Monday, July 30, 2012

Made 4 Math: Project Time Capsule

Today's #Made4Math project is new to me!  I designed it to reassure my students in "CoLLeGe MaTH" (which sounds scarier than it actually is) that the class is actually so do-able!  I'm calling it a Mini-Time Capsule Project in which students draft a welcome letter and leave an artifact for incoming classmates to open on the first day of school the following year.  This year's students will use index cards to record first day thoughts, their anticipation prior to Test #1 and reassurance after receiving a graded Test #1 back and then, use the notes to pen the letter filled with advice and encouragement.  Here is what I have put together:

Poster for the New York World's Fair 1939
The term 'time capsule" was coined by organizers of the 1939 World's Fair held in New York City though boxes filled with memorabilia were buried long before then.  For the World's Fair, the event planners proposed to bury artifacts and information that would not be opened for 5,000 years. Time Capsule I was  constructed by Westinghouse and filled with contents that captured American life as it was in 1939.
Your task is to create a mini time capsule of sorts for the advanced math student who will sit in your desk next year.  Your time capsule which can be an envelope or small container of your choosing should be filled with a letter addressed to the student and at least one artifact that represents you.  In your letter, you will use proper grammar, punctuation, and letter format to convey your "First Day" thoughts about the Dual Enrollment class, feelings leading up to the first test, and study tips and strategies after you receive your first test grade (don't worry, you will do great on the test!).  Your letter should be reassuring and encouraging.  It is your opportunity to help put an underclassman at ease.  You are actually leaving a bit of yourself behind through this project, so be thoughtful in your wording and in deciding which artifact(s) to place in the capsule. 

Letter Specifics:
You will write a letter welcoming an advanced math student to the class using a ‘friendly letter format’.

Your letter should contain:

  • Heading
    • Omit the address and just place the date in the upper right corner.
  • Greeting
    • You may use “Dear New DE Math Student,”
  • Body - 3 paragraphs (each indented)
    • 1st paragraph: Welcome the new student, share something about yourself and your "First Day" feelings.  Be sure to identify 3things you were thinking on the first day and why.
      2nd paragraph: Answer a possible question the new student may have and describe your thoughts leading up to the first test and after taking the test.
    • 3rd paragraph: Politely wish them a good year and possibly add a line of advice, study tips, or strategies.
  • Closing
    • You may use any appropriate closing of your choice.
  • Signature
    • Rubric
    • If you choose to type your letter, please sign it after you have printed it.
For my class, it will be a letter, but a mini-time capsule can be filled with anything to capture a moment in time to be shared with others at a later date.  Hopefully, you will be able to take what I have created and adjust it to meet the needs for your subject and your students.  I can't wait to see what you do!

**Update: We have completed phase 1 of the project.  On the first day with students (I had them for 10 minutes) the kids wrote down the first three thoughts they had when they thought of "College Math".  I loved, loved, loved the feedback!  As I read through the notes they wrote on index cards, I found it helped me understand each student better.  I will definitely do this again and I am eager to see the completed project in the upcoming weeks.


Anna said...

What a great idea! I have students write letters to next year's class at the end of the year with tips and "I wish I had known" thoughts, but this is cuter - I love the "time capsule" idea! How do you share this with next year's students?

druin said...

I like this! What a great way to calm the fears of future students! Please let us know how it goes :)

Cindy said...

Thanks y'all!Anna, I hope most of the time capsules can fit in envelopes that I can have the kids tape under the desks in May. Each student will leave their time capsule at the desk where they sat. The new students will get the time capsule left behind when they choose their seat on the first full day. I think next year's student will think it is a lot cooler than this year's:)

Simplifying Radicals said...

I love this idea and don't want to forget it. I am pinning it RIGHT NOW.