Saturday, August 15, 2015

First Week Plans: Algebra 1

Here are my basic plans for Algebra 1.  I have four sections of this.  Mostly freshmen, but some older students as well.  However, I basically consider it a freshmen course and work hard to help my students feel welcomed to high school, learn the structures of our school, and help them stay organized for my class.

Monday 8/24

  • Will be randomly assigned to a table as they come in.  I will meet them at the door, high five them, work on learning their names, and assign them to their table
  • Numbers about me activity.  I want to blog about this after school starts, but since I haven't yet, I'll give a little guidance. 
    • When they come in this paper will be at their tables:
    • After everyone is in class and I have taken attendance and gotten settled, I will run through a powerpoint of the answers with pictures.  And I say something like "Clearly the numbers are important, but the units attached to those numbers are just as important." to tie it into our first unit on numbers and units.
    • Then I give them this instruction:

    • Depending on time I might have them share their 5 numbers with an elbow partner.
      Oh--and I need to change the instructions because they have to use a percent, fraction, decimal, or negative number.  Maybe two out of the five numbers have to be one of those.  We can't just be all positive integers :)
  • Then we'll wrap up class.  The first day we usually only have 20-30 minutes with students, so I think this will get us through.  I will also say something like:  "Make sure to have a notebook tomorrow like this *I hold up mine*.  You will need one that you can use ONLY for this class and that you can use ALL YEAR LONG.  If you brought it today you may find your folder by that wall and leave it in there so you don't have to worry about it tomorrow."
Tuesday 8/25
  • We will look at the syllabus...the plan is to glue it into our notebooks, but I just got an email from my principal that might change that plan--so we'll see.  I will not read it all, but students might look over it in groups or something and do a 3-2-1 reflection on it to be handed in.
  • Talking Points Structure.  We will learn about talking points today!!! I'm so excited.  First we will talk about the structure, and glue that into our notebooks.  Then I want some sort of model of talking points, so I might see if some teachers/or my family will make a video with me of a few rounds of talking points.
  • Talking about Talking Talking Points! Now the students get to try it for themselves--woohoo!  We will share out at the end.  Maybe we'll do a big circle to reflect on it.  For sure each group hands in their group reflection.
  • Then they get to be crafty and turn their "5 numbers about me" into the back cover of their notebooks :)  Then if they leave them with me I will tape them on with my super awesome Duck Brand EZ Start Packing Tape.  It basically laminates the paper onto their cover.  One reason I like to do this (because reasons not to are price, class time, and my time) is because they have now invested a lot into this notebook which will make it more likely to last the whole year.
I just realized I could to syllabus, TP structure, and "numbers about me" as stations and then do the actual talking points at the end.  That might save me the mess of clean up at the end of each class, because the "numbers about me" stuff would be contained to one area...hmmm...things to think about.

Wednesday 8/26
  • We will start the number line task I blogged about.  Starting with Part 1.  I'll probably allot 10 minutes.  So timer and go.
  • Group Roles:  We will discuss group work structure and roles.  Gluing them into our notebooks.  I will have all the "recorders" meet to discuss their role (and ask me questions if they have them), etc.  Then they go back to their groups and share out:  "my job is to..."  I make sure to teach the resource managers how to ask a group question.
  • Number line task:  Part 2.  And before the end of class they must complete the reflection, which is mostly about their roles.
Thursday 8/27
  • Talking Points:  talking about group roles.  This gets them talking about group roles to remember what they learned yesterday about them.  Some of the statements are opinions and others are about the roles themselves. We will reflect individually, as groups, and as a whole class afterwards.
  • Number Line Task:  Part 3.
  • Exit Ticket:  reflection of task---not sure whether I will have them complete this now or later if their class hasn't finished part 3.
Friday 8/28
  • Estimation 180.  They will glue the handout into the back of their notebooks.  We'll probably do two days to get the hang of it.  From this point forward Estimation 180 is our Friday bellwork.
  • Expectations Foldable.  This goes into our notebook and it talks about expected behaviors for certain methods of learning we will be doing.  If I don't include the syllabus in their notebooks then I need to add to this page.  I will likely put it into the notebook as a whole class, but then read through it and reflect in groups.  Maybe have groups share out.  This is also the time where I will share about "I was...I should have been..." reflection form I have students complete when they are not following directions.
  • Set up Unit 0.  We will set up our first unit in our notebook.  This includes a tab, table of contents, and pocket.  We might also try to put in some notes depending on how the number line task went.
  • Homework:  show off your notebook.  I think at this point there will be enough stuff in the notebook that I want students to take it home and show it off.  I will create a form for them to have completed.  "I saw these things in the notebook...I have these questions...I would like to be contacted through this method..."
  • I want to set up google classroom sometime this week
  • Want to look into "Class Messenger" one of the downfalls of google classroom is that it leaves parents out.  Might want to do class messenger.  If so, include information on the "homework" for parents to see.
  • I really want to show the videos about How To Learn Math, either from the MOOC or from the "week of iMath" on
  • I also want to do Music Cues, but I haven't sat down to look at it yet, so can't plan it into classes yet.
  • Things I want to remember:
    • Count down from 5 to get attention
    • Two Nice Things
    • High Fives
    • Introduce "while you were out" in each period when first student is absent
    • Write notes to students
  • I'm sure there's more, but I'm out of thoughts for now!
Give me all your thoughts!  Tell me what parts you don't like or what parts need improvement--because I still have a week before school starts, so I can change it if I want to.



  1. Fabulous. I would love to be in your class. Best for a great year!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! And thanks for reading!

  2. I really like how integrated the notebooks are into the class well before you dive into content. Personalizing them with the numbers about me (which I also just stole!) helps with that. The plan so far is clear, flows well, addresses class culture, and isn't too full. I would be careful about adding much more. If you want to do the Jo Boaler videos, I would just pick out a couple that line up well with what you are already doing that day.

    Love the expectations foldable / the reflection form when students are not doing what they should have been. Forces them to think through their actions and put in writing a better alternative. You might not even have to say a word. It also provides a record, generated by the student, if it happens often.

    Number line task rocks as well. Maybe a follow-up would be to take volunteers to name everyone between two randomly generated numbers in the range (or something like that) to practice names and maybe even have a discussion about why the ends seem to get left out.

    The high fives and other personalized components are great as well and will reinforce a culture of students participating and caring.

    I'm now trying to balance wanting to use a lot of this with not overloading every class period! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for taking time to read through and comment! Everything you say keeps me thinking. I definitely don't want to overload the class in the first week, so I will work hard to keep that in mind. However we have 50 minute periods, so I might have some room to sneak something in. My goal is to have something ready in case there is time, but not squish it in if there isn't. Thanks for all your thoughts!

  3. Just found you through tweet deck. Did you go to TMC 15? Anyways. Thank you for sharing all you do! Happy to have found you!