Friday, 19 October 2012

Beginning the alphabet at Z...and a freebie!!

Hello friends! This post marks the first in my series of 26 posts 'counting down' the alphabet...and so to Z!

Z is for zebras, zig zags and zero!

I defy you to think of zebra first off when you think of the letter 'Z'. I think we all do! :) I love zebras...and living in South Africa I get many opportunities to spend time in Game Reserves where these fascinating creatures live in abundance. One of my favourite places to visit over a long weekend is Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock in the Eastern Cape. It is about a 3 and a half hour drive from my home and in the middle of the quiet openness of the semidesert Karoo. A peaceful, soul nourishing place where we get to spend time relaxing, recharging and taking game drives to see the animals. Zebras fascinate me...these Cape mountain zebras are quite different from Burchell's or plains zebra. Their stripes are narrower and darker and they do not have "shadow stripes" like the Burchell's. But what fascinates me the most is the uniqueness of each zebra's stripes. They are like a fingerprint to the zebra and baby zebra's recognise their parents by the pattern the stripes form on their belly.

Another 'Z' teachers rely on is 'zig zag'. From early writing patterns to practicing cutting skills...where would we be without the zig zag?! Today's freebie is a writing skills practice page for the letter 'Z'. It can be just as easily used with crayons or a Pokey Pin for some extra fine motor practice.

'Race to Zero' is a simple Math game that can be used as a filler or as a Math Center at any time and for any age or ability. It is one of those 'go to' activities that can be easily adapted to be as challenging, or as simple, as required. Each child needs a sheet of scrap paper, a pencil and a dice or two. A starting number must be decided on (this can be anything from 10 to 100 or more). The object of the game is to be the first to reach zero...counting down from the starting number. This can be done in a number of ways:
        * Young learners can use a die programmed with 1 and 2 or 1, 2 and 3. They roll the dice and subtract the number rolled from their total. The first player to reach 0 is the winner. (For the real littlies you can start them off with 10 counters or 10 circles drawn on a page form which they can deduct the number rolled each time.)
        * As the ability of the players increases you can choose to include a 1-6 die, later a 1-10 die or 2 dice where the numbers are first added together and then subtracted from the total.
        * For older students you could begin with a higher number, use 2 dice and first multiply the dice rolls and then subtract from the total.
        * In each game the player to reach zero first is the winner! 

If you have any 'Z' related activities to share please leave a comment below. Look forward to sharing some activities relating to 'Y' next! have a happy Friday and a well-deserved rest this weekend!

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  1. Your blog is adorable! Thanks for all the fun ideas.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  2. Thanks for helping with Ms. Fultz's birthday giveaway!