1st Day/1st Week Activities….
One thing I have done in the past few years is an activity I got from an AVID training. It’s a comment/question card. (I will have to take a picture of it when I get back to my classroom and add that later.) It has a table that has eight blocks. Four for the student to write in, and four for me. Their section is for them to write a comment or question to me, while my section is to respond to their comment or question.
I use this for the first four days of school. Each day at the end of class, I ask the students to write me a question or comment. I respond that evening to each one and return in the next day. This does put a lot of work on my part that first week of school, but I don’t mind. I don’t bring that much home during the rest of the year and this one week of work is very beneficial to me for the rest of t
he year. The students love this because I get to know them and they get to know me. Many of them want to continue it after the first week 🙂
There is a second reason for this activity. I print it on card-stock and have the students fold it in half vertically to make a name plate to help me learn their names that first week also. They have it sitting on their desk during class so that I can see their names as we are working each day. By the end of the first week, I know most of their names and something about them.
For their name plate, I ask them to write their first name very large across the side of the page so that I can see it from across the room. Then I ask them to give me a few things on this that will also help me get to know them. In the top corner of the name plate I ask them to rate themselves as mathematicians (0-no math to 10-could teach the class). In the bottom corner I have them draw two to four images that would describe themselves. Other things I have asked them to give me with the other corners were the names of their homeroom teachers, the school they went to last year or their math teacher from last year, etc.
One thing from this activity that has touched me is that two years ago a student asked me when my birthday was. I told her and didn’t think about it again. That year she brought me a gift on my birthday and had her class sing to me. She had written it down in her planner so that she would remember. That was so special, until this year. A year later, she still had it written down and came back to tell me happy birthday. How sweet! I will never forget her!