First day of school…

I have never written a blog before and it is very far from my comfort zone.  But, I am going to go for it in the hopes that I can share some of my knowledge and experience with teaching Algebra 1.  I am going to start from the beginning and try to give some advice for each day of the school year.  Take the way I do it and personalize it!  Make it work for you.  There is no perfect way to teach.  We all do it differently because of our own personalities and what we feel our students need.  I hope that you find some helpful information in this crazy attempt.

Starting off the school year right is so important. I sit students alphabetically by last name for the first couple weeks. I take a class list and number each student. I also have the desks numbered so that students can find where they sit (I print numbers and use contact paper on the corner of the desks). I meet students at the door say hello, introduce myself, ask their name, give them their desk number, ask them to have a seat, and start the questionnaire (click here for my questionnaire).  That way they have something to do from the minute they walk in the door. I give them about 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire and then go into a 2 Truths 1 Lie activity.

This is an activity that you can use to introduce yourself. Think of the craziest (school appropriate) things that have happened in your life and try to be sneaky. I always take three truths and change one little thing about it to make a lie. I share things about my childhood, hobbies, and family. It is a great way for them to learn something about you and make the first day a little more interesting than just class information.  I usually do four rounds of this.

Here is one example of 2 Truths and 1 Lie that I could use (I'll let you guess which is the lie):

I have a Civil Engineering Degree.
I have completed a triathlon.
I have three daughters.

After that is done, I go through the syllabus (click here for a link for an outline you can start with). This is something that you will have to personalize. It will include how you want them to organize work, how grades will be calculated, what type of standardized test is given, rules, and procedures. In my syllabus, I have given you options for a few of these items. You can have them keep their work in a binder with sections or keep the important notes in a composition book. Items in red and blue are things that you will need to update based on what you decide or the rules within your state or school district. Feel free to change, modify, or add anything you want to. This is meant to give you a starting point.

When I pass out the syllabus, I also pass out bathroom passes (click here for a link to my bathroom passes - this is a FREEBIE). I copy my passes on bright colored paper and have a different color each quarter. After I copy, I cut the passes into strips of the three. I want students to be in my classroom and so I only give them three passes a quarter. I give a few points of extra credit for any passes not used at the end of the quarter. If they lose them, I don’t replace them. For students who are absent the day I pass them out, I write their name on one and keep it to give them the next time I see them so I know everyone got their passes. I have them fill out all the info and I just initial when I give them permission. If a student doesn’t have a pass, I ask the class if anyone will loan him/her one. If you use my file, make sure to change "Teacher" with your name.

I hope this helps you start off right.  Have an Amazing Algebra year!