Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mr. Giso's Room to Read's Bright Idea #6

Create a Days of School Puzzle Countdown

My school neighbor and first grade team member encouraged me to share this idea and pictures, so here it goes!  In my library/ calendar area, I have two puzzles that serve as our "countdowns."  One is a 100 piece puzzle map of the United States which counts our way the the "One Hundred Day of School Extravaganza," and the other is an 80 piece puzzle map of the world which counts our way to the last day of first grade.  In all, this totals our 180 school days. Each morning during calendar time, the "Calendar Director" puts up a puzzle piece.  It's a lot of fun!  Here's how I did it.

First, I put together each puzzle onto some heavy duty foam board.  The finished final 80 days of school puzzle looks like this.



Next, I took off each puzzle piece, one by one, and did the following.
•Attach Velcro to the piece and to its spot on the board making sure it was a perfect match.  The amount of Velcro depends on the piece's size.
•Wrote the same number twice.  Once on the piece, and again on its spot on the board.  Obviously, I started with 1!  I also chose to do the perimeter of the puzzle first and work my way around.
•Once this was done, I took apart the puzzle and placed the pieces in bags of 10 so that they are now easy to find. 

Here's the puzzle in bags.


Here's what each puzzle piece looks like.


Here's what taking the puzzle down and getting ready for the first day of school looked like last week.


Although this is both fun and suspenseful for my first graders, this bright idea serves a geography purpose too.  I've seen this idea on a lot of websites, but I chose to do it with maps.  When we get to the states, we go over each state, its capital, our neighbors (Canada and Mexico) and chief products/natural resources.  When we get to the world map, we go over major cities, continents and animals found in the area.  My first graders love it!  This could turn into a great Labor Day project for you.

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