Hey everyone! Sometimes I wonder and hope there are other teachers like me whose brains are just bursting with so many ideas it almost drives you insane wondering how you'll ever accomplish them all. Then I do some blog-stalking and I feel so un-alone and know there are other people out who understand exactly what I'm talking about. Thank heaven!
Anyway, tonight's post is a big of a blast from the past, but I think you're going to like it! (freebie to come...) Every year I hold a counting challenge in my class. My little first graders (or kindergartners when I taught them) have to count by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, and 25s to 200 to earn their "shooting star" award and a prize. Each student has a star with their name on it in the classroom and once they pass each one off they get to put a star sticker on that number.
When they finish they get a star prize - in the past they have been filled with glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars, star stickers, and starburst candies, but I may switch things up a bit this year. I'm also going to redesign my star poster so it matches my Dr. Seuss theme (pictures to come soon - I promise!). But I decided to share the "Shoot for the Stars" challenge with you for free (click the images to download on TPT), especially since now is a great time to get it ready.
By a few months into the year last year most of my first graders were 'shooting star' counters and eager for another challenge, so I created a shooting-star-challenge-extension called "Counting Stars". I created stars of a different color, and for this challenge they had to count by odds, 3s, 4s, 20s, and 10s starting with any number, like 7 (7, 17, 27, 37...).
By the end of the year 90% of my students had completed both challenges and we were actually beginning multiplication in math.
I know, multiplication in first grade?! Crazy, it sounds, but my school teaches 2nd grade math curriculum in 1st grade, and amazingly, most of the students pick it up like it's nothing. It's pretty incredible. We only learn times facts 0-5, x10 and x100, but it got me thinking of another great challenge idea: "Multiplying til Midnight - It's time to times." (Click the image to get it on TPT).
I didn't actually implement this challenge in my classroom since my first graders don't learn all of the multiplication facts, but I think it would be awesome for 2nd or 3rd grade students. If you're interested in this challenge, you can download it on TN or TPT. Enjoy! Let me know if you try it with your students and how it goes!