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.