Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fun Shape Pictures, Great Christmas Idea & A FREEBIE! :)

Is it really only December 4th???  With Thanksgiving so early this year, we have 4 weeks between breaks.  Yes, that sounds awfully whiny, but we're used to only 3 & the kids are already all kinds of coo-koo crazy waiting for Santa!  Our classroom Elf on a Shelf arrived early Monday morning & he is not having QUITE the effect he usually does.  Could be because my kids named him "Prince Noah Jingles", but who knows?!  Last year, Santa called my cell (with his own personal ringtone) and that worked like a charm, so maybe I'm gonna have to implement that little trick ASAP. :)

Anyway, it IS December, and around my school, that means teaching shapes. 

I admit it - I dread teaching shapes. Wait, I dread THREE to FOUR weeks of teaching shapes. With so much background knowledge, the kids usually bore easily with our unit on shapes, but we are required to teach them for three weeks.  BUT, this year, with the new Common Core, the depth of knowledge is much deeper, so it made planning for this unit much more fun.  

So far, we have only focused on flat or 2D shapes, but this was such a fun activity, I wanted to share. I also used it for my "formal" observation, so fingers crossed that went well :)

Anyway, we started with the book Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban.
If you aren't familiar with it, this is just a picture book - no words. So, each page is a picture of "real world" scenes full of shapes. I scanned each page & imported it into a FlipChart for the Promethean Board. Then, with each page, the kids came up and found the shapes in the picture with the pen. They outlined them, identified the shape & told how many sides and corners. They loved it !!

Then, we talked about composite shapes (new math vocab!) & how we could make pictures from existing shapes.

I passed out baggies of die-cut pattern blocks (thanks to Room Mom for cutting out HUNDREDS of shapes!) & told the kiddies they had to create a picture using at least 12 shapes and ONLY shapes (no drawing!).  In no time, the kids went to work!

It was AWESOME to see their creativity & what they came up with !
 This is a bee hive with a flower!
 A Christmas tree with snowflakes.
 A rocket & stars
An alien!

Another one of the rules was that the children had to create a picture they could really explain - i.e. they couldn't just glue down their shapes & then give me a blank stare when I asked what it was.  They had to write 3 sentences about their creation & count the shapes.

Later, they tallied & graphed their shapes.
Then, they had to reflect on their work & complete a self-assessment rubric.  This is an area we are really trying to focus on in 1st grade, so I keep it simple, but want the kids to reflect on their ability to follow directions.
No idea why it's sideways.

Anyway, here are the final products!

I just love how they turned out ! :)
We're still working on sentence structure ( do kids EVER learn to capitalize & punctuate consistently??!!!?!) but the whole thing went well. I'll tell you - it's time consuming, but every single one of my firsties could tell me what a composite shape was when this was over.  And, you'll just have to trust me, that's a BIG deal ! :)

Anyway, if you want the documents, I have put them in my TpT store for FREE.  Just click <HERE>!

They're nothing fancy, but you are more than welcome to them :)

Okay, lastly... a great Christmas idea!
  So, you might have heard of this & I've been living under a rock, but this week, I have received the CUTEST & sweetest Christmas surprise from one of my sweeties. 

  On Monday (December 3rd), this little girl came in and said " I have presents for you!". I asked her "for what?" to which she just replied "Cause it's December!"

  She then handed me the first gift - a little clipboard with the note (I'm improvising here...) "On the 1st day of Christmas, I give you something to use . . . this clipboard so your papers you won't lose".

  Then, she handed me the second one - TWO red sharpies with the note "On the 2nd day of Christmas, I know the kids are busy bees. But, you can grade their papers with these two red sharpies!"

   The third one - THREE binder clips with the note "On the 3rd day of Christmas, I give you three binder clips. I'm sure it'd be tempting to use them on some of our lips!"

   And today, FOUR highlighters ... "On the 4th day of Christmas, highlighters come in packs of four... as my first grade teacher, you have really helped me soar!"

Isn't that the BEST thing ever?!?  I just think it's about the most clever and creative teacher gift to come along, and I can't wait to see what the rest of my days bring :) I mean, what teacher doesn't love school supplies, some creativity and a personal touch?  I just had to share!

Anyway, as always, thanks for stopping by!!! I love your comments, so if you use this in your room, let me know how it goes! :)


  1. That is a creative teacher gift! I hope you will share the rest of gifts as they come along.:)

    Granny Goes to School

  2. That is a great idea for a gift!!! I may have to do that for my student teacher!!! Thanks for sharing!
    If you have time stop by my blog and enter my giveaway! Thanks so much!

    Brigid's Daily Lesson Log

  3. What a cute gift...I mean, what teacher doesn't love school supplies?!? I just downloaded the freebie and love it...thanks! I especially love the rubric and wanted to see if you have the template of it. I would love to start using it with my kids. I think it would really help both of us! If you don't mind sharing, my email is meredith.mays@gmail.com
    Thanks again for sharing your great ideas :)

  4. Love these activities! And what a cute blog design you have here! I'm a new follower :)


  5. Wow! Lucky teacher to be getting all these cute poems and gifts! I would love to hear the poems you continue to get!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Love yours -especially love all your clever fairy tale phrases!

    Crayons and Whimsy

  6. I love your shapes activity and rubric. I saved it to my wish list on TPT, so hopefully I'll remember it when I teach shapes in March.

  7. I am jealous of your sweetie and all the cute gifts! Love it:) I love your shape activity as well. My second graders would love this activity:)

    Surfin' Through Second

  8. Great Math activities! I am so grateful for the freebies! Thanks so much!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe


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