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A Go Figure Debut for an Elementary Teacher Who is New!

Our newest Go Figure Debut is for a Florida teacher who has been teaching for three years; however, she is currently taking a break from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. Hannah has two sweet kiddos (a girl and a boy), both under the age of two. Also included in her family is a cat named Tinkerbell who lives up to all the sassiness of her name.

Hannah describes her elementary classroom as organized, energetic, fun and adventurous! She loves seeing the joy on her students’ faces as they learn a new skill that they once struggled with, and then watching their confidence grow a mile!

At the moment, Hannah has 75 products in her store mainly geared for the primary
Free Resource
grades of K-2. Thirteen of her resources are free and include student activities, teacher gifts, and design elements for creating TPT resources. Her featured free item is called Encouraging Bookmarks because sometimes you just need a free bookmark! After purchasing these bookmarks, one buyer left this comment: “These are adorable and sweet bookmarks! I love the fonts and colors you chose for these- simply perfect!”

Any teacher knows that planning a school event can be stressful. Hannah’s Fall Festival Event Bundle helps you put together a memorable event without breaking into a sweat. Planning a Fall Festival for
your school, church, or home-school group has never been easier when you use this bundle of resources! Included in the bundle are:
  • 20 Activities, Games, and Crafts complete with Decorations, Posters, Teacher Directions, Student Directions, and Direct Links to Activity Materials.
  • Ticket Signs
  • Fall Festival Programs (Editable PowerPoint)
  • Fall Festival Flyers (Editable PowerPoint)
  • Social Media Posts and Stories for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (Editable Power Points)
  • Fall Festival Event Forms
  • Sign Up Form (For Running Activities)
  • Master Checklist (Stay Organized While Planning Your Event)
  • A "Tips, Ideas, and Suggestions" Note for Your Fall Festival Event

Currently, Hannah runs a home goods business called White Gardenia Company where she sells handcrafted candles, soap, and tea. Although it’s her business, it feels like a hobby to Hannah because she loves getting to work creatively with her hands. Plus it allows her to be her own boss and do what she loves, while giving her the flexibility to stay home with her children and not miss out on those precious, once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Algebraic Terms - Finding the Greatest Common Factor and Least Common Multiple Using a Venn Diagram

I tutor math at the college where I teach. Many of those students have been confused on how to find the greatest common factor for a set of algebraic terms. Having an elementary background, I introduce them to a factor tree which, believe it or not, many have never seen.

When just a rule is given by an instructor, often times, students get lost in the mathematical process. I have found that utilizing a visual can achieve an understanding of a concept better than just a rule. A Venn Diagram is such a visual and helps students to follow the process and understand the connection and relationship between each step of finding the GCF and LCM.

It's important to always begin with the definitions for the
words factor, greatest common factor and least common multiple. If a student doesn't know the vocabulary, they can't do the work! I continue by explaining and illustrating what a factor tree is (on your left) and how to construct and use a Venn Diagram as a graphic organizer.

Let's suppose we have the algebraic terms of 75xy and 45xyz. I have the students construct factor trees for each of the numbers as illustrated on the left.

Then all the common factors are placed in the intersection of the two circles. In this case, it would be the 5 and the xy. 

The students then put the remaining factors and variables in the correct big circle. Five and three would go in the left hand circle and the three 2’s and the z would be placed in the right hand circle.

The intersection is the GCF; so, the GCF for 75xy and 40xyz is 5xy.   To find the LCM, multiply the number(s) in the first big circle by the GCF (numbers in the intersection) times the number (s) in the second big circle.

5 × 3 × GCF × 2 × 2 × 2 × z = 15 × 5xy × 8z = 240. The LCM is 600xyz

Free Item
This method is applicable and helpful in algebra when students are asked to find the LCM or GCF of a set of algebraic terms such as: 25xy, 40xyz. (LCM = 200xyz; GCF = 5xy) or when they must factor out the GCF from a polynomial such as 6x2y+ 9xy2. Using a Venn Diagram is also an effective and valuable tool when teaching how to reduce fractions. 

Are you interested in finding out more about this method?  Then download my newest free resource entitled: Algebraic Terms and Fractions - Finding the Greatest Common Factor and the Lowest Common Multiple Using a Venn Diagram. 

Earth Day - A Time to turn Trash into Classroom Treasures

With Earth Day just around the corner, I began thinking, "What sort of extraordinary things could I create from ordinary things which might otherwise be thrown away?"  Here is just one of my Trash to Treasure ideas.

Go to any Quick Trip or a similar store  and ask if you could have some plastic cup lids, two for each child.  (Stores are usually happy to help out teachers.)  I like the sturdy 4" red ones.  Instead of placing a straw in the designated spot, place a brad to connect two of the lids.  These should be touching each other top to top or flat side to flat side.

After the lids are together, place a few stickers on the outside of the lids.  What do you have?  A card holder!  Just slide the game cards in between the two lids, and they will actually stay there!  These are great for little hands which have difficulty holding several cards, or for older hands which aren't functioning like they use to, or for disabled or crippled hands.  My grandchildren love them because they can now play Old Maid without dropping and showing everyone all of their cards.

FREE Resource
Also, go to my store and download a free version of my resource entitled Trash to Treasure.  It is an eight page handout that features clever ideas, fun and engaging mini-lessons in addition to cute and easy-to-construct crafts made from recycled or common, everyday items. In this resource, discover how to take old, discarded materials and make them into new, useful, inexpensive products or tools for your classroom.

Do you have a Trash to Treasure idea?  Share it with us by leaving a comment.

Why is 'x' Usually the Unknown in Algebra?

Ted Talk
Again, it's time for some math information you might have missed in school. (Don't worry, I missed a great deal as well.)  Today's question is: Why is the letter "x" the symbol usually used for an unknown?

Even though the letter "x" is commonly used in mathematics, its use often appears in non-numerical areas within different industries such as The X Files or Project X. Terry Moore clears up this mathematical mystery in a TED Talk presentation at Long Beach, California.  In a short and funny four minute talk, he gives an unexpected answer to "why." Just click under the illustration to find out the reason!