Tuesday, August 20, 2013

M&M's and 7up on the First Day: Consequences, Writing, and Learning About Your Students

What would you say if I said that I use these on the first day of school?




You're probably thinking that I'm crazy, wanting to fill my students with sugar on the first day. Well, maybe you won't think I'm so crazy after you find out what I do with them.

Some of our best ideas come from our colleagues, don't they?

My blog post today is a share of two ideas that I've picked up along the way. The first, the M&M activity, was first introduced to me by the teacher that I student taught for. I'm not sure where it originated as I know she had learned it from somewhere else and I've seen other teachers do it in various forms, but when she did it, I knew it would be a staple in my classroom too!

The second part of this was introduced to me by the wonderful Ms. Kitchen, one of my favorite colleagues when I was teaching in Washington. Ms. Kitchen was a 4th grade teacher stuck in a 5th grade pod with 3 new 5th grade teachers. I learned a TON from her and picked up a lot of her activities along the way. The 7up sentences are just one of her fabulous ideas that I "stole"!

I've combined the ideas of two super teachers to make for one fantastic back to school activity. This activity will help you to discuss consequences, get a sample of student writing (as well as an idea of what they are ready for), learn about your students through their writing, and leave students with a memory of the first day that they will still be talking about on the last. My suggestion is to do this after lunch, so you know they've at least filled their bellies with something good first.

Also, if it turns out that you have peanut allergies, you can always use Skittles instead.

Here's the activity. If you love it, you can print it out here: Back to School M&M's and 7up Activity





Now don't you want to do this activity with your students during the first week? I'm all stocked up and ready to go. I can't wait to see their excitement when I pull out that big bag of M&M's!!

Note: A number of people have mentioned that they are no longer allowed to use sugary treats in their classroom. If this is the case for you, 7up carries a product called 7up Ten that is much lower in calories and sugar and I've had others share that Goldfish work just as well as M&M's. A treat is a treat! ;-)




14 comments:

  1. What a fun idea! Thanks for this. Although since we are starting the year out by talking about healthy eating and the consequences of health choices, I think I might do M&Ms and apple juice instead ;) Also, if you're in Canada, Smarties are a peanut free option.

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    1. Thanks Caryn! Smarties are great! I LOVED them when I was younger! I always have a back up bag of Skittles just in case. I figure they'll get eaten either way!

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  2. Wow! What a great activity. I can't wait to try this with my third graders on Monday! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Fantastic! I'm always happy to share ideas! Hope it's a hit!

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  3. I've done the M&M activity before in high school when getting to know people, and it was always fun! Love the idea of tying it into writing.

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late
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    1. Thanks Melissa! It's always my favorite part of the first week!

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  4. Adorable!! Makes me wish I had my own class this year so I could do this activity. Thanks for sharing!
    Julie
    The Techie Teacher

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    1. If you were at my school, you could definitely come hang out with us during this activity and share in our fun! :-)

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  5. I do something similar with skittles. They take at least 4 but no more than 7. Each color represents a type of information that they have to share, and this is done orally. Example: red can mean they share info about family, green can be info about school, and so on. They are talking about themselves, so you find out a lot about them fairly quickly, and they get a treat! They will remember this, too.

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    1. I love the idea of each color representing a different sentence topic! The idea of limiting the number of candies is fabulous, especially for reluctant writers. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Great idea! My child has never tried soda - hopefully another drink would be offered if any of his teachers try this. On the other hand, I could see him trying to get as much as possible of candy or whatever snack is presented! I could just imagine the panic on students faces!

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  7. Hello fellow Mrs.O..I'm Miss O, my last name is Opoku-Diawuo and nobody attempts to pronounce it. When they do , they get a treat!! Anywho, I loveeeeeeeee this activity, I will definitely be doing this during the 1st week!! Your awesome...look forward to reading your blog and thanks so much for sharing your ideas and experiences !! Much Love

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  8. Love this idea. I'm tickled sitting here thinking about the looks on the faces of the students who grab a whole handful of m&m's. Can't wait to try this. Excellent way to introduce writing sentences with substance. Love it! Thanks for posting.

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  9. I love this idea! Just trying to figure out how to tie it to math since that's the subject I teach instead of just writing. I teach 6th graders.

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