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A Go Figure Debut for Part of a Trio Who Is New!

Today’s blog post features Sarah who retired last year after 33 years of teaching. Her Teachers Pay Teachers store is called Stem to Steam Trio.

Sarah taught special education, second grade and enrichment through STEM K-4! She enjoyed having the variety! She feels she has always been good at differentiating lessons, and she loves activities that are hands-on and engaging! Her husband (middle school STEM) and her sister (elementary art) are also teachers. They enjoy bouncing ideas off each other; thus the STEM to STEAM Trio was born.

Her family has a woodworking business called Anniversary Banks (anniversarybanks.com). She and her husband have a rather nice woodworking shop where they enjoy creating. Sarah also enjoys walking, gardening, reading, and traveling. And this year, she has even taken up golf! Of course playing with their dog, Snickers, and taking her for walks ranks up there! Now that she is home, Snickers follows her around like Mary's little lamb!
Only $4.00

Sarah finds making resources for TPT is a way to keep the creative juices flowing, while at the same time helping other teachers. There are 227 resources in their store, the majority being science and STEM related. One of these is a great science WebQuest. WebQuest activities challenge students to go on-line (usually to a specific website) to find answers to specific questions. The featured WebQuest about wild turkeys is entitled Wild Turkeys WebQuest. Students use some of the knowledge they have gained while completing the WebQuest to imagine, plan and create a turkey that balances on a branch. This STEM challenge is aligned to the Next Generation Science standards of engineering and design and includes worksheets guiding the student to locate certain information from the website along with specific instructions for the challenge. Materials for the challenge are things most teachers have.

Free Item
Out of the 227 resources, six are free. The freebie featured today is an award sampler. It contains three colorful awards that target 21st Century Skills! They are sure to make students of any age smile! They can be used at an end of the year celebration or given out sporadically throughout the year to reward and encourage students!

In addition, Sarah is a collaborator on the collaborative blog called Stem Activities for Kids. There you will find posts on STEM, science, technology, engineering and math. There are even STEM activities for little learners. This is one blog that you ought to take the time to visit!

Dump and Divide or Better Known As Converting Fractions to Decimals

When working with fractions, my remedial math college students are never quite sure which number to divide by. This same thing often occurred when I taught middle school and high school. So the question I had to answer was, "How can I help my students remember what number goes where?"


First, the student must understand and know the vocabulary for the three parts of a division problem. As seen in the problem above, each part is correctly named and identified.

Side Note: The symbol separating the dividend from the divisor in a long division problem is a straight vertical bar with an attached vinculum (you might have to look this word up) extending to the left, but it seems to have no established name of its own. Therefore, it can simply be called the "long division symbol" or the division bracket. I wish it were named something fancier, but sometimes plain and straight forward is the best!
Now let's look at a fraction that the student is asked to rewrite as a decimal. The fraction on your right is two-fifths and is read from top to bottom as two divided by five. That's easy enough, but when my students enter this into their calculators, many will put in the 5 first, and then press the
division sign, followed by the 2. Of course, they get the wrong answer. Now let's look at the dump and divide method.

First, dump the 2 into the calculator. Then press the division sign; then divide by 5. The answer is 0.4.

I am aware that many of students are not allowed to use calculators; so, let's look at how this method would work using the division bracket. We will use the same fraction of 2/5 and the same phrase, dump and divide.

First, take the numerator and dump it inside the division bracket. (Note: Use N side instead of inside so that numerator and N side both start with "N".) Now place the 5 outside of the long division bracket and divide. The answer is still .4.

Dump and Divide will also work when a division problem is written horizontally as a number sentence such as: 15 ÷ 3. First, reading left to right, dump 15 into the division bracket. Now place the 3 on the outside. Ask, "How many groups of three are in 15?" The answer is 5.

Try using Dump and Divide with your students, and then let me know how it works. You can e-mail by clicking on the page entitled Contact Me or just leave a comment.

Something Else to Think About:  Since many students do not know
their multiplication tables, reducing fractions is almost an
Divisibility Rules
impossible task. The divisibility rules, if learned and understood, can be an excellent math tool. The resource, Using Digital Root to Reduce Fractions, contains four easy to understand divisibility rules as well as the digital root rules for 3, 6, and 9. A clarification of what digital root is and how to find it is explained. Also contained in the resource is a dividing check off list for the student. Download the preview to view the first divisibility rule plus three samples from the student check off list.


October - Is It "Fall" or "Autumn"?

