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Your Kids Aren’t Learning Addition Facts? Try This…

I have taken on teaching some third graders addition facts as an intervention.  When intervening with kids in any type of math, I never assume too much.  I start at the very bottom and work up.

Once I went to a  math professional development and the trainer was Melissa Conklin from Math Solutions.  She said one thing that has stuck with me.  Kids who are good at math see patterns.  If this is the case, then why don’t we present math in a way that kids can see patterns?  But usually when we teach addition facts, it begins like this.  Learn all your 1′s, then 2′s, then 3′s, then 4′s, then 5′s and so on.  Kids see the number facts usually presented in order.  There is no chance to think about the sums and why they turn out the way they do.  So, I challenge you to begin teaching your students their addition facts like this…

Have students look at patterns in their ones.  Don’t place them in order.  Go ahead and answer the problems so the conversation isn’t about finding the answers.

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Now before I present something like this on the board, I leave it there and make the kids sit quietly to find any patterns they might see.  This shouldn’t take long, but you never know if kids aren’t seeing this simple fact.  Interestingly enough, usually the students with lower test scores on state tests do not see the patterns readily.  I must underline certain things after a while if I don’t get the feedback I am looking for.  For example, if students don’t see the ones pattern above, I underline the addend added to 1 and the sum…I would underline the 6 and 7, the 8 and 9, the 3 and 4, and so on.  Hopefully your students will say that when they add 1 that they are just counting up to the next number.  I follow up with flashcards of adding ones in my group of five or six students.

Next, move onward to 10′s because there is a similar pattern that you hope children will see.  Depending on your students, show them the 10′s pattern and let the kids observe for a few minutes, sit, and wait.  I have the kids put their thumb on their chest like they do in the Number Talks videos.  This lets me know they have found a pattern without them raising their hand distracting their neighbors who may still be thinking.  Remember, write the equations out of order and write the sums.

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After writing these on the board, lower students will say that they see 10′s in all of them.  I ask for any other thoughts.  Then someone will say that they see the one in front of the number that is being added to the 10.  I ask for clarification and a student comes to the board to point a finger at the 1 in front of the sums.  I further still get clarification about the one asking if this is really a one or one group of……oh! ten!  Most have no difficulty after seeing the pattern.

Next, I bring out some of the hardest facts that students shudder at….dah…dah..dum(in suspense)–THE NINES!!! eeeeeek!  But if you know a pattern are the nines really that hard?  NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!  IMG_1297

When you place the numbers on the board write them like above where you pair the ten helping fact with the nine fact.  Then allow kids to discuss what patterns they see.  They will see a pattern that works for them.  Underline the sums of the 10′s and 9′s facts to help students recognize that the nine’s facts are one less than the 10′s facts.  Students will use this strategy and maybe others when you use flash cards to help them become fluent.

That is all I have gotten to for now…more addition strategies to come.

A Back to School Story & Win a Giveaway!

A little back to school story and then I will give you info about the giveaway.  I must say I am not typically an emotional eater, however this first three weeks back to school has led me to eat almost an entire container of Haagen Dazs Caramel and Cone ice cream in one sitting.  Our school consolidated with another, and we moved into a new building.  I have sorted and unpacked 50+ boxes of books and math manipulatives that were stacked as high as a human tower of Jenga.  The space that I now have is about 1/6 of the size of the space that I moved from.  We have some new staff members, completely new principals, and I have a new job description (but the same title).  This has been a lot to take in.

One of the things I have found solace in besides ice cream is the familiar children’s faces, and the not so familiar faces, too.  I spend most of my mornings before school begins trying to learn students’ names in the gym.  One particular morning after asking for a name, I met “Darius”.  He was a large 4th grade boy with smiling eyes.  He had on a red polo shirt.

I saw him later in the hallway and he said, “Do you remember my name?”

I thought for a moment and said, “Darius?”

He smiled and nodded.  I told him he had to keep wearing a red shirt, so I could continue to remember his name.  The next day I saw him sitting and eating breakfast.  This time he had on a navy blue shirt.

I smiled and said, “Darius.”

Then I inquired, ” So what do I get?  I remembered your name and you didn’t even have a red shirt on.”

He thought a moment and said with wide outstretched arms, “A hug?”

I said with a chuckle, “I’ll take it!”

Sometimes all it takes is a caring soul to make your day :) !

