Last year during post planning, we attended a guided reading workshop. It was interesting, but since I don’t teach reading, I was only able to take away a few ideas that I could apply in my math class or when I teach Science and Social Studies. One thing our presenter suggested was to have students create the alphabet letters that hang above most elementary school teachers’ boards. I know I had one…granted I’m not a “cutesy” teacher so it was just the alphabet without pictures. She suggested that students each get a letter (some more than one if you have less than 26 students) and they draw a picture of something that starts with that letter. I thought, “I could do this with math words!!”
This was a lot harder than I originally thought. My partner teacher, that teaches ELA, had a plethora of alphabet books to read to our students to create her alphabet chart to get ideas for different words beginning with each letter. When I looked for a math ABC book, the only one I could find is G is for Googol, which was a little too advanced for my students. So, I improvised. My students and I took it one letter at a time. We started with A and brainstormed every math word we could think of that started with an A…as long as they could tell me how it related to math I wrote down their ideas. We did this over the course of about 2 weeks in our “spare” time until we finished the alphabet. The only ones I had to really help them with was V, X, and Y. I was very surprised at all the ideas they had for each letter!
When it got time to create, I typed all their ideas under the correct letter. My students then pulled a letter out of a cup and got to pick which word they wanted to illustrate. I’m very pleased with the results and my students are so proud of their alphabet chart!