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Multiplication Tricks

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Doubles

ThreeFingers with Numbers

Telling Time Misconceptions

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Equivalent Fractions

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Simplifying Fractions

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Clock Fractions

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Math Fact Motivation

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Bulletin Board Ideas

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Classroom Management

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Lines and Angles

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I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fonts

Fun Lesson-X Marks the Spot

Feast your eyes on this fun lesson I did with K, 1st, and 2nd grade students. Since the motivation was high, all surprisingly were able to accomplish the task. This started out with a discussion about compass directions. I brought a compass and we all became little human compasses standing up with one arm as our compass needle. We pointed out which direction was north, south, east, and west. One student in the class always points out the acronym–Never East Soggy Waffles so that they can remember the directions.

I tell students treasure is hidden in their classroom and we are going to create a treasure map so that they can find the treasure. The treasure they find out laster is pieces of candy. For this I only hide three pieces. Not all of the children will get one and they understand this from the beginning. It creates a little needed competition.

Students are introduced to a compass rose and we add that to the map first. Everything else is added in relation to compass directions. I ask the children to imagine they are a little bird flying over the room. Their job is to think of large pieces of furniture that they might fly over as a landmark. I have the children copy my map as we make it together. I periodically stop to ask what other landmarks we should add. At the end I mark X’s where the three treasures are hidden.

If the children have been following along with their map and made a good effort, I allow them to search for treasure. However, if they have been fooling around and not copying the map and labels, I have them sit until they have done it correctly while the others hunt. Having the children use their own treasure maps to hunt reinforces two things–working hard and following a map with directions.

TPT Sale for Teacher Appreciation!

Does Your School Have a Social Studies Crisis?

Does your school have a social studies crisis? Or your district? I really don’t think it is just my school. I believe it is a mindset in education. Teach children to read for the whole day, and squeeze in an hour of math. If you have time maybe you can throw in science and social studies once a week for 30 minutes.

This is typical and explains why when I walked into a room, no one could tell me the capitol of their state. Disheartened, I left the room. After some thought, I decided to do a geography bee with all the intermediate grades. Round 1 was to name every state. VERY few could do this. This showed me that many of our students don’t even. know the very state they should call home. Do your students know their states? If not, Super Teacher Worksheets is a great place to stop for these resources! I used their numbered map below for my round 1 and gave students other maps to study for preparation….but hey…maybe your students know ALL of their states.

Take Advantage of Downtime! Try this!

Well, as I was sitting in a meeting–you know the ones that aren’t productive–most school meetings– I thought, hmm I am going to work on helping students. While I listened to teachers talk about the problems they have with students not learning their math facts (3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers) I made some visual aids to help while kids are wasting time waiting. Honestly, I am at the point of anger with the way we are teaching math. I am glad we are learning to reason about math facts, but after a half of a page of watching a child try to compute an easy math problem there must be a more efficient way!

Now, here are few samples of what I made. I posted them wherever I thought children would be standing for long periods of time. I expected nothing from this other than the hopes that children would learn.

The kids said, “Did you put those signs up?”

I replied, “What makes you think that?” :).

Of course I told them that yes it was me. AND, do you know what??!! They said, “Thank you!”

I was floored and not expecting that!

Giveaway Time!

I’m so excited to announce a new giveaway in partnering with Kelly Malloy and a few others!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  

Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

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Co-hosts:   An Apple for the Teacher,

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Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 3/13/22 and is open worldwide.

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Teaching Kids to Say Thank You

Recently I pondered the idea of thank you cards. I haven’t received a thank you card for a wedding or shower in quite some time. At first I thought maybe the recipient was just being rude or thoughtless, but when I heard other ladies inquiring if I had gotten a thank you card, I wondered if this wasn’t just becoming a trend. After a short internet search, I realized that this is becoming a trend. It is not “the thing” to not receive a thank you card or a thanks for that matter.

I do my best to teach my students to say “thank you” to one another and to me. I have read the Ron Clark book to students in which he takes items back from students if they don’t say “thank you” in three seconds after receiving the item. This teaches them to be more thankful.

This month my students collectively wrote a thank you card to a guest speaker we had. I folded a 12 x 18 piece of construction paper in half. Then I divided the front into little squares so that each student could do their own artwork within the square. Before I let the students write in the square, I handed them a sticky note of the same size so that they could plan their artwork before they wrote in the construction paper square. This project turned out so beautifully.

The card SO impressed the guest speaker that I got a thank you card for the thank you card..haha! This warmed my heart during a week when I really needed some cheering up. Below I have pictured the thank you card I received from our guest speaker. In addition, at a later date, we received some coupons for all of my students to receive some free items. Hopefully this will make an impression on my students to always say “thank you”!

