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Taking A Summer Break


Since my husband and I are both teachers (80+ years together), we usually have the same time off. Because we will both be home and actually like being together, for the next three weeks, I am setting aside all technology to focus on my family and friends.  In the meantime, if you really want something to read, choose one of my older posts.
My blog posts will return on Wednesday, August 9th


A Go Figure Debut for a Texan Who Is New!

Jill's TPT Store
Today my Go Figure Debut introduces “The Teacher Down the Hall”. Joy is from Waco, Texas and has been teaching for 24 years. She is a former high school coach, so she has many opportunities to use those coaching strategies in her classroom. For example, she shows students how to conquer an objective, and then pushes them to do their very best. She encourages them when they are down, drives them when they are lazy, and celebrates with them when they are successful!

What she likes most about teaching is the opportunity to develop new friendships with her new students every year, as well as the life-long friendships she has with co-workers! Her teaching style is always evolving as she has changed grade levels and teaching assignments many times. From coaching high school athletics, to teaching Kindergarten, or 4th grade writing, what she has noticed is that kids will perform their best when they are having the most fun. Therefore, she does everything she can to turn each lesson, or repetitive exercise, into a fun activity.

Joy has three children and a daughter-in-law who is expecting her first child in December which will make Jill a first time Grandma! Joy’s favorite hobby is cycling. She rides long distances on her road bike and rides trails on her mountain bike. She even has the awesome opportunity to ride regularly with former president George W. Bush when he is at home on his ranch in Crawford. She says that he and his wife, Laura, are incredibly friendly people! Jill even has a cat from the Crawford Ranch, named Walker - after our 43rd president! (I’m not sure if the cat is a Republican or not.)

Only $2.50
Since many classrooms are making use of Google Classroom, I would like to use this opportunity to promote Joy’s Google Interactive Classroom resource on Area and Perimeter. Students draw lines to match answers, write in the correct measurements, and drag buttons to the correct answers! They will also…

Multiply to find area.
 Add to find the perimeter, or the sum of two areas or perimeters.
Subtract to find the difference between two areas or perimeters.
Divide and subtract to find missing sides in a given shape.

This is a great way for students to practice this skill independently, during centers or at home!!

Free Resource
Out of the 235 resources featured in her store, Joy offers 27 that are free. One is also a Google Classroom product entitled, “Google Interactive Classroom – Volume.” One person who downloaded this free item said, “Thank you for sharing this paperless resource. There is such a push to go digital and paperless and this is a great resource to start with. I love how you can pick and choose the pages you want various students to use and how the students submit their finished work. Super resource!!!”

So if you are going paperless, this may be a resource you should check out for yourself! Since it is already completed and free, you can’t go wrong!


Shaving Cream And Summer Fun

Again, I am going to deviate from the subject of math and offer a fun summer activity I do with my grandchildren. It involves a can of shaving cream, cleaning rags and lawn furniture that has set out all winter.

Were you aware that there are many unusual ways to use shaving cream besides using it for shaving? Did you know that you could...

1) Clean jewelry with it? Spray it on your jewelry and use a soft “old” toothbrush to get off the grime. Rinse with water.

2) Give chrome faucets a brilliant shine? Apply the shaving cream to a sponge and rub it on the faucet. Then wipe it off with a damp cloth.

3) Easily remove paint from your hands? Rub the shaving cream onto your hands; then rinse it off with soap and water.

4) Remove carpet stains? Blot the soiled area with a damp sponge and then spray on the shaving cream. Wipe clean with a damp sponge and let the area dry. It will also work on various clothes stains.

5) Clean vinyl lawn furniture? Spray the lawn furniture with the shaving cream and wipe the grubby areas with a damp rag. Rinse when finished.

Item #5 is what I do each summer. Our lawn furniture sets out over the winter on our patio and even though it is covered, it is filthy when summer comes. I always go to the store and purchase the cheapest shaving cream I can find. (Here in Kansas, Barbasol sells for about $.89 a can. Depending on the number of grandchildren coming over, determines how many cans I purchase. This year, it was three.) No matter their age, this is one activity that they all look forward to because it is messy!

I write the child’s name on their can of shaving cream and then assign them a piece of furniture to clean. When everyone is done scrubbing and wiping, we get out the garden hose to spray off the remaining shaving cream, and frequently we end up spraying each other.

But what happens to the leftover shaving cream? I think the picture says it all!



Skip Counting and Learning How to Multiply

Most elementary teachers use a Hundreds Board in their classroom.  It can be used for introducing number patterns, sequencing, place value and more. Students can look for counting-by (multiplication) patterns. Colored disks, pinto beans or just coloring the squares with crayons or colored pencils will work for this. Mark the numbers you land on when you count by two. What pattern do they make? Mark the counting-by-3 pattern, or mark the 7's, etc. You may need to print several charts so your students can color in the patterns and compare them. I usually start with the 2's, 5's and 10's since most children have these memorized.

On the other hand, the Hundreds Board can also be confusing when skip counting because there are so many others numbers listed which easily create a distraction.  I have found that Pattern Sticks work much better because the number pattern the student is skip counting by can be isolated. Pattern Sticks are a visual way of showing students the many patterns that occur on a multiplication table.  Illustrated below is the pattern stick for three. As the student skip counts by three, s/he simply goes from one number to the next (left to right).


Martian Fingers
For fun, I purchase those scary, wearable fingers at Halloween time. (buy them in bulk from The Oriental Trading Company - click under the fingers for the link.) Each of my students wears one for skip counting activities. I call them the Awesome Fingers of Math! For some reason, when wearing the fingers, students tend to actually point and follow along when skip counting.

Most students enjoy skip counting when music is played. I have found several CD's on Amazon that lend themselves nicely to this activity.  I especially like Hap Palmer's Multiplication Mountain.  My grandchildren think his songs are catchy, maybe too catchy as sometimes I can't get the songs out of my mind!

Think about this.  As teachers, if we would take the time to skip count daily, our students would know more than just the 2's, 5's and 10's.  They would know all of their multiplication facts by the end of third grade. And wouldn't the fourth grade teacher love you?!?

IMPORTANT:  If you like this finger idea, be sure that each student uses the same finger every time to avoid the spreading of germs. Keeping it in a zip lock bag with the child’s name on the bag works best. (Believe it or not, when I taught fourth grade, the students would paint and decorate the fingernails!)