Monday, March 11, 2013

Lesson Theme: Hot Chocolate!

The last few weeks of winter seemed to stretch out further than I wanted to plan.  Cold, cheerless...well, maybe I am being a bit overdramatic.  But cold, definitely cold.  A vision of hot chocolate kept coming to mind - wouldn't a cup of that be nice right now... I couldn't seem to shake the unbidden thought.  So I decided to meet it head on by incorporating the idea into a unit about said steaming mug of chocolatey goodness.   Could something so delicious be educational as well?  Yes, dear readers - it could...

Right about now you are probably thinking,  are those dice marshmallows?

I used food safe markers to write the numbers on the sides and tops of two miniature marshmallows (I think larger marshmallows might have been better but we didn't have any larger ones on hand).

If you have large marshmallows, consider drawing pictures or writing words on them to use for story dice.  :)

We used the dice for our "Roll the Ultimate Mug of Hot Chocolate" activity.  Once Miss A acquired all the pieces, she helped to glue them down and wrote number sentences for what she rolled.

If you homeschool or have permission to bring in the ingredients for making hot chocolate in your classroom, something extra fun would be to roll a REAL mug of hot chocolate.  I wanted to do this but didn't get it together in time - plus, we had more than enough hot chocolate this week on other days.  :)  One more cup might have been over the top...or brim...;)

We made two kinds of hot chocolate (one from scratch and one from a mix) and taste tested both.  Miss A wrote comparisons and contrasts and documented which one she liked the best.

She also helped me make the hot chocolate from scratch, so using the "First, Next, Last" model, I had her write down directions for how one makes the perfect mug of hot chocolate.

We also played an activity I came up with called "The Hot Choc Spot".  Just like chocolate and milk combine to make a great cup of hot chocolate, different parts of speech combine to make a great sentence, right?  :)  Here's what we did...

Miss A trained to become a Master Hot Chocolate Maker.  The training consisted of sorting hot chocolate related words into mugs for different parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives).

Once she did that successfully, I gave her a certificate documenting her ascension to the rank of Master Hot Chocolate Maker.

She then took a job at "The Hot Choc Spot" where she helped complete orders for parts of speech mixes (an order might be "1 verb, 2 nouns", and she would have to find a verb and two nouns from the hot chocolate words to fill the order).

As her "supervisor" who wanted to make sure she knew what she was doing, I had her write a sentence using the words from one of the orders.  She chose to make it a silly sentence which was fine - just as long as I could see she knew how to apply the words appropriately in a sentence.

Have you ever wanted to be a marshmallow bag checker in a factory?  Well Miss A had the opportunity this week to be one at The Marshmallow Factory.

Again, as her supervisor, I would write a number at the top of her work station (paper) for the day.  She would then have to check the marshmallow bags (I put the "marshmallows" on beforehand) on the paper to see if they equaled that number.

If they did not, she was responsible for adding or subtracting enough marshmallows to/from each bag so that the correct number for the day was achieved.  She also had to document her work by writing corresponding number sentences showing what she had done.

When she completed balancing all three bags successfully for the day, I would "pay" her wage for the day into a small bag to give her at the end of the week on PAY DAY.  Her wage for the day = one pink heart marshmallow.

By the end of the week, she had enough heart marshmallows collected to top off one very yummy mug of hot chocolate for our dessert night (see bottom of post)!

Speaking of marshmallows....

Miss A graphed some of the mini-colored ones and then used the answers to finish up some math sentences.

These little guys also came in handy for spelling and sight word practice!  :)

During the week, we also practiced some of our math facts by matching some "stir stick" (popsicle stick) math sentences to the answers on the mugs.

Each stick had two math sentences - one in black on one side and one written in blue on the other side.  We would do the black math sentences one day and switch to the blue ones on another day.

We also had some fun measuring two different types of stir sticks (peppermint and cinnamon) and making observations about what would happen to each one once placed in some hot chocolate!

We discovered what kind of hot chocolate toppings some people in our family prefer by using this Venn Diagram.  Download it for FREE here.

We used a mug picture I made to create a bar graph showing what kind of hot chocolate people in our home prefer (mix or homemade).  I guess you can tell what our family's preference was - no contest there!

Not only that, but we could again see what people's favorite toppings were on this graph based on how they decked out the top of their hot chocolate (added cotton for whipped cream OR white pom poms for marshmallows OR both).  :)

I LOVE how this picture turned out!  I had seen a cute art idea (link is here), and wanted to do something similar.  This unit seemed to fit right in so Miss A went to work painting, and I glued some mittens (found on clearance) to her painting for a multi dimensional effect.

For the final day of our hot chocolate unit, I surprised Miss A with a hot chocolate bar for dessert night!  I used the bar graph to determine what kind of hot chocolate to make for the family!

So, you see?  Educational AND delicious!

Many of the games and items I used for this theme are available in my TPT store under the Hot Chocolate Mini Activity Pack.

Speaking of hot chocolate...guess who paid us a visit!  We found a little green mug topped with green marshmallows on the counter (and a bit of a mess too).  Now I wonder who that could belong too?  Guess we must have surprised someone in mid slurp because it doesn't look like he finished much of his hot chocolate!

Time to put on our leprechaun-catching thinking caps before the mischief gets out of hand!  To help keep track of the clues our little green-loving troublemaker leaves behind, I created a Leprechaun Detective Journal.   If you have any leprechauns about that need catching, you might want to print this for your kiddos as well!  Download for FREE here.

BTW - Don't forget to snap up your FREE Educents (educational materials) gift certificate before they are no longer available prior to their launch in April!  Click here to go to my post with the link to the site.

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  1. Love your ideas! I like the colored marshmallows. My little likes any activity that involves food!

    1. Thank you! Marshmallows are a lot of fun - and SO many choices now.

  2. Wow Michelle, so many cute ideas! My son *loves* hot chocolate, so we'll definitely have to try some of these!


  3. Every time I read your posts, I think this one is better than the last!! Which is really hard to do since all of your posts and ideas are amazing!! Thank you for sending this to me!! Just posted on Craft Gossip!!

    1. Aww, you are so sweet. :) Thanks for the encouragement and for posting this. :) I appreciate it!

  4. I love the marshmallow words, that would be great for my tactile learner! I think this is my first time here - love your clean blog design.

  5. What an awesome post! I love that you provide pictures since I am a visual learner. :)

    I must say adding the mittens to your daughter's picture did make it seem almost 3D. What a terrific idea.

    I realize it's a little late, but if you need a St Paddy's Day spelling list, Vocabulary Spelling City has one. The link is:

    They also have an Easter list:

    Kids can test, learn, play a game, use flash cards, learn vocabulary, print handwriting sheets... The site is free to use. I upgraded last year to the Premium feature because I wanted more games and vocabulary. It's cheap, something like $29 for the year. Oh, they also have teacher resources for free. Can you tell it is one of my fave sites??

    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks, Jackie! I appreciate your encouraging words. :) I'm familiar with Spelling City too - I have used the free stuff in the past. :) Thanks for sharing with us! :)

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