The school year started on a Thursday this year to avoid ending on a Tuesday. We did some PBIS training on Monday, a whole staff meeting Tuesday, followed with working with new colleagues and in our classrooms Wednesday.

I hung some new posters in my room that I will slowly go over as the year progresses. I made the Jon Taffer "I don't embrace excuses, I embrace solutions" meme taped to the wall with a brown background, along with some suggestions for myself and students to encourage math discourse suggested by math coach Steve Leinwand.

I borrowed an idea from Sara Vanderwerf about name tents. Instead of copying it on cardstock though I used regular paper and my new colleague Mr. Rodinsky suggested we fold it into fourths so students could display it as a triangular prism. Basically each day students can write a question or comment, I collect it, and respond. Then I pass it back the next day, for the first 5 days.

There won't be a ton of homework, there will be some practice this year and it will count as part of the grade, unlike last year. And no, I am not as tough as I look, I think. Funny.

Then I passed out the graph pieces for 1.1.1 after a volunteer read the intro to Core Connections Course 3 and students found their new random groups. Then they glued the pieces together and came up with a story. I took a picture of the group above because this student was pointing to the graph as they were explaining themselves.

In 4th period Math 7/8 intervention and in Math 6 intervention in 6th period, students worked on the "Cups Challenge." They basically have team roles and have to not use their hands to touch the cups, only a tool that's 4 pieces of string tied to a rubber band. We reflected at the end and talked about the communication skills required. A specific example was switching the string with the partner next to them so they could flip the cup over. Shout out to CPM's Academy of Best Practices for introducing me to this collaboration ice breaker.

On Day 2, we started with Estimation 180 Day 1. Once again, we had to discuss the symbols for feet and inches. When they said 5'11" I wrote 5 11, which looks like five hundred eleven. A few students told me how an apostrophe represented feet and a quotation mark represented inches.

Above a student recapped this idea.

Then we worked on the tile patterns in 1.1.2. When we discussed, we had to talk about the difference between columns and rows. Most students knew a column went up and down or vertical. They had a hard time thinking of a way to remember row. I suggested when you row a boat you go along the water side to side, or from left to right.

Also on Day 2, we used Fast Facts and Fractions by Brad Fulton from TTTpress.com to have a discussion about the multiplication table and the patterns. Many kids were amazed at the "multiplying by 11's trick." With the 6th graders I asked them what they noticed about 11*11 and 11*12. They said the answer had the same first and last numbers, but the middle number was the first and last digits added together.