Monday, May 12, 2014

Pirate Day

Everywhere I look I see pirates!!  Pirates on Pinterest, pirate birthday parties, pirates, pirates, pirates. So I decided to have a pirate day myself with my little people. I knew they would have a blast with math and literacy, both, if I disguised it behind a bunch of pirates. And, they did!!  My students were thanking me repeatedly for the pirate day and all the activities that went along with it. Here are a few. 

I invited my students to dress up and they took the challenge seriously!!  

We read Jake and the Neverland Pirates and then they had to answer comprehension questions or walk the plank!!  Okay, everyone got to walk the plank and catch a cannonball which my aide fired at them.  They had to pop their cannonball which had their comprehension question in it. Then, if they couldn't answer their question, I fed them to the sharks, which you see pictured. 

They had to dig for buried treasure and make a list of the items they found using their phonics skills to spell the words as best they could. 

They had to count the loot they recovered from Cpt. Hook and add it all up using tens frames to help them. Math activities available on TPT. 

We used lots of our math skills and had fun doing it. 

We turned this old fashioned game into  subtraction practice. 

And, of course, we had a snack. It was a fun day. We'll worth the time and effort!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Well,  Texas is not exactly a "Winter Wonderland" and especially not this year.  Our high temperature today was in the 80s.  We had to turn the air conditioner on at school.  At one point it was so warm in my classroom that several of my students had their heads down on their desks and I could hear "rumbling" coming from their little bodies.  Yes, they were snoring.  Wow!

I always have "Hot Cocoa and Poetry" on Fridays in January.  The weather hasn't been the most ideal for this activity.  I should probably change the title to "Chocolate Milk and Poetry" and serve ice cold chocolate milk.  Anyway, the kids bring a coffee mug and instant hot chocolate packets.  I provide the hot water.  They get to drink their "hot cocoa" while I read kid friendly poetry to them.  We read from poets such as Shel Silverstein and Jack Pruletsky.  The kids enjoy this time.  Tomorrow I have a treat for them.  It is our final session and each student is going to receive a little snowman. I found the idea on Pinterest and was originally posted by Becca at Blue Cricket Design.   These should survive the Texas heat. marshmallows for their hot cocoa.  Maybe I can convince my principal to turn the AC waaaaaaay down in the morning.  Ha!

I wanted my students to come back to a fresh new classroom that looked like it was ready for a fresh new start.  Over the holidays I made this winter themed mesh wreath.  I used a pipe insulator as the frame as seen on Pinterest. didn't hold it's shape very well.  Once I take it down to store it for the summer, I will wire it to a regular wire wreath frame.  They aren't very expensive.  Less than $3.00 for the size I use for school.  It was a good idea, but didn't turn out the way I had hoped. I got the mittens at WalMart a few days after Christmas on clearance.  They are actually plastic ornaments and worked out perfectly for my winter wreath.  I don't have to worry about them breaking when I pack the wreath away.  

I saw these adorable "New Years Kids" by Glyph Girls on Pinterest and just had to give them a try.  The kids had fun making them and they were soooooo cute.  It was fun reading what the kids' new years resolutions were.  One little guy wants to be better at building legos.  You go, Clayton!!

Conversations From the Heart

After seeing so many cute ideas about how to use Conversation Hearts for math and literacy both, I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did! First, I asked each student to bring a bag of conversation hearts.

The first thing we did with them was to put them in zip-lock bags to make them more accessible. Then, I gave each student a small Dixie cup and asked them to scoop out one "cup" of hearts. I created my own graph for my own purposes and had the kids lay their hearts down on the graph. They just couldn't understand graphing with random numbers. They kept reaching back into their bags and pulling out more hearts to make the columns even. My aide and I kept giggling at their overwhelming desire to "fix" their graphs. I finally had to take their bags away from them. Finally, I had them color squares to correlate with the number of hearts for each color. When everyone completed their graphs we discussed what color they had the most of and the least of. It was interesting to find out that there were a lot of orange hearts.
The kids enjoyed this quick activity and they just had to sample a few of the hearts. I had to let them get that out of the way.

