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A Go Figure Debut for a Canadian Who is New

Sandra

Today we move north, way north to British Columbia to meet a Teachers Pay Teachers seller. Sandra has been teaching for 22 years in the very urban and ESL environment of East Vancouver. She spent ten years in Kindergarten and the rest in first and second grades. For one of those years, she taught kindergarten in New Zealand which is a long ways from Canada!

Like many of us, her teaching style evolved over the years. She strongly believes in demonstrating and preserving respect for all of her students while having classroom structure and firm boundaries. She feels that children work best in an environment where they do hands-on activities in addition to being able to walk around and talk while learning. She recognizes that children learn to read when they read every day, and this is particularly true for struggling readers.

She has three university degrees…a B.A. in English Language (the history and development of the English tongue, not the literature developed from it), a B. Ed and a Masters of Education. What is even more impressive is that she has ten years of classical piano training from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto. This is why she describes herself as a classroom teacher who loves to teach music.

In her former life as a single, carefree woman, she traveled while having lots of adventures. Now she is a full-time teacher with two small children (oldest in kindergarten). Besides creating outstanding products for Teachers Pay Teachers, she loves paper crafting and scrap-booking as well as a playing and watching ice hockey. (Did she say playing?)

Falling Leaves
Thanksgiving Unit
Sandra currently has 54 products in her store that comprise various grade levels and subjects. Since it is October, her Falling Leaves (K-2) is a perfect resource, and it’s free. There are four mini books in this download that can be used for different levels of reading in a K/1 class. The books focus on interpreting the text, copying, signs of fall, drawing and coloring as well as using fine motor skills.

Sandra also has a 35 page Thanksgiving unit that includes two big books, a shape book, a pattern book, and a finger play poem with language and art activities. This unit is language based, and includes lessons on reading, writing, singing, finger plays and art.

I trust you will take a few minutes to visit her store and see the many first class resources she is offering.  You might also enjoy her blog which is called Sandra's Savvy Teaching Tips.  While you are there, why not become her newest follower?

Spiders Are Your Friends!

Spiders! We see pretend ones in the store as Halloween decorations (some are pretty terrifying) or real ones outside in a web they have created.  For some reason, these creatures are always something that students want to learn about. How are spiders different than insects? What is an orb web? Are all spiders poisonous? How does the spider not get stuck in her own web? These are questions that students will ask because they are curious and inquisitive.

Did you know spiders are really useful animals and serve mankind well? They eat mosquitoes, grasshoppers, locusts and other insects that are harmful to man. A single spider may kill about two thousand insects in its lifetime. Even though you may be afraid of spiders, very few are dangerous. The black widow and the brown house (recluse) spider do have poisonous bites, but there are no other common house spiders known to be dangerous.

Spiders
Spiders are not insects, and insects are not spiders. Spiders are arthropods because they have spinning glands used to create silken threads. Sometimes spiders are called arachnids because of their eight legs. Spiders and insects have different attributes. All insects have six legs, but all spiders have eight legs. An insect has a three-part body, but a spider has only two parts to its body. Insects have antennae or feelers, and spiders do not. Spiders can usually be found in basements, barns, garages, or attics. In warm weather, you can find them under rocks or logs, sitting on fences, or in the grass and flowers. There are about forty thousand different species of spiders.

Interested in learning more?  Check out a ten page short mini reading/science unit  about spiders. First, the students read a short passage about spiders. Then they answer several questions about the reading based on Bloom's Taxonomy, or they do an activity related to the reading passage. Activities include dictionary work, spider math problems, labeling the parts of a spider, and completing a spider web. This mini unit is appropriate for grades 3-5 and will take about five days to complete.

Learning Geometry Using Number Tiles

My college students will soon start the unit on plane geometry.  I love teaching geometry because it is so visual, but there are others who despise it because of the numerous new words to learn.  In fact, our plane geometry unit alone contains over 50 terms that must be learned as well as understood.

I have found that with my students, mathematical language is either a dead language (It should be buried and never resurrected!), a foreign language (It sounds like a different language from a far away country.), a nonsense language (It makes no sense to me - ever!) or a familiar, useful language. Many times, they are unduly frustrated because mathematical language has never been formally taught or applied to real life.  For example, many primary teachers will have their children sit on the circle when in fact, the children are sitting on the circumference of the circle.  What a wonderful, concrete way to introduce children to the concept of circumference!  Yet, this teaching moment is often missed, and circumference doesn't surface again until it is time to teach the chapter on circles.

Plane Geometry + Number Tiles
Because I believe it is important to find different ways to introduce and practice math vocabulary, I created a new resource for Teachers Pay Teachers entitled: Geometric Math-A-Magical Puzzles.  It is a 48 page handout of puzzles that are solved like magic squares. Number tiles are positioned so that the total of the tiles on each line of the geometric shape add up to be the same sum. Most of the geometric puzzles have more than one answer; so, students are challenged to find a variety of solutions.

Before each set of activities, the geometry vocabulary used for that group of activities is listed. Most definitions include diagrams and/or illustrations. In this way, the students can learn and understand new math words without difficulty or cumbersome words. These activities vary in levels of difficulty. Because the pages are not arranged in any particular order, the students are free to skip around in the book. All of these activities are especially suitable for the visual and/or kinesthetic learner.

A ten page free mini download of this item is available if you want to try it with your students. Check it out!