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Showing posts with label Common Core. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Common Core. Show all posts

I read a lot of articles on the internet, most of them have something to do with how the brain learns and holds information. We are lucky to be teaching in the 21st century where research is published daily about the brain.  I find this absolutely fascinating, and follow several brain-related publications.

Recently I read this article, Want to hold onto a Memory?  Make a Fist. It tells about a study about clenching fists to help the memory. First, a learner should clench the right fist for 45 seconds to activate the encoding part on the left side of the brain. (Left-handed people do the opposite.)

Then, clenching the left fist will help recall the information.

Although there is a lot of research to be done on this area, I've been suggesting to my students to clench their "writing hand" fist while saying a series of facts, for example: the "plus 3s". It would sound like this:

3+0=3 3+1=4 3+2=5 3=3+6 3+4=7
3+5=8 3+6=9 3+7=10 3+8=11 3+9=12

Then, they can sit down and write them while clenching their non-writing hand.
Of course, they might need some fun help with the clenching.

For the sports fans:

For geography enthusiasts: (These are my favorite!)

I started using the term "punch out the facts" to remind the children to make a fist!

Even if this recent research doesn't pan out, there are plenty of brain strategies that will help the children learn their facts:

1. Talking!

Saying the fact out loud helps!

2. Visuals!

As they read the facts, they are using visuals to help the memory!

3. Movement!

As they clench each fist, they are physically engaged!

4. Repetition!

As they repeat each fact, they are making more connections in the brain!

Here's a resource that lists all the addition and subtraction facts the children need to learn.

Most other math skills depend upon this basic knowledge!

Good luck to you and your students punching out those facts!

Number Sense with Cuisenaire Rods

Although I teach second grade, I still have some kids who really need some basic number sense! These are the kids who still don't automatically "count on" when adding two numbers together, or determining the sum of two dice. They still count the dots!

These kids need more "hands-on" opportunities to get to know these numbers inside out!

I absolutely LOVE Cuisenaire Rods for helping children develop their number sense. I posted about them a while ago with THIS POST about using Cuisenaire Rods to practice math facts and fact families. I've got some kids who need to back up even further and really need to get to know the individual numbers by using these manipulatives.

It's a good idea to give the children a couple of sessions for free explorations with the Cuisenaire Rods. They'll catch on that the smallest cubes are always white, and that the longest ones are orange. Sooner or later, they'll figure out the "staircase". From the staircase, they'll figure out the value of each color, so it's a good idea to start them off by building a staircase from this point on.

I've put together a few exercises with the Cuisenaire Rods to help build number sense. Click HERE or click the image to the right for a sample on the number 5 (the yellow rod).

If you're interested in more activities for the other colored rods, see the image below or see the full set here: Number Sense With Cuisenaire Rods

I have also developed a resource for Cuisenaire Rods to help the little ones learn Math Facts with fact families.

And yes... there's another set. This is the most popular with the kiddos: Once they develop number sense and know fact families, they can build with the rods and practice adding multiple addends!  See it here: Cuisenaire Rods Build it and Add!

Looking for more hands-on resources for using Cuisenaire Rods? Try these:

These sets are also in Bundles!

If you don't already have a tub of Cuisenaire Rods sitting in the back of your closet, here are a couple of options: (These are Amazon affiliate links, which means I'll get a couple of cents if you buy them, but it won't cost you anything extra!)

hand2mind Wood Cuisenaire Rods Introductory Set with Tray (Set of 74)hand2mind Cuisenaire Rods - Classroom Kit

But here's something exciting: although kids love the feel of the wooden or plastic rods, they also come in foam! That means they'll be QUIETER!

Golfing for Tens

Thursday I had 3 doctor's appointments.  Not 1, not 2, but 3. (I'm fine, just happened to schedule them on the same day!) I also went to the dentist on Tuesday and had my flu shot on Wednesday, so I should be all set for a while!

Since 2 of the 3 doctors are a half hour away, I was looking to fill time between appointments, so I went into the local dollar store.

I'm always looking for cute ideas for school in the dollar store. I'm either looking for organizational ideas or game ideas.  As I was browsing through the toy section, I saw the perfect game for my sports themed classroom:  golf sets!
I was planning the math game I was going to make while standing in line to make my purchase. (Do all teachers do this sort of thing when they take a day for doctors appointments?)

