First Day Agenda – Updated

July 4, 2005

I think it’s time I wrote this stuff out before I forget it!
Seating Layout
A transparency with the room layout is on the overhead projector with a separate transparency with that class’s seating assignments.

Personal Information Survey
This is to be completed as the students come in the classroom. Once everyone is seated, I switch out the room layout with a transparency with my own survey answers. This would probably be a good time to take pictures.

Give a short introduction of myself to the students. My big emphasis is that I spent many years as a programmer, and that has influenced how I approach teaching. In particular, I like repeatable “subroutines” or procedures. I think it will be fun (for me, at least) to name classroom routines the same way I would programs, and our first subroutine will be TurningPapersIn. Assuming I can arrange the room the way I want (go through each step slowly):

  1. Each student, except on the end, passes his paper to his right.
  2. Each student then places his paper on top of the passed stack.
  3. The student in the last space in the last row passes his stack to the student immediately in front of him who places his stack on top of it.
  4. The end students pass their stacks forward, placing their stacks on top of the passed stack.
  5. The student in seat #1 either hands me the papers or puts them in the “In” tray for that class.

Classmate Scavenger Hunt
Ask how many students know all of their fellow classmates. Pass out Scavenger Hunt game sheets. Explain that they need to find classmates for each question (“Born in Arlington”, etc.). The classmate initials or signs their game sheet. When a student completes the list, he goes up to the board and writes his name. At the end of 20 minutes, the game is over. The first person to finish then reads the names on his list and gets some sort of prize.

More Classroom Procedures
Explain that I had considered lots of classroom behavior rules, but, in programmer fashion, preferred to find one rule that covered everything. Our rule will be, “… let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3b-4, although they don’t have to know that) I am the ultimate arbiter of what has transgressed the rule.

Subject Introduction
I give a short talk on why we’re here

Supply List
Each student needs to have:

  • Ring binder, preferably 1-1/2″
  • Divider tabs, at least 4, labeled, “Notes”,”Warm-Ups”,”Homework”,”Quizzes & Tests”
  • Pencil, either regular or mechanical
  • Pencil sharpener, if necessary
  • Spare eraser
  • Pen
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Graph paper (1/4″ grid)
  • Ruler

I will only accept papers done in pencil. I am willing to rent pencils to students for the deposit of either $.05 or their right shoe, whichever they prefer. When I get my pencil back, I return their deposit. I highly recommend mechanical pencils and separate erasers. My electric pencil sharpener will only be available during passing periods (I will turn off the power strip after the bell rings). If they need paper, they can buy 5 sheets of regular or 2 sheets of graph paper for $.05.

I give them the address for the blog that I have set up, http://matharoundtheclock.blogspot.com, and tell them that each day’s notes and assignments will be posted there. I tell them we may do something more interactive later on, but this is my first time using a blog in class.

Instructional Level Survey
Pass out mathematical survey. Explain that this will let me know what the starting point for the class should be. Once they are finished, I introduce a new subroutine, ExchangingPapers. This is the procedure we will use when we are grading papers in class:

  1. Rows 1 and 3 pass their papers to their right (except for the beginning student).
  2. Rows 2 and 4 pass their papers to their left (except for the end student).
  3. Rows 1 and 3 beginning students pass their papers back to the student behind them.
  4. Rows 2 and 4 end students pass their papers forward to the student in front of them.
  5. Students take out their ink pens.
  6. I show a transparency with the answers on the overhead and read them off while students mark incorrect answers. The transparency also displays how much should be counted off for each incorrect answer. The students score the papers.
  7. The students reverse the process to return the papers to their owners.
  8. TurningPapersIn

Final Grade Determination
Their final grade for each six weeks will be made up of three averages:

  • 40% – Test average
  • 30% – Quiz average
  • 30% – Homework/classwork average

Tests will be given once or twice during the six weeks and will cover major sections; quizzes will be given about every other week and will cover individual topics. Homework speech.

Cheating Speech

Something Completely Different
I explain to the students that they have the opportunity to earn time to be used doing Something Completely Different or SCD. Generally, each Friday (i.e. every other week for the class), we will do something a little more fun. It’s up to them how much time they have to spend. Each Tuesday (because that will be the first class after a Friday) they will start out with 20 minutes, and they can earn more minutes by following procedures correctly and being prepared. Likewise, they can lose minutes by behaving improperly. Each class’s totals will be displayed on the board so they can see how they compare to the others.

I point out the bookshelf in the back of the room. The books on the lower shelves are there for them to read at any point they are unoccupied. I’ve tried to come up with a good mix of genres and subjects that will appeal to most people. If a student wishes to take the book out of the class, he needs to write his name and the date on the book’s card and leave the card in the basket on top of the shelves. The books on the upper shelf are special. There are six (I hope!) different titles that are available for them to read for extra credit. If they read one of those books and submit a book review, they can earn up to five points on their six-weeks’ grade. The instructions on what I expect of a book report are on the handout on top of the bookshelf and also available on the class website.

Odds vs. Evens
I call the students in seats #1 and #2 up to the board, and explain we’re going to play a game of Odds vs. Evens. Each pair will work on the same problem. The student who finishes first with the correct answer, wins a point for his team. If neither student gets the correct answer, the next pair will try.

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