Does the following sound like something you might say?
"I want to do guided reading, but I teach French. How can I make it work with kids that have limited French language skills and who are afraid to speak? "
I know it can be more difficult with a second language, but it is possible to make it work successfully.
Benefits of guided reading
First of all, you need to understand why guided reading is something to consider. In most classrooms, kids learn at different speeds and they have different levels of comprehension and language skills. Teaching to the whole class at once doesn't always meet the needs of every student.
Working in smaller groups helps with targeting information that is needed to develop language skills and comprehension and this helps build up confidence. Each group can work on material that's appropriate for their skill level. It works for those who need extra support, those who are doing okay, and those who need enrichment and a challenge.
Those that need more support are able to get it in a safer environment. They will take more risks if they feel encouraged and less intimidated. This will help them to build confidence and be successful.
Guided reading and French
When it comes to teaching FSL with guided reading groups or center activities, the challenge can be greater because of limited understanding of the language. However, guided reading groups can give French beginners the chance to engage with the language in meaningful ways and practice their new skills. They also gain exposure to French in a supportive environment.
Although I don't have a lot of experience with using guided reading in French Immersion, I can tell you that when I was volunteering in a Grade 1/2 French Immersion class, the small groups that I worked with behaved in a similar manner to those guided reading groups I had in my English classroom.
If you choose to do guided reading, it's important to make sure that you have centers set up with appropriate activities and materials for the groups that are not getting direct instruction. At any guided reading center or station, it's important that all participants are given the opportunity to practice their French whether they are working independently or with a partner.
There are definitely challenges to running a guided reading program in early French Immersion classes due to the language skills needed, but it is doable once they have some basic skills. Later on in first grade or in second grade, most students should have enough language skills to handle independent activities at centers if they are taught how to use the different materials and activities.
Extra adult support would be helpful so that multiple stations could be used. If not, you may need to work with any group receiving direct reading instruction while the rest of the class is working on one or two different activities.
Center ideas and activities
if you are able to run multiple centers there are many different activities that you can try. Here are 4 different types of centers that you could consider along with possible activities that can be done at them.
- alphabetizing exercises where words must be sorted into alphabetical order;
- matching word cards with images
- flashcards games
- word bingo
- sorting task cards by sound or rhyme
Sentence building and words center
- Sentence building and word games
- word searches
- sentence building using word wall or word banks
- sentence scrambles
- silly sentences
Listening and recording center
- listening to French songs
- recording stories read
- reciting a poem in French
- engaging in audio reading where they can listen to a story and respond to questions afterward.
- creative writing assignments in French that focus on feelings and emotions;
- responding to text-related questions to build on comprehension skills
- French comprehension worksheets
- filling out simple dialogues with pictures to teach common words and phrases
- making storyboards
- sequencing images to create stories
Other activities to develop French language skills
- role playing skits
- partner reading where students help one another with words they don't understand,
- creating a story together with a partner using select vocabulary words
- using both auditory and visual clues while giving directions in French
- comprehension quizzes on text that they have read
Directed reading group ideas
To help ensure beginning students become proficient French speakers, there are several easy-to-implement French activities that can be applied to your directed guided reading groups. Examples include dictation exercises, introducing stories in chunks and practicing context specific vocabulary; practising letter recognition, phonemic awareness and word building activities; drawing story maps to help narrate the plot; playing dramatic storytelling games or roleplaying French dialogues.
French Language Resources
Here are some French language resources that I created and used in the classroom while volunteering. They may be helpful as you set up different activities and centers for your class.
Themed vocabulary word match activities
vocabulary task cards
escape room activity
word games and activities
Using guided reading and centers in French classes can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. By using creative tips and tricks to engage your students in their learning environment, they are sure to see progress.
Here is a new French resource that you could use for vocabulary work or sentence building. It has 81 high frequency French words with the English translations so it can be used for a variety of different activities.
Okay, you've decided to try reading groups. But, what do you do once your guided reading groups are set up? Making the groups is the first step, but in order for the groups to be successful the activities and centers are important as well. Here are some center ideas and tips that may help.
Directed guided reading group
The directed guided reading group is the one that gets direct instruction from the teacher. This group will do reading and perhaps some followup discussion or activities together with the teacher as they focus on a specific skill or concept.
The centers listed below are stations that can be used for the rotation of other groups. Depending on the number of groups you have, some centers may or may not be used every time.
