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Activities, Assessments, and Ideas for The First Day of Math Class

The first day of math class is right around the corner! Are you feeling those first day jitters yet? In hopes of easing your jitters I wanted to share a few ideas, activities, and my favorite way to assess student’s needs during those first few days of class. I’ve even included a freebie or two that I am confident you will love. One gives students the opportunity to struggle and fail, (don’t get me started on the importance of this). The other leads to meaningful discussion rich in math, and doubles as a fun bulletin board to be displayed throughout the year.

Before sharing the activities I wanted to share a couple thoughts pertaining to that first day of math. Most likely, of all the classes this will be the class filled with the most dread and anxiety. Address it. Many of your students already believe they are bad at math. They must know this is not the case. 3rd grade me can relate to this feeling, high school me can relate to this feeling, and college me can relate to this 2x over, for this I am grateful. In the end this empathy fueled my need to better support, explain, and practice. I am a better teacher because of this. Just because someone has had poor experiences with math in the past does not define them, nor their capabilities. When students realize the potential within them… they can do anything with the right support.  Be clear. There will be times this year they fail. There will be times of struggle, but if they don’t give up, and agree to put in the work… so. will. you.

1. Free Math Puzzle Activity:  

Naturally, this brings me to one of the first activities you can do on that first day of math class. Want it to be even more impactful, save the struggle speech for after. The suggestion of introducing students to struggle during those first few days of math class came from a dear friend, and teammate. SO. MUCH. WISDOM. Struggle reveals true character, and that is where growth and progress takes place. By having your students struggle in a controlled environment you are better able to reach them and instruct them about how to address and appropriately react to these strong emotions. That way when those same reactions come, at times when you aren’t aware, students will have already practiced and be prepared as to how to work through them. If this strikes a chord with you, make sure to check out my Grit and Growth Mindset Challenges.

The 7th challenge, The Nitty Gritty Bewilderer, is available for FREE Download here. The free download does not include the reflection sheet that all paid challenges do, however it is a great place to start! This activity introduces students to some fun math puzzles with a fascinating history. If you like this make sure to check out the other challenges that can last throughout the year. Watch the video below for more information. ***You may decide to save this as a second or third day of math activity… Remember anxiety and stress levels in students will be at an all time high that first day, It may be wise to allow them time to settle in before putting their mindset to the test!

Click here to purchase the Benjamin Franklin & Magic Square book I mention in the video below

Watch the video below for a quick run down of what the free sample activity includes:

 

 

2. Free Math is Everything Activity and Low-Prep Bulletin Board:

If ever there was a PERFECT first day of math class activity… this would be it. This activity can span across all grade levels due to the rigor you set through discussions, and expectations. This activity leads to meaningful discussion, an increased awareness of numbers, and an improved appreciation for mathematics. I was searching for a meaningful first day of math class activity when I stumbled across this quote by Shakuntala Devi:

Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.

After reading this I knew I had found the foundation for the activity. Essentially you will break the students into small groups. Together they will brainstorm examples that support the quote above. How is math involved in sports, food, art, daily tasks…etc Challenge them to be prepared to back up their ideas with evidence. Next, come together and discuss as a whole class. Keep a running list of all the ideas and topics listed. Take the discussion further by asking students to think of occupations or careers that involve math. After the discussion students will design a hexagon based on one of the ideas listed on the board. They will be tasked with illustrating and explaining the application. Gather student hexagons, print and cut out the other bulletin board materials, including that cute border… and assemble! This is an exclusive and FREE download to members of On Lemon Lane. Simply click below to download. Not a member? No problem! Sign up is Free and easy peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Click Here to Download

 

3. Math About Me Activity:

Another favorite first day of math class activity is sticking to a classic all about me. I love all about me assignments, however many times students can get burnt out talking about their favorite thing to eat, listen to, read…etc. Assigning a Math about Me is a fun alternative to change the pace. When I first started teaching the only math about me assignments I could find were all very juvenile, and filled with fluff. I’m not a fan of fluff. I set out to create a Math about Me assignment that was appropriate for the upper grades, fun, and challenging, while still including problems that every student could answer. My Life in Numbers was the result of this effort. This is a really fun activity that requires students to work. Best part, the equations are fun and unique to each individual student. The majority of the time students don’t realize the effort they are exerting because they find the math fascinating. My Life in Numbers requires students to use multiplication, measurement, expanded form, counting, conversions, fractions and percentages…etc.

