The first challenge we examined for my husband's classroom was what to use for a bellringer. Even when he was substituting, he loved the bellringer concept - the idea of getting the students straight to work. In addition, teaching 8th grade pre-algebra, he will have the eight grade students who are not taking algebra. However, these students will be taking algebra next year. As a result, he wanted to strengthen their core math concepts, while not holding up the subject matter he was supposed to be covering. And there is a chance for literacy and class building at at the same time.
For Monday, he varied an idea we saw on Math=Love, and he is having "Memory Monday" as a theme. He will have a question on the board designed to elicit a positive reflection. The student is to write down a few thoughts to help them prepare. Then they will each share one answer they have to the question. These questions will be of the nature of "What was your favorite thing you did this summer?" I will post a list, when he has finalized it for the first nine weeks.
Tuesday, he decided to go with "Tumble Tuesday." (No, he is not letting his eighth graders somersault around the room.) The first four students to arrive will each roll a die and write the number in a square on the board of the same color as the die. (Later in the year, he may make certain colors negative, total, etc. so he is getting them in the habit of writing them in the appropriate color box from the beginning.) He will have written a number that is the solution to the equation. The students are to use various operations: + - X / ( ) and the order of operations to solve the equation. They will start the year with 4 dice whose numbers are on the board. The student must use 3 of the 4 numbers, and if they use all four there is a prize.
Wednesday, he is calling Wanderlust Wednesday. For this, he is using real world photos or art that illustrate a mathematical concept. He will have the image showing and the problem relating to it on the board. Students try to figure it out, then they discuss it. Again, as the list and images come together, I will post.
Thursday is Tricky Thursday. He will perform a math magic trick and see if the student can figure it out. On many of these, there will be an initial part where the student has to perform mathematical operations
Friday is Fortune Fraction Friday. Students will view a fortune from a fortune cookie on the board. (Or possibly be given a fortune) The first set of lucky numbers will act as the numbers in the problem. He is to use these to form a fraction that falls between two of the numbers in the right hand set of lucky numbers.
He has created cool posters for each day, which I will post later. However, we have a tentative plan for the start of the year, at least. We discussed being able to change these out at the nine weeks mark if something doesn't work or if he runs out of ideas for a concept. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works!