Thursday, March 30, 2017

Argh! U.S. Measurement...Plus a FREEBIE!

U.S. measurements are not easy. In many cases, they are quite frustrating for children and adults alike. I bet you have asked the question: Why don't we use the metric system here in America? I certainly have!

5,280 feet in a mile; 16 ounces in a pound; 8 pints in a gallon! How are we supposed to remember these equivalencies? Well, most of us memorize if we can, and yet the numbers don't often stay with us. Of course, if we use the information frequently or on a regular basis, it will stick with us. But how often do kids use this kind of knowledge? 

Memory techniques such as mnemonics and songs can be effective. When I took piano lessons, I learned the treble clef line notes by reciting this mnemonic-- Every Good Boy Does Fine. I also am able to remember how to spell the word, encyclopedia, after learning a song sung by Jiminy Cricket on the original Mickey Mouse Club TV show! And how many of us have fond memories of School House Rock?

                                          "Conjunction Junction what's your function?"
                                          "Hooking up words, phrases, and clauses." 

(Did you sing along as you read the lyrics?!)

So here is a math gem for you. Math Lessons by NUMBEROCK, a TpT store, has numerous songs and music videos to help you teach math concepts including measurement, both U.S. and metric.

And here's a gallon story, although not technically a mnemonic, found on Pinterest to assist students with U.S. capacity equivalencies. Together the Gallon Castle visual combined with the story of the four Queens is very useful for remembering these unit equivalencies.

Of course, memorization isn't enough. Students need to interact with the measurement equivalencies. One way is to apply those equivalencies to mathematical story problems as in the sample below.

Download this FREEBIE for more of these capacity task cards...



...and here's an additional product that will provide more practice opportunities for your students.

Finally the best learning experience for U.S. measurement equivalencies is real life events. Cooking dinner or baking cookies with Mom or Dad, weighing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, and helping measure a garden plot in the backyard--these are real experiences that will help those equivalencies stick.

So here's a final gem, No Bake White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies! Have a "no baking day" with your students or send the recipe home for a family chef night! Click on the picture below to link to the Super Healthy Kids website where you will find this recipe and others!


Thanks for dropping anchor! Happy Sailing! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How a Box Can Inspire the Imagination--Plus a FREEBIE!

Remember imaginary play? Were you a princess or a knight, an astronaut or an alien, a pirate or a cowboy? Whatever you imagined, your day was spent in a fantasy world of so much fun. Jane Yolen’s book, WHAT TO DO WITH A BOX, demonstrates how a box can stimulate imaginary play, something I think all of us, young or old, can relate to.

When I discovered this book, it brought back memories of my family’s move to Arizona. Our daughter was seven years old at the time. We settled in an up-and-coming suburb of Phoenix. Every few weeks a new family moved in. Needless to say, cardboard boxes were abundant!

Our location on a corner in our neighborhood along with a grassy front yard was inviting to children. While parents unpacked, the kids dragged empty packing boxes from garages and gathered in our yard to play. Their imagination and those brown boxes occupied the youngsters for hours.
Once in a while, I would check on them to make sure all was well. What I witnessed were scenes of knights jousting in front of castles, Old West settlers building a new town, or  pirate ships sailing to islands in search of buried treasure. What a wonderful thing a child’s imagination is!

This book has inspired me to pass on to you some ideas to encourage the imagination in your students. So…what to do with a box? Why stimulate the imagination, of course!

Use this FREEBIE in a number of ways to inspire imagination. As a read-aloud it can trigger memories and lead to a discussion about imaginary play which can inspire imaginative writing.
This product will help you to make the most of your read-aloud. Four words from the book can be used for vocabulary study. Students are provided with a word list and are encouraged to draw pictures that illustrate the meaning of each word.  There are Word Wall cards to post for continuous review.  A circle map can be used after the reading to brainstorm and list imaginary ways to use a box.

There are two narrative organizers, a tree map for story elements and a flow map for narrative events. Either is a tool for students to outline their imaginative narratives for using a box. Final copy recording sheets are available as well as a Narrative Scoring Checklist that lists what is expected in the writing.

A second writing activity is to compose an additional stanza to Yolen’s poem. Again, final copy recording sheets are provided.
Detailed Teaching Tips help you to prepare, implement, and celebrate each of these activities. Finally, there are suggestions for how to utilize a box in your classroom.

Thanks for docking your boat for a while! Happy Sailing!