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Base Ten Number Line

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Multiplication Tricks

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Doubles

TwoFingers 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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Math Night 2012

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Bulletin Board Ideas

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Classroom Management

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Lines and Angles

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Freebies

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Enrichment Lesson for K and 1st

First, get a small box. I have a small glittery box I bought for a dollar at the Dollar Tree. With the mystery box students have to guess what is inside. They have to ask me 10 questions that have yes or no answers before I will let them guess what is inside the box.

At one school I work at the students are quicker to guess items and so I gave them no hints. At the other school, the students required hints. You will need to do the mystery box activity with them several times before they get the hang of how to ask good questions. Anyways, so I put a feather in the box.

Next, I tell them to imagine they have a pet turkey but that he got very sick and lost all of his feathers. As a result he will be very cold this winter so what will we do to keep him warm?

Then I give students a picture with a turkey that has no feathers. I honestly found some black and white turkey clip art and then printed it. I would share it with ya’ll but I literally cut it with scissors and pasted it on a white sheet of paper and ran copies. I told students to draw a picture of what they would do for their turkey and they did. I also told students I was looking for original ideas about how to keep the turkey warm. I got plenty of non original ideas like feathers, a blanket, a cover etc. The original responses were such things as give him medicine for his feathers to grow, build a fire, put him in the oven, build him a house, and a HOT TUB (which was my favorite).

After this I show them the story of this bird who lost all her feathers. This bird gained lots of fans and people mailed her sweaters from all over the world. Now, I have tried this lesson showing the video before I have the kids come up with their ways to keep their turkey warm and I like showing the video last because it doesn’t influence the students’ originality.

In closing have the students with original ideas show their work.

DONE..SEE…QUICK…EASY!

Ahhhh! Spiders!

Now, I must say, I had some absolute fun teaching spiders during the month of October. I did about four 30 minute enrichment lessons and I pulled resources form everywhere. I am going to tell you about what I did because it may give you some ideas to teach your own students.

Lesson 1: I had students write and draw a spider with the body parts they knew to get a general idea of what they already knew. Then I showed students a spider video which tells about whether spiders are poisonous or not and some other spider information.

Lesson 2: I then taught them a spider song which I got from Deanna Jump’s spider resource here. I sang the spider body parts song to the tune of “Are You Sleeping” instead of to the tune of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes. I didn’t really use a lot of her content since I am not a classroom teacher, BUT what I did use I LOVED! During this lesson, I had students point to the spider body parts as if they were a spider. I also pulled a spider diagram from the internet to explain where the spider body parts were.

With our remainder of time, we went outside and the students became “spider hunters”. They were super excited about this. I gave each child one of those cheap plastic magnifying glasses from oriental trading for searching. Prior to searching for spiders, I give a talk about being very careful not to touch, pick up, or damage spiders. Kids will try to smoosh them sometimes if you don’t tell them this. Another important thing to tell students is that they are very big and if they want to see spiders, they need to be slow and quiet. Remind them that is someone 100 times their size was looking at them it would be scary and they would want to run, too.

Lesson 3: We built spiders similar to what Deanna Jump did, but I used black construction paper and modeled how to draw a large oval. Students cut out the black oval and I cut out black circle on the die cut at school. I also cut out strips of black for the legs. Students glued their parts together and labeled the parts with label parts I made. I made labels so that the young students didn’t have to spell the complicated body part words. Depending on the group this took up to two 30 minute slots. Here are some of our finished spiders. We decided not to do Google eyes for time’s sake.

The bows…I totally got from the Deanna Jump resource. In order to get a bow for your spider, you had to have your parts labeled correctly. Not everyone got a bow for their spider 🙂 and they definitely wanted one.

Lesson 4: I read Hey Little Ant which is a story giving students perspective about the size of an ant and of them. At the end of the book, it asks if the ant should be smooshed or stepped on. I used this as a writing prompt for children to write and draw what they would do except I ask them to think about what they would do to a spider. (I did have some children reporting someone smooshed a spider on our spider hunt :(. ) Time overdue for a lesson on empathy.

I hope you can take some of what I have done and use it in your own lessons :). Happy Teaching!

Wish I Had Known About the Brain!

A couple of years in a row now my partners at other schools have begun the year teaching about the brain and mindsets. I was like, “Yeah, that sounds great.” BUT, I had already planned something else in my mind. They shared their lessons with me and they all revolved around this book…Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by  Deak Ph.D., JoAnn and Sarah Ackerley.

