I don't know about you, but when I try to learn new things, I find that I learn better if games and activities are used. This motivates me and encourages me to take risks in a safe environment. Because this works well for me, I use a similar process when teaching. I have found it especially successful when teaching French to beginners.
The use of humor and creativity is also a great way to connect with your students. This helps them to take chances and encourages them to keep going.
Tips for teaching FSL to beginners - Getting started
These tips for getting started will help establish a positive environment for those beginning to learn French.
Learning vocabulary and some basic phrases are key if you want your students to develop an understanding of this new language. Games are a great way to introduce these key elements and have fun at the same time. Try word puzzles, matching games, or even playing bingo if you're working towards basic vocabulary recognition.
Teaching the intricacies of French grammar can be challenging at times, especially for younger children. Remembering masculine and feminine nouns can make your head spin, but fear not! If you start with thinking and memory games that match vocabulary and images, a connection can be made so that it is easier to remember whether an object is masculine or feminine. A personal dictionary can also help.
Focusing on simple speaking and writing activities is an excellent way to give children a foundation in FSL.
Additionally, storyboards, photo boards, and puzzles are all great tools for beginners as they provide students with more visual representations of French concepts that can help improve their understanding.
Ideas to encourage speaking
For practice speaking, here are some suggestions.
- role playing conversations between two people
- theater exercises such as charades or "guess that phrase"
- sharing stories about their day, talking about something on vacation or giving compliments in French
- FSL songs or stories that feature grammar rules you've covered in class
- acting out skits
- choral reading of French stories
- games like "Go Fish"
Ideas to encourage writing
For writing, here are some activities to consider.
- write sentences describing a picture or a story they made up.
- build sentences with magnetic tiles
- fill in the blanks with French vocabulary words to create simple stories
- get creative and assign an obstacle course of sorts where they must correctly form sentences by walking around the room holding flash cards to spell out words
- create a storyboard with pictures representing different verbs or nouns
- try some scaffolded writing activities with sentence prompts or word banks
- choose a selection of vocabulary words and create a scenario for others to act out
- writing tasks that focus on grammar are also important to practice basic sentence structure
It's important to provide encouragement and support while your students are learning so they won't be scared to take risks with speaking and writing. Motivation and a safe environment can go together.
Here is a free matching activity and game that might be fun to try. Click on the image to get a copy.
You can find many other French language games and activities in my TPT store.
Last time, I wrote about using a second language after not using it for many years and how it was like riding a bicycle. It would be rusty, but with some practice it could come back.
Imagine now that you were starting to learn a language with no previous experience to fall back on. You don't know any of the vocabulary, the way that the sentences are formed is different and all the nouns are either masculine or feminine, but you don't have any way of figuring out which gender they are.
Imagine the feelings you would have if you needed to communicate. This can be the way young children feel when they enter an immersion program.
Note: I will be referring to French throughout this post as that is the second language I have familiarity with. However, these thoughts can apply to other languages as well.
When young children enter into an immersion program, they don't have someone translating for them. They have to figure out what is being said through pictures, stories, gestures, and songs. As they begin to do various activities and their ears become attuned to the accents and the ways the sentences are spoken, they will gradually develop a vocabulary that they can use to begin communicating themselves.
Here are some ideas to help kids feel more comfortable when learning a new language. Some of these ideas will also work for older learners. it's important to keep in mind that beginning French learners can be scared to take risks in speaking and writing French, especially if they are older and more self conscious.
If you are teaching French Immersion or tutoring beginning learners it can be challenging when your students don't understand what you are saying and they are unfamiliar with the sentence structure and grammar rules. You have to remain patient and provide activities that will engage their attention and stimulate their French comprehension.
French immersion can be a tricky subject for beginning French learners, especially when it comes to grammar and remembering which words are masculine or feminine. To help ease their transition into French speaking, try encouraging them to take risks in their French by providing fun speaking and writing activities.
The goal is to help them get comfortable with the language and encourage them to take risks speaking and writing. Listening carefully and repeating stories or poems, playing guessing games to learn vocabulary, conjugating verbs, creating songs and rhymes, as well as writing French postcards are among the many captivating tasks you can use to engage your new French speakers.
If your students are reluctant to participate, try starting with gesture-based activities like Simon Says and Follow the Leader; challenge the children to listen carefully and respond in French. Instead of educational games, use French-style charades or improvisations where they build French sentences around their body movements.
