Friday, June 1, 2012

You mean I'm supposed to eat at lunch?

Technically, lunch is half an hour.  But in reality, after dropping them off, walking them through the lunch line, walking all the way to the opposite end of the building to the room, and inevitably having to walk all the way back (and stop by the office for a quick copy) I'm lucky if I have 15 minutes.  And I skip the teacher's lounge and eat by myself in my room (often with the lights out) just to recenter myself for the second half of the day.  Get in the zone, you know? And, oh, yeah, work.

I was pretty impressive this particular fifteen minutes today though.  I managed to make 3 math games on the computer and get down to the teacher workroom to print all three on cardstock before having to pick the kids up.  Did I eat? Well, I got the lasagna, broccoli, and bread wolfed down- but I had to save the cobbler and fruit for later.

I'm working on filling in some content gaps from our Math Investigations series.  My kids need to practice ordinal numbers, greater/less than, and rounding.

Ordinal numbers:

It's not so much a problem in ordering them, as it is in paying attention to which direction the paper said to look at.  We did a ice cream scoop coloring activity and the directions clearly said color from the bottom to the top, and of course they ignored it and colored it reverse. So I made a quick table on word that has the words left, right, top, bottom, and the ordinal numbers 1st through 20th.  Ran it on cardstock and the kids cut out the pieces and put them in a ziploc baggie.  Along with 20 random items I collected in a basket.  I basically grabbed some different math manipulatives.  Next year I'm going to think of something better- but this was a last minute deal here.

To play, partners take turns setting out the objects in their bag in a line horizontal or vertical.  Then they take turns drawing out cards from the baggie and identifying which object is in which position.  After identifying the positions of one partners items, they clean up that set and place out the other partners set and repeat.  To continue the game longer, they can then go back and arrange their items in the opposite direction as before.

Greater Than/Less Than:
I saw a pic on Smart First Graders of how alligators were drawn on the symbols. Greater Gator

I loved this picture, and then promptly forgot what it looked like except the equal sign one.  I made a three box table on Word and put the regular symbols in the boxes and printed it off.  Then I drew my version of the alligators around them as best I could from memory.  Ran it off on cardstock, and each kid has their own set in a baggie.  When we played it in class today, I told them it could be an alligator or a crocodile or a monster- just as long as thye understood it always ate the bigger number.  Amaya just said- "Well I think it looks like a pig."  "Can you remember that the pig always eats the bigger number then?" "Oh, sure, Ms. Meek!"  Everyone is a critic...

For this game, students use my 0-9 number cards.  In the early version of the game as they are getting their feet wet, they only draw two cards, and compare one digit numbers.  They read from left to write and say "Is (this number) greater than, less than, or equal to (this number)?  Then the partners discuss, place the alligator so that the mouth is in the correct direction (the alligator always eats the bigger number!) and then reread it as a statement "(This number) is (greater than, less than, equal to) (this number).  It's an easy practice.  Once they feel like they are being successful, they draw four cards and make two two-digit numbers and repeat the same questioning, deciding, placing, and reading routine.  I was afraid that the kids would get boared, but they actually enjoyed placing the alligator down and making munching noises.  So whatever works!

I made up this story for rounding about five years ago.  I was trying to emphasize to the kids the action of really MOVING up or down the number line to round a number.  I was finding that my strong man, weak man model poems, or the ball rolling over a hill, just wasn't making itself a permanent fixture in their thinking.  So I decided to give them a PURPOSE for moving on the line.  For this game, I made a ten box table on word, and then added numbers on the bottom so it looks like a number line going from ____0 to the next ___0 number.  I put blanks before the numbers so the kids could write in any ten span of numbers they wanted.  On the front end I put a picture of a house, on the other end a picture of a ferris wheel to represent a carnival or fair.  In the middle by the four and five, I have clip art of runners going in either direction.  And then of course, let's not forget the tornado.

So the story goes like this.  They live exactly ten miles from the most fabulous fun fair that has ever been!  It is better than Kings Dominion, Better tham Six Flags, Better than Disneyworld.  And for ONE DAY ONLY everything is going to be ABSOLUTELY STINKING FREE! Food, rides, prizes, you name it- FREE.  Only problem is, you have to walk there- and no matter what, somewhere along that ten mile walk, a tornado is going to come and try to suck you up.  Will you have to run back home for safety? Or will you be able to dash for the Fair (which is conveniently equipped with a tornado force field)?

So the kids draw two cards and place the two digit number on the number line.  It is important for them to also name the other numbers in order that are part of this ten mile strip.  So if they got the number 36 for example, they should be able to point at each section of the number line and count from 30 up to 40.  They put their tornado above the number and look for the runners.  If they have made it to the halfway mark- 5 miles, then they can run for the fair and be safe.  If they haven't made it to the halfway point though, they have to turn around and run back home. I thought the kids would get bored with this too- but it turns out they loves making the tornado noises and then have their little person scream helplessly as they run in either direction.  My kids are nutters, I tell you.

Since I made it at lunch, I've decided I should just make one really big one on one sheet of paper and then they can put that in their write on/wipe off pockets and fill in the number line with dry erase marker.  And actually, I've been thinking about this little tornado story of mine all evening, and I think I could make this into a pretty nifty board game.  Weekend project challenge, ACCEPTED!

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