Center 1 - Vocabulary Activities Station
Sight word games and vocabulary matching games are great for building up a working vocabulary. Using images and words and doing matching activities helps to imprint words with the objects they represent. These can be done with partners or individually and they can be a lot of fun.
Word searches and crossword puzzles are also great for vocabulary development.
Center 2 - Sentence Building Station
Word sorts and sentence building are also good for centers. Using word walls, personal dictionaries, picture dictionaries or word banks help with creating sentences. Doing silly sentence activities help with learning parts of speech and creating sentences with adjectives, nouns, and verbs. They also create laughter because they can be pretty silly. Click here if you would like to check out some themed sets.
Center 3 - Listening And Recording Station
Listening centers are great for listening to stories and following along with text. They can also be used for practicing reading along with the audio recording. If microphones are available and connected to computers, the students can record themselves and listen to themselves. This is a good way to help them understand what they sound like and can help them develop fluency.
Center 4 - Bingo Station
A bingo station could also be set up at a center and used for a variety of different language skills. Letter recognition and sight words are two things that come to mind. Use your own creativity to choose other types of skills that might work. Maybe the choices could be based on the books or subjects being studied.
Center 5 - Writing Station
You could also have a writing station where comprehension activities or writing extensions are provided. These could be reading responses, character studies, storyboards, retelling or continuing stories, or journaling. There are many other options, but you get the idea.
These are a few ideas that may help with setting up your centers. Depending on the abilities of your students and the space available, one area could be for silent reading. Sometimes kids just need time to read.
Don't forget that board games and other language activities are also great to use. Puppetry and readers' theater activities also work, but you need the space so there isn't too much noise. Otherwise, this could interfere with other groups and cause distractions.
When it comes to creating stations, it is up to you to decide on what to set up based on the needs of your students and the availability of materials and equipment. Whatever you choose, these stations will help make guided reading successful if they are well planned and kids know what to do.
Here's a sight word sampler for your vocabulary activities station.
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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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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.
It's that time of year again! Kids are heading back to school and teachers are planning lessons. Before you know it, it will be time for student led conferences.
I know that thinking about assessments already is daunting, but if you start doing a bit at a time you will be able to do it. It will all help you to be ready when it is time for conferences.
As a primary teacher, I liked the student led conference format because it gave my students a chance to show off all of their hard work. It was also a great opportunity to get to know each student's strengths and weaknesses.
Student led conferences
Student led conferences are a fantastic way for parents and children to work together to reflect on the student's progress so far. It is an opportunity for the student to share what they are proud of, what goals they have set and what strategies they are using to achieve these.
The student is in the driver's seat whilst the parent(s) and teacher play a supportive role. This format not only empowers the student, but also provides parents with an insight into their child's thinking and how they view their own progress.
These conferences also give teachers an opportunity to reflect on their teaching and how well they are meeting each student's needs.
Benefits of student led conferences
Student led conferences offer a number of benefits for both the child and the parent.
For the child, it is an opportunity to take ownership of their learning and to share their work and achievements with their parents. They also have a chance to practice their communication skills and build confidence. They can share their own perspective on their progress, which can be very valuable for parents to hear.
For the parent, it is an opportunity to see their child in a positive light and to be involved in their child's education. It is a great way to ask questions and give feedback in an encouraging way.
I believe that student led conferences are hugely beneficial for all involved and strongly encourage all families to attend.
The teacher's role
The role of the teacher is to facilitate the student led conference, ensuring that each student has the opportunity to share their learning. The teacher provides support and guidance to the student, and answers any questions from the parent.
Student led conferences offer a unique opportunity for teacher and parent to connect with each other and with the student, promoting student achievement. Student led conferences can be a powerful tool for promoting student achievement and parent involvement in education.
Preparing for student led conferences
Preparation is key for student led conferences. I sent home information for parents about what student led conferences are and how they can help their child succeed. I also included a sign-up sheet so that parents could choose a time that works for them.
In the weeks leading up to student led conferences, folders were created with work that each child has done. Prior to the conferences, self evaluations were done and these were added to the folders.
For each conference, an agenda was created with all the things that should be covered during the conference. After going over the agenda, I had the kids role play and practice going through the agenda list. They have a great time pretending to be parents and students for each other and it ensures that they know what is required when the actual conferences happen.
If you would like to give student led conferences a try, I have created a learning journal for gathering up information that can be used for communicating student learning on a monthly basis. You can get a free copy by signing up for my newsletter.
Do you think you would like to give it a try, but don't want to invent the wheel? I have created some templates and materials that can help to make your student led conferences successful. You can check them out here.
