fbq('track', 'ViewContent');

## Brain research suggests adding movement with words in order to help the memory.

Many children struggle to remember when to add or subtract when they read math story problems. I decided to add some movement to help the kids remember when to add or subtract.

When we talk about an addition story, I have the children gesture one arm out and reference the first set. Then they gesture the second arm out and reference the second set. Then while we ask the question, we swoop our arms together into a plus sign, and say "How many all together?" or "How many in all?" The motion of bringing both arms together into a plus sign while saying the words really helps!

For subtraction, we start by gesturing a set in one arm. Then the second arm swoops away part of that set, making a minus sign with the arms.

Finally, for a subtraction comparison story, we gesture being a scale, balancing a set on each hand while saying, "How many more?" or "How many less?"

These gestures seem rather simple, yet with a few repetitions, the children remember them when they are doing word problems. In fact, I've had children come back to me long after they left my class and tell me how glad they are I taught them these gestures!

It helps if you have fun math stories for the children to practice with. Here are a few themed math story problems to make the practice a little more fun!

What better way to learn about your home state (and the nearby states) than reading in a fun book?

I've joined up with a group of bloggers for Booking Across the USA!
I was lucky enough to be involved in this project last year (See THIS blog post) and I couldn't wait to do it again!

This year is particularly cool, since we got to use these books, thanks to Blue Apple Books!
I shared Travelin' the Northeast with my class, and it's adorable! Each book represents a section of the United States, and has a page about each state, along with facts about that state. The best part? There's this cute little dog named Charlie that's on every page, and they absolutely LOVE searching through each state for Charlie!

Here are some of the facts we learned about New Hampshire from this book:

• The first free public library was established in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
• Tupperware was invented in New Hampshire.
• The alarm clock was invented by Levi Hutchins in Concord, New Hampshire in 1787.
• Alan Shepard, the first US Astronaut in space, was born in Derry, New Hampshire November 23, 1923.
• Plus, there are some cool pictures on the map page of New Hampshire that give us more information about the state!
• Brain research tells us making connections to the arts help children remember.
• Most teachers have these around their classrooms:

If not, they're easy to find!
Pipe cleaners are easy to find! If you put these two
materials together, you can make something like this:

Here's how it works:  Each time a child can share a fact about one of the states they've learned, they get a new bead for their bracelet. As they build up beads, they can go through the beads, remembering each of the facts they have learned. The beads are helping the memory!

Another way to use the beads: Attach another bead to the bracelet for each state the children can find on the map!

## My Earth is pretty important to me!

It's my home, and it's the home for my kids (both biological and students) and their children. If we make the effort, we can make our Earth and its resources last!

I plan to make the whole week all about protecting our Earth and its resources.  Here are some of my plans:

1.  Literature! I always use plenty of literature whenever I teach a concept.  Here are some great books that tell what happens if we don't take care of our Earth: (Click for an affiliate link to Amazon for more information about these books.)

Here are some more books to bring Earth Day awareness:

2. Resources! Here's what I'll be using next week to tie Earth Day into reading, writing and math in my second grade classroom: Earth Day No Prep

These Earth Day Math Story Problems are a favorite!

The above resources as well as a few others are included in this bundle at a HUGE discount!  Earth Day Collection

3. Videos!  Speaking of Youtube, there is a wealth of information out there, and some of it is pretty good!  Here are a few I've found that are great for Earth Day:

4. Be a Role Model! If you want the kids to do what they can to protect our Earth, you need to show them how! Let them see you reduce, reuse, and recycle! I always warn my students not to use more than their share of paper, not to waste materials, and not to let the water run. They see me being careful about using paper. I even print on both sides whenever I can! If a paper has print on one side, I save it and put it upside down in my printer to use again. We have a recycling box in our class for paper, and save paper scraps, especially construction paper that can be used again on other projects! I also make a point to mention when I see a child being conservative with materials.

5. Dollar Deals! Here are a couple more Earth Day bargains!

Here's a Dollar Deal for students to write about their Earth Day plans: EarthDay Writing Paper

This Dollar Deal is a song to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ballgame! Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

## It has been one long cold winter here in New Hampshire!

From what I understand, it's been a long cold winter all over the US!

Spring in New England shows up in mid-April, but as I was driving to my hair appointment this morning, I saw a couple of signs of Spring!

I saw buckets on maple trees!

I know Vermont is the big state for maple syrup, but we do it here in New Hampshire, too! The maple syrup tapping is actually late this year, because the weather's been so cold. They need cold nights and warm days for the sap to flow. We've had plenty of cold nights, but today, we had a warm day. The temp actually went up to 50! I actually took my coat off in the car, and didn't even button it when I was outside! It was fabulous!

