I am looking for some ideas for the first day of my math class. I would like something that is interactive, sets a good tone for my classroom and incorporates some math. Any ideas?
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I'm not a math teacher, but I can offer some ideas for any classroom that I've used and found to be exactly what you are looking for.
One way to set a tone for your classroom is to have a seating chart on the very first day. I know this is debateable (many teachers like to give students the choice then later use re-arrangement as punishment) but I am a fan of establishing my control from the first moment. I never let my students control the level of "fun."
On the first day of a sememester, I hand my students a "quiz" as they walk in the door. I pretend like it will count. The quiz is 10 T/F and multiple choice questions all about me. This is how I let them get to know me. Kids think it is fun to predict and make assumptions. I try to include a couple of really silly and obscure (but appropriate of course) things about myself. I then have them make a quiz about themselves, or sometimes, just list 10 things they want me to know about them before they turn the quiz in. It would be easy to incorporate some math-type elements into this.
How about trying fun activities which engage the kids, plus allow them to refresh their learning? For instance, you could divide them up into two groups, and have a quiz on the board... ask questions, and whichever group answers first (they can raise their hands if they know, or you can have alternating turns between teams) gets a point. Kids love a challenge, and they'll end up reviewing what they learnt in 2nd grade - The victory feeling is a great motivation tool, so they enjoy class, and they prepare for 3rd at the same time. The group that gets most points at the end gets a treat! Another activity (this is like the getting-to-know activities) which could work for kids who already know you and know the kids in the class, is a personality quiz. You can make little paper slips, one with each kid's name on it. Have the kids draw one random slip each, and then, at the back, write one thing they like about that person, or know and admire about that person, and then, jumble up the skips, have the kids draw one randomly again, and read out the nice thing written about the person on the slip. Kids will, this way, learn one nice thing about their peers, written by another kid, but they don't know who. But it means all kids get to hear one nice thing about each other kid - A fun activity, that teaches kids mutual respect and understanding!
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