Saturday, August 13, 2016

Back to School: First Week (3 days) #MTBoSBlaugust

The calendar this year is perfect: teachers started a week ago Tuesday and students started this past Wednesday.  We had 6 pre-planning days and I felt very relaxed in getting stuff done.  I made myself available to help some of our new teachers get their rooms ready or answer any questions they had.

We had our Open House the Thursday before students arrived, so I got to meet about 90 of my 158 students!  Our school decided to have a mock school day for parents and students with 7-minute classes.  From a teacher stand point, this was a phenomenal idea.  Every year I find myself repeating the SAME THING OVER AND OVER as each small group came through my door.  I got to where I was giving them a shortened version of the speech.  This year, there was a lack of communication to parents about the schedule, so I still had some walking in at all times, even my mock planning period! LOL!  After the usual speech, I asked the parents to write one positive word about their child on a post-it note and stick it on my ONE WORD bulletin board.  Like my students, they were a little shy doing their first classroom activity!  Here's a pic...

I had an amazing 3 days with students this week.  Here is the assignment I wrote out prior to Open House (READ: things change!).  

For Bellwork, they had two tasks to complete: post-it note activity and name tent.  Wednesday's post-it note activity was to write ONE GOOD THING that happened to them today. They found it easy and I wanted to start on a positive note!  

The next task was to make a name tent and ask me a question or make a comment inside to turn in at the end of the period.  I took them home and wrote a comment on every single one that had written to me.  I got my idea from Sara VanDerWerf here.  I made mine have only 3 days.  I also printed dotted lines on the back so students could fold it a little easier.

After that, I had my students take the syllabus and a pencil and do a gallery walk around my room to read my posters.  They had to write down things they read that were important.  After they were seated, I asked each group to tell me something they read that was important.  This is a great way to go over the rules without droning on and on about things they aren't allowed to do.  Many of them noticed all my inspirational posters.  I really think this set the positive tone for my classroom.  

I was disappointed that I had to postpone the cup stacking activity.  I'll blog about it when we do get to it.  Last was the MATH IS... math tweet.  I have used this for a few years now (even though I wasn't on twitter myself!).  I got the idea from Math Equals Love (Sarah Carter).  I have to admit that I haven't read any of them yet!

Thurday's post-it note activity was to write ONE FACT they wanted me to know about them.

I had planned to go over Google Classroom with them and have them complete a SMART goal and WHO I AM (both on Google Slides).  Of course, first period I found out that I didn't have the correct naming convention for their new emails and the Google Chromebooks wouldn't let them sign in. Anticipating typical tech issues, I had those two documents printed out, thankfully!  Boring, but doable!

Friday's post-it was to complete the sentence IF I KNEW I WOULDN'T FAIL, I WOULD...

Regrettably, we didn't get to do the Formed Paper exercise, but I did get the right emails and they ALL WORKED!!!!!  That's a first!!  I went over Google Classroom and walked them through two assignments.  They completed a WODB individually in Google Slides and turned it in (see examples below).  The other activity was playing around with Geogebra, taking a screenshot and importing it into a Google Doc to turn in (see examples below).  They were then given a homework assignment.  It is a Google Form with a YouTube video embedded at the top.  They will watch the video, answer the questions and submit the assignment.  I set the Form up as a "Quiz" so it will be graded as soon as they turn it in.  Honestly, there is no reason for them to miss any questions because they can simply rewatch the video to answer them.  This is slight flip of my classroom.  Video notes are going to be given as homework, so students can watch as many times as they need to and have success on homework.

I've grade 4 out of 6 classes on the WODB assignment.  It is SO EASY to check it, assign points, write private comments if I want and return the work to them.  Plus, I don't have to lug two tons of paperwork home to grade.  There's some serious procrastination going on when that huge stack is on the table staring at me!!!!!!

I hope this next week and every week this year will be as good as last week!

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