June 30, 2019

Fun Ways to Teach Exponents to Beginners

Fun Ways to Teach Exponents to the Beginner 4th Grade Math 5th Grade Math

When I think of tricky math for my fourth Graders ... I think EXPONENTS!

Introducing exponents was a math concept that I was dreading because I had a feeling that my students would fall into the rookie pattern of multiplying the base with the exponent. Much to my delight, my Fourth Graders mastered exponents rather quickly when I slowed the lessons down and really took the time to explain the purpose of exponents.  Considering that the PEMDAS lesson ("Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" or my personal favorite "Purple Elephants May Destroy A School") was in our next unit, I knew we had to invest in some extra practice before moving on.

Introducing vocabulary words like "base", "exponent", "expanded notation", "powers", and "standard notation" was an important start to this introduction.  This reference chart that I created helped the students to visually see that exponents are a way of expressing repeated multiplication. I posted this handy chart on our Math Anchor Wall as well as made a mini version to add to the students' math reference folder. I love visuals and can't get enough of them!  It was actually only recently that I realized that I am actually a visual learner.  I really need to see things in print or pictures to make a connection and commit new information to my long term memory - wish I knew that in middle school French when the entire class was oral and I struggled to write everything the teacher said phonetically as soon as the class was finished ;)

Free Exponents Practice Activities for Fourth Grade and Fifth Grade Math Introduction to exponents anchor chart

Lots of oral practice on our white boards helped my fourth graders master that exponents squared (to the 2nd power) does not mean times two but is rather a shortcut telling how many times the base number is being multiplied - in this case two times. I would start each day with a simple review and exponent practice only to scaffold and increase each problem's difficulty slowly.  

Moving onto exponent practice worksheets was tons of fun when the students practiced using color by number activities, tic tac toe games, flash card games, true and false activities and Exponent Number Puzzles.

Free Exponent Activities and Practice for the Beginner 4th grade math and 5th grade math


I love introducing math concepts to my students with lots of practice opportunities and then giving them the chance to independently explore through fun games, coloring activities and sorts.  I love to see them get excited to work in class but not realizing that they are still actually practicing and learning.  I have even taken the time to create differentiated practice pages with multiple choice answers like the one below. 
Exponent Activities and Practice for the Beginner 4th grade math and 5th grade math

Exponent Activities and Practice for the Beginner 4th grade math and 5th grade math

I also created several Exponent Practice Worksheets that are fun and engaging for my students that incorporate Halloween and Christmas.  I never miss an opportunity to have the kids practice more exponent activities during the holidays. They love coloring and learning at the same time!
Halloween Exponent Activities and Practice for fourth grade and fifth grade math


Thank you for taking your time to read about how I teach exponents to my fourth grade students. I hope these ideas help you plan some fun and engaging exponent activities in your classroom!

April 7, 2019

Long Division Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Fun way to teach long division tips and tricks for beginners fourth grade math

Long Division....let's start with the math basics.  Ironically, I struggled in math as an elementary school student.  It wasn't until I was a teacher that I actually understood some simple math mantras.
long division practice activities for beginning division 4th grade math

Count on Tricia's Math Mantras

Math Made Easy - Tip One
Numbers follow a pattern.

Math Made Easy - Tip Two
Multiplication is putting equal groups together.

Math Made Easy - Tip Three
Division is splitting apart equal groups.

Math Made Easy - Tip Four
Break numbers apart into smaller numbers and think friendly numbers. For example think MULTIPLES of 10 or 100.

Math Made Easy - Tip Five
Make a Ballpark Estimate before solving a math problem.

Math Made Easy - Tip Six
There are MANY ways to solve a math problem.  It is my job as a teacher to show students several different ways to solve a problem, but in the end, the students use which way works best for them because everyone thinks differently.

Long Division PARTIAL QUOTIENT STRATEGY
Believe it or not, many of my 4th grade students preferred using this division strategy.
This strategy is all about breaking numbers into smaller numbers and thinking friendly numbers (tip 4)
Here is an example using the number 520.  This is just one way to break 520 into smaller friendlier numbers.