Student led conferences are a great way for teachers, students, and parents to connect and communicate about student progress. With a little bit of preparation, they can be an enjoyable and stress-free experience for everyone involved!
I used this format successfully for over 20 years. I highly recommend trying it.
Assessing for Differentiation
You're back to school, you've got your new class, and you are now trying to figure out how to do assessments. It's a juggling act teaching, engaging, and assessing while maintaining control of wiggling bodies that want to bounce off the walls, not remain in desks.
It would be so much easier to just teach whole class lessons, but that wouldn't be good practice since kids are all at different levels of ability and understanding. Once beginning assessments are completed, plans need to be created to help meet the needs of each student.
Differentiation In Reading And Writing
Differentiation is such an important skill for teachers! It ensures that all students in a class are being taught according to their individual needs and abilities. For various subjects, different types of adjustments can be made to include all students.
Differentiation in reading can be achieved by using different books at different reading levels, or by using the same book but slowing down or speeding up the rate at which it is read. For struggling readers, differentiation might also involve providing extra support, such as a word bank or mini-dictionary. Guided reading groups are another way to meet needs of everyone.
When it comes to writing, differentiation can take many forms. Some students might benefit from having extra time to complete a task, while others might need scaffolding in the form of sentence starters or word banks. Ultimately, differentiation is all about meeting the needs of each individual student.
Differentiation And Guided Math
When I retired, I worked with small groups of intermediate students who were struggling with basic facts and totally overwhelmed with the more difficult concepts. I also tutored a couple of them.
We went back to doing hands-on, concrete activities with basic facts such as making tens, understanding place value, and doing addition and subtraction with and without regrouping. It was amazing to see the change in confidence as they finally understood how numbers worked and were successful with the skills and concepts.
Once they had the basic concepts, they were able to move on to multiplication and division, along with other more abstract concepts. Without the small group support, they would still be floundering today.
Guided math activities can be targeted to the skills and concepts and complexities that build confidence and understanding of concrete examples that can be extended to more abstract ideas. If kids are met at the levels they are functioning at, they will be able to climb the ladder to reach the levels they should be at and beyond.
Building Confidence And Success
Differentiating your instruction and assessment to meet the needs of all of your students ensures that all your students have an opportunity to demonstrate their learning. It also builds self confidence in your students.
When you differentiate your instruction and assessment, you're sending the message to your students that you believe in their ability to learn. You're telling them that you have faith in their ability to be successful. When your students feel confident in their ability to learn, they are more likely to take risks and persevere when they encounter difficulty.
When students are able to learn at their own pace and in a way that is tailored to their individual needs, they are more likely to feel successful and confident in their abilities. In addition, differentiation can also help to foster a love of learning by making school more engaging and relevant for all students.
Project Choices For Differentiation
When it comes to teaching social studies, try incorporating project-based learning activities. They're a great way to let students show what they know in a variety of ways - and it's always fun to see the different ways that each student approaches the project.
Some students excel at making models, while others are natural born storytellers. And some students love nothing more than putting together a detailed timeline or poster. No matter what their strengths are, project-based learning activities give all students a chance to shine. Plus, it's a great way to get kids excited about social studies!
By providing a criteria checklist, students know what is expected of them and can focus their energies on meeting the requirements. It also provides a checklist for assessment at the end of the project.
Additionally, by including a home/school component, interactive projects provide an opportunity for families to be involved in their child's learning. This not only reinforces the concepts being learned, but also strengthens the bond between family and school.
This set of criteria checklists can help with different forms of presentations. They give criteria for what is required for the various project formats. They also work well for assessments. Get your free copy now.
With a little creativity, project based activities can be adapted to any curriculum. So next time you're looking for a new and exciting way to teach and differentiate, consider using interactive projects!
Engaging students to learn
When students arrive back to school from summer break, the room echoes with excitement as kids reconnect with classmates. But that quickly fizzles when it is time to actually do some work. Groans can be heard and the grumbling starts. Some are happy to do the activities planned and others want to get outside and play or take out electronics and zone out. And so it begins.
Kids are not always excited to return to school and start studying again. What can you do to engage your students and get them excited to learn after a summer break from learning?
The answer to that question will be different for each person depending on their personality, experience, and classroom situation, but there are some things that could work for most teachers. Here are a few suggestions to get your kids motivated and wanting to learn the first weeks back at school.
