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A Review for A MUST Read Book: "Setting Limits in the Classroom"

Available on Amazon
Setting Limits in the Classroom by Robert J. MacKenzie
How to Move Beyond the Dance of Discipline in Today's Classrooms

Recommended for: All Staff

The theory of education is something we were all required to study in college. It sounded good in the book; it was great for discussion, and it made us feel smart! But that same theory tended to fall apart when you became the teacher of actual students. In addition to theory, what we really needed were practical suggestions for classroom management, effective ideas for dealing with children, and management methods that were classroom proven. Well, look no further; this is it!

In his introduction, MacKenzie states that, “Teachers can’t teach their academic subjects effectively until they can establish an effective environment for learning. Classroom management is simply too important to be neglected or handled ineffectively.” The book discusses effective classroom structure, your approach to teaching rules, how children learn your rules, and establishing consistent rules. Throughout the book, the author wants you to recognize the discipline you might be using that just doesn’t work. He concludes the book with how to develop a school wide guidance plan.

Setting Limits in the Classroom gives answers to your most testing behaviors that you may experience in the classroom. It is solid advice for fixing the way you interact and deal with students. It is also practical in that it gives various real life scenarios to reenact to practice classroom management and apply in your classroom. It offers firm, down-to-earth, and sensible solutions that effectively cut off students' attempts at negotiating, bargaining, and being belligerent towards the teacher. It offers many options to the unsuccessful extremes of permissiveness and rigid authority and all points in between. MacKenzie outlines no-nonsense methods for setting clear, firm limits supported by words and actions. The book is really a step-by-step manual that shows you how to create structure and methods that work, stop power struggles, motivate students, and even solve homework dilemmas. It is a must read, and I highly recommend it for middle school and high school teachers.

To peak your interest, here are a few quotes I especially liked from the book.

1) Your consequences will have their greatest impact when they are immediate, consistent, logically related, proportional, respectful, and followed by a clean slate.

2) Much of what we consider to be misbehavior in the classroom is actually limit testing or children’s attempts to clarify what we really expect.

3) When our words are consistent with our actions, we don’t need a lot of words or harsh consequences to get our message across.

4) When we ignore misbehavior, we are really saying, “It’s okay to do that. Go ahead. You don’t have to stop.”

This is an ideal book for a whole school study or new teacher development training! In the appendix is a study group guide that lists the objectives for each week as well as study-group discussion questions for each chapter. I have successfully used this book with many student teachers who have in turn used it as a discipline and classroom management guide.


If you are looking for a set of simple rules, try Six Classroom Rules - That's all You Need available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

20 Study Tips You Won't Forget! Tips on How to Be Successful in School

Students struggle with many difficulties and setbacks in their lives, and because of all of the competing things vying for their attention, it is hard for them to concentrate on studying. And yet, if you are a student, you have to do at least a little bit of studying in order to progress from year to year.

Effective studying may not seem like the most exciting topic for anyone, but think of the big picture. The better a student's study skills are, the better the student will do in school, plus mastering effective study habits will make it easier to learn. Also effective studying can lead to better grades (in high school and college) and doing better on standardized tests.  Because I teach on the college level, I encounter many students who lack effective study skills or even habits, but no matter what study skills a student presently has, I know they can learn new strategies that can assist them in the future. 

For example, better time management and note-taking skills are important for many jobs. Being able to break down tasks into more manageable steps can help a student get things done in less time; thus, having more free time for themselves. Being able to handle test anxiety may help a student deal with other stressful situations such as an interview, a speech or oral exam.

One of my freshmen classes I teach is called "Conquering College" where we discuss useful strategies for effective studying. For this class, I developed a list of 20 study skills or tips that can help students succeed in school. Since the key to effective studying is studying smarter, not longer, have your students begin studying smarter with these 20 helpful and effective Study Tips You Won't Forget!  It is a free resource in my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

2022 Back to School Ebook - Free Activities for Grades PreK-12

The 2022 school year is about to start, and we hope you and your students will benefit from our Lessons by The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative (TBOTEMC). On each page, you will find links to a free resource as well as a priced resources created by a member of TBOTEMCInside this 2022 edition of the Free Back to School Lessons you will find resources such as:

PLUS much more! Altogether there are 19 free Back to School items for grades PreK-12. All you have to do is download the free Ebook.

