Today was an EXCITING day! My students had NO IDEA what they were in for... and you might not be either! Our day was JAM-PACKED with activities and snacks all about HALF and it started as a complete *surprise*....
Here's how it all began, back to the very beginning... Picture it, Warren, Ohio - Summer 2014:
My dear friend Laura (who is also the teacher to our pen pals) and I were having our monthly lunch date and were talking about our approaching school year. The 100th day of school was brought up and I mentioned how I didn't want to celebrate it this year, but wanted to mix it up instead (maybe with the 101st day, or something like that). Shortly thereafter, Halfway Day was born! We envisioned it as a day to celebrate the 90th day of school, being halfway to summer (!) and working with fractions.
Well, the idea sat and sat in the back of our minds for quite some time, with teacher busy-ness and whatnot. So in November, at another of our monthly lunch dates we brainstormed a list of ideas. Again, they sat dormant in the back of my mind until one day over Christmas break I looked at my calendar and realized that Halfway Day was just three weeks away! Panic set in and I got right to work on the computer!
Thankfully, my creative juices were flowing and several great ideas came to life on my screen! Once I got the pack done (for the most part) on my end, I emailed it to Laura, and she worked on her part. We met the next afternoon for several hours at Starbucks and PRESTO! we had this pack!
I couldn't WAIT to implement it! Especially because we planned it to be a COMPLETE *surprise* to our students! They had to figure out that it was Halfway Day based on a clue on the board. We didn't countdown to it or anything, like you might typically do for the 100th day.
Here's how the day began...
I put the fraction 90/180 on the board and told my students today was a special day... BUT, they had to figure it out!
I had only ONE student get it - within just a few minutes! Several others came close, and I gave them a hint, as you see above, but eventually had to tell them. At first, they seemed a bit confused as to why we would celebrate this day. But when I told them there were snacks and lots of fun activities to do throughout the day... they were all in! ha!
Once we took our spelling test (which I made with a fun party graphic - included in the pack!) we jumped into our celebration! Right before our morning snack and recess time, I gave them their first snack.... Oreos! I found these birthday cake flavored ones when shopping at Target and they looked like so much fun! Everyone got two and had to twist them in HALF before eating them! And, of course, we had to eat all of our snacks on a HALF of a plate!
While they were gone, I decorated the room with this Happy Halfway Day! banner (included in the pack in full color and B&W) and put HALF shapes and whirly-gigs all around the room!
So we kicked it off with making equivalent fractions. Laura actually developed this part. The lesson is included in the pack. It show students equivalent fractions using a multiplication chart! Very cool! My class loved it, too, because we are just starting to learn multiplication, so anything connected to it just engages them like crazy!
Next, students worked on their HALF facts and doubles facts in addition & subtraction, finished the other HALF of the word HALF, and took a HALF hunt around the classroom! They used their rulers to find and measure items, but could only record what measured to HALF inches.
We ate some more snacks as we worked, including HALVES of pretzel rods, Nutter Butters twisted in HALF, and fortune cookies broken in HALF! We had some pretty ridiculous fortunes too, which made us all laugh!
We told time to the HALF hour, counted coins to find out if the total was worth more or less than a HALF dollar, and then spent time working with partners. We each wrote HALF of a shape poem an HALF of a story, and our partners finished the other HALF. Then, we shared them with the class.
We read a story all about fractions called My Half Day (by Doris Fisher) you can find on Amazon..
Our last activity of the day used the balloons I decorated the room with. I took our spelling words for next week and cut them in HALF. I wrote HALF on one balloon and HALF on the other. I put them throughout the room and each student had to get a balloon. Then, they had to find the person with the other HALF of their balloon and come to me to see if they were correct. By far the most fun part of the day! We will definitely be doing this game again! :)
We ran out of time to finish our packet, but it also includes practice for breaking words in HALF as compound words, prefixes & suffixes, and by syllables! We also had a story to finish called "The HALVES and the HALF Nots," using HALF, HALVES, HAVE, and HAVEN'T correctly in the story where they were missing, but we just had TOO much fun and didn't get to finish! But now I know for next year to spend even more time on all the fun!
Well, that was our day! It was absolutely FANTASTIC and I am so thrilled about the success.. I can't WAIT to do it all over again next year! Such a celebration!! Next week we will spend time writing to our pen pals who had the SAME celebration, telling them all about our day! I made a "Happy Halfway Day!" writing paper included in the pack too :)
You can check out the pack by clicking below, if you want to spend your 90th of day of school surprising your class with an amazing day of HALVES! The pictures below allow you to see everything you get to celebrate YOUR HALFWAY DAY!!