This goes beyond “great classroom action.” These are great moments that go great lengths towards defining the culture of a classroom.
Nathaniel Highstein offers a full week of activities:
The start of the school year is one of the most important moments for my classes. Setting the right tone and attitude right from the beginning can mean buy-in from students right away — and conversely, a bad start can be really tough to recover from. I had a pretty good start this year in my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes. I wanted to share some things that worked for me in case someone else might benefit, and to document the week, as I may repeat much of this work next year.
You can find lots of posters that describe the practices of a mathematician, the elements of a growth mindset, etc. Sam Shinde went a different direction, turning student work into a poster, and annotating it with mathematical practices.
Nora Oswald uses a viral YouTube video to illustrate the mathematical practice of perseverance:
After we watch this, I like to make the connection to the classroom.
“Do you ever feel like you’re driving around in circles?”
“Do YOU ever feel like you look like a fool and others are laughing at you?”
“Did this woman give up even though she may have looked foolish and stupid?”
“At what point do you ask for help?”
As best as I can tell, Jonathan Claydon has constructed a positive and productive classroom culture entirely out of gags like this.
I use my document camera for students to come up and “sacrifice their mistakes to the math gods”. The class usually makes eating sounds and says “yum”.