The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative is a group of teachers who work together to promote their Teacher Pay Teachers products. Using the power of cross promotion, TBOTEMC  members are able to use their combined social media sites to their full potential. If you are a TPT seller, think about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative and take your TPT store to the next level. For more information, email Victoria Leon at about TBOTEMC.  You'll be glad you did.

Taking A Summer Break from Technology

Since my husband and I are both teachers (88+ years together), we usually have the same time off. Since we would like some time to relax and rejuvenate, I am setting aside all technology and work related items to focus on my family, grandkids (12 of them) 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, July 27, 2022.

Summer Fun - Cleaning Lawn Furniture with Shaving Cream

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, 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!

Here's a Recipe for a Homemade Frozen Treat for Those Hot Summer Days

June always brings the first day of summer. This year it was on June 21st. I'm not sure where you live, but I live in Kansas, and each day, it gets 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!)

Popsicle Recipe - Will make 18

1 small package of Jello (any flavor)  
Berry Blue is our favorite!
As you can see, four my grandchildren like the Berry Blue.

1/2 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

Boil the water. Add the boiling water to the sugar and the small package of Jello. Stir until all the Jello is dissolved. This takes about two minutes. Add the cold water and stir again.

Pour into three sets of Tupperware Popsicle Makers. If you don't have these (I'm not sure they are available 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 2022 Go Figure Debut for a Retired Primary Teacher Who is New!

Diana has a store on Teachers Pay Teachers named Sunshine and Laughter. She has been teaching for 34 years - 15 years in 1st grade, nine years in 2nd grade, five years in 3rd grade, and five years as an ESL teacher. She is now retired and works full time on her TPT store.

When she was teaching, Diana’s favorite part was the actual teaching. She loved working with her students in small groups for a couple of reasons - to pinpoint exactly where they needed more support, and to get to know them better while building a relationship with them. Diana always tried to make her classroom a comfortable, safe space for her students. She wanted it to be engaging, but not distracting. Because she knew the importance of reading, she always had a student reading corner in her classroom even when she was a Math/Science teacher.

Diana lives in Texas and has been married for 23 years to a wonderful, supportive man and they have a sweet daughter in her last year of college. She also has a cute Yorkie named Bentley. Her absolute favorite thing to do is to travel to the beach, and her family goes as much as they can. Growing up, her family always took vacations to the beach, and she thinks that's where her love of sun, water and waves first began. When Diana is at the beach, she feels at peace, and she finds the sound of the waves exceptionally calming.

Diana’s store contains 240 resources, 23 of which are free for downloading. Their general content is science, math and language arts. Her featured free resource is a Multiplication Matching Game for grades 2-3. Students make three-way matches using multiplication facts. The students match a multiplication problem with its related story problem and array. The game can be played two different ways. First, after making a copy of the game, cut the game apart into cards. Then give each student in the class a card. They have to find a three-way match on their own, or put the students into groups and have them make the three way matches as a team.

Only $4.00
Her highlighted paid resource is Food Chains for grades 1-3. This science resource contains a variety of food chains in different ecosystems. Each poster shows the path of energy the producers and consumers travel through within that ecosystem. The colorful posters are bright and easy to use to introduce food chains as a whole group, in your science stations, and are as anchor charts to display in your classroom.

If you are a primary teacher, Diana’s TPT Store is worth checking out. You will find many fun, engaging and creative resources that you can easily adapt to your classroom. AND your students will have a fun and exciting time learning.

