Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thoughts on Day 1

I've been having trouble processing #TMC14, so I turned to twitter:

And I was astonished at the results.  In our morning session we discussed wanting to stay connected and use twitter to keep us a community throughout the school year, but I wasn't actually expecting such a wide response!  The conversations that came as a result of this involved many people and consisted of over 100 tweets (not all of them involving me).  It gave me so much to think about and I am grateful for all who participated.

Last year I did this on the first day, which worked great for last year, but I'm not sure I want to do the same this year.  I really want them engaging in math in groups right away, but I want them to do it in a productive way!  So I got lots of ideas from people, but I need to explain my situation a little better than I can in 140 characters.  Here is what I have to deal with:
  • We start school on a Thursday, so I only have 2 days of school that first week.
  • On Thursday we will start with an assembly, so I will likely have about 30 minutes with students, regularly I have 51 minutes
  • My admin expects that the syllabus be passed out on the first day
  • I'm not going to read the syllabus to my students on day 1 (or likely any day)
  • I am going to be doing talking points weekly, on Thursdays for bellwork, but I don't want to wait until a week after school has started to do talking points
  • I want to get their ISNs started, so they see that I value it
  • I don't want to have to teach a bajillion procedures/classroom structures on day 1, but I want my expectations to be clear when I have them engage in those things
  • I greet all my students at the door day 1 (and try to everyday), so I need something to engage my students right away while I'm in the hall greeting
  • Our first unit is a "bootcamp" unit on numbers and operations, I would like to tie into that so that what we do has value to them
OK, that's enough bullet points.  It really left me with a few options that I have spent some time thinking through:  syllabus scavenger hunt, syllabus talking points, or some other activity (like Tabletop twitter shared by Jasmine Walker as a "My Favorite" at #TMC14) in addition to gluing the syllabus into ISNs.

I think I have officially decided against syllabus talking points, as I'm not sure it would be a great place to start talking points.  I really like starting with the first one that Elizabeth had us start with, which was "talking about talking".  I think it would be a good place for students to start with talking points because the statements relate to the activity.  So I guess I'm thinking about saving that for Friday (day 2)...

Another idea for an activity that I had was a number sorting activity.  Each student would receive a number (any form of a real number) upon entering the classroom and in their small groups they should order from least to greatest.  Then when I finish greeting everyone and giving attendance I would come in and give a little more instruction (perhaps encouraging them to use "I think...because..." statements) prior to having them order all numbers from least to greatest.

Thoughts?  I'm still processing ideas and reading about quality group work, so not sure I will make a decision yet.  However if I do end up wanting to do the number sorting lesson I need help choosing good numbers!  I think a lesson like that calls for a lesson study structure, but I could be wrong as I still have little understanding about lesson study.


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