Now about the giveaway!!!

Take a visit to the following link to win a giveaway.  The giveaway will last until midnight Tuesday, and the winners will be announced Thursday in the Tech Thursday link.  Just click the picture below to register to win.

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Back to School Sale!!!

Come on over to check out the Teachers Pay Teachers BOOST back to school sale!  Just in case you missed out on your fabulous items on the previous back to school sale, you get one more chance to get all of those items on your wish list!

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Encourage Good Character with This Easy Incentive

Last school year we brainstormed things we could do to encourage kindness.  We wanted to recognize good character instead of bad character.  After brainstorming about this, our counselor created the Kindness Tree.  The Kindness Tree was one of my favorite things about school!

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Whenever any staff member saw a student doing something kind, then that person could place the student’s name on a colored heart and put it into the Kindness Jar.  The Kindness Jar was stored in the library for staff members to drop the heart into.  Then on Friday the counselor would announce the students’ names who were in the Kindness Jar, and they could come to the office to get a prize.  Each heart went on the Kindness Tree the following week.

As you can see, the tree has all different colors of hearts.  That is because each month the counselor would hand out a different color of hearts.  For example, we received orange hearts in the fall, red hearts at Christmas time, and pink hearts in the spring.  The kids LOVED the tree and wanted to know if they could put hearts on the tree, as well, if they caught someone being kind.  Because students wanted to participate in the Kindness Tree , I thought it would be a great idea if each classroom could have a tree and students could manage putting hearts on it when they saw someone being kind.

Hand Sani Causing Dry Hands? Try This!

Does regular hand sanitizer cause you to have dry hands?  Hand sani causes this problem to me especially in the winter.  My hands get so dry and cracked.  While you are out buying your gallons of hand sanitizer before school starts, you may want to hold off and try Zylast.  I was recently introduced to this new hand sanitizer.

   IMG_1252It lasts for 6 hours on your hands if you don’t wash them within that time.  I know all of you teachers don’t have every moment to run to the bathroom to scrub your hands or even to put on hand sanitizer. Every little bit of germ protection helps!  

When you put the sanitizer on, it is creamy like lotion or conditioner for your hair.  Zylast has no fragrance, so it won’t clash with your perfume!

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A little dab will go a long way.  In fact I probably squeezed a little too much out in the picture above.  When you spread Zylast on, it feels creamy and is invisible when you rub it into your skin.  SEE…

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This is a great alternative to regular hand sanitizer and I will definitely be using it a LOT in the winter time when my hands get so dry!

The good news about Zylast is…

It reduces:

  • ·         Illness outbreaks by 90%
  • ·         Student illness by 38.9%
  • ·         Teacher illness by 23%

It increases:

  • ·         Student days by nearly 4 per year
  • ·         Teacher days by 2 per year

A small bottle like I have costs $3.79 and an 8 oz. pump costs $11.28.  To me buying an 8 oz. pump for my whole class seems steep because it would be used up quickly if you let children near the bottle.  However, it may be something you consider using when it is winter time and there are a lot of sick children so that you can keep everyone healthy.  I would purchase a bottle for myself just because my hands get so dry, and use it on occasion with my students.  If your school has money to supply Zylast for each teacher, then I would definitely buy this for year around!

You can purchase Zylast here if you would like to order some.  To help with the cost here is a 10% off coupon code!  TBS10

Back to School Sale!

What does “back to school” mean to you?  The smell of new crayons and various other school supplies? OR most importantly a back to school SALE!!  Make sure you head on over to stock up on a few back to school items on Teachers Pay Teachers!  All items in my store will be 28% off!B2S14SaleBanner

T-shirt Giveaway

I’m giving away six T-shirts with shipping paid in the U.S.  They are American Apparel shirts like the ones below and very comfy cotton.  If you want a shirt comment on my Facebook page here with the size you want. Then email me at teacherblogspot@gmail.com with your mailing address and the size you want.

The sizes I have available are:

  • 1 small
  • 2 medium
  • 2 large
  • 1 XXL

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Oooooh! Look at all the school supplies!

So I went into Office Depot the other day to pick up something I had printed…and then…I noticed the school supplies!  I just can’t help myself!  I walked deeper and deeper into the school supplies until finally I found the tape.  Colored tape, patterned tape, duck tape, masking tape, etc.  Do I need tape?  NO!  But I muuuuuust have some!  Pink tape, polka dotted tape, chevron tape, mustache tape, striped tape–they are all calling my name!

