For those of you who don't know, I spend every other period of my day working with students who have not passed out state test. Most of these kiddos are 3,4, or even 5 grade levels behind in math. Unfortunately for them, in order to take my class, they miss an elective class. Because of this, I am constantly trying to find activities to use in my classroom to make their 2nd math class of the day (by the way they already get an 87 minute block of math!) as engaging as possible.
In order to make my classroom work, students have to trust each other. They have undoubtedly been picked on in the past for being slower in math, or not understanding. My room is all about building a trust and a team mentality. We have to be each others' biggest cheerleaders.
With that being said, I needed to stress the importance of teamwork from day 1. No really... day 1. 45 minutes of team building! On one of our nightly Skype sessions, I spoke with Jen from 4mulaFun and Meg from Fourth Grade Studio and asked them for some suggestions. Meg had a great idea that I had never heard of. SAVE FRED!
I had never heard of SAVE FRED before, so I did what any saavy teacher would do.... I Googled it and found THIS!
For those of you who didn't click the link, here's the gist of the activity:
"Fred has been spending his summer boating on the great lakes. But he’s not too bright (after all, the brains of worms are pretty small.) He’s never learned how to swim and he never wears his life preserver. The worst has happened! His boat has capsized and he’s stuck! Fortunately, his life preserver is in the boat, but unfortunately he does not know how to reach it without falling off and drowning."
By the way, you should know.... Fred is a gummy worm, his boat is a plastic cup, and the life preserver Well, that is obviously a gummy life saver! Oh and Fred is stuck on top of the cap-sized boat and the life preserver is stuck under the boat.
A few other rules are imposed on the students as well....
1) You cannot hurt Fred (meaning impaling him with the paperclip!)
2) Fred cannot drop into the lake (he'll get eaten by the fish or drown, of course!)
3) You may only touch the paperclips - no hands on the gummies or cup!
Also, I found this FREEBIE on TPT. It was a word document so I could change things to fit my needs a bit.
So, after I presented all of the details to the kiddos, they were hesitant. Some kids stated this was impossible, others decided to dive right in! I put on more stipulation on the groups - each kiddo had to have at least one of the four paperclips in their hand. This ensured no one person took over the entire activity.
Below are some pics I took of the activity.
Basically kiddos realized pretty quickly that two people needed to stretch the gummy saver while the other person maneuvered Fred into his life jacket. Listening to the conversations was absolutely priceless. I highly recommend working this activity out with your kiddos. We learned how to work together, how to communicate properly, and how to be cheerleaders for each other!