How I get my year started BEFORE the students begin to arrive.
(click HERE or the picture to view my beginning of the year video)
Every year the vast majority of my students are new to my classroom. That means that for most students there are policies, procedures, and routines that need to be established early and quickly so that we can get into some positive patterns that will last the better part of nine months. In addition to students, there are a vast majority of parents and guardians that also will be participating to some degree in those same policies, procedures, and routines. It is very important to get concrete information and examples to students and parents about the class to allay fears and prevent frustration and confusion to the greatest degree possible.
My classes all work from a single Google Slides show with all resources linked to graphics or icons. Here is an example: bit.ly/1920PRECALC I also utilize two online resources, DeltaMath and Edpuzzle, to track student practice, provide immediate feedback, and infinite opportunities to collect practice points. Additionally, in a very traditional district our entire math department began implementing a re-assessment policy for summative assessments that is a distinct departure in purpose and process from what parents and students might be used to that utilizes an “Assess-Conference-Reteach-Reassess” loop. Beyond the potential new procedures above there are the many little things that are unique to my schedule, classroom, or students that I need to address at the beginning of the year like everyone else. I have chosen to use the school email system with both parents and students to attempt to give as many students as I can a head start on my class before they even come to school. Below is the email that I sent to parents and students this year the week before school, and then again after our first half day (Below):
Parents/Guardians of students in Mr. Moore’s High School math classes,
Thank you to so many of you for taking the time to watch the introductory video and fill out the Google Form that goes through the class expectations. Students will receive a paper copy, but for any parent that wishes to have a paper copy please click this link for a printer friendly version: http://bit.ly/1920EXPECTATIONSPAPER
All students must watch the 19-20 introduction video and fill out the Google form by Monday August 19. If you as a parent or guardian have not yet had the opportunity to watch the video and fill out the form I would appreciate it if you would take 8 minutes to view the introduction and key policies video for my class as the following link:
http://bit.ly/1920INTRODUCTION (If typing the address the ALL CAPS is important)
Also, please take a few minutes to fill out the following online Google Form that explains the class expectations and collects just a little information to better meet the needs of students.
http://bit.ly/MTZEXPECTATIONS1920 (If typing the address the ALL CAPS is important)
Thank you for your time viewing and filling out the form. All of my classes work from a single slideshow that collects all the links and resources the student needs into one place. To see exactly the resources your child has and how to access them just watch this 3 minute tutorial: http://bit.ly/1920CLASSHOWTO The links to each class is how you will find almost everything you or your student will do throughout the year. Find you or your child’s class and write down the link for future reference.
Pre-Calculus – bit.ly/1920PRECALC http://bit.ly/1920PRECALC
Math Concepts – bit.ly/1920CONCEPTS http://bit.ly/1920CONCEPTS
Informal Geometry – bit.ly/1920INFORMALGEO http://bit.ly/1920INFORMALGEO
Calculus 2 – bit.ly/1920CALC2 http://bit.ly/1920CALC2
Just a reminder from the video that I am available at school every morning in the front hall at about 7:10 AM and can be available until 3PM in the afternoon. I can always be reached at my email firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-2363 ext 1245. Students can also come see me at any time of the school day and I will make every effort to help them or answer questions.
Please make sure that by Monday your child has the following materials as it these may be used every day in class:
- Charged/functioning Chromebook
- Something to write with and something to write on.
- Earbuds/headphones (dollar store cheapies are just great)
- Appropriate calculator per the school list. (a four function non-scientific for many classes, an inexpensive scientific [sin,cos,tan] for most others, and ti-84ish for advanced classes only)
As I write this I have just hit “send” on the second opportunity email (after our first half day) and I have 80 unique form responses from a combination of both parents and students and 105 YouTube views of the intro video. I am pretty pleased with this response for the first volley of emails, and this number should climb as classes arrive tomorrow and parents read their emails. To be clear, not every parent has an updated email on file with the school, and not every student will check their email prior to day one, but regardless of when the students or parents receive the email, their child’s teacher has tried to make contact before there is any chance the interaction can be a negative one.
Do you have a beginning of the year video, email, social media post, or message that you somehow send to students or parents before school begins? Do you have one that you send within the first few days of the year? What is in your message? Most importantly, are you willing to share it with us? Please take a minute to put your method or message in the comments below. If you want to throw in a link to your message. I work with high school kids, but elementary teachers are WAY better at this than me I am sure so I would love to see what you do.
P.S. Here is the link to my old beginning of the year video just to get the ball rolling. You can clearly see how my class and my methods have evolved in a relatively short time.
Click HERE or the picture to see my old introduction video…apparently the message I wished to send was to never smile.