Monday, August 31, 2015

New Blog Structure

Hello Routty Math Teacher Community!

Today, I am introducing a new weekly blog structure. Each week, I will have three special features. I describe each feature in detail below. It's going to be a great school year! Happy Reading!

Great teachers, like you, are always looking for ways to improve their instruction and the success of their students. They attend summer professional development opportunities, they scour the web for new resources, and they regularly read teacher blogs searching for new ideas, strategies, and techniques. Transformation Tuesday was created for you! This weekly feature will highlight ways to increase student engagement in the classroom. Each month, I will change the focus. The month of September will feature ways to transform your classroom with engaging assessment tools.  

One the most common things I hear from teachers is about not knowing how to best utilize manipulatives. Many schools have a variety of manipulatives ready to be used, but they often go unused because teachers are unsure of how to use them to their fullest potential. Look no further. I've got something special for you! Thursday Tool School will feature various math manipulatives that are common in schools. This weekly post will provide ideas for ways to get the most out of the tools. I will feature a new manipulative each month, so be sure to stay tuned. 

The ability to solve problems using multiple methods is an essential skill students need to be successful mathematicians. NCTM (2014) advocates that "teachers must regularly select and implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving" so that students have opportunities to engage in "high-level" thinking (p. 17). In fact, research shows that "student learning is greatest in classrooms where the tasks consistently encourage high-level student thinking and reasoning" (NCTM, 2014, p. 17). The weekly Solve It! problem is designed to help meet these goals and provide teachers with an engaging task that will provide opportunities for students to reason about math and engage in high-level thinking. Additionally, students will strengthen their communication skills and learn to evaluate the mathematical thinking of others.  

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.: Reston, VA. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Introducing the Routty Math Teacher's Teaching Tidbits-- a Monthly Newsletter

Hello Routty Math Teacher Community!

I'm excited to announce my new monthly newsletter with all of your favorite Routty Math Teacher features packed in one tidy, little package. The newsletter will be delivered during the first week of every month beginning in October and will include feature articles, teaching tidbits, math 'n' literature resources, and subscriber freebies. Plus, once you complete your subscription, you'll receive the link to a bonus freebie full of interactive notebook printables delivered to your inbox. You can grab your copy by clicking on the picture below.

Note: Your privacy is a top priority. Your email address will never be shared.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Blog Rewind: RACE and J.U.S.T.I.F.Y.

One of the tools I have found to be most successful for my students is utilizing a structure to analyze story problems. While I understand that some students do not need a prescribed structure, many students do not know how to analyze a problem and create a strategy solution plan of action. Using a problem solving model emphasizes the steps necessary to solve problems successfully. Over the years, my students have shown much success solving math story problems using my two favorite models. Click here to read my original post. Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blog Rewind: Use Bulletin Boards to Promote Challenge

A few years ago, I decided to start using the wall space in the hallway to extend the learning space of my classroom. After initially using the space to put up student work for a gallery walk, I began to make learning stations out there as well. This sparked an idea! I could create interactive bulletin boards to promote critical thinking and provide enrichment for my students. It was another opportunity to capitalize on my time and resources. Using a bulletin board, I had an instant station that was assembled all of the time. Click here to read my original post. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blog Rewind: Menus

A few years ago, I began using menus in my classroom to provide my students with an alternative activity for the fast finishers and math station seat work. It turned out to be one of my favorite activities! Using menus meant my students always had something on which to work. In addition, I was excited that the menus allowed me to include activities and projects that I was not able to fit within our regular class time. Most importantly, the students were excited about the menus and worked on them diligently throughout the grading period. Adding menus to my classroom was one of the highlights of the year and became a fun and engaging activity for the students. Click here to read my original post. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blog Rewind: Journals

Over the years, journaling has been the single most valuable tool for me in the classroom. While it can be time-consuming to assign and grade, the benefits of the task make it worthwhile. Using math journals in the classroom gives me a glimpse into what my students are thinking and where they are in the process of mastering the concept or skill that I am assessing. This single task can provide more information about a student's progress than any test or quiz. 

