Posts made in May, 2013

Understanding Multiplication

Posted by on May 18, 2013 in conversation as learning tool, math vocabulary, Uncategorized, vocabulary development | 0 comments

Multiplication – The art of increasing gold or silver by magic, — attributed formerly to the alchemists

Younger students need to have the magic of multiplication broken into little pieces of reality! I think the best starting point is showing that multiplication is repeated addition. If I add two 6 times, I have multiplied two by six. It actually takes saying that word “times” quite a few times before everyone catches on to the idea that we also say “times” when we multiply.

Of course, by showing I actually mean showing. Students need manipulatives in their hands. If they are edible all the better! 15 candies in one roll of Smarties. If everyone on your team has one roll, how many candies does your team have? We make arrays out of cubes, then we draw the arrays with circles or Xs. Sometimes we get fancier and do hearts or stars, but it is important to be able to draw quick arrays to see that they can be useful in problem solving when you get stuck on a problem.

Important vocabulary surrounds multiplication. I love to have them figure out the analogies such as, plus: addition :: times: multiplication and addend: factor :: sum: product. Later on, we realize addition: multiplication:: subtraction : division. Besides factor and product, there’s other important multiplication vocabulary or key words. Each and every usually mean to multiply. I tell my class to watch out for same number and equal groups, because those words change each and every to division, every time. Kids need to know the words twice, double, triple, and quadruple means to multiple. Then we have total and altogether, which they already recognize as addition words. These words provide a chance to reinforce the idea that multiplication is actually just FAST addition.

When learning our facts, we use many strategies: fact families, number lines, repeated addition, arrays, groups, sets, music, movement, discussion, breaking apart numbers.

I made this poster for my kids to discuss all the ways they know to multiply. I have attached the pdf for you.

Understanding Multiplication

Understanding Multiplication

I have made an Understanding Multiplication Scavenger Hunt. Here is a page from it:

Understanding Multiplication Scavenger Hunt.

It also explores multiplication as repeated addition, arrays, skip counting, and fact families.

I hope that you find some magic in multiplication in your classroom!



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Preparing for Memorial Day

Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me. -Lee Greenwood

Memorial Day doesn’t get much coverage in schools. It is too close to summer. Some schools are already over before it arrives. Memorial Day is thought of more as a day to celebrate the beginning of summer, than to remember those braves souls who died for our country.

My dad served in WWII. He gave up dreams to become an engineer to serve his country in the European Theater.  Luckily, he returned safely to marry my mother and began a large happy brood to whom he dedicated his life. At his funeral in 2009, he was fittingly honored with the flag, the bugle, the military personal. There was not a dry eye to be found as we listened to taps. My mom gave the flag to a grandson who has also served in the Army.

When I visited Pearl Harbor one year to the day later, I cried freely throughout the day as I grieved for my loss and the loss of so many. This loss is perpetuated by war and yet always we have those brave enough to serve and maintain our freedom.

My Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt presents/teaches facts about Memorial Day. It is a great activity for this less focused time of the year because the kids can be out of their seats in search of information.

I have a set of National Holiday posters. Here is the Memorial Day one.

Memorial Day






Memorial Day


Please help your students understand the importance of this day this year!


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Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by on May 5, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Teacher Appreciation Week

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward

I have much appreciation for teachers; my own teachers starting with my parents and older siblings, my elementary teachers, all of the teachers that kept me focused on my goal of becoming a teacher. I am grateful for my teacher friends. These are my truest and most loyal friends. I am grateful that young and energetic new teachers are arriving to continue the work of helping kids love learning.

I appreciate all those who have visited my stores; TPT or TN. If you found a freebie you could use to help make your day or a student’s day better, I am so glad. If you purchased a product, thank you so much. I think this quote is so true of teachers;

A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.  ~Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, translated from Turkish

I want to thank all of you special teachers. My TPT store will be on sale during Teachers Pay Teachers Teacher Appreciation Sale on Tuesday and Wednesday.


My Teacher’s Notebook Store is currently on sale. This sale runs through May 8.

I look forward to working with you again!


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Movement while Learning: Scavenger Hunts

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in scavenger hunt | 0 comments

“Life is more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.”  ― Jimmy Buffett

Look for my newest featured freebie to try out the scavenger hunt experience!


My class gets antsy this time of year. We need to move more, but we still need to be learning. I am not a teacher that feels once the test is over there’s nothing more to teach. I feel every moment we have needs to be adding value to our kids education. These games are created with rigor and complexity of thought, whenever possible.

I’ve been making a new product to get us up and moving and learning in a controlled manner! My scavenger hunts come with between 12 – 20 cards (usually in color) to be placed in “hidden” locations throughout the room. During reading rotations one of the groups wanders the room with clipboards searching for the clues to complete their Scavenger Hunt sheet. The kids really enjoy these activities. When I tell them we have a new one, they actually cheer!

We have done these as part of rotations during both reading and math group times. We have also done then for science and social studies. Usually for science and social studies I have them work as a whole class and pair resource students with more capable students. This differentiation really helps those who are struggling.


I currently have these reading topics: context clues, main ideas, and predicting outcomes. I also have a language review scavenger hunt and scoot game, homophones, and alphabetical order.


Several math topics that require some critical thinking are available. These are geometric vocabulary, number sense (place value), fractions, and perimeter and area.


Science topics currently includes: body systems, grasslands animal adaptations, and plants (one of my best sellers).


I have really done quite a few for social studies already! Economics, map skills, and landforms are the first of many that will cover the important topics. Inventors will follow soon.  I am working on  an “Explore the state” series. I have Texas and Nebraska ready to purchase. New Jersey and Ohio are in process. I’d be happy to hear what you would like to see next.

I am also working to provide a scavenger hunt for every holiday. Earth Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, and Summer Fun are the first ones ready and selling like hotcakes!

My 4th of July Scavenger Hunt will become my featured freebie as of today, so that you can get an idea of how the scavenger hunts work!


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