Learning Math With A Snowman Friend
Sam the Solution Snowman is a fun way for your students/child to enjoy learning to count, sequence, match numbers with number words, as well as do simple addition and subtraction.
Run off the templates on construction paper.
Students cut out their snowman and hat.
Students color their snowman’s face and glue on their hat.
To expedite things, you might want to have the arm pieces pre-cut and hole-punched.
Hole punch 6 holes in the middle of the snowman and 6 holes in the bottom of the snowman.
You’ll have to fold one side to get the hole punch to the middle.
Fasten the arms to each other using brass brads and then attach them to the snowman with 2 more brads.
Position the arms so they look like they are holding a snowflake.
Cut a 1 x 12 inch strip of black and white construction paper.
Lay the white strip on top of the black strip and paperclip them together in the middle.
Pull the white strip down a bit so that you can tape the black strip to the back of the snowman’s head.
Students roll two dice; count the dots to see how many buttons they will reveal on the snowman by pulling the white strip down so that the buttons appear black.
They then find that numbered snowflake and position it in the snowman’s hands.
Students flip the red hat sash to reveal the number word that matches the number on the snowflake.
If you want to make this an addition or subtraction activity, have students roll the dice.
The largest number will reveal the top buttons; the smaller number on the dice will reveal the bottom buttons on the snowman.
In order to do addition/subtraction, you will need a black rectangle “side cover”.
You reveal the bottom buttons by this extra black side strip.
Fold it in half horizontally to reveal buttonholes 1-4. Keep it open to reveal number > 4.
Have students write their equations on a sheet of scratch paper.
You can eliminate the number-word sash for younger children as well as the side-cover for addition/subtraction, keeping the snowman simple.
If you want to make a class set to use every year, laminate your snowman parts and then assemble them.
If you’re only doing a few for a center or making one with your child, you may want to use Velcro on the snowflakes and put the opposite Velcro piece on the snowman’s tummy.
The snowflake squares make the perfect pages for a cute Itty Bitty Booklet, so I made a cover for them. This is a great way to practice sequencing!
I've also included 6 snowflake "What Comes Next?" skill sheets with this activity and a blank one for you to fill in for numbers/letters that you want to work on, + a certificate of praise.
Your students are sure to have "snow" much fun learning with Sam the Solution Snowman.
Click on the link to view/print Sam.
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"Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right!" -Ophra Winfrey
Your students will have fun making patterns with cereal! At the beginning of the school year, have a paper titled: Yes I'd be glad to donate something for a class activity! and have parents sign it at Open House.
Then when you do something like this, send a request for a box of Chex, Cheerios and Froot Loops to those parents on the list.
Cereal can be expensive so mention that there are generic brands that are cheaper.
I put the cereal in Dixie Cups and give students a cup of each so that they can extend their patterns to whatever length they want.
I made this mat so you can whole-group assess using Chex and Cheerios. You could also substitute Froot Loops.
I've also made one with just circles so students can use Cheerio's mixed with Froot Loops or make color patterns using just Froot Loops.
So students can be creative, the last row says: Make your own pattern.
Simply run my templates off and laminate, so that you can use them each year, or make copies for your students to take home for more practice.
Click on the link to view/print the cereal pattern templates.
Be sure and pop back tomorrow for another teaching tip!
Silly Shaped Penguins
These shapely penguins make an easy center that’s a fun way to review shapes.
My inspiration for the shoe-shaped penguin came from Merryn’s Crafty-crafted sight.
Her son painted his foot and made this adorable penguin. Click on the link to check out her other cute ideas and see Ethan doing this project.
I felt that tracing a student’s foot with their shoe on, was an easier-no mess project to take on with a bunch of little kids, and still makes a nice keepsake.
Have your students stand on a sheet of black construction paper and trace around their shoe with a piece of chalk.
A room helper cuts these out and then traces them on white copy paper so that they can cut a smaller white foot for the center of the penguin.
Students glue this together, along with their beak and feet, which can simply be triangles of orange construction paper.
Use the manipulatives to get the wiggles out and do The Penguin Pokey. Click on the link to view/print The Penguin Pokey.
Help students review their body parts by having them put their penguin on their thigh, hip, waist, wrist, shin etc.
Their penguin can also help them review spatial directions and you can whole group assess as you tell your students to put their penguin behind them, over their palm, on their right side etc.
The silly shaped penguins, as well as the shoe penguins, make an adorable January bulletin board. Captions can be:
"Things are shaping up in _________________'s room." "Things are taking shape in kindergarten." "Waddle on down to room 206 to see what's shaping up!" "The shape of things to come with ______________________'s first graders." "Penguin Power Prints!"