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long division for beginners partial quotients FREE activity for 4th grade math
To grab this Long Division Partial Quotients freebie, click here

Long Division TRADITIONAL STRATEGY
I think the key to using this traditional Mom and Pop Strategy is to present it in a methodical and organized way.
1. Before beginning a problem, I have students generate the first 9 multiples of the divisor. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what multiples were close to the dividend.  Generating a list before hand and referencing it throughout the problem will move things quicker.
2. Draw lines between the place values of the dividend.  This will help students see each place value  and line up the numbers in the quotient correctly.
FREE Long division for beginners long division practice strategies for fourth grade math
Click here to grab this Long Division Practice freebie.  (same as above)
Long division doesn't have to be hard for beginners if numbers are broken into smaller numbers (partial quotients) or using the MOM and POP way in an organized planned way.

If you found these long division strategies helpful, check out one of my most popular resources.
long division practice activities for beginning division 4th grade math

April 19, 2018

Classroom Management and Parent-Teacher Communication Made Easy for Kindergarten

Is your parent-teacher communication on it's "A Game"?  Do you find writing notes and talking to parents about their student's academics easy breezy?  I do . . . now!

Classroom Management made simple with Kindergarten Parent Communication Forms for Kindergarten Reading Assessment and Kindergarten Math Assessments

#Realtalk  There have been several times in my 24 years as an educator that I have had parent conversations that have turned uncomfortable and awkward.  I have the personality that does not do well with confrontation and I take everything to heart.  On the home front, the last nine years I have become a mom to school aged boys that struggle at school in reading.  Being on both sides of the fence is hard.  I understand the concerns some of my sons' teachers (yes...sons...because all 3 struggle)  have but at the same time I don't like turning the corner and walking the other way, every time I see one of their teachers coming my way.


Here are a few quick and easy parent communication tips that have worked for me the past several years.

TRICIA'S TIP #1
Talk to parents with understanding and empathy.
Most parents, I believe, really are trying the best they know how.  Most parents I have personally worked with, love their children and see their kids as an extension of themselves.  Some parents have had bad tough times themselves in school and already may feel negatively toward teachers.  I have sat in countless IEPs through the years where my colleagues begin talking by listing all of the improvements that students need to make.  IEP talk time can be short so some of my colleagues have come right out of the gate with negatives.  Having the unique experience of sitting on both sides of the IEP meeting table as a parent and as an educator there have been times I have said to myself, "Did they just really say that to me?  I would never speak that way to a parent.  My child is struggling and we are doing the best that we can right now."    Win your parents over with smiles, kindness and compassion!

TRICIA'S TIP #2
Make a "Sunshine Call" as the beginning of the year or as soon as you can.
The first week or two of school I slowly work my way down the class list calling my new students' parents. I tell parents I am so happy to be their child's teacher.  Then I share a quick positive I have noticed about their student.  Most parents I talk to are so surprised I took the time to call and give a compliment to their child.  They tell me the only time they hear from a teacher is when there is a negative in school.  When a make a "Sunshine Call" at the beginning of the year, it is so much easier to call later in the year to say, "Hey I know we talked a little bit ago and "Charlie" was doing great but right now I am seeing a few challenges.  I was calling to see if you could help me because I know what a great kid "Charlie" is."   I already laid a little ground work that I am not a "Negative Nelly" so most parents I have talked to are happy to help because they know I have shown that I care about their student.

TRICIA'S TIP #3
Communicate often and celebrate successes!
When I talk to parents I use "sandwich talk".  I sandwich a negative (I call them "challenges" in the classroom) between two positive statements.  For example, I start with a positive like "I care about your child and want the best for them"  (this is absolutely true...I adore my students)  Then I will slip in something their student needs to work on.  Lastly, I close the conversation with a positive about their child.  Celebrating successes leave my parents feeling inspired rather than deflated.

