Sunday, February 21, 2016

There is "snow-body" like me! {God made me unique!}

Isn't it amazing that no two snowflakes are exactly alike!?! (It's hard for me be to believe considering how much snow we get in a given winter!) Pretty crazy!

When I share this fact with my students I tell them that God, our wonderful creator, never says "Oops! Accidentally made those to snowflakes the same!"

He makes each one unique. Just like he creates each of us special. When I do this lesson, I spend time having students share how they are unique.

We also read The Tiny Snowflake by Arthur Ginolfi.  It's about a small snowflake named Lacy looking for what makes her special. Each snowflake she floats past has a special purpose - to make the snow fluffy, or slippery...

What makes her special?

 We make our own unique snowflakes out of folded coffee filters after reading this story.

My students LOVED cutting their own designs. They begged to do more than one. (Good thing coffee filters are cheep AND our classroom was scheduled to be vacuumed that day. It looked like it had snowed in our room.)

 The most ornate snowflakes were turned into an art project with Psalms 139:14:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I don't add glitter often...but how can you resist when the end result looks so pretty?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Time Saving Tip {Math Boxes}

Do you spend time every day passing out counters, dice, unifix cubes, or coins depending on the math lesson?

Do you always have to check and recheck to make sure you have the correct number of math manipulative for each student?

I did.

I did until a fellow teacher introduced me to the genius idea of Math Boxes. *angels singing Alleluiah chorus*

They are a HUGE time saver!

All of our most frequently used math supplies are stored in individual pencil boxes. Whenever we need manipulatives... each student grabs a box.

Need counters for ten frames or addition?

       Got 20 of them counted out - ready to go!

Need dice for (a million different) math games?


Cubes are for measuring, representing addition problems, patterning, and for playing one of our favorite math games - BUMP IT!

I love that I can say "Please bring a math box..." and we have everything we may need to start our math lesson.

I bought the small square containers at the dollar store - 10 for $1! They fit perfectly! One is for counters and the other for coins. At the beginning of the year the "coin purses" (or "wallets" for the boys) only have pennies. The other coins are added as we learn about them.

They stack nicely in the shelf where our math journals are stored. (Here they are pictured on top but they fit nicely in the shelf. I love how organized it looks now - compared to the random stuff I had stored in the shelf.)

I've thought about adding a laminated 100s chard and number line to the boxes as well.

Some ideas you try one year and think, "Probably won't do that again next year." Not these. I'm keeping these around.

How do you manage math manipulatives? I'd love to hear other ideas!