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Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First

I'm sure you've heard this phrase before:
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.
Have you thought about what this means for teachers?
Like moms, teachers tend to put the needs of the children first.

Yes, I am guilty as a teacher AND as a mom.

I've been known to hold stress in, and just keep going. This is NOT healthy, and your body will eventually stop working properly. Stress is a killer.

So what can we do about self-care?
Most teachers I know don't have a whole lot of time for self-care (especially if they are moms as well!) 

But taking care of ourselves is essential. After all, if we don't put on our own oxygen masks, how can we help our students with their masks?

I like to put self-care into 3 categories:
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.

Letting off some steam is a great way to take care of oneself! These are some great ways to "burn off" some of that tension:
1. Dance! This can include every kind of dancing from dancing at a club, dancing in your living room, or even taking tap dancing lessons!
2. Sing! You can sing in the shower, or just sing out anywhere! My favorite singing location is in the car!
3. Scream! Yes, that says scream, but be careful where  you do it, and who is watching. My favorite "socially acceptable" place to scream is on roller coasters! 
4. Exercise! Go for a run, do some jumping jacks, or take an exercise class. 

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.

Sometimes going wild just doesn't do the job. Sometimes the opposite is what is needed. Here are some self care ideas for going mellow:
1. Take a nap! You can take a nap on the couch, or a big time nap in your bed!
2. Take a bath! Get yourself some essential oils or a "bath bomb" and treat yourself to a nice hot bath!
3. Sit outside and watch the clouds! Doesn't this sound delightful?
4. Meditate! Just let your head clear. Put on some very quiet music to help relax.
5. Read a book! Personally, I like historical fiction or mystery, but anything will do!
6. Write in a journal! Get lost in your own thoughts as you write.
7. Cuddle your pet! There is scientific evidence that this will lower your blood pressure!

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.
Although a vacation is always a delight, most teachers don't make enough money to make a habit of going away all the time! But a simple escape from the usual routine can help bring peace.
1. Go for a walk! It doesn't matter to where. I'm lucky to live close to the ocean, so that's my favorite escape spot, but it could be a park, a block away from your home, or even a mall!
2. Take a class! Learn something you never knew before, but were always curious about! You might even make some new friends!
3. Watch a movie! Try one you've never seen, or maybe one you've seen over and over! (My favorite is The Notebook!)
4. Read poetry! I'm sure your local library has plenty of choices!
5. Look through an old photo album! What a nice way to escape to your own past!
6. Go to a comedy club! They say laughter is the best medicine!


Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Teachers tend to ignore the need for self-care. Here are some ideas to help teachers keep their strength so they can do their jobs.

Developing Multiplilcation and Division Fact Fluency

Developing Fact Fluency can be quite a challenge. 

In fact it can be overwhelming for students!


Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Why? Well, to start with, there are 100 multiplication facts, and 100 division facts!
That's a whole lot of facts to learn! Take a look at this:

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

There they are, all 100 multiplication facts.

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

And the 100 division facts.

It just doesn't work to just hand these lists to the kiddos and tell them to learn them all! 

Here are some ideas to help ease this heavy load!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Before the children start to work on memorizing facts, it's essential they understand what multiplication and division are! I like to spend plenty of time with manipulatives, as well as making and drawing arrays. I make sure they understand that 6 x 5 means 6 sets of 5. They use manipulatives to show six groups of 5 (as in the picture: 6 rows of cups, with 5 cups in each row), and draw an array with 6 sets of 5. When they have done a whole lot of this, and have a deep understanding of what it all means, then they can move on to fact fluency.

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

As you can see from the list of all the facts, it's just too much to assign them all at once! It's best to break them down into smaller groups, and best to create those groups by patterns. I recommend starting with the "x1 facts," which would be anything with 1 as a factor, and the related division fact. 

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Research on learning has taught us that this is how the brain learn best. 

Each family has a total of 4 facts that can be created with the same combination of manipulatives. (Doubles only have 2 per family.)
This can be seen in the visual below:

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

The upper left shows 5 sets of 6. (5 x 6 = 30) The upper right shows 6 sets of 5 (6 x 5 = 30) The lower left shows 30 sorted into 5 equal sets (30 ÷ 5 = 6) and the lower right shows 30 items sorted into 6 equal sets (30 ÷ 6 = 5).

Studying the fact families really makes the whole thing easier! If they learn one combination, they've got 4 facts!

Just for fun, here's how the doubles work. 

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

No matter how you turn the sets, it's still 5 sets of 5, so there's really only 2 possible combinations!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Research tells us that repeating the complete information orally helps the memory. They don't necessarily like to do this, but they'll admit it really helps them remember the facts!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

If you've ever had to learn a new skill, I'm sure you've seen the value of practicing a little bit every day. Five minutes a day for 5 days will have more value than 30 minutes of practice once a week! Less time, more value! I work my fact practice into my math rotations in a variety ways: games, practice alone, practice with a partner, or practice with an adult.

