I've been stressing over my first week. Last year, we all went to see Harry Wong, and I was sold on doing nothing but procedures and routines the first 2 weeks. I still agree with the fact that the routine and procedures and getting to know the kids are the most important goals, however, I also think that it is equally important to set the tone that the subject is important too!
So I've been trying to figure out how to include both, without jumping too far into the "curriculum" to really let them know that BOTH are equally important. I am so excited that I finally came up with something! I have to preface this with a warning though, I am an EXTREME steal-er. I am an expert google-er and steal almost everything I use in class from other teachers! So part of this is stolen (my summer project) the rest is my idea and I'm so proud of myself!
Let me also start off by saying I teach in a very small charter school, my 8th graders are my last year 7th graders -so I know them inside-out, and my new 7th graders I've had in homework clubs, field day, etc and pretty much know at least everyone's names. So I don't have to do that much "getting to know you" stuff. I did give my incoming 7th graders a survey that was due before the end of the year and got them all back (ONLY 1 student does not have access to technology at home!! Most had WAY more than me!!!)
Ok back to the plans:
What I want to cover the first week:
Rules: Come to class prepared and ready to learn
Listen and follow all directions
Respect yourself, you classmates and your teacher
Procedures: Entering and leaving class
Turning in work
Leaving seat (bathroom, nurse, garbage, supplies)
Working as groups (sometimes they will be working together, other times the work is expected to be done individually but they are able to collaborate)
Emergency (Fire Drills, Lock Down, etc)
When I need whole class attention
We will go over these starting from the first day explain and practice. I will make videos of these and homework for the first week will to be just watching these videos. The next day we will have discussions based on the videos. I like this because this will ease them into the videos without the stress of learning math from them. The rest of my procedures will come on an as needed basis. These are the ones that I think are the most important for getting started...am I missing anything?
Ok, now for the fun mathy stuff! I made the summer assignment for both 7th and 8th grade a Math Scrapbook. This part I totally 150% stole from somewhere online and I am sorry but I don't know where. If you recognize this and it is your work please tell me and I will probably send you a gift certificate for a coffee or something!
Anyway, hopefully you can get the gist of my project from the picture. I asked 7th grade to do 4 pages and 8th grade to do 6 pages.
The first day I will have students share their project with their group. Now, I know from experience that everyone won't have their project the first day. The students that have them get to be the stars of the day! So what happens is they are only sharing with their groups (4 and 5 students in each of my groups) they are getting feedback from group members that it is complete, the others are checking the project against the checklist I provided, and making sure it is "A worthy", these students are going to be allowed to make corrections before they hand it in! I will be circulating the groups talking getting reacquainted with everyone. I will let those who don't have theirs to be sure to bring it tomorrow so they can get feedback tomorrow!
The next day we will start with discussion of the video (rules and procedures) then back to our projects, starting off with those who didn't have them yesterday. If for some reason they ALL had them ready, they can use the time to "fix" them up with help from their support group. The goal is that everyone is getting an A on their summer project.
3rd day-start off the same way, then this day we are going to have a little competition, each group will have to decide on their best scrapbook from their group including making a presentation why it is the best. At the end of the day we will pick the "best of the best"
4th day- start off the same as the previous 3 days then those who never finished their projects will spend the rest of the class time working on them-EVERYONE will hand in their summer project by Friday. The rest of the class will be viewing and voting on the BEST of the BEST from all classes and decorating the room with the rest of the projects.
I am so excited about this plan. Some of the things I wanted to improve was giving my students a real taste of our motto "Failure is not an option!" and I feel like this plan starts the year off with that message, considering their summer project is a test grade. Second, I was horrible about displaying student work and my bulletin boards, so my Friday activity gets work up and the kids involved. Thirdly and most importantly I hope that this gets them taking about math and gives them a real feel of how I want my class to work this year...no more silent rows and boring lectures!