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

Looking for a First Day of Math Activity PERFECT for the Distance Learning Classroom… Keep Reading!

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.

Click Here to Purchase

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

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:

***Distance Learning| Virtual Math About Me Now Available!

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.

Click Here to Purchase

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.

Click Here to Purchase

Click Here to Purchase

ORIGINAL VERSION: My Life in Numbers or Math All About Me is a wonderful and Best Selling tool! This activity allows students to explore math concepts that surround them every day! Get to know your students better while they complete this FUN and relatable math activity. Primarily for upper Elementary grades (3rd – 6th), It includes mathematical concepts such as Basic Operations, Measurement, Decimals, Percentages, Fractions…etc. *** If you are looking for more difficult concepts try the In the Numbers version.

Click Here to Purchase My Life in Number Math About Me 

 

In The Numbers is a wonderful tool that can be used as a Back to School Activity, in a Math-Center or any whole-class instruction time. It’s perfect for the first day of school Math Activity, first week of school math activity, or simply any time of the school year! This activity allows students to explore math concepts that surround them every day! You get to know your students better while they complete this FUN and relatable math activity, and you are able to assess their needs on the first day and first assignment.

Primarily for upper grades. It includes mathematic concepts such as: Basic Operations, Base 10 Blocks, Measurement, Decimals, Percentages, Ratios, Scaling, Multiplication with Decimals, Area, Perimeter…etc! There is something everyone can confidently complete, and something that will require the students to think and be challenged.

Click Here to Purchase In the Numbers Math About Me  

 

Click Here to purchase BOTH Printable Versions!

 

As if that weren’t enough… the desperate need for a virtual and interactive version of a Math about Me presented itself. With Distance Learning being a very viable option for the classroom nowadays, as well as the need for paperless products, I was excited to adapt this product to the need of today’s digital resources.

These Virtual Math about Me activities are the perfect assignment for you to get to know your students and connect them to their peers even if you may not all be in the same classroom! I’ve added tutorials to add an animated GIF or even an avatar from Pixton for an extra measure of fun, as well as a few editable text features to allow you to better customize this assignment to your needs and preference. Though both are very similar to the originals, these virtual math about me activities do have their differences and benefits!

***If using these products I would take the time to walk through each example using your self as the subject. This is a great way to scaffold as well as create an opportunity for the students to get to know YOU better.

My Life in Numbers – DIGITAL VERSION: This is the perfect first day of math class activity! Created with Distance learning in mind, this virtual activity allows you to get to know your students, and allows them to connect with their classmates, all while learning that math is ALL around them and can even be used to describe and introduce themselves! Some of the text is editable allowing you to personalize it to your classroom needs, or the measurement system your country uses! Primarily for upper grades. It includes mathematical concepts such as Basic Operations, Measurement, Decimals, Percentages, Fractions…etc.

IN THE NUMBERS: DIGITAL VERSION: Looking for the PERFECT First Day of School activity that works in the Distance Learning Classroom? This Virtual Math Activity or Digital Math About Me is the perfect addition to your interactive tool belt. This virtual first week of school activity is completed and the majority of the text can be edited through Google Slides, and can easily be assigned through Google Classroom. This product is adaptable and can also be printed and used as a hard copy in the traditional classroom setting. This is SUCH a fun way to get to know your students, and for your students to connect with their classmates! Primarily for upper grades. It includes mathematic concepts such as: Basic Operations, Base 10 Blocks, Measurement, Decimals, Percentages, Ratios, Scaling, Multiplication with Decimals, Area, Perimeter…etc!

Click Here to Purchase the VIRTUAL Math About Me Versions Perfect for Distance Learning!

Click Here to Purchase

Can’t make up your mind? Go for the BIG Math About Me Bundle and gain access to ALL of the above. This Bundle includes both the ORIGNAL Best Seller: My Life in Numbers, and its virtual counterpart. As well as the original In the Numbers printable and the version that was adapted for Distance Learning DIGITAL version! This product allows you to save by bundling and leaves you prepared for no matter what the school year throws at you. Whether you are in a traditional, Distance Learning, Hybrid, or paperless classroom setting, this download prepares you for a great first day of math class!

Click Here to Save BIG by purchasing the BIG Math About Me BUNDLE

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.

Click Here to Purchase

Click Here to Purchase

 

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. 

Like this post? Check out More First Day of School Activities that are a MUST! (Even if You’re 100% Virtual)

Click on the picture to read the post!

 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.