Beginners can sometimes even find it intimidating to take a risk and speak any French out loud – so here are some activities you can use in your classroom to develop French fluency among students. A good activity for speaking French is role-play of everyday tasks, like grocery shopping or ordering a meal, which shows students different ways they can use French in their daily lives. Other useful activities include group work to help students practice conversation, playing Pictionary or matching word games for spelling and vocabulary building, creating board stories or comic strips for writing practice, and making silly sentences. These activities are great for making French both challenging and amusing for beginning learners.
Fortunately, there are plenty of fun activities that can be done to help them understand French better. I have only provided a small sampling of ideas.
Throughout the years, I have created many resources that have been helpful in the classroom and with tutoring young students. You can check out my TPT store French categories to find out more about them.
Here's one that can help with ordering food at a fast food place. This was created with one of my students. Click on the image to check it out.
Don't forget that helping students feel safe makes a world of difference when exploring French -- positive reinforcement and plenty of encouragement will foster enthusiasm for speaking and writing in French.
Did you learn a second language when you were in school? How comfortable would you be using it now? Imagine for a moment, that you were thrust into a situation where you needed to communicate and the only language spoken was the one you learned years ago at school. I suspect you would be tongue-tied and maybe even a bit petrified to attempt to speak at all. But, there is hope.
It can be like riding a bicycle
Learning a second language can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be there in the future as you need it. Often people say it is like riding a bicycle. With a bit a practice it will come back from the cobwebs of our memories.
It can sometimes be difficult to re-learn how to speak and write in a second language after not using it for a long time. Even the most experienced second language speakers feel shy or rusty when it’s been a while. However, like riding a bicycle, all of those skills you developed come back to you quickly when you start using the second language again. To help with confidence when speaking and writing in your second language, try taking an online course that reviews basic grammar and conversation topics. This can help refresh your memory and get conversations flowing again. Plus, we all need to practice our second language from time to time so that we don’t lose the skill entirely!
Sometimes you need a reason why
I still remember when I started to refresh my French after not using it since high school. My kids were entering into French Immersion and I wanted to be able to understand what they were working on and help them out. I took a couple of courses through online university and with a bit of practice, I became comfortable with the language again.
I started to help out in the classroom and this made it easier to see how to use simpler forms of the language to communicate with the kids. I also was able to practice my French with the kids without fear of any mistakes I might make with gender usage.
Note: I still find it tough to remember which nouns are masculine and which are feminine. I often keep a dictionary nearby to check this out or I go to an online dictionary.
I am so glad that I did brush up on my French, because when I first started teaching, I ended up in a long-term substitute situation where I needed to teach Grade 1 French Immersion for 4 months. With the help of my colleagues and with my knowledge of how to teach different subjects, I was able to create materials and lessons that worked. It was scary, but I realized that I could do it. That immersion into my own kids' classrooms helped me to learn simpler ways of communicating with my students and I was able to transfer that to my classroom situation.
Following the 4 months in Grade 1, I ended up teaching French Immersion music for 9 years. This meant I needed to learn all the specific French jargon and terminology for music. Talk about choosing to jump into the fire! But I did it.
Who knew that Frère Jacques could be sung so many ways in Kindergarten. I used it to teach emotions, beat, rhythm, echoing, and many other things when I first had the kids who knew no French. They thought that I was very silly, but they had fun joining me.
You may need to refresh more than once
Fast forward several years, and my French was rusty again from lack of use. I decided to do something about that because my grandchildren were entering French Immersion. I started to brush up on my French and volunteer in my grandson's classroom. I started creating resources for my older grandson who was going to go into Late Immersion and I started to tutor some other students who were going into Late Immersion.
It was much faster getting my fluency this time. The grammar made sense and the vocabulary came back quickly. Creating the resources and using them with beginners also helped me to find out where things needed to be modified to make them work better.
If you are interested in checking out some French resources that work for young learners or those beginning in Late Immersion or FSL, check out my French categories in my TPT store.
Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours
It is Christmas!
Christmas has been very different for the past couple of years due to the pandemic and restrictions. It is nice to have a more normal Christmas break this year. I am really happy to have a family Christmas.
