Snowman Store

Hi friends!  I wanted to stop in and share this great activity we did this week in math. We had so much fun with this and there were SO MANY great math skills being practiced all at once.

It all started with a picture.

Last week I saw this post on Instagram and immediately my head started buzzing with ideas. A snowman store where the kids buy all the pieces that they need to build a snowman?? LOVE.IT.  We have been working with money the last few weeks and I decided that this would be a great way to make it meaningful for my kids.

My teaching assistant donated a TON of real coins to the classroom a few years ago so the kids get to learn with real money which they absolutely love!

To prep the stores I just cut up some carrot noses, hats, earmuffs, scarves, sticks and a bunch of buttons and coal.  I also used die-cut circles for the snowballs.

Over the last few years I have been acquiring these circle punches in various sizes. They work perfectly for eyes, and various other craft pieces. These were perfect for the coal, buttons and earmuffs.

There are a ton of different ways you can set this up but this is what worked for my class:

I projected the price list up on the starboard. 

I split my class into 2 groups - buyers and sellers. We have 6 tables in our room so I had 3 tables of buyers and 3 tables of sellers. I had each buyer table go to a specific seller table so everyone always had a task.

The buyers had to buy 1 piece at a time for their snowman. They chose the piece to buy, checked the board to see how much that piece cost, and gathered the correct amount of money. 

 I wanted the sellers to get some practice with making change so I made the rule that the buyers could NOT use pennies to buy. This rule also made the buyers had to really think about coin values so for example if they wanted to buy a scarf for 7 cents they had to pay with 10 cents and the seller had to give them 3 cents back. 

Each time the buyers bought a piece, they took it back to their desk and recorded how much that item cost them. This was opportunity for some more great math skills as many of the times were bought in multiples so for example, they had to figure out how much 4 buttons cost at 2 cents per button.  

I just loved hearing all of the math talk going on while they were buying and making change for each other. When 1 group had finished buying all the pieces for their snowmen I had all the buyers put their pieces into a plastic bag to store while we switched up. Then all the buyers became sellers and the sellers became buyers. When we finished the second round everyone got to glue their snowmen together.

Quick tip: you will have to keep going around and transferring pennies from the buyer bucket back to the seller bucket so that each "store" has enough pennies to make change.

The next day, we went back and counted up how much money they spent in all.  I gave everyone back their snowman, a recording sheet, and a coin mat. (Please excuse the terrible lighting on this phone pic!)

First they put the correct amount of money in the box for each item bought Then it was time to count. My kids are doing really great at this point at counting up large numbers of mixed coins so I decided to add a bit more of a challenge. We watched the Brainpop Jr lesson on equivalent coins and I told them I wanted them to get their money down to the smallest number of coins that they could before counting up their spending total.  After they had filled their mat with the cost of each item, they started trading in coins for larger coins. When they couldn't trade in anymore, they counted up their spending total and recorded it.

Finally I had them compare spending totals with a friend and discuss why their totals were different. Again, there was some really great math talk going on as they discussed why their totals were different and compared what they spent their money on. 

I absolutely loved this activity. I'll admit, it was loud and a seemingly chaotic but everyone was really engaged and practicing a ton of math skills in the process.

You can find the price list and recording sheets by clicking the picture below.

Have a great weekend yall!!

Combination snowflakes!!

My sweet kiddos this year are always surprising me with things that they do. One morning this week one of my boys brought me a white board with an idea that he had for a math activity that we could do. This is what he showed me:

He said "We can all pick a number and write all the different combinations on the points of the snowflakes! And then we can hang them up around the room!!" I thought it was a great idea and we made them that afternoon!

When you are making snowflakes and you fold the paper enough to make it look like a pizza pie it's not hard to know where to hold and where to cut, but I wanted these ones to have a specific shape and number of points so I had them fold the paper into quarters.   I gave everyone a sticker on one corner of their folded paper and put a sticker on the same corner of the tracer. This way everyone knew exactly where to place the tracer on the paper so we all got actual snowflakes and not random cut apart pieces of paper.

After everyone cut out their snowflakes I had them pick a teen number to use. We are getting really good with our facts to 10 and are working on facts to 20.  Some students needed some extra support with the use of some counters and a number bond in order to make the 4 different combinations.

When they had come up with their 4 combinations on a white board I let them place them on their snowflakes.  They matched the marker colors and placed the numbers for each combination on opposite points of the snowflakes.

