How are you? I hope you are well. You may know that I used to teach kindergarten. So, it is no surprise that I have quite a few activities in mind to use for the younger students. Today, I want to show you what I call the “Counting Petals Poster”.
I usually introduced the “Counting Petals Poster” in early spring with the plants unit. Petals are something that most students can kind of draw by the time early spring comes. By then, we have already worked on numbers and counting to ten, at least a little.
The good thing about the “Counting Petals Poster” idea is that you can tailor it to the needs and skills of your students. However, don’t underestimate what they can do. It might not always come out neat and tidy, but students can often do more than we think they can.
Let me show you what I mean. Here is an example of my finished “Counting Petals Poster”.
This one is done digitally, however, when I was teaching kindergarten, often I would do it by hand just to show that they can do it too. You can do this activity in a variety of ways. I tried in different ways, depending on my students.
You can ask the students to create a poster of their own making and design as long as the number of petals are drawn and labeled for numbers one to ten. (For struggling students, you may want to do it for numbers one to five or even one to three.) I tried this once. Some came out pretty nice and others came out all squished together and not necessarily in the correct order.
The activity can also be done with handing students a plain piece of paper with just the grid on it. Or, a plain piece of paper with the grid and circles for the flower centers on it. Sometimes something as simple as adding the circles for the flower centers is all it takes to give the students a greater understanding and sense of accomplishment. Then, you don’t have to explain which squares have the numbers and which squares have the flowers with the petals.
If you want, you can let students do this individually, as a small group activity, or as a class. You will probably want to introduce it, discuss it, and even walk through parts of it before you give it out as an activity for independent work.
Another thought is to do the “Counting Petals Poster” activity partially as a group. Maybe draw the petals as a group one step at a time and then have students go back and count the petals and write the numbers. Or, it can be done the other way around. Write the numbers as a group and then have the students go back and draw the flowers with the petals to match.
I like to have the students do the activity in pencil first. Then, I can check it, let the students know if there is anything that needs correcting, and when it is ready, have them go over it in color. The numbers can be traced in marker, the flowers can be colored with crayons or colored pencil, and then students can color around the outside of the grid to make a border of his or her own color or design. Or, students can cut out around the edge of the grid and glue it to a piece of colored construction paper.
These make great art and academic pieces to hang on the wall or the bulletin board. They can also be put in a portfolio, because this activity highlights many different skills.
At times, after we did the activity once as a class, I would put it in one of the centers as an activity. In that way, students can do it over and over again as they choose. They can learn ways to improve the involved skills.
There was even a time when I had the students not just put the number but also write the labels, such as “one petal” or “two petals” and so on. It depends on the skill of the students.
I am sure that you have many of your own ideas about how to include the “Counting Petals Poster” activity into your lessons. I look forward to reading your ideas, so other educators and I can learn from you. How would you introduce the “Counting Petals Poster” activity to your class?
Now, it is your turn.
I am so glad you are here. I can’t wait to read your comments. Also, it is possible that you will be seeing this poster as a bigger package product, so stay tuned. Speaking of products, if you haven’t checked out my educational resources, please do so. (I will let you in on a “secret”. Currently, most of my products are supplemental curriculum materials. However, I am working towards creating curriculum materials for entire skills sets, subjects, or units.) And, if you don’t see anything that fits your needs, please feel free to contact me and request something. I am happy to make things easier for you, if possible.
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Stuff the Stocking with Ss Things
How are you? I want to tell you about an activity that I used to do with my kindergarten students about this time of year. One of the popular traditions of this time of year is hanging a stocking in hopes that it will be filled with treats.
So, I created an activity where students could draw or write items that started with the letter “S” inside of a drawn stocking. It is a fun little activity that students enjoyed.
It was really nice when this lesson came as I was teaching the letter “Ss” or when we were starting to write words based on the sounds we knew. Everyone enjoyed the “Stuff the Stocking with Ss Things” activity.
First, we reviewed the letter “Ss” as a group and went over the sound that the letter made. We brainstormed a few words verbally that started with the letter “Ss”.
