First Day / Mrs. C by the Numbers
I borrowed this idea (ok stole it) from another teacher. It is my first day activity and I love it. I used to dread the first day. I have the students grab a Senteo device when they come in the room. I tell them they are going to take a quiz on the first day. (They moan.) You could still do this activity without a senteo. I prepare a quiz on the smartboard ahead of time. I have 8 – 10 multiple choice questions that include items such as:
Why is 2 important to Mrs. Caldwell?
- It’s the number of times I went to Disney this summer.
- It’s the number of children I have.
- It’s how many years I’ve been teaching.
- It’s the number of times I’ve seen Inception.
The kids answer the questions and then we go over them and I reveal the correct answers. I include some personal like the one above (I have 2 kids) and some funny (#33 the number of Friday Night Light’s episodes I watched this summer). My students seem to enjoy getting to know me in this manner.
I then make an assignment out of it. I tell them to pick five numbers and tell me why those numbers are important to them. It can be funny or serious. They have to turn this into me. I always ask for volunteers to share. It is amazing how open and vulnerable my students will be with this activity. I found out things I don’t think they ever would have told me if I had assigned an essay or fill in the blank page. Here are some of the things my students have revealed:
- 5: The age I was when my mom died.
- 3: The number of step moms I have had.
- 8: The number of siblings I have in my family including step brothers and sisters.
- 25: The number of hours I work per week.
- 4: The number of weeks each year I get to spend with my dad.
Of course, not all of them are this heart wrenching. Some of them are cheesy and contrived, but I read each one personally. I go into the first day of class knowing that each one of my students wants me to know something about them. Each one of them wants to be recognized as unique and having their own set of problems. This activity provides a chance for all of my students to reveal something about themselves and an opportunity for me to make a connection with them.