Getting to know you…

My second year at ISB (2016-2017) was atypical. I didn’t start the school year until October as I’d been out on medical leave. I found that it took far longer than it ever had before to connect with those students. When I learned I’d be teaching most of them again the next year, I was dreading it because we hadn’t really gotten to know each other.

So, I went into the 2017-2018 school year wanting to connect. I also wanted them to know why I ran a flipped classroom.  So, I started on Day 1 with a get to know you activity that I designed on Desmos.  There’s a version for students who are new to me: Learning Math (New Students) and for this 2018-19 year, a version for students who now know me: Learning Math (HL2).

The activity asks students about themselves:

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 08.25.51

Then, they have to think about what I see as the steps to learning math and how easy or challenging they are for each student individually along with home much you need to understand the content in order to complete the step:

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 08.27.06

Student answers are all over the place…Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 08.29.56

But, most useful to me is reading this part.

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 08.30.04

Mostly based on the first two slides, I email each student individually.  I take the chance to connect with them on a personal level:

I love guacamole too!

How I Met Your Mother was one of my favorite shows back in the day. I can’t believe you’re watching it now!

And I can also talk to them about how I think my flipped classroom style will help them with their individual learning needs:

It seems to me that you really like working with other people to learn your math.  I hope that you’ll find doing the notes at home and practicing in class gives you lots of time to work with other people.

By taking notes at home, you’ll be able to have the time to write them out clearly for yourself. I know sometimes I can be confusing in the videos. So when there are things you don’t understand at first, please ask me (or someone else) to explain it again or a different way!  I’m happy to help.

All told, it took me about 45 minutes to email a class of 20 students.  I spent more time on them and wrote longer emails than I did last year because I’m not going to write to the ones I am teaching again in year two (for those, I am talking to them each individually in class).  All in all, this is how I want to start every year because of this:

Hi, Ms,Sliman
Thank you for emailing me!
I am so happy to be in your class.
Best regards

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