It's easy to start implementing journals in the classroom. Even if you only assign a handful of journal tasks this year, you will find the feedback useful for planning your next steps for instruction. Read about how I use journals in my math classroom here. Happy Reading!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blog Rewind: After Math/ Book Activities

The very first post of the engaging mathematics series was about something I called, "After Math" and math 'n' literature book activities. Read about how to encourage your students to think about how we use math after class is over and how to support your grade level content and skills with math 'n' literature. Click here to read the post. Happy reading!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blog Rewind: August 24th - 28th

Hello Routty Math Teacher Community!

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I launched this blog page. What an amazing journey this has been! I have learned so much, especially considering I didn't even really know what a blog was when I started blogging for The Routty Math Teacher. In honor of my blog-a-versary, I am rewinding and highlighting some of the most popular posts from my very first series, Engaging Mathematics. So for those of you who are new to this community of readers, I hope you get some great ideas to use in your classroom. For those of you who have been frequent readers, I hope seeing these popular posts will inspire some new ideas for you as well. Check back each day this week for a new post. Happy Reading!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Problem Solving

One of my favorite activities in the classroom is problem solving. It's such an important skill! We use it many times throughout our day without even thinking about it. In fact, this is a great introduction to problem solving-- make a list of all of the problems in your world you solved today or this week, such as what time to set the alarm clock for or how much time is needed to walk to school each day. Then have students discuss the strategies they used to make a decision. Create an anchor chart for these ideas and refer to them as they reappear in future discussions. Hopefully, students will begin to notice that they use some of the same strategies to solve problems outside of math class as they do inside it. 

I like to get started using problem solving in the classroom during the first days of the school year so that students understand the importance of it and that it will be a part of what we do every day. During math time, my problem solving component has two goals:
Click the picture for a free download.
  • Understand How to Analyze Story Problems- While the situations are not always authentic and the problems are generally more routine, I consider this to be a form of problem solving because the students learn how to analyze the problem for the parts needed to begin solving it. This not only supports the work we do to prepare for our state assessment, but it also provides a training ground for the more non-routine problems that I like to use. Depending on the grade level of the students, I use my RACE or J.U.S.T.I.F.Y. problem solving models to accomplish this goal.  
  • Solve Non-Routine Problems- These are my favorite type of problems to use in the classroom; however, they do require more time to allow the students to understand and then solve them. The understanding piece is aided by the initial process that I mentioned above. Non-routine problems are ones that cannot be solved by simply adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing to find the answer. They require students to develop and execute a plan of action and can often have more than one solution. 
With these two goals in mind, I try to integrate problem solving into what we do on a daily basis. Using this strategy, my students have multiple opportunities to use and expand their problem solving toolboxes, as well as, communicate with others about their thinking using math talk

This school year, I challenge you to integrate problem solving into your program at least three times a week. Increasing the amount of problem solving your students do on a regular basis will provide a great return on your investment. 

Here are some resources to get you started: 
If you have great problem solving resources to share, please include them in the comments below. 

Have a fantastic school year!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Math Talk

Using mathematical discussions in the classroom is a powerful way to increase our students' critical thinking and communication skills. However, what does effective math talk in the classroom look and sound like?

Today, I am guest posting for Rachel Lynette's "Minds in Bloom" website. So head on over to Rachel's website to explore ways to get your students thinking and communicating mathematically from the very first days of school. I've written a detailed article for you with lots of ready-made math talk resources to get you started. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Interactive Notebooks

Using interactive notebooks in the classroom is a trend that has gained popularity over the past couple of years. When coupled with foldables, interactive notebooks become great learning tools for students. If you perform a Google search for interactive notebooks, a wide array of websites and images will appear. If you're new to interactive notebooking, it can certainly be a challenge to get started. 

For my post today, I'm sharing how I like to do interactive notebooking, from the very first days of school. I consider the students' math notebooks to be their own student-created textbook. With that in mind, I only include items that have enough information to allow students to use their notebooks as reference tools. This means that each component must contain information that will support student learning outside of class. 

The polka dot ribbon is a bookmark that is taped to the inside back cover.
The pictures below illustrate how I set-up interactive notebooks at the beginning of the school year: 

While I haven't always included the "In Progress" envelope, it really helps when you have to end class in the middle of an activity and the students need a place to keep their work. Alternatively, the "In Progress" envelope could also serve as a place to place items that do not fit on a page very well, such as a rubber band book. 

I like for the notebook expectations to be front and center. Occasionally, I create these expectations with the students; however, I often just copy these expectations to use for better time management. 

