Day 2 Activities

Students already know where they sit so today the screen asks them to get a sharpie and a foam magnet.

The foam shapes came from Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree. I cut magnetic tape into tiny pieces and stuck it on the back.

I put the stuff in a chair in front of a white board. I drew an arrow toward it. It was in the front of the room. And students who haven't had me before really struggled in finding the supplies. ?????

They wrote their name and birthday on the front and their favorite candy on the back. Then they had to put them in order by month on the board. And each hour, our collection grew.

 I look at it and think, What kind of data do we have? What can we do with this?

While they were writing, I played this first day back video. I thought it was hilarious. They were slightly amused. I just love Emmanuel Hudson videos in general but I'm sure it's an acquired taste.

Next up was my awesome powerpoint. I introduced it by saying that they don't know me that well and I don't know them, so I will start with 28 reasons why I'm awesome and then they get to tell me why they're awesome.

My first hour was SO. AWKWARD. I don't know them and they literally just stared at me. I cracked jokes. Nothing. Funny stories. Nothing. Embarrassing moments. Nothing. I felt like my idea was the dumbest idea ever.

But after doing it five more times, I loved it! It was really a conversation, students commented and had a lot of questions and smiles. I'm from here and when I started teaching, my two sisters were in high school with me so I take it for granted what students know about me. I'm used to them knowing everything about me but now that's it been six years, some of them don't know me at all. I thought it would be lame with my trig class because they've had me for years and know me really well. But...we talked and told stories so much that we ran out of time.

After the powerpoint I gave them a pop quiz. On me!

My purpose was twofold. 1, to enforce another norm of paying attention and being observant. 2, to connect with students on a more personal level right from the beginning. I really really really think that this was a great investment in my students for the rest of the year. This took about 30-35 minutes depending on how much the students interact. And speaking of interacting, I did put some slides that had blanks and asked students to fill in the blank.

Now comes the part where they tell me about themselves. I had a different idea for this but I was up until 2 AM making the powerpoint and I even spelled my own name wrong in the quiz so um...maybe next year?

I went with the Dan Meyer classic, Who I Am, which I've done every year of my career.

If I had any time left, I asked them what would make this year a good experience for them, without naming any past teachers.

Here's what I heard every hour. "Can you actually explain things to us before giving us a worksheet?" "Can you explain things more than once?"  One girl said she needed both to see it worked out and hear it explained. I love that she made that observation about herself.

These were great activities to do on a Friday to end the first 'week' of school. 

Thanks to @jdmahlstedt for the original idea of telling students why you're awesome!


  1. Thank you for sharing your Who Am I? task. It's exactly what I've been looking for.

  2. Love your AWESOME presentation! You nailed it! :)