Elf Hunt Number Review

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SWBAT locate numbered elf pictures hidden around the classroom and record numbers.

Big Idea

We love our Elf on the Shelf, and this fun lesson taps into that excitement to help students with number recognition and review.

Attention Grabber/Introduction

10 minutes

We love our 2nd grade buddies, we really do.  Even MORE than our buddies, we love our ELF that was sent to our class from the North Pole earlier this week!  We took a vote and named our elf “Christmas” earlier this week, and we are very serious about looking for our elf every morning.  When he sends us notes from the North Pole, we all sit up a little straighter.  This is a direct line to SANTA!!!  Oh my.  (It’s not helping 100% with behaviors from this rowdy group, but it is definitely helping some!)

You may have read that the teacher of our buddy class is my good buddy and former kindergarten teacher, so her 2nd grade class has an elf, too!  Lucky, lucky us!  Imagine my joy and surprise when my buddy comes to me with one of her incredible “finds” on Teachers Pay Teachers—totally FREE.  How does she do it?!

We walk down to our buddies’ class, which I lovingly call “Classroom Beautiful” in reference to my good buddy’s classroom interior decorating skills, and we join our 2nd grade buddies on the rug.  It’s crowded, but we don’t complain.  “Buddy Time” is a highlight of our week, for sure!

Mrs. Conrad begins, “Hi, Kindergarten buddies!” She adds with excitement and suspense, “I heard you have an elf visiting your class!  From the North Pole!  Did you give your elf a name?”

She calls on a quiet kindergartner who says our elf is named Christmas.

She compliments the name and gets a second grader talking about their class elf.  The excitement in the room is hard to miss, but it’s contained excitement.  Mrs. Conrad is an amazing teacher.  (That’s another thing I love about buddies.  I get to learn from another teacher doing incredible teaching every week.  How awesome is that?!?)  The second graders point out with pride where their elf is located for the day, so we can see.

Mrs. Conrad continues, saying that like our classroom elves, we have a special math activity where we must find elves—12, to be exact—that are all over the classroom.  She calls up our helper of the day—the birthday princess—to help her demonstrate how to find a number on the elf card, and write it on the kindergarten recording sheet.  (On the free TpT download, the direction says “Circle” but Common Core is important, so I take advantage of the point that we can’t read the directions so well, and we write the number by the elf.)

Mrs. Conrad demonstrates the 2nd grader portion of this activity, and she writes words to describe where the elf was found.  “On the white board” she writes by the number 1.

We reiterate that each buddy in the pair will have different work to do.  The kindergartner writes the number of the elf, and the 2nd grader describes where the elf was found.  The buddies look excited to begin!

Independent Practice

20 minutes

We pass out white boards for each buddy to use as a flat writing surface—our clipboards without the clip!  They get the job done.  Partners start circulating around the classroom, hard at work.

The first elves are easy to find, but there are a couple of elves that are kind of tricky to locate.  (That was our plan!  Otherwise, the speedy pairs would be finished in 5 minutes, and we can’t have that!)

A few times, the kindergartner in a group is getting a little goofy, and occasionally, a 2nd grader has gone into “goofball zone,” but for the most part, the buddies are really productive.  I notice that 2nd graders are really sweet about gently telling their buddy when a number is written backwards.  Overall, the 2nd graders are pretty impressive about keeping little buddies on task, and a couple times, I notice a hard working kindergartner, in spite of a silly, “missing in action” 2nd grader.  Wow!  The interest level is HIGH!


5 minutes

After a very fast 20 minutes, (time just flies when you’re having fun!), Mrs. Conrad does her unmistakable, “Tick Tock!” call, which the students and I happily repeat, “Tick-Tock!” just like she said it.  Then she drops to her silly low voice, “TICK…. TOCK…” which always makes me giggle, and I realize as I mimic in my lowest voice, “TICK…. TOCK…” with the students, that I may be having as much fun as anyone in the room with that attention grabber.  We are ready for directions.

We stack our white boards and recording sheets.  “So… how was it?!” I ask.

“Fun!” students say.  Another student says, “Easy!”

I ask which elf was easiest to find.  A funny second grader who was in my class for kindergarten says, “Um, Ms. Novelli, that would be the elf you guys showed us in front of the class…” I can’t help but laugh.  He is so right!

Next, I ask, “Which elf was trickiest to find?” and students mention the 2 tough locations.  One goofball second grader blurts, “Hey!  We never found that one!”  The feeling in the room is lighthearted.

I wrap up, saying that each of our “real” classroom elves will be finding their way to the North Pole, and no doubt reporting to Santa how hard everyone worked.  We thank our buddies, give hugs or high 5’s, and head back to class.