Preparing for January Themes!

Hello! I don't have to go back to school until Monday (woohoo!) but I am using this week to plan and prepare so that I can relax on the weekend :)  Apparently my school will be open to teachers today, so I can spruce up my classroom for the new year. (Do you have to wait for your school to be "open" or do you have a key and carte blanche to enter whenever you need to?) This month my major themes will be Snowmen and Penguins/Arctic Animals, although we will also be doing a lot of Martin Luther King Jr. activities (check out the book list on the right hand side of the blog for some great books about MLK and diversity!)

One of the things I am going to do today is put up my new set of Winter Ten Frame Cards. This is my cabinet wall where I hang them:

(ignore the ? - one of my cards went missing lol)

I used the male side of the velcro on the cabinet, so now I just use the female side on each set of cards and can switch them out quickly. Since we actually got snow here for Christmas, I think the kids will be thrilled with our snowman cards:



Remember I said it was easy to take them down and switch them out? Well, that's what we do a lot!  I use these as a quick transition exercise - just pull off the cards, shuffle and pass them out and my kiddos have to silently find their match! I also use the same technique to pair up students for activities/projects - whoever has the card that matches theirs is their partner for the day! Sometimes we take down the cards as part of calendar time and use a timer to see how quickly a small group of kiddos can get them back up in the right order!

We have the smaller sets for math workstations:


The kiddos pair these up and then fill out one of the recording sheets. Ten frames are so good for really building number sense. My kiddos can see that 14 is just 10+4 or, wait for this amazing mental math: "5+7 is really just 5+5+2 and 5+5 is 10 and 10+2 is 12!" Can you imagine firsties making such complex mental calculations? Love it!


So now that my ten frames are printed, laminated and cut, I am moving on to my Roll & Cover games! I love these because you can just print and go (well, I do laminate for durability since they get so much use, but there's no cutting involved at least!) I also love them because they are a great way to keep my own kiddos occupied:

Here's my two youngest playing addition and subtraction roll and cover games -  they needed a break from the video games and it was too cold to play outside, so I set them up with some colored cotton balls and two games. Even though they're two years apart, the randomness of the game play makes sure that my red head doesn't always trounce his brother, which also means that I can pair up any two students in my class and not have to worry about the more advanced students always winning over struggling students.


In class we usually use two-sided tokens to play with, but I got an idea to use cotton balls to look like snowballs, so I just dyed some so we'd have more than one color. To dye them I simply placed the cotton balls in a baggie and added a little bit of water that had been dyed with food coloring. I squished it around to get all the balls colored. Then I squeezed the water out and placed the cotton balls in a low temp oven to dry. My boys loved the colored cotton balls!


So now I'm off to do some filing and hopefully get a little bit of a headstart on Monday! I hear a lot of people get a teacher work day before the kids come back - wish we had one here!



1 Rustle Up A Response!:

Madame Aiello said... Reply to comment

Cool idea with the cotton balls. I wonder how much mess a spray bottle with some light food coloring would make...

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