Watching kids "get it" is exciting. There is that confusion and frustration at the beginning that gradually changes as things begin to make sense. Suddenly the light bulb goes off and the smiles appear. There is a definite sense of "Aha". This is often the case in math when kids work with concrete materials.
Hands on activities and manipulatives made the difference. That is the magic of using hands on activities and manipulatives to teach basic concepts in math.
Here are some different types of games and activities as well as resources that may help as you venture into teaching with concrete examples.
Before kids can move forward in math, they have to understand what numbers are and be able to work with them. This includes recognizing what the numerals look like, counting objects, making one to one correlation with the number and the object, etc.
Counting by one, two, five, and ten can all be done with concrete objects. It's important to make sure that there is understanding of one concept before adding in the next one.
Counting by one:
Start with picking up objects one at a time and counting them sequentially. Try counting up to five, then ten, and then twenty. Practice this until they can do it without help. Pointing at objects as they are counted also works. Make sure to also work on counting objects that may not be lined up but are in random positions.
Counting by two:
Once they are able to count by one without prompting, start introducing counting two together. There are several ways to do this. It is important that they understand that they are counting two objects at a time. You could put the objects in pairs and have them count by saying the odd numbers quietly and the even numbers loudly at first, and then have them say the odd number inside their head and the even number out loud. With practice, they will be able to say only the even numbers and do the skip counting by two.
Counting by five and ten:
Counting by five and ten require a good understanding of larger numbers. Practice using number lines and hundreds charts to expand to larger numbers and do lots of activities to help kids see how these bigger quantities work. Then work on patterns and skip counting by five and ten. Use things like hands or coins for visually counting by five or ten as well.
Teach children that numbers have many representations, such as dots, fingers, counters, numerals, objects, ten frames, etc.
The goal is to help them to see patterns and relationships between the numbers and objects. The goal is to help them to start understanding how different concepts like more, less, equal to, greater than, less than, etc work. Basic facts for addition and subtraction followed by multiplication and division are also part of number sense.
Number sense is key to all aspects of math. It is important to make sure that kids have a solid understanding of how numbers work and the relationships between different operations happen in order to ensure that they will be successful with more abstract and complex concepts.
When we refer to basic facts, we usually mean adding and subtracting single digit numbers. It's important to have a good understanding of these facts and how they work in order to do more complex math questions. Games are a great way to work on these.
Start by working with numbers that add up to ten. Making tens is a key concept for many different other skills and concepts.
Using dice work well for teaching basic facts to ten. Check out the video below to see how I used dice for teaching how to make tens.
Using ten frames is another great visual for how to make ten. Working with ten frame cards or placing objects in containers that represent ten frames help kids to see when they have a ten and how many are needed if they have a number that is less than ten. The more they see these visuals, the easier it is for them to quickly recognize numbers up to ten and what numbers go together to make ten. Check out this video to learn more.
I loved using these ten frame cards to play games with my students. They had fun, and they became very good at recognizing similar numbers quickly. Playing "Snap" added an element of friendly competition.
Another fun activity was playing with teams using the large cards. One person from each team came forward and as the cards were shown, whoever got the answer correct first got the card. When the cards were all played, the person with the most cards got a point for the team. Then the next two players came up. The cool thing about this, was that all the others saw the cards at the same time and they could mentally practice recognizing the numbers while waiting for their turn.
Once kids have a good understanding of how to make ten, they will be more prepared for the rest of the numbers needed for basic facts. Knowing basic facts is important for working with the different math operations successfully.
There are many different strategies for working with addition and subtraction to practice basic facts. I will share more about this another time.
There is a danger in trying to move kids to abstract concepts too quickly. Take the time to have them work with concrete examples and you will find that the abstract situations will be much easier for them to understand and grasp.
When I worked with several students that struggled in early intermediate grades, I found that returning to the basics and using the concrete activities made a world of difference not only to their understanding, but also to their confidence and engagement. It was exciting to see them find light bulb moments and attempt more difficult concepts as a result.
Next time I will focus on more skills such as how to represent numbers using base ten models as well as fact families and number bonds. I will also show some other ways to represent numbers as we move from concrete to ablstract.