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Then I showed some restraint and thought…what would I do with all of this pretty tape?  I had absolutely no idea!  So I left it there :( , but I’ve still been keeping my eyes opened for ideas.  Then I happened across this blog post from Peace, Love, and First Grade.  She shows lots of ways to use pretty tape in your room.  Also, I found My Own Twist on Things did adorable makeovers to her bookshelves and file cabinets with tape and contact paper!  I’m so inspired!

Las Vegas 2014 Conference!

I must admit I was a little nervous about flying somewhere ALL BY MYSELF where I knew NO ONE, but everything turned out great!  I met lots of new people and passed out business cards like a school girl passes out Valentines.  I met Deanna Jump in person.  She is absolutely precious!  I love how she said at the end of her presentation to STAY HUMBLE and STAY GRATEFUL.  I truly think being humble and thankful with the mix of hard work is the secret to achieving just about anything in life.  I am glad she is the “poster child” so to speak for Teachers Pay Teachers!  I also met Paul the founder!  The staff of TPT seem like truly good people!

I saw Jen Jones in person, but didn’t get to meet her. She has all those wonderful fonts which I have purchased!

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I also saw Rachel Lynette.  Her practical advice and common sense suggestions really helped me know how to improve my TPT store!  She presented her advice in a very witty way.  My newly made Canadian friend said, “Oh! Isn’t she a firecracker!” I don’t think I could have put it any better!  Rachel expressed that you need to evoke the emotions of your reader to keep them reading your blog with humor, sadness, happiness etc.  Thank you, Rachel!

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I also saw Erin Cobb, who was so generous and helpful!  The one thing that she solidified with me is that success is out there, but are you willing to work hard enough to go after it.  I think many people think that TPT is a get rich quick scheme, but the folks who are successful are VERY HARD WORKERS!   I didn’t think to take a picture of her :/!  Hey, it was after lunch!

When we registered for the conference we also got these super nice teacher goodies that I am going to show off this upcoming school year!  I am forever taking a thermos bottle to work so this one will work out great!  The durable canvas tote bag will definitely come in handy when I need to take things home from school.  We also received a very nice teacher pin and bumper sticker.

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I also came with goodies of my own.  I had business cards, but I also handed out pens because I figure that people may throw away business cards, but they won’t most likely throw away a good pen!  Plus, imagine the distances a good pen will travel especially in a school!

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So my order of gray T-shirts came in or shall I say “asphalt” like the store calls them.  I loved them and they were very comfortable throughout the trip.  Lots of people gave me compliments on them.  I will be giving some shirts away later this month like promised.  I feel so disorganized right now after the trip that I just need a little time to tuck  small chunks of myself back into drawers and closets:)!

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This is the hotel the conference was in…well, a small portion of the hotel–the Venetian Pallazzo..   When I asked for directions to the “Pilazzio”, I was quickly corrected by the bell man–”pah-lah-t-zo”.  I had never been to Las Vegas and must say I have never seen such a large hotel.  The only one I can think of that rivals this is the Opryland Hotel in Nashville (a must see), but that doesn’t even come close.  This hotel has a mall, food court, casino, and hotel all rolled into one.  Not to mention it has beautiful architecture, enormous fountains, and gondola rides!

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The one touristy thing I wanted to do was see the Bellagio Fountains, so that is what I did.  They ARE a beautiful must see!  I strolled by an alien, Marilyn Monroe, a transformer, a guitarist, and other various street performers along the way but eventually saw them!

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I am so glad for the opportunity to have made new friends and to have seen Las Vegas!

My New T-Shirts!

Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh, ya’ll!  I’m so excited because what came in the mail today but my first T-shirt order!  I had no one to show at home when the package came, so I tried to get my dog to look at the shirt in my excitement.   She sniffed it and realized it wasn’t food, so she couldn’t figure out my excitement.

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I also placed an order for some “asphalt” or dark gray ones which I think I will like better.  I wasn’t too impressed with the quality of this shirt, so I am glad I only ordered one.  The gray ones are supposed to be a lot better and, guess what?!  I ordered some so I could give some away on the blog later this month.  If  you like this super cute design come back in a couple of weeks to check out the T-shirt giveaway!