Looking for exciting activities to ring in the New Year in your classroom? Here are some of my favorite ideas for making the week(s) back after the holiday break special.
Make a New Year’s Eruption in Science! Kids love chemical reactions and this one is extra special because, well … glitter is way cool!
Read special books to your class about New Year’s and talk about how holidays can be celebrated differently by different people. You could even have your class create a chart of things they do to celebrate the new year and point out similarities & unique traditions!
Brush up on Math skills with this great New Year’s Scavenger Hunt! Students will have fun working around the room finding the cute frogs and solving the problems.
Teach your class how to set goals. Then have them write their goals on special paper shaped like a party hat. Have them add a self portrait and a party blower for a fun classroom display. Another option would be to have the children trace their arms and hands on construction paper and write goals. This makes a great display with the title “Reach for The Stars”
This is a great time to review or teach your students about Growth Mindset! Have students reflect on skills that were tough at the beginning of the year and not so tough now. Talk about ways to grow as a learner!
Make a New Years Book or Time Capsule! This will be a keepsake for years to come!
For more great New Year’s Ideas, check out my Pinterest Board:
Looking for something fun to do when you return from the Holiday Break? This New Year’s Math Scavenger Hunt is a great way to practice engage students while practicing math skills!
Math Scavenger Hunts are perfect for guided math, whole class, centers or small groups! They are a great way to have students moving while working with a partner on Math.
And they are so easy for the teacher to prep! Simply print the problems, hang them around the room or another area. Print record sheets for your students and you are all set!
You can hang the problems on the walls in your classroom or hallway.
You can hide the problems on bookshelves or even have a scavenger hunt on the playground if weather permits! Just give students a clipboard to use while they work on their record sheets!
Click any image in this post to get the Scavenger Hunt!
Some of my favorite memories of my elementary school years involve making crafts and playing games! My favorite craft was making gingerbread scented salt dough ornaments! But, anyone who teaches in this day and age knows we don’t always have time to do the fun stuff, right! So, to make the most of the season I sneak in a little holiday cheer as often as possible! Here are a few of my favorite ways to sneak in some fun when you have too much curriculum to cover or a dreaded math assessment to review for!
As simple as it sounds, white printer paper, colored markers and stickers or stamps can add a little holiday cheer to even the most dull math tasks! Here is an example of a Math Review I did yesterday with one of my Fourth graders. She has a test this week so we needed to spend some serious time reviewing fractions, but you can see that we still made it fun!
I bet you can figure out what my third graders are reviewing this week! Check out this simple array activity to practice multiplication! This could also be used for fact families!
But what if you have to work on a review with word problems? No problem! You make that into a present too! Take any review or set of task cards and have students make a cheerful answer sheet like this:
Well, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE MATH GAMES, so I will have to mention that you can turn any math skill into a game! Here is one of my favorites from my TpT Store:
I would love to hear some other ideas people have for adding a little holiday fun to math class! Leave a comment below with your favorite activity!
‘Tis the season to be jolly … but, if we are in school we still have math skills to teach and review! Here are some awesome Holiday Math Craftivities and Activities to help your students have fun while still learning!
Have your students measure and cut strips of paper in specific lengths and use the strips to make Christmas Trees! This can be as simple as 1 inch, 2 inch, 3 inch or as complicated as area and perimeter or fractions depending on your students’ age/grade level.
How about fraction snowmen or “symmetries”? Cute, fun and educational!
This stacking cup game is designed for addition facts, but it could really be modified for any math skill!
These math games are lots of fun too! They are low prep and easy to play!
For more great Holiday Math Ideas check out my pinterest board!
Well, Thanksgiving break was a great time for relaxing and visiting with family and friends. But … Now we have to go back to school? What on Earth will we do with these excited children while they count the days until their holiday break? Here are some ideas to help you make the days/weeks leading up to the holiday break fun and educational.
Joy, Sunshine, and Lollipops has excellent ideas on her blog for celebrating Holidays Around the World!
How about a Grinch Day? Falling Into First has great ideas on her blog for celebrating Grinch Day!
Get your students moving around the room with this Math Scavenger Hunt! Your students will love solving word problems with partners.
Looking for great Read A Louds for Christmas? The Printable Princess has a collection for you.