In most years, I have the students create their own table of contents using the margins as their column dividers. However, depending on the age and ability level of the students, a reproducible table of contents works well too. 

The next few items are reference tools. I like to include them at the beginning of the notebook for ease of use. The first reference tool is the problem solving process that we use in class to analyze problems. (Note: You can find a free mini-pack with the J.U.S.T.I.F.Y. and RACE printables here or within the full versions at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.)

I also include a copy of the problem solving strategies most appropriate for my students' age and ability level so that we can refer to them as we solve problems. (Note: You can download a free copy here.)

The operation situations illustrate the types of problems students encounter when solving story problems. At the beginning of the school year, we discuss visualizing story problems in the same way that we might visualize a book that we are reading. Once students can visualize the situation and create a mental picture of the actions that are taking place, they can begin to connect the actions to symbols. The operation situations tie the mental actions and the symbolic representations together. (Note: You can find the full-size version of these pictures in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.)

In Texas, students are given a reference chart to use on their end-of-the-year state assessment. So that my students are proficient at utilizing this tool, we practice with it all year long. Having a copy available in their math notebooks keeps the learning tool accessible at all times. 

In order to get a better feel for my students' needs, I like to complete a learning preferences checklist during the first week of school. The information provides me with valuable feedback about my students and their learning needs. 

After completing the survey, students create a bar graph with their individual results. This gives us an opportunity to begin graphing right from the start of the school year.

This last piece gives the students an opportunity to get creative and show-off their individual style. I give students a guideline for how to format the page and a list of statements to get them started, but the creativity level is left entirely to them. 

I enjoy using interactive notebooks with my students every year. Having the opportunity to create their own unique "textbook" gives them some choice in how to create a learning tool that will best meet their needs. Set-up does take several days, but it is well worth the time!

I would love to hear how you use interactive notebooks in your classroom.  Please share your thoughts in the comments. 

Note: Like the printables you saw in the pictures? Stay tuned for more information about how to get a copy of this resource.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Estimation 180

One of the new resources I have been exploring over the past few weeks as the result of my involvement in Math Rocks, a community of teachers in my school district working together to build relationships and spread the love of math, is Estimation 180. This website includes a plethora of images from the real world where students have to estimate some figure in regards to what is represented in the picture. For an example, see the picture below. 

The website is organized by days. As of today, the site is up to 220 days; therefore you could use this website everyday for 220 days and get a different picture each day. Wow! 

Here's how it works: 
1. Choose an image.
2. For each image, have students answer the following questions:
  • What estimate is too low?
  • What estimate is too high?
  • What is your estimate?
  • What is your reasoning? Begin with, "I noticed . . ."
One of the other teachers in the Math Rocks community used the phrase "Mathematize Your World" to describe what is happening in these images. I love this phrase because that's exactly what students are expected to do. They are looking at ways that we use math in our everyday lives. How many times, looking at Image B, have we looked at a large container of something and needed to estimate how many smaller containers could share the contents of the large container? First day of school snacks, i.e. Goldfish? Estimation is part of what we do everyday.

This activity is an excellent opportunity to encourage students to communicate their thinking to others in pairs or small groups. After allowing students some think time to answer the questions above, allow students to share their reasoning with others and then do a class share-out. I'm not sure about you, but I just thought of a new starter-- Mathematize Your World Monday with Estimation 180. 

Not only does the website provide rich opportunities for students to use their estimation skills and discuss the reasoning they used to arrive at their estimation, but the website uses a Google form so that students can share their estimations with the world. Estimations could be submitted as a class, after agreeing on the estimation to submit, or individual students can submit their own estimations. After submission, students can access the contributions of others via the form results sheet. And yes, the correct answer is revealed during this process. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Starters

As we well know, our teaching minutes are precious. Every minute must count! Using starters offers an additional opportunity to get your students thinking mathematically from the first moments of class-- the best moments because it's a chance to "hook" your students right from the start. 
Number of the Day

Starters are critical thinking activities designed to get the students thinking about math and provide opportunities to "sneak" in grade level content and skills in a fun and engaging way. Designed to take no more than 5 minutes of instructional time, starters can include a variety of tasks. In order to get the most out of the time, I have a different starter for each day of the week. Here's an example of my most recent schedule for starters:

Number Sense Tiling Task
  • Monday- Number of the Day
  • Tuesday- Critical Thinking Task (usually involving the use of number tiles)
  • Wednesday- Today's Number
  • Thursday- Vocabulary
The above schedule is most recent, but I tend to change this schedule depending on the needs of my students. 

