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A Go Figure Debut for a Texas Teacher Who is New!


Nicole, of Teacher of 20, has ten
years of experience in the classroom and two years as a reading specialist. For the last four years she has been a curriculum writer. In addition, she is a Certified Bilingual Teacher for Spanish in the state of Texas. On a personal note, Nicole loves running, spending time with her two children and husband, going on hikes and kayaking.

Nicole loves to see her students' progression throughout the year, seeing the things they've learned and how far they have come. She describes her classroom as a safe learning space where kids can be engaged, feel free to ask questions and learn through exploration.

Nicole has 132 products in her store; five of them are free. They are typically geared for grades K-2 and generally focus on math and science. 

FREE!
Her featured free item is called December Problem of the Day.  It includes 16 December themed problems for the month of December. The problems are end result unknown, as well as change unknown. By the end of the month, your students will have acquired strategies to solve both of these problem types through exposure!

$30.60
Nicole's highlighted paid item is a science bundle for grades K-1. This bundle contains fun, easy first and kindergarten science lessons for distance learning that meet your standards. Each unit, in this growing bundle, includes:

  • A boom card deck for each unit with the reader, vocabulary and eight questions to assess learning.
  • A six page predictable reader about events in nature having repeating patterns.
  • A video of the book with text being read aloud so your students can do a shared reading of the book before buddy reading or reading it independently.
  • Vocabulary cards with real life pictures to include in the science word bank during this unit of study.
  • An interactive notebook activity
Nicole loves planning engaging and differentiated lessons that reach and challenge all learners as well as integrate technology. I suggest you check out her store and the many resources she has available.

Using Glyphs to Gather Information, Interpret Data and Follow Directions


What is a Glyph?
A glyph is a non-standard way of graphing a variety of information to tell a story. It is a flexible data representation tool that uses symbols to represent different data. Glyphs are an innovative instrument that shows several pieces of data at once and necessitates a legend/key to understand the glyph and require problem solving, communication, and data organization.

Remember coloring pages where you had to color in each of the numbers or letters using a key to color certain areas? Or how about coloring books that were filled with color-by-numbers? These color-by-number pages are a type of glyph. Some other activities we can call glyphs would be the paint-by-number kits, the water paints by color coded paint books, and in some cases, even model cars. Some of the model cars had numbers or letters attached to each piece that had to be glued together. These days, this could be considered a type of glyph.

What is the Purpose of a Glyph?


A glyph is a symbol that conveys information nonverbally. Glyphs may be used in many ways to get to know more about students and are extremely useful for students who do not possess the skill to write long, complex explanations. Reading a glyph and interpreting the information represented is a skill that requires deeper thinking. Students must be able to analyze the information presented in visual form. In other words, a glyph is a way to collect, display and analyze data. They are very appropriate to use in the CCSS data management strand (see standards below) of math.  Glyphs actually a type of graph as well as a getting-to- know-you type of activity.

CCSS.Math.Content.1.MD.C.4  Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories;
ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another. 

CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.D.10  Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph. 

For example, if the number of buttons on a gingerbread man tells how many people are in a family, the student might be asked to “Count how many people are in your family. Draw that many buttons on the gingerbread man." Since each child is different, the glyphs won't all look the same which causes the students to really look at the data contained in them and decide what the glyphs are showing.

Just $3.00
Holiday glyphs can be a fun way to gather information about your students. You can find several in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  My newest one is for fall or Halloween and involves reading and following directions while at the same time requiring problem solving, communication and data organization. The students color or put different items on a pumpkin based on information about themselves. Students finish the pumpkin glyph using the seven categories listed below. 

1) Draw a hat on the pumpkin (girl or a boy?)

2) Color the stem for pets or no pets.

3) Draw eyes based on whether or not they wear glasses.

4) Write a Halloween greeting based on how many live in their house.

5) Do they like playing outside more than playing inside?

6) How do they get to school? (ride or walk?)

7) Pumpkins (How many letters in first name?)

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"BOO" to Fractions? Recognizing Equivalent Fractions



Here is a Halloween riddle: Which building does Dracula like to visit in New York City? Give up? It's the Vampire State Building!! (Ha! Ha!) Here is another riddle. Why didn’t the skeleton dance at the party? He had no body to dance with!   


