When I was first introduced to using glyphs in math, I'll admit I was a little dubious. It seemed more like an art project than a math tool. But once I saw the benefits of using glyphs, I was sold!
What are glyphs?
Glyphs are pictures with characteristics that represent different responses, which can be extremely helpful for visual learners. And because they're picture-based, they can also be a lot of fun!
There are all sorts of glyphs out there, from traditional sun and star shapes to more modern emoji-style pictures. Many glyphs are used in our environment to represent different places, objects, and rules.
How to use glyphs
For math, glyphs are great for comparing, contrasting and counting data based on the attributes in the image. Each attribute can be used to represent a different response. For example, a pumpkin has different shapes, eyes, mouths and number of teeth. The shape or style of these attributes can represent answers to questions such as what is your favorite food?
This is a fun way for students to learn how to interpret data and make math more engaging. Plus, it's a great way to sneak in some extra Halloween fun!
Sometimes glyphs are created by selecting different parts or images and putting them together to create the picture. Here are some examples of this type of glyph.
Other times, glyphs are drawn based on the attributes that match the responses to the questions. Here is an example of this.
The purpose of glyphs
Regardless of the type of glyph chosen, the purpose is the same - to interpret data. They are great for learning how to interpret data from the attributes and how they correspond to the questions.
The purpose of the glyph can also be connected to various themes or subjects. A bookmark could be created to share things about a person such as hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. An animal could be used to learn more about pets or animals that have been encountered, etc. A book might show what types of books or characters are favorites. You can create you own shapes and themes based on your needs and creativity.
.As you can see, glyphs can be used for many different purposes. Once they are created, post them on the board and let the data interpretation begin.
If you are interested in trying out some glyphs, here is a guide that might help. It is free for my subscribers. Click on the image to get your copy.
Glyphs make math fun and engaging for kids, which is a great way to get them interested in learning about data interpretation. The possibilities with glyphs are endless.
Watching A Seed Grow
There's nothing quite like watching a plant grow. It's a miracle of life that never gets old, no matter how many times you see it. And there's no better place to see it than in the classroom, with a bunch of curious kids who are just as excited as you are. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they observe the tiny seedlings sprouting up and then getting to watch them monitor the plant's progress day after day is truly a magical experience.
Seasons And Seeds
Spring is a great time to get seeds started for planting outside and growing fruits and vegetables throughout the summer. Watching that little seed that started its life in the classroom grow to maturity and produce food to eat is incredulous. Imagine one little seed producing an entire tree full of apples or a garden full of beans or other produce.
Fall can also be a good time to plant some seeds in the classroom. For example, if you plant a pumpkin seed at the beginning of the new school year, depending on the variety, it might produce a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Imagine growing your own Jack-o-lantern!
Potatoes are another plant that would be great to watch in the fall. It can start producing tubers and then stay dormant through the winter and continue growing in the spring. This would be a terrific way to see how some plants are fast growing and others are slow growing. It would also help kids to see that some plants produce underground.
Activities For Learning About Plants
Here are some different activities that you might like to try during your study of the plant life cycle.
1. Take an empty dvd case and put a bit of soil in it. Place a bean seed in the soil and moisten the seed and soil. Close up the case and place it near a window. Watch as the seed begins to sprout and produce roots. When it is about to produce leaves, remove it from the dvd case and plant it in a pot of soil. Continue to add water and watch it as it grows into a plant. Transplant it into the garden and continue to watch as the beans appear.
2. Put a potato that has sprouts (eyes) growing out of it into a large pot with some soil. Water it and watch it as it begins to produce leaves. Take note of the tubers when you transplant it into a garden area or larger pot. The kids will be amazed to see small potatoes growing underground.
3. Gather seeds from different fruits and vegetables and dry them. Plant them in the spring and watch to see which ones grow into new plants. Do experiments to see what happens when you add too much water, not enough water, not enough sunlight, etc.
4. Do art activities to show how the life cycle works and the various stages a seed goes through before it becomes a mature plant. For example: Cut out shapes from construction paper to represent each of the stages of the life cycle and make a life cycle mobile. Write on each shape which stage of the plant life cycle it represents.
