I'm throwin' back with you today all the way from Michigan! HAPPY JULY 4th! We spend this holiday with our sweet family on the lake every single year and I can honestly say that this is one of my most favorite summer traditions! I just love this time of year! If you have any extra time on your hands today...or any time this week...link up with us for another edition of....
This week I'm highlighting a little post I blogged about last summer. One of my most FAVORITE ways to integrate math and reading/writing. Hope you can maybe incorporate this into your classroom, too!!
Originally posted July 19, 2012
Hi friends! Are y’all enjoying summer as much as I am?!?! I’m *trying* to savor every little second before I have to head back to set up my NEW classroom!! Eeeek!
I think I’ve said it before, but I LOVE teaching math. I wasn’t always a fan, but over the last couple of years, it’s become one of my favorite things to teach. I like math even more when I can integrate literacy into it. During my 2nd year of teaching, I had this little mailbox in my classroom. Book characters would write to my kids asking them to help solve a problem. This was my little way to try and incorporate math & literacy into my whole group time. The kids LOVED it. Our librarian at the time suggested I send that idea into The Mailbox, so I did. And they published it! I was SO stinkin’ excited!
This was back in 2005 right after I married Mr. Spouse. That little fact has NOTHING to do with this post…just thought I’d give him a little shout out :)
I sent in my idea when I was still a “Miss”. Miss Hagerty, to be exact. And if we were bff, you might’ve even called me “Miss Hag” ;)
The idea behind Mailbox Math was to get the kids solving problems and writing!!!! It was my most favorite time of the day!!! After we’d read a book….let’s say, Square Cat…the main character would write to us asking us to solve a problem. The letter would show up in our class mailbox and my helper of the day would excitedly check the mail and bring it to the carpet. I’d read the letter aloud and ohmiword…crickets. You could hear a pin drop! They were so excited to hear from someone we just read about! AND…they were even MORE excited to help that character solve a problem!!
Have y’all read Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker?! Ohmiword…LOVE it. She sent this to me back in the Spring and ever since then I’ve been absolutely OBSESSED! But I digress…
So it would go a little something like this. *Square Cat*…aka: YOU…writes to the class…
The problem can be ANYTHING! We solved ALL sorts of problems! The big idea was to get the kids thinking…talking…and working together. After you read the letter aloud…usually in a whole group setting…the kids use manipulatives to try and solve the problem. I’d give them a little bit of time to discuss the problem with their friends and then solve it…together or independently. I’d call on a few friends to share their strategies & answers with the class and I’d always make them explain HOW they got their answers. My kids were PROS at it! Then we’d sit down as a class and write back…in this case, to Eula…the Square Cat.
SO…not only are we solving problems, but we’re writing, too!!! This was the *perfect* little activity for reinforcing letter writing…even in Kindergarten! As we’d write back, we talked about the greeting, body, closing, and signature. I’d always remind the kids how important it is to have neat handwriting so that Square Cat/Eula could read it…if he can’t read it, then he doesn’t know how to solve his problem!!! Depending on the amount of time, I’d have the kids come up to the easel and help me write the letter…sight words, numbers, etc. It’s great for building math vocabulary & familiarity with key words, too :)
If you get a chance to incorporate Mailbox Math into your class, you should! The kids love it and it just lends itself to SO many learning/teaching opportunities!
Since I LOVE incorporating math & literacy so much, I created a little packet combining the best of both worlds. This is just another way I plan on integrating both into my class this year…in addition to Mailbox Math.
I designed this packet for *Back to School*, but it can definitely be used throughout the year! It includes 20 different mystery messages. I’m SO excited to use these in my classroom!!!! I know the kids will be, too!! I mean, what kid doesn’t love a good mystery?!?! HA!!! If you want to read more about it, click on the pic for a detailed description…