First Day of School

It’s no secret that my teaching has been heavily influenced by what I’ve learned through Harvard’s Project Zero and a lot of the thinking I’ve done about how students think and learn.  More and more I’ve come to regard the first day of class as setting the tone.  The first day is an indicator of what you value in the classroom. I want students to come away with the impression that I value the learning of mathematics the most in my classroom.  While rules and procedures are important, let’s be honest by 10th and 11th grade, students have had years of learning about “how to be a good student.”  I want them to know that when they come into my room I want them to challenge themselves mathematically and that means something different for everyone!  Attempting math is important to me.  Getting a wrong answer makes me giddy as it provides us with learning experiences.  Understanding how to TRY to solve problems is important to me.

To that end, I’ve been sourcing first day challenges.  I’m teaching 2 sections of a grade 10 integrated class at the higher level, another teacher has 1 section.  We’ve got our first warm-up set and I will use that.  Meanwhile, I’ve got 3 sections of year 1 IB Mathematical Studies.  I’m the only teacher with this class this year, so I’ve got loads of flexibility.

For both classes I’ll be using this problem solving heuristic throughout the year.  For both classes I’ll also end the day with this #MathIs tweet idea for the first day.  For the day 1 problems for the Math Studies class, I will make some sort of combination of the ideas presented in this opening day quiz.  I’m going to be sure to not call it a “quiz” though because I definitely don’t want to emphasize grades on the first day!

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