Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First few weeks of school thoughts

The first day of school consists of me going over the syllabus, the layout of my classroom, procedures for turning things in, picking things up, if they are absent, etc. that takes the majority of the 54 minute class period. The left over time my students write me an autobiography. The guidelines are simple. It must fill up the front of one sheet of paper from margin line to margin line, from the top line to the bottom line. it must be in sentance/paragraph form. I ask them to share anything they want to share with me about themselves. i ask them to share if thry have any special requests or situations about seating arrangements, etc. in these i have found out things like: a student was deaf in his right ear znd needed to sit one the right side of the room, one of my seniors helped her mom move out of their house the previous night because her parents are getting a divorce, I also found out one of my students has seizures but a classmate knows what to do. This is a very easy and quick way to start building relationships and repore.

This year has started out to be awesome! My students this year are very bright, energetic, and funny. Developing relationships are one of my favorite parts about teaching. I get to know all these awesome people in one of the funnest times of their lives, as they are developing their personalities. And if I can get to know them a little then they are much more likely to buy into what I'm selling.

We did two weeks of review lessons over linear functions and systems of equations. This was basically to get their brains started again. Once I reminded them of what algebra looks and feels like, we jumped right into quadratics. I LOVE QUADRATICS!!!!! My students, however, don't. :-(

I decided to try something different with homework compared to how I did it last semester. Students will have far less homework problems. Last semester I gave around 20 homework problems a night. I noticed really quickly that the only students who did the homework were the students who would have done the homework if I assigned 100 problems every night. So this year I cut it down to 10 problems a night. This seems to be the key. The students who aren't doing it at all are the students who won't do any homework. But I have a lot more actually trying. This seems an easier accomplishment so they are willing to try. They keep this assignments in their "math notebook" with their notes. These are to be kept highly organized with random notebook checks. After the first notebook check I decided that they weren't understanding how I wanted to notebooks organized so I made example notebooks of a good notebook and a bad notebook. After that they seemed to do better. I still have a few students who think its their job in life to question every thing I do. They think its fun to constantly tell me that all students learn different and not everyone is successful with a "math notebook" so they will not be getting one. I told them then its their grade that will suffer. After a few zeros in the grade book they had a notebook.

These are my thoughts and stuff from the first few weeks over school. Its a little scattered but I didn't write it all in one sitting. Please forgive me!

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