First Day of School Plan for 2012

I always seem to end one school year thinking about what I'm going to do differently the following school year. During the 2011-2012 school year, my partner in crime, Trista stumbled upon the idea of the flipped classroom concept and we ran with it! We had great successes and great opportunities for improvement as well. For those of you who don't know what the flipped classroom is, you can find lots of information here. In a nutshell, a flipped classroom teaching technique for math is one where the primary purpose of the out-of-class time is for the student to learn the content through instructional videos and other resources, and the primary purpose of the classroom time is for students to solve problems alone or collaboratively, share projects and artifacts, and to receive personalized coaching from the professional teacher.

Okay, so, at first, all of my planning for next school year was in reference to my flipped classroom. Well, God has blessed me with a new position at a new school, where I'll only be teaching one class of students and the rest of my day is more of the math department chair and instructional coach. I will be responsible for providing weekly job-embedded professional development, follow-up with teachers to help execute strategies taught in professional development, and formal evaluations of teachers. The official title is Math Master Teacher, and the position is funded through the Teacher Advancement Program.

So, at my new school, I don't know the student population as well, but I know that the demographics are almost the polar opposite of my last school. Now, I do not assume that means my students will not have access to internet outside of school, but I know there will be many more without access than the school I am moving from where the flipped classroom worked so well. Anyway, I had contingencies for students without interent access i.e. dvd with videos for the unit, transferring videos to flash drives and iPods, etc. Okay... I'm rambling, basically I'm still working on videos, but I'm not going in day one assuming that I'll be using a flipped classroom model, but will survey my students first. to the point and the title of this post, I have developed a plan for my first day of school, which I am extremely excited about. (My 'flipping' partner, Trista helped be refine the plan while we were in Chicago for the Flipped Classroom Conference.) I am so tired of going through all my procedures and rules on day one. They mean nothing if they are not being practiced, so instead, I will review and teach procedures as they come up in our class time. So, here's the run-down of day one:

  1. Procedure for entering the classroom
  2. My Life in Numbers Quiz
  3. Student Life in Numbers
  4. Begin Paper Blogging Activity
  5. Procedure for leaving the classroom

That's it! Woohoo!!!! Okay, so #1 and #5 don't really need explanation. Here's more about #2, #3, and #4.

My Life in Numbers Quiz - This idea comes from Mrs. C by the Numbers. Basically, this teacher starts day one by telling students to clear their desk for a quiz. It's 10 questions and it's matching, so hopefully, students will do well. Quizzes are passed out face down and students are not to turn them over unitl instructed to do so. Turns out the quiz is all numbers related to an event of fact about the teacher's life. It's basically a a get to know your teacher activity. Here is my 'My Life in Numbers Quiz' so far. A few items may change. I plan to have a Prezi with pictures to go through the correct answers for 'grading.'

Student Life in Numbers - So, I will then ask students for 3-5 numbers that describe themselves and why. This has two purposes: to learn a little about my students & to get them thinking for the next activity...paper blogging.

Paper Blogging - This idea comes from Notes from McTeach, a blog I stumbled upon when doing my research when considering blogging my math classroom. I haven't worked out all the details, but in short this activity is to teach what a blog is and to teach good commenting. Students will choose a topic they are passionate about i.e. family, favorite food, sports, etc. I hope that their 'life in numbers' will give them some ideas. Students will write and decorate a paper blog post about that topic. After the paper blogs are written and decorated, students will then practice commenting with post-it notes. This will hopefully occur during day 2 of class. We will discuss the attributes of good blog comments. I will hang the paper blogs around the classroom. Students will read a blog thoroughly, and then leave a comment with a post-it note. Students will then rotate to another blog and leave a new comment or comment on the previous student's comment. At the end of the activity, students will get their paper blog back and get a chance to read any comments and respond with a post-it note if they wish.
I hope this activity will pique an interest in blogging and get us started with blogging in the classroom.
Are you looking for more middle school math teachers'
plans for the first day/week of school? If so, check out #msSunFun...

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