The Second Day of School

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SWBAT learn general information and classroom norms for discussions.

Big Idea

Lay the foundation for a rich, challenging, and student-centered environment.


20 minutes

Going over the class syllabus is a mundane (yet imperative) task for students and teachers. However, you can use this simple activity as a way for students to begin to work collaboratively with their classmates and learn the procedures in a non-passive way.

To begin, I give students my syllabus (Classroom Procedures.doc) and give them about 6 minutes to read through it silently. Then, I give students a worksheet to see how well they understand what they just read (Quiz on Procedures.docx). Have students answer the questions in groups. These are the most common scenarios that I see throughout the school year, so I want to make sure that students understand what will happen if they find themselves in these situations. 

After giving the students a few minutes to answer the questions, you can go over them as a class and stress the important information that your students need to know. 

Our First Discussion

25 minutes

One of the hallmarks of a Common Core-aligned classroom is the ability to have productive classroom discussions. At the very beginning of the year we need to set the tone and establish norms that we will use throughout our time together. The PowerPoint (Second Day PowerPoint.pptx) outlines how to have a class discussion - do not assume that students will understand how to question others and be respectful without you explicitly telling them. Remember - a classroom that is rooted in the Standards for Mathematical Practice will be a big change for some of your students (Classroom!

In the PowerPoint I have set forth some of my expectations for a student-centered classroom. I also have our first class discussion. We will be discussing the question: "How many halves are in 1/4?" I chose this problem because there will naturally be discontent and disagreement among students (common answers are 2, 1/2, and 0). It is a great opportunity to show that we do not say "you are wrong," but rather ask for clarification or gently ask if they have considered other alternatives. Setting these expectations is extremely important!


10 minutes

For the remaining portion of class, you can finish sharing the graphs that students created during their ice breaker on the first day of school. Since the first day was so short there are likely a few groups who did not get to share. Again, students will bring their graphs up to the class and each student will introduce themselves and share their ordered pair. A group member will also share how they labeled their axes. The act of sharing is also good practice for what they will be doing throughout the year.