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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Post Vacation Winter Work

This is my last week of winter break and I have been really busy trying to create new activities for my students to keep them engaged after being home for endless amounts of time. What would help them reconnect and make them want to come back to school? 
I decided to wander around in Target where inspiration is everywhere and planned to hit the dollar spot to check out the Christmas clearance. I found these adorable erasers and could not resist buying them. They would make perfect math manipulatives and I knew the kids would love new ones. On top of this the snowmen, trees, and penguins were just 30 cents a bag. SCORE. 

Over the week I bought more of these as I found them and finally realized that I needed a container to hold and organize them. Joann Fabrics has these containers on sale so I bought 2 of them and realized I might have gotten carried away with my eraser obsession.

So now I had to come up with some way to make use of all these little erasers. Since January is the month where I hit "teen" numbers hard, making ten frame cards was an obvious "must-have." These look pretty cute with images on them to match the erasers. I can build numbers, ask them to show me one more or one less, and talk about strategies for counting these numbers quickly and efficiently. Make sense? These can be used with number cards as part of a center where they work independently with a partner.

I am hoping my students have been practicing their sight words over break but I am not sure this will actually happen (a teacher can pray) so I made a variety of these simple spinner games that they will be able to do alone or with a partner during center time. My kids love spinners and mini erasers so I think this will be a hot ticket item.

I knew my students would need more practice identifying teen numbers so I created winter themed bingo boards that could be played easily with a friend. The ten frame cards are placed in the middle and each person takes their turn flipping the card, identifying how many dots are on there and covering the number with a glass bead. Easy to make, simple to use. I color coded the cards to match the boards so the kids wouldn't mix the cards up! Who am I kidding? That will be a disaster the minute I walk away!
If you have ever read this blog you know that I am obsessed with pocket charts and routines that I love to play with students to help them learn the sight words. This time I am hiding a snowflake behind a card and have a snowflake chant ready to go. I have lots of pictures that reflect a winter theme to help them build important vocabulary that I want them to become familiar with. Many of them might not know thermometer, icicles, or various arctic animals. This is a game my class is very familiar with but they will be thrilled to see new cards with new pictures.
I love all "Write the Room" activities and this one will be a real challenge for my kids. They have to look at each card and decide how many more will make ten. I have been working on this for a while and will practice it in small groups before I release it to be done during center time. I love calling it "Slide and Glide" to go with our winter theme. 

January is when I start pounding teaching word families so now I am forced to be creative and really think outside of the box. Once I have introduced several sets of words I am putting these cards in my sensory table for the kids to pull out with tongs. Their job will be to sort them and link related words together to build their word families. I think they will love this activity and are ready for a challenge! I will take pictures of them using these when I get back. What do you think?

Our Common Core unit of study is about weather so once I finish with snow I will talk about other kinds of weather and made "write the room" cards to match sunny, rainy, windy, etc. I created flip books which are simple and only have the kids record the first letter of the word. I want to keep this simple and build on their knowledge over time. For my top kids I will differentiate this and have them write the whole word since this will be easy for them to accomplish. Word families are another opportunity to teach young students a strategy for decoding a simple word by looking at "chunks." Here is an example of sunny weather cards and the related activities. I love keeping it simple so kids can be successful and gain confidence. Right?

Have you ever taught your kids how to play SCOOT? It is so much fun and the kids are up and moving around the room, one seat at a time, solving a problem or answering a question. Kids love this and they are learning so much. It is important to practice how to move and be clear with your directions so it does not become chaotic. I have them STAND behind their own chair, SIT in their seat, SOLVE the problem, and stand behind their chair when finished. Then I call SCOOT and they move one seat over to solve the next problem. This is a blast and a great way to assess the skill reflected on your task cards. Try it! This is for math:

Here is another version of SCOOT where students have to count the number of syllables in a word based on the pictures provided. Be sure to go over this vocabulary ahead of time so children can identify the cards accurately. 
I need to work on counting to a hundred and my students need lots of practice with this. I want to use these charts as a scaffold to build their fluency with a counting sequence. I find that it's better to start off pretty simply and build on as students build their skills. For example, a starting point can be 15 and you can have them count to 35. Ask your students about one more or one less and show them how to figure this out. Have them discover number patterns and how they are helpful. You know this stuff but it might be a good idea to provide each child with their own chart in a page protector. Ask lots of questions and have students explain their thinking. 
That's it for now. I will add on a few activities as I come up with them. I hope you got a few ideas and this post was helpful. 

Happy New Year.