Mardi Gras Celebrations in the Classroom

We had a such a fun day celebrating Mardi Gras!  I love when the whole city is excited to celebrate.

I started out the day by giving all of my students several beads to wear.  As they entered my classroom I had fun Zydeco music playing from Pandora.  My students could tell we were in for a great day of fun and learning.  This year I only had a half day with them, we had PD in the afternoon, but I wanted to keep them active and learning, and celebrating!

I set up three different centers to rotate through.  At thirty minutes per station this was a perfect amount.  I also had library and PE, and brunch before leaving.

Center #1:  Mardi Gras Float Board Game:  We have been studying integers, and I wanted my students to practice positive and negative integer phrases.  Students chose a card from the pile, read it out loud, and the group declared if it was a positive or negative integer. All of the cards have a Mardi Gras theme, and the kids loved moving their parade floats to the finish line.  I used bingo chips for markers, but I think I'll be on the look out for tiny cars or Mardi Gras themed hats or masks for future play.  One great thing about this game is that you don't HAVE to use it for integers.  You could just play the game reading the cards.  We happen to be studying integers, so it was perfect for us!

One of the other activities I love with these cards is a sorting task.  Several of my students had a lot of fun just sorting the task cards into positive and negative integers.  They were so proud to put these together!

Center #2:  Number Sense Mardi Gras themed Mental Math Computation:  Our next center was also math related.  I need my students practicing as much mental math computation as possible.  These differentiated task cards give students 4-6 directions to solve a computation problem.  The first set is just addition and subtraction related.  I use a lot of different words for these operations so it is perfect vocabulary practice as well.  The second set includes all four operations, and the last 10 cards include all four operations as well as exponents or questions that include statements similar to "go to the sum of the digits."  

Students can use a hundreds board for help if they need to, as well as a dry erase board.  They love to challenge each other with the more difficult cards, and my more capable students timed each other to see who could get the correct answer the fastest. 

I also love keeping these cards handy for when we have a few extra minutes before heading to a special class, lunch or buses.  When I use them with my whole class they are perfect to practice listening skills as well!

Center #3: The History of Mardi Gras:  Of course I had to sneak in a little reading lesson as well in during the center rotation!  I found a great FREE article from Fourth Grade Shenanigans about the History of Mardi Gras {HERE}. I printed it multiple sheets to a page and added a cover from clipart that I had to make a booklet.  My students did a close read activity with my student teacher, completing a cold read to make connections and practice internal comprehension, then they discussed text structure and historical evidence.  

I had them write down 9 interesting facts on round circles to represent Mardi Gras beads, and we cut them out and created necklaces on construction paper.  I loved their small group interaction with my student teacher.  She will begin teaching lessons soon, and this was a perfect opportunity for her to get to know my students better.

I also had a few students who could not attend PE, so I gave them an added bonus center to complete.  This one was Mardi Gras Float Fractions.  It practiced finding equivalent fractions and percentages by answering 10 questions.  When the questions were answered my students had to draw and color a parade float with the correct information included.  Here is an example:

I think this was one of their favorites, and I had several students who asked me for copies to take home over the weekend!  YAY.. they WANTED to do math!!

Our Mardi Gras Celebration wouldn't be complete without MOON PIES!  I had gotten a TON of them over the weekend at a Mardi Gras parade my family had gone to, so of course they had to come into school for my Smarties.  We had enough for everyone to have 2 moon pies, and they were so funny about flavors.  Banana was definitely the favorite.  I considered doing a graphing activity, but knew I wouldn't have time, so I added my idea to my planning list for next year.

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras in your classroom?  I would love to hear the ways you celebrate.  If you are interested, the above mentioned MATH GAMES are bundled together in my store.  They are ON SALE through Fat Tuesday if you want to start the week with a little celebration!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!--- 
Let the good times roll!

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