October and November (almost to the end) has come and gone! Where did the last two months go? I remember, they have been filled with diy Dinosaur Costume attire and Thanksgiving menu prep <rofl> It has for sure been a good Fall but I am really looking forward to cooler weather, camp fires and Christmas Lights. We just got ours up and the twinkling glow is already filling my heart with positive vibes.
On to the real business of things. I am hear to shout to the moon and back, that kids love Christmas Holidays. You know, the excitement and childlike behavior that fills your middle school classroom with chaos and shenanigans. Each day ends with a countdown of when you are released as well! Turn all that negative energy into positive ones with Winter Themed Activities that are not only fun but challenging for your Math classes!
I am a huge advocate of Winter Break material. I teach at a Title 1 school, which means I have many students that are of low economic status. I large amount are second language learners and/or migrant families. I love these kids but I can count on one hand, which students will practice their math skills without me making them do it. The last year before staying at home to raise my two children, I created Winter Break Packets for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students based off skills that they have previous learned. This is used as a spiral review in most cases and I highly recommend all teachers really using them. It will definitely help for those 2-3 weeks when students are doing nothing but engaged on social media, sleeping in, or vegging out on the couch. I hate, hate, hate having to re-teach concepts that were totally completed prior to breaks. It is frustrating to spend additional time reviewing covered standards (although, in some cases it is needed!) and since I started using Winter Break material it has definitely cut down on the wasted time of refreshing their memories (I blame the amnesia)
My first Crack the Code activity was released for Fall but I extended the idea into Winter with some great questions on Percentages. Which are taught at the end of the Ratios & Proportional Relationship Unit. My students are pros with Percents. I always tell them, that the math we learn in Middle School becomes the math that we use in our daily lives. Grocery shopping, eating out, purchasing merchandise or even beginning banking. It is not only vital for them to learn it but understand where they will be applying these mathematical concepts to. It is more difficult when you are teaching Trig but Algebra and Geometry have some real connections to our daily lives that are digestible for the average 13 year old to grasp. This edition includes 20 Percent problems using percent increase/decrease, sales tax, tip, discounts, simple interest, commission, and percent of equations. Not only do students solve each problem but then, they must use the Crack the Code Key to decipher the codes to translate a decrypted Winter Inspired quote by Kahlil Gibran.
Another super easy and fun activity to use during Winter is my Combining Like Terms: Color by Solution! This is perfect for when you are starting the Expressions & Equations Unit. Before starting my unit of Equations, I want to ensure that my students completely grasp the Expressions Unit first. Therefore, they aren’t trying to figure out a balanced equation prior to knowing, fluently, Order of Operations, inverse operations and exponents. This product uses the Distributive Property throughout the 9 challenging questions with up to 4 Like Terms. It is difficult for your lower level students but be assured that this is something they need to know how to do before moving on… and… yes, your sixth graders can do it! Have faith! Raise that rigor bar slightly above their personal capabilities and set the challenge for them. They will reach it! Afterwards, they will enjoy the whimsy coloring page associated with it which will also make assessing their work a breeze. Your welcome 🙂
If you are already looking at a bundle, check these out! I included my Crack the Code: Percents activity in it but the other three activities are exclusive to this Expressions Bundle. It includes 4 NO PREP activities which make creating a Winter Break Packet a no brainer! Literally, print, staple and deliver to your students to complete. All of them come with options of printing in color or black/white to save ink. Included in this purchase along with the Crack the Code activity is 16 Winter Themed Task Cards, a Spinner Activity with a peer review component (optional – could use a family member) and another color by code Oder of Operations Themed activity. Your administration will love that you are a go getter with a powerful insight on not wasting any down time!
To remind you, Winter Break material should be review style, so – nothing new here ladies and gents. You’d hate to get a phone call while away of an upset parent not having a clue where to find the notes covering this material. Now, you can just sit back and relax. Enjoy looking at your decorated Christmas tree and sipping hot cocoa by a toasty fire (in my case, sunshine and mimosas since I live in Florida) and reap the rewards of students returning with no loss of information or amnesia of the brain! Winter is here let’s all Cheer!