  

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#generalconference is just around the corner! Snag the link to this FREE paper chain countdown in this week’s post💛 Each chain link includes a QR Code video to watch and complete each day to help your family spiritually prepare 🍋
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“There is a better way to prepare, because great faith has a short shelf life. We could decide to persist in studying the words of Christ in the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets. This is what I will do. I will go back to the Book of Mormon and drink deeply and often. And then I will be grateful for what the prophet’s challenge and promise did to teach me how to gain greater faith and maintain it.”
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Samuel risked it all.⁣

After being kicked out of Zarahemla, he returned to the hard-hearted Nephites, climbed that outer city wall, dodged arrows and stones, and put his life on the line to preach repentance and salvation through Christ.⁣

He prophesied that the Son of God would come to redeem “all those who shall believe on his name.” (Helaman 14:2)⁣
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Believe on His name.⁣

To “believe on His name” is really to believe on His 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴—and there are over 200 of them throughout the scriptures. Christ’s myriad titles perfectly capture who He is and who He can be in our lives if we’ll only believe. ⁣

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When we need an ally and a friend, He is our ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER.⁣

When we yearn for a constant in an ever-changing world, He is ALPHA AND OMEGA.⁣

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What’s in a name?⁣
What’s in 𝘏𝘪𝘴 name?⁣
Everything you and I will ever need.⁣
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What is your favorite title for Jesus Christ?
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*A beautiful, talented student at the school where I formerly taught created this artwork 👏🏼 Checkout @emma.st
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“As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world, the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out. As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming, you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them”

– President Ezra Taft Benson
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Excited to share these two FREE activities with you this week! So a chronological sort of the events as you read the account of #samualthelamanite or cut out the symbols that represent the signs Samuel mentioned, hide them, and then ”LOOK” for the signs! This is a great activity that lends well to a follow up discussion on looking for the signs of our Savior’s second coming 💛
Tag a friend in the comments that would appreciate these downloads!
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For those of you with kiddos headed back to school, don't forget about this FREE and CUSTOMIZABLE download!
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So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. […] When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us, as was the case with Nephi, the son of Helaman” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [1979], 93–94). Elder Neal A. Maxwell ...

The Lord loves effort. Even when our effort feels like it is next to nothing, or all we have left, it is something. I think I’m learning that the Lord not only loves effort, but through the enabling power of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement… that effort can be consecrated and become more than what we ever had to give in the first place. Not only that but the Lord blesses us in our efforts. “When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us…” I have felt this. In the tiniest ways, I have felt this.
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Read about my tender mercy on this week’s post.
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Have you ever felt that way?
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Loved this excerpt from the #comefollowme manual this week:
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Think about evidences that the Lord has given you. For example, maybe you haven’t literally heard the Lord’s voice, but have you felt “a whisper” from the Holy Ghost that “did pierce even to the very soul”? (Helaman 5:30; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:66). Perhaps you’ve been in darkness, cried unto God for greater faith, and been “filled with that joy which is unspeakable” (Helaman 5:40–47).
What other experiences have strengthened your faith in Christ and His gospel?
Helaman 5:29–33: What experiences have we had with recognizing the voice of God in our lives?
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The language in Heleman 5:12 has always really intrigued me. Scriptures like this one can become really relevant by simply noticing a single word. In the case of this scripture that powerful word for me is When.

Do you see it? Did the verse become that much more powerful to you by simply paying attention to that single word?

Notice that the verse doesn’t read, “If the devil shall send forth his mighty winds,” or “If all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you…”. The language instead is when.

Hardships, trials, pain, discomfort, and all-out storms WILL come, no amount of righteous living can prevent them… However, if our foundations are firm, and built upon our Savior Jesus Christ… We will not fall. There is peace in that. There is promise in that. There is POWER in that.
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Weekly Round-Up of FREE resources to help with your study of #comefollowme is on the website! Link in profile🍋🍋 ...

Guys. I don’t even know where to begin.... Except be on the lookout for this fun little DIGITAL project to be added today!
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🍋Students come up with a One Word Goal for the school year/ first term...
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“It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fulness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities. You are to be the royal army of the Lord in the last days. You are “youth of the noble birthright.” (Hymns, 1985, no. 255.) In the spiritual battles you are waging, I see you as today’s sons of Helaman. Remember well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors and how the teachings of their mothers gave them strength and faith. These marvelous mothers taught them to put on the whole armor of God, to place their trust in the Lord, and to doubt not. By so doing, not one of these young men was lost. (See Alma 53:10–23; Alma 56:41–56.)”. -President Ezra Taft Benson ...

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Need a fun drop off for your Young Women? With back to school just around the corner, it’s always nice to send your girls off with a sweet reminder to remember who they are, that you are thinking of them, and of course that you love them.
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Comment below! Don’t forget to check out my latest posts for Digital Back to School activities for your UPPER GRADE Students!
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