This year, My Go Figure Debut features TPT sellers that are members of The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative (TBOTEMC) of which Diana and I are members. TBOTEMC has been in existence since 2014 and is made up of teachers who work together to take their Teachers Pay Teachers stores to the next level. They use the power of cross-promotion to collaborate in their Pinterest, Facebook, and Teacher Talk blog marketing teams. Members advertise their TpT stores, personal blogs, social media sites, or grow their email lists in TBOTEMC’s THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates and $100 Amazon & $100 PayPal CA$H Giveaways. T For more information on how you can join this group, go to The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative

Why Do We Call Our Number System Base Ten? Many of My College Students Don't Know!

Don't you love tests where you ask a question which you believe everyone will get correct, and then find out it just isn't so?  I gave my algebra college students a pretest to see what they knew and didn't know.  One of the first questions was:  Why is our number system called Base Ten?  This is an extremely important concept as it reveals what they know about place value.  Below are some of the answers I received.

1)  It is called Base Ten because we have ten fingers.  (Yikes! If that is so, should we include our toes as well?)

2)  It is called Base Ten because I think you multiply by ten when you move past the decimal sign.  (Well, sort of.  You do multiply by ten when you move to the left of the decimal sign, going from the ones place, to the tens place, to the hundreds place, etc.)

3)  I think it is called Base Ten because it's something we use everyday.  (Really????)

Enough!  It is called Base Ten because we use ten digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) to write all of the other numbers.  Each digit can have one of ten values: any number from 0 through 9. When the value reaches 9, just before 10, it starts over at zero again.  (Notice the pattern below.)

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, etc.

In addition, each place is worth ten times more than the last. Ten is worth ten times more than 1, and 1,000 is ten times more than 100. The pattern continues infinitely both ways on a number line.

The decimal point allows for the place value to continue in a consistent pattern with numbers smaller than one. As we move to the right of the decimal point, each place is divided by ten to get to the next place value. One hundredth is one tenth divided by ten, and one thousandth is one hundredth divided by ten. The pattern goes on infinitely.

100's, 10's, 1's . 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, 0.0001, 0.00001, etc.

Since all mathematics is based on patterns, this should not be a new revelation. Perhaps on the post-test, my students will omit the fingers and instead rely on patterns to answer the questions!

Using the Periodic Table to Create Science Bulletin Boards

Only $4.00
As many of you know, my husband teaches middle school science. He has never been one to do bulletin boards, never has been and never will be. My daughter (also a teacher) and I usually construct them for him. For many months now, I have been looking for individual tiles of the periodic table.  I saw a bulletin board on Pinterest (one of my favorite places to gather ideas) that I wanted to recreate for my husband's science lab. I finally turned to Teachers Pay Teachers (where I should have gone in the first place) and asked in the Forum if anyone had such an item. I found that The Triple Point had just what I was looking for. It was a set containing 118 images of Periodic Table tiles, one for each of the 118 elements. Since the resource was only $4.00, I purchased and downloaded it immediately.

After copying the individual tiles onto card stock and laminating them for durability, I laid out the bulletin board (see below). To be honest, my husband did staple everything onto the board as well as arrange the other items. Didn't he do a great job?

In case you can't read the meme in the middle, it says, "That will be $5.00 for the Electrons; the Neutrons are Free of Charge." After all, every classroom needs a little bit of humor!

A Dinner Dilemma - Using Math to Solve How Many Bites a Child Must Eat at Dinner

Using Math to Solve
How Many Bites a
Child Must Eat
Being a grandparent lets you try some new discipline methods that you never thought of as a parent. My grandchildren don't always like what I serve for dinner (Unbelievable, isn't it?); so, many times some food is left on their plates. My children want their children to at least take a bite of everything on their plate which often times feels like a monumental task for our grandchildren. The solution? I have an oversized sponge die on hand for such occasions. The child who doesn't want to eat something rolls the die, and the number that comes up is how many bites they must take before dessert is served. Now, the child must argue with the die and not the parent or me! (It's difficult to argue with an inanimate object.)

