Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mayhem the Moose on the Loose 2015: Week 1

"What's the Moose on the Loose?" was a common question teachers and students asked of me this week. In my small school, word of the crazy antics going on in my classroom spread quickly. Rumors of a wacky woodland creature wreaking havoc in the first grade made its way from parents to the principal. This past week our class (and school community) was introduced to Mayhem the Moose.

Mayhem is a cute and cuddly moose who is helping our class countdown the final days to winter break. Each day he brings a special surprise or treat for the firsties. However well-intentioned Mayhem is, with him tends to come a little chaos. But not to worry, his chaos provided a fabulous behavioral incentive for my firsties at this crazy time of year!! Here's a peek into our first week with Mayhem!


When the firsties came in on Monday morning, they were greeted by mayhem caused by Mayhem! A letter to the class introduced them to our new friend, and let them know to expect some fun treats along the way. We also read Moose on the Loose by Kathy-jo Wargin. It's an adorable story about what you would do if there was a moose on the loose in your house, in your yard, in your room, etc. It definitely got my kids thinking about what to do with a moose that causes trouble! Get a copy from Amazon here.

That first day Mayhem brought each student their own "Moose on the Loose Diary." He left their diaries a little bonkers, but the firsties enjoyed getting their special diaries anyway. Each diary contains a "Countdown Calendar" and a place for them to house all of their daily papers that Mayhem leave for them each morning.


Our second day of Moose on the Loose happened to be the same day as an Author's Tea event at our school. To celebrate all our first graders as authors and encourage their continued writing, Mayhem generously brought us special pencils and pens. However, in his efforts to setup the treats he, naturally, left a bit of a disaster. When the fifties entered that morning, there were pens and pencils scattered all over the Writing Center table, chairs, and floor. I showed the class all the cool things that Mayhem had brought, but told them that they wouldn't be able to claim their treats until all of the fun pens and pencils were all cleaned up. Each time students made a smart choice, were following directions, were on-task, being a kind friend, etc. they were allowed to go over to Mayhem's mess and put away one pen or pencil. Once everything was cleaned they earned their treats! I, of course, milked this all day so that their behavior was exceptional all day long! It was such a fun, easy, and effective way to encourage positive behavior!!

The page that Mayhem put in their diary for day 2 was all about being an awesome author who edits their writing. The note Mayhem had left the students had a handful of mistakes. Our scholars had to edit and revise the sentences for Mayhem!


Day three happened to be our science benchmark day. While my kids and I love science, a long benchmark that tests all we've learned this past quarter is no one's favorite. But, Mayhem was here to rescue the day! When the firsties came in, Mayhem had a special message for them -- no shoes science!!! Mayhem was so excited about his treat, he decorated our whiteboard with shoe pictures...all over the board. Just like the messy pencils, each time my scholars made a smart choice, they were able to erase one shoe. Once there were no more shoes on the board, they got to take their shoes off! If there is one thing I've learned about first graders, it is that they will do just about ANYTHING to be able to not wear their shoes in the classroom. I really don't know what it is about being able to slide around the classroom in their socks, but it is such a big deal to them!! The kids worked  faithfully all day to erase Mayhem's mess to earn a day of no shoes!! Such a big hit!

That day when the kids came in, Mayhem had added a journal page about "pairs" in math. This is a concept we'd already covered, but was a great way to review a math concept we've been practicing!

Below are some firsties practicing some math problems sans shoes!! They had each also earned the option to take off a sock...


While day three was science benchmark day, day four was writing benchmark day (and for that matter, day five was math benchmark day...) #allthetests #endofthequarterproblems. This quarter our focus was descriptive writing. To help with our five sense descriptive stories, Mayhem brought us a special (and super sticky) treat...CANDY CANES!!! We had Starburst and original flavored candy canes. True to form, Mayhem may have left a bit of a candy cane disaster. However, not to worry, the firsties worked hard to earn candy canes through the day by their behavior!!

The diary page for that day asked the kids to fill out a five senses chart to predict all about the candy canes. That afternoon when it was benchmark time, they got to enjoy the fruits of their labor by enjoying several types of candy canes as they wrote their descriptive writing stories using their five senses. It was a sense-sationally sweet and super sticky time!


Friday rounded out the end of week one with Mayhem. When the students entered the class, Mayhem was sitting in a bowl of marshmallows...yes, sitting in the marshmallows. He had built a tower of cups, had a spoon and whisk, and had spilled marshmallows all over the table. On their diary page Mayhem left them, the students had to use the clues to predict what we would be making. I was so impressed with all the creative things the kids thought we would be making! Through the day, good behavior afforded the firsties the opportunity to go pick up marshmallows and save them for their treat later.

That afternoon it was revealed that we would be making Moose Soup. We mixed hot water, marshmallows, and peppermint candy canes together to make Moose Soup...also known as hot chocolate. (As a side note, two seniors came in to help me make this! They were such a lifesaver! Honestly, I don't know what I would have done without them!!!)

We had a marvelous first week with Mayhem! Though with him came a little craziness and chaos, the kids loved working to clean his mess and earn their treats! At the end of each day we would fill out our "Countdown Calendar" to record the treat of the day and color another day done! I'd give them a few minutes to predict what the following day would bring! I am SO happy with the way the firsties have responded to Mayhem, how excited they are to come in and see the mayhem he's caused that day, and also how hard they're working!

Stay tuned for this final week with Mayhem! It will be crazy fun!!! (NOTE: Link to week 2 is HERE!)


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