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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spoons for Skills

At some point last summer as I was perusing Pinterest, I saw a pin that showed some sight word matching activity a teacher did using plastic spoons.  I thought it was a creative way to practice a routine skill but then forgot about it until recently.

Last weekend, I was stuck at a long and dull party and was trying to entertain several pre-school and Kindergarten aged children.  They had plastic spoons and this picture I saw on Pinterest came screaming back to me.

I created a little subitizing activity for these kids where they were matching dots with a corresponding numeral.  They had a great time, practiced an important skill and were entertained.

As I jumped back into the work week on Monday, I discovered I had a box of white spoons in my classroom and a huge box of clear spoons at home.  I used this spoon skill idea in Kindergarten, Second grade and Sixth grade this week.

Subitzing and Reading Numbers

The dot spoons.  I went with predictable dot dice patterns on these because the kids were quite young and did not have a lot of school experience
The number spoons.  To challenge kids who are ready, present them out of order and have them order them first or as part of the game.  
The clear dot spoons get laid on top of the white number spoons

Addition Fact Doubles with First and Second graders

Doubles facts on the clear spoons and the answers on the white ones.  One more way to practice or check in with how well kids are doing with this skill.  

Writing Decimals as Percents

With the sixth graders, I created several sets to check in on their understanding of writing decimals as percents.  I purposely picked numbers that were very similar or easily confused.  I want to make sure kids have this skill straight because our unit assessment is coming up.  

Storing the Spoons

When I am done with the spoons, I stack them on top of each other and rubber band them together.  Then I put them in a cup on my bookshelf.  Notice my white spoons are not the same size as the clear ones.  I would certainly make sure the spoons were the same size if I was purchasing spoons specifically for this purpose.  
This was great fun for the week and kids liked having something that seemed new and exciting to use.  I am sure the newness would not last forever and it isn't something I am going to be doing all the time, but it was a creative way to add a twist to our routine.  It is one more thing in my toolbox that I can try to motivate kids or make learning seem new and exciting.  

What is the strangest thing you have used in your classroom to practice routine skills?