Besides taking care of a dinner dilemma, my grandchildren are learning to subitize sets. (Oh, there's the math part of this article!) Since there are no numbers on the die, only dots, the child must count the dots to find out the number. Surprisingly, even the youngest are learning to recognize the dot patterns and can state the number of dots without counting. This indicates they are learning to subitize sets, a necessary prerequisite to memorizing the math facts, especially the multiplication tables. If you aren't sure what subitizing sets means, go back and read my blog posting entitled Can't Memorize Those Dreaded Math Facts. In the meantime, enjoy a new way to enjoy dinner because it is pretty dicey!


You might like a math game that uses dice. It is called Bug Ya and can be purchased at my TPT store. Three games are included in the four page math resource packet. One is for addition and subtraction; the second is for multiplication, and the third game involves the use of money. The second and third games may involve subtraction with renaming and addition with regrouping based on the numbers that are used. All the games have been developed to extend the recall of facts through playful and intelligent practice. Be sure and download the preview.

A 2020 Go Figure Debut for a Retired Educator Who Is New!

In her 25 years of teaching, Laurie has taught kindergarten, Early Literacy Intervention Classes, and grades 1-4. She is now a retired educator who is passionate about literacy. She enjoys sharing intellectual knowledge with colleagues and keeping current on research in the science of reading.

Her primary focus is students in Pre-Kindergarten through second grade. Laurie believes all children should have the opportunity to learn in a safe, secure environment. Often, she finds herself creating ways to scaffold the learning for the varying ability levels of each child. Her goal is to share information and resources that will help both parents and educators empower children to maximize their reading and writing potential.

While Laurie was hosting workshops for systematic phonics, French teachers requested resources to support learning to read and write, using the Science of Reading, in French. With the assistance of French teachers, those resources became available in her Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check out what is available there by clicking on this link:

When Laurie was in the classroom, it was active! The children were respectful and listened as appropriate during lessons; however, once released to work at center activities the classroom was a hub of energy. Kids talked, shared, discussed, role-played, and challenged each other. They used what they had been taught and applied it to the task of ‘being a kid’ who was learning to read, write, investigate, and explore. Laurie learned:
  1. Expect more, not less…of each child. They will do their best to live up to your expectations.
  2. Listen. Be mindful of what is happening in each child's life.
  3. Have fun teaching. The kids will have fun learning!
  4. Keep the children engaged and active. Enjoy controlled classroom chatter. The children are processing life and learning.

Free to Download
Her TPT store, Primarily Learning, currently has 323 Early Literacy Resources. Some are in both English and French, in PRINT or SASSOON Font. Thirty-five are free to download. Laurie has also authored Jolly Songs for Jolly Learning Ltd., and created Kindergarten Assessments Books for Scholastic. She now enjoys the challenge of creating for TPT.

Her featured free resource is entitled 7 Ending Blends Activities/Word Work Activities. It contains:
  • A variety of activities to help children practice, learn, and consolidate their knowledge about ending consonant blends. The final consonant blend activities provide numerous and varied multileveled learning opportunities for kids.
  • Options for reading words include text only. Support is provided to scaffold learning.
  • Activities and worksheets can be completed with reference cards, as needed.

Laurie’s paid Resource is Handwriting Practice aligns with the Science of Reading - 42 Letters and Sounds and contains:

  • 42 basic sounds to practice and print.
  • Upper case letters, Lower case letters and Digraphs are included.
  • What sounds do the letters make?
  • Can you recognize the sound?
  • Make letters and sound connections as you practice handwriting skills.
  • Can you find and draw things that use these sounds?
  • Trace the sound within the lines. Trace on the dotted lines.
  • Print the sound.
  • Print words.
  • Print sentences.
  • See it. Say it. Trace it. Print It. Draw it.
Laurie is a mother of three and a grandmother of six wonderful kids aged 5-16! She lives in Niagara, Ontario. Her family goes coast to coast! One son and his family live about two hours away. Her daughter and her family live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her oldest son and his family live in Seattle, Washington! With a sister in Florida and more family in Europe, they are just getting back from visiting to visit each other again! Thank goodness for video calls and technology!

Looking at her resources and accomplishments, it’s apparent that Laurie is an expert at what she does. So if you want to learn more about learning to read and write, visit Laurie’s website called Primarily Learning.


