candy corn contest–Thanksgiving math, reading, and fun

The Candy Corn Contest by Patricia Reilly Giff

This is a cute book, and I remember my third grade teacher reading it aloud to my class oh so many years ago. It lends itself to fun Thanksgiving activities.

For Thanksgiving, Ms. Rooney holds a candy corn contest where students get a guess for each page of a library book that they read. All Richard can think about is the contest, but he is sad because he knows that other students are better readers than he is. When Ms. Rooney isn’t looking, he sneaks some candy corns from the jar. Uh oh. What will happen?

Then there is the slumber party that all the boys are both excited and nervous about. Excited because it’s a slumber party. Nervous about who will have to sleep next to Matthew, who is a known bed-wetter. (Several different years I have had a student named Matthew, so I change the name when I read it, and the book mysteriously disappears when I’m done. I don’t know if I’m overreacting, but I always worried that my Matthews would be embarrassed.)

This book really hits on some of the big things that weigh on the minds of our little ones. It opens up room for discussions about friendships and how we treat our classmates. And who doesn’t love a candy corn contest?!

It is pretty short, and if you read 15 minutes or so daily, you can finish in a week.  Another plus, it is part of a series called the Polk Street Kids, and they are very easy to read. Great introduction to chapter books for some of your more reluctant readers.

For more great books to read in November, check out 1..2..3..Teach With Me’s Book of the Month Linky.

Now for the (Other) Fun Part…Holding Your Own Candy Corn Contest!

  1. Get a plastic jar, and fill it with candy corn. (Keyword plastic.)
  2. Be sure to count. (This can be tedious!!)
  3. Write down the number somewhere. (I forgot one year. That was fun.)
  4. Decide how students can earn a guess. (I gave guesses for every 100 on an AR quiz.)
  5. Display the jar where students can see it and even touch it.
  6. Allow for at least a week of guessing.
  7. On the day of the contest, pull guesses out until you get one that is exact. If no one guesses exactly, determine who is the closest.
  8. Winner gets the jar of candy corns! (Decide beforehand if the winner gets to keep them all to himself or if you expect him to share with everyone. Otherwise, you will have arguments because some students will get candy corn, and some won’t, and some will get more, and some will get less, and well, you know how kids are.)

Here are the guess slips that I used. Download them FREE:

And because it’s Friday, I’m linking up with Teaching Blog Addict’s Fabulous Freebie Friday! Check it out for tons of FREE items from all over the blog-o-sphere!

Bonus Math Activities:

  • When I was pulling guesses, I had volunteers tape the guesses onto a line graph. This way we could really see the range of guesses.
  • If you are in a long division teaching grade, you could show students how to divide the total number in the jar by the number in the class.
  • Estimation Skills! I was amazed at some of the guesses. Some guessed way too low, like 30. Some guessed way too high, like in the millions. It made me realize that we needed to work on number sense a little more.

Here are some great books for teaching estimation skills:

Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone

The pictures are fun to look at, and it also teaches different estimation skills such as cluster counting.

Greater Estimations by Bruce Goldstone

Along the same lines as Great Estimations but with larger numbers.

How Much is a Million? by David M. Schwartz

A fun book to help students realize how big a million really is.

A Million Dots by Andrew Clements

Another book to help students realize the magnitude of a million.

Happy Candy Corning!

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