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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Skippy Snakes

We are hammering away at our skip counting sequences at the moment. So when my husband went fishing a couple of weekends ago, I found it the perfect opportunity to make a couple of skip counting activities for the classroom, using my favorite math manipulative- milk bottle tops!

To begin with, I took an A3 sheet of colored paper and traced around a bottle top multiple times, to create one long, windy snake. I filled it in with permanent marker and drew on a head and snaky tongue. I then wrote the skip counting in fives sequence that I wanted to re-inforce on each body segment. This took a surprisingly long time, so I was on the hunt for a quicker way.
So I cut some chux cloth and glue it onto the back of a milk bottle cap, creating a simple stamp. I then chose white paint to stamp my second snake, to create a skip counting sequence in twos.
 By the time I finished the second snake, I was totally sick of serpents. So my final game is a flowering vine, with petals stamped with my thumbprints to create a skip counting sequence in tens.
The objective is for the children to match the numbers on the bottle caps with the numbers on the game. They then need to recite the numbers forwards and backwards to re-enforce the sequence. I did it this way to ensure that the sequence the children were practicing was completed correctly before verbalizing the sequence- no point in re-enforcing something that is wrong!

This is a very simple activity that could be done independently or in pairs. An alternative would be to leave some spaces blank, for the children to fill in with bottle caps. I would provide an answer sheet so they could check they got the sequence right before continuing.

The boards have been bundled up into plastic baggies and added to our skip counting tub in our Math rotation/ tumble board.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Easter Goodies

I love celebrating Easter with my little darlings! Normally Easter heralds the beginning of the school holidays here in NZ, however this year we are starting with a 12 week term, so we qualify for an Easter break!

This year I am teaching year twos, so we did the usual routine on the Thursday before Easter.... Easter poems, Easter Math games (into their group boxes), Easter baskets and some Easter printables which were available as a fast finisher activity (dot to dots, spot the differences, find a word and an Easter themed boggle). Our boggle activity was vastly popular, as the prize offered up was some glittery eggs and little fluffy chicks (both available from Spotlight). I buy them after Easter each year, when then are marked down to ridiculously cheap prices and pop them in my cupboard for the following Easter.

This year I made my class an Easter themed bean bag throw activity for Math. It began with 10 circular bean bags, decorated to look like bunnies (inspired by this blog http://twostraightlines.typepad.com/two_straight_lines/2006/04/bunny_toss.html). One Saturday was spent cutting, sewing and filling the bean bags. A few tips for those intrepid enough to give it a go:
  • One kilogram of rice will be enough filling to make around 20 smallish bean bags
  • Its way easier to fill the bean bags with a funnel- I cut the top from a 600ml coke bottle and used that
  • Go for felt as your material. Its durable and way easier to sew.
  • Supply yourself with chocolate. Its surprisingly time consuming but satisfying!
 I then made some mats for the children to use as targets. I cut a plastic table cloth into 8 pieces (yes, I have some extra leftovers). With a permanent marker and a meter ruler I then drew lines to divide each mat into four. I then wrote a number in each square. Some tips for making your mats:
  • Plastic table cloths are quite flimsy. Buy a better quality one than I did.
  • I cleared my bench at home and used that as a base. I was able to sellotape the mats to the bench to make them easier to draw on.
Two bunnies were then packed into a plastic zip lock with a mat. In pairs, the children take turns to throw the two beanbags and add the result together. The person with the highest answer wins!

Surprisingly, The children are really sensible with the bean bags. They are well and truely hooked into this activity, and love doing it as part of their math rotation tasks. It gets them up and moving, while re-inforcing their basic facts skills. I will definitely be making more bean bags to use in class!

My intention is to swap the bunny bean bags out before they get too ratty and store them away for next year. Next year I will be making felt puppets from this blog http://www.purlbee.com/bunny-hand-puppets/ for my class to play with- my goal is to slowly add more larger projects to my resource pool!