## Math Sculptures Concept Lesson

Math Sculptures are a great way to bring hands-on math into your classroom.

• Paper
• Markers
• Stickers

## Counting Collections

We usually start by distributing linking cubes. Our classrooms have a nice supply that came with our official district math program. We created counting collections that can be shared between classrooms. There are probably lots of ways to organize them. We just simply have them in a big bucket and hand out random fistfuls. Kids are allowed to get more or different colors if they need to.

## Creating Sculptures

The kids love building with the cubes and come up with pretty interesting designs. Some kids simply create 3-dimensional patterns, others build animals or flowers. We don’t impose any rules other than not creating models of weapons.
Next, the kids have to take inventory. How many cubes did they use and how many of each color.

## Creating Word Problems

Then comes the fun part. Creating math problems with the sculptures. This is the meat of the math sculptures concept lesson. Kids will use the sculptures to create their own math problems. The ability to manipulate the problem with the actual object is incredibly important to develop number sense.

## Math Sculpture ExHibition

Last, the class has a math exhibition. We have half the class share and the other walk around and solve the different problems. Presenters give out stickers for each problem solved. The presenters then switch with the audience and this way everybody gets a turn.

Did you try it? Let us know in the comments below. For more fun and engaging hands-on math lessons click right here.

## 4 Easy Back-To-School Ideas

Is the summer really over? Is it really time to go back-to school? If this is your first time setting up or you are almost ready to retire, the first day of school can bring up lots of anxiety. Don’t worry you can do it ! Here are some fun ideas to make back-to-school a success.

Imagine the end of the first day of school. The kids are all lined up, ready to go home. Their faces are flushed with excitement. Finally, the bell rings and as students file out, they sneak a quick hug and whisper, ” I can’t wait to come back tomorrow!”

Ensuring a fun-filled smooth first day sets the tone for the rest of the school year. There is nothing better than overhearing your students happily tell their parents how much fun they had and that they can’t wait to come back to see you the next day! We compiled 4 fun and easy back-to-school activities to spice up your first day.

## 1. Name Game

Learning everybody’s name is quite the task on the first day. One of our favorite game is Willoughby Wallaby Woo. The game is focused on the teacher and eases some of the first day jitters. We have kids volunteer to play the game. In the beginning only the brave raise their hands, after a while everybody wants to have an elephant sitting on them.

## 2. Class Mural

We have very kid create a full figure drawing of themselves for our circle poster. First, We give a quick demonstration of proportions. Usually we recommend to start with pencil and then outline with black marker. Color the figures with crayon or markers and cut them out. The class then arrange all of the shapes in a circle on butcher paper and glue them in place.

## 3. Dance

The freeze dance is a great way to get the kids moving on the first day of school. You can use any kind of music and just stop it (or have volunteer do it for you). We really like using Greg and Steve’s awesome version in the beginning of the year. This way you can circulate and don’t have to worry about a thing.

## 4. Journals

We use journals for pretty much everything. We have morning journals,  reflections on lessons, and doodle in them. The journals we use are blank and can be decorated easily.  However, any kind of journal will do and kids love to personalize their materials. Decorating the journals is a fun activity any day.

## Concentric Circles Art Project

There is no must in art because art is free”

~Wassily Kandinski

## The Artist

Wassily Kandinsky was known for his colorful abstract art. Born in Russia and trained as a lawyer, he became a well-known artist in the famous Blue Rider Group. He also taught at the German Bauhaus school of art. Later, he settled in France and died in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1944.  A well-known work of art is his Concentric Circles.

## Concentric Circles Art Project

Concentric Circles is a great project for students to feel successful. Even young students love experimenting with different color combinations.

We love using oil pastels for this project. The artist originally used paint and we have seen successful versions made with pretty much any art materials under the sun. You can pull this project off with crayons and scrap paper if necessary.

There are many YouTube video lessons to choose from to inspire your students. This is one of our favorites. The teacher used black construction paper instead of white and it looks great as well.

## Materials For Concentric Circles

• Paper
• Pastels/Crayons

## Procedure

Model folding the paper four times and then unfolding it. The creases become the frames for the concentric circles. Show students how to draw the circles with the oil pastels. The thicker they color in, the more colorful the image becomes.

Have fun creating! If you liked our concentric circles art project, please check out more of our (Almost) No Prep Art Projects.

## 5 Easy STEAM Project Ideas Kids Will Love

Science,Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics also known as STEAM has sparked a new way to energize STEM subject.  Here are 5 easy STEAM Project ideas kids will love to get you started on this new teaching adventure.

## Create a Playground

Who hasn’t dreamed of having their very own playground? This STEAM project idea makes every kid’s dream come true. Create your own blueprints and then build a model from materials you have at hand. Can it get any more fun than this?

## Build Bridges

Help! The counting bears are trapped on desk islands. Can your class come to the rescue and build bridges from popsicle sticks, string, and tape? Your class will love planning the bridges, building them, and then writing about the bears’ adventures. The STEAM bridge making challenge is a blast.

## Plant a Butterfly Garden

Monarch butterflies can smell milkweed from miles away. If you plant it they will come! It only takes a few plants and some flowers and you can have your very own monarch butterfly habitat. Your class will love observing the monarch butterfly metamorphosis. Even better, the garden will attract monarchs for years to come.

## Build Boats

A boat building STEAM challenge is a great way to justify some water play on a hot day. We use several plastic tubs and use leftover materials to build flotation devices. You can make it a competition by inviting the kids to see how many counting bears or other materials the devices can carry before sinking.

## Build a Fort

Who doesn’t have amazing memories building forts as a kid? Even better than building a fort is building one with your friends. This project lends itself to the end of the year when plenty of boxes and building materials are available and many regular classroom items have been stored already. Some teachers even ask students to bring blankets, pillows, and flashlights. We have used boxes, chairs, blankets, tables, and butcher paper. Whatever your materials are, this activity is a sure crowd pleaser and who doesn’t want to be the coolest teacher ever?

