A New First Day for A New Year

Today, we went on a quest.    It seemed like a good way to start our year together.   I hope my students will see this whole year as a quest, filled with puzzles and challenges, problems to solve, twists and turns and surprises, a grand adventure.   So, we began as I hope we will continue.

Our quest began with a puzzle to solve.    Each table group of four was a given a set of five envelops (one for each person and one to be shared by the table).   The challenge was to use the pieces in the envelops to collaboratively build five equal-sized squares.   The catch is that no single envelop contained the pieces to build a square.   They must work together to achieve the goal.   There were a couple of strings attached to the puzzle.  First, a team member can’t take a piece from another person.   They can, however, offer a piece to someone.   Second, each team member has to play a specific role.   The role is determined by the card on their desk.   There are four different roles:   Look Ma, No Hands (you can’t use your hands during the challenge);  Speak No Evil (you can’t talk during the challenge) ;  See No Evil (you must do the challenge while blindfolded); Mean Girls (everything you say must be mean).

(You can read more about this non-verbal problem-solving task here.  )  When a team successfully completed this challenge, they received this clue.


They had to decipher the clue in order to find their second task, which was to discover the ground rules for our class.   IMG_0409

Here, they found the task tucked behind the poster.


Once they completed the task and deciphered this clue , they arrived at the next challenge.


After solving the Tower of Hanoi and receiving the clue to next station,  students arrived at the next station.  After finding the clue and completing the task (collecting the parent letter and survey),  they then had to find the next clue.


This directed them to their final destination for today’s class.


Students learned some of the lessons of how our class will work and discovered some of the important places in our classroom.   They did the exploring, the thinking and the talking.   I was just there to give them a little coaching when they got stuck.     It was a good day and a good beginning on our much larger quest.




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