How are you today? When I taught kindergarten, I provided a word rich environment for my students. I put word labels on objects throughout the classroom, so that the students could relate the words to the objects. Of course, most students didn’t get the connection right away, but it was more and more helpful over time.
When students first come into kindergarten, most do not know letters or label words for common environmental objects. Yet, after seeing these labels every day, they pick up things. For example, after learning the letter “p”, students may realize that the label on the pencil box starts with the letter “p”. After a while, they may even be able to spell the word pencils. Even if they may not learn to spell the word pencils in their kindergarten year, they may use to go to the pencil box and look at the label to get the correct spelling for the word pencils.
It may get tedious to label every single thing. I mean, if a room has thousands of objects in it, you may not want to label everything. Also, make sure that it is obvious what the label is for. It may be confusing to use the label to use the word “box” on a container that you use for pencils, even if it is a pencil box, especially if you have a better representation of a box that isn’t as confusing. For example, if that is where the pencils are stored, the label “pencils” is a better fit. If you have an empty box hanging around, that is a better fit for the word “box”.
It is a good idea to introduce the label words early in the year. You can either have them labeled already or use the labeling as an activity and have the students help you with the labeling.
Another great tip is to use the label words as often as possible as part of your lessons. For example, if you are introducing the letter “p”, you may show the students a letter “p” and ask if anyone knows the letter. You may also ask, if anyone has noticed that letter in any of the label words. If nobody can remember seeing it, you may even want the students to take a minute or two to look around the room and then come back to share their findings. If someone says, that they saw it on the pencil box, you can say something like, “Yes. The word on the pencil box is ‘pencils’. You can see that the word pencils starts with the letter ‘p’. The letter ‘p’ makes a /p/ sound and you can hear that /p/ sound at the beginning of the word, when you say the word pencils.”
Sample words to use as label words may be: folders, pencils, desk, table, chair, crayons, door, wall, books, and paper. They are ordinary objects that are often seen in a classroom. I have included this sample list of label words with this post. Feel free to use them.
Now, it is your turn.
What other words would you like to see? How do you provide a word rich environment? What other products or topics would you like to see?
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How are you? Today, I would like to share with you a math resource I find to be very useful in teaching things like multiplication, division, multiples, factors, prime numbers, and composite numbers. It is a great reference for allowing students to explore and notice numerical values and associations.
It is wonderful when students can look at a reference sheet and notice the similarities and differences in numbers. Students learn more when they can make their own discoveries and associations. A factor list is a great way to encourage students to make those important discoveries and associations.
I have created a “Factors List for Numbers 1-100”. It allows you to see the factors of numbers from one to one hundred all on one page. You can easily ask students questions to guide their discoveries in such skills as multiplication, division, multiples, factors, prime numbers, and composite numbers. For example, you can ask students, “Which numbers have five as a factor?” You can ask students to notice the ending digit in each of those numbers. They will notice the numbers that are multiples of five have an ending digit of either a five or a zero. These observations will come in handy, especially in the more difficult numbers.
Some people may not know that you can learn multiplication and division from a factors list. However, it is true. It may not be in the traditional way, but you can practice multiplication and division skills with a factors list. Take this list of factors for the number 50 as an example.
50- 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50
From this list of factors, you can practice the multiplication facts of 1x50=50, 2x25=50, and 5x10=50. And, you can use the skill of fact families to create the other appropriate multiplication and division equations.
The study of prime and composite numbers is easy with a factors list. You can ask students to point out the numbers that have only two factors, which are the number one and the numbers themselves. You can tell students that these are prime numbers. It may even be helpful to have students put a square around the prime numbers and a circle around the composite numbers for quick reference.
Another teaching tip is that you can ask students to color code the numbers of a factors list to highlight various factors, ideas, or skills. This can be done on one factors list or may be easier to use more than one for different observations and skills.
I hope by now you see the usefulness of the “Factors List for Numbers 1-100”. If you would like to purchase the list, you can get it here. I am sure that you will be happy you did.
Now, it is your turn.
If you have any feedback, ideas, suggestions or requests, please leave me a comment or contact me. I would enjoy reading your thoughts. Also, if you haven't already, you may want to consider signing up to receive educational content in your inbox. Thank you.
Hi friends. How are you today? I wanted to tell you that DUO Inspirations had a group on social media. It is called DUO Inspirations’ Education Chat. And, you can find it with the hashtag #DUOEdChat.
It will be a group where educators and parents can get together and speak about teaching and learning topics, such as lesson plans, teaching tips, resources, activities, struggles, successes, curricula, as well as educational products and services.
