Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hands On Learning: Weighted Numbers & I Spy Bottles

Hello again, Café Friends!!!
It's been a while since my last post. I feel like I've been MIA! Finishing up National Board Renewal has zapped my time! It'll be submitted in less than a month, then hopefully I can get back in my "normal" routine - whatever "normal" might be! :-)
All of this renewal business has really caused me to reflect on my teaching and help me to remember WHY I do what I do with my students. I've been working on a component about student engagement and wanted to share a few activities I used this past week in centers to help promote hands on learning and student engagement.
(1) Weighted Numbers
I love using weighted numbers to show how to balance addition equations. These can be found at most teaching resource stores and online for about $20. I would suggest getting a couple of sets so students can balance equations with larger numbers.
Each number has the number word on the back so the 6's and 9's don't get mixed up. Plus, this helps reinforce number word recognition.
The picture above shows 6+3 = 9. I also wrote on the board: 9 = 6+3. This is such a hard concept for a lot of my students. The balance scale is a concrete learning tool that helps them see the "balance" {equals}.
 I always tell them when they see the equals sign to think of a balance scale. Both sides of the scale {equation} must be equal in order for the equation to be true.
I put the scales and numbers in my math center for students to explore balancing equations, helping them to understand that 6+3 is the same as 3+6.
(2) I Spy Bottles
Another hands on activity my students LOVE are I Spy Bottles that I made. Each bottle contains various objects and ten sight words. I've used these in my literacy centers for word work. They're also perfect for time-fillers. My goal is to make enough for a class set.
These are great for your kinesthetic learners and students with attention difficulties. I typed a sheet with the I Spy items, laminated the sheets, and students use dry-erase crayons {or markers} to check what they've found. Coins are the hardest to find. It keeps them busy for a while! They love the challenge.
 I'd love to hear about engaging activities you use with your students! Feel free to share in the comments below. :-)
Thanks for stopping by the Café!

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