First Days 2016-2017

I was not ready. I spent my last few days getting my classroom ready and not preparing actual activities. This should have been an 'easy' week for me since it's the only time I can get away with doing the same thing every hour. Instead I didn't go to bed earlier than midnight all week. =( Definitely making a check list so this doesn't happen next year.

Today we did Mental Math Monday and got our binders ready: dividers, tabs, names on the spine, pencil bags, new pencils, and dry erase markers. We folded our name tents; I loved having students write to me every day. The name tent part was not really necessary since we are so small and everybody knows everybody. Next year I might not use an actual name tent. It also took me up to an hour and a half each night too respond. I would say it is worth it but I definitely couldn'tdo it all year.We did our first number talk!

I used Google Classroom for the first time today and I think I was successful. Students used an ipad to sign in to their account add my class by code. I posted a question asking them they're favorite animated movie. Then I posted a google form for estimation180. They commented and opened the form. I showed a picture on the board and they gave me a too low, too high, and estimate. We looked at the answers on the spreadsheet and then I showed the correct answer. I had 4-5 students guess correctly throughout the day and that has never happened. Google Forms FTW? Next, we did Amy Zimmer's icebreaker to set up groups and group roles. I noticed that the designated time keeper kept time for the rest of the period, even after the activity ended. From there we went straight to Sara's
1-100 task making groups work. The kids LOVED it!! In between rounds we discussed strategies for working together and improving their times.

We started with our Work It Wednesday problem, how can you arrange 8 8's to add up to 1000? From there I showed them pictures from the previous day's 1-100 task.

They could not believe that I took pictures! Not a single student in any class noticed I was taking pictures. Not even in a class of 5! They have already asked to do it again. My best group made it all the way to 91 and two groups made it to the 80's. We reviewed the group work strategies and from there we went to Sarah's Broken Circle task. This only took 2-3 minutes since my students were in groups of 3. We finished the day by setting up our INBs.

Thursday are my designated day for number talks and it started out rough. Read more here. We again used Google Classroom to open a pdf of my syllabus. I tried Brigid's idea of doodle notes using this doodle syllabus. I still have mixed feelings about this. My artistic students really appreciated it. The students did agree that taking notes from the pdf was better than listening to me talk the whole time. But most of these students have had me for years and know my policies and procedures. More than one person asked why we were doing this and most people didn't even get it finished in a class period because they spent so much time doing what I asked...doodling! I can see it working much better in a lecture heavy class but thankfully, I am heading in the opposite direction of that.

We ended the week by taking our end of course exam which will be given again in December and May. I spent my time making answer keys and updating my spreadsheet data.

Comparing the first administration last year to this year

Algebra I 15% to 24%
Geometry 18% to 20%
Algebra II 16.5% to 24%
Trig 30% to 19%

I'm using new exams except for Trig so those numbers basically mean nothing but I like that they are moving up. Except what the heck happened in trig?

I'm so glad that thanks to my blog, I have a record of everything I've tried during the first days of school. If you teach in a small school, you know you can't repeat activities until four years have passed. Check out my first days tag if you need more ideas!


  1. This all sounds awesome, just out of curiosity how long is one of your classes?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. My classes are 47 minutes long and popcorn sharing means having random students 'pop' out their answers to the class.