TRICIA'S TIP #4
Send home happy notes or quick forms that communicate how students are doing.  I have a drawer filled with these easy to use forms that communicate beginning reading, phonics and math skills for my Kindergarteners.  I highlight things students need to work on and write a few words of praise.  There is my "sandwich talk" again but this time on a written form ;)


Classroom Management made simple with Kindergarten Parent Communication Forms for Kindergarten Reading Assessment and Kindergarten Math Assessments


Classroom Management made simple with Kindergarten Parent Communication Forms for Kindergarten Reading Assessment and Kindergarten Math Assessments

I just add a few quick positive notes to build confidence and celebrate success.  Then I highlight challenges my students need support with at home. My parents love receiving these!

Classroom Management made simple with Kindergarten Parent Communication Forms for Kindergarten Reading Assessment and Kindergarten Math Assessments

Parent Communication is like the GOLDEN RULE...Treat other parents the way you would like to be treated when you are a parent.   If you think of the Golden Rule every time you communicate with one of your families...I guarantee Parent Communication will be "easy peasy" lemon squeezy!


Classroom Management made simple with Kindergarten Parent Communication Forms for Kindergarten Reading Assessment and Kindergarten Math Assessments


Classroom Management made simple with Kindergarten Parent Communication Forms for Kindergarten Reading Assessment and Kindergarten Math Assessments


February 13, 2018

A Valentine's Day Not To Be Missed

It is almost Valentine's Day!  Have I got great sweet fun in store for my class this year!  You betcha!
Valentine's Day Reading and Writing Ideas for Kindergarten, First and Second Grade


We have been taking extra steps to practice kindness in the year of 2018. While I was strolling around Michael's one day...because what teacher can actually go in and come out with just one item...I stumbled upon this cute kit to decorate a Valentine's Shoebox.  At $3 a pop, I certainly could not afford to buy one for each of my 27 students and get a bang for my buck so I decided to buy just one for the entire classroom.  Kindness Kitty was born!

Here is the gist...every student puts their name on a small paper heart and places it in "Kindness Kitty".  At a center during our Valentine's Day Party, students draw a random heart out of the Kitty.  My kiddos will then choose a red or pink heart card (thank you Michaels Crafts) and write a kind note to the chosen student.  Easy peasy!  

Every 2 weeks when small guided reading groups come to meet with me during Literacy Center Time, I give them a new Magic Finger Pointer to touch the words while reading.  I usually buy them in packs of 10 for $1-$2 a piece.  Some months I give Halloween Spooky Fingers.  Other months I give Gingerbread Pencils with giant themed erasers.  This week I scored these from the Target's "Dollar Bin",  My kiddos loved this week's reading pointer...hearts and gems!
alentine's Day Reading and Writing Ideas for Kindergarten, First and Second Grade

These mini red Carson Dellosa Cut Outs are the greatest!  I just love them because they are adorable, sturdy and themed.  I am putting some popcorn high frequency words on a few of them to add to our Valentine's Day Sensory Bin.  On a few of the other hearts, I put glued alphabet letters for kiddos to sort and make words at our Valentine's Day Word Work Station.
Valentine's Day Reading and Writing Ideas for Kindergarten, First and Second Grade

This year I am trying something new courtesy of my friends at Kinderbrations.  I just spent the last 20 minutes kneading homemade Chocolate Playdoh and does my house smell like yummy brownies or what?  Mmmm.
Valentine's Day Reading and Writing Ideas for Kindergarten, First and Second Grade

Check out their blog post for the recipe Kinderbrations Valentine's Day

So all in all, it looks like my Valentine's Day Party will Be The SWEETEST!
Happy Valentine's Day Friends :)

November 8, 2017

Ideas to Spark your Thanksgiving Math for the Elementary Classroom with Some Fact Freebies

Want to keep your kids engaged during Thanksgiving Season?  Here are some Thanksgiving Math Centers Multiplication and Addition Facts Practice Freebies for First Graders, Second Graders, Third Graders, Fourth Graders and Fifth Graders
Want to keep your kids engaged during math centers during Thanksgiving Celebrations?
Here are some ideas and a few Math Fact freebies 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with my kiddos because of the great opportunities to celebrate gratitude.  I love practicing gratitude through journals.  It is also a time for turkeys, Pilgrims and Native Americans.  I love intertwining these Thanksgiving images rolling them up with some math facts practice and viola... you have yourself some Thanksgiving Math Center Fun!