I want it to be a place that allows parents and teachers and all those who value education to come together and learn from one another. I want it to be a place where people can get answers and give advice.
Knowledge is important and people need a place where they can go with questions and answers. It seems like teachers and parents are overwhelmed with education right now. The pandemic doesn’t make teaching and learning any easier. Some teachers are finding it difficult to plan for both online learning and in class learning. Some parents question whether they should send their children to school and if they would be any good at homeschooling.
I remember when I was teaching, there were times that I would think, “I wish there was an activity that would help me teach this topic to my students.” I knew what I wanted, but didn’t have time to create it. Teachers don’t always have the time to do everything they want to do.
Parents may not know of resources that are out there to help them or their children, whether it is in support of homeschooling or public education. They may also want teaching and learning activities that would help their children. Or, maybe their children are struggling in learning one skill in one subject or many skills.
DUO Inspirations’ Education Chat would be a place to share these struggles. We don’t want to forget the successes though. After all, it is everyone’s goal to have successes. Sometimes, we get so excited that we just want to share our successes with everyone and it is a bonus when our successes can help others reach their successes.
Consider yourself invited. I am looking forward to you joining the conversation in DUO Inspirations’ Education Chat. I value you and what you have to share about education.
***Note: DUO Inspirations' Education Chat is a group ran by the DUO Inspirations Facebook page. (If you haven't "liked" the DUO Inspirations Facebook page, please feel free to do so.) #DUOEdChat is a hashtag used in Twitter and other social media conversations.
Now, it is your turn.
I would like to hear your thoughts. What would you like to see either here on the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations or in the DUO Inspirations' Education Chat? What are your education ideas, struggles, or successes?
Also, if you are finding value in my posts, please consider sharing them with friends and family, as well as signing up to receive them in your inbox. Thank you.
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 hope you are well. Have you ever sat down to write something and couldn’t think of anything to write? LOL! Yes, me too! So, I thought that I might create writing prompts once a month or something to share. That way, if you are having trouble coming up with a writing topic, you can use the writing prompt.
I find writing prompts helpful when I am not sure what to write. I don’t always use the writing prompt given or my free writing from it, yet, it usually gets my thoughts going again. It gets me past the writer’s block. I hope it helps you as well.
So, drum roll please. Today’s writing prompt is this:
“Pretend that your phone or television came alive and had a conversation with you. What would it say? How would you respond?”
Our phones and our televisions seem to play a big roll in our lives these days. They will surely have a story to tell. Maybe that it is that we depend on them too much. Maybe it is that we need to clean them more often. Maybe it is that they enjoy sharing adventures with us. I don’t know. If your phone or television were to talk with you, what would it say?
So, what do you think of the writing prompt? Did you try it? How did your writing turn out? Would you like more writing prompts? I can’t wait to hear from you.
Now, it is your turn.
I would like to hear from you. Leave me a comment below. If you find value with the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations, please tell your family and friends. Also, please consider signing up to receive the Education Blog in your inbox and to receive other educational content.
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.
Also, if you find value in the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations, please consider signing up below. Thank you.
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?
Also, if you find value in my posts, please feel free to share with your friends and also sign up to receive the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations in your inbox. Thank you.
I hope you are well. Today, I would like to speak about transitions. Transitions are often a forgotten part of lesson planning and a source of much wasted time. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Transitions can be just as productive and educational as planned learning time.
Yes, you do a great job of planning lessons for all your classes? The activities are helpful and students are productive. Yet, transitions are chaotic, noisy, and wasted time. You aren’t sure why. I can tell you! You haven’t planned or taught a procedure for a smooth, educational, or productive transition.
Transitions need to be treated just like an actual class. Learning time is being wasted, if you don’t. Yes. I know, you do enough planning with the classes and the students need down time anyway. I agree. However, they don’t have to be a free for all and chaotic time. Transitions need planning and procedures just like regular classes.
They don’t need to be elaborate. Transition procedures can be as simple as clean up your space, put away your things, get ready for the next activity, jump up and down in place ten times, sit back down quietly, and whisper with your partner. Transitions can involve reciting the alphabet or multiplication facts (depending on age) as students are cleaning their space. You could put on some instrumental music and let students talk quietly until they hear the music stop.