We've been working with addition of single digit numbers in our new math pilot program:  enVisions. The math part was so easy, I wanted to bump it up to adding tens. I figured they could work in teams, working on adding tens. I set up 3 lines, each a foot apart, and decided they could and take a few shots from different level.

As you might have guessed, the kids loved it! They were even good about working quietly while the other groups did their "sitting down" work, which is not easy for adults, never mind second graders! However, they knew they'd lose the privilege, so they worked hard to golf quietly!

The only problem? Those plastic golf balls were so light, the kids had trouble aiming them. Therefore, hardly any balls went into the cup, so they didn't get much practicing adding up points. I'm going to bring in real golf balls tomorrow, and I'm sure the extra weight will help them have more real "adding tens" practice. In the meantime, it was a great lesson in adding zeroes, and the kids really enjoyed it!

See the picture or HERE for your "golfing for tens" resource. I'm sure they have the golf sets in the toy section of most dollar stores!

My students have been learning the four kinds of sentences.

They're getting pretty good at naming the 4 kinds (Statement, Question, Command, Exclamation) and can easily identify that they all should begin with a capital and end with punctuation.

However, when I say a sentence (or when they read one) they're still working at figuring out what kind of sentence it is. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, in a fun way, with a Halloween Twist!

I made this activity with lots of sentences of each kind.  Of course, each of the sentences has something to do with Halloween!  I used mostly Dolch words, but I added some of their favorite Halloween words.  (They always remember those, don't they?)

I made some sorting cards, with reminders of each kind of sentence, along with 28 sentences.  I also added a few other activities to do with the same sentences, based on the Common Core for grades 2 and 3 including realistic or fantasy and complete sentence or sentence fragment. I think they're going to love it!  See HERE or any of the images for a link to this resource.

Here's a little movie to give you an idea how it's used!

The children will be having so much fun, they won't even realize they're practicing important reading and sentence skills!

Can it really be almost October already?

October just happens to be one of my favorite months! And it just so happens I have lots of dollar deals for you!

Brain Breaks are an important part of the day! Here are 12 with an October theme. October Brain Breaks!

October is Fire Safety Month! I've found these "Fire Safety What Ifs" can really get the children talking about some fire problem-solving! Click the image to download these!

And of course, it's football season! Be sure to click the image for a football-themed game that practices numbers through 1,000!

Isn't Halloween one of the biggest holidays of the year? Here are two more dollar deals to keep your students interested in classwork during the Halloween Days!

Even if you can't celebrate Halloween, you can certainly celebrate bats! Click the image to download this booklet:

If you love these dollar deals, you'll love this:

Isn't October fantastic?

I find games to be a great way to learn and develop skills.

Brain research tells us that adding the element of fun helps to connect the memory. Isn't that a great reason to play learning games?

I like to teach a game during small group instruction time, so I can watch the children play and make sure they are focused on the learning goal. I'll have them play a couple of times with guidance before I let them play on their own.

After a game has been introduced and practiced, it will be available as a choice during math stations or centers.  There are times when certain children are assigned a particular game as well.

It's a good idea to allow the children to play games below their level, as these are important skills that should be mastered in order to perform the higher skills with ease. Just because the skills are easy for the child doesn't mean they don't have value! In fact, if the game isn't somewhat easy, it won't be fun for the children. Also, if the game isn't somewhat easy, the children will be more likely to make mistakes, which won't help them master the skills. I've learned "practice makes permanent," and we don't want to make incorrect skills permanent, do we? If you've ever had to unlearn a bad habit, you'll know just what I mean!

I have a series of BINGO games that I designed to go along with second-grade skills. They all have a sports theme, which is a big draw for the kids. I find once they learn the format of a particular game, it takes less time to teach a similar game, meaning more time practicing each skill!

You can find this resource here:

As mentioned above, once the students know the format and how the game works, they can play similar games to strengthen similar skills. It just so happens that I have several math games that follow this same format with different sports themes that can be found here:

Still looking for more math games to strengthen their skills?

Here are plenty more Math games, including several freebies! Math Games Category

Games are a great way to build skills AND have fun!  Enjoy!