How To Have A Winning Estimation Jar!

       My students love it our weekly Estimation Jar! The competition motivates them and, up until this year, so did the candy treat for the closest estimate!  

     This year, I'll try more inedible treats like I've seen on TpT and Pinterest. Winning a pass to sit with a friend, extra computer time, or permission to take off your shoes really motivates my kids.

What To Estimate

     I rotate between the Standard and Metric systems. I hit all of the attributes: length, capacity, and weight for Standard; length, volume, and mass for Metric. We estimate things like:
     I fill the Estimation Jar each Monday and write a specific question on a student slate. I often tape a tablespoon, ruler, or cup to the jar to help students visualize.  A pail of blank papers and a pail for each homeroom class completes the arrangement.

     Note: Some items are better displayed where kids can handle them. For Standard weight and Metric mass, I might use a stapler or a book. I would tape an ounce or gram chip for them to use for comparison.

     Each Friday, I quickly put all the guesses in order by homeroom. We discuss the question and some of the answers before I announce the winner. My students really look forward to it. I believe it strengthens their measurement and estimation skills. The regular practice keeps it uppermost in our minds.

     Consider an Estimation Jar for your classroom. You'll see it help strengthen your students' math skills.  Start counting!

Growing Grade By Grade
Share :

Take Attendance AND Lunch Count In One Step!

     Nothing chaps my hide like when the office calls to remind me to send in my attendance and lunch count. I get so mad at myself that I can't find a way to remember this daily chore.
     I'm trying this idea to take attendance and count lunch choices in one step.  On the side of a filing cabinet, I taped the "School Lunch" and "Lunch Box" signs, plus the dividing lines.  I wrote student names on colored craft sticks and added a piece of magnetic tape to the back. 

     As students arrive each morning, they will place their craft stick in the correct area.  I'll know who is absent if a stick is not moved.  We'll see how it works!

Growing Grade By Grade
Share :

A Class Community Idea: Drop a Note for a Friend!

     I've found a class community idea that lets students report bullying, feel supported, and speak up for someone else.
     Our classroom "Drop a Note for a Friend" box gives students a low-risk way to share concerns about any bullying incidents they may be aware of and any instances of unkindness. The incidents can be directed at the reporting child him/herself or someone else.

   The anti-bullying program at our school teaches that "silent witnesses", the ones who are aware of bullying incidents but don't report them, are just as harmful - and accountable - as the bullies.

     The box is simple. I just repurposed a tissue box with a printed sign. It's in an out-of-the-way spot by my desk, so students can let me know what is happening to them or to others by dropping a note into the box without others seeing them do it. 

     Drop A Note For A Friend serves three purposes: 

1) the reporting student feels safer 

2) being aware allows me to keep an eye on specific situations and do a little friendly questioning

3) actual incidents get reported more frequently  

     Will I get some unsubstantiated claims?  It's possible, so being aware is even more important.  I like knowing that my students can communicate with me on this important issue.

     What do you do in your classroom to counter bullying and empower students?

     Subscribe to my newsletter and get access to more ideas, tips, and strategies for your classroom!
Growing Grade By Grade
Share :

Easy and Affordable: A 21st Century Lesson

     An easy and affordable way to integrate math, social studies, and 21st-century global awareness is to display several clocks, each one representing the time in another time zone. The large clock in my classroom is the one provided by the school. The smaller ones were $4 or $5 each at a dollar store or Wal-Mart.  Choose several different spots on the globe and find the time on a site such as  Add labels and you're done!

     Discussing time zones and calculating time can be several lessons.   It can also be a brain break when you ask questions such as (using my clocks below): 
  • When we go to lunch, what time will it be in London?   
  • What do you think students in California are doing right now?  
  • When students in Beijing go to bed, what are we doing?  
  • What are we doing when English students are having lunch?  
The possibilities are endless and fun!

(Looks like California is losing a little time; need to fix that!)

Growing Grade By Grade
Share :

Easy Back to School Bulletin Boards and Displays

     It's time to get ready for the new year!  This interactive bulletin board in the hallway outside my classroom displays inspirational quotes.  The bottom sign encourages students to write their feelings about any quote.  You'll see a little "pen pocket" to the right.

     Last year, I used a "Math Graffiti" theme for the whole year and changed out the question every few weeks (pics below).  I got a lot of interesting responses all year long!

Some of my favorite quotes!

Students (and teachers) can add their thoughts below.

Other captions might ask: What's your favorite number and why?  Write a fact about yourself that uses numbers. 

I'd love to hear about your bulletin boards!

Growing Grade By Grade
Share :
[name=Pat McFadyen] [img=] [description=My purpose is to support YOU and your students with practical solutions and curriculum materials that teach, play, practice, and assess.] (facebook=

Follow @georgialoustudios