By Gina Kennedy

By Gina Kennedy


Great ideas to differentiate and integrate the real world into your curriculum and create a rigorous learning environment!  

1.   Order of Operations Math/Writing Project: 
Each year when I teach this traditional order of operations memorization tool, I take it a step further and I have them dig into Aunt Sally's life. 
The students are assigned to write a pretend story of her infamous life and  how  "Dear Aunt Sally" almost kept students all over the world  from learning about the order of operations.  They must also include a picture of what "Dear Aunt Sally" looks like.

Along those same lines, I also have a free "Order of Operations, My Dear Aunt Sally" poster featuring everyone's favorite aunt, "Aunt Bee" that can be found in my store at the link below:

2. For an additional challenge when teaching rotations, reflections and translations, have your students become "playscape designers."

You've been hired to design the "Ultimate Playscape" for the new school playground.  You must draw a design for the playscape that includes four examples of rotations, four examples of reflections and four examples of translations.  Also include two examples of symmetry.  
Create your design on a 12"x 18" white piece of construction paper.  Label your translation, rotation, symmetry and reflection examples on your drawing. 

You can find other challenging and fun translation, rotation, and reflection enrichment projects on my menu, "Rotation, Reflection, Translation Differentiated Project Menu" found at the link below:

3.  This is a fun way to do a "Character Monthly Book Report", provide your students with a blank calendar and have them choose a character from the book they are currently reading.  Pretend the calendar belongs to the  character from the story and have them fill in events that they might have scheduled on each day of the month based on the events in the story.  I have them complete an entry for all of the days on the calendar.

This is an example that I use with my students from "Diary of A Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney. 

4.  MY LIFE AS A BOOK!   On a more individual note, I have my students determine how their life would read as a book on a weekly basis.  The more ways we use text structure concepts in our classrooms; the more understanding our students will gain.  This is a fun assignment that can be used once a month or more to assess their understanding of these concepts.

5.   Assessing the Comprehension Level of Read-Alouds:  With this generation; more than ever,  it is imperative to share books with our students.  After I read to the students we play the "Ultimate book title Challenge".  I asked the students ten questions about the story I have just read and if anyone can answer it, they get a point; if no one can answer it I get a point.   We keep track and at the end of the week, they earn a minute of free time for every 3 points they have won.