Then, I handed out the “Stuff the Stocking with Ss Things” activity page. It is a page with a simple stocking drawn on it.
Here is an image of a stocking just for you to use for the activity. Feel free to download it and use it with your class. It is my gift to you.
As a student handed out the stocking activity, I told students to work in pencil first. After their work was checked, they would be allowed to use crayons or colored pencils to color their picture.
I walked around as they worked. Each worked at his or her own pace and ability. I asked each student what he or she was drawing or writing. For the students with the lower abilities, I wrote the word for the object next to his or her drawing or word. Some students only portrayed the things we brainstormed as a class. However, for the students who could do more, I encouraged them to do more. I encouraged them to come up with their own items starting with the letter “Ss”.
After students were finished drawing and writing, we came together in a circle as a class. I asked each student to share something he or she drew or wrote that started with the letter “Ss”.
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I enjoy hearing your thoughts. Please, let me know some of the activities you do this time of year or some that you do to teach or assess the letter "Ss". Did you know that DUO Inspirations creates and sells educational products? Check them out. If you don't see what you need or want, feel free to request something. You can comment below or contact me.
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How are you today? Today’s Education Blog by DUO Inspirations is about patterns, specifically in teaching patterns. We see patterns every day. Some we like and appreciate and some we don’t. Some patterns are simple and some are complex. Some patterns are man-made and some patterns are God-made.
Noticing, identifying, and appreciating patterns are all important skills in life. They will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of things around us. The ability to find and understand patterns often helps us to learn faster or appreciate more.
So, how do we teach patterns? Often we start by helping students understand a simple A-B pattern. The pattern could literally be A, B, A, B, A, B…. and on and on. It could also be any alternating pattern. The A-B pattern could be a number pattern, such as 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2…and on and on. It could be a color pattern, such as blue, red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, red…and on and on. It could be a sound pattern, such as snap, clang, snap, clang, snap, clang…and on and on. It can be a movement pattern, such as clap, jump, clap, jump, clap, jump, and so on.
Some may think that patterns are monotonous, boring, or even frustrating. However, it doesn’t have to be so. Teaching and learning patterns can be a very exciting experience. It is all in the presentation and in the attitude.
It may be tempting to just give students a piece of paper with patterns on it and ask the students to finish the patterns. This may be helpful at times, but it isn’t the only exercise in teaching or learning patterns. Paper pattern activities are most helpful in practicing and assessing pattern recognition skills.
Ask the students to come up with a pattern for others to complete. Choose some patterns that students can act out. Choose patterns that might sound like a tongue twister, especially if they are said quickly. Maybe have the pattern being a speaking pattern and let the words be slippery slippers. (This gets even more exciting when the pattern gets more complex than A-B.)
Once students learn to recognize and identify and A-B pattern, maybe go on to other patterns such as an A-A-B pattern, and A-B-B pattern, or an A-B-C pattern.
While we are on the subject of teaching and assessing pattern recognition, I want to tell you about the "Introductory Pattern Pack". The “Introductory Pattern Pack” includes three simple fill in the squares to complete the pattern activities as well as a blank template, so you can make your own patterns. Use the “Introductory Pattern Pack” to assess whether students understand pattern recognition. Pattern recognition activities such as in the “Introductory Pattern Pack” not only assess pattern recognition understanding, but also encourage early problem solving skills.
To browse DUO Inspirations' selection of Educational Resources, click here.
Now, it is your turn.
I appreciate you being here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Do you teach pattern recognition? Are you looking for educational resources? How can DUO Inspirations help you in your educational journey? Please, comment your thoughts, ideas, questions, and suggestions below or feel free to contact me. Thank you. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up below to get the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other education content sent directly to your inbox.
How are you? Earlier this month, I wrote about fact families, an important beginning math skill. This week, I thought I would write about identifying nouns, an important beginning language arts skill.
