How to Integrate Math into Valentines Day

If you're like me, you love throwing seasonal activities into your busy days! It makes everything a little more fun and engaging. I've always created Valentines mailboxes (or bags!) with my students in the classroom. I know the kids L-O-V-E having cute mailboxes to drop their valentines into. I also know it's so hard to find time for things like this because there's always curriculum to hit. I've got a few ways to mix the two for you, so you don't have to cringe and hide behind your desk if your principal walks in while you are making Valentines bags. ;)

Aren't these the cutest?! You can decide whether your students will be making unicorn or monster bags. All you need to do to prep them is print the pieces and go!

Students get to "shop" for the pieces to their unicorn or monster. Here's where the math comes in! AND, let me make it even better for you...these menus are differentiated! The menus look identical except for the prices. This is a perfect way to meet the levels of all of your students. One set uses simple two digit numbers, and the other uses three digit numbers (ex: $1.25). If neither of those options work for you, there is an EDITABLE menu included...perfect for customizing it just for your students.

You can differentiate it even more by providing different budgets for your students to follow. They will have a blast getting to shop for their unicorn or monster parts. It's not pictures, but there is an "order form" included to make shopping a breeze.

If you're looking to "amp up" the math even more - you could give students money manipulatives and they can count out the exact change they'll need as they purchase the parts. I like to have them all laid out on my small group table. Students can even take turns being the shop owner, they'll just eat it up!

Anyway, that's it!! It's simple and fun, but it's great practice for students as they decorate their Valentines bags. I promise they won't even notice all of the math they're doing!! You can find the unicorn and monster sets in my TPT store, or just click the pictures below!
How else do you incorporate Valentines Day with the standards you have to hit?

Pin for later!


Adopt a Texas Classroom - FAQ

Hi all! I have been completely floored by the response to my “Adopt a Classroom” project. Between the sign-ups, emails, messages, comments…I literally can’t do it all. I have a 6 month old at home with me right now, and even if he wasn’t, there’s no way I could keep up with it all on my own! I have been very fortunate to have some great friends offer to jump in and help with matching classrooms and replying to messages.

All that being said, I would love to respond to each email and comment, but it would be completely impossible at this point. This is a GOOD problem to have, because it means so many of you want to help. However, I also feel I should prioritize matching classrooms right now. I want your questions to be answered, so here are some of the most frequently asked questions. If you still don’t find the answer to your question, please reach out.

I want to help, what can I do?
Please, please, please use this link to sign up. I’m not able to go through the comments and emails and match you – going through this form is the only way.

How does this work exactly?
If you are applying to adopt a classroom, please use this form. You will be matched with a teacher and I’ll send you their contact info, a little about their situation, and a list of supplies they need most immediately. After you receive this email, my part is done! You will contact the teacher you matched with and see how you can best help them, and then put together a plan with your students (or group) to help meet their needs.

What am I committing to by signing up? Can you give a rough financial estimate of helping out a classroom?
The only thing you’re committing to is trying to help this classroom in some way. In no way does the teacher expect you to get everything they need. Many have expressed gratitude for absolutely anything to help. Currently, I am able to match 3-4 classrooms who want to help with 1 Texas classroom right now, which is great as they are hopefully able to receive more of what their students need!

I’m not a teacher, can I still sign up to adopt a classroom?
Short answer…yes! We’ve had girl scout troops, churches, running groups, and businesses all sign up. This is wonderful since it’s all about helping the kids who need it!! If you are an individual, considering gathering some friends and family to help so that you are able to maximize your impact on the classroom you adopt. Sign up using the form here, and when it asks for grade/school, just put your group name or “family.”

My grade level/school wants to adopt more than one classroom…or wants to adopt a whole school…
If your grade level wants to adopt more than one classroom, please have each of you apply (or if you want to adopt only 2 classrooms, then please just have 2 of you apply). Then you’ll be matched with classrooms and can work on that as a project together. If your school wants to collectively adopt a school, please put that on the form where it says grade/school…”School adopting school.”

Is this just for schools in Houston?
No, it is for any school in TX deeply affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

How does shipping work?
Shipping is your responsibility, so please keep that in mind when considering what you are collecting.

Is there a list of supplies somewhere?
No. Once you apply, I will work to match you with a classroom. I’ll send you what that teacher has requested as their most immediate needs.

What kinds of things are the teachers needing?
True to a teacher’s heart, most teachers are asking for things for their students, such as hygienic supplies, school uniforms, and backpacks. Basic school supplies are also in demand!

So I need to buy these items and ship them?
You can. Another option is to collect donations and purchase supplies directly from Amazon. They can ship directly to that teacher’s school for you, and you will save greatly on shipping (especially if you have Prime!). You could also send an electronic Amazon giftcard.

