Thursday, June 21, 2012

Math Throughout the Week, Month and Year!

Hi! This is Sarah from The Fabulous First Grade and I am SO excited to be guest blogging for Casey today. Lucky girl is laying out on the beach somewhere! (I'm barely jealous)

Anyway, since math is one of my FAVORITE subjects to teach, I thought I would share with you about some ongoing math projects that you can do throughout the week, month, or year. These projects are so exciting for the kids because they get to see the progression from day to day and trust me, they notice!

Weekly, one of the activities my kiddos and I did was an estimation jar. I know, I know, old news, everyone does an estimation jar...but, we put a little twist on it.

Our beautiful estimation jar is an old peanut butter container. HA! I just hate the idea of using glass and it breaking since I let the kids handle it themselves. Plus it travels to and from homes and that just makes me nervous! Unfortunately I don't have pictures of my jar, but here are a few examples!

So the first week of school, I put something fairly large in the estimation jar (like marshmallows, gummy worms, cotton balls, etc.). In addition, I put one of whatever we are estimating in a baggie to the side for the kids to handle. One of my professors in college stressed: "It's not estimation if the kids to not have something to manipulate to make an educated choice, otherwise it is a guessing jar!" Some things just stick!

I give the kids 2 chances to make estimations throughout the week (usually it's during morning work or dismissal time) and then on Friday morning, right after calendar time we are just itching to see who was closest. In the beginning of the year, I just write all the numbers on the board and we find the winner that way. I will give you examples of how in depth you can go with it a little later. Here are the slips that I give the kids to write their estimations on!

So we have a winner! So the student gets to take the estimation jar home, eat/play with whatever is inside, and then their job is to bring it back on Monday with something new inside! I have never had a problem with the students bringing it back because they are so excited about it.

Later in the year, we plotted our results on line plots and we made line graphs, we studied the bare minimun of mean, median, and mode, fractions, probability, and so much more! You can almost always fit it into whatever you are teaching about that week!

We also did all kinds of monthly activities. On in particular went along with calendar time, and once again this is no new thing, but we did a daily weather graph. I have to say that because we did this monthly, my kids were STARS at deciphering pictographs, and understanding the concept of more/less, most/least, probability, etc. You would think that they would get bored of it but no way! We used a big class graph, but the students also got their own graph to fil out at their seats. I found that it made them much more accountable for their work! Here is a copy of the weather graph!

One yearly activity we did was a birthday graph. Instead of just posting the kiddos birthdays on a typical birthday chart, I posted them in two different ways. First, I posted each month horizontally along a line, and put the child's name and actual birthdate above it.

Next, I made a hortizonal line that said 5, 6, and 7 year olds. When the child made it to their new age, it was a huge deal to move it to the next year!

So I know that this is nothing brand new and exciting, but they are ideas that are tried and true and they worked really well with my first graders! I hope you enjoyed my post and that you'll stop by my blog to check out some of my ideas! I give away lots of freebies!



  1. I love sending the estimation jar home! What a cute idea! There's always a little something new in the old ideas. I find something everytime. Thanks for sharing :)

    Reaching for the TOP!

  2. I like the idea of sending the jar home with the winner! The kids must love it. And I like that Teddy bear job.

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  3. Awesome sauce! Fabulous putting the bag next to the jar to help the kids with their estimations. I like the idea of sending it home as well, but I think I might also have a variety of estimation options available for the winner to choose- just in case the child knows or believes there would not be anything at their home to put in the jar. I have a lot of economically disadvantaged kids, so I wouldn't want to create a possible hardship for them.

  4. We used to have a school-wide estimation station run by our math coach!

    I loooove the idea of sending it home, especially with The Meek Moose's modification! I might have a back-up jar with a few possible options available so that the kid can pick on Monday if they forgot!

    Thanks so much for sharing! :)

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad


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