Author Archives: Jaclyn Russell
This post is part of a series of posts detailing STEM Interactive Bulletin Boards. If you’d like to read some of the “why” behind these tools, check out the first post in the series HERE.
In addition, here is the link to a video of November’s STEAM interactive bulletin board. Since I have included read alouds into every lesson, I am changing the title to STEAM interactive bulletin boards. STEAM interactive bulletin boards are helpful in implementing and integrating all subjects while supplying a language rich environment for all children. I initially created this December board to give teachers ideas on how to use their whiteboards as interactive bulletin boards. With a little teacher modification, these boards can truly integrate reading, writing, science, technology, engineering and math. If you read my blog or watch my video from last month, these boards are created to maximize teaching time through 10-minute daily mini lessons, all generated by students’ curiosity and teachers’ questioning.
A STEAM board is to be used as a teaching tool. The teacher can use it as a questioning tool to ask their students what they notice, see, or question. For December, I have supplied additional activities that can be linked to the mini lessons while using a classroom whiteboard as the bulletin board to write on and magnets to easily navigate for teacher friendly use. These activities can be done during centers, rotations, small group, independent choice, etc.
An important theme of this board is that it does not illustrate typical or traditional science and math topics. The bulletin board was created to highlight language and vocabulary concepts and help foster literacy development while integrating STEM components throughout all lessons. For instance, this zoomed image of the characters from Gingerbread Baby can be taught during a retelling/comprehension lesson. Sequence of events, ordinal numbers, and spatial reasoning are all mathematical elements that can be tied into the lessons by asking specific questions.
- Who was the first (second, third) character to chase after the Gingerbread baby?
- Can you put the characters in order of how they chased the Gingerbread baby?
- What happened after the fox chased after him?
- Who was the 4th character to chase the Gingerbread baby?
- What happened to the GIngerbread Baby on the bridge? What would happen if that piece of ice wasn’t there?
- What was Matti doing the whole time?
All of the characters were printed from Jan Brett’s website which has a ton of free activities! Check it out!!
Gingerbread Read Alouds
- Gingerbread Girl
- Gingerbread Baby
- Gingerbread Bear
- The Ninjabread Man
- The Gingerbread Cowboy
- The Gingerbread Pirates
Mathematics Through Interactive Gingerbread Cut-Outs
I laminated and added magnetic tape to the gingerbread cutouts. There are numerous activities that can be done with these objects. Here are two options:
- Have the students sort the gingerbread men by the color of buttons
- Have the students count aloud and then write the representation on the board
- It is important to show the multiple ways to represent the “2 buttons” ex: 2 dots, 2 tally marks, a child can hold up 2 fingers, a child can clap 2 times, a child can jump 2 times, etc.
- Bring out the language: Which buttons have the most/least/less/fewer? Are there any that have the same amount?
- Have the students sort the gingerbread men by the number of buttons
- Have the students count aloud and then have the students write the numeral on the gingerbread man itself (since it’s laminated, it will wipe right off with dry erase marker).
- Ask questions: Which buttons have more or less and how do you know? A great way to describe “equal” is by asking if each gingerbread man can hold hands and if any are left out? Or, try noticing whether they all have dancing partners. This is a great introduction to odd and even numbers.
- Another important aspect is to explore the concepts of numerosity and cardinality. I tried to illustrate it with numerals on the picture below. Students can learn that the 12 gingerbread men are 12 no matter where they started to count or where the count ended. Simply put, 12 is 12.
Engineering/Technology: “Catch me if you can!”
A super fun and engaging engineering lesson is for students to build a structure to catch the gingerbread man. This is great to do in small group because it will maximize collaboration between peers, problem solving, communication and tinkering. The picture below is a sample of objects students can use to create their projects. If a classroom has access to iPads, a great way to incorporate technology is to have 1 student recording students building and have the 1 student interviewing students about their builds, asking them open ended questions. This is a great learning experience for all students.
NGSS: Life science thanks to the SLY FOX from the GIngerbread Man, Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Girl.
