If you’re looking for a way to make Valentine’s Day both fun and educational, try this activity!
Have each of your students fold a 2 inch square of colored paper in half, on the diagonal, to create a triangle. Then have them place their thumbs along the diagonal folds of their papers, bubble-trace around their thumbs, cut the tracing, and unfold the paper to discover a beautiful heart.
To make a larger heart, the students can use one of their hands rather than a thumb and a 4 to 5 inch square (depending on the size of the students’ hand).
While the students are engaged in the hands-on creation of their Valentine’s Day hearts, emphasize Math Vocabulary Words such as “square,” “triangle,” and “diagonal,” thus meeting California Kindergarten Standards in Math such as 6.1: “Identify and describe common geometric objects (e.g., circle, triangle, square...)” . In addition, by emphasizing to the students the actions that they are taking while they are folding, cutting, etc., you will teach a variety of Visual Arts Vocabulary Words (“fold,” “cut,” and “draw,” for example) as well as meet a range of California Kindergarten Visual Arts Standards, including 1.2, 2.2, and especially 2.6: “Use geometric shapes and forms (circle, triangle, square) in a work of art.”You can also work in a language arts lesson -- once the hearts are made, have the students glue several of them to a Valentine and write the words "I love you." Best of all, the students will go home with their own beautiful Valentines!
For more hands-on, creative art activities that meet the California Kindergarten Standards, see ART Really Teaches at http://www.firststageco.com/productsgrid.html.
For about 20 years, Professor Emeritus and First Stage Author Thomas Aquinas Velasquez led immensely popular seminars at City College of San Francisco during which he taught his students powerful study techniques for academic success. Here, Professor Velasquez shares some secrets for successful test-taking:
When I was teaching at City College of San Francisco in the late 1980’s, a colleague of mine thought that four of my students in his chemistry class were cheating because they routinely got 100% on his exams – a grade which no previous student had ever earned. He referred to them as the “Four Aces” and placed them in the four corners of his classroom to prevent him from cheating. Nevertheless, they continued to earn 100% on every examination. The reason for this was not because they were cheating, but because they were using a technique that I taught them – a study technique that I developed after observing my students’ study patterns. I like to refer to this technique as “The Troika Study Group.”
In Russian, the word “troika” means a team of three horses abreast that pull a carriage, wagon, or sleigh together. It takes all three of the horses to succeed. Similarly, the Troika study group is composed of three students who prepare for quizzes, tests, and examinations in the following manner:
1) Each student independently writes an examination for the other two students based upon prior test questions that their teachers have included on previous exams. The students also use information from their textbooks, including illustrations and footnotes, to prepare their practice questions. They can have a contest: whoever creates the most difficult examination questions and stumps the others earns a prize.
2) When the three students meet, they each grade and discuss their teammates’ examinations in the time allotted. They do not waste time chatting about other topics.
3) Each student takes two examinations, grades two examinations, and discusses the questions and answers with his or her teammates.
4) When these students take examinations, they do very well.
~By Thomas Velasquez
For more information on predicting questions, taking dynamic notes, creating MindMaps, developing “White Paper” Examinations, and engaging in effective study group techniques, see the First Stage publication Study Power at http://www.firststageco.com/http://www.firststageco.com/.
Here is a truly "hands-on" tip for helping teaching students to use their hands to tell the approximate time and direction (North, South, East, and West) without reading a clock or watch! To engage your students in these activities, ask them to each follow these directions:
1) Place a pencil point down on one of your thumb nails. The shadow will be thinnest in the East in the morning, in the North at midday, and in the West at dusk.
2) Near sundown, you can tell how much time is left using your hands! Hold your hands facing you with the little finger of one hand touching the pointer finger of the other hand. Then line the bottom finger of the lower hand up with the horizon. Count the number of fingers to see the sun and the horizon, Each finger width represents about 15 minutes. In the picture presented, about 90 minutes are left to sundown.
The second activity described here meets the California State Standards in Mathematics: "Number Sense" 1.0-1.3, "Addition and Subtraction" 2.0-2.1, and especially "Measurement and Geometry" 5.2, which requires students to "Demonstrate an understanding of concepts of time, e.g., morning, afternoon, evening, today, yesterday, tomorrow, week, year) and tools that measure time (e.g., clock, calendar).
For other hands-on art activities aligned with the California State Standards in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and the Visual Arts, consult the First Stage publication ART Really Teaches, available from http://www.firststageco.com/productsgrid.htmlhttp://www.firststageco.com/productsgrid.html.
This activity helps increase students' powers of observation and communicative skills. In addition, the activity meets a wide variety of the California State Standards in both Language Arts and Visual Arts and gives you a way to reuse old materials! For visual objects of observation and discussion, you might use any of the following:
Have the students break into small groups of about 3 or 4 and have each group look at one of the visual objects above. Then have each student tell about what she he or she sees, feels, and thinks about what is being observed. Have the students think of questions they might ask about the picture(s), and then have them answer their own questions. With this activity, students can remember that recycled or creative objects can be used to enhance their language skills in a fun way!
In most classrooms, some students are very eager to participate, and others are more reluctant. Ensure that each student has a turn to answer a question or to be a leader in an activity by playing "Have a Turn / Had a Turn." Make two containers (recycled frozen juice cans work well) and mark one "Next" and the other "Had a Turn." Write each student's name on a tongueblade or a popsicle stick and place in the container marked "Next." When it's time for the students to participate in answering questions or leading activities, pull a name out of the "Next" container, and whoever's name you pulled will get to have his or her turn. Then place the name you just pulled into the "Had a Turn" container so that you know who has already participated. Once everybody has gotten to have a turn, put all of the names back in the "Next" container and start over.