Take learning outside
Kids have been enjoying the summer break and hopefully they have been spending time having fun outdoors. If you wish to keep them interested when they return to school, try to incorporate some outside activities during the day. These could be review activities, exploration, science activities, or maybe even body breaks and daily PE. I know that my students were eager to get outside and do hands on activities and it helped to make the transition back into school easier for them.
Check out my blog post about taking learning outdoors for the fall for some specific types of activities.
Have you ever had a group of kids that were a challenge? Did you wonder if you would be able to get them to sit still, listen and cooperate? Building community is especially important with these types of situations. It is important to build respect and caring in the classroom. This can be encouraged by doing partner activities and group activities that help kids to meet their classmates and learn more about them. You may even need to add some specific classroom management systems. As you are figuring out where they fit in academically, you can start doing games and activities that foster teamwork and respect. Activities that foster positive self esteem and help to develop self confidence could also be a focus.
Focus on developing positive self esteem
Beginning the year with activities that focus on positive self esteem and classroom management will ensure that children have the tools for a successful year. There are many different ways of creating a caring and positive classroom. It is important that you choose what works best for you.
I always start out with teaching about optimism and a positive attitude. I also use bucket filling activities and acts of kindness as a focus.
Here is more about what I tried in my classroom to develop positive self esteem and help kids blossom and display increased self confidence about themselves.
Move, move, move
Just like teachers, kids are tired at the beginning of the year as they start up new routines and stay in class for several hours. Incorporating movement and organizing classroom activities for transitions will help keep kids energized so that they stay focused and alert.
Games and body breaks work well to keep kids active. Doing hands on activities and partner games also work well.
Rules and routines
Kids are creatures of habit as well as adults although they may not be aware of this yet. When you give students routines and schedules to follow, you can help them regulate and focus on daily and weekly expectations. With pre-planning and teaching for when unexpected events and situations happen, we can help them avoid meltdowns.
Create classroom rules and establish routines that work for your students. Depending on the age of your students, you can take their ideas into consideration and create the rules together. This is a great community building activity as well.
Here is a set of routine and schedule cards that I created that may be useful for the classroom. I have made them in both English and French. You can get a free copy by clicking on the image.
First week back activities
When selecting activities for the first week of school choose a mix of fun activities that review concepts and skills from the year before to ensure that they are not lost somewhere in distant memory after a summer of no school and that they will be able to use them to build on for new concepts and skills to be taught. We have all probably experienced the situations where kids stare blankly at us as if they had never heard of the subject before.
If you get your previous students back for the first few days, you will want to ensure that they are doing something that is not a direct repeat of the previous year. It can be similar, but they will respond better if it is varied and approached from a different angle this year.
You may have new students in your class as well. They will need to be able to handle the material given as well. They won't be familiar with your teaching style yet, and they may or may not have covered the same material last year, so there will need to some differentiation and extra support in certain cases.
If you are looking for some back to school activities, check out my back to school category. These activities are geared to primary and cover some basic math and language skills.
I hope these ideas help to make your school year start up successful. Have a wonderful year.
Preparing for Father's Day
June is coming and this is a time for celebrating Father's Day with dads and other special men. This can create a wide range of emotions for kids. Celebrating our fathers and spending time thinking about them and all they mean to us is easy for most of us, but there are many situations where it is not as easy, and it can even be traumatic.
Does this mean that we shouldn't do things to recognize fathers? I guess that is a question for each teacher to decide. For me, I still think it is important, although I do think it can be approached in a more inclusive way.
There are often situations where the father is not part of the family unit. In these cases, there are possibly other men who fill some of that void and act as a father figure. They could be uncles, step dads, foster dads, grandfathers, a family friend, teacher, even an older brother. These special men could be celebrated on this day and recognized for all they do.
Sometimes the relationship between a father and child is not good. The child may not feel comfortable creating something for the father. Maybe there could be some choice as to whether to do something for another special person, or to create something more generic. It is up to you as the teacher to help the child to feel comfortable during the activity and sometimes this may be differentiating in a unique way for individual children.
Ultimately, we want to be able to celebrate people for how they positively impact our lives. During discussions with our students, this can be a focus. Gratitude is very important to understand and teach. This is one of the ways we can do this. In a "Me" world, it is necessary to actually help kids understand the importance of thinking about others and being grateful for all we have and for all that others do for us.
Some Father's Day Ideas That Celebrate Special Men
If you are making a gift, it can be used for anyone if it doesn't have the word "father" or "Dad" on it.
You could create cards for special people and leave out "Happy Father's Day".
You could do writing activities that are about special people and what makes them special.
