Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Day Details

A small but neat trick that I picked up from another teacher last year is that you can write the kids' names on post-its, and then put the post-its on their desks before they walk in on Day 1. That way, they will already be quietly looking for their assigned seats on their way in, you can take roll easily on Day 1 (by seeing if there are post-its that remain unoccupied), and they can also hand you back the post-it with their names corrected if they prefer to be called something else.

I really liked that idea. Especially because last year, the school was scrambling their schedules until the very last minute, we didn't receive the updated rosters until the morning of Day 1, and I especially wanted the semblance of order in my classroom to set the tone for the rest of the year.

This year, I am taking that idea a bit further and adding on a layer of getting-to-know-you. I'll write their names on a survey beforehand and stick the named surveys on their assigned desks. (...Yes, I do realize it's quite a bit more work this way than having them fill out their own names, but for some reason I like it better than posting a seating chart on the wall!) That would give them a semi-thoughtful do-now in addition to filing in quietly. Afterwards, I'll have a short chat with them about my expectations. (I have re-written my syllabus as a letter to the students this year, to emphasize the idea that we are building an important relationship right from the start.)

None of this is original, but as with all disciplinary measures at the beginning of a year, the devil's in the details.


I am heading into my fifth year, and generally I am feeling really upbeat about it. I'm up to two-and-a-half preps this year. (To make it a bit more manageable, I am going to try to keep my honors and regular Geometry classes paced similarly, except going into greater depths and throwing in extra projects that are sequence-independent for the honors classes.) After a bit of paperwork chaos, it looks like I'll also be teaching Precalculus as I was hoping for. Yay!

I've pretty much got the whole year outlined, in both Geometry and Precalculus. Since it's the first time I'll be doing Precalculus, I can't yet gauge how ambitious those units are, so I'll reveal them piecewise as I figure it out. I'm feeling pretty great about Geometry, because I have revamped my entire curriculum from last year (keeping bits here and there that I liked, but re-doing the whole sequence and adding a whole bunch of new activities), and my two Geometry partners for this year seem to be on board with the plan.

Onwards! I think it's gonna be a very busy, but good, year. :)


  1. Yay! :) From talking to other teachers though, it sounds like those juniors are gonna make me earn my pay this year. ;)