It is time to start thinking about such things!
First, room arrangement. This year I am expecting to have between 30 and 37 learners in each class. In the past, I have had my room arranged in a large, double sided U. This allowed for maximum conversation and collaboration, as well as random number usage for picking learners. Six ‘rows’, 5 to 6 desks per row, leads to a perfect random dice throw to pick a learner for answers, boardwork, victim, etc. For this year, I will have to make sure I can shoe-horn 6 in each row for sure.
Class rules on wall. My rules are simple:
- Your behavior should contribute to the learning of all people in the room.
- Don’t stop trying and participate every day.
- All school rules will be followed in the classroom.
That’s it. Just those three rules. They have worked for me well over the last 3 years, so I will keep them.
The rest of the room: I have very little math on my walls. It is all philosophy (go figure! I love philosophy) and these statistics posters. I love these posters because they look like history teacher posters, but are really math. Love it.
Okay, so the stage is set. Room is not arranged as a typical math teacher room. check
Room does not have math all over the walls, but quotes from philosophers and mathematicians, and colorful, focused posters. check
Now, we come to the first day when learners walk in.
- Seating chart projected on wall. They find their seats based on seating chart.
- I have warmup page on desk for them. (only time I do this all year!)
- Once bell rings, hit remote and ppt moves to warmup. I am still at door greeting the slowpokes, and they have to see me to find their seat.
- After warmup is done (I don’t give the answer, they can argue about it, but I won’t give the correct answer,) then we move on to introductions. I think this is important. They want to know they can trust me and that I know what I am talking about. If they wonder who I am, they will not buy in.
- My introduction of myself to them the last two years has been a video I have made of my motorcycle trips. I find mathematical problems along the way and I present those to them via a personal video. (I have had learners remember these to the end of the year, and they always ask me if I am going to do it for next year. They appear to like them.)
- Notice that to this point, I still have not spoken very much. Even telling them about me, I didn’t have to talk or lecture to them about me!
- Okay, we are 15 – 20 minutes into a 70 minute class. Now I go over class expectations. I have
done this in previous years. They get a page with the blanks, I have a page with the answers, they fill it in. In week 2, I give the the full syllabus with all the details. That sets me apart from the rest of the teachers who hand a multipage syllabus on the first day of class.
- Now we are up to 30 to 40 minutes into 70 minute class. 40 minutes left. Next thing I do is required by school sometime in first two weeks and we take a walk to the outside and see where we meet for fire drills. I have a Google Earth / Google street view walk through I do with seniors and juniors, freshman and sophomores we actually walk out side. Again, this sets me apart from the other teachers.
- Okay, 30 minutes left in class. Now we do a project / lesson. In AP Stats I hand out a questionnaire and start data collection. In Algebra 2, I will handout the beginning project for the first month of class.
And then the bell rings. We have accomplished a great deal. First assignment / project given. They know a lot about me. They know this won’t be a class with tons of personal stories and time spent off track. They know I am passionate about math. So much so, that I ride around for 2600 miles and look for math! They also know I have some very diverse and broad interests, and this class will not be the boring, rest your head on your hand and take notes class!
And that is a successful first day.