Monday, January 23, 2012

Baby Math... with Some Writing

Since I have gotten so many long-term sub jobs covering for teachers on maternity leave, many students have dubbed me the "baby teacher." It is a nickname I wear proudly. If teachers trust me enough to want me in their classroom when they can't be there for weeks, I can think of no better compliment.

This is a two-part activity I have done at the start of most of those maternity sub jobs. It worked so well the first time, that I have continued to do it with each one. I will caution you to use your discretion because one of my last jobs was for a teacher who had a sweet little preemie. Luckily everything worked out with her and the baby, but I skipped the first part (the measurement part) of this activity because I felt it was in poor taste. And I also did not do this activity when I took over for another long-term sub who could not complete the job since the baby was already a week old.

You need to wait for the announcement about the birth of the baby and the inevitable height and weight declaration. When I get this information, I cut curling ribbon that exact length, and fill a plastic container with water so it weighs roughly the same as the baby. A gallon-sized container filled with water will weigh roughly 10 pounds, so you can adjust from there. Then when I announce that the baby was born and give all the details, I can pass around the ribbon and plastic container so the students have an actual visual of how big the baby is. I also like to discuss that just like the ribbon, babies are all curled up and the nurses have to stretch the baby out to get the length. You can discuss comparisons such as, "What else do you know that is about this size?" Or, "What surprised you about this?" For the little ones, I usually put the water and ribbon in a science center so they can explore further.

After we have our measurement discussion, I always let them make cards. Those work as both a language arts and an etiquette lesson. My favorite thing to ask is "what advice would you give the baby." Those responses are always so cute and insightful. The cards can all be sent with a teacher or someone else who is close to the mom. I have had teacher after teacher tell me how appreciated those cards were.

The whole activity usually doesn't take too long since I only give them 20 minutes or so to initially work on the cards and then they can finish them as they finish other work. Plus it helps the class stay connected to their teacher.


  1. What a sweet idea! I love the idea of using a container of water so they can feel how heavy the baby is! I am past my baby days, but I will keep this idea in mind for colleagues!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten


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