Advice for New Teachers?

I’m doing some work this summer with soon-to-be first year teachers.  I’m thinking of various tools and tricks they may need to get through the first few weeks.  So, here is where I reach out to others.

1. Do you have a favorite math problem for the first day of school?

2. Do you have a special classroom rule(s)?

I’m most concerned with the first day of school at the moment.  I want to give the new teachers multiple options, hoping that each of them can find the one they are most comfortable with.  Any responses are greatly appreciated!

5 thoughts on “Advice for New Teachers?

  1. suevanhattum July 10, 2012 / 7:41 am

    Favorite first day activity:
    I posted last year about my first day. The most useful part of it is the axes exercise, in which students ask each other questions, in order to decide how to place themselves on an xy-axes graph. They get to know each other, and they do a bit of math. Pdf here. One commenter on the post made easier versions as scaffolding.

    Favorite ‘rule’: Donut points. The class earns a donut point each time they catch me in a math mistake. 30 accumulated points = donuts. (I buy enough for the class.)

  2. Tina C (@crstn85) July 14, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    Although not specifically what you requested, I want to make sure you’re aware of the goldmine that is the result of our letters to new teachers campaign. They can all be found here: (scroll down a bit)

    I also wrote about my first day(s) here: My only rules are to be safe and respectful- we have a conversation defining those rules and students are reminded that all school rules apply.

    • pispeak July 15, 2012 / 3:10 pm

      Thanks so much Tina! I love your first day routine. I’ve already been reading Bowman’s compilation, working on organize all the information people have been sending me into a coherent set of workshops.

  3. Ben Bleckley July 27, 2012 / 7:22 pm

    A colleague of mine has developed an air-tight set of classroom rules:
    1. Accept you’ll be treated differently. (I can’t watch everyone all the time. A response of “so and so was doing it too!” will not help you.)
    2. Accept that there are consequence for your actions. (Good and bad.)
    3. Always show me, in every way, that you are here to learn.

    I also feel classroom community is very important and spend a lot of time (some would argue too much time) on developing relationships in the classroom. This isn’t as important in a small town or in a school where most students have learned together for a long time, because everyone will already know everyone else. But for the classrooms where it is important, here’s a link to posts on my lessons:

    • pispeak July 27, 2012 / 7:44 pm

      This is great, thanks!


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