You could do acrostics using different words that fit the special men in their lives.
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Life Sciences Study
Studying life cycles is fun to do in the spring. These can be plant or animal life cycles, depending on the interests and availability of resources.
I am going to share a couple of different life cycle activities and an animal research project that I found successful and exciting for my students.
Plant Life Cycles
Plant life cycles are fun to do because kids love to watch a seed become a plant. When a vegetable seed is used, they can eat the vegetable when it is ready. They can also take the seeds and use them to start the cycle over again.
Bean plants are great to use because they grow fairly quickly and the various stages are easy to see. There are different ways to watch the changes, but a couple of ones I found worked well are the baggie and wet paper towel version and a CD case version. Both versions make it easy to see the seed sprout and the roots develop. When leaves start to develop, the seedlings can be planted in a pot to continue growing.
If you are interested in recording observations, I created this journal for my students to use and it has been popular with many other teachers as well. I also did a plant investigation product about what plants need. Check them out here.
Butterfly Life Cycle
Butterflies are fun to watch as they emerge from the chrysalis. I remember studying the butterfly life cycle with my students. They were in awe of how a caterpillar could become such a beautiful creature. We ordered Painted Lady larvae and then watched them as they moved through the life cycle. We then released the butterflies into the schoolyard.
Painted lady butterflies are found all around the world. They take only a few weeks to go from egg to butterfly so they are great to study in a classroom situation. Here is a new resource that relates to the butterfly life cycle and includes some interesting facts, posters, and activities.
Sign up for my newsletter to get a free life cycle of a butterfly poster. You can find the complete product here.
Other Life Cycles
There are many other life cycles that can be explored. Several of my colleagues have studied the life cycle of a chicken and a salmon. I didn't do these myself, but I did have my classes connect with those that were studying these life cycles and this allowed for some great conversations and opportunities for the other students to share their knowledge. They enjoyed seeing the baby chicks running around the classroom.
Animal Research Project
Animal research was a big hit with my students. They were able to find out basic information and interesting facts and then use the information to create a powerpoint of their animal. Check out these templateanim
One of the most difficult parts of this research was learning to write down the main ideas in point form and use their own words when creating the project. I was really impressed with the powerpoints that they created once they understood this concept.
These are just a few of the different activities that can be studied when learning about life cycles and habits of plants and animals. Kids love investigating the world around them, so the hands on nature of these studies will engage them.
I hope you have as much fun as they do as you study plants and animals.
Don't forget to grab your free butterfly life cycle poster.
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Using manipulatives with numbers is an important part of a child's math journey and working with numbers is a building block for moving on to abstract concepts. That means that we need to take the time to ensure that kids have a good understanding of how numbers work.
Start With Concrete Activities
In order to best help kids understand abstract ideas, we need to start with concrete examples. This means that we need to give them hands-on experiences where they can see and manipulate materials to better understand the concepts and use the skills for other situations later on.
Counting, adding and subtracting, and changing forms of numbers are a few examples of how we can represent numbers using manipulatives for practice. The more comfortable kids get with manipulating materials to represent the numbers, the more prepared they will be for moving on to more abstract ideas.
I like to use number games and activities to help with representing numbers. Place value activities, base ten activities, and different forms of representing numbers is key. Here are some resources and ideas that I use with my students.
Being able to represent numbers is various ways is important. This resource helps kids to represent numbers in standard notation with base ten blocks. I also created a set of cards to represent numbers in various forms: standard notation, expanded notation, and base ten form. A bingo game is included as well. These can be used to practice numbers in various ways to better understand what the digits mean. Check out the video below to find out more about how they work and ways to use them.
Not everyone has a set of base ten blocks available for practice, so I made this set of portable base ten cards. This base ten product allows kids to move around the different combinations of units to form the numbers just as they would with the actual blocks if they were available.
Moving From Concrete To Abstract
Moving from manipulating materials to the more abstract is an important step. After practicing with pictures of the different forms, try using these place value sheets to write out the different forms of the numbers. I have created a bundle of different place value sheets for the various special days so they are useful for any time of the year.
Understanding and representing numbers is just one of the basics for using math in more complex situations. Check out some of my other posts below for more ways you can build up mastery of math concepts and skills.
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The more we use manipulatives and hands-ons activities with kids as they discover how math works, the more kids will become engaged and want to learn more. It is exciting to see kids who once "hated" math learn to enjoy it and even get excited about it. I would call that a big win.
Have fun with your students and watch them bloom with confidence at the same time!
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.