After the success of Global School Play Day, my first grade team was ALL IN on how to give our kiddos more opportunities to play. In all the subjects. On any given day.
And it was incredibly convenient that at the end of Global School Play Day, we had team time to discuss just that topic! #luckyus #firstgradedoubleplanforthewin
After we tossed around several ideas, we landed on trying something in math first. And we also decided that using The Periodic Table of Play as our resource for ideas would be the best place to start. Our district has done work with Laura Seargeant Richardson, and has committed to putting play up at the top of a list of priorities for all kids and adults in our district. We have a deck of Play Possible Schools cards in our library, and they were the perfect place to dig in. 🙂
While the conversation was long and detailed, the short story is that we decided to take one concept (fractions) and each choose a different way to “play” with that idea. We chose an element of play and then figured out a way to apply that to fractions.
There are only five of us, and eleven elements, so we tried to have a variety of options.
We decided on:
Before the chosen date of our Play Day, we planned what part of our element we could focus on, and got ready for our activity. In order for kiddos to be able to choose their play place (which was another crucial part of our plan–kid choice!!), we put together a Google Slides presentation to invite them to come play with us!
No one knew which teacher they would end up with or really what they would be working on until they showed up–which added to the excitement and motivation!
Here’s what kiddos chose to do. Check out how much fun they had!!
This group observed a science experiment that included using different parts of an Alka-Seltzer and predicting/watching what happened. Kiddos recorded their thinking with words and pictures.
Lucy had some words to explain her math time today:
Friends in this group worked with Legos to represent different unit fractions in a variety of ways. What a fun way to use a typical first grade classroom tool!
Mathematicians in this group worked in a pizza restaurant! They got to take turns being a chef (and making fraction pizzas), taking orders and also making a menu. What an authentic and FUN way to apply fraction knowledge!
Check out Ali’s explanation of what she did!
Friends that worked in the “feeling” group used their senses of touch and smell to explore fractions. Listen to Riley explain what she did and why she liked it! Spoiler alert: This was the BEST DAY of math, EVER!
This was my group. 🙂 . In this one, mathematicians were invited to plan, create and then play (well we didn’t get to this part, but will do it later!) a game about fractions. Kiddos chose to work alone, in partnerships and also in groups of 3.
And check out what Hailey had to say about what she did and why she liked math today. 🙂
So…can you tell that this first ever First Grade Math Play Day was a roaring success?? Everyone involved had fun and we even noticed that there were not any behavior issues during our play time, either. 🙂 . I mean not surprising, though, right–when everyone is having so much fun learning??
After reflecting on the day, we noticed that a large number of our kiddos chose the groups that played with Legos and made games. And many of the ones who didn’t get to do that today said that they would choose it if they had a chance again.
And now we’re left with some questions to chew on. When will we do this again? Will we try math again? Same topic or another one? Should we try another subject? How can we use what we learned about how our kids like to CREATE and MANIPULATE to better meet their needs at mathematicians (even on regular math days)? We’re excited to think through the answers (and possibilities) and get another play day on the calendar!
Will you join us? We’d love to hear your thoughts about our try at math play, and also at how you do this in your own classroom! Leave a comment with your ideas! 🙂