First Day(s) of School Planning Begins

During the first day(s) of school I try to design activities to get to know my students and their parents, offer opportunities for them to get to know each other, build a safe, risk-free community, start them with their ipads and establish routines….wow, that’s a lot! I keep reading blot posts and tweets trying to get some new ideas, and I have them favorited, bookmarked, Pocketed so I thought it would be most helpful for me (and maybe others) to put them all in one place.

Two things that are definitely a part of my first math class are Number Talks (to set up norms for classroom discussion) and @mr_stadel’s Estimation 180. They are such a part of my daily math class, that I want to kick off the year with them!

I want to do a community building activity that also brings out the opportunity to talk about the Mathematical Practices. I really like @fawnnguyen’s Noah’s Ark activity (


Then I read @cheesemonkeysf’s post on Exploratory Talk and got really interested in the idea of Talking Points:

She has compiled all of the resources you would need to think more about this:

Below is a piece of her basic format directions for the students. I am in love with the idea of starting the students with talking about talking! To get to know their mindset about math, these points are also really interesting:

talkingpointtp2Thinking about getting to know the interests and personalities of my students, I like @ddmeyer’s “Who I Am” page: involve the ipads in the opening days, I think I am going to have students complete the “Who I Am” page and create a PicStich that represents themselves, minus a selfie, (you will see why in a minute) based on their answers.

whoiamFor open house, I am looking at flipping it a bit so the parents can see a video of the classroom, have links for class schedules, specials schedule and such so we can use open house time in a more valuable way. I would like to get parents involved that night with the math we will be doing (maybe a quick number talk with them highlighting the Math Practices), the technology we will be using in class and ways in which we can easily communicate over the course of the year (class FB and Twitter).

I got an idea from @KleinErin’s site: on using Aurasma at open house. It is an intriguing way to have parents involved with the technology. On Erin’s site, she gives a parent letter template that gets sent home to parents before open house. If they don’t have the Aurasma app downloaded when they arrive, we can do it together or if they don’t have a phone to do it, I will have the student ipads available for use. I will hang the student PicStich’s in the hallway and have the parents guess which one is their child (hence, no selfies allowed) When they think they have it, they can scan it with the Aurasma app and I will have the video tagged to it of the child giving a “congratulations” message.

This will be helpful because I would love to do Augmented Reality newsletters this year in class and have students do some Aurasma math explanations with their work. If the parents have the app and understand how to use it, it will take the fear out of trying to learn it later on their own!

So, as you can tell, my Twitter PLN is ridiculously helpful and if you don’t follow all of the tweeps mentioned in this post, you must! I am looking forward to starting the year with great new things I have learned….now to just get planning!


11 thoughts on “First Day(s) of School Planning Begins

  1. Wendy Coverdale

    Love the ideas! Maybe we can plan some of these activities together so that our classes can skype and discuss. Plus Edmodo! I think our kids will love it.


  2. Shelley

    Thanks so much for this info Kristen! What a wonderful idea for parents to learn more about the class at open house. I’ve also been meaning to catch up on cheesemonkeysf’s work from TMC14, so your post has been super helpful.


  3. alexandrabraga

    We must follow the same people on twitter, I’m planning on doing talking points and possibly the Noah’s ark problem too!
    Your ideas for open house sound like they will be a lot more fun than the typical open house presentation.


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  7. Jen Pazirandeh

    Talking points looks like a great way to start the year! Thank you! What do you think of using some of the points to push toward growth mindset, in addition to listening? Too much at once? Also, did you find that students were able to complete all the questions in 10 minutes, or did you intentionally write it to cut some of your groups off early?



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