Once we start learning about letters, letter sounds, and simple words, often one of the next skills is to identify nouns. Nouns, as we know, are people, places, and things. It might seem simple to us, because we know it. Yet, for students just starting out, it may not be quite so easy. It may take practice and a variety of activities to get the idea of what constitutes a noun and what doesn’t.
I have used a variety of ways to teach and reinforce noun identification. The first way that I will tell you about to teach, reinforce, and practice the skill of identifying nouns is to make it fun. You can make up simple silly stories leaving out the nouns and having students come up with nouns to complete the stories. (Yes, there was a product that was out when I was growing up that was very much like this.)
Another way to teach, reinforce, and practice the skill of identifying nouns is to have word sorts. For a simple sort, have just noun and verb sorts. Don’t make the words too difficult at first. Have simple nouns like, “man, boy, cow, book, car” or simple verbs like “jump, run, clap, read, eat”.
Believe it or not, some words that may seem like simple nouns or verbs may be a little confusing. For example, when I was writing the examples above, I originally had toy as a simple noun. However, if a student has ever been told, “Don’t toy with me” he or she may wonder why it is a verb in this case and a noun when it refers to something with which to play. I also had hide down for a simple verb, but a student who has heard of animal hide, may not understand why it is a noun in that case and a verb when playing and trying not to be found.
You may decide to use the words that may be a little tricky, however, I do feel that it is worth considering before you teach them. This may be especially true when teaching the skill to those whose first language is not English.
A third way to teach, reinforce, and practice nouns is to have students do activities in which they color in words a certain color based on the type of speech. I actually created an activity where nouns are colored in blue. It seems to be one that people enjoy.
Now, it is your turn.
How do you teach, reinforce, and practice the identification of nouns? Please, comment below. I look forward to your ideas.
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P.S.- Did you know that DUO Inspirations creates educational materials? If you are interested in having me create an activity for you, please contact me. Also, some are given free, especially if you are on the email list. Thank you.
How are you today? I think of math as a cool puzzle. In most puzzles, there are only a right way and a wrong way to put the puzzle together. Yet, with math, the puzzle pieces can go together in a variety of ways and still be right. Teaching fact families once students know how to count and start learning to add is a great way to show them that math can be a cool puzzle.
There are fact families for addition and subtraction as well as multiplication and division. However, right now, I am only addressing the fact families for addition and subtraction. I believe the skill should be taught in addition and subtraction. Yet, I think it should be reinforced in multiplication and division.
Fact families are four closely related math statements. To me, it shows that numbers can be manipulated to make them easier to solve or explain. This may not make much difference in the early years of simple addition and subtraction. However, in later years during more difficult problems and algebraic equations, this skill will come in handy.
Let’s look at a sample fact family: 2+3=5, 3+2=5, 5-2=3, 5-3=2
These four equations use the same three numbers. There are two addition equations and two subtraction equations. The first two equations shows that it doesn’t matter which order you add two numbers the answer is still the same. This is also known as the commutative property.
Fact families help you to know more than you think you know. For example, if you know that 2+3=5, you also know that 3+2=5. If you know that 2+3=5, you also know that you can “undo it” by saying that 5-3=2. And, if you know that 5-3=2, you can also switch the order of the numbers you “take away” to make 5-2=3.
Attitude can make a difference as to whether students find this information to be “more that they HAVE to remember” or “more that they GET to know.”
Sometimes adding silly parts to a lesson make it more enjoyable to students. Maybe start off by asking, if I put two purple and pink polka-dotted pigs and Johnny puts three purple and pink polka-dotted pigs in a pile and we add them up, how many purple and pink polka-dotted pigs do we have all together? (Yes, five. That is right.) If we take them back and then Johnny puts his three purple and pink polka-dotted pigs in the pile first and then I put my purple and pink polka-dotted pigs in the pile second, then how much will we have all together? (Yes, five. That is right.) So, does it matter who puts their purple and pink polka-dotted pigs in the pile first? Does the number of purple and pink polka-dotted pigs that we have all together change in any way by which order we put them down? (No, that is right.) It is the same with adding numbers. It doesn’t matter if we add 2+3 or 3+2 because the answer is still 5. Then, you can go through the same process, showing that it doesn’t matter in which order you pick up your purple and pink polka-dotted pigs, because the same three numbers are being used. You are just “undoing” what you did when you put them down. You can then relate the picking up of the purple and pink polka-dotted pigs to subtraction.
