Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Party Ideas

WOW!  How do I ever begin to explain all that has been going on in my life for the past 3 months?!?  I was hoping to return to my blog much sooner than now, with ideas for back-to-school, fall, math and also get a jump on Halloween ideas.  Unfortunately, none of that happened before now.  Hopefully by now, if you are a room parent, you have already begun thinking of what games, crafts, snacks, activities or ideas you have in mind for your 1st classroom party of the school year...HALLOWEEN!  If you haven't yet thought of it, and you find yourself waking up in a cold sweat at night, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Over the years, I have found the best system for younger aged kids to plan to run the party as centers or stations.  Break the students into small groups and have them rotate from one center to the next.  The smaller sized groups makes it easier for parent volunteers to manage and it helps the students by changing up the activities.  The best ideas for centers include age appropriate games, snacks, or crafts.  After rotating through the centers, it's best to end the party with a whole group game or activity or a fun book relating to the holiday.

Don't try to do everything yourself!  You will end up either stressed, broke, or at home at the end of the party crying into your diet Coke.  Ask for help!!!  Parents, grandparents, or close friends are all great resources.  Ask for help in a variety of ways...either by attending the party to assist or by donating goods to the party, especially for any working parents who can't attend.  Check with the teacher ahead of time to see if the school/classroom has any supplies you might need for the party.  Most likely, the teacher may be willing to donate glue, construction paper or other craft items.  Keep in mind, that you not only need to plan for craft and game supplies and snacks, but also for paper ware or any simple decorations.

 Even though you can guarantee things WILL get chaotic and loud during the party, enjoy it!  The kids should have a fun time no matter what they are doing...even if things don't go according to plan, which sometimes happens!  One thing to think of is taking pictures.  I know that I take pictures of my class during the holiday parties so that I can add them to my end of the year DVD.  If that's something a teacher doesn't do, you may want to assign a parent to be in charge of this assignment.

Classroom Party Guide from Volunteer Spot

And are a few Halloween ideas to get things rolling...

Halloween Mason Jar Lantern - I would think this fun craft idea would be ideal for 3rd graders or older.
Scary/cute spider hat from Little Buggie Tutu
7 Halloween party games and activity ideas from Volunteer Spot.
Copy and laminate this monster chart from Expressive Monkey to have students draw their own monster masterpieces.
Don't Eat Frank game board from My Sister's Suitcase.
Skeletons made with brownies, white chocolate covered pretzels and marshmallows (drawn on with edible marker) from Wants and Wishes.

Crispy Frankenstein Treats from Grumpy's Honeybunch.
Candy Corn Halloween Bark from The Girl Who Ate Everything.
Witches hat made from frosted sugar cone, sprinkles, gummy worms and cookie or cupcake liner as suggested. 
(Source:  No Time for Flash Cards)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Math Wall Ideas

Seeing math vocabulary, pictures, examples and items around the classroom lets the students know just how important math is.  Not only that, but I think it also gives students a place to refer to if there is a question and they are too afraid to ask.  Here are some ideas, pictures and examples of how teachers are incorporating math into their classrooms.

The Teacher's Wife has this Math Wall at the front of her classroom for the students to refer to easily.  BTW if you love the Math Wall banner, she has included a free download of it.
Mrs. Cooper's Patriot Place uses this bulletin board as a calendar place.  I love the phrase written across the top:  Every Day Counts!
Check out Teacher Bits & Bobs Mighty Math Board.  The 9 cards you see to the right side of the board are concepts the students review daily.  The cards are laminated and the problems can be changed out daily.  Love it!  If you love it too, swing by her blog to grab your own free set of cards!
I don't have a link to this picture, but here's another concept using the common core as a math wall.  I would laminate all the strips you see so that you could easily wipe of the information or change it out on a daily basis.
If your goal is to have your studnets pass off their math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division), you may want to set up a bulletin board like one of these. 
Poppin' Through Our Math Facts comes from Teacher Web.  Once all the students have mastered their facts, they are treated to a popcorn party.
Having A Ball With Math Facts from Peace, Love and 1st Grade.
To accompany this bulletin board, this packet from Made For 1st Grade would work perfect!  It is $8.00 on TpT and works for addition and subtraction mastery.
When I taught 3rd grade, my class used the Olympics as a theme for passing off times tables.  I will save that for another post.
If you have a word wall specific for math words only, here is a free math wall header you could use from Classroom Freebies.  Unfortunately, the words aren't included.
No worries though. First Grade Fanatic has got you covered with these free first grade common core math vocabulary cards.

