Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sammy Squid's Challenge

It's the fourth week of school and things are finally starting to slow down. . .a teeny tiny bit. . .just enough for me to feel like I haven't run a marathon at the end of the school day. This week our math focus is measuring which my kids are absolutely, head over heels, madly, deeply in love with. Common Core standards state that students should be able to order objects according to their length and measure items with nonstandard units (of course that's the simple version). Over the summer I pumped up my old measurement plans- -I added a read aloud for each day with coordinating measurement activities, got rid of the boring worksheets, and yes. guessed it. . .I added a craftivity! We're only on day 2 of the unit so I can't brag about the entire kit and kaboodle, but I can say that the first two days have been pure magic in my classroom. My kids have never been more quiet (and that's saying a lot for my chatty Cathys). I started the unit by reading one of my favorite books I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. It's all about a GIANT squid who brags about being bigger than all of the other ocean animals. . .until he gets swallowed up by a whale.We talked about the terms bigger/smaller, taller/shorter, longer/shorter and we practiced applying these terms to describe pictures and lines. My math session is split into two parts (due to special area) which worked out beautifully in my favor for the next part of this lesson. Before the kids came back I plopped an envelope stuffed with a letter from Sammy Squid (the squid from the story. . .yes I named him) and his challenge for the day. When the kids came back they immediately spotted the squid's envelope and couldn't wait for it to be opened. I've seen a lot of cute things in the 6 years that I've been teaching, but watching all 18 of my kids stare at me with their jaws dropped to the floor in amazement as I read Sammy's letter was one of the cutest things I've seen. Of course I had the doubters. . .ones who wanted to know how the envelope wasn't soaking wet (it was protected by a ziplock back of course)and ones who were positive that squids aren't smart enough to do anything like this (a giant squid has to have a giant brain which would make him enormously smart). Long story short, Sammy gave them all special strings that he found in the whale's belly. He also gave them pictures of things inside of our classroom that they would need to compare to their string to determine if they were longer or shorter. They then had to cut the pictures out and glue them into their correct category. (Bonus finds for each category were also included for the early finishers).
Any doubts of Sammy's challenge being legit went out the window when one of my loves screamed out "this string smells exactly like the inside of a whale's belly! It's true! It's true!Sammy's real!" For the rest of the week, Sammy will send a letter in the mail (or an email) with a new measurement challenge. I seriously can't wait to teach math for the rest of the week! You can find my entire measurement unit at my TpT store. Click on the picture below for a direct link. Happy Measuring sweet friends!

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