Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Those first few days... (part 2)

So the first day flew by of course, and I barely got through a fraction of what I had planned. Looking on the bright side, as my husband pointed out, I guess I already have tomorrow planned!

So moving on from my post from yesterday...

Goal #2

Now that I have an idea of where my students are in terms of their math abilities, and their feelings about math, my next step is to get them thinking about math and how it relates to them. I do this in a very easy way...we talk about numbers! Shocking, I know!

The activity I am about to describe can be done at any's that simple!

{Psssssst - If you make it to the end of this post there is a keep reading!}

I strongly believe that the key to engaging your students in math class is to help them make real life connections to what they are learning. This activity not only assists in making real life connections, but also personal ones.

Before I do this activity, we have a class discussion about how math is all around us and ways that we use math every day. I pose the question, “Do you think numbers are important?” Most say yes. Then, “Do you think numbers are important to you?” Most think about this one!

I then place the above on the overhead and inform my students that these numbers are important to me for different reasons. I then turn it into a guessing game where they have to try and determine the numbers significance. I usually offer prizes for correct guesses.
Once the students have guessed all my numbers I have them complete the same activity using numbers that are personal to them.

How you choose for your students to present their numbers is up to you. In my classroom (grade 8), it is the first page in their math scrapbooks, but I think it would also make a great poster in the lower grades.

Once they are done, I  give the students time to pick a partner and guess each other's numbers. They always have a great time guessing!

Just a heads up...because I was caught off guard one year...there is usually one student who doesn't have a partner, so I end up guessing their numbers just so they don't feel left out. One year, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what this one boy's number signified. Turned out to be the year his dad left...I didn't know what to say, so I told him I understood why that number would stick with him. Now when I do this activity I might mention the fact that numbers are capable of bringing back memories, good and bad.

Here are some finished samples.

(some students choose to incoporate pictures within their numbers as hints)

I hope this is an activity you can see using in your own class. I bet your kids will love it and it works great as an ice-breaker at the beginning of the year.

OK, I promised you a giveaway, so here it is.
If anyone is able to guess any of my personal numbers from above, I will send you a copy of my "Number of the day" for FREE. Put your guess in the comments, along with your email. One guess per person please.

HINT - it may be helpful if you download your free copy of the activity here.

Stay tuned for Goal #3 tomorrow.





  1. 14 is how many years you've been married?

    1. Nope. I've only been married 8. Feel free to guess another number.

  2. 2011: the year your son was born :)

  3. 2011 graduated from college?

    1. Nope, I graduated from university in 2005.
      Thanks for guessing.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I bet your shoe size is 8-1/2


    1. Correct! I am always surprised how long it takes the kids to guess that one.

      Check your email!


  6. 7 - the grade level you taught your first year teaching.

    Kathy R