Did you learn a second language when you were in school? How comfortable would you be using it now? Imagine for a moment, that you were thrust into a situation where you needed to communicate and the only language spoken was the one you learned years ago at school. I suspect you would be tongue-tied and maybe even a bit petrified to attempt to speak at all. But, there is hope.
It can be like riding a bicycle
Learning a second language can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be there in the future as you need it. Often people say it is like riding a bicycle. With a bit a practice it will come back from the cobwebs of our memories.
It can sometimes be difficult to re-learn how to speak and write in a second language after not using it for a long time. Even the most experienced second language speakers feel shy or rusty when it’s been a while. However, like riding a bicycle, all of those skills you developed come back to you quickly when you start using the second language again. To help with confidence when speaking and writing in your second language, try taking an online course that reviews basic grammar and conversation topics. This can help refresh your memory and get conversations flowing again. Plus, we all need to practice our second language from time to time so that we don’t lose the skill entirely!
Sometimes you need a reason why
I still remember when I started to refresh my French after not using it since high school. My kids were entering into French Immersion and I wanted to be able to understand what they were working on and help them out. I took a couple of courses through online university and with a bit of practice, I became comfortable with the language again.
I started to help out in the classroom and this made it easier to see how to use simpler forms of the language to communicate with the kids. I also was able to practice my French with the kids without fear of any mistakes I might make with gender usage.
Note: I still find it tough to remember which nouns are masculine and which are feminine. I often keep a dictionary nearby to check this out or I go to an online dictionary.
I am so glad that I did brush up on my French, because when I first started teaching, I ended up in a long-term substitute situation where I needed to teach Grade 1 French Immersion for 4 months. With the help of my colleagues and with my knowledge of how to teach different subjects, I was able to create materials and lessons that worked. It was scary, but I realized that I could do it. That immersion into my own kids' classrooms helped me to learn simpler ways of communicating with my students and I was able to transfer that to my classroom situation.
Following the 4 months in Grade 1, I ended up teaching French Immersion music for 9 years. This meant I needed to learn all the specific French jargon and terminology for music. Talk about choosing to jump into the fire! But I did it.
Who knew that Frère Jacques could be sung so many ways in Kindergarten. I used it to teach emotions, beat, rhythm, echoing, and many other things when I first had the kids who knew no French. They thought that I was very silly, but they had fun joining me.
You may need to refresh more than once
Fast forward several years, and my French was rusty again from lack of use. I decided to do something about that because my grandchildren were entering French Immersion. I started to brush up on my French and volunteer in my grandson's classroom. I started creating resources for my older grandson who was going to go into Late Immersion and I started to tutor some other students who were going into Late Immersion.
It was much faster getting my fluency this time. The grammar made sense and the vocabulary came back quickly. Creating the resources and using them with beginners also helped me to find out where things needed to be modified to make them work better.
If you are interested in checking out some French resources that work for young learners or those beginning in Late Immersion or FSL, check out my French categories in my TPT store.
It's that time of year again! Christmas is just 2 weeks away and a new year is around the corner. The New Year is a special occasion for kids, and there are plenty of ways to make it special in the classroom. With games and activities to teach skills and concepts, you can use special occasions to start out the year with fun. This is also a great time to refresh and set goals and prepare for new themes and units.
Here are some ideas for celebrating special days in the new year.
New Year's Day
Although New Year's Day is usually a holiday, it can be the focus on the first day back after the winter break. New Year's Day is considered a day for setting goals and resolutions. Here are some ideas for making this meaningful.
1. Create a school goal, a personal goal, and a home goal and write them down. Put them on fancy paper and place it inside a personal planning folder. Throughout the year, look at them and see if they are still working. This is a good time to reflect on realistic goals and on followthrough. If they are working, celebrate. If not, make some adjustments and carry on. At the end of the school year, revisit the goals again. Grab a free copy by clicking the image below.
2. Set some class goals for the new year and maybe even a goal tracker to see how well the class is doing. There could be a reward schedule also for various accomplishments along the way.
Creating a photo booth album for the class could also be fun. Check out this selection of different photo booth frames.
