I am a student teacher in my final year of University in a midsize Canadian city. I want to be a math teacher in order to break students' misconceptions about mathematics and show them how fun math can be.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

First Day of Teaching.... EVER!

So after two PD days, the students finally arrived in classes today!

I am teaching grade 9 math, grade 11 and 12 Applied math this semester.  I started all of my classes off by having the students complete a survey so I can learn more about them.  These students are from a very small community so they have known each other forever - that is why I decided against any ice breakers.  The survey had basic get to know you questions on the front, and on the back, I asked about their experiences in math classes before, as well as three things they didn't understand from last year.  The second last question I asked them to ask me a question - which I will answer in tomorrow's class.  The final question I asked students to tell me what they needed me to do as a teacher in order for them to succeed in class - I got a few interesting responses including spend time answering questions, explain things many times, and be available for extra help.  I thought those were pretty standard math teacher qualities and things I do all the time.  I am new to the school and the students do not know me, however, so hopefully they will see that I do all of those things (and more!) while teaching.

After that, I went over my class brochure (course outline) which I posted in a previous post.

Finally, we got to whiteboarding! I forgot to take pictures, but the students were super involved and excited.  Most students worked right until the bell and some even indicated they would go home and look at the question some more.  All of my students had never heard of whiteboarding before, so it was definitely a novel experience.

I gave each class one problem to work on (the Grade 12 class actually did both the Grade 11 and Grade 12 problems - I think I may have helped too much with the first problem I gave them).

The grade 9's worked on the 8 adults and 2 children crossing a river problem (Moar River-Crossing) from Writing to Learn to Teach.

The grade 11's worked on the Queens on a Chessboard problem, from Stella's Stunners.

Finally, the grade 12's worked on Digit Cells, from Stella's Stunners as well.

I chose these problems because they have a low entry - basically guess and check.  As I barely know these students, I wanted to see how comfortable they would be with problem solving.  I was surprised at how willing these students were to work through these problems, and still persisted even after erasing the whiteboards countless times trying to solve the Queens on a Chessboard problem.

After the grade 12's solved their first problem, I told them I had another one for them and they were excited!

Yay! It was a good first day (EVER!) for me! :)


  1. Sounds like a great first day -- congratulations! Does whiteboarding involve using white boards... or some type of smart board?

    Good luck this year!

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