Make it a game. Have students come up with the objects that are being put in the pile and picked up again. Ask them to choose silly objects, fun objects, dull objects, sharp objects, etc. Relate them all back to numbers. Have the students to choose the numbers, count them, and add them too. Ask the students to write and/or draw the math equations that make up their fact families.
The idea is to not only teach the important skill of fact families, but to also show students that math doesn’t have to be difficult and boring. The idea is to show students math can be helpful and exciting as well. It also gives you as a teacher to role model to students that the right attitude matters.
Now, it is your turn.
Do you teach fact families? How do you introduce fact families? I would be interested in your thoughts. Please, leave a comment.
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How are you today? Do you have planned work to give the students who finish early or to give the class to do when you are not in the class? There will always be times when you will not be there to guide the students or will be busy with other students. So, it is good to have enrichment or review materials for students to do in every topic or skill you teach.
Sometimes, it takes time to gather enrichment and review materials for every topic and skill you teach. However, it is easier when you have someone who will create these materials for you. DUO Inspirations is such a resource. If you need an enrichment activity or review materials in any particular topic or skill, please contact me.
In the meantime, please, let me tell you about one of the activities that I enjoy. It is something that almost any grade can do. The activity is taking a word with quite a few letters in it or a short phrase and asking the students to make smaller words they can make out of the letters in that word or phrase. It is better if you can use a vocabulary word or topic phrase that goes with the subject you teach.
Creating words out of letters of a larger word or small phrase is an important skill. It helps students to notice the letters in a word. This helps in spelling as well as reading.
Here is an example I did out of the letters in the word education. There are other words. However, I thought one hundred was a nice round number.
If you notice, most of the words are smaller words. That reinforces the fact that it can be done with success with most grade levels. Also, as you can see many of the words have prefixes or suffixes. So, this is makes a wonderful activity to review root words, prefixes, and suffixes.
I usually tell students that they cannot use slang, bad words, or proper nouns. However, you can use whatever guidelines you wish. I hope you and your students enjoy this activity.
Another good idea for doing an activity like this is asking students their strategy to finding words. One of my strategies is to choose endings and look for any other words that have the same ending, such as ten and den or can and tan.
Now, it is your turn.
Have you ever done this activity? What are your guidelines? Do you and your students enjoy it?
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How are you? In education, August has been a time for preparation. Educators are busy preparing classrooms, schools, curricula, lesson plans, seating arrangements, name tags, procedures, and activities for students. Parents are busy preparing for students as well. They are buying school clothes and supplies, making daycare or after school arrangements, and signing paperwork. There is much that goes into education preparation, not to mention meals, nutrition, and health services.
Once school actually starts, whether at home, public school, or private school, many “beginning of the year” things start. I have found that “getting to know you” activities are helpful. They can also be educational. Even parents can use these activities for their home-schooled children. I have found that one such activity is “Getting to Know You Questions”. Teachers and parents can get to know their children, their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses this way. (Even if parents think they know their children, this may be a great activity. The answers can be surprising. It could also be fun to keep the questions and answers over the years to see how the child’s likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses change over the years.)
I like the “Getting to Know You Questions” because not only does it provide information about student likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, it is also written and can be kept as reference. It is also a writing sample of sorts, which can be useful in looking at spelling, grammar, and printing skills.
There are many questions educators can use to get to know their students better. The ideas are endless. However, if too many questions are asked, students are likely to get bored or frustrated with the activity and may not give honest answers.
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Now it is your turn.
What do you like to do to get to know your students at the beginning of the school year? I can’t wait to know your thoughts. Thank you.
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Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.