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Nonstandard Measurement

Nonstandard Measurement can be such a FUN math unit in the classroom. It is relatively easy for students to learn and master and it can be a nice break from the continuous addition, subtraction, and place value that we teach all year long.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite lessons and activities!

 Car and ramp races! 
This is a simple lesson that gets students measuring and building ramps - a little STEM action for the win! My students work in pairs to build ramps using a clipboard and whatever else they can find and race three cars down the ramp. They label where each one ends with a post it. Then, students measure how far each car went with a nonstandard tool of their choice (cubes, paperclips, erasers, pompoms, etc.) Easy and fun for my students to measure and compare lengths.
*This picture was recreated on my kitchen floor with my son's cars because all my stuff is in storage, but I usually use small matchbox cars from the dollar store*

 Stringy shapes is another fun one. I created a bunch of these stringy shape patterns and my students use yarn to recreate the shape. Then, they straighten out the yarn and measure how long each shape is with centimeter cubes (or any other nonstandard tool). I created 10 different shapes so students like to predict which ones they think are longer and then test them out!

 Misconceptions while measuring are super important to clarify while my students are accurately learning how to measure so I alwayssssssssss like to kick off a lesson with some "fix it" cards. [I use these when teaching all of our math units] They pose a problem that another student has completed incorrectly and I like for my students to identify what is wrong and verbalize how they would fix it.

Crooked paths! 
Using a large piece of construction paper I create two different paths and label them A and B. One line will be straight and the other will be crooked. The end of the straight line will appear longer than the crooked line. Students will first estimate and explain which line they think is longer and why. Then, students will measure the lines with a nonstandard measurement tool and see if their estimations are correct. My students are always surprised when they find out that even though the straight line appears to be longer, the crooked one is!

I put all the above lessons with recording sheets (and lots more) in a little nonstandard measurement pack for you! You can click the image below to see more and download the preview to get an idea of the other printables and activities included:

Measurement, Time, Graphing, and Data

I don't know about you, but in my first grade classroom I feel like I teach addition, subtraction and place value ALL.YEAR.LONG. 

Well, that's because, I basically do, which makes sense because it is so very important for my students to master for real world application and because they need to know it to succeed in 2nd grade!

While that's all fine and dandy, but I do love a little break in our math block and when I teach measurement, time, and data, we get the fun break we need! I like to make these standards as fun as possible with lotssssss of hands-on learning!

I collected and organized lots of the activities I have done over the year for the following standards:

For each of these 4 categories there are 4-5 hands on lessons (some of each are shown above)!

I also included task cards, explanation tasks, sorts, and practice printable pages for each category. You can see some of those below:

If you think your students could use activities and lessons like these, you can download the preview and take a look by clicking the image below:

Read Aloud Lessons

Read aloud has always been one of my favorite parts of teaching. When I was in college, it is what I imagined doing most of my day. Sitting in a rocking chair, reading a classroom favorite, while my students stare back at me, completely enamored by the characters and plot of a story. My ideal world, right?! 

From time to time, that was a real scene. Typically it was after lunch and my students needed to "wind down" before we could begin learning. I would always ask questions throughout when they popped up, but a few years into teaching I wanted to make this time a bit more purposeful.

I had collected mentor texts... books with depth... stories that my students learned to love and wanted to read over and over. Some days I would write post-its where I saw great questions or talking points, but after the years I would lose the post-its.

It wasn't until I had a set time period for an interactive read aloud, that I knew I wanted to make an organized scope and sequence for my lessons. All the questions I had come up with over the past years, I wanted easily accessible. 

In my own words an interactive read aloud is a planned and purposeful read aloud that encourages both deeper thinking and respectful discussion. 

I spent the past 5 months going through my current book collection, checking out book after book at the library, and ordering plenty of new paperbacks off Amazon until I could find a selection of books I thought were good enough for the skills I wanted to be sure I covered throughout the year. Then, I went through each book - hundreds of time (or so it felt) - to find my favorite stopping points and comprehension questions that really help my students focus on the skill at hand.