It's finally October, one of my favorite months of the year. October means football (Ohio State, of course), cooler weather and gorgeous leaves. (It is also when my husband and I were married.) In October, we see the leaves turning colors, and the deciduous trees shedding their leaves.

Another name for fall is autumn, a rather odd name to me.  Through research, I discovered that the word autumn is from the Old French autumpne, automne, which came from the Latin autumnus. Autumn has been in general use since the 1960's and means the season that follows summer and comes before winter.
Fall is the most common usage among those in the United States; however, the word autumn is often interchanged with fall in many countries including the U.S.A. It marks the transition from summer into winter, in September if you live in the Northern Hemisphere or in March if you live in the Southern Hemisphere.  It also denotes when the days are noticeably shorter and the temperatures finally start to cool off. In North America, autumn is considered to officially start with the September equinox. This year that was September 23rd.
With all of that said, the leaves in our neighbor's yard have already begun to fall into ours which aggravates my husband because he is the one who gets to rake them. Maybe focusing on some activities using leaves will divert his attention away from the thought of raking to science investigations.  
Remember ironing leaves between wax paper?  We did that in school when I was a little girl (eons and eons ago).  Here is how to do it.
  1. Find different sizes and colors of leaves.
  2. Tear off two sheets about the same size of waxed paper.
  3. Set the iron on "dry".  No water or steam here!
  4. The heat level of the iron should be medium.
  5. Place leaves on one piece of the waxed paper.
  6. Lay the other piece on top.
  7. Iron away!
You can also use this activity to identify leaves.  According to my husband who knows trees, leaves and birds from his college studies, we "waxed" a maple leaf, sweet gum leaf, elm leaf, cottonwood leaf (the state tree of Kansas - they are everywhere), and two he doesn't recognize because they come from some unknown ornamental shrubs.

Maybe you would like to use leaves as a science investigation in your classroom.  I have one in my Teacher
Leaf Investigation
Pay Teachers store that is a six lesson science performance demonstration for the primary grades. The inquiry guides the primary student through the scientific method and includes 1) exploration time, 2) writing a good investigative question, 3) making a prediction, 4) designing a plan, 5) gathering the data, and 6) writing a conclusion based on the data. Be-leaf me, your students will have fun!

(A preview of the investigation is available. Just click on the title under the resource cover.) 

Using Bloom's in Geometry Class

As one of their assignments, my college students are required to create a practice test using pre-selected math vocabulary. This activity prompts them to review, look up definitions and apply the information to create ten good multiple choice questions while at the same time studying and assessing the material. Since I want the questions to be more than Level 1 (Remembering) or Level II (Understanding) of Bloom's Taxonomy, I give them the following handout to help them visualize the different levels.  My students find it to be simple, self explanatory, easy to understand and to the point.

Level I - Remembering


 What is this shape called?



Level II - Understanding


Circle the shape that is a triangle.



Level III - Applying

       Enclose this circle in a square.




Level IV - Analyzing


 What specific shapes were used to draw this picture?



Level V - Evaluating

How is the picture above like a real truck?  How is it  different?

Level VI - Creating

Create a new picture using five different geometric shapes.
(You may use the same shape more than once, but you must use five
different geometric shapes.)

Using Bloom's in Math
As teachers, we are only limited by our imagination as to the activities we ask our students to complete to help them prepare for a test. However, we still need to teach and provide information so the students can complete these types of tasks successfully. With the aid of the above chart, my students create well written practice tests using a variety of levels of Bloom's. When the task is completed, my students have also reviewed and studied for their next math exam. I consider that as time well spent!

If you would like a copy of the above chart in a similar but more detailed format, it is available on Teachers Pay Teachers as a FREE resource.

Domino Math

Dots Fun for Everyone
It is believed dominoes evolved from dice. In fact, the numbers in a standard double-six set of dominoes represent all the rolls of two six-sided die. It is thought they originated in China around the 12th century. They have been used in a large variety of games for hundreds of years, and today, dominoes are played all over the world.

Games allow children to learn a great deal concerning mathematical concepts and number relationships. Often they are required to use critical thinking skills as well as varied math strategies to solve them. Since dominoes make a great manipulative for hands-on learning, I created a 29 page book of domino activities for grades 3-5 that are great for students who finish early or for introducing a new mathematical concept or for use at a math center. Using dominoes for a math practice center is a way to engage students in math center practice while giving them a chance to review math facts.