Groundhog Day is a fun occasion that is great for teaching many different science concepts. It is a perfect time for doing a weather focus, lessons on seasons, hibernation, shadows, and of course, groundhogs. It is also a time to talk about predictions.
There are many other activities you can do as well. You can read books about groundhogs, guess whether or not the groundhog will see his shadow and make a graph of the predictions, and check out whether or not the groundhog did predict an early spring or more winter. You can also do other fun math activities with a groundhog theme.
Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year
Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year is important in many different countries. This is a time to learn about different cultures and traditions. Read books, watch videos, and try some traditional foods as part of your celebrations. And for a fun math activity, have your students use dots (or coins) to create patterns with the lucky number 8.
In North America we are most familiar with Chinese New Year and the animal zodiac. There are lots of activities that can be done to explore this further. Other places that celebrate the Lunar New Year may have different traditions and activities that they follow. It might be interesting to make some comparisons of how they are the same and different.
Valentines Day is always a fun day for kids. It is the perfect time to talk about friendship and acts of kindness for others.
One year my class tried to come up with 4 or 5 acts of friendship each and we made hearts with these on them and posted them on the bulletin board. It was great to see how this created a positive focus in the classroom.
There are many language games that can be done such as sight word bingo, rhyming games, vocabulary activities, and conversation starters. Students can practice writing poems or making conversation hearts. It is also a great time to teach how to write friendly letters.
Hundreds Day is a day of celebration in many primary classroom because it marks the hundredth day of school. There are so many different activities that can be done to celebrate this day.
Hundreds Day is a perfect occasion for math activities! Students can count by ones, twos, fives, and tens to 100. They can also make patterns with 100 objects or solve word problems involving 100 objects. This is also a great day to introduce place value concepts such as ones, tens, and hundreds.
Dressing up as someone who is one hundred is also a popular activity to try. It is also a great time to think about what life might have been like a hundred years ago.
No matter what special days you choose to celebrate in your classroom, remember that the most important thing is to have fun! Enjoy these special occasions with your kids. They'll be sure to remember them for years to come.
If you are interested in any of the resources in the images above, you can check them out here.
If you want excitement, watch how kids react to the first sign of snow.
When I woke up a few days ago, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. Little did I know when I headed to school, it would be a few inches by lunch time. The kids kept looking out the window and watching the clock waiting for recess break so they could get outside and play.
Of course this meant allowing more time for bundling up and preparing to go outside, then unbundling and dealing with snowy gear when they came back inside, as well as the many stories they had to tell about playing in the snow.
Teachable moments are rampant at times like this. I like to use these events as springboards into different activities. You can still meet requirements of the curriculum by adding them in, they just have a fun twist to capture the excitement and focus of the kids.
I learned early on to take advantage of this excitement instead of trying to squash it so that they could get back to work. Here are a few different ideas that I would do.
Story telling and writing
I would build in time to allow them to share their stories and then I would use that to help them write stories. Story writing using the fun activities they did outside can help even the most hesitant writer to put pen to paper.
Once I had my class imagine what it would be like if the city froze. We talked about all kinds of crazy scenarios and possibilities and after brainstorming as a group, each person did some more brainstorming on their own. Then, they wrote stories and tried to add in many details and descriptive words to paint the picture in the reader's mind. Sharing the stories later was so much fun.
Here is the template we used for the stories.
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Math And Science Activities
Sometimes, I would take a math or science approach. This might include measuring the snow, seeing how long it takes to melt when brought inside, building a fort outside, seeing who can throw a snowball the farthest, making snow families, or checking the temperature at different times of the day to see if it gets colder or warmer.
If you live in a place that doesn't get snow, you could try doing some activities that might mimic those we did.
For example: Use rolled up socks as pretend snowballs and see who can throw them the farthest.
Shave up some ice and form snowballs and try to make a small snowman.
Use ice cubes to build small forts
Check the temperatures in different parts of the world for a few days in a row and then graph the results.
Imagine what a snow day would be like and write about it.
There are several winter language and math activities that you can do, but adding in the real life moments just makes them so much more fun.