The list of options for starters is endless. Here's a list of some of my favorites: 
I love to challenge my students to complete these mental math operations faster and faster each time! Having four problems per card gives you four games in one. Find it at my TpT store! For a free, single problem version of this pack, subscribe to this blog (enter your email address under "Join the Routty Club" on the right sidebar). 
Click the pictures below to view a free version of the following resources. 
Back to School Math Starters
You can also find additional starters in the "Critical Thinking" section of my "File Cabinet." 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Word Wall Activities

Seventh grade word wall- includes pictures for each word. 
Understanding mathematical vocabulary and terms is essential to student success with grade level content and skills. Like many teachers, I used word walls to display these important words, but I didn't always give my students an opportunity to interact with the words. 

Over the years, and with some trial and error, I have learned that my students will retain the words much better if I include regular opportunities to review the words. 

I know what you're thinking-- time. When do I have time? Well, I've got the answer! Read on to explore some of my favorite ways to review important mathematical vocabulary and terms in 10 minutes a day. 

1. I'm Thinking of a Word Wall Word: Once a week, take 5-10 minutes out of the day to review the words. Choose a word to define and say, “I’m thinking of a word wall word that means (insert the definition here).” Ask students to raise their hands to respond. Repeat the process for 5-10 words. Over time, with regular use of this activity, students will become more proficient with their math vocabulary. 

2. Find the Relationship: This is a great way to have students think about the relationship between words. Ask two students to pick a word from the word wall. Have student groups determine how the words are related. After all student groups have had the opportunity to discuss the relationship, share-out as a class.  For example, on the Multiplication & Division Word Wall, Student A picks the word 'array' and Student B picks the word 'remainder.' Once the students have had some think time, they discuss the relationship between an array and a remainder.

3. What's the Relationship?: Put 5 - 7 word wall words on the board. Have students determine how the words are 
related to each other. This activity is completely open-ended. Be sure to allow students think time to determine the relationship. Note: This activity could also be used as a pre-assessment to see what your students understand about the vocabulary and terms related to a specific topic. 

4. Illustrate It!: Give each student a whiteboard. Have students create a visual definition, illustration, for each word. Then have students discuss how their visuals match the definition with a partner or other classmate.

5. Match-up: This makes a great impromptu grouping strategy for pairs. When new words are introduced, create a definition and illustration on separate index cards. Before beginning a partner activity or for a quick state change, hand out enough index cards (unpaired) so that each student has an index card. Have students study their card and then find the student with either the definition or a correct illustration to match. 

6. Compare/ Contrast: Pick two words from the word wall. Have students complete the sentence: A (An) __________ is like a (an) __________ because ___________________. They are different because __________________________________________________. For example: A rectangle is like a square because they both have four sides. They are different because a square must have four equal sides and the sides on a rectangle do not have to be equal.

7. Headbands: Prepare sentence strips with one vocabulary word each. Wrap each sentence strip and staple the ends together. Give each student a "headband." Without looking at the word, ask students to put the headband around their heads. Have students walk around the classroom asking other students questions about their word until they are able to guess what word is on their headband.

8. SWAT-It!: This has always been a class favorite! 
Use an 8.5 inch x 11 inch size paper to program a 3 x 3 unit rectangle with 9 vocabulary words. Project the rectangle onto your classroom whiteboard so that the students can reach all of the rectangles with a fly-swatter. 
Ask for two volunteers to come to the front of the room and stand on the left and right side of the Swat-it! board. Hand each student a fly-swatter. Read a definition. The students use the fly-swatter to swat the word that matches the definition. The first student to swat the correct word is the winner. 

9. Always, Sometimes, Never: Create a statement using two word wall words. Have students determine whether the statement is always true, sometimes true, or never true. Discuss the students' responses using examples or counterexamples to support the claims. For example: All even numbers are composite. (Answer: Sometimes true. The number 2 is even and prime.)

