Monday, September 11, 2017

Back to the beginning

I was chatting with a friend at my daughter's volleyball game yesterday about my first day of school today.  She made an interesting comment about how only teachers count their years of experience. I guess I'd never thought about it, but we have such a clear-cut beginning and end to our jobs that we definitely do keep track. Mostly.

Today was the first day of my 21st year as a teacher. Which makes me feel old and tired just thinking about it.  It also made me think back to my first year when I was a baby at 21 teaching kids just a few years younger. It shocked me a few months into the year when a student recognized the outfit I was wearing as one I'd worn the first day. Boy, those kids remember everything!  (Maybe not the math, but the personal stuff for sure!)

And every year feels like a fresh start. In what other profession do you have the chance to re-invent yourself every year?

Here were my first day activities:
1. Names. How do you pronounce it?  What do you like to be called?  (Boring, but a necessity.)
2. Sara Vanderwerf's name tents. I did these for the first time last year and loved them. Changed them up a little for this year by putting prompts in for each day. They can be painful to respond to each kid every day, but it's so important!  Here are two of my favorite responses from today:

3. Sara Vanderwerf's 100 Task. A fun way to get the kids talking and working together. I have a lot of kids for the second year in a row, so for a couple of my classes I gave Greta Bergman's version that has expressions instead of just numbers. And boy, was it harder! Instead of getting to 100, we decided that their goal should be 30. And most groups got there.
See anyone not engaged?


In all of my classes we had a little time left, so I had them check to make sure they were enrolled in my Schoology course and had filled out the survey that I posted. And then they responded to the name tent prompt.

Here's tomorrow's plan (because I will probably be too exhausted to even think about writing about it and I hope to remember this for next year!).
I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about Growth Mindset this summer, so that's what we're going to do tomorrow.
1. We'll start with Sarah Carter's Broken Circles. I'm already doubting the ability of a couple of my classes to stay quiet during it. :)
2. I have 9 growth mindset questions set up in Plickers. (I can't link to them, but here's a pic.)  I think I'm going to have the kids answer, then we'll discuss. I might go back through them again if we have time.

3. Then we'll talk about Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset. I put together a google presentation talking about the differences and a couple of videos. I just got The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley, which is where a lot of the info came from. 

And for day 3:
1. Fawn's Noah's Ark problem. This one was fun last year :)  [This is from Julie's blog because I can't get to the one on Fawn's blog.]
2. We're going to explore Desmos a bit. I put together a comparison chart; because my kids still take the ACT, they have to know how to use a TI. I'm going to have them work through skills with both.
3. And then, if there's time, a Desmos activity. Here's a card sort on functions that I might use.

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