It was fun to hear the comments about the messages on the hearts. One little girl and boy kept looking at each other and giggling. Finally the little boy said, "she has a heart that says 'YOUR HOT'"...... Another little girl was worried that a girl might give a boy a heart that says "marry me" to which one of my little guys told me he was NEVER going to marry! Glad we got all that out of the way.

Adding Three Numbers

Wow!! I took a super long break from blogging. I just couldn't get back into it. I think it's the short winter days that make me feel blah. One of the first new concepts that we learned after Christmas break was adding three numbers together.

I almost always present new material in the "Flipped Classroom" format. The students watch a recorded Smartboard lesson at home and then we do a hands on activity in class the next day to reinforce the skill. The kids absolutely LoVE doing lessons this way!!! And, it's super fun for me to teach math this way!

So, I gave each student a bag with three different items in it. They had to count the number of each item and record them. Then, they added the first two numbers, came up with a "sub" sum, and finally added the third number to the "sub" sum. If they couldn't figure it out or didn't understand it, they could of course just count all the items.

Monday, December 17, 2012

If you wanna be a pirate...

I told my students that if any of them wanted to be a pirate when they grew up, they better learn to count money.  So, last week we learned to count quarters. We practiced counting by 25's by making paper chains. The kids worked in groups of two and had to collaborate in order to complete their chain. Their chains had to have 25 rings in it.  We hung the chains up in our classroom with labels by them: 25, 50, 75, 100.

We then gave each student a bag of quarters and allowed them to purchase a book and a candy cane from   my aide and myself . They had to count the money out for us and if they had trouble they had to count it out several times until they were comfortable counting by 25's.

The kids were proud of the books that they purchased and enjoyed the cherry flavored candy canes.

We also practiced counting by 25's on our worksheet and colored correct number of quarters to go with the price tags of toys. We talked about the dollar sign and when to use it. We talked abut the decimal and what it meant.

As always when we do our flipped activities, my students worked cooperatively and quietly.  I'm always amazed at how they love project based learning!!! It's a joy to me!  I feel confident that these kids will make fine pirates!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Best Elf on the Shelf Story I've Heard


I've really resisted letting the kids tell me Elf on the Shelf stories because it gets them all jacked up and  we have two more weeks of school until Christmas break.  I have a class this year that has a deep need to express what's on their minds even if a bomb is exploding.  They WILL finish their statement first no matter what.  One of my boys came into class and said, as he was unpacking, "You know what Scout did?"  I didn't have a clue who he was talking about and was concerned that there had already been an incident on the playground for the early arrivals.  "What who did," I asked?.
      The reply came, "Scout, my elf on the shelf." Ugh!  Okay, I would listen.  There weren't too many other kids in the room yet so I let him continue.  "He painted my nose blue," he exclaimed!  "When I woke up Scout was there with a note that said to go look in the mirror.  I went in the bathroom and looked and he had painted my nose blue in the night!  I got to get rid of that elf!"  It was hilarious.  I've not had a single kid tell me they wanted to get rid of their elf since the whole elf on the shelf thing started. I had to laugh!  The boy went on and on about how Scout had gotten into the paint box and left the lid open.  He told me that his four year old little brother also got his nose painted, but not his infant brother.  I thought to my self 'that was a good one'!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flipped Classroom Math Lesson

 Today for our flipped classroom math lesson activity we went on a scavenger hunt.  The students had to visit seven different stations around the school, count the number of objects at each station, record the number, and then record whether there was a dozen of that object or not.  At their final station, they had to pour cups of water into a pint container until it was full then record how many cups of water the pint container would hold.  All hands on activities to reinforce the concepts of dozen, cup, and pint.  My students told me this was the best day of their life.  Just a little creative thought and a little cooperation from my fellow staff members and voila, we have great math lesson.  The kids loved touring the school and counting objects.  They were VERY cooperative and VERY quiet.  The school staff reported to me that they handled themselves incredibly well.  I was so proud of them.  If you are interested in flipped classroom lessons, please e-mail me.