Oh my goodness. It is SO. GOOD. to be back in my classroom teaching.

The first couple days have been great. I love that half of my classes are students I have had before and already have rapport with. And then there’s my 6th graders. Every year I tell myself I’m ready for 6th graders on the first day. Every year I’m wrong. But oh how I love them.

My first day this year was pretty similar to what I did last year. I, like many others in the MTBoS, am using so many ideas from Sara Van Der Werf. We started with the 100 Numbers Task in all of my classes and ended with name tents. Depending on the class and how much time we had, in some classes I got to the math talk I had planned and the notice/wonder activity for the set game (6th grade) or Fawn’s Noah’s Ark problem (7/8 grades).

I was so excited, yet nervous, to finally use the version of Sara’s 100 number task that I created just before school started. You can find that version here.

I used this with my 7th grade class. This is my second year in a row having these students, and it feel like we picked up right where we left off at the end of last year. I’ve already found myself smiling numerous times as they’re working so proud of how far they’ve come since last year.

I started by showing them Sara’s version. We talked about how we used it last year -how group work was important and that there was a pattern. I told them we were doing a new version this time and there would be expressions instead of numbers. I gave them an example of the number 8 and asked them to tell me what expressions they might see on the sheet for 8. They came up with 2 x 4, 4 + 4, etc. I also briefly reviewed exponents with them before they started. I told them there was still going to be a pattern, but that it was different than the one last year -they all remembered the pattern from last year.

We also talked before they started about whether or not this was about being fast. One student loudly proclaimed, “No! It’s about teamwork!” Whether or not he was trying to be a smart aleck, I don’t know, but I went with it and reminded them that math isn’t about being fast. I was interested to see how well they worked together on this.

Right before I had them start was the most nervous I had been all day. I so badly wanted this to go well and was worried they would see the page full of expressions and panic.

Again, I shouldn’t doubt this group of students. They never cease to amaze me. They dove right in and got to work.

I gave them 5 minutes to work on the task. It was nowhere near enough time for them to find all of the numbers, but I thought it was a good amount of time for them to find enough to start to see a pattern.

A couple groups noticed the pattern after one round.

I also noticed one group write numbers next to some of the expressions they didn’t yet need as they were looking for other numbers. I thought this was a great strategy!