When I ask kids what they did over spring break, I so often hear “nothing.” Horse Hockey! Even if you didn't go on an extravagant vacation, you most certainly DID do something. Then I pose the question, “How did you use math during spring break?” and the vast majority say they didn't. Au Contraire, my friends! Then one or two students will get what I'm asking them, and the class goes wild!
By the time we posted all of our math ideas, the kids were so thrilled with their list. They thought they were oh, so, creative (and many of them were)! They were pleased that they did, indeed do math, and they started seeing math everywhere.
And then I asked them how they used reading over spring break, and you guessed it, they say they didn't! (Or if I'm lucky, a few will say that they read a book). Eventually they get this, too, and we continue to generate ways we read over spring break.
This is a quick but incredibly meaningful activity to do with students when they return from break (spring break, winter break, beginning of the school year, etc.). It is such a great reflection, and every time I do it, the kids love it. They always come back telling me all the ways they used math the next day!
Update: I decided to add a FREE printable version of the anchor chart for students to bring home with them over the break so you have the option of giving them a bit more time to think through their ideas! I'd recommend sending these pages home over the break so they can track them, then have them select their favorites to put on the class chart. Click the image below to enjoy the freebies.