With these plant life cycle activities, your students are sure to have a blast while learning about plants!
Plant Life Cycle Resources
Here are some resources that I created to help with studying various plant life cycles. They include worksheets about plant needs, the life cycle of the plant, and types of plants. Each resource also includes an observation journal for that plant. You can check them out by clicking the images below.
Teaching plant life cycle activities are not only fun, but they're also educational. They help kids learn about the different stages of plant growth and development. They also learn about where our food comes from, how different animals rely on plants for survival, and the important role that plants play in our ecosystem.
By incorporating plant life cycle activities into your lesson plans, you can help your students learn about these important concepts in a fun and engaging way. Plus, they'll always remember the time when they got to watch their very own plants grow!
Have fun watching the wonder in your students' eyes as they observe their tiny seeds sprout and become plants.
Teaching Outdoors In The Fall
It's back to school time again, but that doesn't mean you need to stay inside the classroom. Get outside and enjoy nature, exercise, and fresh air before it is too wet or cold and inside recess becomes the norm.
Science topics and ideas for outdoor study
Fall is the perfect time for science lessons for outdoors. There are many science topics that can be covered including plant life cycles, the water cycle, and the effects of weather.
Think of all the amazing questions you can investigate and discuss. Here are a few examples:
Why is it called Fall?
What causes the leaves to change color and fall off the trees?
What are seasons? Why are there four?
Why do we set the clocks back an hour in the fall?
Fun Science Activities To Do
1. Take a nature walk and collect leaves of different colors. Talk about the different shapes, sizes, and textures of the leaves.
2. Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Talk about how pumpkins and apples grow.
Compare the different types of apples: some are good for eating, some for baking, and some for cider.
3. Rake leaves into a big pile and jump in! Then, use leaf blowers to blow the leaves into the air.
Kids will love playing in the pile of leaves and learning about wind power.
4. Go on a scavenger hunt. Look for acorns, pine cones, rocks, and other objects.
Talk about the different colors, sizes, and shapes of the objects you find.
These are just a few ideas – there are endless possibilities for learning about science outdoors in the fall! So put on your jacket and get outside – it's time to learn!
Take Math Lessons Outdoors
Math is another area that can be adapted to outdoor study. Think of all the data collection activities you can do. Comparing, contrasting, and classifying activities can be endless depending on what you choose to collect.
You can even create glyphs for data collected. These could be follow up activities for outside lessons.
You could create a tree with leaves falling. The colors of the leaves, number of leaves left on the tree, shape of the leaves and number of branches could all represent different attributes of data collection.
If creating a glyph is something you would like to try, grab my free glyph templates.
Sign up for Diamond Mom's Treasury email list and get your free copy.
More ideas and activities
Geometry and measurement activities can also be done outdoors. There are many different shapes in our environment. A scavenger hunt or neighborhood walk would be a great way to find examples of the various 2D and 3D shapes. Area and perimeter are effective measurement activities to try outdoors. It could be fun to measure the school field, playground area, or the school building and then graph them.
Many other subject areas could work well outside. Geography and mapping skills are some of my favorite. Check out this post for a few ideas for social studies outdoors.
Many lessons can be tailored to any grade level and can be adapted to fit the needs of any class size. With a little creativity, lessons outdoors can be an enjoyable and educational experience for all.
So hurry up, beat the inside recess rush, and get outside to learn.
Combining Geometry And Measurement
Geometry and measurement activities can be fun to combine in outdoor experiences for practical applications and real life examples. This is another way to take learning outdoors during the warmer weather.
Learning How To Measure
First, it is important to learn how to measure with standard units of measure. This may be customary units or metric units, depending on what is standard where you live. If you are looking for some anchor charts or guides to help with this check out my measurement category.
There are so many different ways to have fun learning to measure items. Here are a few ideas.
Are you a rectangle or a square? Is your arm span equal to your height making you a square, or is it shorter or longer making you a rectangle? I love using this activity as a family activity for student led conferences.
Who can find the most? Use a measuring tape and try to find as many items as possible that are 10 cm or 4 inches long in the classroom. This can be a group or partner activity.
How much does this container hold? Have an assortment of containers of different shapes and see which hold the most liquid. This can be a fun way to guess liquid volumes.