In 2022, my blog is featuring Teachers Pay Teachers sellers who are also TBOTEMC members. Both Laurie and I are members. "The Best of Teacher Entrepreneur's Marketing Cooperative"  (TBOTEMC) are teachers who advance their resources as a group. Why not consider joining TBOTEMC to meet a great group of people and to gain exposure for your TPT Store?

FREE End of the Year Activities

Free eBook

Finish the 2022 school year with these Free End of the Year Lessons by members of The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative (TBOTEMC). There is something free for everyone in this 16 page eBook so take a look! Here are just a few examples of what you can download for free:

  • Beginning Sounds Worksheets Spring Literacy Mystery Pictures
  • Kids at the Beach Subtraction Math Center
  • Differentiated Sample Packet
  • FREE Math Geometric Puzzles
  • End of the Year Award Freebie
  • Free Lesson Ice Breaker Storytelling Using Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces

Also check out these past free eBooks for Back to School, Winter, Valentine's Day and End of the Year. 

Here are the links to the past seven End of the Year eBooks by TBOTEMC.  If you are interested, just click on the year to download the FREE resource.

2015               2016              2017             2018            2019            2020            2021


The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative is a group of teachers who work together to market their Teacher Pay Teachers products. Using the power of cross promotion, TBOTEMC members are able to use their combined social media sites to their full potential. If you are a TPT seller, consider joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative. For more information, email Victoria Leon at about TBOTEMC.

Making Falcon Hoods - A Hands-On Activity for the Book, "My Side of the Mountain"

Each year, my husband's science students read My Side of the Mountain. The main character in the book is Sam Gribley, a boy in his early teens. For a year, Sam lives in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. One day Sam spies a peregrine falcon pursuing its prey. Sam determines he wants a falcon as a hunting bird; so, he goes to the nearby town of Delhi to learn about falconry (hunting small game by using a trained bird of prey) by searching books at the local library. For several days, he camps near a cliff hoping to find the location of a peregrine falcon nest. While the mother bird attacks him, Sam steals a female chick from the nest. He names the bird Frightful, and it becomes one of Sam's closest companions. 

If you are acquainted with falconry, you know that peregrine falcons will wear a hood to keep them calm and to make certain they are alert for the falconer. The falcons are also trained to go into hunting mode once the hood is removed. A good falcon hood does not bother the falcon. If it fits well, it does not damage the bird’s feathers or hamper its breathing. Under no circumstances does the hood come in contact with the falcon’s eyes. Out of all the falconer's aids, the hood is the most important piece of equipment. In the book, Sam makes jesses (leg straps), leashes and a hood out of deer skin for Frightful. My husband figured if Sam could construct a falcon hood, then maybe his students could as well.

Using the Internet, (Hood Patterns) my husband found several hood patterns. (Most hoods are custom made by hand and can cost $150 or more!) He purchased faux leather from the fabric store as well as special needles and thread. The students practiced sewing on scraps of the material before cutting out their own patterns and sewing them together. Below is a summary of the process in pictures.

What makes every hood unique is that each falconer decorates the hood in an extraordinary way. They may use elaborate feathers, pieces of colored leather, ornaments, etc. Sometimes, they are even hand painted, dyed or uniquely tooled. Here is what a few of the handmade hoods looked like after the students decorated and embellished them.

Overall, this was a successful book assignment which was not only creative and imaginative, but it gave the artistic students a chance to shine. As a result, you might want to try this project in your classroom as well. So I wish you good luck, good reading and good hood making.

If your class is reading this book, here are three supplementary resources for My Side of the Mountain that you might be interested in.
Two Word Searches - This resource contains two different word search puzzles about the survival materials used by Sam, the main character in the book, My Side of the Mountain. Both puzzles include
the solutions.

A Crossword Puzzle about Birds - This is a free form crossword puzzle that highlights 16 different birds which appear in the book My Side of the Mountain. The 16 clues are based on the bird’s unique characteristics, color, and song.  A solution key to the puzzle is included.