Teachers can make a set to show the students and then do a graphing activity of which is their favorite. So each child has a set, do this as a daily center activity for the week. End with the shoe penguin and sing a round of The Penguin Pokey using the manipulative.
I also made an easy-reader booklet: Look It’s A Penguin! to go along with these goofy little guys.
Students read the sentence, trace and write the shape word, color the silly-shaped penguin, and finally trace and draw the shape.
The last page says: This penguin is in the shape of my shoe, a keepsake especially for you.
There’s also a graphing extension + shape flashcards that students can make into an Itty Bitty booklet.
Click on the link to take a look at Silly Shaped Penguins.
Are you looking for more penguin-themed ideas?
Shapes are also reviewed under the wings of this adorable penguin booklet and squencing numbers with this fish-gobbling cutie is also lots of fun. Both can be found in my Winter Art and Activity Book.
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"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." -Mark VAn Doren
Let's Play A Math Game!
Dominoes are an inexpensive and fun math manipulative to help your students practice simple addition and subtraction facts. Dominic the Domino Snowman makes it even more interesting. He needs buttons for his belly!
Here's how to help him:
- If you want all of your students to play as a whole group, run off a class set of snowmen. Have students play in groups of 2-4 so they can share dominoes. They sell them at The Dollar Store.
- If you don’t have dominoes, use my template and print off a class set, or some for your students so they can have a Dominic and dominoes to practice at home.
- You can color the snowmen, or have students color them and then laminate the playing boards so you can use them every year.
- Children will use dry erase markers to record their answers and then wipe them off with a wet wipe.
- Write the directions: Roll, Find, Place, Write, Solve on the board.
- Demonstrate how to play the game.
- Students obtain the dominoes by rolling 2 dice twice and finding the appropriate dominoes.
- i.e, If they roll a 1 and a 5, they find the domino with one dot and five dots and place that to the side.
- The student then rolls the second time and rolls a 2 and a 3.
- They find that domino.
- Since the first domino has larger numbers, they put that domino on top so that they can subtract. They put the smaller numbered domino on the bottom.
- Students add the “buttons” of the domino to get the first number to add and and then later subtract and then add the “buttons” of the second domino to get the second number to add and later subtract.
- Students write these equations vertically on their snowman and solve the problem.
- On a sheet of paper, students write the equations horizontally and solve the problem.
- Set a timer to ring after about 10 minutes.
- The student with the most correct answers wins the game.
- Click on the link to view/print Dominic the Domino Math Game Snowman
Be sure and pop back tomorrow for more creative teaching tips.
I’ve been making “Stuffy” the snowman since the late 80’s when I used to sell lots of them at Christmas craft shows. I finally decided to post him on the blog, as he is do-able for a student activity, even for younger children + he's a great source for reinforcing measurement, as well as listening and following direction skills.Here's How To Make One:
Send a note home to parents that you need a clean washed white tube sock and another colored sock. Heaven knows we all have wash machines and dryers that seem to literally eat a sock or two so that the missing pair is nary to be found.
I include “socks with out mates” in a “Please Save” list, that I send out at the beginning of the year as a “heads up”.
If you get tube socks like the ones pictured, you can use the striped part for the hat and don’t need an extra sock!
I also have a list for parents to sign that’s entitled: “I’m willing to donate something for a special activity”. This project would fall under this category, as you’ll need a bag of “fluffy stuffing” the kind that people use to stuff pillows. You can purchase it at any fabric store.
You’ll also need a cup of un-popped popcorn or rice per student. This makes Stuffy stand up perfectly.
While at the fabric store, look for remnants of plaid flannel that’s on sale. I’ve tried ribbon and it just doesn’t look as cute for a scarf as real flannel does.
Each student needs an 18-inch long by 1 ½ inch strip. I pull a few strings off the ends so it looks like a real scarf.
Loosely tie the scarf around the middle of the snowman, tight enough so that it makes a “head” appear.
Cut your tube sock so that it is 9 inches long if you want to make a short “Stuffy Snowman” like the one pictured.
I have made larger ones using the entire white tube sock, but the smaller ones sold better, stood nicer, and looked more “adorable”.
If you want to make a “family” of snowmen as I did for us, then you’ll want to use the entire sock for the “daddy” snowman.
Pour the cup of popcorn in the bottom of the sock.
Lightly stuff with fluff.
Tie the top with a piece of yarn and knot it.
Cut the top of the colored sock off so that you have 6 inches of sock.
