I had my first several weeks of notes and assignments all planned out. I guess I thought it could be taught in one week.
It did not go as planned! (It never does.)
I used the "First Day of School" tangram for all my classes. It was a great way to determine the pace at which a class or student cuts, folds, and pastes things together. The pace of my previously taught classes is significantly more efficient than that of my new students.
The great thing about doing the reference chart on day one is that my students immediately use it without being reminded to. In Pre-Algebra, we began the year with a review of Geometry Formulas. I was concerned at first, but realized that this was a great review of basic algebra skills with something they were familiar with. And it was another way to bridge the arithmetic skills from by hand to calculator.
Every class then created a Unit Pocket for the first unit.
This year for Taxi Cab geometry, I used google earth to show students where it originated-New York. For small town kids, this was an adventure. We then used google earth to find our small town, overlayed a sheet of posterboard on the Promethean, and tried to find the shortest route from school to the Snow Cone truck. Taxi Cab geometry was just about everyone's favorite.