Last year, my daughter's family tested positive for Covid on Christmas Eve and we needed to quickly make different plans. The longterm home where my mother-in-law lives went into very strict restrictions on New Year's Eve and for 3 months I was the only person allowed to see her. Not what we were hoping for. It made the holidays bittersweet.
Our Christmas wishes became musical videos for each other. Here is the one we shared last Christmas.
Our kids also made music videos for us. Here is a parody our son made to ours.
Here are the family videos made by some of our kids and their families.
Carols and music are a special part of Christmas. I hope you enjoy listening to these ones. I know they have special meaning for us, but they can also bring joy to others as we think of Christmas and family time.
Finally, this is my daughter and her kids singing Away In The Manger for a virtual Christmas service for her church.
I could go on and on about music and how it has impacted our family, but let's just say it is more than a hobby. It is something that is of great meaning to us. As you can see from this photo, even the grandchildren play musical instruments.
I am pretty sure we will have other musical moments to share in the future.
I hope that you are able to have some special moments with family this holiday season. Enjoy your holiday break. See you in the New Year.
If you ask a group of young children what a map is, you're likely to get a variety of answers. Some will say it's a picture of a place, while others will say it shows how to get from one place to another. Some will even tell you that it's a way to find buried treasure! While all of these answers are technically correct, they only scratch the surface of what maps are and what they can do. But what all these answers have in common is that they recognize the importance of maps in our lives.
Mapping is important for kids to learn about. It helps them develop their geography and spatial awareness skills, and can also be a lot of fun!
There are a few key mapping terms and skills that need to be taught in order for them to be able to use maps effectively. Words like map, title, legend, compass rose, grid, scale, and symbols need to be explained and activities need to be done to practice using these terms.
Key Mapping Terms
In a nutshell, here's a quick explanation of these terms.
- A map is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional space.
- The different parts of a map include the title, symbols, legend, compass rose, grids and scale.
- The title tells you what the map is of.
- The symbols are shapes or small pictures that represent real things.
- The legend explains the symbols used on the map.
- The compass rose shows you which way is north, south, east, and west.
- The grid is a set of lines that go up and down and side to side that help you find places on the map.
- The scale shows the distance between places or objects. It can also be used for 3D maps to make sure that objects are appropriate sizes.
Once kids know what the terms mean, they can start to figure out where things are on the map. This Map Skills booklet below will help explain these terms. Here are some sample pages.
To practice mapping skills, there are many different activities that children can do. Here are a few ideas to try. I have broken them down into different features.
Identifying symbols and reading legends
For identifying symbols and reading legends, provide a variety of different types of maps and have the children find the different symbols shown in the legend. Do the reverse as well. Find symbols on the maps and then identify them using the legend. It is important that they realize that sometimes the symbols do not look like the real objects, but with the legend, they will still be able to identify what they are.
Using a compass rose
Using a compass rose can be lots of fun. If you have access to an area outside, it can be used to pretend to find treasure. For example: Take 10 steps North and then turn East for 20 steps. Turn South and follow along the fence for another 15 steps and turn Southwest. You are 12 steps away from the buried treasure.
After physically practicing changing directions and moving, it is important to transfer this skill to a map. Perhaps they can find different places on a neighbourhood map and practice giving directions to others to help them find it too.
For practice using grids, create grids on graph paper and practice drawing lines to connect the letters and numbers to see where they intersect. Put some objects on a grid and then play games like I Spy and have the kids tell you the coordinates for the space the object is on. You can also play games like Battleship. All of these activities will help them to become familiar with using a grid. Then you can move over to actual maps and do activities there.
Working with scale
Scale is a harder concept for kids to understand. It can be used in two different ways when creating a map or a community model.
Scale on a map is used to represent distances. This ties in with measurement and understanding different linear measures such as inches/miles and centimetres/kilometres. Getting comfortable with using a scale with distance will take lots of practice. Using grid paper to practice drawing out different measurements will help with visualizing this. Measuring out distances on actual maps and doing the conversions is also necessary.
For creating a community model, it is important for kids to see objects in relation to each other to understand how scale works. For example, if a toy car represents a real car, a toilet paper roll would be too big to represent a power pole. Creating 3D models help with visualizing scales of objects and what fits together.
Creating own maps
Finally, primary students can also learn how to make their own maps. This activity helps them understand how scale works, and how different features can be represented on a map. Kids love to be creative. Perhaps they could create their own neighbourhood map or treasure map and let others try to locate things using the skills they have learned.