I decided to add another version of Math about Me to the mix. Again I wanted one that was appropriate for Upper Grades, that wasn’t “fluffy”. I also wanted to try and integrate different skills. The “In the Numbers” version is a lot of fun, and has a layout appropriate for older students. This one turned out to be so fun, and based on the rigor you assign to this product it can be appropriate amongst many grade levels. In the Numbers reviews concepts such as: area, perimeter, sq footage, scaling, base 10 blocks, ratio, percentage, fractions, math fluency <>, Pie Chart, time, mental math…etc.  Both are available for separate purchase, or you can save big with both in a BUNDLE. Read the next suggestion to see how I use these Math about Me pages in my classroom. 

   

4. FREE Math Pre-Assessment: 

This next resource is one near and dear to my heart. In one way I hope that I’m the first to introduce you to it, and in another I hope you’ve been utilizing it in your classroom for years. I began using this website when it was first known as Front Rowed, now Freckle. Funny name… Powerful tool. Freckle is the “first and only differentiation platform. It works with students at THEIR level. All teachers everywhere, cue happy tears. The user face is adorable and fun, yet appropriate for older students. Based on student’s performance you receive data telling you exactly where your student is, WHAT THEY NEED, and where they are going. Here’s the kicker… IT’S FREE. Math platform is available (K-9) I love this so much, this program became my student’s homework assignment throughout the year, allowing me to use my Daily Math & ELA Workbook & Student Planner Hybrid as a Bell Ringer instead of homework! One of the first things I have students complete that first week of math class is the pre-assessment/placement quiz on Freckle. Because students work at such a wide range of rates, as well as technology being limited I always had a Math about Me on hand for students to work on once they have finished or while they are waiting to get started. See above for more details. Watch the video below for more information on my all time favorite Freckle…. and I have A LOT of freckles… Couldn’t help myself.

 

Technically you should have enough here to cover the first 3 days of math class! I would start with the bulletin board activity for Day 1. The next class we would complete the pre-assessments and Math About Me pages, and Day 3 we would start things off with some struggle… and wonderful discussion. Don’t forget to set clear expectations, and go over procedures for math manipulatives. Focus on building trust and a relationship those first few days. The foundation you set will carry you throughout the rest of the school year. So make sure you’ve built upon a strong and steady one.

I hope these activities, ideas, and assessments brightened your day, and lightened your load. I hope that your jitters were replaced with excitement for the approaching days. Know that what you do is important. Good luck with the school year, be kind to yourself and your students. They need the best version of YOU. 

 

 Please, please, please take pictures! I want to see student examples, and the finished result, I especially want to hear about your experience with these projects.

   

 

 

Comments

Comment below if you’re starting the COUNTDOWN TO GENERAL CONFERENCE Paper Chain! With two versions available you're good not matter how old your kiddos are. I've included videos from a couple of my favorites, @latterdaykids @angiemaek and @davidbowmanart as well as a podcast episode of Gordon B. Hinkley’s perspective on Joseph Smith that is INCREDIBLE. ...