Are you confirming that the people applying are teachers in need?
Teachers who apply must use their school district email to apply. I strongly suggest you ship only to their schools as well. Some schools are greatly flooded and won’t be open for a while – just wait until they can accept shipments to send anything. This will ensure that your donations are going exactly where they should be – I completely trust teachers, but there may be others who try to use this as an opportunity to help themselves. Pay attention to the email of the classroom you are matched with, and use your own discretion.

I want to be matched with a school in a certain area, a Catholic school, a first grade classroom, etc. Can you do that?
We are doing our best to roughly match grade levels, or at least primary grades with primary, etc. I have had several requests for teachers to be matched with a certain area, and I would LOVE to make that happen, but to be honest, it is very time consuming. As I type this, we sit at 5,400 submissions. That is A LOT of people to match. Trying to make particular pairings, especially by location, takes a much longer time. We aren’t able to take requests like that right now, I’m sorry. Feel free to reach out to a particular school or area on your own if you have a connection with them! J Please be flexible, as there are a lot of teachers and students who need help!

Are schools able to receive the shipments?
Some schools will be opening on September 5th, and some have not heard yet when they will reopen. This is something you will need to coordinate with the teacher you are matched with!

What is the timeline for getting matched?
We are working through them in the order they are coming in. There are an amazing number of submissions, so it is taking some time. I ask that you please be patient…we are working on it as quickly as we can!! We are hoping within the week at the latest. You will receive an email letting you know you’ve been matched.

I would LOVE to see what you and your classrooms (groups) are doing to help!!! Please use the hashtag #AdoptaTXclassroom to tag your pictures, and feel free to tag me (@sunsandsecondgrade) as well. 

A huge and overwhelming THANK YOU goes out to all of you who are signing up to help. It is an amazing thing to watch people come together like this.

Most importantly, the teachers in TX are going to be doing the real work in the coming weeks and months, as they’ll have lots of broken students coming into their classroom. It takes a special person to be a teacher, but these wonderful men and women will be giving that a whole new meaning. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your students, and I truly hope you are able to receive some of the help you need.


Project Based Learning: Plan a Snowman's Vacation

It's that time of year when students are getting antsy and a little *too* comfortable in your classroom. They tend to start slacking a bit here and there, and maybe complain about being bored. Well let's fix that, shall we?! These PBL Math Projects have been a HIT in my classroom, and I've heard wonderful things from other teachers as well!

These projects are jam-packed with Common Core math tasks to help your students review and apply these critical skills  It's not just any old worksheet, the tasks will really challenge and enrich your students as they apply them to real-world situations. Sound great for some of your high-flyers, but not sure if your on-level and struggling students will be able to keep up? Many pages are differentiated so that your students can still be challenged, but at a level appropriate to them!

Alright, here we go...

Engage your students right off the bat by telling them they're a travel agent who gets to plan a vacation for...a SNOWMAN!! They'll already be excited about the idea - maybe even let them chat a bit with their friends about what the vacation will be like. This really helps them buy into the project you're about to present to them.
To start, students will read a survey completed by the snowman to help them know what kind of vacation he's looking for. They'll also get some data on the popularity of different destinations, and use that data to create a bar graph. There are differentiated versions available - challenge your students by letting them create the title and labels. Then, students can look at the data and analyze it to help them make an informed decision about the destination they choose for their snowman.

They'll also set up a budget and plan out his airfare, hotel stays, meals and activities!
Then, students get to plan out their snowman's fun-filled days for him! There are two versions for your different learners. Both have a list of various activities students can choose to sign Sammy up for. They'll use these to create a schedule for him. However, one version has the times in 15 minute increments, and the other has the times in 5 minute increments, with an additional challenge thrown in - some activities are scheduled for certain times, so students must plan around those activities accordingly.
Time for some shopping! The snowman can't go on vacation without his tropical wear, so students will help him shop for his trip. Students are given a budget and guidelines to follow, and there are differentiated shopping menus for you to provide them. One menu deals with two digit numbers, and the more challenging menu deals with four digit numbers.
 Once their snowman has gone on vacation, he ends up helping out some new friends as they buy souvenirs. Students will travel to task cards and count the bills and coins, while recording the totals on their recording sheet. This isn't just any old counting coins activity though - students will be challenged with the problems presented to them on their recording sheet, and will have to use addition, subtraction, and reasoning skills to solve them!
Last but not least, once their snowman returns from vacation, he's ready for his travel agent to help him plan a road trip! Students will use an inch ruler to measure the distance between the cities he's chosen (in inches). Differentiated recording sheets allow students to record measurements in inches, convert the inches to miles, and even calculate the driving time between cities.

Your students will be BEGGING to work on their snowman's vacation during math time!! This can be used in a variety of ways. It's a great project to give to your students who need some enrichment or fast finishers. I've done it in small group with students to allow me to easily differentiate with my different learners. I've even done these projects whole group, where you can really transform your classroom and let students feel completely transported into their project.

Check it out HERE, and if you try it out with your students, I'd LOVE to know how it goes!! :)