So this concept of Academic Field Day has been bouncing around my mind since last May. I had BIG plans to create it during my maternity leave after I failed to come up with nothing over summer break. Well 8 weeks of maternity leave came and went with no progress on my idea. May came around again and this idea was still tugging on my brain strings. Our school's annual field day was quickly approaching and there was rain in the forecast. Usually our field day is a whole day event, but the rain plan was to cut it down to just our 45 minute specials time. Ummmm there is a big difference when lesson planning for a whole day vs. small spurts of time between events. I wasn't about to show movies all day! That was my plan for the last day after all. Hehe! When I found out this rain plan it was Saturday afternoon and field day was on Tuesday. I told myself it was time to bring my idea to life and form Plan B. I scrambled and created over my entire Memorial Day break and I have to say I am so proud of the outcome. I got all of the items you see at Dollar Tree. This was such an inexpensive event! Keep reading to see Academic Field Day in action. My kids had a BLAST!
I wanted each event to have an academic twist, but still get the kids up and going. I created the events to work in fairly small spaces. I came up with 6 events. They are a mix of ELA and Math previously taught skills.
I decided to bring 2 of my other teammates in on the action. One teammate included Mel D from Seusstastic. You may or may not know that she teaches High Ability 1st Graders, so when I was creating the academic portions I knew I had to make some things a little more challenging. There is a nice mix of higher and lower level questions. I should also mention she was the photographer of this event. I think she did a great job!
I do strongly suggest if you do this with more than your own class that you have a few parent volunteers to help at each station. We divided into 3 groups since their were 3 classes. There were about 22 students per team. If you were doing this with your own class you could divide them into smaller groups and the activities would run a lot quicker. Next year I will be reserving our LGI room to spread out the activities a little more. Luckily for us it did not rain on our regular field day, so we were able to use these activities as a last day wrap up. What a fun way to end the year!
The 1st activity we did was Beach Bucket Dig. The students lined up in a single file line as if they were walking down the hallway. The first person in line was in charge of digging through the beach bucket that was filled with shredded paper and foam shape pieces that had words written on them. The last student in line was collecting all of the shape pieces to form 3 different sentences. The kids in the middle were doing an over/under pass down the line. Boy was this a noisy time. My teammates and I were yelling, "over, under, over" and "pay attention." The kiddos did not get the concept at first that more pieces were coming their way. It was so fun to see the last few kids in line work together to build the sentences.
The next activity was the Dice Throw. I originally was going to do this as a Bean Bag Throw and have a numbered target drawn on plastic tablecloths, but I couldn't find the bean bags at the Dollar Tree. I did find these awesome foam dice. They came 2 in a pack for $1. I was so excited about the possible uses for them in my math centers, but for now I was going to use them for the Dice Throw. Each team had to roll 3 dice then add them up. Another version of this could be to toss 2 and find the difference. See so many possibilities! The team with the largest sum received a point. After all players rolled once the team with the most points was the winner. I loved seeing their hard work with facts this year pay off.
The 3rd activity was called Use Your Noodle. The kids had to answer a math question from the task cards I created. Some of the questions were really hard for my class, but really easy for Mel D's, so I created a level 1 and level 2 set of task cards. They look exactly the same, but are differentiated to meet the needs of many! After they got the answer correct they got to pop a noodle popper into the pool. My husband cut these for me, but I could have easily have done it myself. Don't tell him that though! He cut the noodle into about 1 1/2" rings. We just eye balled it. Then he cut the rings in half. You hold the cut side toward you and pop. Kids of all ages enjoyed this. I know because I tried it with my own and the neighbors kids. Cheap fun! After all players have been through once we counted the different color poppers. The team with the most won!
We moved outside for the next 2 activities. The 1st was called Scrambled Egg Relay. I got a heck of a deal at Target after Easter and bought a ton of plastic Easter eggs. I suggest the big ones for this game, but we used small ones too. Each egg contained a scrambled up sight word. The player was supposed to unscramble the word, put it back into the egg, and walk to the cone and back. Well I am here to admit that this was HARD! I have since added plain 'ol sight words too. I will use this next year and have them use the word in a sentence. The first team done is the winner.
The final activity was the Beach Ball Relay. This activity uses the ELA task cards I created. A player has to answer the question and then put a beach ball between their legs. They have to waddle or jump to the cone and back. I purchased 20" balls and that was a big mistake, so we pulled a Tom Brady and deflated the balls to make it easier for all the kids. LOL! It was so fun watching them try their best!
We had one more game, Watermelon War, but we ran out of time and had to go to lunch. It is a version of a game we play often in my own classroom. Each player draws a card. The player with the largest number gets to keep the card. The team with most cards after 1 time through wins.
We ended our day with a cool freeze pop as a reward for being great team players and working so hard throughout the year. I got 100 for $4.99 from Target!
It is hard to believe another school year is over, but this was definitely a fun note to end it on!