Butterflies and Bumble Bees

First day(s) of school!  It’s the excitement and idealism of butterflies and the details and urgency bussing like bumble bees.  So I like to add order to the excitement, calm any nerves and inspire each student for a wonderful year of math.  It helps me enjoy the day more, too.  Helping students build relationships with each other, with me and with math is not only foundational but a fun way to start the year.  And I try to do it in such a way that we are laying the ground work for successful rigorous mathematical thinking.

The first day of middle school for 6th graders can be overwhelming so I do a combination of independent/quiet, group/moving activities.  I’ll start with introducing myself with the same activity I’ll ask them to do, The Me Behind the Picture.  It plays off of social media without endorsing any one site.  This is important not only because it allows me to get to know the students but is something everyone can do.  I want students to feel good about their work in my class and one way to do this is establish a foundation of success the first week.

The group and movement activity is called Pair, Share and Move.  I have a list of questions with multiple choice answers.  Students listen to the question, choose an answer and then find someone who has the same answer.  Together they go to the corner for their answer and share one thing about their answer or something from The Me Behind The Face worksheet.  They must find a new partner for the next question.

The first day ends with the first homework assignment being explained and given.  Students are to write a letter to me about their relationship with math.

I’ve tried to include the documents for the above activities but can’t tonight.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

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