I have listed out the scope and sequence along with books I use below:

There are 64 books total and each one-page lesson is set up them same:

If you want to take a look and try a free read aloud lesson for the story, Officer Buckle and Gloria, just click on any of the images below and download the preview!

The scope and sequence was really to help ME plan - so feel free to help yourself and use the lessons and books however you see fit! I know a few teachers who have loved them for subs!

I really hope these can help in your planning!

Free Legend of the Poinsettia Activities!

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola is one of my favorite Holidays Around the World books to read! I thought I would share some of the comprehension and vocabulary activities I use each year {of course, all "gussied up" with better borders and fonts than I used in the past}.

In case you're reading the same book and need some free activities just click below:

There is a simple, retelling sheet, a comprehension question page, and some vocabulary that I point out to my first graders.

I also included a directed drawing for a poinsettia. They are super, simple to draw which usually means success for ALL my students, artistically inclined or not ;)


Christmas Writing Prompts, Printables and Crafts

It can be hard to keep your young students' minds focused on school when the holidays come around. Heck, it can be hard to keep your own mind focused on school when the holiday lights are up, the Christmas songs are on the radio, and the air starts to get a little chill!

Holiday writing prompts were always an easy fix. I throw a little holiday music on in the background, allow lots of choice in my students writing and my students get to writing. It is a wonderfully relaxing time. 

I threw together some of my favorite prompts I've used over the past few years in a little Christmas writing unit. It is designed for teacher ease! 

This unit includes:
14 narrative writing prompts
14 informative writing prompts
14 opinion writing prompts
elf craft
Santa craft
reindeer craft

There are plenty of writing paper options, print-and-write sheets, and the crafts are only 3 or 4 pieces with plenty of space for your students to personalize and make it their own.

To take a closer look at some of the writing included, click below and download the preview:

Happy holidays!

Thank YOU!

Sometimes I cannot believe that I started this little edu-blogging adventure 3.5 years ago!

I love sharing my experiences and ideas in and out of the classroom and I have learned SO much just by sharing with all of you!

With Thanksgiving coming up oh, so soon, I am thankful for so many things. In the forefront I am thankful for these two handsome fellas:
My husband, Parker, and my son, Theo.

and I am thankful for my healthy pregnancy carrying my second son, Calvin, who will grace us with his presence this coming April.

Lastly, I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you!!!

I thought I would hold a little giveaway and share some gift cards to two of my favorite places:

$50 to Target
$25 to Starbucks

Just enter the giveaway below and I will choose one, lucky winner this Saturday!!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Thanksgiving Math Center: TURKEY RACES!

Ahhh.. the holidays are coming... 

The air is crisp, the leaves here in Massachusetts are all shades of orange, yellow, and red and most of them have made their way to the ground already!

With all the excitement, I know my first graders always needed high engagement. Anything that could keep my students learning and on-track was a win during these holiday months.

I'm not sure about your class, but my room always loved a good, competitive partner game. I thought I would share a free little math center that you could just print and use in your room:


This Thanksgiving math center is a fun, addition partner game!

Students will pair up and grab one board, one ten-frame tracker, & one turkey spinner.

Student A will spin the spinner and track that number on their tens-frame sheet. Student B will do the same. Every time a student fills a 10 frame, they may color in one block on their tower on the game board. 

The first student to reach 100 (the top of their tower) wins!

There are colored boards that can be laminated and re-used with a dry erase marker as well as black and white boards that can just be printed and used with crayons or pencils!

There are also 4 different spinners, so students can play many times with different numbers!

As students progress you can also take away the 10-frame trackers and have students add on scrap paper or in their heads!

If you think your students could use this, please click the image below and grab a copy!

Also, if you are looking for some great community building ideas for Thanksgiving, check out my {last post} about Stone Soup!

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