Saturday, August 26, 2017

7th Grade Math in MN: Week 1

During the first week, Wed, Thur & Fri, in our district I really try to focus on a couple points.  None of them are using any curriculum except some of YouCubed's Week of Inspirational math tasks.

My Goals of the First Week:
1.  Class Expectations and Routines
2.  Growth Mindset
3.  Group Work Norms
4.  Convince students I care about them

Day 1

Name Tent Feedback
Like many teachers, I start with Sara Van's great Name Tent stuff.  I continue this for the first 3 days.  Since this is the first time I am ever using this, I am not sure about next week.  Although I now curse the name SaraVanderwerf as I was up until midnight on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Class Expectations
I have 4 simple class expectations.  We go over them in about 5 minutes this first day and we will revisit them many times over the next couple weeks.
1. No Meanness - from Dave Burgess
2. Make Mistakes - Growth Mindset
3. "YET" - Growth Mindset
4. Ask Questions - self-advocacy

100 #s Task
Like many teachers, I also start with Sara Van's great 100 #s task in 7th grade.  As they work, I take some pictures and then we notice and wonder about the pictures.  Great way to start group norms.

Numbers about Me
Then, if we have time, we do a quick group discussion and class discussion about my quick numbers about me quiz.  The kids usually get a kick out of it, and I get to introduce myself a little bit.

A busy and quick day 1, but it hits a little bit on all 4 of my goals.  This first day is super high energy, and I am usually ready for bed around 7:00 that night.

Day 2

Getting to Know Mr. Sieling 
Day 2 starts with ideas from Sara of MathEqualsLove.  I use the Getting to Know You Quiz.  Then the students create their own quiz for me to take.  That was great fun and students really loved it.

Sales Pitch
I have a 3 part sales pitch to the students I give every year about why they will be successful in this math class.  Part one is talking about What is Math and Brain Function.  We use SaraVan's definition that math is really just a "study of patterns."  Then we go into that the brain is made to identify patterns.  We also talk about what we need for the brain to function at its best.  We also talk about Mindset and that we make our brain stronger by doing difficult things and with effort.

Visual Patterns
We then finish up by working on a task from YouCubed's Week of Inspirational Math that is based on Visual Patterns.  After the sales pitch of doing difficult things makes you smarter, and a re-iteration that we expect students to make mistakes, they are usually super willing to give this task a go.

Day 3

We start with the students get their quizzes back from yesterday.  They can't wait to see how I did.  I ask them to mark them right or wrong, mark the correct answer and hand them back so I can study up over the weekend.

Blobs & Lines
Then we go to some movement and an icebreaker called Blobs & Lines.  It gets them moving, laughing and I get to learn a little more about them.
      Link to my Blobs and Lines slides

Sales Pitch
I then go back into Sales Pitch mode.  I quickly review my first part, then launch into my Mindset talk.  We watch this video on YouTube all the way through.  Then we go back through and pause each frame to talk about what it means.  The focus is selling them on effort makes you better.

We finish up the week by trying a Witzzle puzzle.  I have never heard of these until I read this post from MathEqualsLove.  A task that can seem daunting to a 7th grader at first, but when they get into it, they make good progress.  I even had a couple kids tell me they were taking the sheet home to finish this weekend.

All in all, a very successful week to start the year!

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