The beginning of every year is filled with new ideas to implement and try! I am constantly collaborating with my colleagues in 7th and 8th grade. I am going to list some of the activities students have done so far this year. Many of the activities build collaboration and group work habits. I will elaborate in detail what activity entails when I have time; but I have more things on my schedule this year: Grad School, private tutoring, math department chair, and full-time teaching :)
Chalk Talk: My first favorite activity is something that I adopted from my friend, Esther. She loves to do chalk talks because it forces everyone in a group to participate. I decided to try chalk talk with building vocabulary. And first round went very well as it gave students time to brainstorm. The process is there are about 6-7 sheets of paper with one vocab word written on each. Students each have a different color marker in their group and everyone needs to quietly write down the first thing that comes to mind when they see the word either in description or picture form, or they can write whether they agree or disagree. It's a great way for students to use their own words and helps the teacher gauge what the class understands and what still needs to be clarified. So in summary, 1 min per word of brainstorming written on a blank sheet of paper, switch each round via table, and then share out as a class. I follow this activity with a frayer model vocabulary where students will use what they brainstorm and record on the frayer model.
Change your Words, Change your Mindset: I used Jo Boaler's awesome mistakes video shared by my math coaches. It's under her week 2 of inspirational math. The message is that mistakes grow your brain, and I had the students write a positive statement from a negative statement. We always refer to this wall throughout the year.
My colleague teaching 7th grade has a lot of lesson structures that helps breakdown CMP3 for students in meaningful and engaging ways. Two strategies I adopted from her classroom include: Chunk and Slide and the Amazing Race! Both activities have been an absolute hit with students and the amazing race activity is a perfect way to chunk the investigation and differentiate it for all students. Chunk and Slide is a great model for think-pair-share when students are learning a new concept such as writing linear equations or solving (for dryer lessons when we want to avoid direct instruction at all costs--gotta keep it engaging). *will add more soon*