Here are some other winter resources that might be of interest as the cold, white days continue.
Winter Sports Bundle
Winter Word Work Language Activities
Winter Parts Of Speech Silly Sentences
For lots more ideas, check out my winter math and literacy category.
Winter novel studies are also a great way to include a winter theme into your language arts. Here are some novel studies that might interest you.
Emma's Magic Winter
The Kids In Ms. Coleman's Class - Snow War
Horrible Harry And The Holidaze
Grab the excitement and wonder of winter and add it to your lessons for more engagement and motivation. I would love to hear some of the other ways you weave winter into your lessons.
Don't forget to grab your free copy of Frozen writing templates.
Do you sometimes wonder if teaching about money is important any more? Do you think children need to know how to use coins and other currency? These questions and many others often start to surface nowadays.
Handling money and using it to pay for things is becoming less common now with so many of our transactions being done online or with debit machines and plastic. This doesn't mean that teaching about money is becoming less important. This means learning about money and practicing how to use it is more necessary if children are to be able to handle money situations in the real world.
It is sad to see that many adults can't handle money correctly anymore. They rely on the machines to tell them how much they need to pay, and how much change to give. They struggle to count out money to make purchases.
Standing in line at the local fast food place the other day, I watched the worker struggle to make change correctly and call her manager to help. I could see that the customer was getting frustrated. Unfortunately, this is going to become even more common if we don't teach our students how to count money and correctly make change.
When it comes to teaching kids about money, there are a few key things to focus on. Identifying coins, counting money, and making change, are essential skills that kids need to learn. Here are some tips to help.
Identifying coins is key to being able to handle money. After all, those quarters don't look anything like pennies! Do lots of activities that involve matching coins. You could do memory games, bingo, I Have, Who Has? games or any games that make coin recognition automatic. It is also necessary to recognize how money is written so that kids can recognize price tags and costs of different things.
Counting coins is another skill that is important. Play money can be used for this, or real coins if you have access to enough of them.
1. Practice counting coins of equal value so that it helps with using the coins later. Count by ones with pennies, by fives with nickels, by tens with dimes, and by twenty-fives with quarters.
2. Practice making dollars with the coins. How many of each coin is needed to make a dollar?
3. Practice counting coins of different values and seeing what they total up to.
Making change is a difficult skill for kids to master. There are a few other skills or steps needed first. It requires being very familiar with coin values and different coin combinations that make the same value.
Activities that help with creating money amounts using different coin combinations and trading of coins to make similar amounts is a good first step.
It is important to be able to add and subtract multiple digit numbers as well so that this skill can be applied to using money.
Counting up is also important. Counting up from the amount paid until it matches money given is one way of making change.
In Canada, we no longer have pennies, so it is necessary to also round up or down when paying with cash. Machines have been adjusted to help with providing the correct change, but it still requires understanding when to round up or down when paying. Sadly, many people cannot do this.
Connecting to real life situations
Teaching the skills is one thing, but providing opportunities for kids to see its use in the real world is necessary so they can make the connections that will help them to internalize them.
If you give a child a handful of coins or bills, they often don't really understand the value of what they are holding. A cheque in a birthday card means even less to them. I remember watching as my grandchildren opened cards received from uncles or others and they didn't even look at the paper cheque that was inside. They just handed it over to their parents. Although in some way they realized it was money, they didn't understand its value or use.
The more we give them practice handling and using money the more we will prepare them for how to use it and the better prepared they will be to understand its value and how to use it wisely in their everyday lives.
This could involve setting up a store in your classroom, pretending to be at a restaurant, or even setting up mock debit machines and debit cards for kids to use.
(If you are interested in trying out a using a menu, I have a free copy of Elisa's Café available for subscribers below.)
Resources to help
I had the opportunity to do a simplified version of parts of the entrepreneur study with my Grade 3 class one year. We were learning about money and it became a unit of money lessons that were created with my class. We also made and sold items for a spring fundraiser and used the money to pay for a bus trip up island to meet up with another class in a different town. Talk about making it a real life experience! You can find out more about this here.
Here are some resources that could help with practicing money skills. American and Canadian versions are available.
