We set up expectations for what a Quality Student, a Quality Assignment, a Quality Teacher and a Quality School would look like in their eyes. They started off by brainstorming what each of these qualities would look like with Post-it notes. There was a lot of thinking going on during that time. It was pretty neat to watch it happen. After a few minutes they grouped similar notes as a table group. That was awesome to watch. The students were collaborating and making difficult choices making those groups. After that, they grouped with another table to combine like thoughts. When they were finished with that, I asked them their ideas and I posted them onto the whiteboard for everyone to see. The last step was to see if there were similar responses on the whiteboard that we could group together. They really had some good ideas as to why some of the ideas could be combined. After that was said and done, I typed them up and printed there qualities. They all signed them and they are now posted in the classroom as a reminder of what they should do this school year. It is also what I am going to expect from them.
Together we set up our 3-ring binders. We put tabs in for Notes, Paper, Homework, Resources and Extra and then put various papers in to help with math this school year.
A game we introduced the game Farkle so the students start to have a variety of choices for math games to play. Just a hint here, we are going to introduce a game next week called Sweet 16.
We only had one assignment this week. That assignment was how to complete a math assignment. We learned how to set up our paper for an assignment with our name, date and class rotation at the top right of the paper. They were shown how we would like them to write their problems on the paper, number their problems and what to do when they run out of room. It was refreshing math for them with all the problems being a mixture of addition, subtraction and multiplication.
Pre-tests help me to see what the students already know about a standard or benchmark. I try to give one before every unit. That way I can see what I need to teach, what not to teach and what to do with those that may need enrichment with the topic.
I wanted an activity that allowed the students to explore the resources I have in my room so I had them work on what is called a Flextangle. (Click on the Flextangle to see more about it.) They were able to locate my crayons/markers/colored pencils, scissors and glue. They also know my expectations on how to put those supplies back. This Flextangle activity was a challenge for some but I had the opportunity to see students attention to detail. Some had a ton of attention and gave the activity many detailed minutes.
One thing I am going to do more of and more often with is journaling. If I got a nickle for every time someone said, "Writing, but we are in math." I'd have a couple bucks. I had the students make journals with blank paper. We folded the paper hamburger style and then attached the pages together with two of the pages with some special cutting. No glue, tape or staples were used to make this journal. My hope with the journaling is that students will be able to write about what they are doing with our units or math ideas. By writing, they are understanding in a different way, therefore gaining a deeper understanding of the concept. I am excited to journal this year.
I know my class routine isn't quite solidified but I am pretty confident it is getting closer. The class time of 90 minutes is a change and a challenge for me this year. I already feel that I have learned more names to faces and seen qualities in students that will help me make decisions. (Like seating arrangements). I work with two other special math teachers and I am excited about that. Those are the things that make a school year exciting. I am really looking forward to getting to know the students and their families. This is going to be a fantastic school year.
As you can see, we didn't get much done these first four days.