Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Students' Favorite New Activity- Coloring Relay

Come March, my students have seen most of the tricks up my sleeve.  We've written ON our desks (the scandal!), we've played "Shark Tank," we've done Kagan structures, we've written on whiteboards, we've played "Mountain Climber," we've done some boring worksheets, we've made foldables, we've worked through some tough tasks, we've coached each other in "Problem Master," we've modeled with manipulatives, we've used Desmos.com to visualize data, we've done stations...you get the idea.  So, it's nice to be able to do something new in the spring that feels fresh, especially when the kids are getting antsy!

Recently, I had all of my classes do a "Pot of Gold" activity.  Every time a group got a question correct, they were able to color part of a picture.  I thought it might be a good way to get the kids out of their seats somewhat and keep everyone working.  Boy, was I right.  The kids liked the activity so much that we did it again today.  We started learning completing the square yesterday and today they had to solve a series of questions in their teams to get to color a kite coloring page I downloaded.
Kite image from PrimaryGames.com

Here's how to make it a success.  Choose a simplistic picture so that your students aren't spending lots of time coloring.  I chose a kite (see above).  Number areas on the picture so that they know where they can color after each problem.  Post the coloring sheets in the front of the room with some colored pencils and let the kids get started on the math.  Despite my insistence that it was not, in fact, a competition, they took it that way.  It was, however, largely healthy.  No one got left behind.  I told the groups that everyone had to have the correct work on their whiteboards to get credit for the problem and be able to color and to move on to the next question.  They could not raise their hand for me to check their work until everyone at the table agreed.  I said, "Don't call me over while two people on your team are finishing because you want to be done first.  You have to reach consensus."  They did an amazing job coaching each other, discussing how to simplify their answers, and helping each other find mistakes on their boards.  I only had one student who I had to speak with regarding being on task (and this was not a surprise, unfortunately).  55 out of 56, I'd call that awesome for engagement.  Even some of my reticent children were talkative because they needed their group members to agree.  In my earlier class, we literally were so engrossed in what we were doing that one of my students had to point out that it was time to go and that there were already other students in the hall.  Whoops!  No teams finished today, but they begged to finish tomorrow.  :)  

So, print off some coloring sheets, chop up that boring worksheet into task cards, and watch how quickly and accurately your students will finish their work so they can color!  

What motivates your students to work well with a team?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B
       

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