Sight Word Swat! Students lay out all the bugs (or as many as they want to use, as there are quite a few) on the floor, then take turns: one student says a word she sees on a bug (trying not to indicate where it is) and the other student swats that word when he finds it. Then that bug is removed and the roles reverse. I spent most of a morning drawing the bugs (which I will laminate, so they last). I made enough for our 100 sight words plus about twenty or so challenge words, marked with stars. The fly swatters are little dollar store things, but I snapped them up the second I figured out that they are telescopic, so students can stretch them out for playing the game, then collapse them again to fit in the tub!
Today’s summer project: Toss and Spell, for word families! Made from cheap, disposable muffin tins, paper circles, and a large pom pom ball. Students toss the ball into the tin and then write a word on the recording sheet (which will be laminated) for whatever word family the ball landed in. The recording sheet has the alphabet and a ton of blends and digraphs to help students come up with words. I want to see how well this game works out before making more tins, but this is a good start.
Today’s summer project: Math Facts Power Tower! Students read aloud the math fact on the cup, say the answer, self-check by reading the answer inside (which is in orange because I discovered that black shows through), and then use the cup to build a tower. The container is a Pringles can, and I used Google docs to create the label. I used to have a similar game for multiplication facts (only with bigger cups and just kept in a tub) when I taught third grade, and it was popular all year long.
I’m working on another one for sight words!
Once when I was in first grade I made my mom cut my hair weird and the next day a really ugly girl a grade above me asked me who cut my hair and when I said my mom she said my mom wasn’t good at cutting hair and I told her she wasn’t good at being pretty and she was so embarrassed she didn’t even tell on me.
Math City! To play, students use one or two dice (depending on how much challenge they need). You roll, and then build towers equal to that number in any way you can. For example, if you rolled a five, you could just find a “5” space and build a tower of five blocks and be done. But you could also build a 2 and a 3 tower, or a 1 and a 4, and so on. The object of the game is to fill the entire board, and it’s a cooperative game (no one person can win, unless playing solo, it’s up to both players to help each other figure out how to fill the board). Obviously, it gets tougher as the city fills up. If students are playing with two dice, there is the possibility that they could end up with a “1” as the only empty space left, so I’ll make a rule that if that happens, they can just switch to one die and roll until they get it.
I kind of want to find a little Kaiju figure and have a Part 2 to the game…once the city is built, roll to see which towers get destroyed! Except I know that will end badly (and become the point of the game, instead of the math), but I still sort of love the idea.
Yesterday was Where the Wild Things Are day! I started things off with vocabulary, then after reading the story for the first time we charted some story elements and had a brief discussion of whether the story really happened or not. Only one student thought it really did happen, but his only reason was, “Because he was king!” The arguments for “didn’t happen” were a little more persuasive, as they said things like “forests can’t really grow in your room” and “how could there be a boat with his name on it” but mostly about how much time the story took yet Max arrived back home on the same night he left.
Then we practiced a dramatic reading of the story, with the kids acting out all the parts together. This was SO awesome. I let them come up with ideas for portraying things like Max making mischief, showing how the forest grew, and of course, being Wild Things and roaring terrible roars, etc. They were so adorable! We practiced five times before our high school helpers arrived in the afternoon and then performed for them, and it went perfectly.
We also spent time looking at the wild things and the kids immediately noticed that they were “like mixed up animals”. I drew several wild things on a white board, taking suggestions from the group on what to add (horns, wings, scales, tail). Then I had the kids draw their own wild things, first with crayon and then with watercolors, and wow did they turn out beautifully! There is a writing piece that goes with it, but we ran out of time so that will happen tomorrow.
Finally, when our high school helpers were here, they played a trivia game about the book and kept track of points with tally marks. They loved this, and nearly everyone scored over 100 points (I think the highest total possible was 125).
Oh, and I drew a Max with the face cut out and took pictures of all my students! And wow, I was exhausted at the end of the day, but I also felt good. What a great day.
I was getting bored with my regular “morning message” routine, and came across these magnetic spinners. I LOVE these things, and so do my students! There are so many different things you can do with them, so it makes our morning routine a bit more exciting now. They do need to be spun with a gentle hand, and my students had to practice a bit (and they still knock them off now and again), but they got the hang of it. I have been using them almost daily for weeks now, and it’s made a big difference in the level of engagement I’m seeing during our morning meetings.