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Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Visit from My Dear Aunt Sally

Our district has challenged everyone to "Teach Like a Pirate" this year after having author Dave Burgess motivate the staff on opening day.  I have spent my past weekends coming up with new ways to enhance my lessons and engage my learners.  I think I have gotten the bug.

My Dear Aunt Sally
Last weekend, I looked over my lesson plans and knew that Order of Operations were in my upcoming lesson plans.  I have heard of people dressing up like Aunt Sally and knew that was what I was going to do.  I purchased a dress, sweater and a cane and had a wig with a bun.  Now to come up with a plan of how Aunt Sally was going to teach the lesson.

While looking for ideas I saw pictures of hopscotch boards on playgrounds made with PEMDAS....the idea hit me.  Aunt Sally is going to teach hopscotch with a chant.  I made my boards but still left with the can this work.  I spent the weekend brainstorming.  Visit my post on how I made the board.  Click here 
Building up to the lesson:
During the week I talked about my dear old Aunt Sally who gets mixed up a lot.  She is retired teacher and was coming to stay with me from Florida.  I talked about picking her up at the airport and told them things that she had done like mixing up my salt and sugar.  My partner teacher helped building up the story. Thanks Laney!!!

The Lesson: (I did this for two classes, two periods in a row)
I put up my PEMDAS letters on the board in a mixed up order. (go to link for printable letters)
I started passing out their multiplication warm-up and started bumping into kids saying "Please, excuse me" and then told the children about our experience at the Chinese Restaurant.  Aunt Sally forgot her glasses and as we were walking to the table, she kept bumping into customers and I had to say "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally."  I was acting it out and being very dramatic, I did this a few more times.  Just as I was about to start the lesson, I stopped and told my students that I had to run to the bathroom and they should work on their multiplication sheet.  I ran down the hall to change. (Thank goodness for my theater experience and knowledge of quick changes)

I banged on the door as Aunt Sally looking for my sweet niece Kelly, because she left her poster on the counter.  They told me that she was in the bathroom.  I told them that I wanted to get them started on their lesson.  I had the children gather around me and showed them what the PEMDAS hopscotch board should look like.  I had a small chalkboard and chalk in my purse and drew it.  I also brought a mini-bell(from my teaching days)  I taught them the chant and movements.

I had the kids sets up 4 hopscotch boards and get into groups. They hopped on the boards chanting with motions.  Once they were finished, I was going to have them solve equations while hopping down the board but I was running out of time.  (I did it the next day) I had kids pick up the boards before Mrs. Hall returned.  I told the kids that I had to leave and not to tell Mrs. Hall that I came because she would be angry Aunt Sally/me.  Mrs. Hall told me that her new principal does not allow visitors.  They all promised and I ran down the hall and changed.

I returned as Mrs. Hall and apologized for being gone so long. (chinese food)   The kids were amazing.  I picked up the story about my aunt bumping into tables at dinner and me saying "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally."  I mentioned a man in the restaurant telling me that is how he learned the Order of Operations.  While telling the story I started arranging the letters on the board to spell PEMDAS and then said Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  Their faces all lit up!!!  It was one of those magical teaching moments.

This is a day that my students will never forget!!!


  1. OMG! That's hilarious, Kelly! Very impressive:) Did the kids figure out it was you?


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