Counting Money - How Much Money American version
Canadian Coins Match Up
Money Lessons For Children Unit
Rounding Up And Down With Money
Money Word Problem Task Cards For Kids
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For free resources, tips, and ideas, sign up for my newsletter.
Kids hopping in the hallways, stretching to reach the tops of doorways, and making a human ruler stretched along the wall are sure signs that a class is learning about measurement, or that the teacher has disappeared and the kids are acting crazy.
Measurement can be lots of fun if it is done with creativity and hands on activities. Kids love to have opportunities to try out new ideas.
As soon as you put a measuring tape in a child's hand, you can bet they will start to measure everything around them. Of course, it's important that you show them how to use the equipment correctly if you want accuracy.
Non-standard and standard measurement
There's nothing more fun than a ruler that's constantly being moved around the classroom. So when it comes to teaching measurement, I always start by making sure my students understand the importance of a standard measure. In order to do this, they should do lots of activities using non-standard units first that give different results.
One of my favourite activities is measuring with shoes. I choose two students with shoe sizes that are very different. We pretend to measure a length where we are going to build a fence. The number of shoe lengths is quite different for each student, so it is easy for the kids to see that we need something more standard to make sure we get the right amount of material needed.
This is the perfect time to introduce rulers with inches, feet, and yards, or centimetres and metres, depending on the standard units where they live. Once they get the idea of standard measuring units, add in measuring tapes. There are so many activities that can be done with these tools. See below for more ideas.
Measuring is an essential math skill that children need to learn in order to understand concepts like volume, area, and length. There are many different ways to measure things, and it can be tricky for kids to understand all of the different units. However, there are some games and activities that can help make learning about measurement a little bit easier - and even fun!
Linear measurement activities
Measuring things around the classroom is a great way to get kids interested, and there are plenty of games and activities you can use to keep them engaged. Here are a few ideas.
1. Set up stations around the room with various objects to measure and let the kids rotate around to each station.
2. Do a "measurement scavenger hunt" where kids have to find objects that match specific measurement criteria (e.g., an object that is exactly 10 cm long).
3. Use string to measure things around the class like furniture, doorways or cupboards. Let the kids use a different type of measurement each time e.g. feet/inches or metres/centimetres.
4. Have kids line up in a straight line and then measure them using a standard ruler.
5. Have kids estimate the length of various objects using their arms or feet and then measure the objects to see how accurate they were.
6. Have kids measure their own height or the height of a partner.
7. Estimate and measure! Have the children choose an object - it could be anything from a toy car to a pillow - and then estimate its length. Once they've written down their estimate, they can use a ruler or tape measure to find out its actual length.
Volume and weight measurement activities
Understanding volume/capacity and weight is another form of measurement that is necessary for real world use. It is important to have an idea of how much something weighs, how much is needed of various ingredients for cooking meals, how much soil is needed for planting a garden, etc. Doing hands on games and activities will help kids understand this and hopefully apply it to their own life experiences.
Here are a few ideas for getting started.
1. Using candy or other small treats, measure out equal amounts into separate containers using standard measurements like cups, tablespoons or millilitres. Let the kids enjoy eating their treats as a reward for completing the task!
2. Get creative cooking! Set up small groups for cooking. Let the kids measure out ingredients using standard or metric measurements. Not only will they be learning about measurement, but they'll also get a delicious treat at the end!
3. Fill up different containers with water (or sand if you're outdoors) and have kids estimate how many litres (or gallons) each container holds. Then use a measuring cup to check their estimates.
4. Build towers! This game is perfect for exploring volume measurement. Give each child a specified amount of building blocks - 1 cup, 2 cups, 3 cups, etc. - and see how tall of a tower they can build with their blocks without letting any spill over. This is also a great opportunity to talk about capacity versus weight - how many blocks does it take to make 1 kilogram? 1 pound?
5. Give each child an object of a different size and have them guess which object is the heaviest, lightest, tallest, etc. Then check to see if the guesses are correct.