Want to keep your kids engaged during Thanksgiving Season?  Here are some Thanksgiving Math Centers Multiplication and Addition Facts Practice Freebies for First Graders, Second Graders, Third Graders, Fourth Graders and Fifth Graders
 My kiddos love math color by numbers.  Addition or multiplication! They are so engaged coloring, they do not realize that are actually practicing their addition and subtraction fact families. They are usually so immersed in the practice, there is sort of a calm in the classroom. Score!

Grab this Thanksgiving Multiplication Color by Number Practice Freebie along with a few other multiplication freebies here
Thanksgiving Math Centers Multiplication Facts Practice Freebies
Want to keep your kids engaged during Thanksgiving Season?  Here are some Thanksgiving Math Centers Multiplication and Addition Facts Practice Freebies for First Graders, Second Graders, Third Graders, Fourth Graders and Fifth Graders
The kids also love practicing their math fact practice through game form.  The only supplies needed for these Four in a Row games are 2 dice and a few game markers (or some crayons)
Want to keep your kids engaged during Thanksgiving Season?  Here are some Thanksgiving Math Centers Multiplication and Addition Facts Practice Freebies for First Graders, Second Graders, Third Graders, Fourth Graders and Fifth GradersWant to keep your kids engaged during Thanksgiving Season?  Here are some Thanksgiving Math Centers Multiplication and Addition Facts Practice Freebies for First Graders, Second Graders, Third Graders, Fourth Graders and Fifth Graders
 Grab this Thanksgiving Addition Four in a Row Freebie here
Just one more thing before you go...I have one more Thanksgiving Math Freebie For you.
This one is a True or False Sorting Division Facts Practice.  Just simply, cut out the division number sentences, sort them under the true or false category and glue. Easy, fun and holiday themed!
Want to keep your kids engaged during Thanksgiving Season?  Here is a Thanksgiving Math Center Division Facts Practice Freebie for Third Graders, Fourth Graders and Fifth Graders
 Grab this Thanksgiving Math Division True or False Sort Activity here

 Did you find some of these Thanksgiving Math Freebies helpful for your students, check out some of my other popular Thanksgiving Math Practice Activities you can click here  

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you and your kiddos have a wonderful Thanksgiving Season.



October 23, 2017

Using Themed Cut-outs in the Classroom Makes Learning Exciting

Leaf and Acorn Cut-outs

I am always looking for ways to integrate seasonal fun to the classroom.  I love these leaves and acorns giant cutouts that Carson Dellosa sent me to try out.  They are colorful, a good size and very sturdy.  I can use them for so many things in the classroom.
Carson Dellosa Leaves and Acorn Cut-outs for themed Literacy Centers and Math Stations.

               Carson Dellosa Leaves Acorns Cut-Outs

Math Facts or Vocabulary Word Cards

Punch a hole in the corner of the cut-outs. Then print out and glue math facts or vocabulary words onto the cutouts.  After putting the cutouts through a binder ring, they are easy to carry around for students to practice their facts and words.

Sensory Table High Frequency Words

Since we just opened our sensory table this week, I had another idea that the students ended up really loving.  I believe it is so important to integrate fine motor skills into lessons. Strengthening the muscles in the hand and fingers can help students cut with scissors, hold a pencil correctly, button in self-care and improve handwriting.

I printed out and glued this week's two high frequency words onto the cut-outs.  Then I filled our sensory table with shredded paper (actually from my own paper shredder - a win-win)

Carson Dellosa Leaves and Acorn Cut-outs for themed Literacy Centers and Math Stations.

Students used plastic tweezers and chip clips to pick up the words they recognized.

Carson Dellosa Leaves and Acorn Cut-outs for themed Literacy Centers and Math Stations.

