Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Student Names

August 25, 2020 Pam Harris Episode 10
Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris
Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Student Names
Chapters
Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris
Top 3 Things to Start the Year: Student Names
Aug 25, 2020 Episode 10
Pam Harris

As the world prepares for one of the most interesting beginnings to the school year, Pam and Kim are here to help us get it right. They start off this 3 part series by dialing in on the importance of using students names. Find the transcripts HERE.
Talking Points:

• A maternal mathy person
• How Pam learns student names
• Useful tools and tips for using student names in a remote setting
• How to help students use each others names

Resources: Name Tents from Sarah Van Der Werf: https://www.saravanderwerf.com/week-1-day-1-name-tents-with-feedback/

As the world prepares for one of the most interesting beginnings to the school year, Pam and Kim are here to help us get it right. They start off this 3 part series by dialing in on the importance of using students names. Find the transcripts HERE.
Talking Points:

• A maternal mathy person
• How Pam learns student names
• Useful tools and tips for using student names in a remote setting
• How to help students use each others names

Resources: Name Tents from Sarah Van Der Werf: https://www.saravanderwerf.com/week-1-day-1-name-tents-with-feedback/

Pam Harris :

Hey fellow mathematicians. Welcome to the podcast where math is Figure-Out-Able. I'm Pam.

Kim Montague :

And I'm Kim.

Pam Harris :

And we answer the question. If not algorithms, then what?

Kim Montague :

Hey, Pam. I know we're supposed to share about other people's submissions of things that their mathy friends do, but I was really hoping that maybe you could tell the listeners really quickly about a mathy person in your life.

Pam Harris :

Kim Montague :

Oh, that's so great. Hey, so let's move on. Today's episode is the first of a three part series, right? The top three school starters, school is right around the corner, starting soon or will be for quite a few people. And so we thought we'd focus on some top tips for starting the school year.

Pam Harris :

Right. So next week, we'll talk about building a community of learners. And part three is about having a system of beliefs that's coherent that you base all your decisions on. But this week in part one, we're going to talk about the most important way to start the school year and it's all about your students.

Kim Montague :

Right, we've compiled The top three tips for helping your students feel seen, acknowledged and that they matter in your classroom.

Pam Harris :

And this is so important. We're going to spend an entire episode talking about ways to make sure that that can happen. So the three tips are, learn student names, use student names, and help other students use student names.

Kim Montague :

Yeah, all about student names. So the first tip today is learn student names. Do you want to tell us how you learn your students names?

Pam Harris :

Kim Montague :

Yes, so really cool. So if you don't have canvas or some other big system, flipgrid is one that I really love to get kids to film some sort of introduction the first week. If you're less techie, or you don't have any pictures from previous years, then a simple name tent that first week is always really useful as well. What's great about a name tent is that you can use the inside to ask for students to respond to what happened that day. You can gauge their reactions, honor their feelings and encourage them if you're getting your community set up the way that you want to.

Pam Harris :

Yeah, we'll give credit to Sarah Van Der Werf this is a great idea to simply fold a piece of paper into a tent and they write their name, first name, big and bold on it. You can also have them put little bits of information on the inside, there's various different ways that you can have them respond to the day and then you can respond back to them. And that can go throughout that first week of, of sort of a communication back and forth between students. So we really liked Sarah's idea. And we'll put that link in the show notes.

Kim Montague :

If you're starting the year remotely like I know so many people will be, please make sure that your students know how to change the screen name to represent what they want to be called, so that it's not their parents names or somebody else's name in the family. You've had some experience with that with zooms lately, haven't you?

Pam Harris :

Oh my gosh, we've been doing so much Zoom since the pandemic started. And just the other day, I had a teacher with like a five number sequence, so I just Okay, so 78342, what's your strategy? And she told us her name, but if students don't know how to change their names in Zoom, then that would be a good thing to teach them. Or another alternative to that is you might make it so that students cannot change their names. So that you sort of can maybe stop some of the shenanigans that might happen, you can actually go in as class starts and quickly put in their name there. Especially if, like Kim said, their parents name is up there or something, then you can go in as the host and you can change the names to what they want to be called. Okay, so our first tip to help students really feel seen and acknowledged is to learn their names. Our second tip to help students feel really acknowledged and seen and valued is to actually use their names. Now, that may sound silly, why would you learn their names if you're not going to actually use them? But we really want to emphasize how important it is to use students names and often.

Kim Montague :

Yeah, not only will it help you learn their names, to use them when talking to them, but students feel the effort. Everyone likes to be called by name. It's a very personal connecting thing. Pam, I've heard you in workshops, attempting names that I would definitely struggle with.

