Every year I teach, I pick up little tidbits of information here and there that can be incredibly helpful in teaching kids routines and proper usage of classroom items. When it comes to manipulatives, which look ever so enticing and very toy like, it is hard for kids to resist the desire to play with them.
In recent years, I picked up the idea that it is extremely helpful to let kids have time to play freely with manipulatives and explore before they are required to use them in the way that the teacher directs. So every year in the first few days of school, I let the kids loose in groups to try out some of the manipulatives, explore and think of ways that they might help in math. This is an awesome beginning of the school year activity!
Enter the PROJECTOR - light shining from a small box on to a wall at just the right height to place your body parts in front of and make shadows - Hello! What could be more fun that? Unless you are the teacher for whom making shadows was not the intended use of the projector. So said teacher decided that if the free play concept works for manipulatives then it might work for the projector.
30 seconds later, I now know that if you give a First Grader time in front of a projector...
You will have a PROJECTOR PARTAY!
Flailing arms, bobbing heads, craning to be in the light - welcome to First Grade where the thrills are as cheap as they come!