Thursday, December 11, 2014

Candy Cane Craziness!

Can I just say that this time of year is INSANE??? So of course, throwing candy into the mix doesn't make things any easier.  So what did I do? I gave my kids four kinds of candy canes during math today.  I know, you are probably thinking I am crazy, and yes, I am. 

In math we worked on collecting and interpreting data.  So I had the grand idea to make this lesson Christmas themed.  Don't worry, everyone survived, including me, and we all did some learning in the process.

So, my idea was to give each student a piece of four different kinds of candy canes.  My kiddos tried every kind and decided which one they liked the most.  Then, they colored in a paper candy cane to match their choice.  They put the paper they colored under the correct category, and then we graphed that information.

Hearing my kids talk about the candy canes was a riot!  The looks on their faces were priceless as you can imagine, especially with the Sweet Tart brand!

We then graphed our results as a class and answered questions using our graphs. The kids then worked in groups to do a graph of the choices from their group.  They analyzed this information by answering questions comparing the categories on their graphs.

Some of my kids told me that I was the best teacher ever after this activity, although I feel like a Grinch lately, trying to rein in their wildness.

Check out a FREE copy of this activity on my TPT store: Candy Cane Graphing.  I have been up way to many hours and must...get...sleep!  I just keep thinking, "I think I can, I think I can!" I am hoping this is the case because we are in charge of the spirit assembly tomorrow and I pray it all goes well! Good luck tomorrow!  The weekend is soon approaching! :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Variety with Vocab

This year our district adopted the new McGraw-Hill Wonders Program.  Along with this program came some vocabulary words that my little first graders have really struggled with.  I have tried having them teach each other what the word means, act out the words, put the words into sentences, play games with the words, etc. But when test day comes around many of them draw blanks when asked what the words mean.

I having been wracking my brain, trying to come up with something spectacular that would help these kiddos remember the definitions of our five vocabulary words!  I was reading an article this week, for my ESL endorsement, and it talked about going more in depth with the vocabulary.  It hit me that THIS is what I needed to do.

So this week we made SERIOUS connections to our words. One of our vocabulary words for this week is route.  (I hope I am not the only one who finds this a tad advanced for a six/seven year old!) We talked about what route we take to school, home, to the classroom, etc. 

Then, I told them that we were going on a little field trip.  Of course, their ears perked right up.  I told them that we were going to pretend we had just arrived at school, but we were going to take a different route to get to our classroom.  We went back outside, around some trees, around the school, and through a door the students do not usually come in.  My students were laughing and came back in telling me that this was so fun!  They had made a connection! Our vocabulary word had come to life! I was worried this was taking too much time,  but I know tomorrow when the vocabulary test comes, my students are going to ROCK it!

We also made real life, hands on connections with the other words, but I am going to keep it at that.  I am very curious; how do you help your students remember vocabulary words?

I hope you are having a FABULOUS week!  Just think, tomorrow is FRIDAY! :)