Angela Wagner points to her special place value cake! Through her own personal funds, Wagner threw an educational and enjoyable party despite roadblocks.
"The kids enjoyed the craft!"
Eight! That's how many volunteers 2nd grade teacher Angela Wagner previously needed in order to host the "Place Value Party" at the end of chapters one and two. Through this party, Wagner found a fun and creative way to celebrate the end of place value before moving into addition in chapter 3. Normally, eight lucky parents have come into the classroom to assist her with running the stations, but teaching in this year of a pandemic has complicated community involvement.
An easy solution would have been to cancel the party and just move onto chapter 3. However, that's not what dedicated teachers do at Mars. Wagner came up with a solution:
"Since I couldn’t have volunteers this year, I held the Place Value Party over two days," said Wagner.
Using her personal time and money, Wagner stayed after school to decorate the room with streamers, table covers, and more for the party. Her motivation was the looks of surprise she hoped for on the faces of her students when they showed up the next day.
On the first day, the students made party hats. Each child received a random 3-digit number. They wrote the number in expanded, standard, and word form. Next, they wrote the number that is 100 more and 100 less on each side of their hat. After that, each student found a hidden place value task card from inside their desk. Once found, they completed their task. At the end of the first day of the party, they reviewed that day's activities by going over everyone’s card as a class.
On day two students continued the party by making a place value cake! They used "hundred flats", "ten sticks", and "ones cubes" to build their cakes. Next, they answered various place value questions about their 3-digit number.
"The kids enjoyed the craft!" exclaimed Mrs. Wagner.
Making use of time from a cancelled art class that day, Wagner told the kids they could finish decorating their cakes during their art time. She followed this craft with question cards that had place value blocks on them. She held them up and the students figured out what number the model represented. Then they colored it on their hundreds chart. In the end, the colored numbers answered a riddle question.
To finish and make it a truly successful party, Wagner took it one step further. She sent each child home with a treat bag she put together earlier through materials she bought with her personal funds.