By some horrible mistake I found myself VERY low on white construction paper (in the middle of January!) so we had a lot of blue snowflakes ha!  After they had written all of their number combinations, we folded the snowflakes back up (with the number side out) and cut holes in the middle to add some more interest.

This was such a fun and easy way to practice some math facts and I just loved the fact that it was a student's idea!!

You can grab the template for the tracer here.

We are diving head first into some penguin research this week. I hope yall have a great week!!

Hot Chocolate Math Freebie!

Happy Sunday friends!!

I just wanted to share a game we played in math centers this week that was a huge hit. We are still working on becoming fluent with those math facts so I made this quick little game for them. This was a good mix of skills because it encouraged quick recall of facts, decomposing and some missing addend practice all in one game.

This can be played in pairs or groups of 3 (I have an odd number of students this year). Each student gets a board, a spinner, and a set of hot chocolate cards.

When everyone has placed their cards, they yell go and start to race each other to fill their boards with "marshmallow numbers".  The hot chocolate cards are the whole in the number sentences and the marshmallow numbers are the parts. They spin a number and decide where they can put the number on their board. If they spin a number that they can't use, they just spin again. There are also a few wild spots that they can use as any number.  (You can see that this student really loved using 0 as the wild number - I gently guided him to start trying some other combinations)

The first person to fill their board yells "hot chocolate!"  Everyone checks to make sure their math is correct and then they all erase, pick new numbers and play again. Easy fun + great math practice = my favorite kind of math center.

I made boards for both math facts and combinations to 10 (depending on what your kids need to practice)

You can grab the game for free in my store by clicking the picture below.

Enjoy your extra day off tomorrow!!

Binder covers to dry erase boards

I'm excited to share another Bright Idea along with some fabulous teachers!!

This is one of my favorite tricks from my early years of teaching.  I've been fairly limited on copy counts and laminating in the last few years so I really try to limit the copies that I use for centers.  I generally have a lot of games and recording sheets in sheet protectors. A few years ago someone dumped a BUNCH of old binders in the teachers lounge and we hit the jackpot. Unfortunately the actual binder rings were busted but somehow we got the idea to cut off the covers and turn them into dry erase boards.

While I use a lot of sheet protectors as well, these binder covers are great because they are sturdy and keep the paper that you slide into them nice and neat (so many times when I pull papers or even card stock out of sheet protectors in a center they are all wrinkly from the wear and tear of little hands).

Just cut off the cover of a binder along the corner.

Papers slide easily in and out of these covers. I've added some washi tape to some of mine to add a little bit of pizazz.

Easy peasy right?? They work great for playdoh mats, spinners, game boards,  dry erase boards, or recording sheets for centers.

Be sure to scroll down to find lots of other great ideas from lots of great teachers! Happy Saturday friends!!

1 week till Thanksgiving break and counting...

Happy Monday friends!! Can you BELIEVE that it's already the week before Thanksgiving?? Goodness and I thought October flew by fast!! I just wanted to stop by to share a few things we've been doing in 1st grade.

We have been working for a few weeks on 2 digit numbers.  Last week we played a lot with adding and taking away tens and ones. We used these turkey mats to practice adding tens to a number. Some students used the base ten blocks and others skipped right past that step and just added the tens right on the feathers. It was a great way for me to see different students' levels of comfort with this concept.

After some practice using the math mats I let them pick a number and make their own turkey. These guys were a big hit :)


 You can grab the mats and turkey craft in my Turkey Tens pack.

We've also been building and manipulating 2 digit numbers with our number cards. I have a big blog post in the works about all the ways we use these cards so stay tuned for that ;)

Today we finished our "How To Cook a Turkey" writing and made these cute turkeys.  I always love doing this writing every year the steps to cook a turkey are always hilarious. My favorite one of all time was last year "First, get in the car and go to Grandma's. Second, eat Turkey".

You can grab the writing paper by clicking on the pic below.

And now it's another early bedtime Monday for me!!

Making ten with pumpkin seeds

Look at me blogging twice in one week! AND it's a Monday. I deserve some sort of prize haha. We have been up to our ears in pumpkins in my room since last week. My students are always more engaged in learning when I have a specific theme for the week (or in this case weeks) but this year's class REALLY gets into our themes. It's so fun :)

I just wanted to share this cute little game we made to practice our making 10 facts. My kids are getting really good at this skill but we definitely still need practice so we assembled this game at school and then they will take it home to play with their families. I made an apple version of this game last year and it was a huge hit!