Maps are essential tools for navigation in the real world, whether we're trying to find our way around a new city or just planning a cross-country road trip. As children become more familiar with the features of a map and practice using their skills, they'll be better equipped to navigate their way through the world around them later on.
It's that time of year again! Christmas is just 2 weeks away and a new year is around the corner. The New Year is a special occasion for kids, and there are plenty of ways to make it special in the classroom. With games and activities to teach skills and concepts, you can use special occasions to start out the year with fun. This is also a great time to refresh and set goals and prepare for new themes and units.
Here are some ideas for celebrating special days in the new year.
New Year's Day
Although New Year's Day is usually a holiday, it can be the focus on the first day back after the winter break. New Year's Day is considered a day for setting goals and resolutions. Here are some ideas for making this meaningful.
1. Create a school goal, a personal goal, and a home goal and write them down. Put them on fancy paper and place it inside a personal planning folder. Throughout the year, look at them and see if they are still working. This is a good time to reflect on realistic goals and on followthrough. If they are working, celebrate. If not, make some adjustments and carry on. At the end of the school year, revisit the goals again. Grab a free copy by clicking the image below.
2. Set some class goals for the new year and maybe even a goal tracker to see how well the class is doing. There could be a reward schedule also for various accomplishments along the way.
Creating a photo booth album for the class could also be fun. Check out this selection of different photo booth frames.
Groundhog Day is a fun occasion that is great for teaching many different science concepts. It is a perfect time for doing a weather focus, lessons on seasons, hibernation, shadows, and of course, groundhogs. It is also a time to talk about predictions.
There are many other activities you can do as well. You can read books about groundhogs, guess whether or not the groundhog will see his shadow and make a graph of the predictions, and check out whether or not the groundhog did predict an early spring or more winter. You can also do other fun math activities with a groundhog theme.
Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year
Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year is important in many different countries. This is a time to learn about different cultures and traditions. Read books, watch videos, and try some traditional foods as part of your celebrations. And for a fun math activity, have your students use dots (or coins) to create patterns with the lucky number 8.
In North America we are most familiar with Chinese New Year and the animal zodiac. There are lots of activities that can be done to explore this further. Other places that celebrate the Lunar New Year may have different traditions and activities that they follow. It might be interesting to make some comparisons of how they are the same and different.
Valentines Day is always a fun day for kids. It is the perfect time to talk about friendship and acts of kindness for others.
One year my class tried to come up with 4 or 5 acts of friendship each and we made hearts with these on them and posted them on the bulletin board. It was great to see how this created a positive focus in the classroom.
There are many language games that can be done such as sight word bingo, rhyming games, vocabulary activities, and conversation starters. Students can practice writing poems or making conversation hearts. It is also a great time to teach how to write friendly letters.
Hundreds Day is a day of celebration in many primary classroom because it marks the hundredth day of school. There are so many different activities that can be done to celebrate this day.
Hundreds Day is a perfect occasion for math activities! Students can count by ones, twos, fives, and tens to 100. They can also make patterns with 100 objects or solve word problems involving 100 objects. This is also a great day to introduce place value concepts such as ones, tens, and hundreds.
Dressing up as someone who is one hundred is also a popular activity to try. It is also a great time to think about what life might have been like a hundred years ago.
No matter what special days you choose to celebrate in your classroom, remember that the most important thing is to have fun! Enjoy these special occasions with your kids. They'll be sure to remember them for years to come.
If you are interested in any of the resources in the images above, you can check them out here.
If you want excitement, watch how kids react to the first sign of snow.
When I woke up a few days ago, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. Little did I know when I headed to school, it would be a few inches by lunch time. The kids kept looking out the window and watching the clock waiting for recess break so they could get outside and play.
Of course this meant allowing more time for bundling up and preparing to go outside, then unbundling and dealing with snowy gear when they came back inside, as well as the many stories they had to tell about playing in the snow.
Teachable moments are rampant at times like this. I like to use these events as springboards into different activities. You can still meet requirements of the curriculum by adding them in, they just have a fun twist to capture the excitement and focus of the kids.
I learned early on to take advantage of this excitement instead of trying to squash it so that they could get back to work. Here are a few different ideas that I would do.
