The holidays are coming, beginning with Halloween and this brings some additional stress into the classroom. When I was a first year teacher, I believed my classroom management should get more restrictive during the holidays when students were most energetic, off task and uninterested in doing classwork. As I have become more experienced, I realized that I need to work with their natual energy bursts and use them to my advantage.
This means adding games, having them get up and move around, doing activities that require movement and talking. This also means the teacher needs to relax and go with the flow, instead of fighting it. I still maintain my rules and we still use every minute of instructional time, but we try to have some fun as well.
You can add regular activities like Bingo, partner practices, dominoes and matching cards. I recently saw a teacher use dominoes and have the students create a poster with their work. If you like using task cards, laminate and put either in a large pumpkin, bowl or even toss them in the floor. Make the rule that students can only have 1 card at a time and when they have completed it, they have to run and get another. Or play scoot with the task cards. Place one on every desk, and after a few minutes, students rotate to the next desk to complete another card.
If you want themed resources, here are a few.
I love using riddles in the classroom as long as students show their work. No work, no credit even if the riddle is complete. They are cheesy, and often times get a groan instead of a laugh. But the kids enjoy them. They also stop doing the math when they have guessed the answer, so you need to have them show their work instead of relying on the riddle answer as proof they understand.
I like incorporating literacy into the classroom as well, so when I can include a famous quotation into a math activity, I am THERE!
Order of Operations Activity
There are free order of operations pumpkins at the website below. This takes a little prep, but if you laminate, this is time well spent. When I was teaching at the middle school, I kept a box of additional activities like these ready to pull out when the students needed a change.
This can also be a fun station activity as well. And if you are creative, use the idea to create your own pumpkin puzzles with the content you are currently working on. Just make sure you stack them up before cutting in half or you could just match the cut lines. Print on orange cardstock (unless you have a color printer) and laminate.
I use exit ticket in my class on a regular basis. Sometimes they are about the math we are working on and sometimes it is about how a students is doing with the lesson. I like to have my students explain their thinking on a regular basis so I can determine where I may have not explained as well. Communication is still a complicated thing, especially with kids.
At times, I have the students use a post-it note and place on the exit ticket poster on the board. Other times, I have them decorate the bulletin board with their exit tickets or tape around the door frames. These pumpkin exit tickets look great around the doorway. If you want these exit tickets, click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpjzo5du02hytdg/pumpkin%20exit%20tickets%20mindset.pdf?dl=0
Who doesn’t love trivia? This one is not a math activity, but I can expand the definition of math to mean logic, curiousity and critical thinking and that does work with trivia. Besides, I love odd facts. This works well if it is played by students on their own devices, or whole class. And if you are having a party, have the party-goers play to find the trivia master in your group. This one is free, so scoop it up. It comes with a 90 day account for new users to boom learning where all those boom cards can be used. So if you have never tried boom cards, this is your chance at no cost.
If you plan on making task cards for your own activities, here are some halloween task card frames that would be fun for the holiday.
I would love to see what you did with the task cards, or pictures of you using any of the activities here. Post on Instagram and tag me #bluemountainmath or leave a comment below. If you want to be notified of new products please follow my TPT store. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Sellers-Im-Following/Add/Blue-Mountain-Math