Crossword Puzzle about Plants - This is a free form crossword puzzle that highlights 18 different plants which appear in the book My Side of the Mountain. The 18 clues are based on the plant’s distinctive characteristics, color, size and physical appearance.  A solution key to the puzzle is included.

Pinterest and the Benefits of Using Tailwind to Increase Traffic to your Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Maybe you have heard of Tailwind and maybe you haven't. To set the record straight, it is not a wind blowing in the direction of travel of a vehicle or aircraft or a wind blowing from behind. It is a Pinterest and Instagram Marketing, Scheduling and Analytics Tool.

I was first introduced to it on the Teachers Pay Teachers blog. Since I use Pinterest (I have 53 different boards of my own, and I belong to 63 collaborative boards.), I am always pinning new ideas, teaching strategies, Ohio State stuff (Go Buckeyes!), ideas for my college classes, etc., I decided to try using Tailwind instead of individually pinning each resource from my TPT store or blog. Before deciding if the paid plan was right for me, I was able to schedule up to 100 pins on Pinterest for free . What was nice is that there was no time limit on that free trial! It allowed me to schedule up to 100 pins on Pinterest while I could watch my analytics and the number of repins my items were receiving before deciding if the paid plan was worth the money.

I saw several benefits right away! More traffic was coming to my Pinterest Boards as well as to my Teachers Pay Teachers StoreI therefore decided to invest in Tailwind.  I am aware that pinning everything all at once isn’t ideal; consequently, it is important to space pins out a little so I'm not overwhelming my followers. Pinterest has even suggested that too much pinning in a short time period could be viewed as “spamming”, potentially hurting my rankings in search results and feeds. With Tailwind, I have the ability to create my own posting schedule, and I can use interval pinning to space out my pins so "spamming" doesn't happen. I can set a time period between when each image that is pinned anywhere from two days to 90 days apart. Tailwind even gives me the best times and days to post.

Here are some ways I am currently using Tailwind:
  1. To schedule pins
  2. To know when the best time to pin is using the Smart Calendar
  3. To schedule multiple pins to different boards at the same time
  4. To use interval pinning
  5. To use Smartloops - They let you automatically repin the same type of content to specific boards without having to revisit them. 
  6. To use the Tailwind Analytics - to know which are my best pins and where my repins are going
  7. To find my best pins using Pin Inspector
  8. Create new pins from scratch using Tailwind Create - I use this all the time to take an old, outdated pin and remake it into a new pin. You just add your images, and it will create hundreds of pin designs that you can choose from and instantly schedule into your Tailwind queue.
I know this sounds like a long advertisement for Tailwind, but I am so excited about the many benefits and results of this service, I just had to share it with you, my readers. If you are interested in joining Tailwind, I have a Tailwind tribe called Math Counts where any teacher who teaches kindergarten through high school can post math resources for free. Each person in the tribe adds their own pins in the queue. Once you see the pins in the queue, you can add them to your scheduled pins in Tailwind so your resources keep getting re-pinned to different boards. Tailwind has said that you do not have to be a paying member of Tailwind to be in a Tribe. Here is the link if you are interested in joining Math Counts. Just copy and paste it into any search engine.

If you decide to join my tribe (which costs you nothing), you will also get a free month ($15 credit) if you ever decide to join the Plus plan. Most bloggers only need Tailwind Plus, which costs $119 per year when paid annually. If you choose to pay monthly then it costs $15 per month, or $180 per year.

Getting started with Tailwind is easy. In the members area are five training videos that walk you through everything step-by-step and in much more detail than this blog post. There’s also an in-depth FAQ section, and if you get stuck with anything, their customer service is responsive and helpful. All I can say is that it makes running my Pinterest account much easier; I can be more strategic in my Pinterest marketing efforts plus it saves me a ton of time!  I hope you will check it out.

Domino Math - Using Dominoes to Problem Solve and Practice Math Concepts

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 while giving them a chance to review math facts.

The activities and three 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 CCSS standards.
Dots Fun

The activities in Dots Fun for Everyone (grades 3-5) 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.

