Saturday, May 25, 2013

Accidentally Teaching

Seriously, I was trying to slack off. I really did think I was giving them a crafty McCraft craft so I could inventory my ridiculous closet- and then all of a sudden I was legitimately teaching.  Look at the mess.  This could not possibly lead to anything related to academics.  It was just a construction paper glue fest.
But remember how I said  that I had to cover centimeters this week?  I sure as gingersnaps didn't feel like measuring a crayon or a tissue box.  And then all of a sudden I saw my moment.
{insert dramatic backstory theme music here}
Last year, I had made inch rulers our of pony beads and pipe cleaners. About four pony beads make an inch, so if you string twenty four beads on two twisted together pipe cleaners, you get a nice six inch ruler that quite versatile.  So this year we decided that about two beads make a centimeter, so we strung the beads on in color pairs and made ourselves a useful centimeter ruler.  I was not as vigilant in making them count out ONLY 24 beads this time, so I had a wide range of final lengths.  Which doesn't matter in the end, as long as they are measuring correctly.
To make the ruler- take two regular size pipe cleaners of two other colors and twist them like a barber shop pole.  Hook one end over your finger and twist to the main stem to create a finger hold.  String on beads - but don't go all the way to the end.  Alternate colors in pairs so you can see one centimeter right off and separate from the next one.  Use the excess pipe cleaner at the other end to hook over your finger and twist to the main stem to create another finger hold (plus it keeps the beads from coming off). 
Our craft was making houses out of milk cartons to make a 3-D map of our town from the beginning of the year. And I will post more about this later, as it has turned out to be fabulous and given me lots and lots of ideas for next year (AkA super teacher year).  But back to measuring...
First I just let them put their house wherever they wanted.  We ended up with quite a neighborhood jumble, as KK vied for a closure position to THE MOUTH, as did several other fish.  Loving the fact that it was 3-D and we could move things around freely- the kids could really see how not everyone had the same amount of yard, and how we had not planned well for roads.
Enter the centimeter ruler!  "Hey kids, how many centimeters do you think you should have in between each neighbor?"
Failure to estimate rearing its ugly head again. "ONE!!!"
"Don't you want a nice yard?"
"Ok, TWO!!!"
"Um, how about we give ourselves enough distance so we can't reach into our neighbors house from our couch..."
So we ended up with five.  Five centimeters in between the milk cartons turned out to be quite lovely.  And got everybody out of a strange cul-de-sac arrangement that reminded me strongly of that movie "The 'Burbs".  Each one of my little fish came up with their house and measured out five centimeters from the last neighbor and plunked their house down.  We ended up circling the outskirts of our town, which would be perfect for our road measuring activity later in the week.
So stinking cute.  Stay tuned.  Cuteness continues.


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