Story telling and writing
I would build in time to allow them to share their stories and then I would use that to help them write stories. Story writing using the fun activities they did outside can help even the most hesitant writer to put pen to paper.
Once I had my class imagine what it would be like if the city froze. We talked about all kinds of crazy scenarios and possibilities and after brainstorming as a group, each person did some more brainstorming on their own. Then, they wrote stories and tried to add in many details and descriptive words to paint the picture in the reader's mind. Sharing the stories later was so much fun.
Here is the template we used for the stories.
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Math And Science Activities
Sometimes, I would take a math or science approach. This might include measuring the snow, seeing how long it takes to melt when brought inside, building a fort outside, seeing who can throw a snowball the farthest, making snow families, or checking the temperature at different times of the day to see if it gets colder or warmer.
If you live in a place that doesn't get snow, you could try doing some activities that might mimic those we did.
For example: Use rolled up socks as pretend snowballs and see who can throw them the farthest.
Shave up some ice and form snowballs and try to make a small snowman.
Use ice cubes to build small forts
Check the temperatures in different parts of the world for a few days in a row and then graph the results.
Imagine what a snow day would be like and write about it.
There are several winter language and math activities that you can do, but adding in the real life moments just makes them so much more fun.
Here are some other winter resources that might be of interest as the cold, white days continue.
Winter Sports Bundle
Winter Word Work Language Activities
Winter Parts Of Speech Silly Sentences
For lots more ideas, check out my winter math and literacy category.
Winter novel studies are also a great way to include a winter theme into your language arts. Here are some novel studies that might interest you.
Emma's Magic Winter
The Kids In Ms. Coleman's Class - Snow War
Horrible Harry And The Holidaze
Grab the excitement and wonder of winter and add it to your lessons for more engagement and motivation. I would love to hear some of the other ways you weave winter into your lessons.
Don't forget to grab your free copy of Frozen writing templates.
Have you ever wondered why some communities look the way they do? Why there are buildings in some places and not others? And why some communities have more services than others?
These are big questions that are important to answer when teaching children about communities and community planning.
I loved creating a 3D community with my students. It took time to plan from beginning to end, many discussions and decisions, and space in the room for the completed project, but the final result was worth it. You can read more about it here.
Types of communities
Before doing any kind of planning it is important to know what kind of community you want to create. Kids need to look at different types of communities and see how they are the same and different.
There are 3 main types of communities to explore - urban, suburban, and rural. They have unique characteristics that need to be considered when doing community planning.
Here are some to get started with.
- Urban communities are usually bustling with activity.
- They are densely populated, with a mix of commercial and residential buildings.
- High rises and busy streets are also often seen in urban communities.
- There are a wide range of industries and services available from retail to healthcare to manufacturing.
- Services and industries are often located close together, making it convenient for people to work and shop.
- There are many restaurants and shops in urban areas to meet the demands of the population.
- Suburban communities are not as densely populated
- They have less industry and fewer services than urban areas
- They tend to have more parks and recreation facilities
- There are many single dwelling homes with some small apartment buildings, townhouses, or other types of multiple dwelling homes.
- There are some local schools
- There may be some small shops and restaurants
- Rural communities are the least populated
- They are primarily agricultural lands
- They may also be used for industrial purposes
- Houses are spaced further apart
- There is much more space and privacy for people living there
- Transportation access is important because of the distances away from many services such as schools and hospitals
- Access to natural resources such as water supply is necessary
When planning a community, it's important to consider the needs of the population. What types of services and industries are required? Where should different types of buildings be located? What is needed to make the community work for its residents? These are all important questions that need to be considered in order to create a successful community.
It's important to help kids understand the various types of services and businesses that are found in each type of community. Things like schools, hospitals, and public transportation are essential for any community to function properly. Locations of these services are different depending on the type of community, but they need to be accessible.
By understanding these things, kids can develop a better appreciation for the importance of planning in any community.
Ultimately, a community needs to meet the needs of its population in order to be successful. This means that there must be a balance between residential, commercial, and industrial development. There also needs to be enough green space and amenities to support the community's residents. By taking all of these factors into consideration, planners can create communities that thrive.
Kids love the hands on activities of planning and creating a community. Here are some samples of one community that was done by one of my grade 1/2 classes.
If you would like to see a copy of the plan that we used and some of the materials included, check it out here.