How do you use your word wall? Please share ideas below. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Critical Thinking

The next idea I would like to share is a new one that I recently learned about over the summer while completing training for a math group I joined in my school district called Math Rocks. The website is called "Which One Doesn't Belong?" The basic idea is to share a picture with your students and discuss which picture or element of the picture does not belong. Here's the beauty of it: There is no right or wrong answer. As long as students can justify their response, their answer is correct. Here are some ways you can use this in your classroom: 
  • Display a picture. Have students determine which one doesn't belong. Designate a corner of the room for each picture. Ask students to go to the corner of the room that represents which picture/ element they believe doesn't belong. Once students meet-up in their chosen corners, students discuss their reasoning for why their picture doesn't belong. Then have the groups share-out.
  • Display the picture. Challenge individuals or small groups to determine why each picture could be the one that doesn't belong. As a class, share your reasoning.
  • Display the picture. Designate a corner of the room for each picture. Randomly select students to go to each corner. Then ask students to go to their assigned corner. Once students meet-up, have them determine a reason why their picture does not belong. 
  • Have students determine a picture to add that would complete the set (depending on their "rule" for the set.).
  • Have students determine an object that would not complete the set (depending on their "rule" for the set.)
  • Have students create their own "Which One Doesn't Belong?" picture. Use the pictures throughout the year to challenge your students. 
Hint: The best way to display the pictures is to screen shot the page and then using an editing tool, like Paint, to crop the picture. 

Super Cute Idea: Play the Sesame Street song "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" while students are thinking about their response or have them sing the song while moving to their designated corner of the room. Click here for a short YouTube version of the song and/ or a simple example of the "Which One Doesn't Belong?" activity. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year with Graphing

One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of the school year is delve right into graphing. In the past, graphing has always been one of those skills that gets slighted because it always tends to land right before our state test on our yearly scope and sequence. A few years ago, I decided to try and integrate graphing activities throughout the year to avoid providing my students with a hurried graphing unit. Here are some ideas for how to get your students graphing from the very first days of school. 
  • Create a Birthday Bar Graph with the number of birthdays in each month of the year. I typically use the one-inch graph paper on a roll that you can find at math manipulative companies, such as EAI Education. I have also used the one-inch graph paper available on a large tear-off pad from Office Max/ Office Depot. Tip: The regular 3" by 3" Post-it Notes work great on the one-inch grid paper because they line-up perfectly with the horizontal and vertical grid lines. For a variation, convert the data to a line (dot) plot using the birth month number instead of the month's name. If you choose to make both graphs, you can compare and contrast how they are alike and different with your students. 
  • Create a Distance Traveled Bar Graph (Histogram) illustrating how far students traveled over the summer. Ask students to record a city and state or country they traveled to over the summer (or at any time if your students didn't travel much). Use the Travel Math website to get the driving or flying distances. Then have students use Post-it Notes (see above) to indicate the distance they traveled on the class histogram (a bar graph with intervals instead of discrete values). This type of graph isn't generally introduced until middle school, but given the authentic situation, students should be able to understand the practicality of the intervals on the graph. 
  • Create a Learning Styles Triple Venn-Diagram showing the learning styles of the class. I often use one of the learning styles surveys that is available on the web to find out more about how my students learn best. After we get the results, we graph it! I typically use a Triple-Venn Diagram to display this data because some students have a tie for how they learn best, i.e. visual and tactile. However, you could also use a Pictograph or a Bar Graph to display the same data. Just decide in advance how to handle the students that may end up with two learning styles. 
  • Create a Scatterplot illustrating the relationship between the number of vowels in a name and the number of syllables. In Texas, our fifth graders learn about scatterplots. In order to help them understand the purpose and eventual usefulness of a scatterplot, I use this graphing experience because students should see a 1:1 ratio; however, some names will not follow this ratio exactly. The data provides several interesting discussion points.
One of my favorite ways to display the data is on a class data wall. This allows the students to refer back to the data all year long. Since I usually use large graph paper for the initial activity, I transfer it to small graph paper for the data wall. See the picture for details. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Kick Start Your School Year!

This safari-themed fourth grade classroom shows how I organize my classroom and manage my math manipulatives, composition notebooks, and spirals. It also shows my numbered-animal desk cards and table signs.
This is my safari-themed fourth grade classroom from a few years ago. 
It's time to go back to school! Admittedly, this is my absolute favorite time of the year. Energy is high. Everyone is rejuvenated and feeling relaxed from summer vacation. And, the prospect of a new group of students with a new set of talents, challenges, and abilities is exciting. Everything is clean. The school supplies are new. The room looks like it will never look again. It's back to school time. The very best time of the year!

