Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Visit to the Solid Shape Museum

Last week we wrapped up our geometry unit with our Solid Shape Museum.  This activity is a favorite of mine.
I often change activities from year to year.  I guess I'm always looking to see if some new approach might be better than another.  But, the Solid Shape Museum has been a keeper.
The Solid Shape Museum is fun for students, it gives them a chance to tie-in real world examples to our math, and it is a fabulous assessment tool.  It's a  win-win-win.
Not that, over the years, I haven't tweaked how we've done our Museum.  For example, this year I added some shapes, to the ones students had to bring to class.  I also changed the recording sheet students completed at the finale of the Museum.  But, by in large, the concept of the Solid Shape Museum has stayed consistent.

Here's how it works...
Students bring in "real world" objects that represent the 3D shapes we've been studying in class.  Some shapes are easier to find than others.  As you can see from the picture above, triangular pyramids and square pyramids were particularly challenging to find.  Which is fine.  Seeing the difference in the number of objects brought in led to an interesting class discussion.
Students take turns presenting their objects.  They tell what the object is and tell what shape it represents.  Then they place the object in the correct category in the Museum.

After all the presentations conclude.  Students complete a recording sheet by choosing one object for each shape to illustrate and label.
I told them they could pick any object they wanted to illustrate.  They didn't just have to illustrate their own objects.  That way, if a students didn't bring in items, they still could participate in this part of the activity.

If you would like a free copy of the parent note, recording sheet, and signs that I used for our Solid Shape Museum, click here.

Like I mentioned before, we do the Solid Shape Museum at the end of our geometry unit.  For the weeks leading up to the Museum, we are working hard to learn about 2D and 3D shapes.
Our geometry unit consists of read alouds, hands-on centers, and independent assignments.
As my students progress toward mastering these geometry skills, they truly benefit from having visuals, such as anchor charts and models, around the room.  (If you would like a free copy of the 3D shape mini anchor charts pictured below, you can click here.)

They also really benefit from having hands-on models of 3D shapes to complete tasks in class.  Students need to put that their hands on shapes to really understand faces, edges, and vertices on 3D shapes.

I bought a class set of 3D shapes from Oriental Trading.  There are enough shapes (240 pieces in all) in this set for each student to have each shape.  These shapes are a huge help when students are working with a partner or working independently on 3D shape tasks.
How else would students actually test if shapes can stack, slide, or roll?  Before I had a class set of shapes, I would use my teacher set to demonstrate stack, slide, or roll.  Now, students can do it on their own.  I love this set of shapes.  It was $20 well spent.

If you are looking for more ideas and activities to use in class for your study of geometry, you may way to check out my Shape By Shape {Hands-On Activities with 2D & 3D Shapes}.  This set of activities focuses on 2D and 3D shapes.  It includes, anchor charts, eight centers (with recording sheets), and a game of I Have. Who Has?  
For more details, you can click here or on the picture below.

Geometry can be a really fun unit in math.  Adding real world connections and hands-on experiences help students grasp these important concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Make the Most of the 100th Day (Tips and Free Activities)

It's hard to believe that it is time to start planning for the 100th Day of School.  It's a big milestone and a perfect time to have fun with the number 100.
Last year, I ran out of time to share about our 100th Day.  Luckily I didn't delete my pics.  So here's a run down, complete with lots of freebies, of last year's 100th Day of School.
Let's start with the door banner.  I've made one for the past three or four years.  The kids LOVE going through the streamers.  And bonus, last year I used it as a picture backdrop, when I took individual picture of my firsties in their 100th Day shirts.
Here's how I put together my banner...
First, I printed some festive clip art (these are from Graphics from the Pond) and text.  I cut all of the clips and the text apart.

Using butcher paper, I staggered the paper that I would later cut into streamers.

I glued the clip art and text onto the top portion of the banner.

Next, I stapled all of the butcher paper together.

Finally, I measured and cut all of the streamers.

And voila, a colorful way to welcome your students on the 100th Day of School.

After making their way through the oh-so-fun banner streamers, students started their day with the 100th Day Scavenger Hunt (a 100th Day version of write the room).
To prep for this activity, I printed numbers 1-100 on two different colors of paper.  I used our school colors, but it really doesn't matter what two colors you choose.

I randomly placed the number cards around the room.  Students colored in their 100 chart with the colors that corresponded with the number cards.

When they finished, a 100th Day hidden picture was revealed.
Click here if you would like a FREE copy of my 100th Day Scavenger Hunt to use with your class.

We also made these cutie 100th Day Kids.  I created this pattern a few years ago and have used it ever since.
This craftivity includes paper for a writing piece or paper for spelling word practice.  We used the spelling practice option.
Here are a few of our 100th Day Kids...

For a FREE copy of this 100th Day craftivity, just click here.

Another little craft we made is our 100th Day Hats.  The hats coordinated perfectly with students' 100th Day shirts (an at home project).
These hat were super simple.  I just let students color them however they wanted.
For a FREE copy of my 100th Day Hat, click here.

