Sidewalk Chalk Learning
Last week, our top 10 was on activities to spice up recess. One of the fun things to do at recess, was use sidewalk chalk. However, sidewalk chalk can be used in lots of educational ways too! Here are 10 ways to use sidewalk chalk to get your kids out in the sunshine, but still learning, often in kinesthetic ways!
1. Sight Word Jump – Before taking your students outside, write some of your sight words (spelling words or vocabulary words would work just as well for older students) on a large cement area. Once you are outside, have students jump on the words and read them as they hop. You can also call out a word and see who can find it. (For older students you might call out a definition and let them find the word that matches.)
2. Fast Fact Hop – Before taking your students outside, write the answers to some of your basic math facts (any operation that you are working on will work) on a large cement area. Once you are outside, call out fast fact problems. Have students hop to the correct answer. (If you require them to hop rather than run, you will have less collisions!)
3. Coordinate Grid Kids – Before taking your students outside, create a coordinate grid on a large cement area. Once you are outside, call out a student’s name and a point on the coordinate grid. Let that student find their spot and become the “point”. Once all of the students are points, challenge them to find the fastest route to get from their point to a neighbor’s point.
4. Really, Really Big Graphic Organizers – What a better way to introduce simple graphic organizers, than outside on a large scale. My favorite graphic organizer to do with sidewalk chalk is a Venn Diagram. Before going outside, draw a large Venn Diagram on a large cement area. Once you are outside, give the two categories. If you are wearing white come in this circle. If you are wearing red, come in this circle. If you are wearing both, you get to stand where the two circles come together.
5. Visualizing the Story– Give the students a chance to draw with the sidewalk chalk! Gather them outside for story time – preferably under a shady tree – but do not show them the pictures. Instead, have students draw a picture of what happened in the story and practice their visualization strategy.
6. Jump the Number Line – Before you take your students outside, draw a number line in a large cement area. When you go outside, call out a number on the number line and have one of your students stand on it. Then have that student hop to the end of the number line – talking about which direction numbers move. You can also use this type of number line to work on addition or subtraction!
7. Verb Ring – Before taking your class outside, write a list of verbs in a large circle on the ground in a large cement area. Be sure to write one verb for each of your students. When you go outside, have students walk around the circle until you say stop (you could also play music – musical chairs style). When they stop, they must read the verb and then be the verb. ie. If they stop on the word run, they must run in place; if they stop on the word sit, they must sit down.
8. Human Body Labels – Kids love to trace one another with sidewalk chalk, but have you ever labeled those chalk bodies? Have students work in pairs. One student lays down and another student traces their outside of their body, then they switch. Then, have students work together to label as many parts of the body as they can, with extra points for internal organs (heart, lungs, veins, kidneys etc.) This would be a great health lesson!
9. Sentence Strings – Have students work in groups of 4-6. Give each member of the group a different color chalk. Students should create sentences WITHOUT talking to one another. The first student will write the first word, and each other student will add a word to the sentence in a different color until the sentence is complete.
10. Graph your students – No matter the topic, no matter the type of graph, kids love to “be the graph”. Before going outside, draw the axis for your graph on a large cement area. Once you are outside, give the students the criteria and use them as the points, bars, or pictures on your graph. For more advanced students, see if the students can put themselves into a graph in a small group without your guidance.
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