Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Seasonal Cycle in Movement

To help my students remember the order of the seasonal cycle, we act it out with motions. 1. Winter (sleeping pose) 2. Spring (spring awake with small hands to represent buds) 3. Summer (hands up high for full leaves and then into a circle for a big sun) 4. Fall (hands fall as fingers wiggle to represent the leaves falling down) Maybe kinda kookie but the kids like it, and it works. :)

Who Has the Greater Number? (Math Game)

To play this fun and simple game, simply remove the face cards, jokers and 10's from a set of playing cards. Pairs shuffle the deck and place it in the center. Each student draws 2 cards and arranges the digits to build the greatest number possible. The player who can build the greatest number takes all 4 cards. Both players are required to say the number they build out loud. In the case of a tie, both players leave those cards and redraw 2 cards each. The player with the greatest numbers takes all 8 cards. The kids loved it and learned a lot about 2 digit numbers as well as the term "greater."

Comparing Numbers Kinesthetically

An easy and fun way to compare numbers - I asked my students to tell me numbers in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's (about 4 each). As they told me the numbers I simply wrote them on the construction paper. (The students could also do this.) I printed "is less than" and "is greater than" signs. (I used a larger font size for the word greater and a small one for the word less.) Students came up in 3's - 2 chose a number and the other was the language card person. They put themselves in order to make the math comparison sentence. The whole class then read the math sentence to verify it was correct. They said they loved it. Easy. Little prep, fun and very effective.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Did You Know? - a GREAT activity to write about facts learned!

A friend of mine, Carol Mebane, who has been an excellent teacher for a long time shared an activity with me a while back when I taught second grade that works just as well for first graders. The activity is called "Did You Know?" After studying about a famous person, such as Martin Luther King Jr., students draw a portrait of the person and write statements beginning with "Did you know..." The number of statements they write is unlimited, the portraits are so cute, and this assignment can serve as an alternative assessment. In my class, we did a circle map to activate prior knowledge (schema), read books, watched Streaming Videos, and built a flow-map (time line) of his life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Student Desk Word Wall

Here is a picture of the student's desk word wall. It's made using 2 standard sized manila file folders. I staple them into a tri-fold. Each week the students write the new word wall words onto their own folders. I update the word wall at semester on the computer and make new copies to staple in the student folders. Each time the students are writing or taking a test, etc. they set up these word walls for help and privacy as well.

Practicing Fluency Using Poetry

Using fun poems to practice fluency is a big part of our reading program. We typically have one or two focus poems each week. Many of them are taken from Tim Rasinski's materials. We do activities each day with our poems such as going on word hunts and coloring blends pink, digraphs green, word wall words yellow, etc. I also use the poems to locate rhyming words, nouns, verbs, and adjectives so that we are continually reviewing these skills in a fun way. We chorally read them together of course, discuss vocabulary, act them out, and practice reading them with buddies. At the end of the week, I make up a comprehension test for the kids to take using the focus poems of the week. This gives the kids great practice at looking back at the text to find the answers, and since these poems are practiced at home each night, parents get involved by asking questions about the poems at home to prepare for the comprehension activity on Fridays. Just a couple cute pictures to go along with my post.

A 2 Dimensional Look at 3 D Shapes

During our study of 3 dimensional shapes, after reading several books about solids by Tana Hoban, we traced the faces and bases of each solid to discover what 2 dimensional shapes they are made from. To keep track of which faces we had already traced and to keep a count of how many faces each solid had, we used sticky notes. We separated the 2 D shapes for each solid by drawing a box around them and coloring them all one color. See the photos above. The kids were very interested in seeing how many of each kind of 2 D shapes made each solid. They were very engaged and had a lot of fun.