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## Need an Engaging Way to Introduce Equations?

The first grade teachers at school absolutely love introducing subtraction and addition number sentences to their kids using the book Ten Flashing Fireflies by Philemon Sturges.  I discovered this book in a lesson recorded in a Math Solutions book entitled Minilessons for Math Practice K-2.  There is also a similar lesson (I think…not positive) in another Math Solutions book entitled Teaching Arithmetic.  In the lesson students model the action of gathering fireflies into a jar using snap cubes.  In the book there is a jar  printable to use  or the lesson suggests using a sheet of blue construction paper to represent the night sky.  Not only is this lesson good for introducing the action of subtraction and addition, but it is also good for discussing one more and one less.  Because this is such a beloved book that builds a great foundation for addition and subtraction, I worked on building this free SMART Board lesson to accompany the book this weekend, and so here is an example of this lesson.  Just click to download the SMART Board lesson for free.

## How Can You Use Literacy to Introduce Multiplication?

I have come across Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream by Cindy Neuschwanderin several of Math Solutions lesson books, however today is the first time I have read the book.  It wasn’t until last year that the book actually was ordered for our library.  The book is about a little girl who counts EVERYTHING.  She counts so much that she dreams about counting.  Her teacher and her mother encourage her to multiply because it works better for counting large numbers.  Towards the end of the book Amanda realizes that multiplying REALLY is better than counting everything.  This book would also work well for teachers who are  using CGI strategies with counting collections because on each page there are multiple illustrations of objects to count like squares in window panes, food, wheels, legs, sweaters etc.  Arrays and things that come in groups can easily be discussed after looking at the pictures.   Now I am going to recommend this book to all the teachers who are teaching multiplication.

## How Can Your Students Easily Generate Writing Topics?

I just spent a day in a writing workshop.  Our presenter discussed Ralf Fletcher’s new book Marshfield Dreams:  When I Was a Kid about his childhood memories.  He described how Fletcher wrote different short stories about his childhood in this book, which would be great for mentoring students in their own writing.  Since the pieces are short in Fletcher’s book, they would mirror the length of a short story that a child may write.  What I especially liked about this workshop is when the presenter had us to draw a map of our childhood homes and neighborhoods with all the places that were important to us.  First, the presenter showed us a map copy of Ralf Fletcher’s childhood neighborhood home which is in Marshfield Dreams so that we could see an example (great idea to model for kids as well).  Then the presenter had us to put an F for fear next to a place that we thought was scary.  We put an S next to a place that was secret.  We put an L next to a place where we learned something or did something for the first time and so on.  Then the presenter had us write a short piece using one of the places on our childhood map.  I thought this was a great way to lead us into writing especially because kids like to draw pictures.