May/June activities: from our readers
Windows on the Sky
To complement our study of weather and the atmosphere, my fourth graders like to make “windows on the sky.” We each fold a 6″ x 6″ square of oak tag and carefully cut a 2″ x 2″ square in the center. Then we cut paint sample strips (in white, grays, blues, pinks, and oranges) into individual squares and glue these around the oak tag frames, graduating the colors. We go outside at various times of the day and, looking through our frames, try to match the color of the sky. I use students’ daily observations to launch discussions about why the sky is blue, how light breaks up as it enters the atmosphere, and why the sky changes color due to the weather or the spectrum. –Lauren Tanner, Banett Elementary School, Payson, UT
I Spy Angles
Introducing the concept of angles to my third graders can be a challenge, so I use learning games. We begin by playing “I Spy” to find acute, right, and obtuse angles throughout our classroom. After we record these examples on a wall-chart graph, I invite students to play a few rounds of kinesthetic Angle Aerobics. I place my arms in varying positions to create different types of angles, announcing each one as I go. Once students catch on (which is usually very quickly), they cheer aloud the names of the angles as they perform them with me. We expand the activity to include both arms and legs; students are then allowed to take turns being the Angle Aerobics Instructor. This is also a great outdoor activity! — Anita Hurwitz, SABIS International Charter School, Longmeadow, MA
First graders learn best by doing, so to reinforce basic counting skills, we create “ladybug math stoles.” Students each select a handful or two of ladybug cutouts (see below), two leaf shapes, and a sentence strip. The children place their bugs on the leaves in any numbers they wish, and glue in place. Each child counts the number of bugs on his or her first leaf and writes this on the sentence strip, followed by the number on the second leaf, and the total number on both leaves. Children have a great time doing these addition sentences! Later, we hang the sentences so that all the children can read them. — Theresa Pinamonti, St Theresa School, New Cumberland, PA; and Kathy Harper; Westfield Village School, West Sacramento, CA
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