The activities and games vary in difficulty; so differentiated instruction is easy. The variety of pages allows you to choose the practice page that is just right for each student. This resource correlates well with the math series, Everyday Math, as well as with the CCSS standards.

Some of the domino activities in this resource use games while others will extend, enhance or introduce a new math concept. Since children are curious and inquisitive, plus some may have never seen dominoes, allow time for play and exploration before beginning any instruction. This is constructive as well as a productive use of class time. If they are not given this, most children will fool around and investigate during the teaching time. The activities include four digit place value, using the commutative property, problem solving, reducing proper and improper fractions and practicing multiplication and division facts. The games involve finding sums, using <, >, and = signs and ordering fractions.

To view examples from this resource as well as a complete Table of Contents, download the preview or FREE Version.

A Go Figure Debut for A Homeschool Teacher Who is New

Beverly's TPT Store
Beverly lives in Texas, and this will be her 9th year as a homeschool teacher. She has three children, a daughter who is 17 and two boys, ages 14 and 11. Beverly's favorite thing about homeschooling is getting to spend a lot of time with her children and being able to let them really pursue their interests. Her youngest, for example, is interested in computer programming. Beverly has some experience in that area so she found an online course, and she and her son learned the basics of Python together.  Her classroom is a little media room/playroom upstairs where she has a bulletin board, white board, book cases and a long table. At the moment, she is in the process of reorganizing it which includes painting the walls.

Before homeschooling, Beverly taught preschool. The children in her class were only two years of age; so, there wasn't a lot of formal teaching going on, but she absolutely enjoyed the experience.

Beverly has 99 products in her store which is called Terbet Lane; including six that are free. She has a lot of decor and brag tags as well as creative writing and math sets.

Only $6.00
One of her paid items is a set of  Halloween themed story element cards.  She uses these cards in her homeschool. She wanted to create something that would give her children a jumping off place to write creatively and that could change and be something different each time. Her middle son does not like to write and really needed the structure of using these cards to help him think of something to write and to give his writing direction.

To use the cards, have a child choose one card from each category: character, conflict and setting. They are required to use these elements in their story but can add any new characters, settings, etc. that they choose. Her children have really enjoyed using these cards and actually ask to do them. Yeah!

 
Free Resource
One of her free resources is a Halloween coloring page. With Halloween just a month away, this would be the     perfect freebie to download for those students who finish early or for those who just like to color.  (I still do!)

In addition, Beverly has a blog called Terbet Lane although it is pretty new. Her July post was about family fun. Genealogy is one  of her main hobbies, and this post contains some activities that are a fun way to involve younger kids and spark some interesting conversations about family.  I especially like her list of questions to ask grandparents because interviewing an older relative is a great way for kids to learn about their history while connecting with grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I hope you have time to check it out. Also take time to visit her store and see those 99 resources she has created!

Factorial Fun

Factorial is a word that mathematicians use to describe a special kind of numerical relationship. Factorials are very simple things. They are just products, indicated by the symbol of an exclamation mark. The factorial function (symbol: !) means to multiply a series of descending natural numbers. For instance, "five factorial" is written as "5!" (a shorthand method) and means 5 × 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 120. Factorials are used in determining the numbers of combinations and permutations and in finding probability.


Now all of that may seem above your mathematical head, but let me introduce you to the book Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichir and Mitsumasa Anno.  It is a story about one jar and what is inside it. Anno begins with the jar, which contains one island, that has two countries, each of which has three mountains. The story continues like this until 10 is reached.  The colorful pictures are arranged within borders on the page as many times as the number of objects being discussed. For instance when four walled kingdoms are introduced, four kingdoms are on the page.

The explanation of 10! in the back of the book is also very helpful. Even if children do not understand the concept being taught, they will certainly appreciate the detailed colored drawings and imaginative story! The book is best for kids who have been introduced to at least basic multiplication facts, but younger kids will enjoy counting and looking at the pictures even if the rest of it is over their heads; so, this book helps with multiplying skills as well as the mathematical concept of factorials.

You might give the students a worksheet to keep track of how many islands, rooms, etc. there are. The final question is how many jars are there. Hopefully there will some students who catch on to the factorial concept, find the pattern and discover the answer! 

Here is an example of how you might use factorials in solving a word problem.  How many different arrangements can be made with the letters from the word MOVE?  Because there are four different letters and four different spaces, this is how you would solve the problem.

