First Week Plans

With the start of the school year coming Monday August 27th, I felt the urge to do a bit of planning of the first week to feel like I accomplished something. I also still want to blog about the 3-day IM training I went to, and devise a day long PD with my math department to deliver the most important bits from the training. The first day of school is such an important one, and I blogged about it on NCTM’s Blogarithm in a post titled Strategies to Create and Maintain Positive Classroom Culture. I suggest you read that, because I don’t want to repeat myself in this post. It includes a link to Sara Vanderwerf’s name tents, and here is a link to a Google doc to make a copy of and edit.

[Side note: by Julie Wright’s suggestion, I am adding a part for students to tell me the preferred pronoun they want to be addressed by. Avery Pickford pointed out it makes for a more inclusive environment ]

Day 1Attendance at door, Name Tent, Cups Challenge, Debrief about names & activity

I will follow everything I outlined in that post on day 1, and making sure that I assign them their mathography assignment which will be due Friday which will be instrumental in doing the mystery student activity each week. At some point this week or next week I want to make time to have students sign up for Seesaw to upload a photo of one of their first cool-downs and pass out the IM workbooks for Unit 1, with the expectation that they are brought to class everyday. Also, I have to remember to post the learning target of students learning the names of every classmate by the end of the first week, or about 5 new names per day.

Icebreaker activity:

I learned this activity from CPM’s Academy of Best Practices called the Cups challenge. I saw it online with some different directions, but basically students are given a stack of cups, a set of 4 instruction cards, and a rubberband with 4 pieces of string tied to it. The rules are that you can’t show your card to your group and when you move a cup each group member must be holding 1 of the 4 strings. All of these instructions are laid out. I suggest printing these on card stock and cutting them out.

Here’s what it looks like in action (found this off a Google search, not my students)

recent tweet of video

Here’s the activity, formatted in Google Docs:

Day 2Video Clip, Norms, Four 4’s, Revisit Norms

I want to start Day 2 with high fives at the door and see how many names I can get by heart. We will immediately launch into some activities from the Week 1 of Inspirational Math.

  1. Video: 5 minute video clip from Week 1 Day 1 WIM. Purpose: everyone can achieve to high levels in math)
  2. Prepare to establish norms: On a T-chart, I’ll label the left side things we like people to say or do when working on math, and on the right side things we don’t like people saying or doing when working on math. I’ll invite any ideas from the Cups challenge from yesterday, and tell students to be ready to share additional ideas after the next activity.
  3. Four 4’s: First with some individual time (5 minutes), students will write down the numbers 1 to 20 and see what numbers they can come up with using any mathematical operations and only the digits 4, 4 times. Then I will ask them to share with a partner for 5 minutes, then with their group the rest of the time. This will mimic the Think-Pair-Share style that the Open Up 6-8 curriculum usually is.
  4. Revisit norms

Day 3:

  1. Video: Weekly 1 Day 3 (Day 2 is short and not that great) Purpose: Being good in math is not about speed.
  2. Number Visuals: Week 1 Day 2… Think-Pair-Share format.
  3. Debrief
  4. Dot Talk: Number talk from Weekly 1 Day 3
  5. Revisit norms

Day 4:

  1. Video (5 minutes): Weekly 1 Day 4 Purpose: Math is the study of patterns.
  2. Pascal’s Triangle:
    • Introduce Pascal’s Triangle (French mathematician, but found by many other cultures)
    • Find the missing numbers on the Pascal’s Triangle handout while working in pairs (page 4)
    • Investigate the 4 questions on the Pascal handout (page 3)
  3. Presentations, Debrief, Revisit Norms

Day 5: (Here I debated the paper folding activity or the visual pattern. I’m going with the visual pattern because I think there are more approaches to it)

  1. Video (3 minutes): Week 1 Day 5 Purpose: Mistakes and productive struggle are good.
  2. Tile Pattern: How do you see the pattern growing? (follow up questions)
  3. Presentations, Debrief, Revisit Norms

I have consolidated this plan into a Google Slides that I plan to share with my math department. The plan is to have all students at all grades do this week of mindset messages and then start Unit 1 of Open Up Resources on Day 6 with workbooks.

Google Slides link

I’ve already had some fun digging into the Four 4’s… I’m hoping to catch some kids using the square root operation and then I will have those students share that out to the class. I doubt any will know about factorial, which as the YouCubed notes say, must be introduced to get the last two numbers: 11 and 13.

Author: mrjoyce180

6/8th grade math teacher using open up resources tweeting from@martinsean

10 thoughts on “First Week Plans”

  1. Hi Michael, I’m unable to open your google doc and get a peak at the activity – it’s requiring your password to open. Any chance you can make it shareable? Loving your ideas! Also starting OpenUpResources this year.


      1. And it wasn’t you, it was me. Having some summer brain here! I am able to view everything – thank you!


      2. Phew! Those google permissions can be a pain I had to open it up later on to people outside my schools domain. Be sure to tell me how it goes!!


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