A perennial favorite for the 100th Day is our 100th Day Sort and Graph.  There are all sorts of things you can sort and graph on the 100th Day.  My favorite is chocolate.  We use M & M's.
Students each got a baggy containing 100 M & M's.  (A parent volunteer to counted and bagged up the M & M's before the 100th Day.)
They sorted the M & M's by color and then completed their graph.

I've had several requests for copies of the M & M graph that we use, so here it is.  Click here for a FREE copy of my 100th Day Sort and Graph printables.

To wrap up the day, students participated in the 100th Day Kids' Challenge.  Students had 100 seconds to complete a variety of tasks that included physical, academic, and creative challenges.  Student wrote their results on a recording sheet and I kept time as students rotated to all the challenge stations.
Here are a few pics from our 100th Day Kids' Challenge...
 Lego Creations
Ordering Numbers by 5's
 ABC Order 
 Word Writing
 100 Cup Tower
 Memory Game
 Pattern Block Design

The 100th Day Kids' Challenge is a wonderful way to get students up and moving.  My group last year had a blast with it.  
If you would like to use it with your students, click on the picture below for a FREE copy.

To make the most of the 100th Day of school, it's important to start planning ahead.  I hope some of these ideas and freebies will be helpful as you start getting ready for your 100th Day of School. 


Saturday, December 31, 2016

This Year's Classroom Tour

Well, here it is...the last day of the year.  I have been sitting with beginning classroom reveal pics on my phone for about five months.  This school year has been crazy busy.  (But really, aren't they all?)
Before school starts back from winter break.  I wanted to show you this year's classroom design and layout.

We'll start with view for the door as soon as you walk in.   My classroom is pretty small and there is not much wall space (curse you accordion curtain wall).  I have to be smart how I use every square inch of my class.
We have desks and chairs.  However, throughout the day students have the flexibility to work away from their desks.  They often choose to work in the floor with clip boards and cushions.

Also, as you enter my room I have some bookcases that serve as a big part of my storage.  My sweet mom (bless her heart) sewed all of these curtains to hide the supplies on the shelves.  (I found the fabric at Hobby Lobby and I bought the chalkboard from Pottery Barn Kids.)
 By the way, if you are interested in making custom pennant banners for your own classroom, click here.

My teacher desk was a new addition this year.  I was completely inspired by School Girl Style's design for a colorful classroom.  (You can click here to check out Melanie's post.)  My favorite part of the post was the teacher desk.
I scouted out this desk at a local antique shop.  I painted it white and added the tassel bunting.  I loved how it turned out.
Since the bunting is made out of tissue, I was afraid that it wound not be durable enough for my classroom.  But, I'm happy to say that half way through the year, it is still perfectly intact.

For some extra storage, I grabbed this metal cart at Target.  I used various sized jars to house some supplies.  I made a file out of this cute tote (that I also found at Target).

To make the tote into a file.  I added file rails, which can be found at any business supply store.  I also added some hanging files.  Since it's so easy to access, I keep my copies for the week in this file tote.

About eight months ago, I got an interactive whiteboard in my classroom.  So, our magnetic whiteboard is (sort of) serving a new purpose.  I still use it to write on.  But, I also use about a third of it to display our calendar (click here to learn how I made a custom calendar) and some anchor charts.

I made these magnetic clips to hold the anchor charts.  I bought these clips at Target's dollar spot.  I hot glued some magnet strips on the back.  It was a super easy project.

Another new addition to this year's class set up is a word wall.  I haven't had a word wall in several years.  I decided to give it another try.  But, unlike my old word wall, I wanted one customized to my classroom colors.
I made this simple watercolor word wall and coordinated it with my library labels.  

The classroom library was another newish addition this year.  Of course I've always had a class library.  However, this summer, I decided to reorganize my library and level it.
(To read more about my classroom library redo, just click here.)

If you would like a free set of my leveled library labels, click here.

I do a lot of instructing at our gathering area.  I have a easel on wheels (not pictured) that I use for teaching lessons at our gathering area.  I find, students listen better when they are physically closer to their teacher.
Some other tools in my gathering area are my Apple TV and my interactive whiteboard.

I found my polka dot rug and pompom pillow at Pottery Barn Teen.  The slipper chair and red cabinet are from Target.

Also, in my gathering area are two small magnetic whiteboards I use to display class jobs and our agenda for the day.

The final stop on my class tour is the main storage hub in my classroom.  I have these three huge wheeled cabinets.  Judging from their original color, they are probably from the mid-70's.  I painted them and arranged them to make a faux closet for extra storage.
I keep all sorts of things in (on and behind) these cabinets, including all of my monthly math and literacy centers.
I used the same clips that I magnetized for the whiteboard and hot glued them to the cabinets to display student work.  Like I said before, I am very limited on wall space.  Adding the clips turned these cabinets into great place to show off students' work.

Teachers and students spend so much time at school.  It's really important to create a space that is functional and organized.  The biggest tip I can give you as you think about your classroom design is, don't be afraid to get rid of things.  Often times, less is more.

There you have it, my classroom reveal.  Better late than never. ;)
Have a happy New Year!