Another strategy I have used during transitions before is to say something like, “I want you to clean your area, put away your things, and line up before I count down from 20. It must be quiet until you have things picked up. If you finish before I do, you can either jump up and down in line or talk quietly with a friend next to you in line. Ready, 20, 19, 18… make sure you push in your chair… 17, 16, 15, it should be quiet still, 14, 13, 12… don’t forget to check under your desk and chair, 11, 10, 9… you are talking quietly with a friend or jumping up and down in line in a safe space if you are done, 8, 7, 6, we should be almost ready, 5, 4, 3… get in line… 2, 1, 0. We should be in line, quiet, and ready to go. And, we are. Thank you.”
Transitions may be different for each class and each subject. The important thing is to have a planned procedure with clear expectations for transitions. Teach the procedures to students from the very beginning and make rules and participation count for those as well.
As you are planning for transitions, you may want to have a “quiet” transition procedure and a “not so quiet” transition. That way, if something comes up and students need to be very quiet or you are busy and can’t count backwards or participate in the procedure, students still know what to do and what is expected. Also, if the lesson involves a “not so quiet” activity, you may want to have a “quiet” transition or vice versa. Just remember, that students do need both “quiet” time and “not so quiet” time. They can’t be expected to be quiet for the entire school day.
So, it may take a little extra planning, but you will find that it will be well worth it. Your transitions will be smoother and more productive if they are well planned out and taught with high expectations.
What are your transition plans, rules, and routines? I would like to see and learn from you. Thank you.
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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.
I am providing a free copy of a sample “Getting to Know You Questions” sheet that you may use. Feel free to download them. If you would like to read the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations in your inbox and would like other educational content and activities, subscribe below. Also, DUO Inspirations creates educational materials to purchase, which might interest you. Thank you.
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.
Feel free to download the questions below. Thank you.
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How are you today? This week’s Education Blog post is featuring word searches. Word searches are a source of fun for many people. It is sometimes enjoyable to go through a grid of letters trying to find various words. Some can be quite easy, while other word searches can be quite difficult.
However, word searches don’t just have entertainment value. They also have educational value. Word searches can be used in various ways to improve educational skills. You may have even used word searches in your lessons before.
One of the most recognized uses for word searches is to reinforce correct spelling words. Word searches are often used as part of spelling lessons. When a student looks at a word multiple times in order to find it and ensure that it is the correct word found, it helps him or her remember the correct spelling of the word. Another strategy to further help the memory of correct spelling is to encourage the student to read the word and spell the word each time that he or she looks at the word, while looking for it in the word search. (For example, if looking for the word plant, he or she can look at the word and say, “Plant. P-l-a-n-t.” Then, he or she can look at the word search. Let’s say the student finds a P-L-A-O in the puzzle, he or she can check it against the word plant and find that it is incorrect. Since the student checked it against the word, he or she can repeat with the saying of the word and spelling it, “Plant. P-l-a-n-t.” Of course, the words and spellings are said silently, if possible.)
A second use for word searches is to reinforce vocabulary words. This is particularly so for the vocabulary words of themed lessons. For example, if one is studying a space theme, the names of the planets, as well as words such as asteroids, meteors, and orbit can be some of the word search words. In that way, the student gets reminded of and more familiar with these words.
Another use for word searches can be to learn strategy. I know this may sound strange, however, one can be taught or simply learn strategy through word searches. For example, just glancing at the puzzle and hoping to find a word is less effective than say starting at the top left hand corner and looking at each letter until you find a P while looking for the word plant. One could also ask the student to explain his or her word search strategy, which would lead to not only helping others learn, but also helping the student get better at speaking and presenting explanations.
I make my word searches by using a word processing program and a photo-editing program. I make my word list ahead of time. I decide how many words I want in the word search and how difficult I want it to be. I create a table within the word processing program for the size of puzzle I want. Then, I add the words into the puzzle, one letter per square. Afterwards, I add random letters in all the other boxes, around the words. Then, I add the words in a word bank on the bottom of the page. Lastly, I copy and paste all of that into the photo editing program and erase all the squares around the letters.
I realize that you may not have the time, knowledge, or resources to create your own word searches. Yes, there are some online programs where you can make your own word searches. However, I can also do it for you. Just, contact me. Let me know what words you want and whether you just want the to go horizontal, or if you want them to go vertical and/or diagonal as well. Note that the biggest word search I would recommend would be a 25x25 letter grid and about 20 to 25 words per puzzle. They can be smaller for younger or less experienced students and word searchers. I will then, create the word search and list it for you and others to purchase, and send you a link. (Please, make sure I have your email, so I can send you the link or email you if I have any questions or concerns.)
Now, it is your turn.
Do you like word searches? How do you use them? I would like to hear in the comments. Also, if you would like me to create a word search with your words, please contact me. If you like my content and would like to get the Education Blog in your email, please consider signing up below. Thank you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.