Other types of measurement activities
There are other forms of measurement that we use regularly as well. Time and temperature, for example. There are also many other ways that we use measurement in various subject areas. It is important to spend some time discussing different types of measurement - linear, area, weight, capacity and so on - and what units are used. Depending on the time available, activities could be done to look at more of these uses. Whenever possible, use real-life examples to illustrate measurement concepts.
As much as possible, let kids get involved with the actual measuring. This will help them better understand the concepts and make it more enjoyable.
If you are looking for some measurement resources for your classroom, here are some suggestions. You can find more by visiting my Measurement category in my TPT store.
Measurement Anchor Charts And Conversions
Linear Measurement Charts And Examples
Measurement Games Team Events
This booklet helps to explain the difference between non-standard and standard measurement. It also gives examples.
The possibilities are endless! Teaching measurement doesn't have to be boring - by doing activities like these, your kids will be having so much fun they won't even realize they're learning! So get out there and let the kids hop in hallways, stretch to reach to tops of doorways, make human rulers, and start measuring!
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Have you ever noticed how excited young kids get when they match the shape with the hole in the shape matching games? From the time they are very young, children are exposed to geometry in their world.
One of the most rewarding things about being a primary teacher is watching kids discover geometry for the first time. There's something so special about seeing the lightbulb moment when they realize that the world is full of shapes and patterns.
Geometry is a fascinating subject that can be discovered anywhere, from the shapes in our environment to the patterns in nature. For primary kids, geometry is a great way to develop their spatial awareness and problem-solving skills.
But, teaching geometry to kids isn't always easy. Some learners struggle with abstract concepts like 2D and 3D shapes. That's why it's important to use a variety of activities and games to help them explore geometry in a concrete way.
I am always looking for fun and engaging ways to teach geometry to my students. I love incorporating games and activities into my lessons, and I have found that this really helps to capture the attention of my kids. There are lots of different games and activities that can be used to help them understand 2D and 3D geometry. And best of all, they can learn without even realizing it.
I am a strong believer in connecting learning to real world experiences. This helps kids to better understand their world and to make sense of the abstract concepts they learn at school.
Geometry is all around us, so there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate it into everyday life. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Start with the basics – help your kids to recognise and name common 2D shapes. Then move on to introducing basic properties such as sides and angles. You can use real-life examples to illustrate these concepts – for example, a plate is a good example of a circle, a slice of pizza is a triangle, and a door is a rectangle. Once your kids have mastered the basics, there are lots of fun activities you can do to help them consolidate their learning.
Here are some 2D resources that can help you get started.
2D Shapes Around Us
2D Shapes Bingo
2D Environmental Shapes Task Cards
2D Shapes - I Have, Who Has?
3D geometry can be a little more challenging for primary kids, but it’s still important for them to learn the basics. Start by helping them to identify common 3D shapes such as spheres, cubes and cylinders. Again, you can use real-world examples to illustrate these concepts – for instance, a tennis ball is a sphere, while a block of cheese is a cube and a tin can is a cylinder.
Being able to identify the different shapes by their attributes is more complex, but with practice and hands on activities they will be able to do it. Once your kids have grasped the basics, there are lots of fun activities you can do to consolidate their learning.
One of my favorite activities to do with my students is a geometric solids scavenger hunt. I give them a list of items to find and bring to school. After the objects have been found, we use them to test out different things and then we build structures with them. Note: Make sure that they have permission to create things with them.
Interested in getting a copy of my scavenger hunt and bingo resource? It is available for free for my newsletter subscribers.
Here are some other 3D resources that can help you get started.
3D Geometric Solids Posters
3D Geometric Solids Task Cards
3D Environmental Shapes
Kids get really excited when the geometric solids come out. They are curious by nature, and they love being able to build and create things. The more they get this hands on experience, the more they are able to understand how the different attributes affect the use of the different solids. They learn what solids can be stacked together, what ones roll, what ones slide, and what ones are best for stability, just to name a few.
Here is a set of activities that I created for my students. They loved trying out these different structures and creating their own. They also had fun testing out which solids could slide or roll. Check it out here.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. With a little creativity and imagination, learning geometry can be great fun – for both you and your students!
Don't forget to grab your free copy of Geometric Solids Scavenger Hunt And Bingo.
