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Please, Stop Saying AND!!

Please, stop saying AND!

This may sound like a post about run on sentences. Now I'm not crazy about those either, but this is a math post. 

Please stop saying AND! This post tells about one of my pet peeves when it comes to numbers. Are you doing this?

I'm talking about using the word AND when naming numbers. This is a little pet peeve of mine. I like to do the right thing, but the world hasn't been following me on this one!

The word AND is only used when there is a decimal point. 

It's easiest to see when we're talking about money.


Don't say AND until you get to that decimal point. Here's another one:

Please stop saying AND! This post tells about one of my pet peeves when it comes to numbers. Are you doing this?

It works the same way with all numbers. Like this one:
Please stop saying AND! This post tells about one of my pet peeves when it comes to numbers. Are you doing this?
Or this one:

Please stop saying AND! This post tells about one of my pet peeves when it comes to numbers. Are you doing this?
And another:

Please stop saying AND! This post tells about one of my pet peeves when it comes to numbers. Are you doing this?

So many people have no idea they're not saying numbers properly. Even Rodger, my gps guy says it wrong! (Yes, you can change the voice on the WAZE gps app, and I chose a very sexy British guy named Rodger!)

Rodger might say, "Turn right on US Route four hundred and ninety-five." 

I guess I'll have to forgive him, after all, he's got that sexy British accent!


Please stop saying AND! This post tells about one of my pet peeves when it comes to numbers. Are you doing this?

Answering in Complete Sentences

Getting students to answer questions in complete sentences is no easy task, is it?

Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.

Here are some hints on making it easier on the kids! 
Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.
Let's say the question is "What is your favorite food?" 
Teach them how to use the words from the question to start off their answer. 
"My favorite food is..."

Another question could be, "How can you show kindness?" 
"I can show kindness by..."

Or perhaps you could ask, "How could you help someone who forgot his lunch?"
"I could help someone who forgot his lunch by..."

Here's one more example: "What animal would NOT make a good pet?"
"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is..."

It's important they get plenty of opportunities to hear this process before they go to the next step.
Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.
Now they need to get more involved! Instead of just hearing it, they need to practice orally.

I find this works well as a whole group, as in Morning Meeting. Ask one question to the group, and have each student tell their answer in complete sentences, using words from the question to start their answers. 

It's a good idea to review how they'll be starting their answers:
"My favorite food is..."
"I can show kindness by..."
"I could help someone who forgot his lunch by..."
"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is..."

As they are practicing, make sure the questions are interesting and fun, so they will be more interested in sharing their answers! (Plus, it's fun for the rest of us to hear their answers!)

Be sure to compliment those who elaborate on their answers, rather than simply one or two words. This is our end goal!

"My favorite food is spaghetti."
or
"My favorite food is spaghetti, with meatballs and lots of cheese on top."

"I can show kindness by helping."
or
"I can show kindness by helping someone who doesn't understand their math, or gets hurt on the playground."

"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is an elephant."
or
"An animal that would NOT make a good pet is an elephant because it would cost too much to feed it, and it wouldn't fit in my room!"

See what I mean?
Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.
Here's where you add the paper! 

Here's my little trick: have them meet with a friend and tell what they're going to write, word for word! Seriously, if they are going to write the language, they need to be able to speak it first! In fact, when they're first starting this skill, I might have them meet with a few partners before they sit down with the paper. (This is a trick I use with many aspects of writing... tell it first!)

I usually make a point to meet with a few children that I anticipate might struggle with this. 

Once I get those "strugglers" going, I'll check in with others to keep them on track.

Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.
Once they're ready, it's time for them to practice this skill without the guidance. It's a great way to start the day: post a question for the day, and have them answer it in complete sentences while you take attendance and lunch count.

It's still a good idea to have them practice orally with a friend before writing. 

Then, after they've written, sharing is encouraged!

Going back to revise after sharing is also encouraged!

Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.
I find the best way to encourage children to answer questions fully is to share the best ones. I'll go through the papers, find some that are well done, and share those to the whole class. I make sure I choose several different examples that show a variety of ways to answer.

Are you ready to start asking questions? 
I happen to have plenty of questions, based on fun daily holidays:
Here's the growing bundle: Daily Calendar Questions

Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.

