Sunday, August 19, 2012

Loose ends ... classroom setup and goals!

As I've mentioned previously, this is my first year back in the classroom after having been an administrator for 12 years.  The transition is my choice ... moved to a new state ... wanted to reconnect with students.  I am excited about it ... and a bit apprehensive as well!  I know the conversations that I had with teachers in those years as an administrator ... and now those words of expectation haunt me!  Relationships, Rigor, Differentiated Instruction, Engagement, Formative Assessment, and MORE ... it can be overwhelming.

I went with a simple black/white theme for the classroom.  I used Hobby Lobby's ribbon with dots and checks for borders around bulletin boards, their "cow" bandanas for curtains,  and various other black/white objects as well.  The room pops and I'm hoping kids will find it comfortable.

Sometime during our 90 minute block on the first day I plan to do some sort of "Read the Room" activity.  I plan to ask my ninth graders to "read the room" to find 5 things that either interest them or might help them in their work.  I don't have the details completely ... but then I think I'll ask students to work in pairs or triads to compare notes, and to categorize the items they noted.  In the room are posters about how math is used in the "real" world which I hope will help us establish relevance.  There are also posters with our standards and essential questions for the first unit.  Posters highlighting Bloom's Taxonomy are on the back bulletin board.  There is a calendar, a few motivational posters, a stack of textbooks, and some reference materials more.  I'm hoping the "read the room" activity will replace my pointing out important stuff in the room.

Of course we'll introduce each other.  I've prepared a prezi to introduce myself ... a "by the numbers" spin.  I'll give students an opportunity to guess some facts about me from the numbers and then I'll share a bit about myself using a simple prezi with pictures.  I am still deciding about asking students to share a few significant numbers in their lives.  I have a "Get to Know You" questionnaire I like, I'm not sure if we can do both.

In the getting to know each other conversations we will discuss classroom expectations.  I want to use these questions ...

  • How do you want me to treat you?

  • How do you want to treat on another?

  • How do you think I want to be treated?

  • How should we treat one another when there's a conflict?

Last but not least on that first day I want to do some math.  Because students sometimes find my height interesting (I happen to be quite short), I plan to challenge them to find my height using Styrofoam cups ... thanks to Dan Meyers' blog.  I'm hoping that first activity will give me some insight in their mathematical thinking.

My primary goal is to have fun ... to keep the work in perspective, my life in balance ... and to enjoy relating math to young teens!  It's a tall goal for a short girl!  I think before I expand on my goals, I'll stop with my Utopian dream and read some of my blogging colleagues ideas!  I have one week before students step across the threshold ... time to tie up loose ends!

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