This year I decided to change things up for the first day. I decided to skip all the regular first day stuff and dive right into the math. We can do the first day stuff some other day (I guess that doesn't make it first day stuff anymore though). I wanted my grade nine students to be doing math and enjoying themselves rather than being bored of listening to me.

We started with some Estimation 180. I had students guess a number that was too low, another that was too high and, finally, an actual guess. I like starting with this because everyone can pick a number. It's very low risk. I was pleasantly surprised at the too low and too high guesses. Nobody gave number that were crazy low or high. I gave students time to come up with their guesses. I took a bunch and wrote them on the board, which was a great way to get students participating. Once the list was on the board I went to move on when a student asked what the answer was. We had a look, then figured out what their percent errors were. They were all quite close.

After the estimating we moved onto a number talk. I asked students to figure out what 25*8 was without using a calculator. As I said it to the class it occurred to me that this was an easy one to relate to money so perhaps it would be too easy. Oh well. Next time I'll refer to my notes rather than working from memory. I had originally intended to ask 25*12. In any case, we had a few different methods that were shared. Nobody used an area model so I went over it and a couple of other methods. This was another fairly simple task that helped students build confidence.

Once we finished the number talk we moved onto Skyscrapers.

The idea is that you must have a tower of each height (1,2,3 and 4) in each row and each column and the numbers along the outside indicate the number of tower you can see from that location. It's very Sudoku like. I've seen a lot of people use this activity in the past, but I wasn't sure about it. It wasn't until I was at a session where teachers tried the activity that I realized what a great first day activity this could be. It involved problem solving, collaboration, attempting and failing then reattempting and lots of communication.

I was hoping to get to some integer addition and subtraction today as well, but I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow.

I had a great day and I hope my students did as well. I hope they had fun, felt comfortable and enjoyed themselves. We covered a fair bit of ground: estimation, percent, multiplication and problem solving.

I need to remind my self to take more pictures!

## Tuesday, September 5, 2017

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