Remember $25,000 Pyramid? Yeah, I don't either, before my time *wink, wink*. The end where they give clues to name a category inspired this idea. I often find myself with a few extra minutes before lunch or before dismissal. I started playing a game with them where they sit in a circle on the carpet, I give them 3 words and they figure out what the category is and then name their own word that belongs in that category. We do shapes, long/short vowels, zoo animals, etc. So I might say: flowers, eggs, the Easter Bunny=things we find in Spring. When they get it correct, they can line up. The wrong answers also help them figure out what they have in common and if they don't line up in the first round, they do in the second.
Because they have been doing this successfully for so long, I started having the students take turns and dismiss people using a category they came up with. I was so impressed yesterday with a student who decided to give the example of: 8, 80, 108? Now, why has it never even occurred to me, an experienced teacher to use math in this activity, but a 7-year old figured it out? Not only was the question a good one, but I loved that the kids starting giving examples like 800 and of course, we had one 8 million, but I thought it was astute after all the 80's had been taken that they could think outside that box and come up with something different.
I always say they teach me more than I teach them!!!! :)