I haven’t posted all summer because I was away in NC, MD, MI, and France (wohoo!). But I completely plan on continuing to reflect this upcoming year and I hope that my teaching practices improve significantly.
Ask I started to plan for the first few days (which happened last Wednesday–4 school days ago), I realized that there was a TON of different things that students had to know how to do in order to succeed in my class. So much so that it was nearly eclipsing the material and content (perhaps it is?). An experienced teacher once told me that he always wanted to do some math on the first day so that students recognize what is important in the class: doing math. This man is also my father-in-law, and so I honestly believe he was an incredible teacher and want to emulate everything I can that he did.
However, I feel like I have the following things to do before I can “get down to learning”:
- Talk about the Syllabus.
- Put names on Popsicle sticks (students doing this saves tons of time)
- Website scavenger hunt. My teacher website has become huge due to all the online opportunities I want to give my students. So big that I decided to do a scavenger hunt (see below) for them to find things on my website.
- Participation Points.
- Have students create Google Accounts. Our school has decided to do away with school e-mail accounts because when they leave school, the school doesn’t have the money to continue giving them e-mail accounts, but that means that we can’t contact our alumni (mostly for Advancement).
- Student Survey. Many of the questions are stolen from other excellent bloggers.
- Quiz. I want to do this before explaining SBG so that they have some point of reference.
- Explain SBG.
- Explain SAS. This is my student-initiated assessment form for students to fill out, if they want to improve one of their grades on their own time.
- Have students create a blog (using Kidblog).
- Setup Remind101 for students.
At this point I’ve done almost everything in all of my classes except setup Remind101. I have so many options for participation points right now, however, I think I need to introduce them only a few at a time so students can swallow them and try them out. One thing I like is that I purchased a Facebook-like Stamp and I can use this on warm-ups or HW to entice them to work even though HW is 0% of their grade. Forget the 5 points that the stamp is worth, the students really just want to get stamped on their paper! Unfortunately, I think that fascination will wear off soon, which is why I decided to make them worth PPs.
One thing I did that I think worked out well was not trekking through the whole syllabus on the first day. Instead, I did a scavenger hunt on my website. That way students are navigating through it and getting comfortable with it, and it’s not just one more class where the teacher talks about procedures (even though I definitely could talk for 3 days straight about procedures!). Here’s my scavenger hunt below if you’re interested. (Yes, both pages are the same–I saved it that was so I could print them side-by-side on our printer and save paper).