We just wrapped up our first quarter of the year, and I’ve noticed something.

We like to play.

Every class period has it’s own culture… it’s own “thing”. It’s usually not very math-related, but I’d venture to say this “thing” that unites us in each class helps us learn the math better. Simply put, we choose fun.

Maybe I should have taken pictures all year and started my own #TodaysDate180 blog (ha!) but every day this year, I’ve created an expression whose solution is (wait for it…) today’s date. Some days’ expressions are more challenging than others. It’s a very simple way to continuously review order of operations, exponents, etc. And in one class, every day, several students take it upon themselves to write a proof of sorts, demonstrating how they know what day it is. Here’s a not-elaborate-at-all-on-my-part recent date, and a sampling of the daily date-proving ritual:

Another example of how we play – students started noticing that every day is a holiday. We start every class by talking about what holidays are listed on a goofy daily holiday website, and if it’s possible, we celebrate it. High-five day was a recent favorite. I don’t know how it started, but we do it. Every day.

We hashtag. A lot. When I grade papers, students often hashtag comments to me, and I return the favor.

When students use language like this to express themselves on a quiz, I take it as a high compliment. This is how we interact.

Play is important. We start every lesson with a smile and make the kind of goofy memories that middle schoolers hold dear for a long time.

Don’t forget to play today. #justsayin