Tuesday, March 29, 2016

When Spring Break is Looming

Oh my!  The countdown to Spring Break is definitely on for all of the students (and teachers) in the building.  This time of year is always the hardest with the least amount of breaks for us all and as much fun as we have together, we are all ready for a short break away to recharge.  We still have 3 days before break; however, and need to get everything into that time as we can!  It's time to get CREATIVE!

This time of the year is ideal for having a quick review week.  Bust out all of those games that you've downloaded or made yourself and let the students have fun interacting (semi-quietly) while being productive.  You don't have to feel guilty allowing them to "play" when they're reviewing concepts from the year.  These could be card & board games that students can play in small groups or pairs, or you can get the entire class involved in a fun game of "I Have, Who Has"!  My students LOVE this game and always ask to play again when we are finished!

With Easter just happening, we got creative and had an Easter egg hunt!  Students hunted around the room to find an egg that contained one of six pictures pertaining to volume (which we've been studying lately).  They solved it independently and then posted it on a poster for that number of problem.  They were able to compare answers right then and really think about their own answers.  In the end, we had six posters full--half with all matching answers and the other three that didn't quite match up.  (This is when it got REALLY fun--for me!)  I put the students into three groups and they all chatted about what they thought the correct answer was and WHY!  There were some great debates going on and wonderful math talk being used.  The posters were rotated to all of the groups and then we made final decisions about what the correct answers were.  Students hadn't put names on the original papers, so no one felt badly about making a mistake but gained wonderful explanations as to where they went wrong as well as strategies to solve it correctly next time.

A game that I LOVE to play with my students when we're working on prepositions came to me several years ago when we just needed a break from the drilling we were doing with them.  I took a basic index card and a purple highlighter (something the students didn't have) and drew an X on it.  One person was chosen to stand outside the door while I hid the card.  Upon that student's return, he/she asked yes or no questions of the class.  The catch? That student HAD to use prepositions to locate the card, i.e. "Is the card BEHIND the poster?" "Is the it UNDER the rug?", etc.   My classes have loved this ever since and beg to play it.  They've even asked for the card during indoor recess!  Whether you're in the thick of prepositions or just think it'd be fun to review, this is a sure-fire hit!

What kinds of fun and creative ways do you keep your students engaged right up to break?  I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

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