I get the luxury of ordering new math materials for my school. To prepare for all of the common core instruction in place value, fractions, and decimals, I ordered lots of fraction circles, some more unifix cubes, and some place value strips. When my order came in this week, it was like Christmas! That is always the feeling I have anytime I rip open boxes of new math materials! I am most excited about the place value strips which are pictured below. As you can see in the pictures, they come apart so that students actually see the value of the number. These are one of the Singapore Math manipulatives. Each color matches the Singapore math discs if you decide to get those as well which I use with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. If you want to have a smaller size, there is also a copy, cut and laminate version in one of Sandra Chen’s books, The Parent Connection for Singapore Math.
Well, I have let my blogging activity slide as I have been trying to give more attention to developing my materials for Teachers Pay Teachers. My sales have done better this year than ever–I suppose due to the work I put in on some lesson activities from this summer. I have TONS of math activities I could sell that I have made over the years for all grade levels however to sell them I want them to be perfect so it takes me a while to make them look as good as I want them to look.
I hope you will be pleased with the most recent activity I posted today. First graders at my school are working on becoming fluent with their number bonds (sums) up to 10. They have been building number bonds with two colors of snap cubes and then coloring a model of what they built. They have been using the printables I just uploaded to TPT. I also developed a Smart Board lesson to match the number bonds printables since one of the first grade teachers reported at our last planning meeting that the students were confused about how to write an equation. The Smart Board lesson allows the teacher to model the bonds of ten with snap cube virtual manipulatives and move the symbols, and numbers around to build an equation. See below. Click on the picture to read more.
Post-it definitely had teachers in mind when they developed these repositional lined sticky notes. These sticky word strips are great for word walls, to help highlight a word on anchor charts, or to label items in your classroom. This tool allows teachers to easily create a print rich environment. They are also colored, so they easily allow for coding the stickies by topic. For example all life science words could be green. Since they are repositional, I like to leave them on my white board while we are learning the concept, so I can write a definition or draw a picture with each word. Then move them over to the word wall later when we aren’t currently using them. I can always move the words back if we work on them again. I highly recommend these to anyone wanting to teach vocabulary! Target carries these and I usually can pick up a package for about $5 before school begins.
I just heard some colleagues discussing word walls that come pre-printed with pictures to go with the words. They have math, science, and literacy word walls–all with pictures. I didn’t know how good they were until I clicked the link for myself…and wow! They are fabulous! Just take a look at the pictures. I am attaching a link to the picture so if you are interested in viewing more or purchasing them, just click the picture.
After designing a lesson for students to discover pi and trying to collect many sizes of circular containers, I happened across this The Pi Hoop in the ETA/Cuisenaire catalog. Since I order all of the math supplies for my school, I thought, “Wow! At only $4.95 I could order a whole class set”. So I did. When the hoops arrived I was excited since this alleviated having to find multiple containers to teach the discovery pi lesson. On showing them to some teachers at a common planning meeting, I was dismayed to find that the cheap plastic cracked when trying to fold down the ruler part that creates the radius of different circles. If you are gentle with the pi hoops, the concept of the hoop is great because it allows for a discovery lesson–however if an adult was able easily to break the plastic, imagine a class full of kids with the pi hoops in hand. In my opinion, save your money–they may come out with a sturdier version later on. Collect containers for now. An assortment of containers most likely will engage your students more than a plastic hoop anyway.
Visiting with a colleague, she passionately shared with me the amazing difference that a book called The Daily Five had made in her literacy instruction. My colleague, who is a veteran teacher, learned about this at a differentiation conference, and she tried using the methods for the first time this school year. Other teachers have come into her room during her reading workshop and see the quality of student engagement. They insist that she share what she is doing to have students so engaged. The Daily Five improves students’ stamina to read voraciously on their own and to independently work on their own while the teacher pulls small groups. The small groups are more targeted to individual needs because the teacher spends less time with each student and doesn’t have to attend to students who are working independently. To read more about “The Daily Five” visit this link: http://www.thedailycafe.com/public/department38.cfm.
Classroom Products Warehouse (CPW) may not be as well known as some educational catalogs that are slipped into your mailbox over the course of the school year. As a matter of fact, you will probably only receive one catalog at the beginning of the school year. CPW invests more time and money into their website instead of sending out multiple catalogs, so they can keep their prices low to save you money. In fact if you find an item in another educational catalog, they will match their competitors’ prices. If you order by phone, CPW also has excellent customer service. Be sure to remember CPW for your next order of classroom products.
Classical music influences learning, memorization and spatial reasoning according to research. The limbic system in the brain which causes long term memory is affected by music. The more emotional responses one has while learning new information, the more easily the information is retrieved from the brain. Since music causes emotional responses, begin playing music in your classroom give students a learning advantage.
A source for classroom music well worth considering has been written by music educator Maribeth Alexander. Maribeth, wrote the piano music on the album entitled Creation. She has used the music with her own students, and other teachers have used her music successfully to calm their students and increase student achievement in the classroom.
Maribeth Alexander’s Creation album may be purchased on itunes or CD baby. 02 Earth Click to hear Maribeth’s album.
There are several main brands of crayons you will find in stores–Prang, Crayola, and Rose Art. Crayon price does determine quality. Crayon companies save money by adding extra wax and less pigment to their crayons. Rose Art are typically the cheapest and deliver the weakest color. Crayola are a good standby that produces average color. Prang, however, consistently delivers vivid, vibrant color and is worth the extra cash.