You know how some students (especially in the first weeks of school) just sigh when you give them writing or math jobs because what they really want to do is play with blocks or Lego all day?
Here’s how I got those students excited to do some writing and math (while still letting them build and use their imaginations.)
Just add a writing or counting task after they build! Create a recording page similar to those pictured below (or you can see the ones I use by clicking HERE.)
All you need is a bin of ANY building materials and the recording sheet!
You Can Use:
Colored paper shapes
To differentiate for your students, there are several levels that you can work with. Just choose how complex to make the task:
1. Build something.
2. Draw a picture of it.
3. Count and record how many of each color was used.
4. Add up the total number of blocks and compare it to the original.
Because not all colors are represented on the sheet, there are further thinking challenges that you could assign to more advanced students, such as….how many blocks were not on the recording sheet? What color are they?
5. For the writing task, describe what was made in as much detail as possible. Depending on the abilities of your students, you can extend the writing task to include more descriptive language and detail. For example, one student of mine wrote a story about a spaceship he made!
6. More advanced students can fill in the colors and numbers FIRST, then work to create something according to that criteria. A partner can be responsible for checking that it’s done properly!
While students work, I used my iPad or iPhone camera (connected wirelessly to my projector through my Macbook) as a traveling document camera. Projecting images of their creations was a great way to share inspiration!
I can challenge the students more as the year goes on and, best of all – no prep at all! Great for assessment, too. Because of integration of subject areas, you’re covering a lot of core skills at once, and everyone is engaged!
You can make your own simple template, or see the one I use with my students by clicking HERE.