Skip the Politeness

We just ended week three. I have a simple goal for my classroom: kids relaxed, having conversations (mostly about math), with the music on while I drift around and see who needs anything. That’s my ideal environment. I try to get there as fast as possible. On the first day of school I do the absolute minimum as far as procedures are concerned. I tell them where to go for a fire drill and how to ask for a bathroom pass. After that, we’re off. The activities vary, but in all cases kids are going to get to know each other and accomplish something together. In College Algebra that means math games. In Calculus that means an opening project. No one is interested in their 5th conversation about a syllabus and sentences that start with “in this class…” I’m not about that.

Kids learn all the procedural stuff as we go through the first few weeks. There’s no need to front load it. I use my first assessment to teach them the process for assessment. We do something with the computers to learn about the LMS and all that. And the whole way I encourage kids to use their natural volume and speak with each other as much as possible (preferably focused on the topic, but hey I’m realistic). None of this August politeness, I want mid-November loudness and choas and I want it now.

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