Here is a brief sketch of what I did with my students in 1st and 2nd grades this year. These were three 30 minute enrichment lessons. Most of this I cannot take credit for since I didn’t write the lessons, but I adapted them for my own use.

Day 1: I read the first few pages of the book and we learned the parts of the brain here as we touched the parts of the brain on our heads, we talked about each part’s function. We did a coloring sheet in which students colored parts of the brain like are on this page of the book (sorry, but I am not at liberty to share the coloring page).

We also sang with this Story Bots You Tube song.

Day 2: We read the next few pages of the book and reviewed the parts of the brain. We acted out different scenarios which were pre-prepared (I didn’t come up with them on the spot in other words). Students had to guess which parts of the brain they thought were being used to perform the actions that the children were doing.

Day 3: We read the last few pages of the book, and made neurons with our arms, palms, and fingers. We talked about how electrical impulses travel down the neurons to tell the body what to do. Then I talked to students about how mistakes are the biggest teacher (reiterating what the book says). I brought up the idea of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. I held a balloon and blew it up. I said this is like a growth mindset. I also held up a flat balloon and said this is a fixed mindset. Then I asked students what they could do to make it easier to blow up the balloon. I wanted them to tell me to stretch it (like their brain). From this point, I found a random fixed mindset/growth mindset poster on the internet and read it while holding the balloon. I had students check phrases they had said before on both the fixed and growth mindset side. This website has a good chart about characteristics of fixed and growth mindset patterns.

What I love when teaching about the brain and fixed/growth mindset is that in essence you are teaching children the power of choices to let their mind expand or stay stagnant. With my older students, I also discussed how when you let your mind go a certain direction over and over it makes a deeper pathway similar to when you walk on the grass a whole lot. I ask the students what helps the grass to stop being dead in the same spot. Students invariably are able to say that you stop walking on it and when the rain comes it grows back up. So it is with anyone’s brain. They stop thinking the worst and the grass grows back up. Their brain stops having that pathway.

I hope you get a chance to teach about the brain and mindsets in your classroom. You won’t regret it!

Wonderful Way to Start Your School Year!

I had seen this idea on another teacher’s wall at a different school many years ago. I thought I would look up the book and create the same thing, but we did this our own way! First, I read The Best Part of Me to the students. This book has lots of black and white pictures of students body parts with a writing piece done by each student about their body part.

Next, I had students brainstorm about their body parts. I had them list a body part they loved, one they found especially useful, and one they wanted to improve their confidence in. They had to write three details about each body part and then choose one to write about. The brainstorming took about one day.

Thirdly, I had the students begin working on the rough draft of their writing pieces. During the next couple of days and lessons, I read Owl Moon to give them the idea of using figurative language. I also read Ted Arnold’s book Parts to the students because it uses exaggeration and rhyme. For students who were wanting to write poetry, this gave them some ideas for their writing. I allowed students to choose whether to write in paragraph or poetry format.

We spent several days perfecting our rough drafts and turning them into final drafts. I had students use the iPads to take pictures of themselves or of one another’s body parts. Then they sent the pictures to my Google Drive and I was able to send them to the copier. We framed them nicely on construction paper. Parents and teachers oohed and aahed over the children’s work!

You can see some of our finished products below.

Another wonderful place to get lesson ideas for this book is on Scholastic here.

I hope you get to do this project sometime. I think you will be so pleased with the results!

Critical Thinking Bulletin Board

Here is just a quick bulletin board I put up at the beginning of the year. All you need is some construction paper and tissue paper to make this one work. I kind of think I should have added more fire towards the top. What do you think? What do you think this rebus says? Ideas?

If I had more time to make this board at the beginning of the year, I would have added white Christmas lights behind the tissue paper to add a flickering effect to the fire.

Have you figured out what the board says yet?

SET THE WORLD ON FIRE–great back to school theme!

Win 30 FREE iKnowit Memberships for your classroom!

Did you know the maker of Super Teacher Worksheets also owns a new website called iKnowit.com? This phenomenal website lets you select differentiated lessons for your students and gather data! What a great way to take an easy grade and provide support for your struggling learners or even to advance your high achievers!