These domino math activities in Dots Fun (primary grades) include recognizing sets, place value of two and four digit numbers, creating domino worms, gathering data, using the commutative property, and practicing addition and subtraction facts. The games involve matching, finding sums, and using greater than, less than, and equal signs. For these 13 activities and four games, you may use commercial sets dominoes or copy the blackline which is provided in the resource. This resource links closely with the CCSS standards. 

Some of the domino activities in these two resources 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.

To view examples from these resources as well as a complete Table of Contents, download the preview or FREE versions available at my TPT store.

A 2022 Go Figure Debut for an ELL/ESL Teacher Who is New!

Fun To Teach
Lori has been teaching for 24 years. The thing she likes best about teaching is that it gives her the chance to recreate her job each year! Since Lori is an ESL teacher, her classroom is full of songs, games, talking, listening, reading, and writing. Her motto is to make it FUN TO TEACH and her classroom reflects that belief.

When Lori began teaching, she was a bilingual 1st and 2nd grade teacher, English and Spanish. Trying to find high quality materials that were the same in Spanish and English was more than difficult. She found very few bilingual and ESL resources available; so, Lori and her sister and husband started Kingsley Publishing. Lori wrote the units; her sister's husband, Mark, a graphic artist, did the images. and Susan, her sister, did the marketing. The company eventually sold to Carson-Dellosa, and then Lori started Math Games in English and Spanish which morphed into Fun To Teach. Fun To Teach is committed to making high quality resources that are engaging, fun and will lighten a teachers' workload.

One of Lori's Quilts
As creative outlets, Lori loves to garden and make quilts. Her garden is a huge part of her life, and she is passionate about it. It is a way to express herself, to mediate as she pulls weeds, and to find joy in being outside. (Sounds like me!) Lori loves to quilt and usually does it in the winter when the weather changes, and it is not as inviting to be outside in the garden.

Lori has 214 products in her Teachers Pay Teachers store called Fun to Teach that cover ESL, math, kindergarten, Spanish, sentence starters, verb games and more. Included are 33 free products.

Lori’s featured free item is entitled Multiplication Games – Multiplying by 8. This resource is easy to use and includes free multiplication math fact fluency activities and multiplication games to supplement your teacher toolbox. This time-saving math resource provides free printable math games for multiplication by 8 and focuses on multiplication fact fluency.

Lori’s featured paid resource is a bundle called The ELL (English Language Learner) Newcomers, ESL Curriculum. The five units in this ELL English newcomer bundle will help classroom teachers and ESL/ELD teachers reach and teach English Newcomers. Each ELL newcomer unit focuses on the beginning verbs, grammar, and vocabulary ELL newcomers need to build fluency in English. Lori has also included beginning literacy activities for Newcomers. Each English newcomer unit has an abundance of activities and lessons for ELL newcomers.

My daughter teaches in a New Comers program, grades K-2, and she is constantly looking for resources for her students. She, too, finds such items in short supply; so, she ends up creating many on her own which takes away from lesson planning. I think Lori’s store will be a God-send for her. If you’re in this position, take the time to visit Lori’s store and see the many first-class items available. Get your beginning ESL newcomer students learning right away with these resources!


In 2022, I am highlighting TPT sellers who are also TBOTEMC members. Both Lori and I are members. "The Best of Teacher Entrepreneur's Marketing Cooperative" (TBOTEMC) is a group of teachers who promote their resources cooperatively.  Why not become a member and take your TPT store to the next level?

Earth Day - Free Activities and Lessons Using Recycled Items

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 used 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.

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. Learn many out-of-the-ordinary ways to use milk lids for math. Discover how to use butter tubs to create a fun indoor recess game that practices math skills. How about practicing math facts using egg cartons?

Because these numerous activities vary in difficulty and complexity, they are appropriate for any PreK-3 classroom, and the visual and/or kinesthetic learners will love them. Do you have a Trash to Treasure idea? Share it with us by leaving a comment.

Easter - Why Do We Celebrate This Day?