NGSS states the first and second graders need to: design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.
Students will learn how animals like foxes learn to survive in the snow. I am attaching a AIMS activity titled, Whos My Mom?
Students will identify and match animal offspring to their parents, recognize characteristics that distinguish one animal from another, create an imaginary animal and its offspring, and sort and graph animals according to their characteristics.
Gingerbread Men, Geometry, Pattern Blocks, OH MY!
I used magnetic pattern blocks (less than $15.00) on the bulletin board and I created the first designs; after the students can create their own on the whiteboard to share with the class. Have the students share their thinking; how they created their design, what shapes they used, how many they used and what their shape looks like to them; and when it is rotated, does the design/shapes change or stay the same?
This activity that can be done in small groups, free flow or whole group was first introduced from the bulletin board itself. This picture is an example of how a teacher can ask students to build a snowman out a pattern blocks and the multiple ways students might build one. The teacher can then take this opportunity to talk about the different shapes the students used, their attributes, the composition and decomposition of shapes. The teacher can have the students count their shapes or a certain color of shapes and compare how many they had compared to their friends.
After the pattern blocks and counting, the students then do a non-standard measuring activity with the gingerbread man. The gingerbread men were die-cut and it’s a great activity for the students create and add the details to the plain gingerbread man.
Arts and Crafts
- Gingerbread man: fine motor, counting, problem solving, self regulation, creativity
- Gingerbread house: fine motor, counting, problem solving, creativity
I hope you have as much fun with these ideas as I did! Let me know in the comments below how well everything has worked for you!
This post is part of a series of posts detailing STEM Interactive Bulletin Boards. If you’d like to read some of the “why” behind these tools, check out the first post in the series HERE. STEM interactive bulletin boards are helpful in implementing and integrating all subjects while supplying a language rich environment for all… Continue Reading
Each month I will be designing and posting pictures of a STEM interactive bulletin board. I will document how to implement the board into the classroom and I will post video links, book links and websites to further the classroom discussions. When I was a classroom teacher I really wanted to have a STEM interactive… Continue Reading
On Friday, April 22, 2018, at the Early Math Symposium, AIMS associates engaged participants in three presentations on early mathematics. Wilma Hashimoto and I presented “What’s So Special About Spatial”. We presented this twice and had a great time interacting with the two groups. Our goal of the presentations was to inform our participants about… Continue Reading
Packing for a trip is just like putting a puzzle together. You want a limited amount of luggage and you are turning, flipping, squeezing, and rotating items to make everything fit. Even more challenging is loading a luggage cart after a weekend long conference when you have luggage for 10 (really only 2 people, but… Continue Reading
I just returned from attending and presenting at the California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC). These three days were filled with learning, meeting new educators, sharing our love for early education, and spreading our knowledge from AIMS regarding early mathematics through play and spatial activities. On Friday I attended the keynote presentation:… Continue Reading
The Early Math team at AIMS recently had the opportunity to present at a Head Start site last week. Each Head Start site has monthly parent meetings. At these meetings, site coordinators, facilitators, and teachers present information to the parents/families. At this last meeting our team gave a presentation entitled, “Mathematical Language to Use at… Continue Reading
As I walk into Mrs. Martinez’s preschool classroom, I am immediately taken in by a sense of warmth and sunshine instead of the cold, foggy January day outside. Inside the classroom, I see children working in small groups, huddled around adults, playing with objects, building towers, and reading books. I hear laughter, questions, and the… Continue Reading
Have you ever played Tetris or Battleship? Moved furniture through tight spaces? Took a shortcut on your way home or used landmarks as a means of direction? Played with Legos? If you have, then you have used spatial reasoning skills. What does spatial reasoning have to do with my focus on early mathematics? My simple… Continue Reading
Throughout the months of October and November, our Early Math team was focused on the ways children learn through play and the mathematics that emerge as teachers interact with children alongside their play. We took one of the activities we created and took it to 10 Head Start Preschool classrooms. Our goal was for the… Continue Reading