Sunday, November 22, 2015

Practice Math Facts with SEQUENCE

Our school has created a 30 minute block four days a week for all students to participate in Practice, Intervention, and Enrichment (PIE).  Students who qualify for intervention or enrichment sign out and go for lessons with our interventionists (math and reading) or our Learning Resource Specialist (formerly known as G&T).

On Fridays I like to use that time to teach longer, more involved games to a group of students.  This week it was a game called Sequence.  While my other students were busy reading, practicing sight words, handwriting, or math, I pulled these four boys aside and taught them how to play.

I've never seen the board so full!

It was an exciting game!  They even stayed in when recess started to finish and see who the winner would be!  It's hard to tell, but blue got four in a row first!

This is a game I read about online and thought would be a great way to practice math facts.  My version is pretty simple.  There is a deck of cards with math facts, dragons, and unicorns.  Each player always has three cards.  Play a card and put a colored chip on the sum on the game board.  Then pick a new card.  The unicorns and dragons are what add the excitement!  Play a dragon card, and you get to take someone's chip off the board!  Play a unicorn, and you get to put a chip on ANY open space!  

It's so hard for them to hold onto the unicorns and dragons. They want to play them right away, but I encourage them to hang on to them until they need them.  They are very good to have when your opponent has three in a row and you need a dragon to stop him from winning. Or maybe you have three in a row and need a unicorn to get that last chip on the board.

I copied my board and cards on card stock and laminated them.  I use a snack box for the "draw from" and "discard" piles.  (You'll notice that they need help remembering to discard and take a new card each turn.)  I'm hoping that once enough kids know how to play, they can teach the rest!

To make my version, I used the font Rowdy Writing, which is one of my favorites, and free clip art I found online.  You can see and print it from HERE.  Have fun!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sit Spots in First Grade

I'm so excited to tell you about the Sit Spots I've been using for the last two weeks!

 view from the door

When my students come to the meeting area for a mini lesson or to use the Smartboard, they sit on the floor.  I've already got a completely carpeted classroom, so when I was new in primary world, I had the kids just randomly plop down anywhere.  That lasted a few days.  Then I decided to assign them "carpet spots."  It was a way for me to keep the talkers separated and give the wigglers a close spot where I could put a hand on their shoulder.  In order to keep track of everyone's spot, I made myself a chart with velcro dots and pictures of the kiddos.

 my reference chart

They were pretty good about remembering who they sit next to or behind, but occasionally there would be small scuffle about placement.  I thought about getting one of those $300 carpets with the big squares.  I thought that would solve the problem, but I couldn't get passed the huge price or the fact that putting carpet on carpet would be weird... and it would shift/slide... and be hard to vacuum over... and someone might get sick on it.  So I never ordered one.

Then I see post after post about Sit Spots on all my favorite educator blogs.  At first I thought they were just rubbery-plasticky circles that sat on top of the carpet.  I thought they were like the ones our P.E. teacher uses on the gym floor.  Didn't seem like a good idea for my classroom.

Fast forward one year, and picture me finding out that Sit Spots are like VELCRO!  They actually "stick" to the fibers of my commercial carpeting!  Luckily, I was able to use funds from my school budget to purchase 24 spots.  I decided to go with half green and half blue.  We often "turn and talk" to our partner.  Having two colors makes it easy to determine who goes first.  

in our carpet spots

If you're looking for an easy way to organize your students in your meeting area, I recommend ordering the free sample from the SitSpots website.  Once you know it works on your carpet, go ahead and order them, you won't regret it!

Happy Teaching,