World War I also called the war to end all wars or the great war had an impact that can still be felt today. Despite its absolute importance in our history, it is quite possibly one of my least favorite units to teach. I struggle to get creative with my curriculum. So, the last time I taught World War I, I turned my classroom into a newspaper room, and that made all the difference.

I am a total math nerd. I LOVE quadratics. Quadratic functions and equations is the fourth unit in my Algebra 2. The class is running (usually) pretty smoothly. Students are aware of my expectations, know where to get help, and can work fairly independently.

Students spent a good deal of time on quadratic equations in Algebra 1, so this is not an entirely unfamiliar topic. We start simply and swiftly with notes that serve as a reminder of what quadratic functions are, the vertex versus standard forms and graphing. I like to play with graphing a little (see our funny faces activity here).

Students spent a good deal of time on quadratic equations in Algebra 1, so this is not an entirely unfamiliar topic. We start simply and swiftly with notes that serve as a reminder of what quadratic functions are, the vertex versus standard forms and graphing. I like to play with graphing a little (see our funny faces activity here).

Teaching Ancient Egypt can be challenging because frankly students often know a great deal. They aren't awed by hieroglyphics or King Tut's tomb or the Great Pyramids. They often even know much of the mythology.

To teach Ancient Egypt, I set two central goals for the unit:

To teach Ancient Egypt, I set two central goals for the unit:

First days of school are a mixed bag (Ideas for you here, here, and here!) But once you get through that first day, what do you do on day two? I don't waste time. I want to know where my students are right away. I get my students into unit 1: expressions ,equations and inequalities with notes. This unit is entirely review. I expect a good amount of independence.

I like to get students up and moving. Students get a set of graphic organizers and a challenge.

I like to get students up and moving. Students get a set of graphic organizers and a challenge.

The Progressive Era is one of my favorite periods in history to share with my students. I could spend a whole year on this period if I had the chance. Typically, my class spends 2-3 weeks. An enormous number of events and decisions were made from 1900 to the early 1920s have shaped the century that followed this period. So, my biggest challenge is not having enough to teach but trying to cram it all in to a tight schedule without making it feel like speed dating. I teach what I can and hope to inspire students to dig deeper on the events, people and topics that inspire them.

Day one in any class sets the tone for the year. I know teachers who don't smile, teachers who spend time on scavenger hunts of the syllabus, and others who like to do get to know each other activities like human bingo. The importance of getting to know other students is important as I have written about previously (for more reading see importance and my favorite back to school activity).

By the time students are in Pre-Calculus, they are both serious and know what is expected, for the most part. So, instead of spending time on any of the above on day one, I set the tone by simply establishing my expectations by getting to work. We jump in feet first with a rapid Algebra 2 review. The purpose of the review is twofold:

The cradle of civilization a.k.a. Mesopotamia has an epic legacy that I often only have time to just touch on. A key area in understanding the lasting impact of Mesopotamia is the impressive list of science and technology achievements for this early Western civilization.

A gallery walk is an engaging way to explore the science and technology. To set up the gallery walk, I post 6 exhibits around the room.

A gallery walk is an engaging way to explore the science and technology. To set up the gallery walk, I post 6 exhibits around the room.

There is no doubt that the first day of school is an important one. Although my reputation may proceed me, ultimately, this is the first impression my students will have of me. This is where I get to show expectations: mine for them and them for me.

In my secondary math classroom, I like to kick it off with creative problem solving. The purpose of these gold medal style problems on day one is to:

In my secondary math classroom, I like to kick it off with creative problem solving. The purpose of these gold medal style problems on day one is to:

## ABOUT AUTHOR

Curriculum developer, educator, education policy researcher, author, advocate for social justice, PhD, and of course, ultra marathon runner.

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