Happy Valentines Day!

Are YOU ready…Freddy?

Every time I enter a K-2 classroom to teach enrichment, I bring Freddy. Freddy is one of my classroom management posters. I bought some clipart and added a “Ready” title to the bottom of this page. The “Freddy” part kind of evolved with the children’s input. What is great about Freddy is that he looks exactly like I want the children to look when I am teaching. At the beginning of the year, we talk about what it looks like to listen and pay attention. Then as I am teaching, I walk around with Freddy and point to him when I see children not acting appropriately. Freddy and his friends are in page protectors in a binder that I carry with me when I am teaching an enrichment class, which lasts about 30-40 minutes.

Freddy has friends, too. With the children’s help I also have named a “Ready Betty”. As time has progressed, Freddy has made friends and I have included them in the binder, too. In addition, I have included a “lip sandwich” poster. I must give credit to a teacher friend for a lip sandwich idea. We discuss what a lip sandwich is at the beginning of the year so that children know the expectation. More than anything, showing them what Ready Freddy looks like gets results whether on the carpet in “criss cross applesauce” style or when children are at their seat. My principal even noticed how effective the posters were and commented on this, and I have had teachers ask their students to get in the Ready Freddy position.

Sometimes I am able to make a story about how Freddy is watching the children and I cover my eyes for five seconds and count and say that I know they will be ready when I open my eyes. I have also told children that Freddy is friends with Elf or Santa at Christmas. There are a myriad of fun imaginative stories you can make up where Freddy is involved especially since children thrive on imagination.

Here is the poster set I made for use at my school. There are most multicultural groups represented in this set.

What Will Become of Our Children?

I am starting to see my students grow up. At times they wait on me in a grocery store or they are a waiter etc. Looking at the struggles our current students are having in school and the push of education in a direction that leaves out common sense concerns me.

  1. I had a cashier struggle to count a mix of bills at the checkout. I mean maybe he was stressed from the long line and thereby flustered, but maybe not. With the dependence on a debit card, will children be able to count money? It seems at least in my district that the money standards are pushed all the way to the end of the year. We all know what happens when a topic is pushed to the end…it often gets left out.
  2. I teach some of the brightest students, yet some struggled to tell time. Is this becoming the norm? I had a teacher friend tell me that her grown daughter has to think a minute when looking at an analog clock. The school secretary mentioned that a parent couldn’t tell time from the analog clock in the office. Has our dependence on the digital clock on the cell phone crimped our brain?
  3. I am all about critical thinking and math, but I am hearing teachers comment that children in grades 3-5 struggle with multiplication facts. The leaders of the math department are insisting that it is okay that children arrive at the answer by reasoning from a known fact. That is great that children can do that…but what happens with just knowing it in a second is important. Clogging up your brain with reasoning to get to the answer slows down your reasoning when you arrive at more difficult problems.
  4. This one is unrelated to math. Has Google broken our critical thinking minds? Please say it isn’t so! I assigned a research project recently about planets. I asked some questions such as what kind of clothing would you need on this planet? What kind of food would you need? I had a child tell me they would bring Sonic and hibachi. I asked them if they thought there were drive thru windows in space and if that would sustain them for the years that it would take them to travel to their planet. I had children literally type these questions in on Google expecting that the answer would be there. In other words, they didn’t think I was going to make them think. I gave them a lecture about how Google doesn’t know everything, and that I expected them to reason about the questions.

Maybe I just needed to rant about these things, but I really am quite concerned. Public education needs an overhaul of common sense, but these are areas (especially the research one I am going to work on with my students).

Below are some resources to teach time, money, and multiplication.

Snow Lessons for January

I will be sharing with you my K-2 enrichment lessons for January’s return. All of these lessons revolve around snowmen.

In kindergarten we will discuss what imagination is and read the well loved Snowmen at Night.

After we read this, students will design their own snowman and describe what he looks like, what his favorite food is, his name, favorite games, etc. As we finish, students will share their work, and we will discuss who used imagination and originality.

In first grade we will also discuss imagination and originality. Then we will read Sneezy the Snowman.

After we read this story, I will challenge students to think of a way to create Sneezy the Snowman without using snow since he keeps having the problem of melting. Students will have to think of different spherical shapes they might use for the balls that make up a Snowman. For example, they might use basketballs, globes, beachballs, Christmas ornaments, or the like. It will be fun to se who has the most imagination with this lesson!

With second grade, I will recycle a lesson I have done before and love! We will create six pointed paper snowflakes after learning about snowflakes in the book below. I will link to that post here.

This year, I may change things up a bit as I use this video in lieu of the book.

Don’t forget Super Teacher Worksheets has lots of snowman resources, too, to round out any unit you may be developing!

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