All About Me Bags

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Teacher friends ~~~  I know most of you have huge concerns regarding school starting in person or online in the next few weeks.
It will feel so strange to not start the year off in person meeting and getting to know our students.  

I know building our classroom community is one of our favorite parts of teaching.  ( insert sad face here ).

So, I'm thinking about all the things I've done in the past and trying to figure out what can still work online even though it may 'feel' different.

One of the things I love to do is an ALL ABOUT ME BAG activity.  I have a product you can look at { here } if you want to see it up close.   Basically, each child is sent home with a brown  lunch bag an a note and  poem explaining how to fill up the bag with things about them.  

Me Bags - back to school icebreaker

back to school activity in person or online

We sit in a circle and share our About Me bags and it's a wonderful way to get to know each other.  We usually spread this out over a couple of days to keep their interest and not fill most of the day with shares.

This can  still be done on line.  You can assign students different days the first week to share their ME bag. They can share their bag in front of their classmates on your digital learning platform...zoom, google meet, etc. It can still be an engaging way to get to know your students.  

All About Me getting to know you activities back to school

I guess I just want to remind you that you can do many of the same things you 've done in person on line, it may take more thought or going about it a different way but may be possible.  Keep thinking outside the box you guys...we got this!


Teaching multiplication: Ideas, Tricks, Chants and More

Friday, July 10, 2020
Teaching kids multiplication can be a 'bear' of a task and overwhelming at times.  I've heard time and time again from parents that they just don't know how to get their child motivated to learn them.

According to Andrew Cross...practicing multiplication through rhymes might be the best way for kids to learn.  He compares it to a strategy that Shurley Method used to teach english in many American schools.  She relied on rhyme, jingles and short songs to help kids retain information.

As a literacy specialist I see this all the time.  When I work with kindergartners and first graders I see great success when I add in a rhyme whether it's with sneaky y or magic just sticks.

Now, this might not be for everyone, I get it.  Differentiation is key in all areas of teaching.  Offering hands on models for kids to manipulate, teaching them tricks to help them remember and recall them faster are helpful.  Offering daily number talks with students has been found to be extremely beneficial as well - giving them engaging activities that involve critical thinking has shown a link to a stronger math presence.

Columbia research suggests creating a clever phrase to help kids remember facts.  To help amplify learning another idea is to incorporate the numbers into a short story ( adding a rhyme makes it 'stick' even more )

Obviously, looking for patterns such as teaching your child when multiplying by 4's... it's as easy as doubling numbers.  Just take the number being multiplied by 4 and double it twice. 

With all that being said, I want to share a product I created that has been beneficial to almost 500 teachers around the world.  The reviews echo the same sentiment:  

These easy to remember, fun to say chants with the visual picture - images along with words/numbers etc. are the simpliest and most effective way to make sure information gets stored as long term memory.  
Well, these mini posters do just that.  There are several options too.  They can be bound and made into a book ( Staples ), print out the smaller versions and put on a ring by set:  1's, 2's, 3's, etc. 
or just print and put in plastic sleeves for them to use and read during math centers.  

I have found success with them bound in a book and we say them during the few extra minutes we have before recess or waiting in line for an assembly etc.

Find it here

multiplication rhymes and chants

Distance learning got you down?!?! 
 Don't worry - I've created these SAME rhymes and chants in powerpoint.  You can have your students scroll through the chants and say them aloud.  Also you can project it for when you go back to school, my students loved chanting them from the smartboard.

distant learning multiplication

Click HERE for it

So...if you are worried about your own child falling behind or not picking up their facts quickly enough...or you need to best meet the needs of your students you definitely want to check these out and see what all the 'hype' is about.

multiplication tricks

teaching multiplication

These are for sure super helpful in helping your children LEARN and MEMORIZE their facts.  If you need multiplication practice for your students I also have these available in my store:

multiplication riddles

multiplication scoot

multiplication flash cards

and more found here

multiplicatoin mystery puzzles pack
Do yourself a favor and check out Mr. Demaio on you tube, he has the BEST multiplication videos that your kids will beg for everyday!!! 
Hope these tips help and if you have some tried and true favorites or links share them below.

Happy teaching!


Early Childhood Education Curriculum Series

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

I spent the early years ( and many years after ) of my teaching career in early childhood.  While I was working on my teaching credential I was teaching preschool in the am and running the after care in the afternoon.  Then straight off to night classes about 45 minutes from my home and job.  It was tiring but packed full of valuable learning experiences.

I fell in love with teaching during this time right after my undergrad degree!  

dramatic play, sequencing, fine motor skills preschool kindergarten

I have learned a lot over the 26 years that I have been an educator and I will continue to  make learning and growing a priority in my life.  

One of the things that I was able to see a direct relationship with in my teaching was working with fine motor skillsIf I was able to build them up in a child I was able to see a direct relation to their improved writing/drawing skills. 

I knew the time I spent preparing fine motor activities for them was going to pay off big time when it came to them holding a pencil, scissors, etc.

That is one of the reasons that I developed my GROW product series on TPT.  My desire as is yours I suspect since you are here reading this is for your students' growth.  We want to celebrate the growth of our students in all areas:  SEL, academic, etc.  In order to do that we need to give them the TOOLS they need to experience that growth so that's how my GROW series evolved.  

Anything that I see as a 'growth' promoter for young learners is included in this series.  I cover fine motor skill actitivites, social activities, pre reading activites and more. 

Below is just a small sample of my grow series that I have started, I have products in my store currently that I am changing covers to and adding to this series.

Pokey pin art - builds fine motor skills and confidence ( not shown but available in my store )
Tracing - builds fine motor skills and confidence - preparing your student for future success in writing, grasping etc.
Dramatic play centers - build social AND emotional skills in young children.  Learning to take turns, delegate and accept 'jobs' within the roles of dramatic play.  Learning to be disappointed when they didn't get a role they wanted right away.  Talking, interacting, imaginative play are all so VITAL in kids  nowadays and lacking in my opinion.
Sequencing pictures - a great pre reading skill as children are learning to navigate stories/events have a beginning, middle and an end.  
Sensory bins ( not shown but availabe in my store )- Perfect for using their pincher grasp to pick up the sight words or cards in the bin amongst rice or paper or cotton balls, etc.

dramatic play, sequencing, fine motor skills preschool kindergarten

This series is a work in progress/growing series, if you are interested in these just look for the GROW symbol on covers in my store or click the GROW series in my product categories to find more.  
Remember these products will be perfect for PRESCHOOL, PREK, TK, KINDERGARTEN, SPED and possibly FIRST GRADE.

You can find them in my store here.

happy teaching xox