Day 1: Everyone survived (the first day with students)

photo (6)

3 awesome things



  • I used the name tag exit slips that I linked to in my first week planning.They put their names on the front and on the back I had them write three numbers about them. This ended up being much more fun than I thought, the students challenged me to guess what their numbers meant during first block and I loved the idea so much I did it every block. I was mildly concerned about the time it would take to respond to all of the students’ noticings and wonderings but it flew by. The majority of my classes this year are freshmen so there was a lot of wondering about the high school itself (Will we get to use the pool? Do we go on field trips?) but also some good questions about the intervention class. 
  • I love love love meeting new students. It feels almost like a blind date. I’ve heard stories about some of them, been warned about some and I’m sure they asked about me before we met. There’s a lot of anticipation during that first class and I really want it to set the tone for the rest of the year.
  • The Chromebooks have arrived! There was some question about whether or not they would be returning this week after being lent to the middle school for the summer, and about what condition they would be in when they came back, but they are almost all there and mostly in good shape. It’s just one less thing that I am not in control of. I know they’re in my room and ready to go.


2 things that shouldn’t have surprised me

  • Scheduling mishaps. During one block today my department head and I were both scheduled to teach in my room. Because it was the first day we had an abbreviated schedule in the morning so for 30 minutes I had more students than desks as he went to take care of it. It definitely cramped my productivity in that block but I think we’ll be able to make up for it tomorrow.
  • My students were not ready for the Noah’s Ark problem that everyone and their brother says students get really into and excited about. Even though I hadn’t met my students yet I waffled about doing it today and didn’t even print or copy it until right before class. My gut instincts were right, on the first day, with struggling students, this was not the right fit. We’re going to ease into things a little bit more slowly and try some patterns with manipulatives. 


1 thing I’m really looking forward to

  • Developing routines and rapport with my students. I can’t wait to get over this first bit so that everything and everyone starts to feel settled. 

Classroom Posters

Last year my walls were mostly empty. I started with a couple of MC Escher prints, a number line and the operation posters from Kuta. It was super boring in there. This year I was inspired by my lack of classroom management skills to post some definite class room rules and group work norms. I loved the ones posted at mathequalslove: group norms and classroom rules. I changed them up a bit to work for my classroom but almost all of them came straight from those posts.

classroom rulesDownload here: Classroom rules

grou norms


Download here: group norms

I also made a set of posters about the properties that I think students should gain fluency with while they’re hanging out in intervention. Most of my students know these properties when dealing with numbers but don’t know their names and can’t deal when you add variables.



Download here: Properties

This last set came from a SIOP training for ELL instruction. The sentence starters support oral language development for ELL students but I think they’ll be majorly useful for all of my students. They suggested making anchor charts to post but when presented with the opportunity to make posters…I can’t help myself. 

sentence starters


Download here: Sentence Starters

Day -8: First five days #mtbos challenge

This is Week 1 of the #mtboschallenge on twitter.  The challenge is to blog once a week for the remainder of 2014.  Each Saturday there will be a different prompt shared to blog about.  The prompt will be shared prior to Saturday on twitter using #mtboschallenge  You can link up on with the hosting blog (or any other that’s shares the link up). Also link your blog post on twitter with #mtboschallenge .  You can copy the following graphic into your blog post.

At my school we have a modified block schedule where we meet with students two out of every three days. So for our first week I’ll see most of my classes three times for our regular 70 minute block.

For the first week I want to make sure we start doing math and building routines. One thing that I was most successful with last year was setting the tone that in math class we work all block every day. My students knew that even if it was the day before break and they had watched movies in every other class math would be happening in mine. My classroom will have a Chromebook cart and students will be using Accelerated Math on a regular basis so I also want to make sure I set norms for technology use. The intervention model used last year was 100% computer based and I know the teachers struggled with students using YouTube and Facebook when they weren’t supposed to. With all of that in mind I have an idea of what should happen during that first week.

Day 1: When they come in students will complete a Google form to collect contact info and give me more insight into how they think about math and what their goals are for math intervention. My survey was heavily influenced by the survey mathymcmatherson used with his students. The last page of the form directs students back to me so they can start a scavenger hunt of the room. I want them to look at everything posted on the walls and finding things like the pencil sharpener and scrap paper without me having to lecture about where they are. After that we’ll go over the syllabus and set up data folders.

I definitely plan on using the notice and wonder exit ticket that Rachel blogged about and responding to every student. It’s a genius way to immediately start building relationships with students and let them know that I care about their questions.

Day 2&3: These days are way less planned out in my head. I know that we’ll have to take the STAR assessment and I know I want to start doing group work. I’m leaning towards using either the stacking cups three act lesson by Andrew Stadel or the Noah’s ark lesson that Fawn Nguyen blogged about. Somewhere in there I want to fit in time for talking points. It’s going to be a very full first week of school. Theoretically by the end students should be comfortable with our routine and each other and the rest of the year will flow smoothly.

Next week I have intervention PD and SIOP training which leaves Friday and Monday to get my classroom set up before students show up on Tuesday. So far all I have on the walls are the classroom rules that Sarah Hagan posted. I used most of her rules but added “one negative -> two positives” inspired by misscalcul8. My biggest struggle last year was classroom management so it seems fitting that this is the only thing I’ve accomplished yet.
photo (5) After everything else is organized, laminated and on display I’ll post a full classroom tour.

Day -11

I am a second year teacher working in an urban district. This year I have a full schedule of math intervention classes. My goal for this blog is to document what worked and what didn’t work in my classroom and have a place for quick daily reflections. 

Empty end of year classroom

We have eight more days until school starts and I haven’t started to refill my classroom yet. I have been planning out my wall space and classroom space though. Because of my schedule for next year I have some additional furniture that I’ll need to make room for: a Chromebook cart and a horseshoe table for pulling small groups. space planning Hopefully by next Friday this picture will have morphed from scribbles into a functional classroom.