Returning to school after the winter break can be challenging for everyone.
- Not everyone had a happy holiday; some students may have experienced great disappointments
- If you feel reluctant, imagine how your students might feel the same way
- It's hard to get back into the groove of a regular school schedule
You can surely expect your middle/high schoolers to be tired!
So how can you engage your students on that very first day? Here are ideas to think about - hopefully, they will spark your own creative ideas! Specifically, plan an "easy" first day back that provides opportunities for success, connection, and relationship building ...
- Start with a review game, including various problems from the first semester but especially some easy ones. Make the game fun - Mrs. E Teaches Math has a free set of game cards (sign up, free download) that adds a strong element of chance and fun.
- OR start January with a math debate. Math is the most important subject. We don't need math now that we have portable computers (phones). Math is not relevant to our everyday lives. What was the most difficult topic you learned in first semester? If you have been studying parent functions - what is the coolest parent function you've learned so far? OR check out this plethora of debate topics provided free!
- OR use the New York Times Learning Network guest opinion piece and writing prompt to explore the value of learning math.
- OR use this first day back to explore mathematical mindsets. Use the guide at YouCubed!
- OR If you already know your class likes mystery, intrigue, puzzles, start the new semester with a puzzle day - a day to warm up the brain! Sarah Carter (Math=Love) has a treasure trove of puzzles!
- Use the first class period or two to set fresh goals for the new semester. Students might review their work portfolio, grades, or work habits to determine areas to strengthen. Math Giraffe has a great post on teaching "smart" goals, a doodle worksheet to share, and tips for making it work in your classroom. "Teaching Expertise" suggests 20 ways to do goal setting if you are looking for another idea!
Most importantly, come to class with an attitude worth sharing! Spend a few minutes before that first day back listing your top three reasons for teaching. Organize your first week's outfits so those mornings are not so difficult. Buy a few healthy treats to add to your desk stash so that you have something to enjoy if/when you get a break in your day. Last, plan easy dinners for those few days back ... freezer meals, crock pot delights, your neighborhood eatery! A little self-care can go a long ways to a successful first week back to school!
Please add your ideas to the comments section -