I’m so late posting this! BUT SO EXCITED!! General Conference is a week away, to help you prepare I’ve created a FREE Countdown to General Conference Paper Chain! This download is editable and includes 2 READY-TO-GO versions.
Version 1: Made with toddlers and young children in mind
Version 2: Families & Youth
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To keep things as simple as possible each link includes a QR code that once scanned will quickly bring you to one of my favorite videos, podcasts, songs, or illustrated stories with an emphasis on preparing for Conference, Joseph Smith, and the Restoration of the Gospel Of Jesus Christ! Head to the website, download now, and get started TODAY! Complete one activity for the next 7 days💛💛💛
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SO excited to share this FREE with you for #comefollowme this week! Get ready to study the account of Enos, while pulling out the specifics and pattern of his prayer... then relating that same pattern to your own life! The idea for the activity came from a suggestion from @theensignmagazine the download included both the answer key **shown, and the response page! You will get access to the digital version meaning you can alter the text, or complete online as opposed to printing and completing! This activity is perfect for a wide range of ages even starting with my 4 year old! .
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Enos records, “I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.” It wasn’t easy. Faith did not come quickly. In fact, Enos characterized his experience in prayer as a “wrestle which [he] had before God.”But faith did come. By the power of the Holy Ghost, he did receive a witness for himself. -Elder Robert D. Hales
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Head to the website for this week’s Come Follow Me, FREE Resource Roundup! This week includes free videos, activities, coloring pages, articles, and printables! .
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You can also download this weekly reading assignment reminder along with other graphics to share through social media, or text!
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Come Follow Me: Book of Mormon
Enos-Words of Mormon
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Head to the website to see this week’s round up of FREE resources to help your study of Come Follow Me! From Printables to Videos, to Podcasts to Activities! This week is JAM PACKED with awesome resources! .
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Comment your favorite resource for this week below, I’ll share mine in the comments😍 .
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As always do me a favor and share an IG post from @livingonlemonlane to your story or tag a friend in the comments! With this new focus on Home Centered Church many are looking for resources and helps for Come Follow Me, sharing is one of the best ways to support the efforts of @livingonlemonlane 💛🍋💛
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This week we’re doing it a little differently... In light of Jacob 5, the LONGEST chapter in the Book of Mormon and the chapter that always caused the wheels to fall off my reading wagon, I wanted to create a tool that would better help (me) you and your family better understand the WHAT and the WHY of the Allegory of the Olive Tree. Instead of an object lesson I’ve provided my favorite resources for teaching the allegory to toddlers/ youth, and individual study. This FREE download is included. .
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Comment below how your FIRST Home Centered Church Supported Sunday went!! Any highlights?? What about low lights?? What went well? I want to hear it all! .
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Don’t forget to tag a friend in the comments and share the love, we could all use a support and pick me up during this crazy, social distanced time!
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“These surely are the latter days, and the Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel. That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today. Nothing else compares in magnitude, nothing else compares in importance, nothing else compares in majesty. And if you choose to, if you want to, you can be a big part of it. You can be a big part of something big, something grand, something majestic!” -President Russel M. Nelson
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Share this image to your story or Facebook as a fun visual reminder for this week’s study! .
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Head to the website for this week’s free resources and study tools for better understanding Jacob’s Allegory of the Olive Trees 🍋
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If you’re like me, when you realized we had finally made it to Jacob 5, your breath may have been shortened as you realized you were about to embark on the Olive Tree Allegory with your family. This is a section of scripture, where admittedly I try to get in and get out and with that plan of attack I am left getting little to nothing out of it. I wanted this to be different. Instead of planning an object lesson this week, instead, I wanted to dive into this allegory and give it the time and attention I’m told it deserves. So my hope this week is to give you the tools necessary to “GET” these chapters, no matter how old your kiddos are, or what stage of life you are in.
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Head to the website for my favorite FREE resources | tools for teaching the Allegory of the Olive Trees. .
Do me a favor and tag a friend in the comments, I’ve noticed a large influx of others looking for resources for #comefollowme with the renewed focus on home centered church 💛💛💛
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Surely by now you know I love giving you FREEBIES. #piday is no exception! Head to the website to download TWO Of my favorite FREE Activities for Pi Day. You will also find some fun activities and inspiration to make this year’s Pi Day Festivities the best day ever! My ALL time favorite is where you actually make PIE in the classroom using MATH and ZIPLOCK Bags!!! Head to the website to learn more 🥧
Comment below and tag a friend or teammate that needs a free activity to celebrate Pi Day on Monday! 💛
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Utah schools are officially closed for the next two weeks! Comment below if your school is closed or not and where your from! .
If you are still in school or need a fun St. Patrick’s Day project to assign make sure to head to the website where I’ve linked my favorites, (FREEBIES INCLUDED) In case your didn’t know I’m a bit obsessed with all things Irish. I think it all started with this throwback to Notre Dame Stadium to watch the #fightingirish🍀 Anybody else fascinated with all things Irish?? I’ll go to Ireland one day.... maybe just not today 😳🤧🤒
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With all the madness going on... you could use a FREEBIE. In case you didn’t know I have a bit of an obsession with all things Irish and St. Patrick... I can’t describe how much I LOVED learning about the man behind the holiday. St. Patrick’s story is inspiring. He truly believed in something and went up against all odds, naysayers, and dangers to achieve it. Not to mention you throw in a little Celtic mythology with fairies and leprechauns and I’m all in! 🍀🌈☘️🌈☘️🌈
I hope this product brings you joy and a little peace amongst the Chaos. You are STRONG. .
Tag a friend in the comments to share the love, link in story and profile!
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It doesn’t take long for the crumbled crayon boxes and loose, scrambled crayons lead you to slowly lose your sanity.... I love this tip from @heidisongs I also organized my crayons in drawers but her drawer separators are taking it to a whole other level!!! This makes my teacher heart so happy! .
How do you stay ahead of the scrambled Crayon Game???
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What’s your Game Plan for this week?? Did you check out this week’s Come Follow Me Resource Roundup? All Free and all WONDERFUL! .
Make sure to comment or tag a friend below!
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Jacob 4:6