In honor of back-to-school, I will be sharing some of my favorite back-to-school ideas, strategies, tips, and tools to get your year started on the right foot. I will also share some new things that I discovered over the summer.

The series will run through the end of next week, so check back each day for a new post. In addition, you can add your email address under "Join the Routty Math Club" on the right sidebar to get the new posts delivered directly to your inbox each day. Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Joining the Math Twitter Blogosphere . . . Finally

I'm so excited to announce that I've finally tapped into the wonders of Twitter. For the past few years, I was reluctant to join because I was unsure of how Twitter worked and it's inherent rules and procedures. However, through a community of teachers that I recently became acquainted with, I was encouraged (a.k.a. forced) to join the Twitter world as a condition of participating in the group. I am a true believer that all things happen for a reason and was actually excited about my gentle push shove into the Twitterverse. Admittedly, it's been a very positive experience. There are so many math conversations happening all over Twitter. There is actually something called the Math Twitter Blogosphere (#MTBoS) with a bunch of people talking about and sharing all things related to math. There's even a cool math chat with a bunch of elementary math people on Thursday nights (#ElemMathChat) where everyone is talking about math. It was intimidating at first, but after participating in my first one, I think I'll feel more comfortable next time. So cool! I've met some awesome math people-- even some whose books I have read (#starstruck). All in all, joining the Twitterverse has given me a new outlet for loving and learning about math. Thank you @bstockus and #rrmathrocks! Check me out on Twitter!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Confessions of a Middle Grades Student- Rule #6

Hello All! Please share your thoughts about ways to help students understand the role of the equal sign.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Calling All SuperKids!

Do you know what your students are passionate about? I'd like to share a First Day of School activity with you that will help you and your class get to know your super talents within. 

Two years ago, I looped with my fourth grade class up to fifth grade and wanted a really unique theme for the year. Since my students had made such huge gains during the previous year, I decided to call them SuperKids to encourage them to take their attitude, behavior, and achievement to the next level. In an effort to kick off the school year with the theme, I asked them to create their own SuperKid character.

I adapted this idea from another one I sometimes use at the start of the school year. I start by reading The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. The book contains a bunch of poems about different things in our world. It's pretty simple and written for a younger audience, but I just use it as a model. We then discuss the format the author uses to create each poem.

It generally goes, "The important thing about ___________ is that it is__________." Then it gives more details about the object. It concludes with, "But, the important thing about ___________ is that it is__________ (repeated from the first line)." I ask the students to create a poem in this format about their talents. For the Superkid edition, I asked them to say, "The important thing about (first name) is that (she or he) is a super ___________." They then give some details about their super persona. They end with, "But, the important thing about (first name) is that (she or he) is a super ___________(repeated from the first line)."

Now for the fun part, I ask the students to create a model of a superkid using construction paper. This is always an interesting task because some of the students really struggle to make their person proportional. Sometimes, the torso is big and both the arms and legs are small. It's quite comical at times! For the Superkid edition, I asked the students to create a Superkid. Basically, this meant that their person should look a little more superhero-like than human-like. As an example, I made one for myself too. I called her SuperTeacher.

This turned out to be such an awesome activity! It really gave me a glimpse of what my students were most passionate about! I learned a lot about my students from this activity and I'd already been acquainted with these kids for an entire school year!

To finish, I post all of the student posters in the hallway with a sign that says "Meet the Superkids." It's a great display for the start of the year and for Open House.

BONUS IDEA: Read below the pictures for another first day idea!

See the pictures below to meet "Conservationist Chloe" and "Sashay Savvy Savannah." 

As a little bonus, I am also sharing my "Super Kid Recipe." I used it as a motivational tool and opportunity to instill the Superkid attitude in my students on the first day of school.

It makes for a great first day of school snack because so many students tend to show up without one. Please note: This recipe does contain cashews. Be sure to poll your students before serving nuts. All of the other ingredients should be okay for general nutritional/ dietary needs. 

If you want to add a little real world math to the first day of school, set-up large amounts of the ingredients at a station and have the students use measuring cups to measure-out their snack mix into a plastic bag and shake it up. Yea! Fractions on the very first day of school! 

Click on the recipe card below for a free download. 

Each recipe yields one Superkid!