Tie the top with a piece of yarn. Knot it, and then tie a bow.
Flip the bottom edge up 1 inch for a brim.
Some socks are harder to cut and get a straight line. This doesn’t matter.
It’s a knit cap and ragged looks country great!
You can always roll the brim edge in if you’re picky.
No need to sew on. Just stick it on the snowman’s head and it will stay put.
For the eyes, I paint eraser-size wiggle eyes black; for the nose, I paint a mini wiggle eye orange and hot glue them on. I used burgundy puffy paint, and squeezed on a smile.
2 dark buttons and a painted wooden heart, also hot glued on, complete “Stuffy”
Click on the link to view/print the article's directions and pix. Stuffy the Sock Snowman.
Scroll down for more fun activities and ideas, and be sure and pop back tomorrow to see how Dominic the Domino Snowman will help your students with simple addition and subtraction!
Wally the Welcome Doorknob Dangler Snowman
As promised, here is my other recycled snowman project. This is as inexpensive to make as the tin can snowman.
I went to the Home Depot, told them I was a teacher, showed them my project and asked if I could please have 20 paint sticks. They said, “No problem.” Wal-Mart, Meijer’s and other places that sell paint have also been generous.
Later, my class composed a thank you card and everyone signed it. If your parents don’t have a problem with photographing their children, it’s always cute to include a photo, with students holding up their adorable creations.
Wally the Welcome Snowman is a “doorknob hanger”. A dab of hot glue or a large glue dot will hold the yarn tie in place on the back. Simply slip him over the doorknob and declare whether you’d like it to snow or melt.
Run off my heart templates on red construction paper and laminate.
Students cut out two. They’ll need two pairs of Velcro dots.
After they have finished painting, one Velcro dot will go on the backs of the hearts, the other on the front and back of the snowman. (Whatever heart you are not using, gets tucked away on the back so that you don’t lose it. )
You’ll also need mini Popsicle sticks. To expedite things, glue them to the paint sticks. This will help your students know what to paint white and what to paint black.
Even tho’ a hot glue gun works extremely fast, I find that young children are rough with what they work on and these little sticks have a tendency to pop off, so I glue them on with E6000.
It’s a stinky glue, so make sure you have proper ventilation. Short of breaking them off, they will stay put!
Children paint the bottom of their stick white. I use the acrylic paint that comes in the little bottles for less than a dollar at Wal-Mart. You can also get the larger size for around $2. If you want your snowmen shiny, buy GLOSS paint.
Students can hang on to the hat part to paint the back of their paint stick, the front should be dry by the time they are done, so they can lay them down to dry. In the afternoon, paint the hats.
I buy plaid ribbon during the after Christmas sales. Cut 6-inch long strips and wrap them around the paint stick where you feel the snowman’s neck should be.
I glue these on with Aileen’s tacky glue. Do this BEFORE students paint on a face, as it will help them know where to put their face on.
Using Q-tips, have students dot on a face, heart and buttons. I put a tiny dollop of the various colors of paint on small paper plates in the middle of their table.
Toothpicks work best, if students want to make a little snowflake or holly on the hat.
Be sure and model how to paint these things, so they have step-by-step directions of “how to”. Just as with the tin can snowmen, it’s a good idea for little ones to practice on a piece of scrap paper before they paint their face on their paint stick.
I use a fine-tipped black flair, to write the children’s last name on the bottom of the paddle, as many of them have long names and this would be difficult for them to accomplish.
Click on the link to view/print the pattern, directions and pix for the Snowman Paint Stick
Be sure and pop back tomorrow for how to make an adorable snowman out of a sock!
Connie Container Snowman A Recycled Gift
I’m big on recycling so I try to dream up some sort of hands on activity for my students each month involving recycled items.
Since everyone has tin cans at home they are one of the easiest things for a parent to save for us. Cans are also a way to review the cylinder shape and make handy holders for a variety of things.
Connie Container Snowman is perfect for rulers, scissors and other tall “stuff”. She’s made out of an asparagus can.
We eat a lot of asparagus at my house so I find it easy enough to simply save enough cans for my students.
If you don’t, simply send a note home at the beginning of the school year with a list of “SAVE these things” and explain to parents that their child will be doing projects through out the year involving these items and you just wanted to give them a heads up; that way you’ll always have a few extra’s for those children who don’t bring things in.
My Y5’s LOVE to paint and I find that even though their “mess-terpieces” are not as “perfect-looking” as I’d like them to be, they have fun, are learning, and are more of a keepsake because they did the entire project.
