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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Printing Posters!

I bet everyone out there knows how to do this already, but just in case you don't, I HAVE to let you in on my latest obsession:  printing posters!   I think my recent software update called this to my attention.  I now use posters for EVERYTHING!  I print them for school as we record science observations, I print them at home for Mandarin lessons--I have realized the list is endless!  

Anyway, here's one of the first posters I printed.  This is what the file looks like: 

This is the finished 2x2 poster!  My kids loved it! 

How to Print a Poster with Pages on a Mac

1.  Go to "File" and scroll down to "Print."  A new window will pop up.
2.  There is an option bar in the middle of the right hand column that says "Layout."
3.  Click on the word "Layout" and scroll down to "Printer Options."
4.  The last option in the right hand column is "Poster Printing."  It says "NO," but when you click on it, you can choose 2x2, 3x3, up to 5x5 printing.  
How cool is that?  

How to Print a Poster with Preview on a Mac

Follow the same steps above, except that the option bar in the middle of the right hand column says, "Preview."  The rest of the options are the same.  

How to Print a Poster with Word for Mac

1.  Click on "File" in the tool bar.  Scroll down and click on "Print."
2.  Click on "Copies and Pages" in the box that pops up.  
3.  Choose "Printer Options," then follow #4 above.  

Happy poster printing!  

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Color Words in Mandarin

Working on Color Words in Chinese
I sit down with two of my children, ages 4 and 5, every night to work on Mandarin for at least 30 minutes.  They usually do a tracing page for one character, play a game using characters we have learned so far, and play another character game that I purchased.  Sometimes, I have them complete a color by character page or work on a beginning reading book.  We also sometimes read other beginning books that I purchased from Better Chinese (complete with a CD and pinyin).  You would not believe the difference 30 minutes makes!  

As a teacher, I realize that things such as reading to your child before bed, setting a routine for homework, and playing educational games are helpful.  But I really don't think I realized just HOW helpful a small investment of time can be until we started working on a foreign language.  I have seen such a difference!  

As a direct result of our "Chinese class" every evening, my son and daughter already know more than 50 characters!  Contrast that with the 4 or 5 they knew (and that's stretching it) before we started.  Although they do go to Language Stars, their classes emphasize speaking more than reading and writing (understandable).  

My son is becoming more interested and confident.  He hasn't complained about going to class lately.  He has finally agreed to help lead in the counting (in Mandarin) during calendar time at preschool.  AND, he can remember almost ALL of the characters we have covered!  Both he and my daughter can READ the simple books I created (edited by Grandma and Great Uncle, of course) for them to use.  What a difference devoting just 30 minutes can make!  

So, I have added the set pictured above, "Learning Chinese Characters:  Color Words," to both my Teachers Notebook shop and my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  You can take a look by clicking on the picture below:  

It covers 14 different characters which are practiced in 5 different ways:  tracing sheets, easy reader books, cut-and-paste pages, a matching game, and color by character sheets.  I know my kids are really learning with these, so I hope your students will like them, too!  Plus, they're half off (like all of my NEW products) until Thursday, May 17th!  

Also, this set comes with a full-color poster!  I think I'm about to go a little poster crazy because I just figured out how to print posters!  It has made the possibilities endless, both at school and at home!  Although I feel like everyone else in the world probably knows how to print posters already, if you need help, watch for a post later this week on how to print one.

As always, thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teaching Number Sense: The Number Roll and a FREEBIE!

As teachers, we are always striving to find ways of teaching "number sense" to our primary students.  Our goal is to help them gain an intuitive understanding of numbers, what they mean, and how they are related to one another.  One of the best ways I have found to instill a foundation for these concepts in my own classroom is through our use of the Montessori Number Roll.  

For the past 16 years, I have had the privilege of working with an incredible teacher who is Montessori trained.  She has taught me a lot of things that have made my students more successful.  Because of her, I use a lot of Montessori math in the classroom, including the Number Roll.  

Sometime during the second semester (depending on my students), I get out our Number Roll work.  I have found that it's a great way to instill in students several mathematical concepts:

1) "One more" makes the next number.  Some students struggle with this until they have to physically add one cube each time before writing the next number.
2) Place value.  Using the base ten blocks to make each number (especially after reaching the 100s) provides students with a strong tactile and visual sense of each number.  They must then record each number using the proper spaces according to place value.
3) A sense of quantity (helps with estimation).  At the end of the year or when students have reached higher numbers, we roll their work out in the gym.  Students can literally see 483, 513, or whatever number they have reached.  It is a VERY powerful visual!
4) Patterns.  I encourage students to use the base ten blocks, tediously adding one at a time and switching ten ones for a ten and ten tens for a hundred, until they reach around 200 or 300 (it varies for each student).  After that, students have usually mastered the pattern of numbers, writing in 48, for example, down the whole sheet in the hundreds and tens columns, then the numbers 0-9 in the ones column to make 480, 481, 482, etc.  Once students reach this understanding, I know that the Number Roll has worked its magic!

Since, as I have said, I am not Montessori trained, I have my own way of approaching the Number Roll.  I am sure that it is a little different, but here's my procedure:

Step #1) I prepare the number strips ahead of time.  Download your FREE SET HERE.  I use a 100 board page and just cut it into sections with only 1 column (ones), 2 columns (tens), 3 columns (hundreds), and 4 (thousands).  Of course, you will only need as many 1 column strips as you have students because these are used only for numbers 1-9.  You will also need only 9 rows on these while the rest of the strips require all 10 rows (10-19, 20-29, etc).  

Step #2)  I introduce this center activity to students at circle time.  I make my own number roll to at least 29.  I demonstrate how to first add 1 base ten block before writing each number.  When I reach 10 ones blocks, I show students how to "exchange" this set of ten ones for a rod of ten.  

Step #3)  I give each student (or a small group of students, which is preferable) one paper strip with blocks for #1-9, two or more paper strips to the tens place value, 10 ones blocks, and several rods of tens.  

Step #4)  I allow students to begin on their own.  At the early stages, I am checking to make sure students are using the base ten blocks to add only 1 each time.  I will also check to make sure each number is written in the correct spot according to place value.  

Step #5)  When we first start the number rolls, I tape each one to a small card with the student's name and then hang it on the wall within student reach.  However, you will soon find that the strips get too long!  So, as you can see in the picture, I tape it to a toilet paper roll.  The student keeps wrapping it around, paper-clipping it at various intervals.  

Step #6)  I encourage students to keep working on their number roll over the next 2 or 3 weeks.  Younger students can stop just past 100, while those entering first grade the following year benefit most from continuing past at least 2 or 3 hundred.  Although, I have had a number of students who continued doing the number roll until they reached over 1,000!  

I hope that you find this post helpful.  I definitely encourage you to try the number roll out in your own classroom.  It really helps students gain an understanding of the progression of numbers and place value.  

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale!

Teachers Notebook is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week with a big sale!  They are offering 10% off in addition to the sale prices, as well as Oriental Trading gift card giveaways!  My entire store is 15% off all week, so click on the picture below to take a look!


Click on the next link to enter the giveaway.  If you click through this link from my blog and win, I win too!  (You could win a $100 gift card.  I could win a $25 gift card.)  


When you visit the site, be sure to enter my giveaway, too!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  

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