first day fun.



I’ve been thinking A LOT about my first first day of school–and thanks to the trusty interwebs I’ve found tons of great ideas. Dan Meyer really came to the rescue and put the word out for me. (How cool is that?!).

So, after doing a significant about of internet exploring/stalking, these are some of the ideas I’m going to try to incorporate into my first day.


As they come in…

Math is like ____ from @MrOrr_geek. I love this idea. I want to encourage my students to get creative and also get a read on their mindsets about math. I’m thinking I’ll give them bright colored sticky notes and then display them on a poster or something.

This makes me laugh.

Next up…

Who I Am from @ddmeyerI may tweak this sheet a little bit, but I love the idea of letting my students tell me about themselves. Some teachers suggested keeping them and handing them back at the end of the year to see how much the students have changed. That sounds like fun!


Now let’s DO SOME MATH. 

Handshake-NetworkSupreme Court Handshake from @NCTMIllumI love this problem. There are so many different ways to attack it! I think it will be a great opportunity for the students to begin problem solving in groups and maybe talk about the Standards for Mathematical Practice.  I’m even thinking about having them act it out… depending on time.


Classroom Expectations. 

I copied @mathycathy (she has tons of great ideas here) and created a video with VideoScribe using their free 7-day trial. I’m not quite sure when I want to show it… but I do like that the video makes it kind of fun.


Exit Slip.

I want them to write me a note. I’m going to give them an index card and tell them they can use it to tell me anything they want. I’m hoping this will give students to open up, if they need/want to. Should I be more specific with the prompt??


Other Good Stuff.

I also really liked this. Talking Points & Math Mindset from @MathMinds. 

And this. First Day with Make it Stick, Plickers, & Jo Boaler from @jreulbach(I’m thinking I might have them read the Make it Stick for homework and then discuss it first thing on day 2. I can hear them already. “Reading? In Math??” I know. Lock me up.)


Things I’m not sure about. 

Timing. We’re on block schedule, so I’ll have about 90 minutes. I’m not sure what all I will have time for, but I’m going to have some backup ideas planned in case things go faster than I think.

Talking about group roles. This is super important, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time to address that day 1. Is that a bad thing? No idea. I’m thinking we could talk about it on day 2 after they spent some time working in groups on day 1. We shall see…

Exit slip prompt. Should I be more specific? I want to give the students freedom to say ANYTHING, but I’m afraid if I’m too vague they’ll say NOTHING. Thoughts?



My first day is August 8th. SO SOOON! When’s yours? What are you planning on doing?? I’d love to know. 

5 thoughts on “first day fun.

  1. I too am a new math teacher this year. Teachers start back on Aug 5 (THIS WEEK!!!) and the students start on the 11th. There are so many great ideas floating around I’m a little overwhelmed with it all, but I’m starting to get my first few days solidified.

    I love the “math is like” sticky note idea! The freshmen are coming in for a jump start day the day before school starts in which they will meet with all of their teachers for 10 minutes. This would be a great activity to do with them as an icebreaker. I’ve been looking for a super quick activity that isn’t just a generic “My name is…” kind of thing so this is perfect!

    As far as our first official day, I’m planning on having the students complete a brief questionnaire, go over basic expectations and then having them complete the broken circles activity from Sarah Carter’s awesome blog. I thought about doing a more in depth questionnaire the first day but I figure they will probably doing something similar in all of their classes so I decided I would try and intersperse most of the questions throughout the first few weeks. I also hope this will also get them used to the idea of writing out something (in complete sentences) in every class.

    Good luck to us both!


    1. Yay for new teachers! I’m excited for us both. I had my first day of new teacher orientation today. It was definitely a tad overwhelming, but I’m still so so pumped. It’s going to be fun! Now, off to work on my syllabi… 🙂


  2. Good luck, girlie!! I know you’re going to be AWESOME. I find that things take longer than planned on the first day, so I plan on having 2 first days to get everything done. You could also spread some things out as warm ups for the week (like read a small section of make it stick & discuss each day).

    A great first prompt is “one thing I would like Ms Grace to know is….”


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