Friday, July 31, 2015

Brain Dump...Beginning of the Year

So I have a bunch of random thoughts about the beginning of the year bouncing around in my head, and I need to get them out because I won't be able to hash anything out for a few days and I don't want to forget them!

I've been thinking about my first day of school plans with my Algebra students, and although I still want to do the number line activity that I did last year (which I still need to blog about), I want to make a few changes and turn it into a longer task.  This way I will be able to use it as a pre-assessment of our first unit (Numbers and Operations) as well.  When I figure out what this is going to look like, I'll blog about it.  Promise.

So I think I'm going to go back to the "number about me" type of activity that I shared here.  But I'm thinking about making my information as 5-10 multiple choice questions, Kahoot style, or with Plickers, or something else since we'll have chromebooks (maybe pear deck?).  Then I'll have students submit their numbers as an exit ticket or an entrance ticket the next day.  This definitely helps me to build relationships from day one because I learn 5 things about my students THAT THEY CHOOSE TO SHARE.  And then we can turn this into the front or back of our ISNs :)  I found that when students had decorated the covers they treated them better throughout the year, which is really important since I want the same notebook to last all year.

I still need to send postcards home.  That needs to be #1 at this point.

I also really, really, really want to write students notes throughout the year.  I also want to call parents regularly throughout the year.  But those things take time and work, which I know will be really challenging once school starts.

Another thing I read about somewhere at some point this past year was sending students home with their notebooks and having their assignment be to show an adult at home.  I really want to do that within the first week with the syllabus and other things we will have in our notebook.  Then I can have a parent sign and return it or email me.  [I saw ____'s notebook.  He/she showed me these things:  I have these questions:  You can contact me these ways:  I prefer this method:  ]  This way I can collect phone numbers and email addresses as well, since sometimes they show up weird on PowerSchool when I try to look them up.  Then I was thinking that as the year goes on and I make parent/student contact I can record notes on the back of the paper.

Oh, and I want to be happy.  Ridiculously happy.  Every day.  This didn't happen last year, and I need to bring it back.  I love teaching.  I really do.  I need to ignore how frustrated I can get about all the work that is expected of us, and just be happy that I get to teach young souls about the awesomeness of math.  Ignore how annoying it is when I already have my plans made and the school changes the schedule.  Ignore that I hate it when other activities take my students out of class ALL. THE. TIME.  And just enjoy teaching.  Enjoy the students.  Focus on the good.

Well, I think that is the end of my brain dump for now.  I may have to add more later...

Update:  Also, musical cues, because no one wants to here me talk all the time.

-Kathryn

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