However, if you want to expedite things you can pre-paint the white bottom and have really little ones simply paint the top hats black. I use glossy acrylic paint.
An easy way for students to paint is to put their hand INSIDE the can and rotate as they go. Make sure there are NO rough edges on the inside so they won’t get cut.
My mom gave me a smoothing tool from Magic Chef that goes around the lip of cut cans and presses down the edges so I never have a problem with this.
In the morning, paint the white bottom first. Let dry and then paint the black in the afternoon or on another day.
Little ones will drip and slop paint, so make sure they are working over newspaper and have paint shirts on.
On a file folder, trace around the top of your can to make a circle template. Decide how wide of a brim you want to have. Mine is just shy of an inch.
Draw the brim around your traced circle. You will be cutting the circle out so that you can slide it over your can and rest it at the base of the snowman’s hat. No gluing is necessary if you cut it so that it fits snug.
Pre-cut your black hat brims. I used black foam. Tag board and construction paper are cheaper, but you really have to be careful that they don’t tear apart when students slide them over their cans.
Using a Q-tip and the dabbing method of simply dotting on a small amount of paint, model how to paint on a snowman’s face.
I find that it’s a great idea to have students practice on a sheet of scrap paper before they paint their can. This also allows them to design a few different faces to see which one they like the best.
Hobby Lobby, Michael’s Crafts and JoAnn Fabrics all sell ribbon by the bolt for a dollar or less.
Choose something that looks like a snowman’s scarf and tie it on the bottom of the cans for that finishing touch. You’ll need a little over 12 inches for each student’s scarf.
Another Recycled Snowman Idea!
Use shorter veggie and soup cans, and instead of making a head of a snowman, students can simply paint the entire can blue, black or even brown.
After they’ve painted their cans, using a toothbrush, splatter the dried cans with white paint to look like falling snow.Using a Q-tip and toothpicks, students paint a snowman.
I used a nail and hammer to punch holes in the sides of my can and then simply added a bit of wire with a rag bow on the top.
Craft stores have a huge assortment of colored wire if you want to make your cans less rustic looking.
You can put just about anything in these cans to give as a gift, including student work, a photograph, little “I love you notes”, a paper heart with a poem on it, candy etc.
Later parents can use them to hold markers, pens and pencils etc.
Click on the link to view/print this article's directions and pix. Recycled snowman: Connie the Tin Can Container Snowman
Be sure and pop back tomorrow for another recycled snowman made out of a paint stick!
- I specifically set up this 100-grid with the numbers starting with 10-20-30-40 etc. instead of ending with those numbers like most of the 100 number grids you’ll find.
- I don't want students to be able to see that number coming at the end, so they are indeed memorizing it. This is a difficult concept for some.
- I also wanted to be able to take one strip at a time and focus on that complete set of numbers if I wanted to.
- Another reason is that my students are learning to read from left to right so if I want to count by 10’s to 100 it’s easier for them to “see” that if the numbers are on the left going to the right.
- I made this number grid horizontal so that I could make the squares bigger so that my traceable numbers could also be larger.
- I've also included a traceable 100's chart, which is often hard to find.
- After I got these grids designed I thought they’d be perfect for a slider. So I made “Gabby Apple” with wiggle eyes.
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"What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens." -Thadddeus Golas
My 99 Year Old Granny
Because I always planned a zillion things for 100 Day, there just never seemed to be enough time for everything I wanted to fit in, so I decided to put a few fun things in the day before, to help build excitement. One of them was my 99-year-old granny.
I asked my Y5’s “What number comes before 100?” Some of them actually guessed correctly. I told them that my granny was 99 and asked them if they wanted her to come in and read a 100-Day story, the vote was always unanimous!
Granny is really me, dressed up in a white wig and little old lady mask. One year a room helper heard my conversation with the children and thought it was just wonderful that granny was coming. I didn’t know I sounded that convincing; too funny!
You too can easily have a granny or gramps come visit. Simply plan ahead in October when masks and wigs go on sale at huge discounted prices after Halloween.
A trip to the Goodwill for an old-fashioned dress and hat + my grandmother's cameo complete the look.
I tell my little ones that I have to go pick up granny at the home, so I’ll be gone during lunch time and a room helper will pick them up after recess and bring them to our classroom.
This gives me time to change into my costume and sit in my rocking chair. I also tell them that granny is 99 and very very old.
We discuss how old people look. So they are not scared, I tell them that some people have hurt granny’s feelings by telling her that she is so old and wrinkled that she looks like a witch and that made her cry.
We discuss that that was really mean and they would never do something like that.
