Sunday, January 8, 2017

It's a New (Noon) Year in First Grade!

Happy 2017!

One of my resolutions is to be a better blogger this year, which won't be hard considering I didn't have a single post in 2016. I started taking graduate classes in the summer of 2015 and finished at the end of last summer. Taking 24 hours of classes, teaching, and momming pretty much took up all of my time, and I fell out of the habit.

But I'm back!

And I wanted to start 2017 on a positive note!

When my own daughter (who is in my class this year) was a little bummed about going back to school after a very fun, family-filled Christmas break, I knew I needed to do something fun on our first day back at school. At the same time, I happened to see Chris Pombonyo's post about his Happy Noon Year celebration last year (follow him on Instagram HERE), and it was awesome!

I adapted the idea because I wanted to have a routine morning to get back in the swing of things, and I wanted to use the balloon drop to review some math concepts and kick off our new unit. So I just told them we would have a SURPRISE during math.

We spent the morning reviewing routines, applying for new classroom jobs, reading Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller (a must for teaching kids about resolutions), and I found a halfway decent Youtube video of the ball drop in New York City to explain that to them.

Then this is what I did during my lunch. Thankfully it's pretty easy to hang an upside down trash bag from the ceiling (you can also buy balloon bags that are made for balloon drops, but Target didn't have those, and there was no time for Amazon by the time I planned this).

I was a little excited. :)

When the kids came back from lunch, I stopped them in the hall outside our door and told them the surprise was ready, but I needed them to go to their seats first so I could explain. They were just a little excited, too.

After they were all seated, I explained that inside the bag were balloons, and that everyone would get one and would sit with others who grabbed the same color. *Teacher tip: I told them if they popped their balloon, we would have to throw it away, but if they didn't, they could TAKE IT HOME. You would've thought I said the balloons were made of gold.* Each balloon had an addition or subtraction fact on it. Their job was to solve the problem and talk to their team to figure out what strategy made the most sense to solve that problem. 


They were all able to solve their equations and could tell me the strategy they used!! I was SO proud!

Then I told them that our new unit for January is about graphing, so we were going to graph the balloons that were in the bag to see which color we had the most of. I gave them each a balloon to color to match the balloon they grabbed, and we made a little class graph. 

Yellow won! 

We put balloons in backpacks and came back to answer questions about our graph, talk about collecting data and what that means, and some different types of graphs. This was a much more engaging way to introduce data collection and interpreting graphs than had I just started with a workbook page. And hopefully they will remember it. :) 

We finished the day writing our own New Year's resolutions. 

I wish I could tell you where this little project came from. I think it may be older than I am, but it's so darn cute, I do it every year! 

Happy 2017, everyone! I hope your year is off to a great start! 

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