I am now ready to return to the bellwork. I do not like the first few days of school and I let the students know that. I explain that I hated getting all the paperwork and going over the same rules in every class. This will get the students on my side since I feel their pain.
I explain that I have one rule "Make Me Happy" This usually gets a chuckle in class. I then ask for students to share what this phrase means. I will record their answers on the SmartBoard. I get every student to give an answer by going around the room.
After I record their responses, we work to narrow the list down and develop a list of class rules. This gets students to actually reflect on the policies in class and take ownership of the rules. I take all my classes rules share with other classes and develop one set of rules for the classroom. The
I do have some specific items I want the students cover. One is leaving the windows and blinds alone. We are working to reduce our electricity usage so I am in charge of those items. I also discuss personal property. Students sometime think anything in the classroom is free to them. I do keep many items for them to use but I also have personal items that are not to be touched without permission. Juniors and Seniors get this they just need to be reminded.
At the end of this discussion I hand out the Trigonometry Policies. I waited to do this so the students could see that they know the rules. I explain that having them in writing helps everyone.
Students read the grading policy for the course. This is not the grading policy they are used to seeing so we spend some time going over the policy. I give students the Student Version Proficiency Scale developed by Robert Marzano. I explain that we will discuss this grading procedure more when we start our first unit. That is when students will receive the unit learning targets and objectives.
I end the day by giving students Math Study Skills Inventory. This let's students reflect on how they study math. Students will turn these in before they leave the class.
I also give students a copy of an article about studying for math. Students are asked to read the article and annotate. Students will focus on what did you already know and what ideas are new to you. Students also should note any ideas that are confusing.
This activity prepares students for the next lesson's discussion.