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MOVING MATH FACTS!

MOVING MATH FACTS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Help your child “step up” to math challenges with a fun game in your very own kitchen. Not only will this help your child learn basic addition and subtraction facts in an engaging way, it will also get her up and moving–with math!

What You Need:
Heavy paper, such as oak tag or construction paper
Marker
Masking tape
Hard floors, such as kitchen tiles

What You Do:
1. Before you start the game, write a complete math fact in large type on one side of a sheet of typing paper. If your child is struggling with early math facts, start with low numbers like 1+2=3. By second grade, however, most kids are working with number facts closer to ten, such as 9+8=17; or with subtraction. Wherever you start, write one math equation on one side of each paper, such as 6+6=12; and write just the question (such as 6+6) on the other side. Make at least 20 facts, and then mix them all up.

2. Set up the challenge: tell your child that her mission, should she choose to accept it, is to cross the room without touching the floor, using only her knowledge of math facts. Tape a square of blank construction paper on one side of the room. This is “start.” Explain that you will show her a math problem, and every one she gets right will become her next “step” allowing her to move across the floor.

3. Stand in front of your child, and show her the question side of the construction paper. If she states the correct answer to the math problem, turn it around and tape down the answer side a good step-width away. Allow her to move one space forward. Guide your child through the problems as needed, so that she doesn’t become frustrated if the math concept is new to her. If your child does not answer the problem correctly, she must stay on the same space. When your youngster gets all the way across the kitchen, she has successfully completed her mission!

In order to keep the Step Game a challenge, try using multiplication or division flashcards as your child advances in math.

This post contributed to Quest Teaching by:
Shannon G.
Community Manager
Education.com

photo credits:
“learn” by Geralt, pixabay.com
“flashcards” contributed with post

8 Ways to Improve Your Students’ Writing

Coaching Your Students to Writing Success!

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Well, it’s almost September and time for back to school with a whole new bunch of young learners that will teach us as much as we teach them. If you’re like me, one of the toughest challenges we face each year is to find new ways to help our students improve their writing.  It can be a daunting task, but like with anything, if we give our students the right tools for the job, then the path to success is made easier.

What? I can’t just give them a pencil and some writing topics and tell them to write everyday? Okay, Okay, I know you wouldn’t do that anyway, but I do have some tools and tips to share with you that I think will help as you coach young writers.

  1. Plan- Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, good writing starts with a good plan. The author needs to know where they are going with their writing.  What is their purpose? Who is their audience? And what is the mood of their writing?  Each of these could be a quick focus lesson.

Once these decisions are made, it’s time to put a plan on paper. It took me a long time (years, in fact) to come up with a story planner and a non-fiction planner that I really like.  My kiddos find them easy to follow and fill out. Because of this, they actually follow them as they are writing and that makes a huge difference to the creative process. These planners keep them focused.  Yay! ( Don’t worry, I’m going to give you a free copy of these planners with this link and a link at the bottom of the post. Just click  here to get it now.

2.  Content – All good writing starts with a good idea. Teach your students to ask questions about their character or subject. What would they want to know about him/her/it as the reader? What about personality? Quirks? Habits? etc.  Rich details make readers identify with the character and/or subject matter and add to the reading experience. Be careful, though, young authors must be taught to ‘sneak’ the details in context rather than just list them.  Otherwise we end up with the dreaded ‘info dump.’ Not good. Modelling is the best teacher here.  Show your kiddos how to put in the details without explicitly listing them.  Use great examples from authors you love. Kenneth Oppel and Rick Riordan are masters of this.

3. Organization – Kids need to be explicitly taught organization. It doesn’t come naturally to most.  Brainstorm ideas about a topic and write them down, then cut them apart and organize them into topics.  You can set this up in centers and have students do the same.  ‘Sticking to the topic’ is an essential skill in both fiction and non-fiction writing. It’s more obvious in non-fiction, but have you ever read a story that rambled with no clear focus?  Teach your students to keep coming back to the plot line /problem so that every detail, every action and every event have something to do with that plot line/problem.  If it has nothing to do with the plot, leave it out.  Teach them to keep the beginning, middle and end related to the central problem.

4.  Sentencing- Ooh this is a big one, grammar is tricky, but start simple by teaching them big ideas concepts like: Good authors never begin two sentences the same way in a paragraph.  Then have them use colored crayons to underline their beginnings and read them back. Soon they will be able to spot repetitions and problem beginnings.

5. Word choice – Teach your kiddos that a thesaurus is a writers best friend!  Show them how to use it, model using it as you write, and let the kids make a journal/lists of interesting words they’d like to use in their writing during their word work time. Because it’s words they want to use, they will be motivated to find WritingProcessPack_Page_5and use those words. Choice is a powerful motivator!

