Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First Day of School

How come it always seems like I spend so much time planning for the perfect first day of sixth grade math, and before I know it, it's over and I only accomplished about half of the things I wanted to accomplish? If you ask me, it is by far the hardest day of the year to plan. There are just too many things I want to do and not enough time with the students to do them! Getting to know the kids, setting routines, planning fun icebreaker activities, setting class expectations...the list could go on forever. In five years of teaching I don't think I've had two first days that have been the same. Here is an insight into our first day of middle school math this year!


After a brief welcome and introduction, I wanted to start by setting a few of the routines that we will have throughout the year...for my students, it is their first day in middle school, so there are a lot of them! We start by practicing filling out our assignment notebooks - the 1 is for what we did in class, the 2 is for any homework we have. I love the new tape measure tape that I found at Office Depot!

Next, I wanted to introduce our Daily Check routine. I talked for a few minutes about my two big expectations. One, that students are respectful and polite to everyone. Two, that they give their best effort. This second one fit in well with our principal's pep talk about grit at our morning assembly. I then gave students a Post-it note and had them brainstorm 2-3 expectations that THEY wanted for the class. At the end of the day, I tallied what themes came up most in their Post-its and created our class expectations you see below! I plan on making them into a poster this weekend for students to sign!

After discussing and practicing these routines, I wanted to get the students up and out of their seats. This great "Would You Rather?" activity from Mixing it up in Middle worked out perfect. I was so thankful to have this awesome icebreaker activity. I highly recommend it! I guarantee that if I polled my students, the majority would say that this was their favorite part about our first class! It got them up and moving around, getting to know each other, and excited about the questions they were answering!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-to-School-Would-You-Rathera-4-Corner-Ice-Breaker-Activity-1409385
After giving them the chance to get to know each other with the "Would You Rather?" activity, I wanted them to have some fun getting to know me. I created a Mr. O Guessing Game worksheet for them to try. The activity has a bank of numbers that they must use to fill in answers about me. A few examples of questions are below.

1. How many siblings do I have?
2. What year was I born? (This is always a fun one...I've only had 1905 guessed once).
3. What place did my baseball team get this year (out of 10).
4. How many countries have I traveled to?

You get the idea...I won't list all 13 questions. They must take the numbers and try to place them correctly next to each question. They really enjoy this one too, since a lot of times they have to completely guess! When they have finished, I have them trade papers and we go over the answers. In my room...winner gets a mint!

Believe it or not, this is just about all I was able to get through in our 90 minute classes! Although you can't accomplish everything you want to on the first day (some things just take more time!), I liked how this year's first day went. It got some important things started...setting up some routines/expectations, getting students to know each other better, students getting to know me, and of course some time to answer all of the questions middle schoolers have coming into middle school! 

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