Which weighs more? Use a scale and measure different groups of objects to see which are heavier. These could be classroom objects such as books, blocks, or backpacks.
Once they are comfortable with measurement units and how to use them, it will be time to add in another component. Learning about perimeter and area is an important skill and a great tool for taking outdoors for practical applications.
Start with practicing how to calculate perimeter and area of objects and show how they got their answers, Use examples on paper and work with graph paper to help distinguish given measurements.
After they practice with scaled drawings, it would be fun to try doing larger measurements outside. As an extension, they could also use graph paper and learn how to measure the school yard, the building, the playground, the fenced area, etc. and record it on the graph paper.
Geometry In The Environment
It will also be necessary to do some work with geometry activities to prepare for outdoor applications. It is important to be able to recognize 2D shapes and 3D shapes. Once the shapes are identified, then activities can be done to find them in the environment. These can be matching activities, bingo, geometry building activities, and even geometry worksheets.
If you are looking for some resources to help with this, check out my geometry category.
Once the kids have an understanding of the basics of measurement and geometry, it is time to put it all together and take it outdoors. For most of the measurement situations, linear measurement will probably be used, but it is possible to do some mass or volume as extensions if wanted.
You can have some specific geometry and measurement tasks ready, but it might also be fun to have the kids choose some of their own to try. The goal is to help them to see ways to use geometry and measurement skills in the real world, so if they are able to create some of the tasks, this is a great way to see if they have mastered the concepts.
Have fun taking math outdoors. I would love to hear about your adventures.
Understand Figurative Language By Using Idioms Outdoors
When I think about figurative language and idioms, I immediately think of Amelia Bedelia and all the things she did literally rather than as intended because she didn't understand figurative language. This made me think of how often we speak literally and what it must be like for those who are new to the English language. They must think we are completely crazy at times.
As I was thinking about using this form in speaking and writing, I thought it might be fun to actually take things a bit further. Imagine pretending to be Amelia Bedelia and acting out the idioms literally. This could be a lot of fun for the kids and it would help them to better understand what we mean and what the literal translation would be for others.
In Amelia Bedelia, Mrs. Rogers tells Amelia to "do just what the list says". This will be the message used for the following examples and activities. Have fun trying any or all of them out.
After trying out some of the examples, do a follow up activity where you discuss the literal meanings of the phrases and how they were different from what was meant in the stories.
Good Work, Amelia Bedelia
Mr. Rogers was angry and he said, "Go fly a kite". Amelia Bedelia was confused, but she did so.What did he really mean?
Have a kite available and then in an angry voice say "GO FLY A KITE!" Have someone go and fly the kite.
Mrs. Rogers left a list of jobs for Amelia to do. One of the jobs was to "pot the window-box plants". What did she really mean?
Have a pot or two available along with some soil and hand shovels and let kids put some plants in them.
Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia
Amelia Bedelia filled in for the teacher while she was away. She was given a list of instructions to follow. Here are a couple that could be done outdoors.
"Plant a bulb".
Have some plant pots and soil available along with shovels and some old light bulbs. Have the kids prepare the pots and add the light bulbs to them. If you have a garden bed, perhaps they could plant the light bulbs there instead. Afterwards, these lightbulbs can be replaced with flower bulbs.
"Practice our play"
This would be fun to do as an extra recess activity. Afterwards, the kids could actually rehearse a play they might be performing.
Math problems with apples would be fun to try outside, especially the subtraction ones.
Play Ball Amelia Bedelia
Right now is ball season, so many kids will be starting practices or playing ball as part of their gym classes. This would be a great time to have fun trying out a couple of the idioms from this book.
"Tag ________ before he gets to second base". Have some ready-made name tags and use them as the person runs from first to second base.
"Steal the base". If you have something that is the place holder for a base, you can have someone grab it and run with it.
"Run home." This one could be running back into the building.
This is only a small sampling of the activities that Amelia Bedelia did in the various books, but it is a fun way to see how literal and figurative language is different and get outside as well. It might be fun to try out some other activities that can be done in the classroom or at home as a follow-up activity.
