Friday, February 5, 2016

Fact Families Confusions + A Fact Family Freebie

Hi, Teaching Friends!

"Fact Families: Friend or Enemy?"

That could have been the title of this post. Fact families are a great tool to help students see the relationships between numbers. Using hands on materials (like separating groups of manipulatives) and bridging to drawings, and then numerical representations, fact families are a great way to help students see the connection between addition and subtraction, and can also be a super tool to promote meaningful memorization.

But in the wrong hands, related fact families can be an enemy that's tricky to get rid of. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who's had some students just plug in the numbers, producing number models like 5+3=2 or 2-4=6. Yikes!

You've probably used some of these methods to teach and practice fact families
   * Number Bonds

   * Fact Family Houses

   * Part/Part/Whole diagrams

   * Fact Triangles

   * Dominoes

How do you help those students who've decided that it's easier to plug the numbers in than to think? 

Here's the little game I've used!

Teach students the 3 Finger Test. Hold up three fingers and for each number model you make, ask these questions:

1. Is it true?
2. Does it use all of the numbers in the family?
3. Does it use any numbers that are not in the family? (Sometimes, very dramatically, for extra fun, we  say, "No strangers in this family!")

As each question is answered, they push one of the fingers down. When all three are down, it's a fistpump in the air for a successful fact family!

What are some tricks of the trade that you've found to be successful with teaching fact families?

Here's a fun {and free!} way to add some fact family practice to your math center! This set of 18 clip cards for +1 and +2 facts also includes a demonstration page for use with your doc camera. Print the cards on light or bright cardstock as shown above, or print on white and have your students color them lightly with colored pencils before laminating.

If you're looking for more free and paid resources to build up your February curriculum, stop by Primary Inspiration to check out this linky party. You'll find over 200 February activities for the primary grades!!

Happy Teaching!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Four Fantastic February Fun Activities For Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade

Here Are Four Fun Ideas For February (From Day 100 & Valentine's Day to National Symbol Writing):

10 Fun Activities for Day 100:  Pick & choose or have your students do all ten activities on your 100th Day of School. 
Click the image to grab these 10 activities. 
There is a FREEBIE in the preview. 

I set this up as ten activity centers that my students rotated through all morning long. My kindergarten students got to keep track of each activity as they moved along in groups of 2 or 3 students.

It was so much FUN! You can do 1 or 2 activities in a whole group setting for pre-k or all 10 independently with your first grade students. There is a FREEBIE in the preview

American Symbol Writing:  Use these cute flag templates for writing. Pre-K can illustrate their favorite national symbol in the box at the top and then copy the name of their symbol on the lines provided. The in-between blank lines should be colored red. They should color the background of their illustration with blue. 
When these are posted on a bulletin board, they look like American flags, but when you get closer, you can see the writing and illustrations.

So cute!  
The set comes with different size lines you can have your students write more or less. My kindergarten students used this activity to practice opinion writing.

Larger lines are better for Pre-K and K.
Smaller lines allow for more writing.
They copied the name of their favorite symbol and then they wrote why they liked it.

First grade students can write more. It's also perfect for descriptive writing where students can describe their favorite American symbol. 

Valentine Descriptive Book:  This activity book makes learning about adjectives FUN!.  
Click the image to grab this cute activity. 

Pre-K students can trace the descriptive words (written in a dotted font) and then choose the construction paper heart to match each description.  Kindergarten students can create their own construction paper hearts to match the description. First grade students can also create their own hearts and they can embellish them too. 

I fold a piece of 12"X18" construction paper to create a 12"X12" pocket. The 8.5"X 5.5" description pages fit nicely on the pocket flap and the hearts fit in the pockets. 
Your students will LOVE this take-home book which they can read to their parents. 

Five Cheerful Valentines Subtraction Book:  This cute mini book demonstrates subtraction from five in a fun way.

Click the image to grab this cute subtraction book. 
Students write their friends'  names on the blank lines and then, they get to color and decorate the hearts which demonstrates subtraction by one until you are left with none. 
This is perfect for students to work on during your Valentine's Day party. 

And, if you missed the buzz that generated over 5000 hits and hundreds of downloads last month...  here is my Instant Writing method and templates that will turn every student into a writer!  

to read how this simple method can make a HUGE difference in how your students write. 
I'll see you all next month,
or you can see me at an upcoming conference:
Click the map to get more info about these conferences. 

