My first day of school is Monday. My 21st first day as a teacher. I set my classroom up (mostly), organized my lessons in my mind, went to some meetings and did some minivan karaoke on the way there. I’ve been rewriting lessons and projects and a syllabus, I could stay up all night all weekend but I am going to just write this post and then go play some guitars. I am teaching three Algebra 1 classes and one Geometry class, students at all different levels, and I mean all different levels. Our district does trimesters and students switch teachers at the trimester (not all but most) which gets in the way of relationship building but I don’t design the schedules. Anyway, because of this I have been planning three big projects each year with some smaller projects along the way as well.
For Geometry this trimester I am doing some different lessons and finishing with a project where they design their own Cafe. I did it last year and it went well. I also did this Spherical Geometry lesson where they blew up a huge punch balloon, wrote all over it and answered these questions which led to this project. We looked at taxicab geometry and some other ideas behind non-euclidean Geometry. I packed the trimester full of projects and activities which was great but I might thin it out a little this year so that we have more time to practice the math that they are struggling with. I’m going to do this activity Monday and into Tuesday before talking about a syllabus or anything because it just makes more sense to me right now and I think the kids will be more engaged throughout the trimester if I start this way.
For Algebra I am starting with a mini project on the mathematics of grading systems in high school. We will look at different grading systems of their teachers so that they can plan strategies for doing better. We will review percentages, solving equations, and inequalities and apply them to grading. I also made up a couple of worksheets, one for the beginning and one for the end to help tie everything together. I’m hoping for some meaningful conversations and work around this issue. I’m hoping students will learn how to analyze how they are graded and do better in school. I’m also hoping they will learn some tools for critiquing systems in general. I am going to start them off on Monday with asking them to grade some song I like and give reasoning for their grade. We’ll share the stats using Poll Everywhere and everyone can laugh at my dumb music and what a bad grade it got. I might even share some of my own music with them but we’ll have to see how I feel on Monday about that. It could be interesting to see the grade I get with them knowing I wrote and performed a song versus not knowing. Wish me luck!