Animals are fascinating creatures and kids love to learn about them and their life cycles. They are in awe from the moment of their births and they marvel at the ways they grow and change.
What is a life cycle?
Every animal on Earth has a life cycle - this is the process they go through from when they're born until they die. All animals have different life cycles, and the length of time it takes them to go through each stage varies hugely too. Let's take a look at some examples.
A frog's life cycle has four stages: egg, tadpole, juvenile, and adult. Frogs start their lives as eggs, which are laid in water. Once they hatch, they grow into tadpoles, which have tails and live in water. As they mature, they develop legs and lose their tails, becoming juveniles. Eventually, they turn into adults and leave the water for good.
Honey bees have a very different life cycle to frogs. They have three stages: larva, pupa, and adult. Honey bee larvae hatch from eggs and are fed by the worker bees. After a few weeks, they enter the pupa stage. During this stage, their bodies change and they develop into adults. Once they emerge they take on their roles of worker bees, drones, or queen bees.
Mammals life cycle
The animal life cycle that is probably the most familiar to us is the one we see in mammals. Mammals generally go through four distinct stages in their lives-embryo, neonate, juvenile, and adult.
As human mammals, we can relate to these.
When a woman is pregnant, the baby is in the embryo stage. This is the time from when the egg is fertilized by the male until the baby is born.
When the baby is born, it needs to be cared for by the parents because it is not able to care for itself yet. This is the neonate stage.
As the child becomes more independent and able to care for itself, we refer to this as adolescence or the juvenile stage.
When the child has reached full maturity and can mate and have offspring of its own we refer to this as the adult stage.
Life cycles in the classroom
In many primary classrooms, at some time during the year you will find a life cycle of some animal being studied. At my school, this was usually butterflies, chickens, or salmon. Not only were the students in the class excited to see the changes from eggs through the stages as they became these different animals, other students around the school would often stop by to check out the changes too.
There is no better way to learn than to experience it in person. Learning from videos, books, or shared experiences of others is okay, but seeing that butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, watching that baby chick peck it way out of the egg or releasing fry into the river will imprint that memory for years to come.
If you are interested in studying the life cycles of animals with your class, here are some resources that I have created that might help.
Life cycle of a salmon
Life cycle of a frog
Life cycle of a chicken
Life cycle of a honey bee
Life cycle of a butterfly
Here is a set of templates that may be helpful for gathering information about animal life cycles. It is part of a set of 4 animal research templates.
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When it comes to teaching beginning young writers, there are a few essential tools that every teacher needs in their toolbox.
What's in your toolbox?
First and foremost, patience is key. It can be frustrating for beginning writers when their ideas don't always come out perfectly on paper, but it's important to remember that they're still learning and growing. Try to provide encouragement and positive feedback whenever possible.
2. Sense of humor
Secondly, a good sense of humor can go a long way. When beginning writers make mistakes, try to see the humor in it and help them to see the silver lining.
3. Story telling
Lastly, story telling is a great tool for beginning writers. By providing examples of stories that have been successfully written, beginning writers can see what is possible and be inspired to create their own masterpiece.
With these tools in your toolbox, you'll be well on your way to teaching beginning young writers.
Tips for getting started
There's nothing more rewarding than seeing a beginning young writer find their voice. But getting started can be tough. That's why I always tell my students that the best way to become a better writer is to write every day, even if it's just for a few minutes.
One of the best ways to get started is to keep a journal. Write about anything and everything - what you did today, what you're thinking about, what you're feeling. It doesn't have to be perfect, and no one else has to read it. Just getting your thoughts down on paper can help you to clear your head and see things in a new light.
Another great tip for beginning writers is to read as much as you can. Not only will this help to improve your writing skills, but you'll also get some great ideas for things to write about. So go ahead and crack open a book (or two, or three!) and start exploring the world of writing today.
Remember that every writer has to start somewhere. So don't expect perfection from the beginning. Just encourage them to get their thoughts down on paper, and worry about editing later.
I often tell my students to use approximations to get their ideas out, and then find the "dictionary spelling" when they are ready to polish their work. If they fret too much about correct spelling, the stories will never be as developed and wonderful as they could be.