Click on the map to see info about the Kindergarten Conference in Austin, Texas.
For info on the other conferences, click the map, then "PD Events" at the top of the page.
Then "overview" and last, the state where you would like to attend a conference. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Giveaway and a Math Freebie - It's the Place Value Love Bugs!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

'Tis the season for teaching place value, and for the 100th Day of School, and for Valentine's Day! With February being as jam-packed with events as it always is, from Groundhog Day to Chinese New Year, Heart Month, Black History Month, etc., etc., etc., it's not too early to bring out the Love Bugs yet, is it?

I thought not! ;)  These Love Bugs from Teacher's Gumbo are just too cute not to share right now!

Strengthen your students' ability to add and subtract tens from multiples of ten by connecting this skill to a math tool that they're already familiar - number bonds! Try this non-competitive activity in your math centers or for working with small groups. The children will match small numbered hearts to the multiple of ten on their number bond card.

Would you like a set of Love Bug's Number Bonds for your classroom? Just click on the cover to get yours free!

Your number bonds freebie is a sample from a larger collection of Love Bug activities for the same skill. Here's a bit of what's included.

You can see the complete set by clicking here or on the cover image.

Would you like to win a copy of Love Bug's Addition and Subtraction to use as Valentine's Day and the 100th Day approach?  Here are three ways you can enter ... and I'll be giving away three copies!

Giveaway Closed! Congratulations to Amy, Stephanie, and Margo, and thanks to all of you who entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Make Every Student a Writer:

And I mean EVERY student!


Click the arrow to see this quick video.

This method is great to develop oral language and give your students a foundation for composing a sentence. I used it with my English Language Learners as well as my fluent English Language students and they loved it. The best part is that once you have taught this method a few times in a small group setting, you can turn it into a fun writing center.
You can create your own "Instant Writing" kit or you can purchase my "ready-to-go" kit on my TpT Store. Here is how you can make your own:
1. Collect pictures (from magazines, old workbooks, or a web site that offers free images) of "characters" like people and animals. (You will need 6 pictures for each child in your small group.)
This is the noun page that your run on pink paper.

2. Collect pictures of people or animals doing specific activities like running, swimming, singing, & dancing. (You will need 6 pictures for each child in your small group.)
This is the verb page that you run on green.

3. Collect pictures of places like a barn, a school, a store, or a park.  You can also include pictures of things like a mailbox, a bed, or a swing. (You will need 6 pictures for each child in your small group.)

4. Label all of the pictures. You might want to type up labels with a lined font so children can copy each label correctly.
This is the 2nd noun page that includes places and things.You run this on blue paper.
5. Glue your collection of "characters" to pink construction paper squares leaving a 1/2" pink edge all around each picture. Do the same thing with the "activity" pictures, but glue those to green construction paper. Last, glue the "places" or "things" to blue construction paper. 

If you use my "Instant Writing" kit, you copy the pages labeled "pink" on pink Xerox paper, the ones labeled "green" on green Xerox paper, and the ones labeled "blue" on blue Xerox paper. 
Each student will need one of the white templates in the kit or you can also use a sheet of lined paper with an area at the top for a picture. That is where your students can glue one pink, green, and blue card in that order. 

You will also need a list of "helping words" which is included in my Instant Writing kit. I run one copy for each child in my small group on yellow card stock and laminate it so we can use them all year long. These include the words they will need to complete their sentence like "the, that, a, my, on, by, under, over, near, around, through,...". I included an image of the "helping words" page below. Scroll down to see it.
The Procedure:
In a small group setting (of 4-6 students) give each child 1 pink, 1 green, and 1 blue page. Each page has 6 images on it. They should cut apart the pictures on each page and put them into a sandwich size zipper bag. (If you are using your hand-made kit, give each child 6 pink, 6 green, and 6 blue pictures to put into their zipper bags.)  They will also need one white page for writing and a yellow "helping words" page.

This is my small group table.
I was in the middle of attaching lined dry-erase contact paper to each laminated sheet of construction paper.
The dry erase paper allows me to write words for students to copy and easily erase.
They can also write on it, practice their printing, or work on a math problem and then erase it.
Have each students reach into their zipper bag and pull out one pink, one green, and one blue card and glue them to their white writing page in that order. (The white writing page in the Instant Writing kit is labeled with the color names.)
Choosing one pink, one green, and one blue card.