This fends off any fears or comments they might have when they walk through the door and see this rather creepy creature sitting in my chair.
You can always hear a pin drop when they walk in and see me. I greet them in my old-lady voice and bid them come in with my shaky hand.
I tell them that my granddaughter, Mrs. H, will soon be back, as she had to go park the car.
“Would you like granny to read you a story?” They are wide-eyed with wonder. A few ask if it’s me, but even the doubters are happy to play along.
After the story, I ask if I can use the bathroom in their classroom. It takes a minute to take off my “stuff.”
When I come out as me, they are all talking at once, and can’t wait to tell me that granny was there and read them a story! This truly cracks me up, as even the doubters can’t wait to tell me all about it, not once wondering how Mrs. H. got in the bathroom!
A few ask me if I was really granny. I ask them what they think, but never really answer their question. They all want granny to come again, but now it’s time to transition to the next activity…
I have a tool my students have fondly nick named Mr. Cruncher Muncher.
You put a piece of paper in, they turn the crank and it comes out looking like corrugated cardboard.
I LOVE the results and the students really enjoy putting their finished cut outs in Mr. Cruncher Muncher’s “mouth".
It’s a super fine motor skill, so I use it at least once a month. We discuss how their faces will change when they are old like granny, discussing glasses, wrinkles, white or gray hair, age spots etc.
They return to their seats and cut out a large oval face, drawing what they think they will look like when they are 100.
Then they run their oval face through Mr. Cruncher Muncher to really add some 3- D wrinkles! Using scraps of white and gray construction paper they add hair. This too can be run through the rollers for more awesome effects.
Girls can fold large round white paper doilies in half and glue them to the back of their "grannies" for a nice old-fashioned collar. For an antique look, dab the edges with a damp tea bag til they have a brown tone.
For an adorable 100 Day class book, give students a color choice of background paper. Have them glue their picture on and then collate their portraits in _________________’s 2107 Class Reunion Book, when 5-year-old students will be 100-years-old! This also makes an awesome 100 Day bulletin board.
Click on the link if you'd like to print the article and pix. 100-Day Granny
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"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but notheing can be changed, until it is faced." -James Baldwin
- To get your students “wiggles” out and to introduce these activities, tell them they need to wiggle the ants out of their pants for 100 seconds.
- Put on some jazzy music and have them get those ants out while you watch the clock.
Click on the link for a You Tube video of a teenager dancing to a remix of The Ants Go Marching for the perfect music to jump and wiggle to.
- Later, using a black marker, have students make 10 ant dots in each pocket or patch on the blue jeans for a total of 100 ants on their pants.
- Read Elinor J. Pinczes’ book, One Hundred Hungry Ants.
Author: Elinor J Pinczes
Amazon Price: $6.95
Offers - Buy New From: $2.16 Used From: $0.01
- Have your students march down the hall 1-by-1, 2-by-2, 3-by-3, 5-by-5 and finally 10-by-10.
- Ask for their predictions of which way they think will take the longest, shortest or be the easiest or most fun?
- Time how long it takes them.
- A fun song to sing while they accomplish this feat is, “The Ants Go Marching”
You Tube video #1 has this song up to the #3 with really catchy music; I wish they would have done the entire song instead of only 1 minutes worth. Click on the link to check it out.
You Tube video #2 goes through the #5 with children at a playground marching.
- Count by 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, and 10’s to whatever number your students are able.
- Inform your students that eating insects is a delicacy in some countries and that even here in the United States some people eat chocolate covered ants!
- Graph the question: Would you eat a chocolate covered ant?
- Pass out a name label to each of your students.
- Using raisins, have them guesstimate how long they think a line of raisin ants will be, and have them put their name label on the floor.
- Give each student 5 raisins (if you have 20 in your class) and have them begin to lay them down in a line.
- The student that comes closest to where the 100th raisin ant ended, receives my certificate or whatever you deem appropriate.
- Pass out the Trace & Write ant worksheets and have students complete them with a variety of colored markers.
- I’ve also included number cards by 10’s and 5’s that they can trace, cut, and sequence and then turn into Itty Bitty Books.
- You could also make these into memory match games by printing sets on different colors and having students play with a partner or in a group of 3.
- There’s also a Secret Code 100’s chart for them to figure out the picture by coloring in the appropriate numbers.
- At the end of the day give them an "I survived 100 Day! badge to wear home.
- You could turn these into necklaces by punching a hole in either corner, putting a piece of yarn through and having students string some pony beads on either end.I also have certificates of participation for everyone.
- Click on the link to view/print 100 Day Ant Activities