I have created a follow-up activity for some of the different idioms listed above. Click the image to check it out.
I always had so much fun exploring idioms and other figurative language with my students. I hope you enjoy trying some of these ideas with your students.
Using Technology For Online Teaching
Online teaching has changed the way technology is used at school. Online teaching became necessary when the pandemic shut down in-person instruction. A while back I asked teachers about some of the teaching challenges they faced during the pandemic and shared this with you.
I also asked teachers: What is something good that has come out of online teaching for you?
Here are some of responses they gave me about online teaching.
"Lots of new digital skills learned"
"Have learned a little more about technology. Have learned I would not want to work in an office setting"
"Parents are more aware of what we are working on and they are more aware of what technology and resources are available. I have learned more about using digital resources in the classroom."
"We worked lots on class community and helping each other out. (this year since we have been in person)"
How Technology Could Impact Teaching Styles
For many teachers, using technology as a teaching tool was something foreign and they had to learn how to incorporate it into their teaching style. For others, they were very familiar with using digital media and they were very comfortable with it. They actually were happy to add this medium into their teaching.
Whichever camp you were in, you made it work during the online teaching aspect of your teaching as best you could. I am sure there are many teachers that were glad to have their students back in the classroom so they could return to their comfort level again, but I suspect that even those teachers will now be adding in some digital aspects to their teaching day.
Pre-pandemic Use Of Technology
Pre-pandemic, computer labs were part of the weekly routine. Some classes had access to projectors, interactive whiteboards, tablets, or other electronic devices.
Some teachers had limited experience with technology and used it in specific situations. They may have been comfortable with projecting videos on the whiteboard or maybe even projecting documents and other objects from a document camera. For many, most of the devices were part of the reading and math centers.
Other teachers were very comfortable with technology and they may have included interactive lessons on the whiteboard (or Smartboard, if they had access to one). They would have integrated technology into many areas of their instruction. At any point of the day, you would probably have seen technology in action in some form.
Shifting Our Use Of Technology
As we move towards a more "normal" way of teaching, I suspect there will be some changes to how we do our lessons.
For teachers that had limited experience using technology in the classroom, they may now feel more confident and use more technology for different subjects.
For those who were very comfortable with the online teaching, it will be somewhat challenging at times for them as they juggle balancing technology based activities with no tech activities. This may be especially true for teachers that started their careers during the pandemic.
Using technology for teaching will be up to individual teachers, but I don't think it will ever disappear from the classroom scene.
In a previous post, I talked about how kids can help teachers with technology. This might be useful for teachers who are less familiar with technology to check out. Kids are great at using technology and living in a digital world and they might enjoy being the teachers.
For those who are very confident with technology, there is the danger of using it too much. Too much of a good thing can sometimes cause a negative situation. It is important to find a balance between the benefits of using technology in the classroom and having some no-tech times to work on other areas of SEL.
A final thought: You know your students and what works best for them. Use that as your thermometer to decide what is a healthy balance for high tech and no tech instruction. Remember to factor in your comfort level as well. It is up to individual teachers to make those decisions. I am only making some observations and sharing some ideas based on what I am seeing and hearing from some teachers, kids and parents.
Round Up Of DIY
DIY activities can be fun to make and they can also be a great gift or fundraising opportunity.
At my school the grade 5 and 6 classes participated in a program called Young Entrepreneurs. I was intrigued when I saw the different things they created. I thought it would be interesting to see if my grade 3 class would be able to do something similar. Of course, it needed some modifications, but we took a chance and we managed to create many different products and then do a fundraiser sale for a special field trip. You can find out more here.
Here is a round-up of some of the different diy products that we did for the fundraiser. I wrote separate posts for 3 of them. You can check out the others in my post about the spring fundraiser. They were fun to make and easy to do so even younger children were able to participate.
DIY Fancy Bell Pencils
I Spy Jars
DIY Stress Balloons
DiY activities are great for making special gifts for special occasions. Here are some that were made for mothers and fathers for their special days.
DIY Father's Day Gift Idea
Mother's Day Ideas For Special Ladies
DIY Dad's Bug Kit
DIY Tic Tac Toe Boards
Father's Day Gift Ideas For Special Men
Christmas is a time when special keepsakes can be made. Here are some that my kids made.