We would love to hear your STEAM project ideas! What easy STEAM projects do your students love?

# 5 Great Spring Lesson Plan Ideas

Spring is in the air and it is time to get out some seasonal activities. We have put together 5 great Spring lesson plan ideas that will surely drive out any remnants of the winter blues, that might be hiding in your classroom.

### 1. Listen To Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

We like to play classical music as background music during quiet times in the classroom. It signals the need to keep the volume down and there is lots of research about classical music being beneficial to concentration.  Seems like a win-win idea for our Spring classroom.

### 2. Paint Spring Flowers

Georgia O’Keeffe is known for her beautiful flowers. We let ourselves be inspired by her style and create our own art pieces. Her style is easily imitated, and even very young students can feel successful. You can learn more about it right here.

### 3. Make Potato Planters

Potato planters are so much fun to make. All you need is large potatoes, grass seeds, soil, and decoration. You can learn more about potato planters right here.

### 4. Memorize A poem

There are many spring poems to choose from. We like to chart our poems and choral read until everybody has memorized the entire poem. This way your class will not only learn a beautiful new poem but also get plenty of fluency practice. You will be surprised how quickly your students will memorize even difficult poems. Once a poem is committed to memory, students work on projecting their voice and enunciation.

### 5. Sing A Spring Song

Spring makes you feel like singing. The birds are chirping, the bees are humming, and your students are tapping their feet. What better way than to harness all this energy and learn a new song! There are lots of beautiful spring songs to choose from.

## 6 St. Patrick’s Day Lesson Plan Ideas

Luck is believing you’re lucky.”

~Tennessee Williams

# St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by exploring Ireland through art, music, and engineering. Here are some of our favorite activities to make this celebration a meaningful learning experience. We have added links to most of the resources you need, so prep will be a breeze.

## Music & Dance

It is fun just to hop around and enjoy Irish music.

If you would like to take this lesson a little deeper, dancing the jig is great exercise and very easy to learn.

## Art

This is one of our (Almost) No Prep Art Lessons. You probably have all the materials you need in you classroom. Students draw the shamrock and create the lines with a ruler. You can learn more about this lesson right here.

## Food

Taste the Rainbow

We use every opportunity to promote healthy eating. Most kids will at least try a food offered in the classroom. We assemble a fruit rainbow in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The cut fruit and berries are offered buffet style. The kids help themselves to the different fruits. They later chart their fruit platter in their journals. We have more healthy party snack ideas right here.

## Engineering

The day before St. Patrick’s Day out students design and create leprechaun traps in class. This is one of the our favorite activities of the whole year. Many teachers have kids create traps at home. They often look more polished than our crazy classroom creations.

## Social Studies

If you or your students are interested in learning more about St. Patrick you can watch some of these videos.

## Math Sculptures

Number sense comes alive with this activity. Students build Sculptures with counting cubes or other manipulatives available to you. They then draw their creations and record the number of cubes they used.

Materials:

• Math Manipulatives
• Paper
• Markers or crayons

Procedure:

Demonstrate how to build a math sculpture. Distribute manipulatives, paper, and markers. Demonstrate how to sketch the sculpture and record the number of cubes used. Have fun creating!

You can find more hands-on math projects right here.

## 5 Great Poems for Morning Meetings

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.

~Plutarch

We have been using poetry as part of our morning routine for years. the procedure is quite simple; a poem is charted and the class recites it while a volunteer points to the words. When the children have memorized the entire poem, they work on enunciation and projection. Students then recite the poem to an audience.

Materials:

• Chart Paper
• Markers
• Pointer

Procedure:

We first preview the poem on Youtube. Then we choral read the charted verses. One student points to the words with a pointer. We repeat the procedure several times and kids take turns pointing. It takes about a week for students to memorize a new poem.

Here are some of our favorites:

America the Beautiful

Hope

You can find wonderful resources at:

## Winter Mural

We love making a winter mural! The kids create individual homes and we combine them into towns and villages. The best part is, that we can leave the decoration up until we come back after the winter break.

Materials:

• Blue and white butcher paper
• Colorful construction paper
• Scissors
• Glue
• Sequins (optional)
• White and blue tempera paint

Procedure:

Prepare the landscape with butcher paper and tempera paint. Cut the white butcher paper in a wavy pattern and glue it on the bottom of the blue paper. Paint swirly patterns on the blue paper. The swirly patterns create the impression of icy gales blowing over the landscape.

Introduce the kids to making a collage. We show them how to create small houses with colorful construction paper. They decorate them with glittery sequins and markers.

The whole class helps to arrange the houses into small towns. The kids love creating a neighborhood with their friends!

Looking for more (Almost) No Prep Art? Click right here.

## Our Top 5 Rainy Day PE Ideas

Are you ready for inclement weather recess? Try some of our ideas and you will learn to love indoor recess. Ok, ok, maybe not love, but at least your students will enjoy it.

Yoga

Yoga has become very popular in schools. You don’t have to be a Yoga instructor to get some of that good vibe into your classroom. There are lots of exercise videos available, or simply use some from Youtube.

Indoor Obstacle Course

We use crepe paper strips, hula hoops, and carpet pieces to create the ultimate spy-training obstacle course.

Dance

Who can resist dancing? Learn some new moves on a rainy day with some youtube dance videos.

Workout Video

Workout videos are a straightforward way to get everybody moving. There are lots of great workouts available on youtube.

Tai Chi

We used to have a teacher at our school, who kept us in awe with her awesome Tai Chi moves. Since she retired we have resorted to Youtube videos.