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Multiplication Tricks

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Doubles

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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

Marker Heaven

Now, you all know you have markers that dry up. We have a community supply of markers in my room so, when one dries up, I have been asking students to put them in “marker heaven”…aka the trash can. The students find it amusing and it still makes me smile under my breath.

More recently, I thought I might should save the almost dried up markers that don’t color so well. I remembered the “marker bots” we had made a few years ago realized I had saved the almost dried up markers for this. I exclaimed, “Oh no!” during one class and told children we needed to save them somewhere. One child said, “Marker Jail, ” and so there it was, marker jail was born. Maybe marker purgatory would have been more appropriate, but I loved the child’s idea. Children who weren’t in the same class began inquiring about the marker jail. I love the curiosity it has generated. I used a random box top lid for marker jail because it was what I had nearby. Use whatever container you like. I hope this idea spreads a little fun in your classroom.

The Results are In!

I promised you results from the strawberry jars a while back. While the strawberry jars did not stink near as badly as the rice jar experiment I did previously, they didn’t reveal quite as important a message in my opinion. You could again definitely tell a difference in the scent of the jars, but the inside of the jars looked very similar. When I started this experiment all of the jars had fresh strawberries, so it is certainly possible there could have been a difference in bacteria etc. on the strawberries. If I were to do this again, I would have used frozen strawberries to make sure this wasn’t a factor. What surprised me the most is that the love jar smelled worse, in my opinion than the hate jar. There is probably some explanation for this. If I were to use fruit again, I would have used the blueberries. Also, if it was the first time for the experiment, I would have used the rice because they all smelled different and looked different reflective of the words love and hate.

Here are the backs of the jars pictured in the same order.

The 2024 Creativity Challenge…

On January 1st, I shared with you an idea you could use in your classroom to start the year off. Students could imagine the numbers in 2024 to be other items besides numbers. I am really proud of some of the results from this activity. See how their creativity blossomed….

left to right top to bottom… shield, potato, fish (look how perspective was used as this student turned the page), archer, hourglass, hotel and white beach, hanger (again page was turned as this student used perspective).

When I taught this lesson, I used an idea from a previous year that I got from the Carly and Adam website.

Happy 2024!

I am personally looking forward to this year in many ways! Last year, I saw the idea somewhere to make something out of the numbers 2023. I decided to do something similar with some of my beginning of the year lessons this year. What can you create from the numbers 2024? This I great for children’s creative thinking. Try different fonts on your computer and see if it sparks different creative thinking ideas. What if students make a reflection from the numbers 2024? What if students make pictures of the 2024 together? What if they use the numbers individually? What if they turn 2024 sideways? What if they turn it upside down? Do they see different pictures? You will likely have a child say they they messed up. Sometimes those are the best opportunities for imagination!

Enjoy your year! 🙂

The Book that Needs to Be Heard in this Season…

Merry Christmas! This book is educational, funny, and may even make you shed a tear. It did me. The reason I say it needs to be heard is that some students don’t know the Christmas story. They have only seen and been exposed to the sanitized version allowed to be told in public schools…you know…Santa, elves, reindeer, Christmas trees, stockings, magical North Pole type stories. Did you know it was on video if you don’t have a paper copy available. The Best (worst) Christmas Pageant Ever.

Engage 100% of Your Students with this lesson!

I just repeated this lesson from a few years ago. Students DO NOT FORGET this lesson and will beg for more. This is great for a day when student’s attention span will be minimal such as the holiday season.

This lesson will take you about 30 minutes or you could stretch it out if you like. First warn by saying, “Do not stick these up your nose or in your mouth! Do not mash these.” (my warning comes, of course, from a student who did stick one in his mouth.)

  1. Give each child one Mexican jumping bean. Tell them to lay it on the table and observe.
  2. On paper, ask them what they think the mystery item is. Some will answer what they think it is. Common responses I have heard are a nut, an acorn, a rock.
  3. On paper ask them if it moves. By this point they will probably have discovered it moves because another student will probably have exclaimed that it moved.
  4. On paper, ask students to explain why they think it moves.
  5. Have the children draw a picture of what they think the mastery item looks like on the inside. I never call the object the master items until after I have shown them the story.
  6. Show students the Mexican jumping bean story.
  7. Bask in the fact that you are currently the children’s hero for bringing something so cool to look at.

Where do you get these beans you ask. You can actually get them off of Amazon. Mexican grocery type stores most likely also have them, but I got mine from Amazon here.

Happy Thanksgiving with a Quick Lesson!


This year for a quick and easy lesson, I showed a quick video about thankfulness by Kid President. Next, we discuss what thankfulness even means. Children aren’t certain on this I have come to realize from listening to their answers. Next, I have students draw pictures of certain things they are thankful for that I can describe such as these…

Name something you are thankful for

1.that is red.

2.that is in the shape of a triangle.

3.that is scratchy. (usually kids want a description of scratchy)

4.that is soft.

5.that is the shape of a triangle.

6.that you can’t see.

7. that makes you happy.

8. that makes your teacher happy.

Add to these or change them around and make them your own. This is sure to make your students brain juices flow!

Children Will Love this Easy and Fun Activity with their Name!

I had children create name monsters a few years ago, but these are new and improved! This time the art teacher let me borrow his graphite sticks. First have children fold their paper in half the long way. Then have children write their name large on the fold. Then they write over it with the graphite stick, fold the paper back, and rub the paper. This will create a reflection of their name on the other side. Bonus! Children are learning about reflections and symmetry. Their next job is to make a monster out of the shape that was created. Challenge the children to see eyes, a nose, a mouth, a tongue, hair, and eyebrows etc. Then children can color their creation. They all turn out really interesting!

Teach Them about their Country…

I’m so thankful to have a parent this year who works closely with a judge which has provided us a way to take an amazing field trip later this year. To prepare the students, I had them do some real world research. Each child had to survey 20 people about some government topics. Students had to record their research on tally charts and then graph the data. They could choose to graph the data on a bar graph or a circle graph. What you see pictured is the end result of one of my teams.

Students were required to ask the following questions, and then they could pick one question of their own.

*What are the three branches of government?

*How many stars are on the American flag?

*How many stripes are on the American flag?

Children picked questions such as: How many senators are there? Who was the first president? What do the stars stand for on the flag? and the like.

I told children they couldn’t survey immediate family members, but they could ask neighbors, boy scout leaders, sports team parents, church members, random people they called at businesses etc. I wanted the questioning to be as realistic as possible so that children got a true sampling of the public.

Before children called I had them write a phone blurb so that they knew what to say when they called. For their safety I insisted they not use any identifying information such as their first AND last name. I emphasized using manners such as please, thank you, and ending with a positive comment. Children were hung up on at times which gave them a great dose of reality. The real world teaches like no other experience. We discussed how to improve the rate of no hang ups by following the directions I had given.

Children grew on so many levels with this project. They had to practice their social skills to get their survey completed. They had to practice talking in a professional way to adults. Constructing a graph of real world data is not often an experience we give children. In addition, students had to decide if a circle graph or bar graph was better to represent their data. Since the posters they made were being hung in the hall, I encouraged them to write an attention-grabbing title to have a greater audience for their work.

With so much going on in our American government right now, this works nicely with current evens. I hope this idea spurs you to do a similar project with your students!


Get Student Attention with These!

I wore these today. As I walked down the hallway, I had multiple kindergarteners tell me they liked my glasses. Looking at them makes me smile, too! I got the glasses from Amazon and the eyelashes from the Dollar Tree. These work great for a lesson on being original!

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