Winter is a time of year where we move into “that time” in our classroom. “That time” where we know each other well–so well that our routines are in place. That being said, winter can also be a time of less outside time. Less ways to let off steam. A sense of “routine” that could be seen as…BORING. Winter is a great time to shake things up with some new ideas and routines. I’ve put together a collection of some winter teaching ideas that might just what you needed!
Problem Solving and Word Problems
We all know that problem solving is a year-round activity. At this time of year, consider shaking things up! Try a few of these ideas!
- Try more partner work! Give students task cards or problems to glue into their notebooks and let them work together.
- Move task cards around the room and have students travel with clipboards to hunt for all of them! This can be done alone or in pairs.
- Have students create illustrated posters to show unique problems solving strategies and well-organized work. This REALLY helps with visualizing math operations!
- Have students write their OWN problems! They can use word problems that you give them as inspiration–if they solve a hot cocoa problem, then they can try writing their OWN hot cocoa problem!
- Give them choices! Give students a set number of problems, but let them choose WHICH of the problems they complete! You can even differentiate how many based on student skill level.
Need some word problems? Check out these three sets! (Click any image to see more!)
Open Ended Math Challenge Time!
So, sometimes it’s great to have some math tasks that can be done over extended periods of time. This is particularly true at this time of the year! It’s a great time to pull some small groups and work one-on-one with students that we now know need a little something extra. The dilemma is always–what will the other students do? These open ended challenges are PERFECT! You can introduce them to the entire class OR a small group…and then rather than “busy work”, students have super meaningful, engaging, rigorous math tasks to work on as you pull other students for coaching.
Both of these winter teaching math resources can be printed or shared digitally–and they are GREAT for perseverance, “making sense of problems”, increasing math talk, and so much more! Check out these two winter-themed tasks. The cookie problem is more difficult as it has more features and includes fractions. The second set of three tasks is geared toward more beginning problem solvers–perfect for third grade or inexperienced fourth graders. Just click either image to learn more.
Coming Back from Winter Break
Those days after winter break are TOUGH. Students have been staying up late and eating candy canes. Their routines are gone–and sitting in one place for hours is going to take some getting used to! Don’t jump right back into a regular routine…sprinkle in some fun along the way! Whether you use something like these “back to school” activities that infuse a little fun with NO teacher prep, reading lots of great picture books, or providing plenty of brain breaks–give them some help transitioning back to school!
How About Some Winter Teaching with Math Games?
Math games (or other games) are another great way to ease in to the new year. Whether you make up math problems by rolling dice, play a little trivia, or print off some math games, let them play. They need to interact with each other and games are a GREAT way to do that! I’ve linked to a few below–and some are even free! Just click the pics!
Winter Bulletin Boards and More!
So, one final idea for getting back into the swing of things would be to create a project together! Try cutting six pointed snowflakes to hang in your windows. Illustrate a winter scene. Write winter poems. One of my personal favorites is this book project that makes an AMAZING bulletin board! I like to hang these “snowpeople” above our lockers, but I’ve also put them on bulletin boards and hung them in our hallways along the floor for students to walk past and read. I see kids (and adults!) stopping all the time to enjoy these fun and creative projects!
Remember, too, to get your students outside when you can! Try winter science experiments or observations. Play in the snow. Get some fresh air. I hope these winter teaching ideas give you a little food for thought as you move into this winter season. It’s a lonnnnng season here in Wisconsin, but it’s also a glorious time to push your students–and yourself–to try something new!
Thanks for stopping by!