Help each child to tell you what each pictures is and have them verbally create a sentence using those three pictures.  For example, if a child has a pink card with a cat on it, a green card of a girl singing, and a blue card of a kitchen, he/she might say, "The cat, sang in the kitchen." Or... "My cat is singing near the kitchen." There are so many ways to use each set of cards. Have fun and encourage them to create silly sentences like, "The black cat will sing to the kitchen!" 
You can see that I wrote the word "The" for her
using a capital "T" and then, I wrote it with a
lowercase "t" so she could use it in the middle
of her sentence.

Once they have settled on their sentence ask them which article (A, the, that, my, etc.) they wish to use and circle that word on their yellow "extra words" card so they can copy it. Then, they copy their pink labeled card.
This is the "extra words" card that I copy on yellow card stock
 and laminate one for each student in my small group. When they
need a word, I just circle it with a dry erase pen.

Next they write their verb from their green card. If they wish to change the tense, you just write the new word on the back of their card for them to copy. 

Last, they decide which "helping words" they need to add the last blue card to their sentence. You ask them if their character did that activity in, near, by, on, over, etc. the last noun. Use the "helping words" chart or write the extra words on a lined Post-it so it can be easily copied.

At the end, sing this little chant which came from one of Heidi's teaching CDs which you can find at "I'm done, I'm done, oops, I forgot! I have to write a period, I have to make a dot."

Then, your students reads their sentence to the group and they get to press the Easy Button!
Available at Staples Stores in English and Spanish.
Do this for 6 days (at least once a week for 6 weeks) before setting this up as a writing center. 

You can send these pages home, bind them in a book that they can take home after 6 weeks to read to their parents, or post them on medical file clips on your bulletin board.

You can keep adding pages to these clips all year long.
And here is a super discount code for you: Get $40 off of one year of the fabulous online testing, ESGI. Use code : KFUN at checkout when you sign up for your FREE 60 day trial and the credit will be on your account! CLICK HERE for more info, see the tests I wrote, and sign up for your free trial.
Click the image for more info.

Remember to check out my KFUNdamentals blog too:

If you liked this idea, check out the other teaching ideas I have on my blog:

AND... have a Happy New Year!

See you all next year!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Freebies for Your Winter Writing Center!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Have you tried using whole class journals? They're an easy way to add a little spark to your writing center choices!

If you haven't tried whole class journals yet, let me give you a quick rundown on what they're all about. Instead of writing on paper or in their own journals, writing journals give your students a place to collect of their writing on the same topic. You provide the writing prompt on the cover, and all of the writing in each of the journals will be on the same topic. The combination of the prompt and the opportunity to take a peek at their friends' writing will help motivate even your reluctant writers!

Here's a free seasonal set for you, filled with snowy options for writing! Read on for some ideas for using whole class journals.

Whole class journals are simple to put together, whether you choose to print on cardstock, laminate, and bind with blank pages, or just glue the cover to the front of a spiral bound notebook. Sometimes you might want to model writing a story for the first page, and give some reminders for the procedures and guidelines you have for the use of the journals ... use one/both sides of the page, story length, etc.

Then just put the journals in your writing center as an option.  I usually kept a checklist of student names on the inside cover, for them to mark off their names after they wrote. Another fun option is to let each of your students put a sticker on the cover or first page after writing.

The set above has both color and grayscale options.  Choosing the grayscale will save you some ink, of course, but it's also a nice option because when one of your students is the artist who colors the cover illustrations, there's more ownership, and of course that increases the likelihood that your journals will be treated with the care they deserve!

Although these are writing journals, they also become very popular reading materials in the classroom! Put your finished journals with other class books you've made and they'll be flying off the shelf! The children love to read each others' stories, and of course, they love to read their own work over and over, too! {Read, "fluency boosters"!}

Once you get started using these journals, you'll find that new ideas for topics will come easily. As a matter of fact, my first graders frequently supplied me with terrific suggestions, from writing about their favorite books that we'd shared to journals about the field trips they wished we could take (no limits to a firstie's imagination on that topic!).

Have fun with your new journals this month!  Happy Teaching!