“Let’s talk about some shapes we have learned…”
I call on students to tell the following shapes: circle, triangle, square, rectangle, oval, and hexagon.
“We are going to put these shapes together to create MONSTERS!”
I model how to create a shape monster, thinking through the steps as I go.
“You will start with a big shape.” I hold up a series of large shapes in a variety of colors.
Next, I use the document camera to show my steps. Once you have our big shape, you will need eyes. Now, you may have 2 eyes, but you are the creator of your monster! How about just one big eye?”
What shape was the eye? Oh yes—circle. You can give your monster a nose if you’d like, but I’m going to skip a nose. It’s my monster—I can skip a part if I want to.”
“Hmm… I think I need a mouth. I will take this half of a circle and turn it into a mouth.”
“What should every monster have?”
“Teeth!” one or more students answer.
“I want sharp teeth… like this!” I say, showing a few small triangles.
Now, my monster needs some arms and legs. These long, skinny rectangles will do. How many should I get?
The students yell, “Four!” I model how to glue rectangles on for legs.
“Rectangles will work for feet, right? And how about squares for hands. I think my Shape Monster is done!
“Now… I need some information about my Shape Monster. Please help me complete this form, that I will glue to the back of my Shape Monster. How many squares did I use?”
I call on a student who says, “Zero.” Then I ask a student to write the 0 for me.
Next, I ask,“How many circles does my Shape Monster have?”
A student says, “Um, a half a one?” “Let’s say one,” I suggest, so I model how to write a 1 on the line by the circle.
We continue filling out the form, writing numbers by each shape—even the shapes that aren’t on my Shape Monster.
“Now, it’s time for you to make your Shape Monsters! Are you going to make a Shape Monster just like mine?” I ask.
“No!” the students respond.
I say with a grin, “Just as every one of you is one of a kind… your Shape Monsters need to be one of a kind, too!”
At the tables, I have the shapes set out. Smaller shapes are in shallow containers, and glue sticks are at each table for the students to use.
Students get dismissed to work on creating their Shape Monsters. I move around, making sure all students are working hard and constructing their Shape Monsters.
As students begin to complete their forms, I pay more attention to them, particularly those who have many teeth. (It’s hard to write numbers like “7” at this point in the year, unless the Shape Monster creator has extra practice with numbers, which most of us don’t.)
When a student really struggles with numbers, particularly those we have practiced in class, I will prompt him or her with either the beginning part of a number formation poem, or a quiet reminder with a written number in the air, (our “magic chalkboard in the sky,” I say), and, if needed, I use a yellow highlighter and write the number for the student to trace.
As most students finish their Shape Monsters, I give a 2-minute warning. When the clean up signal is sounded, I call the kiddos over to our meeting spot.
One fun tool to use to call on students is an iPad app called “Random Name Selector” that you can download for free. I use my iPad and Air Server to randomly display names on the “big screen” for students to share their Shape Monsters. We talk about a few shapes that seem prominent or are in some way remarkable, and then we select the next random name. A very fun way to wrap up this lesson!
Finally, I ask, “How did we build our Shape Monsters today?” A student excitedly exclaims, “With glue!!!” Oh, my attempts at less-guided questions. I re-phrase: “What did we use to build our Shape Monsters?”
“Shapes!” I hear. Ahh… progress.
We talk quickly about writing numbers to show how many of each shape—an important concept, and we talk about our favorite part of the lesson. Unanimously, the students love creating their monsters!