____   ____   ____   ____ 
Four Possible Spaces

All four letters could be placed in the first space. Once the first space is filled, only three letters remain to fit in the second space. Once the second space is filled with a letter, two letters remain to write in the third space. Finally, only one letter is left to take the fourth and final space. Hence, the answer is a factorial (4!) = 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 24 arrangements.

Try some problems in your classroom. Start with an imaginary character, Cal Q. Late, who is working at an Ice Cream Store called Flavors. A hungry customer orders a triple scoop ice cream cone with Berry, Vanilla, and Bubble Gum ice cream. How many different ways could Cal Q. Late stack the ice cream flavors on top of each other?

You could answer the question by listing all of the possible orders of the three ice cream flavors from top to bottom. (Students could have colored circles of construction paper to physically rearrange.)

  1. Bubble Gum - Berry - Vanilla
  2. Bubble Gum - Vanilla - Berry
  3. Berry - Vanilla - Bubble Gum 
  4. Berry - Bubble Gum - Vanilla
  5. Vanilla - Berry - Bubble Gum
  6. Vanilla - Bubble Gum - Strawberry
Or, if we use factorials, we arrive at the answer much faster:  3! = 3 × 2 × 1 = 6

Learning about patterns and the use of factorials will stretch a students' mathematical mind.  Why not try a few problems in your classroom?  And by all means, check out Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar.

Using Mnemonic Techniques

In my college class entitled Conquering College, we have been working on ways to remember for tests. Of course, mnemonic devices came up. Mnemonics connect new learning to prior knowledge through the use of visual and/or acoustic cues. Such strategies assist students in remembering and recalling larger pieces of information for tests. Included in mnemonics are acronyms, initialism, acrostics, rhyme, rhythm and song and association in addition to visualization using the loci and peg systems. Let's look at four of these categories.


1) Acronyms - A word formed from the first letters of each one of the words in a phrase.
  • HOMES – The names of the 5 Great Lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior 
  • ROY G. BIV – The colors in a rainbow – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet 
  • SCUBA - When you’re scuba diving, you’re using a “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.” 

2) Acrostics – Sentences created from the first letters of key words.
  • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally – for the order of operations 
Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction 

    **I personally prefer the phrase: Pale Elvis Meets Dracula After School. 
  • My Very Earthly Mother Just Sliced Up Neptune.  – the planets in order from largest to smallest: 
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune 

   **I particularly like this one since Earthly gives you a clue that the third planet is earth and Neptune is listed last. This means you only have to know 6.


Free Resource
3) Rhyme, Rhythm, Song – poems, limericks or silly songs – These work well for auditory learners.
  • I before E, except after C and in sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh.
  • In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
  • Twinkle, twinkle little star; circumference is 2 π r.       (I actually sing this for my students!)


4) Association – finding a common element. The association is usually coincidental.
  • Litmus Paper: Blue = Base – both begin with “B”. 
  • Arteries: Artery = Away – both begin with “A”. 
  • The principal is my PAL. Helps to distinguish from principle. 
  • Affect = Action (a verb) Helps to separate it from effect which is a noun.
These ideas plus many more are in a free resource called Mnemonic Techniques found on Teachers Pay Teachers. All you have to do is download it!


The ROOT of the Problem

When students skip count, they can easily say the 2's, 5's, and 10's which translates into easy memorization of those particular multiplication facts.  Think what would happen if every primary teacher had their students practice skip counting by 3's, 4's, 6's, 7's, 8's and 9's!  We would eradicate the drill and kill of memorizing multiplication and division facts.

Since many of my college students do not know their facts, I gravitate to the Divisibility Rules.  Sadly, most have never seen or heard of them.  I always begin with dividing by 2 since even numbers are understood by almost everyone.  (Never assume a student knows what an even number is as I once had a college student who thought that every digit of a number must be even for the entire number to be even.) We then proceed to the rules for 5 and 10 as most students can skip count by those two numbers.

Finally, we learn about the digital root for 3, 6, and 9. This is a new concept but quickly learned and understood by the majority of my students. (See the definition below).


Here are several examples of finding Digital Root:

1) 123 = 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. Six is the digital root for the number 123. Since 123 is an odd number, it is not divisible by 6. However, it is still divisible by 3.

2) 132 = 1 + 3 + 2 = 6. Six is the digital root for the number 132. Since 132 is an even number, it is divisible by 6 and by 3.

3) 198 = 1+ 9 + 8 = 18 = 1 + 8 = 9. Nine is the digital root for the number 198; so, 198 is divisible by 9 as well as by 3.