Each month is also available separately:




March Calendar Questions

April Calendar Questions

My Calendar Questions

June Calendar Questions
July Calendar Questions

August Calendar Questions

The February edition is free for right now to give you  a chance to check them out!

Answering in Complete Sentences: This post shares 5 steps to get the children to use words from the question to answer in complete sentences. Plus, several examples, and ideas for resources.


Celebrating Kwanzaa

What do you know about Kwanzaa?
Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.
Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 as a way for African Americans to celebrate their African heritage.

Kwanzaa starts on December 26th and continues until January 1st. Each of the 7 days is dedicated to a principle:
Day 1: unity
Day 2: self-determination
Day 3: collective work or responsibility
Day 4: cooperative economics
Day 5: purpose
Day 6: creativity
Day 7: faith

On each of the 7 days, those celebrating Kwanzaa light a candle on a special wooden candelabra called a Kinara. (Image is a link to Amazon.)

Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.
Here are some books to help your students learn more about the celebration of Kwanzaa: (Each image is a link to Amazon for more information.)

                                  

Since Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration, it's important to include music as part of the celebration! Here are some examples of music that celebrate the culture of Kwanzaa! 

                       

Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their homes with homemade arts and crafts, and focus on the three colors of Kwanzaa: red, green, and black.

Food is also an important component of any cultural celebration! Typically a feast happens on the sixth evening of Kwanzaa. Typical foods served might include collard greens, corn, sweet potato pie, fried okra, catfish, jerk chicken, yams, and bananas.
Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.
Another tradition that comes with Kwanzaa is the passing of the unity cup. Celebrants each take a sip from the cup and wish for unity and togetherness.

Although the holiday was created for African Americans to celebrate their African culture, one does not have to be African American to celebrate the concepts of unity and togetherness!


Celebrate Kwanzaa: This blog post shares information, traditions, and resources to learn about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.

Three Things to Do When a Student Gets Frustrated

School can be very frustrating. 
Some children find school frustrating once in a while, 
and others find school frustrating quite often.

Three Things to Do When a Student Gets Frustrated: students can get frustrated over many things from math problems to social issues. Here are three things teachers can do to help frustrated students.

Frustration happens often with math concepts, but it can happen in many areas of the curriculum as well in social issues. No matter what causes the frustration, here are a few things a teacher can do if a child becomes frustrated.
Three Things to Do When a Student Gets Frustrated: students can get frustrated over many things from math problems to social issues. Here are three things teachers can do to help frustrated students.
1. Show some empathy! 

Seriously, we've all been there!

I'll bet you could easily name at least 5 things that you found frustrating in your past. Here are a few of mine: sports, (That should count as 5 by itself!) making friends, (I was painfully shy as a child.) teaching, (As much as I love it, we all know it has its frustrating moments!) parenting, (Who really knows all the answers?) and relationships! I often told students about how I was expected to play sports, but was horrible, no matter how I tried. 

It's pretty tough for children to feel frustrated in school. It matters to them that we care. It might also help to remind them of times when they had successes after working hard on something!

Three Things to Do When a Student Gets Frustrated: students can get frustrated over many things from math problems to social issues. Here are three things teachers can do to help frustrated students.

2. Practice stress relief strategies! 

When something is causing stress, the kiddos need to release that stress! 

Here are some of my favorites for children:
-deep breathing
-exercise (Don't you love Go Noodle?)
-music
-a snack
-coloring
-laughter

Three Things to Do When a Student Gets Frustrated: students can get frustrated over many things from math problems to social issues. Here are three things teachers can do to help frustrated students.

3. Put it to the side. 

If something is frustrating you, or a child, it's not always best to keep drilling that concept at that moment. The brain often works better by putting it aside. 

If possible, leave it until the next day. A good night's sleep will give the brain the chance to process the information and make sense of it all. More often than not, a quick review will bring those favorite words of a teacher, "Oh, now I get it!"

The brain really does go to work when the body sleeps, and often works things out by the next day!



Three Things to Do When a Student Gets Frustrated: students can get frustrated over many things from math problems to social issues. Here are three things teachers can do to help frustrated students.


Ten Classroom Management Tips with the Brain in Mind

Science has done a whole lot of research lately, and I'm absolutely fascinated by it all. Most important, scientists have been coming to conclusions that most teachers already knew about. Now there's evidence to back it up!
Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!

