I am presently in a Masters of Education program in which I wish to begin gathering input for my culminating capstone. I am interested in inventive ways in which children can practice academic skills outside the parameters of the classroom and school day. The children I serve have many things to occupy their time after school which are of much more importance than finishing a worksheet; a comfortable, safe place to be or a meal are among the most prevalent. I have thought of creative ways to connect disciplines such as math and reading to real-world applications instead of worksheets, but could use some insights from my colleagues from around the country for other disciplines.
Some of the ideas I have presented to my students follow; please feel free to use the ideas as presented or put your own spin on them to serve your specific students’ needs. Please be sure to send any of your ideas my way as well. It is my hope through this forum we as a profession can establish a renewed look at student challenges once they leave school in relation to what is asked of them for skills practice. Through this renewed lens, we are able to tailor practice needs to student needs in their own environments which do not include worksheets.
Depending on the level of the children asked to do the tasks, some are asked to do several for an evening’s practice or one task for an evening’s practice. Other times the children are asked to do the same item 3 out of 4 evenings. I give the children exit cards with each task requested as they are dismissed at the end of the day. The exit cards turn into entrance cards for the next school day.
• Find an item in your home where a weight is displayed such as a can of soup. The weight of the soup is the number to work with: for example- 4.25 oz.
• How is this number stated in words? Four and twenty-five hundredths.
• How is this number represented as a mixed number? 4 25/100
• How is this number represented as a fraction? 425/100 or 17/4 in lowest terms which is an improper fraction?
• How do you take the improper fraction of 17/4 and create a mixed number? What is that number? 17 divided by 4 which is represented as 4 ¼
On the way home, look at the license plates of the cars. Using the numbers on two plates do the following:
• Find the sum
• Find the difference
• Round the numbers the tenths place and find the sum and difference
• Round the numbers the hundredths place and find the sum and difference
• Using each of the liscence plate numbers, determine which one has the greatest value if all the numbers are added for each one. For example, one plate has the numbers 1, 4, 5, and 2 for a total of 12. The other plate has numbers 7, 5, 2, and 0 for a total of 14. Write a mathematical statement for the plate’s sums: 12<14, 14>12, 12≠14, or 14≠12
• Find a box or bag of a food item in your home and do the following:
• Read the package and make a list of nouns
• Read the package and make a list of nouns. Using the list, categorize into person, place, thing, or animal
• Read the package and make a list of adjective
• Read the package and make a list of verbs.
• Read the package and make a list of verbs. Using the list, identify the kinds of verbs are represented. Do the verbs have multiple meanings? If so, use two of the verbs in two different ways.
• Read the package and make a list of adverbs
• Read the package and make a list of adverbs. Using the list, categorize into time, degree, frequency, manner, or place.
• Use some of the words from the package to write a short story where the bag or box is the setting
• Read the back of your cereal box
• Read the bag of your favorite chips
• Read the signs on the way home from school
• Read directions on the side of a box of mac and cheese or any other boxed meal
• Read the labels of items in the refrigerator
Thank you all for your time and courtesies.