Pam Harris :

In fact, we've even talked about that a little bit because I make an intentional decision to be the one who's embarrassed a little bit as I attempt to say people's names. Y'all I will say people's names over a few times until I get it right so that I'm the one that's embarrassed. And it's not the student or the participant in a workshop who has to have their name slaughtered every time that I say so I intentionally say it over enough times that I get it right and then I keep using it and try and get it right. So that it's me that has to sort of have the role of being embarrassed and I don't put the student or the participant in the role of having their names slaughtered. So I feel like that's kind of an important thing. So along with that, we would suggest that you welcome students as they walk in the door just like my professor did at BYU that first week especially as they're walking in the door, welcome them by name.

Kim Montague :

Yeah, that might not be a new idea for elementary teachers. But I have heard teachers kind of grumble about that 20 minutes kind of wasted time just standing in the hallway waiting for kids. But it is so important for setting the tone for the day and really for the whole year.

Pam Harris :

Yeah, absolutely. And it's not just the first day we think it should happen for a while. My husband and kids knew that that first couple weeks of school I was going to come home exhausted for a couple of reasons. One, I would come home and I would be memorizing names I would you know, watch that video over and over until I had all those kids names downs but also I would make sure that I was so prepared so that I could take that time before class and after class to address kids and not just Hello Taylor, but Hey, hello Taylor, how's your dog, cat, child like whatever pertains to Taylor that day, you know, be personal take an interest when they tell you that interesting thing about themselves, then use that as you greet them as they're coming into class.

Kim Montague :

I think being intentional is really important, using their names as you call them. Sometimes teachers get away with not calling students by name by saying things like hi friend or Hey love, Hi sunshine. But I think we all can agree that students and participants will feel more valued when you use their name instead of some vague term of endearment. Yeah, so Okay, Pam, we've talked about learning kids names and teachers using student names.

Pam Harris :

So let's talk about our third tip. That's to get other students to use each other's names.

Kim Montague :

Yeah, I've seen you use a really great technique that I think is so important to get kids to acknowledge each other. I've seen you actually direct them to speak towards another student and use their names. Will you talk about that for a second.

Pam Harris :

Yeah. So for example, if Andrea is to share her thinking, and Paul has an unclear look on his face. Or he even might ask a question, like, I don't know what she's talking about. Then I might say, hey, Paul, do you want to ask Andrea to repeat that or explain that, like, I actually like to use my hands to kind of get him to turn, motion to turn to each other. I want to give credit to a colleague. I want to give credit to a colleague Kara Imm for doing things like that. Another great move that she uses when students have differing ideas to get them to sort of face each other. Hey Breanna and Hollis you guys were alking about different things. Can you convince each other like Brianna, what can you say to Hollis that can really be convincing. It's about getting students to talk to each other, not just teacher-students student-teacher all the time, but actually, students communicating with each other. So you might leave the name tense up longer than you even need to learn the names so that students can use each other's names. Yeah, just briefly, we've been doing a lot of filming in classrooms where we've been doing problem strings with real students, which has been fascinating by the way and pay attention to the website because we've got Problem Strings that we're putting up more and more. And I noticed that as I was working with these particular high school students, they didn't know each other you know, this was in May of the school year, I'd be like - and I was learning their names right? So I'd say hey, can you convince and I'd be looking for the name tent to try to call that student by name. And they look at me like I don't know this person I've never talked to him. I'm like you're sitting by them in class! Like, a thing we need to do is to get students to communicate with each other. So encouraging students to use each other's names is another way of making sure that students feel valued and is a, an integral part of what's happening in class.

Kim Montague :

That reminds me of a time when one of my sons was in elementary school. And so you remember this. And it was time for Valentine's right? And I don't remember what grade exactly third or fourth grade and we were writing up the Valentine's cards and he wanted to write: to you. And I was like, why are you just being a little bit lazy? And he's like, I don't know their names. Wow, we need to do some work with getting to know some people.

Pam Harris :

All right, so, Kim, why are we making such a big deal about knowing student knowing and using student names?

Kim Montague :

Right. So your students are valuable members of your community, right, that you're gonna want to build the whole year. Teaching is all about relationships. And it reminds me of Maya Angelou quote, I've learned that people will forget what you said and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. It's so valuable to learn and know kids names. Absolutely.

Pam Harris :

So to help students feel valued, acknowledged, really seen y'all learn their names, use their names, and encourage other students to use each other's names.

Kim Montague :

If you want to hear more from Pam, check out the blog on our website mathisFigureOutAble.com. And please join us on Wednesdays on your favorite social media from MathStratChat. If you like the podcast and would give us a review, that would be fantastic.

Pam Harris :

So if you're interested to learn more math, and you want to help students develop as mathematicians then the Math is Figure-Out-Able Podcast is for you because math is Figure-Out-Able!