Beginning of the Year: Math About Me
Every year I kick off the school year by getting to know the students in a numerical way. The overall goal of the project is for me to get to know the students, do some math that everyone can do, and have other students in the class see and hear their other classmates.
The outline of Math About Me, is that students are to make a poster of themselves and include 10 numbers that represent something about their lives on a personal level.
For example on my poster I include the number of years I have been married, how many siblings I have, etc. Then students are to make their poster colorful. I eventually hang every single one up in the classroom to show to students that their work is valuable and give them ownership of the classroom.
When they have completed the Math About Me, we sit in a big circle and go around and tell the numbers we put on our poster. This lets me see who is already proficient at speaking in front of a group, who is shy, and lets me hear their name in their voice.
I like this project, I have done it the last four years, even though it changes a little every year. I read Tracy Zager's book Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had she explains in her book that she has students write a math autiobiography, students detail their lives as mathematicians. I thought that this would be good to start our writing in math class and then in small groups read the paper and hear each other.
What do you do to start of the school year in your math class? I always hated going over the syllabus on the first day of school, seemed impersonal. Here is my last years blogpost on the beginning of the year.