Monday, July 2, 2012

10 Frames

For some reason 10 Frames can be a hard concept for 1st greaders to grasp.  That's why I would love to print these cards out and hang them in my classroom!  Unfortunately I don't know who created these since there was only a link to the google docs. from Pinterest.
Or to conserve a little space, this 10 frames poster idea from Kindergarten Doodles seems easy enough to recreate.
Teacher Time Savers offered this FREE numberal-word-picture set of number cards, including directions to 2 activities you could do with these cards.

Deal Out A 10 is a game that could be used as a math center.  The student draws a card, writes their number on the form provided and then draws the remaining numbers needed on the 10 frame.  The child then has to come up with the correct number sentence.  This idea is from Math Coach's Corner.
I love this idea from First Grader At Last of using a cut up (polka dot) place mat (from Walmart) to demonstrate 10 frames.  Think of the games and activities you could come up with!  Unfortunely when I was at Wally-World over the weekend I didn't see any. :(
If you're a Kindergarten/Preschool teacher I think these playdough number mats would be great for introducing number concepts.  They are FREE on TpT thanks to Kindergarten Works.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Teaching Place Value

These little DIY place value mats from The Teacher's Wife is on my list of things  to make this summer.
Here's a place value FREEBIE from TpT thanks to Second Grade Cup of Tea.  It is geared towards 1st and 2nd grades.
I love using books for all areas of teaching, including for math.  Here's a list of the top books to use when teaching place value thanks to Hub Pages.
A place value review; 4 ways to write a number freebie from Peterson's Pad.
Here's a FREE place value story recommended for 1st and 2nd graders from TpT (Sarah Sebesta) .  I read through this 5 page story and really like the simplicity of it, along with the pictures.  It seems like a great addition to my file!

I found this idea on Pinterest, but when I clicked on the picture to go to the link, it only opened the picture larger.  If you know where this idea came from, please let me know so that I may properly give credit. 
I am going to create the black line for this paper first (easy enough) and then use this idea at a math center/station to review place value.  Each student will need a paper, 2 dice and crayons or a pencil.  The directions from Pinterest were these:  Math center idea for tens and ones. use foam dice so they don't make any noise. Student rolls 2 dice. The 1st number is for the tens place and the 2nd one is for the ones place. If they roll a 6 and 4 they write down 64 and then they draw the picture. You can add more dice for larger numbers.  I love that students are able to write and draw the number for extra practice!!
**UPDATE:  I created a blackline for this place value game and here goes my 1st attempt to upload it to google docs.  I'm crossing my fingers it works!  Click on the picture to get your FREEBIE... (hopefully!)  :)

Lory's Page gave to 2 free downloads to use a a review or math center.
This first idea is to be used as a math center/station.  The directions can be printed along with the game board if you follow my link.  Basically, the students are to roll 2 or 3 dice (1 at a time) depending on their skill level.  The students place their dice in the column they want, trying to ultimately end up with a smaller number than their opponent.  Your students could also practice write their numbers in standard, expanded and written forms for some extra practice and review.  This is a game of strategy and fun.  I know my firsties would have a lot of fun with this activity!!
This would act more as a review page, but I know the kids would still love it!  Thanks Lory for creating and sharing!!

I can't seem to access this page, but looking at the picture I found on Pinterest, I think I can make a judgement on how to recreate this center.
First, I would make a recording sheet like the one shown above.  Next I would give each child 2-3 dice to roll to make a number.  In the column that says "number" have the child record the number they rolled.  For example, if your student rolled a 3, 6,  and 2, they would write down 362.  The last step would be to have the student glue down the correct place value.  Cheerios for the 1's, pretzel rods for the 10's and Chex cereal for the 100's.
**UPDATE:  Click here for a FREE document I made that you can use.

Oh and check out what I picked up at Walmart this weekend for only $6.97 for a 12 pack...Mr. Sketch smelly markers!! 
I am so excited to use them at my spelling center next year!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Math Journal Ideas

So I have to admit...I attempted to use math journals last school year, but I wasn't as consistent as I should have been and as a result I didn't love how they turned out.  Instead of scrapping the idea I'm thinking about gathering more ideas and giving it another shot.  Here are a few ideas I have come across that might help me (and maybe you) with math journals in the future.
First of all, can I just say how inspired I am by Kathyrn at Kindergarten Kindergarten!  I LOVE her math journals!  Take a look at some of the examples from them.