How cute is this writing activity “If Santa Was Stuck in My Chimney…”? Check out other related ideas on the blog, First Grade Wow
These Holiday Math Games are perfect for elementary classrooms!
This Gumdrop Math Challenge is a great way to get your students using critical thinking skills while having fun!
More Math??? Here are some great ideas!
If you are having a class party, check out these 15 Class Games from A Girl and A Glue Gun.
And, how about some crafts?
Want more great ideas? Check out my Pinterest Holiday Board:
What in the world do you do with early finishers? This is a big question for teachers! I think it is important to teach your students to check their work when finished. Teaching students to improve their work when they think they are finished is a valuable lesson. But, after that, there are always going to be a handful of students who will finish their work sooner than the rest of the class. So, back to the question … What do you do? Sitting and waiting for the rest of the class to finish or doing busy work can be very boring and is not giving these students a chance to continue learning. Here are some of my favorite ideas for early finishers!
Set up a system for students so they can find out what to do without disrupting the class or asking you while you are helping other students. I love this display that can be set up at the front of the room. The signs can be switched out depending on what you want the students to do each day.
Make sure your students know your expectations so they are not off task or disruptive. This poster is a great example and it is free! You could also make an anchor chart.
Have a place to organize the materials and supplies the students need for the activities to minimize questions such as “where do I get paper for _____ …. ?”
Extension menus are great for independent work. I like this reading menu, but you could make a menu for any subject. For example, if you are working on place value you could have a menu with place value activities for students to choose from.
Bulletin boards such as Boggle or Noggle can be fun! You can change the numbers or letters out every week or two. You could even put some students in charge of updating the board and making the answer key!
Stem Bins are a great hands on activity. Lots of fun while building reasoning skills.
Partner games and centers are a way to let your students interact with others while practicing skills.
Computer games and websites can be great learning tools. Make sure you set procedures up for how to get online and which sites students will go. Here are some of my favorites!
For more great ideas check out my early finishers board on Pinterest!
I am not sure when I learned how to write numbers in expanded notation, but I am certain it was not in 3rd grade. Students now are expected to learn how to write numbers in expanded notation as early as 3rd grade here in Texas and I am sure that applies to other states as well. But why? It is part of a push to help students understand the relationships between places and digits in our base ten number system. It can seem difficult at times, but with hands on activities and a lot of practice, your students can master expanded notation.
One method I find to be very effective is using play money:
Give your students a number. Guide them to use their play value money to model the number.
Then ask them “Ask “How many hundred thousands?” Tell “Expanded notation shows the number in each place times the value of the place, so 3 hundred thousands is 3 x 100,000.”
Continue questioning and guiding students to use play money to help them write the numbers.
You can download my play money for FREE by clicking the picture above.
For more great place value ideas, check out my Place Value Board on Pinterest!
There are many ways to teach problem solving to elementary students. Most students are successful with a well structured problem solving plan. However, we all have at least a few students who just don’t “get it” with regular classroom lessons. Working one on one or in small groups and applying well planned interventions helps these students find success. Last week I shared my first three top tips and today I am sharing the next three tips:
Some students understand the questions just fine, but have trouble seeing the big picture, the story or the scenario. These students need extra help laying out the details. Most students will benefit from instruction in drawing pictures or making diagrams, and struggling students will especially need to practice with this. I like to teach my students how to make part-part-whole and whole-part-part models.
We will discuss each clue and label it as a part or the whole and then work from there. Strip diagrams and unit bars work well too. I also like to encourage students to make actual pictures of the clues. I am no artist and the kids like to laugh at my drawings with me!
This is so important for students who have trouble visualizing the actions in the problem. An example could be using this problem below with Martina and her purse. I will get play money out and we will actually act out the story with the play money. Another example could be to use colored counters with the apple story below. Now there are some big numbers so you could use smaller numbers to practice acting it out and then transfer the actions to your paper with the larger numbers.
Sometimes students get caught up by the big numbers and can’t focus on the actions in the problem. For these students you can cross out the big numbers, substitute with smaller numbers and have them solve. Then apply the actions to the bigger numbers. If needed, use manipulatives to help build understanding.
Missed Part 1 from last week? Find it here: