Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter Eggs for the Win

So, Easter eggs.  Who came up with them?  I don't know, but I love whoever did.  These plastic little toys are the best thing in my classroom each and every spring.  Here's my favorite five ways to use them.

1.  Math Centers

This one is all over Pinterest, but it's really pure genius.  The best part is this one can be used in so many different grade levels and for so many different math skills.  Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division...even using them for ten frames, shape matching, coins, and time - the math possibilities never end.

2.  Behavior Management

This is otherwise known as - my way to rid my classroom of junk after spring cleaning.  So here's how it works.  Throughout the day, I'll find something some of my students are doing well.  Maybe walking in the hallway nicely, doing morning work quietly, etc.  When I see them doing it well, I'll announce that so and so's name is going in the bucket.  Then the rest of their classmates magically start doing what they're supposed to be doing - that positive reinforcement stuff, ya know?  When we have extra time during the day, I'll draw a name from the bucket and that student will get to come open an egg.  Some eggs have erasers inside, others have stickers or candy.  The best ones have a slip that says "Pick a prize."  If students pick this one, they get to choose something out of my magical pile of junk to take home!  Hooray!  So if its old books, posters, behavior charts - whatever - my students always love junk from the classroom to take home.

3.  Sight Words

This one is super simple.  I'll put sight words inside eggs for students to read.  The problem words might get in more that one egg, while the gimme words (like "the" and "and") will definitely only get in one.  Students can go to the eggs during a center and use the Trace, Cover, Write method.  If the word is "was," students say the word, trace it with their finger, cover the word (or turn it over), and write it.  This helps to build those dendrites in the brain that will keep words in their long term memory, which is the ultimate goal of sight words.

4.  Predicting/Inferring

This science skill is something students do naturally, but don't have a name to put with it sometimes.  Since we also read many stories where we have to infer, this is a great activity for integration between reading and science.  Fill those eggs with anything and everything.  From syrup (if you don't mind getting gross), to rice, to coins, to rocks - really anything.  Now, tape those suckers shut and put a number on each.  Students can go around the room to different centers to use their senses to infer.  For this activity, I typically would get the cheap Easter eggs that can be seen through when holding them up to the light.  This allows them to use an extra sense for inferences.  The students can record what they think is inside the egg and give reasons why.  That's some higher order thinking right there. 

5. Creating Words

Put familiar word families on one side of the egg (like -ap, -et, -ig, etc.), and put beginning sounds on the other side.  Students can twist the egg to make new words and record them.  For your higher kiddos?  Add suffixes or prefixes to one side and the base words on the other side.  We're learning about -ful and -ly this week, so these eggs will be perfect!

Happy Easter to all!  Good luck this week!