It’s that time of the year when the ugly monster called “CAASPP” comes lurking about. (That’s the test we take here in California). Teachers are fretting that they may not have covered as many standards as they had wanted. Meanwhile, it’s spring time for students. They are antsy, edgy, and see that summer is around the corner……….or maybe I’m describing the teachers too. Never the less…it is a stressful, panicky time for both parties because so many eyes will be looking at these test scores. Worst of all, so many eyes will be making judgements about the education system.
In my 25 years of teaching (golly that’s a long time), it’s my experience that students are usually toast after the extreme focus and concentration they have given during the testing time. What can teachers do during these last few weeks that is worthwhile and math-friendly?
Here a few suggestions….
- Have students create a game using the math they learned from the year. It is an out-of-the-box type of project that will have the students collaborating with each other on ideas and plans.
- Manipulatives are a great way to emphasize play! I have students play with Tangrams and create different polygons. No calculations and yet plenty of problem solving. You can find the activity here.
- Along the lines of manipulative, cuisenaire rods are pretty awesome. I let my students play with them using the #hundredsface challenge. You can find that here.
- Make an Alphabet picture book with all the math vocabulary that students can find. Create a math story.
- Math For Love has puzzles galore!
- The students could do a numbers or geometry scavenger hunt. Have them take pictures of what the number 5 looks like or what an acute angle looks like in the real world.
- Sarah Carter (Math Equals Love) has some incredible puzzles that she finds and recreates. In addition, she gives them all away for free. Many of them are very elementary friendly. For instance, I use the 2-9s challenge.
- Why not break out some board games? Board games are entertaining, do help with math skills, and a cool way to end the year. Chess and checkers are favorites in that there’s strategy involved.
- 3 Act tasks are a way of putting all the math you have taught into contexts. I have a page full of them. Graham Fletcher is an awesome resource for tasks.
- Project based learning is another go-to.
Just suggestions and ideas. Have fun and enjoy your students before the summer begins!
Until next time,