First Days 2010-2011

So my first week of my second year in my second room.

I think it went pretty well.

In every class, every day this week, I kept the students busy until the bell rang. That is an accomplishment I am VERY proud of. Classroom management and procedures are my downfall and what I am really trying to work on this year. My principal has beat it into my head that keeping them busy minimizes disruptions plus it's my job and what the taxpayers are paying for. So...I did it!

I stole all my first day ideas from my Twitter peeps and they all worked out great.

The first day I had my algebra students stand, no assigned seat. I gave them mental math problems that they had to solve and then could pick a partner and a chair. Then my algebra students designed an index card with the numbers from -25 to 25 and we hung them up as a visual number line. After that I gave them a 'pop quiz' with multiple choice questions about me. I then had them create 5 of their own questions about themselves. I plan on using these questions as a guess-which-student-trivia on my warm ups. From there we did some lateral thinking puzzles and filled out Who I Am sheets.

Next day I discussed my syllabus with them. Then I handed out a copy for them to sign and to take home to their parents and sign as well. I mainly did this because of my not grading homework policy and attempting sbg. After that I handed out the Million Words assignment and had them write ANY 3 questions on an index card. I answer every question. I've had great ones like "What are your fears?" "Do you ever feel alone?" "Do you ever feel used by people you trust? as well as random ones like "Who invented baseball?", "What's the fastest rollercoaster in the world?" "What are the three stages of a tornado?" And keep in mind high school boys asking a young female teacher anything. I find a creative way to answer every question. Yes. Every question.

So on Friday I answered all of those questions in class. They are always very interesting and the students enjoying laughing at me and each other. I hope that it helps build a positive and fun environment as well proving that what they say counts and that I will answer any question they have. Then we did one of my favorite activities yet...a Murder Mystery. I split the students into groups of 4 or 5 and passed out the clues. I had them deal the clues like cards until everyone had some. They had to read aloud, not switch, not share, not show. As a group they had to organize and solve the mystery. I gave them a little sheet asking the 5 questions, Who did it, Where at, What time, What weapon, Why and they filled it out.  I checked their answers and told them if they were right or wrong but not on specific parts. Out of about 15 groups, only 1 group actually got them right. I feel like the students really enjoyed it and some spent over 30 minutes solving this one problem. U used the discussion questions at the end and they really understood the point of why we did it. I'm also going to use this as blackmail when they want to give up: "Remember that time you worked for 30 minutes on ONE problem. You didn't give up then." Ha ha ha

I have to say I have a really good group of freshman. They are almost scared to death and will hardly move a muscle or talk at all. Also, a lot of the girls really wrote some personal things to me in their Million Words assignment. Some literally brought me to tears. I don't know if it's just because they are girls or if they are an emotional group. Either way, I love that they felt comfortable enough to share all that with me. I wonder how many times they have been invited to freely share their lives with an adult.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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