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Children develop their own tricks to help remember basic facts, and when they talk, they share those tricks! That makes everyone smarter!

Here's a trick I learned from my students! They've got plenty of ideas like this, that are worthy of conversation!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!


Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

Most of the children will have a good deal of success with the above 6 strategies, but if they don't, don't let them fall through the cracks. I suggest doing some sort of assessment once a week, and keeping a record of how they do. Even when they don't show mastery, they should be showing growth each week. If they don't, something needs to be done. 

Here are some suggestions:
1. Limit the amount of fact families. One or two fact families is enough for some children.
2. Work one on one with that student: 5 minutes a day.
3. Assign an adult to work one on one with that student.
4. Send home a set of facts to be practiced with a parent.

The above would be in addition to your regular routine. 

Here's a freebie set of practice and assessments for the x1 Fact Families:
 
Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

It contains practice cards (with the answers to be printed on the back) 2 assessments, and access to Boom Learning Digital Task cards, which the children absolutely LOVE! And it's free!

If you're interested in just the Boom Learning format,that's a freebie, too!
Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

If your students have success with this freebie, here's a link to the whole bundle: Fact Fluency System for Multiplication and Division: The Bundle


Here's a link to a similar bundle for addition and subtraction facts: Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: The Bundle

Plus, a chance to try out this system with this freebie: Fact Fluency System for Addition and Subtraction: Freebie

Want to read more about fact fluency and the brain? 
Here are a couple more blog posts with more information!

Developing Multiplication and Division Fact Fluency: Fact fluency is essential for success in mathematics. Here are 6 strategies to help the children develop fluency with multiplication and division facts. There's a freebie, too!

What Do You Love About Yourself?

What do you love about yourself?

What do you love about yourself? This blog post suggests asking children what they love about themselves, and gives some suggestions.


We often ask children what they love about people in their lives. What about themselves?

This is a fun idea for a morning meeting discussion topic, a writing prompt, a homework assignment, or just a casual question. It's a great idea to get the kids to search their own personalities and build some self esteem.

It's a good idea to start of by giving a good example. Get them to think about specific personality traits, and encourage the children to celebrate themselves!

What do I love about myself? 

Here are a few things:


1. I am a team player.
2. I always do my very best.
3. I am loyal and caring.
4. I am sensitive to the needs of others.
5. I am a survivor.

What do you love about yourself?


What do you love about yourself? This blog post suggests asking children what they love about themselves, and gives some suggestions.

Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting

Many people wonder if teachers should still teach handwriting. It's not in the Common Core Standards. Handwriting isn't on the tests. Plus, writing by hand is being phased out by computers and other electronic devices. 

Not only is cursive writing becoming obsolete, but even manuscript (printing) is being phased out. Why should it be taught?


Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

Here are seven benefits of teaching handwriting!

Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

Research shows that younger students with strong handwriting skills grow into stronger readers and writers as they progress in school. This means we should start handwriting instruction in Pre-K and Kindergarten.
 
Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

Research shows that when a student takes notes by hand, it helps the student remember what he's writing. Since writing involves more thought processes than typing, the brain is more likely to remember. This works with adults, too!
Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

Handwriting is a skill that isn't on tests, but it helps engage other skills. It helps engage executive function, which will help students in many other areas, and life in general!
Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

Typing fast at the computer can come in handy in many instances, but when composing an important piece of writing, it's best to slow down a bit and fully develop thoughts. Taking time to think through wording on important written passages is worth it!

Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

When preschoolers first learn to write letters, they are opening paths in the brain that lead to reading! As they learn to master the multi-step strokes in each letter, their brains are preparing for the multi-step processes involved in reading. 
Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.
 
Teachers and parents absolutely LOVE handwritten notes from their children! Do you know who else values a handwritten note? Grandparents, employers, party guests, and even customers! Seriously, think about how much grandma values a handwritten personal thank you note! Think about the value of a handwritten note of appreciation to a potential employer. It really makes a difference!

Here's a resource for writing thank you notes, including directions, etiquette, and examples: Writing thank you notes.

Here's a resource for letter writing: Classy Mail.
 
Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

As long as it's addressed in stress free manner, learning to write is fun for students! Learning both manuscript (printing) and cursive are status symbols to the children, and great source of pride!

If your district doesn't teach cursive, here's a resource that's self-directed. It's perfect for keeping the brain flowing and the kids absolutely love it! (Check out my video!)

Cursive Writing: A Self-Directed Instructional Guide

Want to know more about the benefits of handwriting? Check out this post!

Seven Benefits of Teaching Handwriting: Despite handwriting not being a "tested skill," here are seven reasons why students benefit from writing instruction.

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?
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