Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SMART Coin Spinner and Graphing Activity

Well, we've had a GREAT two days back at school (after being home Tuesday - Friday for snow and ice last week), but here we are at home again today. More snow and ice. This is an especially disappointing snow day because today was supposed to FINALLY be our 100th day! I had these cute stickers and pencils for my firsties, plus lots of fun activities planned. I'll have to save all of that for a post after we finally get to celebrate! Now... heads up, this is a loooong post. I am a talker, and I write like I talk. And I give a lot of details. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I've seen tons of posts recently about smartboards, and while I am trĂ©s jealous because my school doesn't have interactive whiteboards, we do have some pretty cool tools that use the same software. We have something called air slates, and I L-O-V-E them. Air slates are basically wireless tablets, which at the very least are great for controlling your computer from any here in the room. The super thing about them is that they use the SMART software, so I can do all the same things that you SMARTBoard teachers can do! I just have to use my computer and my projector. Of course the kiddos love it because it's technology and I love it because the possibilities really are endless. You really can use it for ANYTHING. I could easily go on and on about them... but that's not what my post is about! We are working with coins this week and had a fanstastic time with our air slates yesterday. (I actually took some pics of my firsties during the activity, but I'm saving those for my parent blog on blackboard). It was only our second day working with coins, but most of the kids are pretty familiar with them already and I knew they were ready for a challenge. I found a spinner that I created last year in SMART and I think I've managed to work it into my lesson plans at least 3 times this week. What is it about spinners (and dice) that make everything more fun? So, yesterday we used the spinner to reinforce identifying coin names and values, and graphed our results as we played. For this lesson I used a coin graph master from Box It or Bag It. Now, it's pretty plain jane and it doesn't have fancy font, but it had everything I wanted on it - coin name, picture and value - so why not use it? I told my class that we would take turns spinning the spinner until either a coin column was full or everyone had a turn. It worked out perfectly and everyone got to spin - whew! I had fun watching them get so excited - they cheered when the quarter caught up to the dime, and again when we finally spun a penny. Our game was simple - the students would spin, identify the coin that the spinner landed on and share the value. Obviously I wanted everyone to be successful, so I told them they could choose conference with their neighbors before answering. I was really proud of them when they ALL knew their coins and the values. It really helped that the graph recording sheet we used had pictures and values on it. That was a great way to support the kids who didn't have as much background knowledge and I definitely saw a few of them quickly referring back to it before responding. As another way to reinforce that value piece of the lesson, I had them record the value in each box of the graph instead of coloring it in. The kids really stayed engaged even after their own turns because a) I let them use markers and b) they really wanted to see which coin would "win". We finished up the activity by interpreting our data and writing about it in our math journals. Just another one of my sneaky ways to work in writing!
This is what our graphs looked like:

And a little math journaling

I'm going to put my laptop and an air slate up as math station later this week and the students are going to play again, except with an extra challenge. I've created a new graph with only coin names, no picture or value, to use as a recording sheet. The students will be able to refer to our class anchor chart and each other for support when needed, but I'm hoping that without the picture and value on the graph they'll be forced to stretch their brains a little more. If any of that sounded interesting to you or if you have a SMART Board and want to use my coin spinner, I'm attaching/linking what you need to do this in your own classroom. I'm not quite blog savvy enough to figure out attaching a SMART file, so I posted it on Teachers Pay Teachers for free here. I have to warn you - you can't lock the spinner (or at least I couldn't) so you have to be careful not to drag when you click to spin. My kiddos didn't have any trouble with that though, so I don't think it's a problem. You can find the graph I used for the whole class lesson in Box It or Bag It. If you'd like a copy of the recording sheet I created for our follow up math station, click on the picture below.
As we continue working with coins for the next two weeks, I can't wait to incorporate some fabulous games from The Great Coin Collection, one of The First Grade Parade's Cara Carroll's TpT creations. If you're working with coins, you definitely need to head over there and grab a copy for yourself !

Now, crossing my fingers that I'm back at school tomorrow for the 100th day!



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