4) 201 = 2 + 0 + 1 = 3. Three is the digital root for the number 201; so, 201 is divisible by 3.

The first time I learned about Digital Root was about eight years ago at a workshop presented by Kim Sutton. (If you have never been to one of her workshops - GO! It is well worth your time.) Anyway, I was beside myself to think I had never learned Digital Root. Oh, the math classes I sat through, and the numbers I tried to divide by are too munerous to mention! It actually gives me a mathematical headache. And to think, not knowing Digital Root was the ROOT of my problem!

Divisibility Rules



A teacher resource on Using the Divisibility Rules and Digital Root is available at Teachers Pay Teachers. If you are interested, just click under the resource cover on your right.

A Go Figure Debut for an Iowan Who Is New!

 Today’s Go Figure Debut teacher has been in the classroom for just over a decade; however, she is currently taking a few years off to raise her little ones. (Adelaide is three and Joseph is one.) She loves to see students grow and discover who they are and what they think. This is one of the reasons she enjoys middle schoolers so much. She finds that students at this age are starting to develop into their own persons, and they are questioning and forming their own thoughts. She loves being front and center to this change and helping her students successfully navigate this transition.

Rebecca describes her classroom as a place where it is okay to question and to just be yourself. It is a place where learning and independent thought are encouraged and where students are pushed to try new things and do their best. She believes that one of the most important things she can teach her students is how to form an educated opinion and defend it in a civilized manner as well as to listen and respond to others who may or may not hold the same opinion.

Rebecca married her high school sweetheart, Kyle. They currently live in the heart of Iowa Amish country where it is just as common to see a horse and buggy go by their front window as it is to see a car go by. (I use to live in Plain City, Ohio so I identify with this.) Besides teaching, she has also sung in several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, including a lead in The Gondoliers. In addition, she possesses several random skills including the ability to ride and drive horses, bake bread, make jam and pie crusts from scratch and design and sew costumes for the stage.

Rebecca has over 100 products in her store, and eight
of them are free. One of those free items is
Free Resource
Romeo and Juliet Character Quizzes and Keys: Descriptions and Quotes. These two print and go quizzes on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare are designed to be used after reading the play. They make great comprehension checks or review activities. Quiz One has the students match the description of the character to the character's name. Quiz Two requires the students to match the famous quote to the character who said it and then explain one quote. Answer keys are included.
                                                 
Another of her resources is a 115 page bundle entitled: Six
$13.50, save $2.50
Story O. Henry Product Bundle Plus Author Study Activity.
This bundle includes everything you need for a unit on O. Henry - full texts, lessons and activities on six O. Henry stories plus an author study activity. By buying the bundle, you save $2.50!

Rebecca does have a blog called Rebecca's Classroom and Kitchen. (I guess she gets pleasure from both!) Her blog's motto is, "Feed Your Mind and Your Tummy!" (Sounds like a plan to me!) Before mentioning any blog, I always check it out just to see what is contains and if I think it is valuable. Recently, she wrote a four part-series entitled Freedom in the Classroom which I really appreciated reading. You should check it out as well. It will cause you to reflect as well as to evaluate just how much freedom any teacher truly has.


Using Number Tiles to Problem Solve in Math

Math Activities for Grades 5-8
I prefer using hands-on activities when teaching math. One of the most successful items I have used is number tiles. Because number tiles can be moved around without the need to erase or cross out an answer, I have discovered that students are more at ease and more willing to try challenging activities. There is something about not having a permanent answer on the page that allows the student to explore, investigate, problem solve, and yes, even guess.

I have created several number tile booklets, but the one I will feature today is for grades 5-8. It is a 23 page booklet containing 15 different math problem solving activities that range from addition and multiplication, to primes and composites, to exponent problems, to using the divisibility rules. Since the students do not write in the book, the pages can be copied and laminated so that they can be used from year to year. These activities may be placed at a table for math practice or as a center activity. They are also a perfect resource for those students who finish an assignment or test early. Use these activities to reteach a concept to a small group as well as to introduce a new mathematical concept to the whole class.

Free Resource
Students solve the Number Tile Math Activities by arranging ten number tiles, numbered 0-9. Most of the number tile activities require that the students use each tile only once. The number tiles can be made from construction paper, cardboard, or square colored tiles that are purchased.  (How to make the number tiles as well as storage ideas is included in the handout.) Each problem is given on a single page, and each activity varies in difficulty which is suitable for any diverse classroom. Since the students have the freedom to move the tiles around, they are more engaged and more willing to try multiple methods to find the solution. Some of the problems will have just one solution while others have several solutions. These activities are very suitable for the visual and/or kinesthetic learner.

