Dec. 10, 2012

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Implementing the First 5 Days – An Interview with Ian VanderSchee

BLCFeatureTopicIn this episode of the November Learning Podcast Series, Alan November speaks to Ian VanderSchee, an upper level mathematics teacher at Coppell High School, in Texas. The two discuss Ian’s implementation of Alan’s “First 5 Days” ideas at the start of this school year and how these ideas have positively impacted his students ever since.

To learn more about these and other possible “First 5 Days” implementations, we encourage you to read Alan’s book, Who Owns the Learning, and we invite you to attend the Building Learning Communities conference being held this summer in Boston. You can learn about both of these on our Web site at You might also share your thoughts and stories about the “First 5 Days” on Twitter, using the hashtag #1st5days.

As a result of Ian introducing the “First 5 Days” and the success of his students, every teacher at Coppell High School will be implementing a “First 5 Days” plan at the start of this school year.

4 Responses to "Implementing the First 5 Days – An Interview with Ian VanderSchee"

  • Keaton says:

    Mr. VanderSchee is my IB math teacher and I experienced the “First 5 Days” for the very first time this year. I thought it was very odd at first that we did not begin learning content on the first day like I had in all my previous math classes at Coppell High School. However, it turned out to be a great opportunity to learn new methods of researching that I wouldn’t normally have learned without Mr. VanderSchee (or as we call him VSchee). In addition, it was convenient for me to use this 5 day “grace period” to adjust to the schedule of school without being bombarded with Calculus after doing not doing math all summer. I have used the researching skills learned in the First 5 Days on my history IA and English presentations and they have saved me quite a bit of time and effort. Lastly, Mr. VanderSchee is an amazing teacher and probably should be teacher of the year, but unfortunately I don’t get to vote in that election. Thanks VSchee for everything you do!

  • Suzanne Everett says:

    Thanks for this conversation. What resources are available from Mr. VanderShee?

  • Suzanne, you can go to my teacher website at and send me an email, and I can forward the resources to you. Thank you for your interest!

  • I’ve revamped my First Five Days to incorporate perspective, compassion, and empathy. Have a look here:

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About November Learning

Led by Alan November and based in Marblehead, MA, November Learning equips teachers and administrators to motivate students to own their learning and make global connections by using effective technology and implementing rigorous assignments. Through our annual Building Learning Communities conference, professional development services and extended resources, our team of experts empowers educators to enact powerful changes across the curriculum, drawing on students’ abilities to think critically, communicate globally, express creativity and collaborate across several types of media.

Find us on Twitter @nlearning, Facebook and LinkedIn.
For more information, please email [email protected] or call +1 781-631-4333.

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