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  1. #1
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    Default Fun first- and second-grade projects?

    Hi! I teach first grade, and I'm looking for some new ideas for creative at-home projects. I'd like the students to do at least one project each quarter, but so far I only have the three ideas I used last year. What kind of fun, creative projects or reports have you done with your class? They can be history-themed, science-themed, book-themed, or something else, as long as they're educational.

    Just to get an idea of what I'm looking for, here are the projects I already use:

    -- Animal Skins project: Students cut a grocery bag to look like an animal skin, decorate it with pictographs telling a story, and give an oral presentation of their story in front of the class.

    -- Dressed for the Weather project: Students choose a type of weather and dress a paper doll in clothes appropriate for that type of weather. They then mount the doll on a small piece of posterboard (decorated to show a weather scene), draw a thermometer and set it to an appropriate temperature, and write three sentences on the back about how their doll is dressed.

    -- State report: Each child selects a different state. They cut a piece of posterboard in the shape of their state and decorate it with words/pictures telling about the state bird, state flower, state capital, year it became a state, and one fun place to visit in the state.

    What other ideas have you used with your first- or second-graders? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Boxcar's Avatar
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    Those sound like fun activities.

    One of my absolutely favorite projects in Treasure Hunt. It teaches map reading, spatial stuff, counting, reading, and social studies. We start out with a map I made. There is a treasure box at the end. Along the way, the students stop at stations and do mini tasks. Later, the students use my map to create a new hunt or make thier own. I did this with children transitioning into first, so it should work for your age group.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Boxcar. The treasure hunt sounds like a great activity, especially since we're going to start working on map skills when we get back from Thanksgiving Break.

    Do you have any ideas for at-home projects, though? Sort of like "reports," but not necessarily research-based. I'm looking for projects they could take home and do with their parents, then come back and present to the class. I need at least one more for this year.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Boxcar's Avatar
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    My kids love to do Scavenger Hunts with lists I send home. This not only encourages them to read, but you can talk about how people have different perspectives. Some of these things might be included:

    something made in another country
    something that came from a tree
    something that is a primary color
    something other than a pen/pencil/crayon that you can write with
    something that looks like snow
    something that is a pair (socks were what I had in mind, but it doesn't have to be that)

    Then, you ask the children to write a short page about why they chose what they did. They can talk about one thing or several depending on how you want to structure it.

    I've also had the children create songs with parents about concepts. The child copies down the lyrics and can sing the song in class. Let them have the option of doing it with a friend to help the shy ones.

    I don't like to send too much home because I know that the family lives of my students are hectic. How much you want to do and how often depends on your student population. I usually give at least a week and a weekend for really big projects.

    Oh, another really fun thing is having the parent tell a child a family story or a memory. Then, the child write a summery of the story and illustrates it. For the memory, the student could compare his/her own experience with what the adult said. For instance "My dad remembers throwing snow balls at his brother. They had lots of fun and got hot chocolate to drink. I'm not allowed to throw snow at my baby sister, but I also get hot chocolate."

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