On IKnowit.com you will find this information about their site…take a look before you enter to win this amazing prize!

iKnow it is a comprehensive, interactive math practice site for students in Kindergarten to fifth grade. This online resource can be used during class or at home for independent practice, remediation, assessment, or homework. The site enables teachers and parents to differentiate assignments for students allowing them to work at their own level and pace towards mastery of concepts and skills aligned with common core.I Know It is very user friendly, and allows teachers and parents to customize a program to meet the specific needs of each student. It’s never been easier to monitor individual progress or track performance data! Math concepts are sorted by grade level, and each skill has a wide variety of question types and graphics to keep students actively engaged throughout each skill they complete.While your students are building math comprehension and fluency they will also be having fun with our unique characters and animations. Your students will be challenged to achieve, while utilizing features of the site, like question hints and explanations, along with receiving instant feedback.You’ll never teach math the same way once your students have tried iknowit!

We are giving away an absolutely fabulous prize here! 30 FREE Memberships for students to use iKnowit for an entire Year! Just enter the rafflecopter to win!

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Win a FREE Super Teacher Worksheets Year Long Membership!

I do sell on Teachers Pay Teachers, and I buy items from there also. One resource I use in addition is Super Teacher Worksheets! This is such a great investment for your classroom ! Why you ask?

  1. I can easily find a resource for any elementary math skill I need.
  2. STW has fun puzzles for students or other review items if I have a sub. I don’t have to dig something out of a book. I can just click, download, and print.
  3. I can find maps and reviews for when I teach geography skill or hold a geography bee.
  4. There are other great resources for literacy and science.
  5. It’s quick and easy!
  6. For an entire year, the cost is only $24.95/year! You could easily spend that much in a week on TPT or on teacher books. What a bargain!!!
  7. Even middle school resources are available.
  8. New resources are being added all the time!

According to the Super Teacher Worksheets website…

“Members have unlimited access to thousands of worksheets and printable materials on Super Teacher Worksheets. We offer math worksheets, reading comprehension stories, spelling lists, handwriting practice sheets, grammar worksheets, holiday printables, and much more!
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Now for the good part! We are offering a Super Teacher Worksheets membership FREE for an entire year! What an amazing deal!!! Just enter the rafflecopter below.

P.S….Did you know the owner of Super Teacher Worksheets is a teacher just like you? (no longer in the classroom, but he totally understands teachers.)

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3 Ways to Create Learning by Osmosis in Your Classroom

While I was a classroom teacher, I always tried to cover the walls with helpful tools, because every child will zone out for a little while at some point. To take advantage of the fact that my students are most likely going to be staring at the wall at some point, while not listening to me very carefully I post items I want them to absorb on the walls. Here are some of my most popular tools for that purpose. Try some of them out in your own classroom!

  1. If you teach 1st and 2nd, this base 10 classroom wall number line will be great for your classroom to familiarize students with the size of numbers. ( or you may prefer the bundle which has the number line, word cards, and expanded form cards at a 30% savings.

2. If you teach 3rd or 4th grade you may prefer to decorate with this classroom fraction wall number line. This is an interactive number line in which students can place equivalent fractions over or under the existing fractions so that they can not only absorb fractional understanding, but critically think about fractions as well.

3. If you have more advanced students in 4th or 5th grades, you can take the number line a step further and have a decimal number line. Both tenths and a hundredths version are available.

Check these out here so you can decorate your room and help your students to begin learning by osmosis :).

How Do You Engage Everyone in a Lesson

  1. Allow children to use their imagination especially through role play.
  2. Add challenge.
  3. Add secrecy.
  4. Include some mysterious searching.

These are some things I did recently with my students at the end of the school year. I gave them some background on World War II, told them they were secret spies, and that their spy skills were going to save millions of lives.

I further explained about the enigma machine in which Nazis used to send secret messages which we call cryptograms or ciphers. This set the stage for them to stay actively engaged enough to finish a cryptogram. Even students who normally struggle to figure out normal assignments had a renewed interest in solving a puzzle! For the second lesson, the solving of their second puzzle led them to find a location for their next clue. I have never had a more engaged group of students!

Even the teachers of these classrooms I taught were engaged with figuring out the cryptogram. I included the school secretary as one of the clue givers, and students enjoyed leaving the classroom for a moment to find the next clue. When proud students returned from the secretary with their “Secret Agent” badge, this encouraged others to keep working to figure out the puzzle.

These lessons were some of the highlights of my year, and I hope you enjoy them, too. Here is a link to this critical thinking resource on TPT.

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