For the first day of math class, I introduced myself to the students by telling them about my family and showing them a picture, telling them about how big a Crimson Tide fan I am, and reading them one of my favorite children's books Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. We talked about rules and procedures for our classroom.
The first problem the students had to solve was to save Fred. Fred is a gummy worm that can't swim. He went boating in a clear plastic cup and his boat flipped over. His life preserver (gummy peach ring) was under the boat (clear plastic cup) with Fred sitting on top of the boat. The students had to get the boat turned back over and Fred in his life preserver. The catch was the only tool they could use to save Fred was a paper clip. Students worked together in groups of 4 to save Fred. When we finished, I had the students tell me what saving Fred had to do with math. Then we talked about strategies they used to save Fred and created a list. We also talked about their attitude during the activity and how they didn't get mad or give up.
Then we took a place value preassessment so I would know which areas of place value we need to focus on in class and which areas could be practiced at home. We also read How Much is a Million? and I introduced place value through the hundred millions place. We created a class anchor chart and students took notes. We practiced identifying the value of different digits within a number.
10 months ago