We’re baaaaaaack! My mathematical blogging friends and I are back to school and ready to share with you some great ideas to get your school year started! Hop through 10 posts to pick up some mathematical freebies, ideas to use in your classroom, and even register to win a few fun back to school prizes!
My college roommate (of 4 years!), Liz, sent me a piece of mail the first month we were in school our freshman year. It was a large pink circle with a coconut on the front that said “COCONUT: you either LOVE it or you HATE it… the beauty is lovers and haters of coconut can still be friends!”. 15 years later I still have that card. There’s something sentimental about it – I’m not sure if it’s because it was my “first” piece of mail in college or perhaps (even more likely) that the sentiment on the card hits really home with me. I LOVE coconut…. Liz HATES coconut, but we were the best of friends instantly.
(Sadly, I couldn’t find a full picture of the coconut card – I need to rectify that on Monday at school! – but here’s two pieces of it cropped from other pictures I had). I think math is a lot like coconut…. you either LOVE MATH or you HATE MATH. And thankfully, lovers and haters of math can still be friends (unless you can’t handle my horribly punny math jokes, then it might be hard to hang out with me too much!)
So what does loving or hating math have to do with the beginning of the school year? Well, we all learn a lot about our students over the first few weeks of school. However, sometimes you need to know more about them upfront so that you aren’t dealing with an “I hate math” meltdown on day 7. My very first year teaching I started a writing prompt with my kiddos. Surprisingly, it hasn’t changed too much over the years, and I’d love to share it with you! (Click on the picture below to download the writing prompt for FREE).
What I’ve learned is that on the first few days of school ALL students, no matter how shy, how difficult, how stubborn, how etc…. will be completely honest with you on this prompt (perhaps more honest with you then they will be for the rest of the year). You will read a lot about hating timed multiplication tests. You will read a lot about hands-on activities, working in groups or individually. You will read a lot about a favorite teacher or least favorite teacher (NOTE: to keep this from being too awkward for my colleagues, I always ask that students NOT name other teachers in this prompt).
I’ve learned to take notes about each of my students, writing them on index cards to remind me throughout the year (Why ask if you aren’t willing to actually follow through and help the student out). I try to shuffle through the index cards on a pretty regular basis – especially when changing up seating charts – to remind me of what the student thinks they need.
Once you’ve learned about your students, you’ll want to help make their mathematical year a bit more fun with activities and relays in your classroom. To help you with that, I’m giving away $50 worth of TpT goodies – $25 worth from me and a $25 TpT giftcard to purchase from my mathematical blogging buddies! Entering is very simple, just use the Rafflecopter link below! I’ll announce the winner next weekend (while I’m relaxing and enjoying my 3-day weekend!) What are you waiting for? Enter now!
Wait! Don’t close that browser just yet! Make sure to hop on over to Mr. Elementary Math to read about setting up math routines!