Saturday, June 9, 2012

Got My Mathy Mc-Math Math on Today- and also Made a Mess

It's sort of a catch-22.  I need to pack.  I need my kids occupied in quiet activities while I do this.  But my kids are not worksheet kids.  Giving them a worksheet is like giving them permission to create fire and roast hot dogs and smores whilst singing drunken sailor songs at the top of their lungs.  So, instead of finding busy work as other folks have been able to do, I've gone the super hands-on math activity route.  And I do like these activites.  And the kids like them too.  And they are OCCUPIED.  But it still requires me to teach, and manage, and interact, and I'm really not getting much packing done.  Three of my boys did help me get all of the straggling math manipulatives put away though- so I am A-Ok for super quick check-list inventory on Monday.

One of our math activities available today was the sunglasses measurement basket.  I got a bunch of funky shades at the Dollar Store and placed them in baskets with rulers, and little booklets I made up for the kids to describe the pair of sunglasses they selected and then measure them at five different points in inches and centimeters.  They measured the length of the glasses from eye to eye, the height of the glasses top to bottom, the length of the ear piece, and then the height and width of the lens. I also put a couple in our balance scale baskets so they could weigh them as well.   The kids also ADORED trying them on. They also are very interested in whether or not I'm going to LET THEM HAVE A PAIR.  And I'm sort of leaning toward yes.  Seems an easy gift, and they were only a buck.  I think for next year, I need to write some sort of picture book about sunglasses so I can have one in the retelling center, and they can act with the sunglasses on. 

I had trained them up on using the balance scale yesterday.  Granted, a good seventy percent of them apparently forgot EVERYTHING we went over yesterday, but I should have expected that.  Anyhow- I had added a few different toys today, as it was looking pretty thin on the Luau artifacts.  And I made up booklets for them this morning.  The first pages went over what we learned yesterday about grams and ounces and 28 paperclips being an ounce, and that being the same as ten big clips and how to find the mass of any toy.  Then there were pages for them to write down the name of the toy they selected and then record how many grams and ounces it ended up being.  I set up four different balance stations and they worked in pairs.  Pairs not working at the balances measured sunglasses.  It worked out pretty evenly split, and I really didn't have anybody goofing off.  They all worked at their stations and the most trouble I had was my Bossy McBoss Bosses fussing at each other relentlessly over whose turn it was to drop in the next clip.  Why is it that the Mama Bears always pick each other as partners?  You'd think they'd have figured out by now to prey upon the weak and controllable....oh well.

So, with them so nicely occupied at these two stations, I decided to do a little introductory liquid measurement.  We created two different flavors of Koolaid drinks, and used teaspoons to measure out the flavor of our choice into a popsicle mold.  I had gotten these bottle rocket molds at the Dollar Store.  They had different colored toppers to put on, and I decided to just use a sharpie to number the toppers, and then when I called the kids back to make their popsicle, they picked which color topper they wanted and I recorded the number next to their name on a class list.  So come next week when we have our Water Blitz day, I can just refer to the sheet and know exactly whose popsicle is whose.  I'm pretty proud of myself for that little bit of organization.  My little Tulio helped me carry them down to the freezer, only a few splashes upon our shoes, and we had to do some rearranging to make them fit.  Email came through later in the day that the freezer and fridge storage was out of control and everything was going to be chucked this evening.  Luckily, the principal had mercy on me since mine was educationally related and my popsicles were spared. Whew!  I'd have some explaining to do if the kids didn't get their popsicles.

I did notice though, in this activity- that they really didn't have any idea how to use a measuring spoon.  I don't think they are doing much baking at home.  So it has me thinking about what I can do about this in the future.  I mean, how possible is it to do cooking activites in the classroom?  Would we ever be allowed to use the school cafeteria kitchen? Or should I just send home recipies occassionally and suggest parents try them with their children?  I don't know.  I think I must have had a very different sort of childhood with all of the cooking and crafting my mom had my sister and I do way back when.

In the end- we mathed our little hearts out today.  Also had a pretty decent discussion about barter vs. money, and then created a town currency.  So next week they can spend an entire day creating products to sell, and behave themselves to the bone trying to earn GeovanniTown Dollars.  That should get me at least one good day of packing I think.  Because I left a whopper of a mess, BOY HOWDY!  The custodian is hating me right now.  I can feel it.



  1. Anna does a lot of cool recipe demonstrations. You should ask her about it for next year. I never thought of using the school kitchen.... Sounds like fun. Also, Laura has a kitchen in the SD room I'm sure she'd let your class use.

  2. Awesome! I had no idea about Laura having a kitchen! No wonder they always have goodies down there! Maybe I could have small groups down there bake with her kids? I don't think I got to use Anna to her full potential this year. I'll suck her dry next year though. ;)