My class had a great experience creating this community. I wish you success should you venture to create one in your classroom.
Do you sometimes wonder if teaching about money is important any more? Do you think children need to know how to use coins and other currency? These questions and many others often start to surface nowadays.
Handling money and using it to pay for things is becoming less common now with so many of our transactions being done online or with debit machines and plastic. This doesn't mean that teaching about money is becoming less important. This means learning about money and practicing how to use it is more necessary if children are to be able to handle money situations in the real world.
It is sad to see that many adults can't handle money correctly anymore. They rely on the machines to tell them how much they need to pay, and how much change to give. They struggle to count out money to make purchases.
Standing in line at the local fast food place the other day, I watched the worker struggle to make change correctly and call her manager to help. I could see that the customer was getting frustrated. Unfortunately, this is going to become even more common if we don't teach our students how to count money and correctly make change.
When it comes to teaching kids about money, there are a few key things to focus on. Identifying coins, counting money, and making change, are essential skills that kids need to learn. Here are some tips to help.
Identifying coins is key to being able to handle money. After all, those quarters don't look anything like pennies! Do lots of activities that involve matching coins. You could do memory games, bingo, I Have, Who Has? games or any games that make coin recognition automatic. It is also necessary to recognize how money is written so that kids can recognize price tags and costs of different things.
Counting coins is another skill that is important. Play money can be used for this, or real coins if you have access to enough of them.
1. Practice counting coins of equal value so that it helps with using the coins later. Count by ones with pennies, by fives with nickels, by tens with dimes, and by twenty-fives with quarters.
2. Practice making dollars with the coins. How many of each coin is needed to make a dollar?
3. Practice counting coins of different values and seeing what they total up to.
Making change is a difficult skill for kids to master. There are a few other skills or steps needed first. It requires being very familiar with coin values and different coin combinations that make the same value.
Activities that help with creating money amounts using different coin combinations and trading of coins to make similar amounts is a good first step.
It is important to be able to add and subtract multiple digit numbers as well so that this skill can be applied to using money.
Counting up is also important. Counting up from the amount paid until it matches money given is one way of making change.
In Canada, we no longer have pennies, so it is necessary to also round up or down when paying with cash. Machines have been adjusted to help with providing the correct change, but it still requires understanding when to round up or down when paying. Sadly, many people cannot do this.
Connecting to real life situations
Teaching the skills is one thing, but providing opportunities for kids to see its use in the real world is necessary so they can make the connections that will help them to internalize them.
If you give a child a handful of coins or bills, they often don't really understand the value of what they are holding. A cheque in a birthday card means even less to them. I remember watching as my grandchildren opened cards received from uncles or others and they didn't even look at the paper cheque that was inside. They just handed it over to their parents. Although in some way they realized it was money, they didn't understand its value or use.
The more we give them practice handling and using money the more we will prepare them for how to use it and the better prepared they will be to understand its value and how to use it wisely in their everyday lives.
This could involve setting up a store in your classroom, pretending to be at a restaurant, or even setting up mock debit machines and debit cards for kids to use.
(If you are interested in trying out a using a menu, I have a free copy of Elisa's Café available for subscribers below.)
Resources to help
I had the opportunity to do a simplified version of parts of the entrepreneur study with my Grade 3 class one year. We were learning about money and it became a unit of money lessons that were created with my class. We also made and sold items for a spring fundraiser and used the money to pay for a bus trip up island to meet up with another class in a different town. Talk about making it a real life experience! You can find out more about this here.
Here are some resources that could help with practicing money skills. American and Canadian versions are available.
Counting Money - How Much Money American version
Canadian Coins Match Up
Money Lessons For Children Unit
Rounding Up And Down With Money
Money Word Problem Task Cards For Kids
Don't forget to grab your free copy of Elisa's Café by signing up for my newsletter.
For free resources, tips, and ideas, sign up for my newsletter.
Kids hopping in the hallways, stretching to reach the tops of doorways, and making a human ruler stretched along the wall are sure signs that a class is learning about measurement, or that the teacher has disappeared and the kids are acting crazy.
Measurement can be lots of fun if it is done with creativity and hands on activities. Kids love to have opportunities to try out new ideas.
As soon as you put a measuring tape in a child's hand, you can bet they will start to measure everything around them. Of course, it's important that you show them how to use the equipment correctly if you want accuracy.