Use scaffolds and graphic organizers
Scaffolds and graphic organizers can be extremely helpful for beginning writers. By providing a structure for their thoughts, beginning writers can more easily organize their ideas and put them into words.
Scaffolds also help beginning writers to stay on track, keeping their focus on the task at hand.
Graphic organizers can be used to plan out a story or to brainstorm ideas for an essay. They can also be used to keep track of characters and events in a story.
By using scaffolds and graphic organizers, beginning writers can become more confident and proficient in their writing.
Here are a couple of scaffolds that I have used successfully over the years for the fall.
If you would like a copy, click on the images.
Finally, be sure to offer plenty of compliments and encouragement along the way. Let them know that you're proud of their progress, and that you believe in their ability to become great writers.
Remember: With a little support and guidance, beginning writers can achieve anything.
Have you ever found yourself in the store trying to figure out if you have enough money for all the things you want to buy? Or maybe you are hungry and hoping you have enough money to get food to eat. How about calculating how many buttons you will need for markers for a new bingo game? These are only a few examples of why we need to understand numbers and how they work.
When it comes to teaching kids math, there's more to it than just rote memorization. Sure, memorization is important, but it's also essential that students develop their number sense skills.
What is number sense?
Number sense is basically an instinctive understanding of numbers and their relationships. It's what allows us to quickly add up a grocery bill in our heads or estimate how much time it will take to complete a task. It includes an understanding of place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, percentage, and ratio.
Most importantly, number sense is developed through exploration and exposure to a variety of number concepts and problems. Number sense games are a great way to help kids develop this important skill.
Number sense games
As a primary teacher, I am always looking for fun and engaging math games to play with my students. Games are a great way to help kids develop number sense, and they also make math more fun! Here are four number sense math games to try:
1. Skip counting: To play, students simply choose a number to start with, then count up by 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s until they reach 100. Not only does this help students to practice their counting skills, but it also helps them to understand place value and the relationships between numbers.
2. Comparing Numbers: To play, students simply choose two numbers and then compare them using the symbols >, <, or =. This game helps students to understand number concepts such as greater than/less than and equality/inequality.
3. Number BINGO: To play, students try to fill in their bingo boards with numbers that match the number called out by the teacher.
4. Number Addition Bump: To play, roll two dice and add them up. Find the number on the bump chart and place a marker there. If someone else is on that number, you can bump them off. If there are no available numbers, you wait for your next turn and roll again.The goal is to be the one with the most markers on the chart at the end of the game.
So there you have it - four great games for helping kids develop number sense! Why not give them a try in your classroom today?
Place value activities
Place value is one of the most important concepts in math, and it's also one of the hardest for students to understand. That's why place value math games are such a valuable teaching tool. By playing these games, students can learn about place value in a fun and interactive way. Here are just a few place value games to try:
1. Place Value BINGO: This game is a great way to review place value concepts with your students. In this game, each student is given a bingo card with numbers on it. The teacher then calls out place values and the student marks off the corresponding number on their card. The first student to get bingo wins!
2. Place Value Sort: To play, you'll need a collection of place value cards with different forms of the number on them. The goal of the game is to match up the cards with the correct number. For example: 433, 400+30+3, and base ten form: 4 hundred blocks, 3 ten blocks and 3 units.
3. What's The Value?: In this game, kids take turns calling out numbers and the other players have to identify the place value of each number. For example, if someone calls out "123," the other players might say "1 hundred, 2 tens, 3 ones."
Representing numbers resources
Being able to recognize and represent numbers in various ways is an important skill. I have created a couple of activities to help with this.
Representing Numbers is a multi-faceted activity with task cards for base ten form, standard notation, and expanded notation. It also includes a bingo game. You can find out more about how to use it in the video below.
These place value worksheets help with identifying and writing out numbers in standard notation, expanded notation, base ten form, and number words. There are several themes to choose from
Here is a place value practice activity that can be used anytime. Get a free copy by signing up for my newsletter.
I hope these games and activities help you with providing importance practice using numbers and place value so that your students will be able to handle situations in the real world.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.