Oh.  My.  Goodness!  Just looking at her students' work gives me hope for next year.  I can't even begin to tell you how excited this makes me.  My inner teacher nerd self is thrilled to have found this! :)
I think there are many components to making a child's learning successful.  Hands-on learning, like the math journals above, but also learning terms and meanings for math can be overwhelming for kids.  These math songs from Lory's Page are super cute, catchy and great for teaching younger students.  There are 12 songs ready to download and print out.  Wouldn't they make a nice addition to a math journal too!?!  Maybe glue each song at the front of each new topic taught.  Love it!

Teacher Web has some wonderful ideas on how math journals work, including FREE downloads to use.  As you scroll through this page, you will also find ideas covering math tubs, suggestions on how to make math in your classroom successful and awesome games to download at the end.  I can't wait to dissect this site!!
Our Aussie Homeschool has a great little calendar book to help her child with various calendar skills.  With her printables, you can track the weather, practice writing the date in various forms, write the #'s/tally mark until the 100th day of school and more. 
The think it would be great to glue a few of these pages in at the front of your students' notebooks to use throughout the year.

Calico Cookie has some good ideas of how to incorporate math journals into kindergarten and first grade classrooms, including a list of questions and ideas to accompany literature.
My Teacher Pages has a downloadable list of 101 math journal topics for 3rd graders.

Do any of you use math journals? 
Any tips or suggestions to add?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Teaching Symmetry

Check out this symmetry self portrait bulletin board from Pineapple Paintbrush.  Each child is half photograph and half drawing.  I am sure the kids would love taking part in this project!
Along the same lines of symmetrical art to display, this idea was found on Pinterest, but I am unable to access the site it came from. 
These kindergartners put paint on half of a sheet of paper, folded it in half and created a symmetrical monster.  To take it a step further and incorporate another subject area, I think for 1st graders or older, you could have the students write a story to go along with their monster.

This was a 6th grade math/art lesson involving the students' names.  Definitely too hard for my 1st graders, but such a cool idea!
An easier name project might be this one that comes from Getting Messy With Ms. Jessi.
Using Bendaroos and letter blocks, kids can discuss which letters of the alphabet are symmetrical and which ones are not. 
This idea is from Homeschool or Bust.  For her older children, she took the idea a step further and had them make fractions.  Letters that are symmetrical: 14/26, which can reduce to 7/13.  Continue thinking of fractions that could challenge an older group of kids.

I got a kick out of this possible art/math idea of creating symmeTREE from Step Into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons.  I love the play on words. :)
She also did a bulletin board similar to the first picture on this post, only the students had to draw the other half to a school staff member.  Too funny!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Teaching Beginning Addition

One of my favorite new discoveries is this blog called Tales of a K-1 Classroom.  If you are wondering where to get started, how math centers might look, or where to find FREE materials to get you started...look no further.  I have linked too all her FREE math ideas.  Of course she has more than just addition activities, unlike the title of this post, but I thought I would feature one of her many roll and color activities.  Most kids know about Angry Birds.  In fact these birds seem to be everywhere now-a-days...hats, shirts, pillows, toys, etc.  With them being so popular, I think my students would be super excited to know we were using them for math too. 
If you're looking for another theme, don't worry Sara has you covered there too!  There are games using dinosaurs, Flat Stanley (love that book series!), Legos, and many, many more fun ideas.  Oh and while I'm singing out my praises for her blog, can I mention that I also love her

I am strongly thinking of using the same concept with my students next year, but making a few changes.  I am still figuring out how I want to work my math program next year. 

Ok so on to some more addition games/ideas since that is the title of this post!

Great Schools has this free dice adding worksheet that could easily be added to a center for extra (unguided) practice.
For only $1.00 from First Grader At Last, this bowling for Facts game is the perfect addition to any math center (no pun intended ;))
All you need for Addition Tic-Tac-Toe is this FREE game board and 2 ten sided dice.
Source:  Swamp Frog First Graders.
Ok so you might have to use this addition game (Roll, Add and Write) around Thanksgiving because of the turkey in the corner, but what a great practice for younger kids with adding, number recognition and correct number formation!
This activity came from Heather's Heart and I am including a link to her math games because she also has a lot of neat ideas to choose from!