Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fact Family Cookies Freebie

Unfortunately this was totally me this week. My kiddos were cuh-ray-zee. Were your students as off the wall as mine? What I need is an Adderall air freshener way make my kids engage and focus for the next two weeks, so I am pulling out all of the stops.

 This week we will be doing Grinch themed activities and next week will be our Polar Express unit. Most of my activities will be hands on centers, and I am trying to pick leveled books that will catch their interest for literacy. We are even working toward having a gingerbread man party. I draw a gingerbread man body on the board. I made a list of everything that the gingerbread man needs. Every time we do an exceptional job of following procedures I will add another piece of the gingerbread man. When he gets filled out all the way we will have a gingerbread man making party.
Last year I found these at Kmart. They were $10, but I got them on sale for $7. Two boxes was enough for my class (remember I am resource), and it had everything we needed. This year I have not been able to find them. I am going to look at two others nearby Kmarts. Wish me luck. You may be asking yourself why I'm going to all of this trouble. Why not just bake some gingerbread men? Well kids, I am challenged in the kitchen. When I say challenged I mean that kids say things like, "Oh no! Mom cooked dinner tonight!" or "Dad's out of town. Are we having Subway or Mexican?" I could share some of my kitchen foibles with you guys, but I would like to keep my self esteem intact today. Moving on.

Last week I made this Christmas cookie fact family activity for my kiddos. I haven't used it, but I think it will go off like the Walmart alarm the week before Christmas. Click below to get yours.

So what do you do to keep your kids on track in the weeks before Christmas? Help a girl out.  I would really like to know!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board (and a Gingerbread freebie)

Oooooh, math. Why do you hate me so?

 Things in my first grade math group were moving along just fine (or so I thought.) We completed our addition and subtraction  units in our math curriculum. The students in my small group of learning and cognitively disabled students passed both unit tests and could add, subtract, and solve simple word problems utilizing Touchpoints. We were not at mastery,  but we were making getting there. We were ready to move into related facts and fact families, and THAT'S when everything fell apart.

While working with my students last week I asked them, "What does it mean to add?". "Minus," one girl shouted. "Equals," another boy proudly stated. The third little girl stared blankly at me and offered no reply. Houston, we have a problem.

What I was doing clearly was not working. The textbook curriculum had failed them. I knew that I was going to have to rogue on this one. So I dedicated the next three weeks of math instruction to remedy their confusion.

Last Friday I made addition and subtraction anchor charts with them. I may take pictures and upload them next week for you guys if time allows. Tomorrow we start part-part-whole instruction. I made up an addition song up to help support their learning.

 (to the tune of When We All Get Together)
When you add
put groups together, together, together
when you add put groups together
This is how you add

I also have one for subtraction that I made up last year.

(to the tune of the Muffin Man)
When I see the minus sign
the minus sign, the minus sign,
When I see the minus sign,
I know I take away

I spent a good part of yesterday gathering resources to support this, but I wanted a few more activities. This morning I made a gingerbread domino par- part-whole activity. (This upcoming week is also gingerbread week in my room.) I have uploaded it to Google docs. Just click on the image below to grab your copy.

Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it.