6. Editing – Students need to have a useful rubric for self evaluating and self-editing their work. I always tell my students that ‘They mark it first’ and ‘I mark it second’.  I created this rubric that helps them go through the process. I photocopy several and they take them as they finish up their stories and go through, mark, and fix their story before handing it in. It’s also wonderfully handy when addressing the next two goals.

7. Set goals to improve your skills- A student can’t focus on everything at once,but needs guidance to focus on just one area that s/he can improve their writing. During conferencing, I use the boxes in the above rubric/marking guide to set a goal each student.  We only focus on one boxed skill area for improvement and set a goal to address that with their next writing project. This keeps students from being overwhelmed and helps them see their progress!

8.  Feedback, feedback, feedback. I can’t stress enough how much students need consistent feedback about their writing.  They need you to care, to listen, to appreciate what they tried to do, and finally, to model how they can improve it.  Give them examples of more interesting ways they could ‘say the same thing.’

Writing is a love of mine, so you can see that I get excited about teaching young people to communicate their ideas more clearly with the written word.  I hope these ideas help you in that endeavour, also. Now for your freebie as promised click on the word below:

WritingPlanner

 

The Amazon Rainforest: Animal Facts and Photos

The Amazon Rainforest: Animal Facts and Photos

Written by KC Adams

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Despite the title, this book is not merely a list of facts, but a comprehensive view of the Amazon RainForest and the life within it. I knew that this rainforest was the largest on earth, but I did not realize that this rainforest receives a whopping 52% of the daily precipitation for South America containing 2/3 of the world’s fresh water supply and 20% of the world’s oxygen.

The animals inhabiting this world are diverse and bizarre. Most of us are familiar with tropical birds like the macaw and toucan and monkeys like the squirrel monkey and marmoset. Some of the unusual animals include the sloth who sleep fifteen to eighteen hours a day and the nocturnal maned wolf that is often called a red fox on stilts. Poison dart frogs can be as small as a paper clip, but their poison excreted through their skin is powerful enough to kill a human. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents, who are friendly to humans. On the other hand, the piranhas living in the river eat their prey alive. Be on the lookout for the anaconda, the largest most powerful snake on earth. Living in the water, these hunters catch their prey with their fangs and drag them under water to drown it before they swallow it alive.

Animal selections are written well even if they are succinct. Pertinent information on diet, habitat and lifestyle is presented. Questions follow the descriptions for discussion. The photos are clear and appealing, I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in learning about this intriguing region. Great choice for elementary and middle school students or homeschooling parents.

Barbara Ann Mojica, Author
Website: Little Miss HISTORY.com
Tel/Fax: (518) 325-5199

How to Use the Quest Teaching Site

Welcome to Quest Teaching!

This is a website built by a teacher, for teachers. In fact, in my class, I teach from the site every day! It is my hope that it will be as helpful to you as it is for me, so I wanted to just highlight how the site works and how to find a whole treasure store of valuable teacher tips, book reviews, and educational resources to inspire learning. Let’s get started.

Main page:  The main page of Quest Teaching includes a collection  all the blog posts, in every subject area.  Every time there is a new blog post it will be posted on the main page and on the related subject page for easy access.

The sidebar of the main page includes many teacher tools, blog sites, curriculum links, and educational resources. I hope teachers will find these connections useful in their lesson planning and classroom management. It is my goal to put all these useful tools in one place because I know that teachers don’t have time to be constantly searching.  That’s why I have done the “quest” for them and included any sites, blogs and tools that I find useful or have been recommended by other teachers.  I will keep updating the sidebar as I find new great teacher tools and blog-sites worth following.


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Coins: Each coin represents a subject area. By clicking on the coin, the teacher will be taken to a page which highlights all the published blog posts related to that subject.  As well, the side blog roll on that page will include websites and tools related to topics in each subject area.

Quest Projects: Woven throughout the Ultimate Treasure Quest are the themes of community and service. This page  is the place that your class can become aware of many worthy service projects in which  they can get involved.  Each project will be highlighted by guests who have a heart for serving others. Every organization is just a click away, found on the sidebar under the type of non-profit organization or cause that it represents.  Talk about real-life learning applications!

Quest Teachers:  This will  be the place to share with other teachers who are using the novels or the  many other resources found at Quest Teaching. This is a place to leave your comments, share ideas for how you are using the resources in the classroom, ask authors questions, and connect with other classes.  Also, watch for updates, teacher time-saving tips, technology tips and new resources available to teachers. They will all be posted here!

Quest Classes:  This is the place that I send my class and I hope you will send yours!  Here, your students will find a  safe place with links to a variety of kid-friendly websites that can be used to differentiate your classroom learning environment. The sites are arranged by subject area on the side-bar.  If you are wanting students to access the site links on iPads, then download the photon app and browse the Quest Teaching site with the app.  All the flash websites will work.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, or homeschool educator,  I hope this helps you better navigate the Quest Teaching site and helps you inspire others to keep on in their learning quests.

As always, I’m here for questions and comments.

Sharon