Here's the other sign of spring I saw...
a little something green:

Yep, McDonald's Shamrock Shakes are definitely a sign that spring is coming!

I have a few things about spring up my sleeve. I always make sure I have plenty of books about the subject.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I always make sure I read a few to the kids, but I also make sure I've got them in the book tubs so the kiddos will explore them.

I think videos are great to help the children understand concepts, especially things like how seasons work.  Here are a couple I've found!

What Causes Earth's Seasons: (10:48 min)

How Seasons Work (58 seconds)

How Equinox's Work: Beyond Our Earth (2:24 minutes)

Try them all and see which one you like best!

As most teachers know, squeezing in science and social studies topics is tough, since most of our time is dedicated to reading, writing, and math! In my attempt to keep some of the fun stuff in the classroom, I've included signs of spring in with important literacy and math concepts in this set of No Prep Printables: Signs of Spring Printables: Literacy and Math. I've got some math story problems, popular fact games, word work, writing, and comprehension work, all somehow connected to Signs of Spring.

Spring is a great time to teach about life cycles! Here's a bundle of crafts and activities for the life cycles of 9 different plants and animals, at a huge discount! Spring Life Cycle Bundle

Here are some other games and activities with a spring theme:

Some of my students are struggling to remember the +9 and -9 Facts, so I made this game to make practicing fun: Adding and Subtracting Nines: Spring Flower Theme

My kids are working on using mental math for adding and subtracting. This game board has a set of cards for addition mental math, and a set of cards for subtraction mental math. Plus, it's got built-in brain breaks! It's a favorite in my classroom: Mental Math Addition and Subtraction: Spring Board Game.

Finally, this is a collection of 6 different games that are related to spring. It has word work, grammar, and plenty of math games, all made for second graders, but are also appropriate for high firsts or review for third graders. See the image to take a closer look at Literacy and Math Games Spring Bundle.

## Today's post is something to think about.

It's not a cute strategy or a brilliant organizational idea.
It's just a little something teachers and parents need to think about.

Yes, that says failure, and it's an important part of learning!

Sometimes children just need to go beyond their comfort zone.

Sometimes, it's important for children to fail.

## I know what you're thinking...

Isn't it easier to help them along, so they can succeed?

What about their self-esteem? They'll have loads of failures through life, just like we have: disappointing grades, failed friendships, sports disappointments, college rejections, career failures, and the dreaded failed romance. People that they have loved will die.

Experiencing failure actually helps the children develop coping skills, resilience, and even creative thinking!

By learning from their mistakes, they actually build self-esteem! Knowing how to cope with little failures will help them cope with the bigger failures that come later in life.

I have a little story from my parenting experience that I share with the parents of my students:

When my daughter was little, I took her ice skating. I'd always loved ice skating, so I'd hoped she'd be successful. She and I stepped out onto the ice holding hands, and we started to skate! She was doing great. There were a couple of times she started to lose her balance, but I was right there to help her, and she got back to skating right away.

After a while, I'll bet you can guess what happened... she stopped trying to stay up on her own.

Then I realized what I needed to do... I needed to let her fall. I let go of her hand and let her go on her own. (It wasn't easy to let go, but I knew it was necessary!)

She fell a few times. She was fine, of course, but that was when she really figured it all out. She started skating, and I learned a valuable lesson.

## Kids need failure in order to learn.

She never would have learned to skate if I kept catching her every time she fell.

Sometimes it's easier on us to do things for our children, like tie their shoes, pack their bags, or make their lunches. But just remember:

There are many famous people who have experienced various degrees of failure. Here are some people who brushed it off, then had great success: J.K. Rowling, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Walt Disney.

It's not so easy for us, but it's also not easy for the kids. Do you have children in your classroom who are afraid to answer questions because they fear being wrong?

Do you have children who are afraid to complete work because they're not sure they'll get the right answer?

Do you have students who cheat when they play games because they're afraid of losing?

## How can we do that?

1. by making them feel safe.
2. by making them feel confident.
3. by praising their efforts.
4. by continuing to encourage them.
5. by being a role model: let them see you make mistakes and model appropriate ways to cope with failure.

Yes, praise their efforts. I often thank my students for making mistakes.

It might sound like this: "Thanks for pointing that out. You just made us all smarter!"

One last story about my daughter:

She's a perfectionist, and takes pride in her good grades. When she was in 8th grade, she got a C in Algebra. My comment? "Good! Now you know you won't die."

Seriously, it relieved a lot of stress for her. And she turned out to be fine. Plus, it motivated her to work harder in Algebra, and she ended up on the Math Honor Society in High School!

There are loads of studies on the benefits of failure, and how it can be successful.