A free version for each of my number tile resources is listed below. Just click on the link to download the freebie.

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!)


Cold Treat for Those Hot Days of Summer


June always brings the first day of summer. I'm not sure where you live, but I live in Kansas, and each day it is getting hotter and hotter! On a hot day, when you have been outside, there is nothing better than an ice cold treat. For years, I have made homemade Popsicles, first for my children and now for my grandchildren. I thought I would share the quick and easy recipe with you. (I know this might be considered the "far side" of math, but recipes do contain measurement and sometimes, even fractions!)

Popsicles Recipe - Will make 18

1 small package of Jello (any flavor)  As you can see, my grandchildren like the Berry Blue.)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

Boil water. Add to the sugar and package of Jello. Stir until all the Jello is dissolved. Add the cold water and stir again.

Pour into three sets of Tupperware Popsicle Makers. If you don't have these (I don't think they sell them anymore), use Popsicle molds found in stores. or use ice cube trays.

Place in the freezer until hardened. Eat and enjoy just like my grandchildren do!


A Go Figure Debut for an English Teacher Who Is New!

Lindsay's TPT Store
My newest Go Figure Debut is a high school English teacher from Illinois. Lindsay has been teaching for 13 years. She describes her classroom as student-centered and connection-driven as she wants her students working harder than she does and taking responsibility for their own learning. This happens when students are engaged in what they are doing and feel like they belong.

At the high school level, students have "been there, done that" with just about every type of English assessment and experience; so, it's a matter of finding ways to up the rigor, innovating to find a real-world skill application or asking them to take more ownership of their work than ever before. Besides the students themselves, this is her favorite thing about teaching - designing experiences and activities that will engage and excite.

When Lindsay is not teaching, she is hanging out with her husband and two awesome kids or helping her husband with his wedding photography business. Her children are little; so, they are her "hobby" right now. She is looking forward to spending more time with them this summer.

The name of her Teachers Pay Teacher's store is Lindsay Ann Learning. Currently, she has 121 products featured in her store with five of them being free. Her resources are for middle and high school English Language Arts - writing, reading, and digital interactive resources.

Free
One of those freebies is entitled Close Reading Introduction.  With these time tested resources, students can learn a successful pattern for thesis statement writing and close reading analysis. It is an excellent way to break down the thesis so that students can understand each component, as well as unpack the evidence from the text. In addition, it is a very effective tool that scaffolds textual analysis step-by-step.

$20.00
Her paid product is called Slam Poetry which is a no-prep, engaging, CCSS-aligned slam poetry unit with student-centered activities and assignments designed to promote inquiry and self-expression. Lindsay believes that writing poetry can be a fun, interactive, student-centered experience that engages every learner! With the digital and print resources in this resource, you can build writing, reading, speaking and listening and meta-cognitive skills . A comment left by a recent buyer says; “What a fabulous unit! The resources are well organized and the online links have saved me hours of preparation time. Thank you so much!”

Additionally to teaching and selling on TPT, Lindsay has a blog entitled Lindsay Ann Learning. The theme of her blog is... 


Take a few moments to check out her blog as well as her store. You will find that many of her quality resources are interactive which makes them very desirable.


"Sum" More Quick Tricks

Sometimes, my students think, I am a magician who pulls answers out of a hat. Over the years, I have learned that mathematicians are ingenious people who are always looking for quick and easy ways to do things. Maybe that's why we now have graphing calculators and computer programs to figure taxes.
I have a friend who teaches math on the college level in North Carolina. In fact, we have been friends since 6th grade, but that's another story. When she read one of my posts, she shared a trick for quickly finding a sum. Her trick has to do with a sequence that begins with any number, with any number of terms as long as they are separated by the same amount. For instance, the series below is a six number sequence with a difference of two between each number.
Here is what you do to quickly to find the sum. Add the first and last terms. 5 + 15 = 20. Now multiply by the number of terms which in this case is 6. 20 x 6 = 120 Finally, divide by 2. So, mentally this is what it would look like.


Now, how many of you went back to add up 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 + 13 + 15? Did you get the answer of 60? Isn't it amazing!?! Maybe math teachers are magicians after all!