I dangle a rubber band and tell students that I will be giving them a rubber band to stretch. “You must hold onto your rubber band!” I stress. I let students who may be inclined to do something other than stretch their rubber band know that I can collect rubber bands quickly, if I need to (with a smile and a wink, of course!).
Soon, all 30 of us are holding rubber bands. “Gently hold your rubber band up, like this…” I say, dangling my rubber band from the top.
“What shape is the rubber band?”
Students respond, “Circle!”
“Absolutely! It goes round and round, no end can be found. It’s a…”
“Circle!” students exclaim.
“Now,” I say quietly, “If you stretch your circle oh so long, it becomes an OVAL! Let’s do that now.”
We stretch our rubber bands into ovals, and I ask, “So what did we make?” and I call on several students to state, “Ovals!”
“Everyone, tell me the name of this shape!” I say. “Oval!” students declare.
Let’s make some ovals!” I say.
We move on to our All About Ovals page that I created, which provides opportunity to trace the oval.
When it’s time for the real world example of ovals, the classroom explodes with Easter eggs. They’re just so “kindergarten.” I try to stretch to get some other responses, like a mirror or a picture frame or an elongated locket.
When we write the sides and corners, a student notes, “A zero is an oval!”
“Yes!” I exclaim. This is what it’s all about: students are noticing ovals around them… even in numbers that we write to describe our ovals! Oh, this is fun stuff!
We have been working on our “All About the Shape” pages for a few shapes now, so they know that they will be looking for and coloring ovals. Many students quickly and confidently find and color ovals, which is fantastic.
While many students work independently, I seize the opportunity to work with students who are struggling with noting the difference between circles and ovals, or coloring objects with control, or even holding writing utensils. We really do come with all kinds of challenges and strengths, and I try to enthusiastically offer support for the most beginning young students.
Early finishers walk over to the play dough table to roll long play dough “snakes” and forming them into ovals. One little girl makes an oval play dough necklace, and while that may not be ideal use of play dough, I have to acknowledge that she is making an oval! Even in redirection, I try to find something positive. It keeps the students encouraged to learn.
Ah, the Easter parade begins… The student’s “real world” ovals, most frequently, Easter eggs, are displayed on “the big screen” for everyone to appreciate. Basically, anyone who drew something other than an Easter egg has their oval object projected—even the little guy who tried to turn his Easter egg into a zero after he noticed that the zeroes we were writing were oval-shaped. We talk for a brief moment about how learning happens all the time, and it’s great to keep learning more and more about things.
“What did we work with today?” I ask, super enthusiastically.
“Ovals!” students cheer.