Students then graphed how many words they could recognize and say.
Carson Dellosa Leaves and Acorn Cut-outs for themed Literacy Centers and Math Stations.

Carson Dellosa Leaves and Acorn Cut-outs for themed Literacy Centers and Math Stations.

The children loved going to the sensory table.  I can not wait to change these Carson Dellosa fall cutouts to other seasons!

April 10, 2017

TPT Flock 17 A Teachers Pay Teachers Meetup

TPT Flock 17 Learning, Collaborating and Networking 

What happens when you get 190 Educators from 28 States and 4 Canadian Provinces spending the weekend together?      Awesomeness! 
TPT Flock 2017 Teachers Pay Teachers WNY TPT Team at Woodcliff Hotel and Spa Fairport New York


Welcome to TPT Flock Western New York TPT Team Organizers of the NortheasternTeacher Pay Teachers Meetup April 8, 2017

This weekend we had a phenomenal time together getting to know each other better, sharing educational tips and social media tips as well as just plain enjoying each others' companies and taking some time for ourselves.


Your Planning Team

Sherri from Literary Sherri, Marybeth from Brain Waves Instruction, Rachael from The Classroom Nook, Selma from Selma Dawani , Erica from Miss Vs Kinder Kraziness, Stephanie from Double Dose Of Learning, Kelly from Double Dose Of Learning, Donna from Worth A Thousand Words Photosand Tricia from Tricia's Terrific Teaching Trinkets/Count On Tricia.


Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators

The Woodcliff Hotel and Spa

Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Fairport, New York was a wonderful venue for us. It is a beautiful resort with a gorgeous ballroom, delicious food and a gracious staff.




Keynote Speaker

Our keynote address was by Jenny Knappenberger of Art with Jenny K. who specializes in art-infused learning resources and promoting the importance of creativity in the learning process. Jenny’s presentation was both inspirational and motivational, but best of all it was hands-on and interactive! Jenny led us in making a large mosaic piece of art boldly featuring TPT’s Amy, Adam, and Paul and which showcased the importance of us as individuals as well as demonstrating the great things that we can achieve collectively when we flock together.

Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators



Sessions

Yup...just like the TPT Annual Conference, we had sessions too! Our excited educators attended 2 panels and 4 different session ranging from Instagram Tips, Pinterest Tips, Cover Design, Blogging, Project Nucleus, SmartPhone Marketing, Organizing Time and Being Productive.

Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators


Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators
Many thanks to all of the presenters including Greg, Nancy, Tabitha and Jodi and so many more


Teachers Pay Teachers

The TPT Staff that attended our event were so incredibly gracious and kind.  We are forever grateful. We especially enjoyed their yummy breakfast. Thank you TPT!
Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators
We love Amy the "Director of Seller's Happiness"

Dr. Robyn McMaster

We honored our friend Robyn who joined us and help planned our first three meet-ups, worked with Dr. Ellen Weber of Brain-Based Tasks for Growth Mindset and was passionate about using brain based approaches to engage students' individual interests and abilities.  We raised funds to establish the Dr. Robyn McMaster Scholarship to keep Robyn's work alive at the Mita International Brain Center
http://www.brainleadersandlearners.com/innovation/announcing-the-dr-robyn-mcmaster-scholarship-at-mita-international-brain-based-center/


Giveaways

We had so many incredible sponsors and donors for this TPT Flock Event.  These generous contributions made it possible for the day to take place. 
http://www.orientaltrading.com
Every attendee received adorable file folders from Oriental Trading
More Generous Gifts that our attendees.
Especially loved the ring of clipart gift cards. Thanks you Sherri and Donna for putting this together.
Huge Shoutout to Teachers Pay Teachers AstrobrightsSkinny Pop Popcorn,  Erin Condren Tieks Miss Squirrels Shop

So many new and old friends

Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators

Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators
Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators

Teachers Pay Teachers TPT Flock 2017 a day of learning, collaboration, and inspiration with fellow educators
We had the greatest time celebrating education, making a difference in children's lives, friendship and creativity.
What was your favorite part of the Flock? Would you like to join us for Flock 2018?