First we sponge painted some small paper plates and let them dry. I gave them each a full plate and a plate cut in half. It works much better if you can find the plates that have the raised rim.

(Quick side note: why is it so hard to find small paper plates these days?? Has anyone noticed that? The ONLY reason I had these was because a mom just HAPPENED to bring them in for me one morning after pulling "paper plates" off of our wishlist tree. I have been to Publix, Target, and Walmart and it always ends with me stomping out of the isle grumbling about how you can't buy a simple plate anymore and people staring at the strange lady having conversation with herself next to the cutlery. But seriously, what's with the lack of small, white, paper plates in stores? There are plenty of ones with the weird designs all over them but I can't paint on those! Am I the only one having this issue??)

Ok rant over. To make the pumpkins we painted the front of the full plate and the back of the half plate. That way when you staple them together it makes a nice little pocket for the seeds.

So after the plates were dry and stapled together, I gave the kids a sheet of seeds with numbers 0-10. They cut them out and glued the matches to 10 back to back.

To play the game, all the seeds go in the pocket and 1 player pulls out a seed. They look at the number and say the number that goes with that number to make 10. Then they check their answer on the back. If they were right, they can keep the seed. If they were wrong, they put the seed back in the pumpkin and the next player goes. Play continues until all the seeds are out. Easy peasy.

Click on the picture below to grab file with the seeds. I made a version with numbers and with ten frames depending on what you need. There's also an instruction sheet to send home so the kids can play with their parents.

Happy Monday friends!! 

Bats, Pumpkins, some freebies, and 1 tired teacher.

Why is it that short weeks sometimes feel way longer than regular weeks? I just finished a marathon day of parent teacher conferences (15 min conferences from 8am to 8pm with a few meal breaks in between). By about 6:30 I had parents walking in saying "wow you look tired"--always a great thing to hear ha!

This week was kind of a mish mash as we were finishing our bat unit and staring to learn about pumpkins -- two of my favorite units to teach. The kids just soak it all up and I love it.

Our ceiling is currently filled with our fact and opinion bats.

My kids did great with this. We used a sorting activity from this awesome bat unit by Kristen Smith at A Day in First Grade.

Then they wrote their own facts and opinions and glued them to the bats. (I don't have the patterns for the bat bodies because of course I left my jump drive at school, but you can get the fact & opinion page here)

We also started working with base ten this week. I made these mats with the numbers last year. This year I decided to add the grid for adding and subtracting 10 and 1. This is always such a hard concept so I wanted to make it very hands on this time around.

First we just played with building the number with the tens on one wing and the ones on the other.

After everyone was solid with building the numbers we moved on to using the whole mat. I had them pull a card and put it in the middle (funny fact: I made the cards last year, and without even thinking about measuring, I made the grid this year and it just so happened that the red cards fit PERFECTLY inside the grids haha. I love when things just work).

Anyway, I had them pull a red card and put it in the middle of the grid and then use the base ten blocks to model each step. So for adding one, they put another one on and wrote the number, then I kept telling them to always go back to the "red number" with their blocks before doing the next step.

 Obviously, this skill was still a work in progress when I took this pic ;)

This really helped them see the difference between adding and taking away 1 as compared to adding or subtracting 10. You can download the mats with the grids here and the number cards are in the original bat mat file here.

We finally started to talk about pumpkins yesterday. We've been working a lot on writing questions and statements so we made these little pumpkin patches to practice writing some questions AND activate our prior knowledge about pumpkins.

I'm such a sucker for these little "patches". I wrote a blog post on how to made the little pocket gardens here.  They just loved getting to move the pumpkins in and out of the patch when they were sharing their questions and pumpkin facts with each other.  You can grab the page for the pumpkins and labels here.

Finally we read Spookley The Square Pumpkin. Man I love this sweet little story.  I had them write the problem, the solution, and then think of what their own solution to the problem would have been if they were Spookley. Then they made a SUPER simple Spookley (literally no cutting or tracing involved, I just cut up a bunch of squares, stems and some eyes haha).  It's not the most creative craft in the world but I just adore some of the details in their drawings.

Her solution would have been to call for help--love the "illustration" hahaha.

And with that this tired teacher is ready to DROP. Time for some PJ's, my sofa and my trust Netflix account (Gilmore Girls here I come!!).  Have a great weekend friends!!