My favorite thing this week actually happened last week :) Last year, one of the feedback comments that a student left me was about the first day of school. They said something to the effect of... "This class is the only class that I can remember the first day of school because you didn't go over the syllabus!" Okie dokie then... I thought the young lady had a good point, so when it came time to plan the first day of school, I kept her advice in mind.
Throughout the years, I've tried various activities for the first day. I love activities that make them think, that have an entry point for all levels of kids, and has a "bigger picture" aspect. Now, in Alg2 at my school, we start with a study of functions - the parent graphs, transformations, piecewise, etc. With that in mind, it made perfect sense to use Dan Meyer's Graphing Stories on the first day. I used the graph he provided, but shrank it down so it would fit four on a page and off we went!
I started with the Pain vs. Time video because I thought it had the lowest entry point. I asked them to watch the video and told them we would be graphing Mr. Meyer's pain level over time. We set up our graphs, then watched the video. I paused the video and asked them to make their graph. Most of them had not seen the time stamp at the bottom and I even had one kiddo ask if Mr. Meyer was smoking because she had never seen someone hold nails in their mouth. :) After their first attempt, we talked about what the graph was supposed to show. What did a 0 mean? a 10? At the beginning of the video, how much pain was Mr. Meyer feeling? What about at the end? How did they know? We then watched the video at half-speed and then made revisions to our graph. Most of them caught on to the time stamp and I could see them ploting more "points" this time. Finally, we watched the answer segment and talked about why the graph wasn't a diagonal line with a positive slope. Some of the kids really got into the idea of what was a "10" for one person may not be a "10" for someone else.
We continued this for 3 other videos and each one really generated some great questions like what would a horizontal segment mean here? vertical? positive slope? negative slope? Can a graph like _____ ever happen? What would it look like if.... ?
The kids really seemed to enjoy the videos, I liked the quality of discussion, and best of all, it had several "big picture" ideas! I tied the graphs into the idea that Algebra 2 is about modeling real world ideas and a lot of those real world ideas have a graph that shows the story, like in projectile motion. I also got a chance to talk about the process of watching, trying, watching, and revising. We talked about how we're hardly ever perfect the first time we try anything, so constant revision is okay and even expected! We talked about mistakes are welcomed - they are proof that you are willing to try something! All in all, it ended up turning into a motivational speech, but one that I really enjoyed :)
So there ya have it... My Favorite First Day of School :)
Happy Friday to all! :)
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