When we are troubled, our first reflex must be to search the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. Their writings are beacons that cannot deceive us: “Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken” -Bishop Gérald Caussé
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This weeks resource roundup is live! Excuse my tardiness I’ve been a little under the weather but am working to be two weeks ahead again 💛💛
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This week’s object lesson is all about comparing our testimony’s to a tree. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the metaphor of our leaves or branches being shaken!
Comment below💛
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Guys.... I’m not usually one to toot my own horn.... but 🎺 🎺. You HAVE to try this in your classroom. I racked my brain to come up with a pie recipe that didn’t require melting butter, a hand mixer, oven, or mess, that still incorporated math and fun. When plastic bags came to mind I couldn’t find anything that supported the idea of whipped cream in a bag but, in theory it should work.... IT. DOES. Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Best part, it’s delicious. This is SURE to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! 💛 be sure to tag me, I can’t wait to hear all about it!.
Link can be found in my story! You should know by now I’ve got FREEBIES for you for Pi Day as well 💛💛💛 .
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Comment below if you plan to try this activity with your class! Also what day are you celebrating Pi day??? Friday or Monday?? Let me know!
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PSA: If you are wanting to try these in your own classroom, (outfit your whole grade level for less than $15!) Follow the link in my profile and order supplies through Amazon Prime👊 While you’re at the website check out the detailed step by step video tutorial for the lucky charm bracelet! Notice no glue or flame required to make this pretty little thing! Also make sure to download the FREE and EXCLUSIVE St. Patrick’s Day resources while you’re there🍀🌈☘️🌈🍀🌈☘️
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Tag a team member or friend that needs to try this with you!
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With it being National Women’s Day Yesterday it seems only appropriate to highlight a woman I love and admire... My mother. Some find it funny or strange that I hope to be just like her, but I truly mean it. She epitomizes what I believe the divinity of femininity is. She is soft and kind, all while being strong and grounded. She is all-giving and self-sacrificing all while knowing her worth. The needs of others especially those she loves will always be put before her own. Oddly enough this could be considered her weakness, which at the end of the day speaks volumes of the type of person she is. What a blessing it is to know her, how grateful I am to call her mom. .
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Who do you think of on National Women’s Day? Comment below!
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What was your favorite FREE Resource for #comefollowme this week?? Did anyone download the Feast Upon the Words is Christ Scripture Tracker? Comment below:
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“Craving the Lord’s companionship, the scriptures infuse my spirit with the Spirit. They will do the same for you. They will enlighten you, lift you, comfort you, strengthen you. They will envelop you in a warm blanket of heavenly love. How do I know? Because they do that for me. It is Heavenly Father’s promise to us. It is eating at the Lord’s table.” ...