Here are some brain based ideas to help keep them learning in your classroom:

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
1. Pick your battles!  Many kids struggle to behave at school. If we call them on every one of those misbehaviors, learning would never happen! It's important to choose which behaviors are most important to correct so that learning will happen.


Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
2. Encourage failure! It's hard for so many kids, but as we know, failure is part of growing. It's important to make failure an every day part of the classroom. It's important that children see us fail, and we need to model what to do when failure happens. I often say things to my students such as, "Thank you for making that mistake! Now we all know how to work around this challenge!" (See this post: The Importance of Failure!)

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
3. Take care of your own needs! If you've ever gone on a plane, you've heard the "put your own oxygen mask on first, then assist children," speech. We can't help children if our own needs are compromised. Take care of yourself!

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
4. Model respectful, kind behavior! The best way to teach children to be respectful is to show them how to be respectful. When you are respectful and kind to children, you build a rapport with them, which makes them more likely to listen to what you have to say, and learn from you!

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!

5. Be firm and consistent! Being respectful doesn't mean let them get away with inappropriate behaviors! It's important to speak firmly when unwanted behaviors happen, and remind them each time the unwanted behaviors return. No need to be nasty about it, but acknowledge it.

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
6. Be clear about expectations! As mentioned above, communicating appropriate behaviors is essential! If you don't communicate what you expect, they won't know what to do, and might show a variety of unexpected behaviors! See this post: Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback!)

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
7. Make sure you're working at the student's level! If the work is too hard for the child, the child will become frustrated and act out. If the work is too easy for the child, the child won't be learning a whole lot and could become restless. As teachers, we know what a balancing act it is to work all students at their own levels, but with a lot of tricks up your sleeve, it can be done!

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
8. Keep a sense of humor! Keeping a sense of humor in the classroom helps to keep a good rapport between teacher and student, and keeps them interested in what's going on in class. Plus, laughter is a great stress reliever! (See this post: Laughter is Truly the Best Medicine!)

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
9. Keep your lessons engaging!  No matter how smart the kiddos are, or how clever the materials might be, if you don't portray a positive energy for the subject matter, you'll be wasting your time! Teachers need to be entertainers, in addition to everything else they do!

Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!
10. Integrate the Arts! I can't even begin to tell you how much I've read about the connections between the arts and learning! I'm not just talking about letting them draw.(Although that's a good start!) Including music, movement, as well as the visual arts will help the learning happen in the classroom!


Ten Classroom Management Tips with The Brain in Mind: These tips are research based, and will help teachers manage their classrooms and ensure learning will happen!

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner

Teachers can learn so much about teaching by putting themselves in a position of a learner!

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner: here are some ways that being a learner can help a person learn about teaching.

I've recently taken up Tai Chi, and have put myself in the position of learner again.

There are a whole lot of things I'm loving about learning Tai Chi, but that's not really what this post is about.

This post is about what I've been experiencing as a learner.

The Tai Chi instructors use a 3-3-3 method of teaching.

1. First the instructors demonstrate a move 3 times. They do it slowly and talk it through, drawing attention to specific parts. (Tai Chi is VERY detailed! Every muscle of the body is facing a certain direction and performing a specific function!)

2. Then, they do the move with us, guiding us, talking us through it as we do it.

3. Finally, after practicing together, we do the move without the teacher. Even then, since there are several levels of experience in the group, and most of us watch out of the corner of our eye to make sure we're doing the right thing.

Some things I really love about this:

1. We get plenty of opportunity to see what the move should look like.

2. We get to practice with help. (Teachers know this as Guided Reading.)

3. When we practice without the instructor, (s)he watches us to see if we're getting it, and if we're not, (s)he goes over what we're not getting. 

4. We  help and support each other. 

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner:

1. It's helpful to have different people explain something to you. Each instructor says things in a slightly different way, and one of those ways will be the way you'll learn it! 

2. As I get toward the end of the class, I start to lose the ability to focus. No matter how great the teaching is, (which is always wonderful) I usually need some "re-teaching" at the next session.

3. I need lots of repetition before something really sinks in for good.

4. Talking to other people that are learning the same thing really helps!

5. Working together and leaning on each other helps the whole group get better.

The form of Tai Chi that I've been learning is Taoist Tai Chi.

Recently, the New York Times published these articles about Tai Chi:


Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner: here are some ways that being a learner can help a person learn about teaching.
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