December 2017 - Down River Resources | Your Elementary Math Guide
Do you ever have trouble following through with things, like those ridiculous resolutions that no one ever keeps? Eating healthy is the most popular resolutions each year and it is no different for teachers! The months of January and February always bring out the best in my teacher lunch bag. A beautifully dressed salad with lightly coated dressing adorns the tightly sealed plastic container in my bag. By the time testing season rolls around in March and April, I begin to conceal leftover pizza in that same container. I strategically place my lunch bag in front of me so there is just enough room to sneak my reheated pizza into my mouth without detection from the judging eyes of my peers.

I know I am not alone in this annual struggle. Each year, I set a resolution to eat healthy and do not follow through for more than a few months. I did not create a plan with action commitments so when times are difficult, or stress hits, I do not have a plan, much less, a backup plan. This year, I am committing to be more mindful about my resolutions and rocking it in the New Year along with my students!

Being Mindful in the New Year with Rockin' Resolutions

Be a resolution role model for your students. 

As teachers, it is important to practice what we teach! Bring your resolutions into the classroom. It is a great thing to do as a whole class. Students will look to you to learn how to approach creating resolutions.

Instill a sense of responsibility in your students. 

Talk about responsibility and doing well in all things. We should not ask our students to do more than we are willing to do.

Keep resolutions positive. 

Instead of pointing out students’ shortcomings, be a historian of previous successes. Make note of things that your students are doing well. Ask your students, “How can you transfer your success doing ______ (the task they did well on) to something else?”

Brainstorm some ideas.

- What are some of the great things you want to do this year?
- What do you want to improve?
- What will make your life better and happier?

It is best to keep the list of resolutions to a minimum so you can devote time and energy to each item.

Decide how students can present their ideas.

Committing resolutions to paper by writing them helps out creates a record. It is important to set action commitments, or steps needed to complete the action, if you want to take your students through the critical thinking process and have follow-through.

It's important to share ideas with a friend and talk regularly about the progress. (See the photograph on the left for a creative way for writing and displaying resolutions!) Doing a weekly, monthly, or check after each grading period will help keep students accountable for their goals. They can simply check in with a partner.

When a student completes a goal or makes progress towards a resolution, it is important to celebrate these steps as to promote moving forward and accomplishing it! Play a special song during class time or write out the accomplishment in an exclusive location in the room. Make it fun!

Rock your resolutions in the new year!

My waist band and the judging eyes of my peers will be pleasantly surprised when a beautiful salad adorns my container through testing season this year! If you ready to implement these promising steps to being more mindful in the New Year, you and your students will benefit greatly! As you rock being a resolution role model, your students will be inspired to be successful in their goals too. Keep it positive, commit it to paper, and celebrate progress over perfection!

If you would like to use this New Years writing activity in your classroom, you can find it in my TpT shop.

What are you resolving to do in the New Year?

We all know that a more appropriate title for a teacher in December is "Chaos Coordinator!" You are constantly putting forth time and a lot of effort this time of year in so many areas. It is time to embrace your newly earned title in the classroom and engage your students with some winter-themed and Christmas-themed math activities for young children! These math activities will help you embrace the chaos and let your students math skills and creativity shine!

How to Embrace the Chaos with December Math

As we enter the busy season of holidays, it is difficult to keep students engaged in the content. It is often hard for us as teachers to stay focused and on track too! {I am not pointing at myself right now.}

By using the holiday, which is usually the distraction, as a focal point in the classroom, students become highly engaged in the content.

Embrace the chaos and select a math activity that is right on point for your class... here are a few of my favorite things!

From Chaos to Creativity: Top December Math Ideas

Wreath Math Craftivity {4 Skills}

One of the newest craftivities to hit my shop is this gem, Wreath Math Craftivity! Add paper plates and, perhaps, a dot marker with sponge tip applicator!{I make a small commission when you shop using this link which keeps the Diet Coke fund from running dry and the creativity flowing!}This creates a simple craftivity for students to complete. It gets even better than this cute wreath! There are four math skills that you can use as "ornaments" to decorate your wreath. {grades K-2}

- Sequencing Numbers (1-10, 10-20, random numbers up to 120, random numbers up to 1,200)
- 2-D Shapes (two dimensional shapes)
- 3-D Shapes (three-dimensional shapes)
- U.S. Coins 

Christmas Craftivity {Wants and Needs}

Do you teach wants and needs as part of your math or social studies curriculum?

The best way to teach wants and needs is in context. What not a better way than as students are generating a Christmas list?!

Don't worry, as with all of my resources, I strive to make them diverse. This craft includes two versions with Santa or a snowman to be inclusive of ALL students, especially culturally diverse students.

This is a great activity for little hands as the cutting is very simple. I took extra time when I created this to define the lines for cutting for younger students.

Splat! Interactive Math Games

If you have not heard of Splat! math games yet, you are missing out! I wrote about these fun, interactive games a little while back. You can catch up on how to play Splat! here. I have seasonal and skill-based games for winter including these sets:

Gingerbread Themed:

Reindeer Themed:
- Generate a Set to 20 {grades K-1}

Christmas Emergent Readers

Make sight word practice fun, engaging, and interactive with these math emergent readers!

These are perfect for math or literacy centers with a winter or Christmas theme. I love that you can use them for sight word practice, math centers, OR literacy centers! They are so versatile!

Students practice sight words in a math context with skills:
- instantly recognizing numbers (subitizing)
- compare sets of objects, (more/less)
- identify 2-D shapes
- distinguish between wants and needs.

There are so many standards-based winter and Christmas activities to choose from to support your math instruction during December. Embrace the chaos and keep the students engaged this holiday season with purposeful  math activities!

If you would like to use any of these activities in your classroom, you can find them in my TpT shop.

How do you embrace the chaos in your classroom? 

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