Okay, so what do these riddles have to do with teaching math? I have been attempting to come up with ways for my students to recognize fractional parts in lowest terms. As you know from this blog, I have used Pattern Sticks, the Divisibility Rules, and finding Digital Root. These are all strategies my students like and use, but to be a good mathematician requires practice - something most of my students dread doing. I can find many "drill and kill" activities, but they tend to do just that, drill those who don't need it and kill those who already know how to do it. So to drill and "thrill", I created fractional word puzzles for specific times of the year.

The one for October is Halloween Fraction Riddles. It contains eight riddles that the students must discover by correctly identifying fractional parts of words. For instance, my first clue might be:

$3.00
$3.00
The first 2/3's of WILLOW. The word WILLOW contains six letters. It takes two letters to make 1/3; therefore, the first 2/3's would be the word WILL. This causes the students to group the letters (in this case 4/6), and then to reduce the fraction to lowest terms. The letters are a visual aid for those students who are still having difficulty, and I observe many actually drawing lines between the letters to create groups of two. 

At first, I thought my students would breeze through the activities, but to my surprise, they proved to be challenging as well as somewhat tricky - just perfect for a Trick or Treat holiday. Maybe this is an activity you would like to try with your intermediate or middle school students. Just click on this link: Halloween Fraction Riddles.

Bathroom Mathematics - The Changing Size of Toilet Paper


Which roll is today's product?
Consumer’s Report featured an article about the number games of toilet paper. (Sounds like math to me!) Since I thought the article was interesting, I mentioned it to my husband who, being a science teacher, had to investigate. His motto: Never take anyone’s word for it.

So he marched to our bathroom and discovered that our toilet paper was smaller than the holder which had been there since 1989. (Yes, our house is old - like us). There was a little more than 1/2 inch showing on each side of the roll. To further investigate, my husband went to the trusty Internet. There he discovered the following facts.

1)  Toilet paper was first manufactured in 1857.  Before this, corncobs and many other "soft" items were used for this purpose.

Hey Elmer!
Look what's on sale
at Sears!
2)  In the early American west, pages torn from newspapers or magazines were often used as toilet paper. The Sears catalog was commonly used for this purpose and even the Farmer's Almanac had a hole in it so it could be hung on a hook in the outhouse.

3) In 1935, Northern Tissue advertised "splinter free" toilet paper. (Yes, splinter free!)  Early production procedures frequently left splinters embedded in the paper. And you thought cheap toilet paper was rough!

4)  Toilet paper was originally manufactured in the shape of a square, 4.5" by 4.5" which was about the average size of a man's hand.  The square made it handy to fold over a few times, but still be considered acceptable for sanitary use.  Basically, this size was established because it worked, sort of like the 90 foot pitcher's mound or the ten foot basketball rim.

5)  In the last ten years, the size of toilet paper has been reduced because manufacturers are trying to cut costs by trimming the sheet size.  (Try placing one "square" in your hand now, and you will see what I mean.)

6)  Most toilet paper producers have decreased the width of a roll from 4.5 inches to 4.2 inches (or something close to that).

7)  Not only have many manufacturers diminished the size of the square (which is now a rectangle), but they have also placed fewer "squares" on a roll.

8)  Unfortunately, it is not just the width of the roll that has been altered.  The size of the cardboard tube in the middle now has a larger diameter, and that is not something you can easily compare in the store!

9)  Typical sizes of popular brands which I had available to measure:
    • Kleenex Cottenelle - Standard: 4.5" x 4.0"
    • Angel Soft - Standard:  4.5" x 4.0"
    • Quilted Northern:  4.5" x 4.0"
What's really comical (or depressing) is that even though toilet paper is smaller and sometimes thinner and more transparent, it still costs the same as the old size.  It is just like so many other products we purchase.  No longer can we buy three pounds of coffee or a one pound can of beans.  (I noticed the beans because I used them for students to feel how heavy 16 ounces was. The can now weighs 14 ounces!)  Then there is the 1/2 gallon of ice cream which decreased overnight to 1.75 quarts and half gallon containers of Tropicana Orange Juice which suddenly became 59 ounces instead of 64!  But toilet paper?  I never thought they would play the number game with toilet paper especially since it can be scarce in these COVID times.  Is nothing sacred in the world of mathematics?