Non-standard and standard measurement
There's nothing more fun than a ruler that's constantly being moved around the classroom. So when it comes to teaching measurement, I always start by making sure my students understand the importance of a standard measure. In order to do this, they should do lots of activities using non-standard units first that give different results.
One of my favourite activities is measuring with shoes. I choose two students with shoe sizes that are very different. We pretend to measure a length where we are going to build a fence. The number of shoe lengths is quite different for each student, so it is easy for the kids to see that we need something more standard to make sure we get the right amount of material needed.
This is the perfect time to introduce rulers with inches, feet, and yards, or centimetres and metres, depending on the standard units where they live. Once they get the idea of standard measuring units, add in measuring tapes. There are so many activities that can be done with these tools. See below for more ideas.
Measuring is an essential math skill that children need to learn in order to understand concepts like volume, area, and length. There are many different ways to measure things, and it can be tricky for kids to understand all of the different units. However, there are some games and activities that can help make learning about measurement a little bit easier - and even fun!
Linear measurement activities
Measuring things around the classroom is a great way to get kids interested, and there are plenty of games and activities you can use to keep them engaged. Here are a few ideas.
1. Set up stations around the room with various objects to measure and let the kids rotate around to each station.
2. Do a "measurement scavenger hunt" where kids have to find objects that match specific measurement criteria (e.g., an object that is exactly 10 cm long).
3. Use string to measure things around the class like furniture, doorways or cupboards. Let the kids use a different type of measurement each time e.g. feet/inches or metres/centimetres.
4. Have kids line up in a straight line and then measure them using a standard ruler.
5. Have kids estimate the length of various objects using their arms or feet and then measure the objects to see how accurate they were.
6. Have kids measure their own height or the height of a partner.
7. Estimate and measure! Have the children choose an object - it could be anything from a toy car to a pillow - and then estimate its length. Once they've written down their estimate, they can use a ruler or tape measure to find out its actual length.
Volume and weight measurement activities
Understanding volume/capacity and weight is another form of measurement that is necessary for real world use. It is important to have an idea of how much something weighs, how much is needed of various ingredients for cooking meals, how much soil is needed for planting a garden, etc. Doing hands on games and activities will help kids understand this and hopefully apply it to their own life experiences.
Here are a few ideas for getting started.
1. Using candy or other small treats, measure out equal amounts into separate containers using standard measurements like cups, tablespoons or millilitres. Let the kids enjoy eating their treats as a reward for completing the task!
2. Get creative cooking! Set up small groups for cooking. Let the kids measure out ingredients using standard or metric measurements. Not only will they be learning about measurement, but they'll also get a delicious treat at the end!
3. Fill up different containers with water (or sand if you're outdoors) and have kids estimate how many litres (or gallons) each container holds. Then use a measuring cup to check their estimates.
4. Build towers! This game is perfect for exploring volume measurement. Give each child a specified amount of building blocks - 1 cup, 2 cups, 3 cups, etc. - and see how tall of a tower they can build with their blocks without letting any spill over. This is also a great opportunity to talk about capacity versus weight - how many blocks does it take to make 1 kilogram? 1 pound?
5. Give each child an object of a different size and have them guess which object is the heaviest, lightest, tallest, etc. Then check to see if the guesses are correct.
Other types of measurement activities
There are other forms of measurement that we use regularly as well. Time and temperature, for example. There are also many other ways that we use measurement in various subject areas. It is important to spend some time discussing different types of measurement - linear, area, weight, capacity and so on - and what units are used. Depending on the time available, activities could be done to look at more of these uses. Whenever possible, use real-life examples to illustrate measurement concepts.
As much as possible, let kids get involved with the actual measuring. This will help them better understand the concepts and make it more enjoyable.
If you are looking for some measurement resources for your classroom, here are some suggestions. You can find more by visiting my Measurement category in my TPT store.
Measurement Anchor Charts And Conversions
Linear Measurement Charts And Examples
Measurement Games Team Events
This booklet helps to explain the difference between non-standard and standard measurement. It also gives examples.
The possibilities are endless! Teaching measurement doesn't have to be boring - by doing activities like these, your kids will be having so much fun they won't even realize they're learning! So get out there and let the kids hop in hallways, stretch to reach to tops of doorways, make human rulers, and start measuring!
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.