Manners and Math Monday!


I get to be in my classroom this week. My student teacher is at the college doing her teacher prep stuff so I get to play teacher for a couple of days. I tease that I don’t know if I can “work” two straight days, but I am secretly excited.

As I met the kids at the door Monday morning (first rule in first grade-you have to hug the teacher before the day begins and when it ends) I could see the look of surprise on their faces. One even had the audacity to ask “Where’s Mrs. J?” She’s gone today I tell him, I’ll tell you all about it inside.

I could see that they were a bit worried to see me at the door, instead of Mrs. J. Had they done something wrong? Was she gone for good? When would she be back?

I explained that Mrs. J. was just gone for a couple of days to do her “school work,” and then I asked how they thought it’s going with Mrs. J. “good” they all chimed. “Really?” “Great!”  “So you are doing all your work, and remembering all of our promises to each other and our classroom?” Eager nods all around. “Everyone is following procedures and being respectful, using best manners?” I watched as some nodded enthusiastically, as some began to bow their heads, and others that looked at me from the corner of their eye, or not at all.

I smiled to myself. Mrs. J and I had discussed the different behaviors that have started showing up the past few days (when the teacher’s away…). I quickly reminded them of how we work together in our class, and that Mrs. J. was there to learn from them as much as they are from her. We discussed different ways to make sure we were doing “our jobs.” I reminded that it didn’t matter if I was in the classroom or down the hall they were all independent and smart first graders (almost second graders) and I knew they know the right behaviors. I told them I knew they could be great “teachers” for Mrs. J. They of course agreed in unison and promised to be great role models. The proof they say will be in the “pudding” but I am confident they will remember our conversation.

With that taken care of, we then moved onto our work for the day. I told them that today would be “Math Monday” and everything we did was going to be about math. They were very excited. We have had “reading day” before but never a “math day.” With testing coming up I needed to get a better feel as to what we need to review.

We began with Smart-Board activities of graphing, fact practice, place value, time, money, and odd or even numbers. We then moved onto to a fact sheet of subtraction and addition (good tool for assessing their progress with facts).

After our fact page, we made “fact family flowers.” I asked each child their birthday, then used the month and year to give them the first two numbers of a fact family. I had them figure out the third by writing a missing addend problem for them to figure out. Example: my birthday is 9-25, so I would write 9+___=25. They would find the answer, we would write the members of the family in the center of the flower, and then they wrote the math facts for the “family” on each petal. (pictures to come later today). They really liked this project. Our principal came in while we were working on these and the kids had to explain all about the flowers and their birthdays, and the mess on my desk of construction paper!

After lunch is writing workshop. I told them we were even doing math for writing today! “How are we going to do that?” They cried. “I’ll show you.”

We read a book about addition as our mentor text. I then gave them each a cup full of skittles and some “book pages” (folded copy paper stapled like a book). I told them they could use the Skittles to make math facts, graphs, story problems, numbers, or whatever type of math story they wanted. They worked and colored, counted and figured. Finally they finished and got to eat their inspiration!

After gym it was time to measure. We used our inchworm rulers to “measure” the room.  They measured everything from their feet to books and desks.

Finally it was time to clean up and get ready to go home. We counted and timed as we cleaned and prepared. As we gathered on the carpet for a wrap up of the day, they were discussing the rulers, flowers, and the books they got to take home to read to their families. One little guy exclaimed “I love Math Monday!” “Yeah” many said in agreement, “Let’s have Math Monday every day!”

I laughed, well maybe not every day, but maybe every Monday! I don’t know what tomorrow will be, but I have a surprise for them. We didn’t get everything measured; I still have candy bars to find the length of!


3 responses to this post.

  1. Sounds like a great day in first grade! I think I want to be in your class for Math Monday. I love the conversation on how they are responsible for their behaviors with the student teacher. Sounds like you’ve got a real community of learners.


  2. How very fun! I have multiple read-ins and writing celebrations but never a day to celebrate math. What a great way to celebrate math, assess, and integrate learning. I’ll be adding fact family flowers to my notebook for future use. Great Ideas!


  3. I wonder if I ever had a math day I’d like to repeat? But then I didn’t have you for a teacher 🙂


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