I’ve hit that point in the year where I’m sort of freaking out about state testing coming up in spring.  I realize that it’s not even officially winter, we haven’t come back from winter break, and there’s still a whole lot more teaching to do, but I’m still freaking out.  (Yes, I realize that’s also incredibly sad, but that’s a topic for an entirely different post.)  Even though I wanted to do Christmas-y stuff this week and next, I knew I needed to make sure it was still very educational.  On the drive to school last week I had this idea.  We could make elves and practice area and perimeter all at the same time!  And then I thought about how we could also do some writing to make it an even more educational and relevant activity.

I created this e-book designed to be read aloud, hopefully projected but printed will work, that explores ways elves would use area and perimeter at the North Pole.  It also explains how to find area and perimeter and gives students opportunities to practice both.

It gave us a good introduction to area and perimeter.  We then used Cheez-Its to practice a hands-on application of measuring the area and perimeter of a rectangle.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures.  It might have had something to do with my cheesy hands.  It might have also had something to do with being hungry and having Cheez-Its in front of me and eating a handful every time the kids were working.

We then made this cute Elf craftivity.

Elving Around

I pre-cut out rectangles in a few different sizes (that could all be measured to the nearest inch) and let students choose the shape and the color they wanted.  The only rule was that THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED TO CUT THE RECTANGLE.  I might have said that a couple times.  I think they got the message.  Then I told them they had free reign with the red and green and cream and brown as long as THEY DID NOT CUT THE RECTANGLE and it still looked like an elf.

Area and Perimeter Elf

Students used items they found in the classroom to help them trace and cut out circles for the heads.

Area and Perimeter Elves

And once their elf was finished (or, for the love of all of my sanity, it’d been almost an hour and a half) they gave their elf a name and a life story.

And then we used that to practice organizing our thoughts into paragraphs.  Students used the following organizer to write 3 sentences for each paragraph.

After we finish writing our rough drafts and then revising and editing, we’ll be publishing them on cute lined paper.

And then, I surprised the kids by making them do more math.  They love me for that.  🙂

They measured the torso of their elf and recorded its perimeter and area on this cute sheet.

Today, we used an extra classroom to practice measuring and finding area and perimeter of larger shapes.  Each group was given one ruler and one yard stick to use.  They had to decide what was the more appropriate tool to measure.  We also discussed conversion of inches and feet and feet and yards.



They’ve really, really grasped area, which is amazing.  A couple of them still need help with perimeter, but that we will continue to explore by measuring things throughout the room off and on throughout the year.
In my Elving Around unit, there’s also a pdf I created to talk about finding the perimeter and area when dimensions are missing.
I put the elf items together in this fun Elving Around unit that I have in my TpT store.  It includes the ideas and sheets for the elf craftivity, the ebook, printables for practice with area and perimeter, task cards, and the pdf to teach perimeter with missing dimensions.
Elving Around Cover
After we’ve used this unit to introduce and practice area and perimeter, I incorporate it throughout the rest of the year to keep the skills fresh in students’ minds.  We spend a day doing a Solve the Room or Scoot using my Area & Perimeter Task Cards and we practice recognizing and solving word problems with area and perimeter in real world situations.  To see more about those two products, click the images below.
Mustache You the Measurement Area and Perimeter Task Cards
Area & Perimeter Story Problems cover
On a completely unrelated note, this weekend is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  The residents of Newtown, CT have asked that we honor those lives lost by performing random acts of kindness in their honor.  I hope you’ll join me in remembering and honoring those courageous teachers who risked and gave their lives to protect their students and those beautiful little children who did not leave the school that day.  As I am sitting here crying remembering so much from that day, I know every one of us will do our part to remember them.

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.