Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Game Time! Classroom Sudoku & Boggle

As we finish up the year, my first and second graders are doing a mini unit on Sports, Games, and Play.  We are talking about the different types of play and activities, and what good sportsmanship looks like in all types of games.  Since my first grade literacy students are familiar with Boggle, and my second grade mathematicians have been playing Sudoku since the beginning of the year, I decided to make poster games for both activities.  For the rest of the year, I will change the games every couple of days.  The students will be allowed to work on the games individually as a fast finisher activity, and with partners at other times. 

I have seen numerous versions of Boggle on Pinterest, and decided to use various ideas to make my own.  I found the letters on mrsrojasteaches.blogspot.com , and printed them on card stock.  I had both the poster and letters laminated, and then put Velcro on all of the pieces.  I barely had the game on the wall and the kids were finding words!  I also made simple worksheets for the kids to use as they find words.

My second graders love playing Sudoku.  We started the year playing the 4 x 4 version, moved to the 6 x 6, and now we are working on the full 9 x 9 version.  What I like about this activity, is that it teaches logical and spatial reasoning in a way that is engaging and enjoyable for my class.  The board I made does not have grid lines.  I did this on purpose so that I could change between all 3 versions of the game.  For 4 x 4, I will only use the 4 squares in the top corner, for 6 x 6 the top two rows, and the whole board for 9 x 9.  I will be able to use this activity in class no matter what grades I teach in the future.  I wish that I had had this for an activity to complete with my high school reading students who were working on inference and logic skills! 

I used a 22" x 28" piece of tag board, pre-cut letters, and 7" x 7" squares of card stock - that is it!  I made two separate sets of numbers - a larger set for 4 x 4, and smaller for the other versions.  I will post pictures of the Sudoku game with numbers tomorrow.  The kids are so excited to start playing the "big board" version!

Sudoku Tiles 1

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Mastering Multiples

My second grade math students started learning the basics of multiplication today.  We first started with with skip counting, and then moved on to some multiple riddles.  We practices making groups and then using the "count by" strategy.  The area that seemed to give my students the most trouble was setting up an equation.  I created this visual to help them to further understand what each part of the equation represents.  To practice, I have chosen several riddles from the book "The Grapes of Math," and will have the students set up equations using this chart.  I printed extra copies so that the students can use one while they complete their assignments; just until they are grasping the concept and feeling more confident. 

You can download the worksheet here.
Mastering MultiplesPin It

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bouquet for Mom

We had so much fun today making bouquets of flowers for all of the kids' moms.  First the kids made 5 flowers, complete with stems and leaves.  On the back of each flower, the students wrote household chores or fun things to do with their mom.  Then the kids made a flower pot pocket attached to a piece of white construction paper, and added a Mother's Day sentiment.  The flowers slid right into the pocket.  All of the kids were so excited about giving this gift, and I think that was because they had the opportunity to choose what chores or activities they put on the card.  I love seeing them so excited about their work!  I saw some beautiful hearts today, that is for sure!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Don't Be Crabby ...

As the year comes to an end, I wanted a way to count down the final days.  All year we have kept track with stars on the wall the number of days of school.  Once we reached one hundred, we started counting backwards.  Since there are 21 days of school left, and I have 21 students, I decided to make a board where each student could represent one of the final days.  As we pass a day, one student will get to move a star from the wall and put it by their crab.  I came up with the design for this idea from a few similar projects on Pinterest: theusserys.blogspot.com gave me the idea for the phrase, and a hand paint/print crab project that I can no longer find.  My kids made the crabs by tracing their hand two times,  overlapping the hands, and then gluing google eyes to the top of the thumbs.  This project was fun for the kids and super quick to complete.  I love that we have a hands on count down to end the year as well!

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Swing into Spring! Baseball Activity

Spring activities are so fun, but so many of them seem to be along the same lines: flowers, insects, rain, and sun.  Since we had done several multidisciplinary activities along these lines, I wanted to do something different.  Then I got another middle of the night idea - Baseball!  I came up with a literacy activity today, but have plans to tie the sport into our new science unit on balance and motion, as well.  Today we watched a video about baseball and opening day, and then talked about other activities that get people excited about spring.  The students then did some independent writing - Swing into Spring.  We made baseballs using tracers that I made, and put the two pieces together.  I covered our "wall" (a pole that serves as our art display area) with green paper and added a baseball diamond.  I also took pictures of the kids posing with a baseball bat, and their picture will go in the middle of the baseball.

Here is some individual student work.  The first is a first grader's work, and the next is a second grader's project.  The kids wrote about everything from playing tennis and running marathons to finding bugs and going for bike rides.  These two examples just happen to be about baseball.

I also will be making a sign for the wall that says "Swing into Spring".  I will not post pics of the completed wall, as it will have all of the student pictures on the projects, and I want to protect their privacy.  I hope to find more baseball ideas this weekend that I can tie into our lessons.  I am so excited to wrap up the school year this way!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Seussical! Parade of Things Banner

Today was our first and second grade musical, and it was a huge success!  The production was excerpts from "Seussical" the musical.  Each class completed a Seuss-themed project to decorate the hallway outside the gym.  I wanted to do something a bit different, so I had the kids make a poster wishing the other classes good luck.  I had seen hand printed Thing 1 and Thing 2 characters on Pinterest a while back. (I did not pin it, so I cannot give credit - I wish I could because they were adorable!)  I had the kids created a "parade of Things" by first stamping a Thing body in red, and then a thing head and face in blue and white.  When this part had dried, we added a Thing number to the center (a piece of printed card stock), and each kid drew their Thing's face with a blue sharpie.  I then made our good luck sign and it was ready to go.  This was the easiest project I have done with kids in a LONG time!

Here are a few pics from the set:

We had such a great time!  I can't wait to get the DVD.  Their families were all so proud, as well they should be!
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My White Board Solution - Laminated Card Stock

My students use white boards every day.  It never fails, we always need more boards at a lit center or in the math area.  Since white boards aren't cheap, I decided to make extra boards by laminating card stock.  Now, rather than moving boards around all day long, I can have stack in different places throughout the room.  The best part is that they take up hardly any space!  I can keep about 30 of them in a file folder.  I even thought of making file folder white boards!

I have had an ongoing problem with white boards, storage, and math class this year.  We have math class in our meeting area by our Promethean board, and every day the kids are bringing white boards, markers, erasers, pencils, and their activity books.  Materials get mixed up, forgotten, or broken constantly.  For the obsessive organizer, this is chaos!  Today, I finally think I came up with a solution.  I took some "card stock white boards" and attached them to the back of a few students' math folders.  The students will have their white boards with them all of the time.  I don't have to store them, and now there is one less thing for the kids to keep track of daily.  I plan to have my "test" students use these new boards until the end of the year and see how it goes.  Maybe this will be a great solution~


Now, on to "Seussical" - my students have their spring musical on Friday, and each of the nine first and second grade classes are completing a Seuss project to decorate the gym.  We started ours today and it is already adorable.  Pictures to come tomorrow! 

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