Christmas Stained Glass Project
DIY Christmas Stained Glass Art Project
Easy DIY Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make
Of course, there are also DIY projects that can be subject based. Here is a hand clock that we made that was a real hit.
DIY Hand Clocks
These are only a few ideas that might be fun to try. There are many others, but I will leave them for now. The key is to find things that will spark the imagination and then watch as the creativity happens.
Special Days And Holidays Roundup
For the next couple of weeks I will be sharing information about different subjects in roundup posts. I have gone through my blog posts and selected a few that I feel will be helpful for your planning during the new year.
Since we are still dealing with a pandemic, some of the posts will be suitable for online teaching as well as in person teaching.
The first roundup is a collection of ideas, resources, and thoughts about special days and holidays. Hopefully it will provide you with some resources, ideas and inspiration as you map out the next year.
It makes sense to start with the New Year!. There are many special days in winter. We have Groundhog Day, Hundreds Day, Chinese New Year, And Valentines Day just to name a few. Here are some blog posts that share winter ideas and special activities for the New Year.
A New Year And A Fresh Start (good for both online and in person)
Winter Fun And Celebration
Math And Language Activities For January-February Celebrations
Groundhog Day Activities
Spring time brings more fun as the weather improves and we begin to focus on our Earth. We also begin to think about mothers and fathers and celebrate their special days. Here are some posts that share resources and ideas for these special days.
Earth Day Activity For Kids
Celebrating Mothers And Fathers
Mothers Day Ideas For Special Ladies
Fathers Day Ideas For Special Men
Back to School is a big topic, so I will save it for a different time.
In Canada, September is a time when we focus on Terry Fox and the Marathon of Hope that he started over 40 years ago. Check out the following post for information about this event and some free posters.
Over Forty Years Later Terry Fox Is Still Remembered As A Canadian Hero
Thanksgiving comes earlier in Canada, but these ideas and resources are suitable for both Canadian and American Thanksgiving celebrations.
Thanksgiving Math And Language Activities
Thanksgiving Writing Template And Posters
How An Attitude Of Gratitude And Thanks Is Good For Mental Health
Halloween is a fun time for kids. Here are some ideas and resources for blending skill development and fun.
Halloween Parts of Speech
Halloween Math and Literacy Fun
How You Can Still Teach While Having Fun With Halloween
November 11th is an important day in history. In Canada we celebrate Remembrance Day, and in the United States Veterans Day is celebrated. Here are some ideas and resources that work for these two celebrations.
Remembrance Day Veterans Day
Friendship And Acts Of Kindness
Remembering Our Veterans
Why Is It Important to Teach Our Kids About November 11 And Our Veterans?
Christmas is also a big topic that requires it own post. I have several ideas that will make the season fun. There are many different ideas and resources that will be great for next year. Check them out in a future post.
Well, there you have it. This is just a sampling of ideas, but hopefully it is enough to give you some inspiration for ways to celebrate the many different special days and holidays throughout the year.
Sometimes life can be surprising
If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I am passionate about working with kids. I enjoyed teaching in small groups, doing guided reading, math, and projects for social studies and science. Teaching in French was something I didn't expect, but ended up doing as well.
How Taking Chances With French Changed My Teaching Goals
I always enjoyed the French language when studying it in high school and after I was married, we enrolled our children in French Immersion. I took some more university courses in French and started to do some volunteering in my kids' classrooms. I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I took a couple of summer immersion courses and started to do some substituting in primary French Immersion classrooms and in Late Immersion.
I ended up doing a long term subbing stint in a grade 1 class and I discovered that it was important to use simpler language to communicate. The verb tenses were simplified and aller and avoir became my friends when talking to younger kids. This temporary contract was followed by another one that was replacing the music teacher in a French Immersion school. Learning the specific music terms and some familiar songs was my next task, but it didn't take long.
Teaching in a second language doesn't have to be scary
I discovered through experience that teaching in French was not as scary as I once thought it would be. Teaching in a second language doesn't have to be overwhelming even if it isn't your native tongue. It can be the result of circumstances, or a desire to do so. I have been tutoring children in French for about 5 years now and I also taught French Immersion music for 9 years.
