what are some of the math games or math ideas you work on on first day of school
The first day is a great opportunity to get good routines going!
A cumulative activity might be a 'calendar math' activity. Here, you could have students add one manipulative to cup/jar everyday. Or, you could discuss the day of the month ("How many days are done/left in this month/week?").
Regarding games, I would make sure to pick something that would not intimidate any of your students, especially on the first day. I've had some success with using dice: I would let a student throw 2 dice and have them represent it with unifix cubes or some other manipulative. This game is simple and the kids can have a little bit of fun too.
Later on (as in later in the semester), I would work up to game like 'Race to a flat'. I think this is perhaps the best game to get a good grasp of place value and grouping/bundling. Honestly, I would build up to this one and not use it on the first day though.
Slightly more formal, but an excellent norm might be 'Talk moves' where you work through a simple problem (perhaps 13 + 8) and have students work through the problem while letting them share different strategies ("First I added the 3 and the 8...", or "I know that 13 and 7 is..."). This lets your students know that there may be multiple ways to think about a problem and that they are encouraged to talk through their thinking.
Let me know if this is at all what you had in mind!
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Another fun idea would be to take polls and make bar charts. Ask questions like: how many people are in your family? How many Pets? How tall are you? What month were you born? Etc. Students can get to know each other and also make bar charts of the data collected.
Here's an activity (perfect for 3rd Grade) that allows students to share information about themselves, be creative, show what they know mathematically (informal assessment for the teacher) and to create that first bulletin board -ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! It's such a win! Check it out at this link:
In Fog Stone Isle, students create virtual worlds through engaging and challenging math games adapted to their individual learning level. The crafting games cover math topics and concepts spanning 5th-8th grade (great fractions and ratios supplement). Common Sense Education 5-star, best-in-class rated and completely free to schools.
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