       He is not here; He has risen! (Luke 24:6)
For most schools here in Kansas, there is no school next Friday because it will be Good Friday. Good Friday is always two days before Easter and commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His cruel death on Calvary. Christian theology teaches that Christ's death is the perfect atonement for sins, and as a result, the crucifix, or cross, is one of the fundamental symbols of Christianity.

On Easter, our family will gather at church to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of Christianity. It establishes Jesus as the powerful Son of God and as a living Savior because He conquered death through His resurrection. It is a day of joyous celebration when many hymns as well as arrangements of special music and songs of the faith are sung.

In our current culture, I'm not sure what people really know or understand about Easter, especially children. Is it just Easter egg hunts, Easter candy and chocolate Easter bunnies? To find out what my group of girls at church knew, I created an Easter crossword puzzle based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The purpose of these two crosswords is to practice, review, and study the true story of Easter. Both feature 25 clues with corresponding Bible references where the answers can be found. The clues are: Judas, darkness, angel, feet, thirty, Peter, Barabbas, two, Jews, Joseph, tomb, stone, Mary Magdalene, thorns, purple, Thomas, resurrection, bread, blood, Gethsemane, three, crucify, Simon, Golgotha and risen. One crossword includes a word bank which makes it easier to solve while the more challenging one does not. Even though the same 25 clues are used for each crossword, each grid is laid out in a different way; so, you have two distinct puzzles. Here are some ways you might use these puzzles with your children:
  • $2.75
    Use as a review or as an introduction to the true Biblical Easter story.
  • Work in groups to complete the crossword, using the Bible references to look up the verses.
  • Use the puzzle with the word bank as a review; then hand out the second puzzle to solve.

Thankful for this holiday and for the grace of Jesus Christ.
Happy Easter!

Unlocking Fractions for the Confused and Bewildered - A New Approach to Teaching Fractions

I wish I understood this!
I teach remedial math on the college level, and I find that numerous students are left behind in the mathematical dust if only one strategy is used or introduced when learning fractions. Finding the lowest common denominator, changing denominators, not changing denominators, finding a reciprocal, and reducing to lowest terms are complex issues and often very difficult for many of my students.

I classify my students as mathphobics whose mathematical anxiety is hard to hide. One of my classes entitled, Fractions, Decimals and Percents, is geared for these undergraduates who have never grasped fractions. This article encompasses how I use a different method to teach adding fractions so these students can be successful. Specifically, let's look at adding fractions using the Cross Over Method.

Below is a typical fraction addition problem.  After writing the problem on the board, rewrite it with the common denominator of 6.

1) Ask the students if they see any way to multiply and make a 3 using only the numbers in this problem.

2) Now ask if there is a way to multiply and make 2 using just the numbers in the problem.

3) Finally, ask them to find a way to multiply the numbers in the problem to make 6 the denominator.

4) Instruct the students to cross their arms. This is the cross of cross over and means we do this by cross multiplying in the problem.

5) Multiply the 3 and 1, then write the answer in the numerator.  *Note: Always start with the right denominator or subtraction will not work.

6) Next multiply the 2 and 1 and write the answer in the numerator. Don’t forget to write the + sign. *Note: One line is drawn under both numbers. This is to prevent the students from adding the denominators (a very common mistake).

7) Now have the students uncross their arms and point to the right using their right hand. This is the over part of cross over. It means to multiply the two denominators and write the product as the new denominator.

8) Add the numerators only to find the correct answer.

9) Reduce to lowest terms when necessary.

It is important that students know the divisibility rules for 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 10. In this way, they can readily reduce any problem. In addition, it is extremely important that the students physically do the motions while they learn. This not only targets the kinesthetic learner but also gives the students something physical that makes the process easier to remember. The pictures or illustrations for each technique also benefit the visual/spatial learner. Of course, the auditory student listens and learns as you teach each method. 

I have found these unconventional techniques are very effective for most of my students.  If you find this strategy something you might want to use in your classroom, a resource on how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions is available by clicking the link under the resource cover. A video lesson is included to help you.