When I moved into an English primary classroom, I stopped speaking French for a few years, but about 6 years ago, I started again when my grandsons entered French Immersion. It took awhile, but slowly the tongue got used to it again. I had just retired, so I started to volunteer in his class and this helped.
The process is similar, only the language is different
What I discovered, was that the learning process was similar, it was only the language that was different. Guided reading was still the way to go for meeting the needs of the different kids and their language development. Math was still basic facts and principles with slightly different terms for the different languages. Science was still hands on and exciting to do. And so on.
I found that creating games and situations for hands on activities really helped with understanding vocabulary and concepts, so I started to create specific materials for the students I was working with. I found these activities worked so well with my French students, that I created English versions for use when I was volunteering and working with kids at my former school.
They say that when there is a need, motivation and creativity will happen. This was the case for me. Now when I look back at my resources that I have created, it is amazing to see how many French resources I have done. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would have French products in my store, I probably wouldn't have believed them. Now I look at my French materials category and there are well over 100 products listed.
You can do it. Here is some help.
If you are teaching primary grades in French Immersion or a late Immersion class or even core French these resources might work well for you. Check out my French material category to see what I have. I would love to hear what you think of them.
If there is a specific theme or type of product you are interested in, let me know in the comments. I am always looking for new ideas for creations. I wish you well as you navigate through this year and the different challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.
Engaging Kids Up To Halloween
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends. I hope you are enjoying this weekend.
This week, we are changing gears and focusing on a day that kids love. It is almost Halloween and kids are already thinking about what costumes they will wear and different parties they might attend. It is a good time to share some activities and resources that are fun and also help to engage the kids in good learning strategies.
I have found that kids need a routine and structure even during special days in order to stay regulated when they are excited. That is why I usually take time to focus on different activities that will keep them learning, but engage them due to the theme.
Halloween activities can be started earlier in the month, or they can be kept until a day or two before Halloween depending on what you choose. For me, I usually kept more to a fall theme until near the end of the month and then added in the Halloween theme. It helped to keep the excitement level manageable. Also, it didn't stretch out the wait for the kids as much.
Literacy Ideas For Halloween
Kids often like to hear scary stories and write spooky stories or poems. This is a great time to try a scaffold for those who struggle with getting started. My kids enjoyed writing using this starter: I Was So Scared....
Literacy games and task cards can also be fun to use. They help with stretching the imagination and they can be tied into different elements or concepts that you wish to teach. I found that my silly sentences for working with parts of speech were a hit with the kids in my class and in other classes as well. I created them for English and French and found they worked well in both languages.
Math and Science Ideas For Halloween
There are many different opportunities to incorporate a Halloween theme into math. Data collection and graphing can be done for costumes, treats, characters, and a host of other categories. Practice of math facts and operations can be done with worksheets or task cards that have Halloween themed graphics or clipart.
Doing activities with pumpkins can also be fun and can combine math and science. Counting seeds, comparing designs, pumpkin shapes, cooking the pumpkin, and using it to make different recipes are just a few ideas. Pumpkin glyphs are also great to try at this time of year.
One of the things that really fascinates kids is potions. Using terms like "eye of newt", "frog toes" or "drops of blood" is sure to engage them. I remember when we would make up potions to drink and give all the ingredients fancy potion names. It was quite entertaining to watch as they saw these drinks being prepared. Really, they were just cola, grenadine, gummy worms, licorice babies, and some other gummy candies. Sometimes we would add orange juice as well. This might be fun to try with your students. You could even create a potion sheet with the "ingredients" listed.
Don't Forget Halloween Safety Tips
For younger children, a focus on safety is important too. This is a good time to talk about how to have a safe Halloween experience. They can make posters, and do some role playing or write stories that talk about what a safe Halloween should look like and sound like. Creating activities that help to discern what are safe and unsafe activities might be worth trying as well. Doing some art activities with a safety theme might be fun to do as well. Halloween can be fun for kids, but it needs to be safe.
I hope some of the ideas here help to make this Halloween fun and educational as well. Check out my Halloween category in my TeachersPayTeachers store for more resources.
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.