Alright kids, here we go.
My building is always open at least one Saturday during our in service session as an offering of an extra work day for those who might want the extra time. This is the first time I haven't felt the need to tend to things on that Saturday. In fact, I felt pretty ready to go at 11am on Friday, which is comforting and freaky, because I can't possibly be ready to go. I have to have forgotten something, right? The room looks a little different this year. As 30 students is starting to become the norm, I've relinquished more and more of my teacher space. That table you see in front of the whiteboard was about 6 ft from the wall my first year, and now it's like 2 ft. I currently have seating for 32, with considerations made to expand to 35 if necessary. Coming later will be an entry documenting how my room has evolved in 4 years. Last year I started with rows, but now I have TVs and I know how I like to do groups now, so we will start with groups on Day 1.
A new thing this year will be spreading out some of the traditional First Day Activities. The main reason is, I don't know about you, but our rosters fluctuate a bit in the first couple weeks, so there's a not insignificant percentage of students that miss out on the fun. Another is you cannot underestimate the need to build community within your classroom. A line that sticks with me is a student last year who said "this is one class where I know lots of people's names" and a survey question that posed "does this class feel like a happy family?" I feel like classroom management will take care of itself if you can build a sense of belonging in a room. If you think kids only learn through fear, well, good luck.
With this is mind, the First Day™ will be school procedures, class procedures, test drive our voting devices, and a name game. The Second Day I will discuss the testing procedures (SBG, yo), pass out the official class expectations sheet, have them fill out contact cards, share out some things we did over the summer, and fit in a short jog your memory lesson. In Pre-Cal during Day 2, 3, and 4 we'll be doing a few things on this list of first day activities as we work our way through Boot Camp.
Throughout the year I hope to do more socialization activities to serve as a nice break from math and continuing that drive to building a strong community.