This past week I’ve been slowly getting more stressed as the week’s gone on. First I found out that I likely won’t be able to do SBG, at least the way I have for the past few years at my previous school. Then I found out that technology won’t be as easy to come by (our school is “almost 1-to-1”, which means I can only sign out chromebook carts for up to a week at a time since other teachers will likely want to use them). I’d like to lesson plan ahead so the first few weeks (even months?) might be easier, but two things: 1) I don’t even know the general ability of my students yet, and 2) apparently I need to wait to meet with the other 8th grade math teacher before planning too much. For example, our principal has told us not to make a syllabus yet because she has some special way to combine syllabuses between classes so as to not overwhelm students. On top of that, my classroom isn’t even close to being ready yet!
And students will be walking through my door in 9 days.
All this stress was building up and I wasn’t sure what I could do, but then I remembered one of Nicole Paris’s (@solvingforx) posts about studying her students’ faces on her phone to learn all the names ahead of time. I started doing this and my stress level has gone down!
This is something I’ve heard over and over: Teaching is more about the relationships with students than about the math or pedagogy. I want to make more of an effort to know and care for my students this year than I have in the past.
I’m actually not using a flash-card app, I’m just taking a picture of their faces from the school’s attendance/grading program. Their name is above their photo in the same picture, so if I look at multiple pictures in Google Photos (“gallery view”), the name gets cut out of the picture and I’m left with just their face.
The downside to it not being a flashcard app is that I don’t get intelligent review, but the upside is that it’s free and doesn’t take up more of the limited space on my old smartphone. And no “setup” required, other than taking pictures.
I’ve got most of my first period down, now I need to start with the other four. I only have ~110 students this year. Wish me luck!
 Skips ones that I get right, for example.
 Other than the space for the actual photos.