My latest "Pinter-ations!"

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting Hands On-- with Fun Math Manipulatives!

Happy Monday, friends! This year I have really been trying to strengthen my math centers with more use of manipulatives. I'll be honest and say that I cringe when the manipulatives are brought out:

"Johnny, please stop playing with the blocks. They are not guns!"

"Sally, please stop making a flower with the pattern blocks."

The redirections go on and on and on. 

I am sure you can relate! 

I took them out and my kids used them. My lesson might've taken longer but they got the concept. 

So, this year, our district has pushed (strongly encouraged) math centers this year. I came up with my version of a rotational schedule: 

There are many versions of this. I cannot claim credit for this as I saw this presented to me in a workshop. I adjusted and made it to suit my classroom needs. 

The favorite center in my classroom is the Hands on Learning Center. Here is where my kids get down and dirty with the standards and some fun games and manipulatives. Today I wanted to share with you some fun finds I used!

You all know I LOVE Target! I do not go to Wally World unless something major happened and I have no other choice! So I was shopping at Target Dollar Spot and saw some cute candy corn erasers, spider and bat rings, acorns.. and BOOM! My hands-on math centers were created! Look how much fun they had learning!

** I bought these after I did my centers. They were much cuter than the ones I had bought.**

These centers were sooo easy to set up! And yes! I have the same math pages I used to go along with them. We are working on addition and subtraction word problems. These sheets are also great to teach with my Math Strategy posters. We have been working on counting on, acting it out, and drawing a picture. They used the posters and key rings to help them with these. 

Click to download your FREEBIE! 

I know that using these fun little items in Math has greatly amped their enthusiasm! Hope you all can find these tools as useful as I have!

Have a great week! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Science Day Fun

Whenever I think of science, I always go back to my 80s roots! Love it! I'm totally blinded by science! Have always had a passion for it and love instilling that passion on to my students. 

Last Friday, we had Science Day in first grade! It was a HUGE success! The kids were just so stinkin' excited (and pretty darn cute!) to participate. I cannot take credit for the idea as an another teacher suggested it, but we ran with the idea and it is one I think we will do every year! 

It really was so simple to do. 

1. Send home a letter to parents encouraging them to dress their little scientist.

Click to download for FREE! You will need KG What The Teacher Wants font if you'd like the fonts to match. You can download it for free here

 2. Do a simple experiment in your classroom! OR you could rotate classrooms and each classroom does a different experiment. 

We just decided to stick with our own classrooms as we weren't sure how it would go but I think we will rotate next time.

Check out my ADORBS scientists!

We started our lesson by singing the Scientific Method rap song! Have you heard it yet??

In our classroom, we decided to do an experiment on Chromatography or the separation of mixtures. 
I started out with literature as I always do:

It has great pictures and colors! This last picture was by far my favourite as it lead me to my question and hypothesis:The chameleon asks, "If I stay on a leaf, I shall be green forever, and so I too will have a color of my own." As you read through the book, the kids find out that this is not true and then I started my scientific think-aloud... have you ever wondered what colors make other colors?

The kids started raising hands and telling me about primary colours and how to mix them. It was amazing but I had to remind them that as scientists, we need to plan and experiment and execute it! 

I had already cut strips of a coffee filter and had taped it to a Popsicle stick (depending on the size glass you have you may to trim it a bit so that when you place it in the water, the bottom of the strip touches the water).  Black is a neat colour to use as you get to see so many colour variables but you could use any colour marker. Please do not use permanent markers. Also, one of my little guys choose yellow and it didn't show too much colour variation but it could have been the marker manufacturer. They all make them so differently. That's the best part of this experiment! 

(click on the pic to grab your student copy for FREE! Answer key is included)

The students made their predictions and then using their color of choice, placed a dot near the bottom (maybe half an inch). My mom helper that came in that day and I poured the water. 

Then they waited and watched. They were so amazed!!!

I made sure they drew their observations and recorded their results. They were surprised when they saw the colours creep up their filter strip!

I like this little one's-- see the colours he mixed on the bottom of his paper? He was trying to figure it out! So clever!!!

It really was such a great day! Our kindergarten team joined us for the fun! The teachers dressed as Mrs. Frizzle! They were adorable!!! 

This is my little kinder this year! He was so excited to be a zoologist! 

I hope that you can implement a science day at your school! 

If you'd like more science ideas, please visit my It's Elementary Science Pinterest Board! I've got tons of ideas waiting for you!