ABC’s for Your New School Year

It’s time for school to start! 
Parents and children look excitedly to the beginning of a new school year. Lists are made, curricula is purchased, and schedules are written.
If you are just starting the journey into homeschooling or are preparing for another homeschooling year, may these ABC’s for Your New School Year be a help and encouragement to you.
  1. Appreciate the opportunity to teach your children. Begin each day with thanksgiving to God asking for His guidance and blessing.

  2. Begin with the basics. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are fundamental. Focus on these subjects first thing each day. That way if you have an interruption, the fundamentals have hopefully been covered.

  3. Celebrate each child’s victory over a difficult assignment with a word of affirmation.

  4. Declutter throughout the day. Put away items as you finish with them so that you are not overwhelmed at the end of the day with clutter.
    Manipulatives make learning fun.
    Manipulatives make learning fun. However, they can create clutter if not returned to their proper storage containers.

  5. Establish a routine but don’t be ruled by it. If a learning opportunity arises that will be beneficial for your children, then take advantage of it.

  6. Fortify the foundation. Review a few minutes every day. For example, drill math facts every day.

  7. Gather all needed materials for the next week before it arrives. For those who struggle with this, collect some small storage boxes and label each as one subject. Put all materials for that subject in that storage box. This will save you time and freedom from frustration.
    Make sure you have gathered all the materials you will need to teach your lesson before you begin your presentation.
    Make sure you have gathered all the materials you will need to teach your lesson before you begin your lesson presentation.

  8. Have a wish list of needed items for grandparents or others who wish to purchase gifts for special occasions. What child wouldn’t like a microscope, telescope, or gem collection?

  9. Instill in children the desire to read. Set aside a specific time each day when children may read a parent-approved book of their choice. Younger children can look at picture books. This also gives you time to read or unwind.

  10. Journal your homeschooling accomplishments each day. On days when you feel like you are getting nowhere, pick up your journal and see how far you’ve come. It will encourage you.

  11. Keep a list of helpful resources. It may be librarians, internet addresses, professionals, wildlife officers, support group leaders, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need help.

  12. Launch the new year with a special learning activity, field trip related to the first few lessons, or a New Year’s School Party. It may be just decorating notebooks or pencil boxes. Make it a memorable day.

  13. Mishaps will happen. Mistakes will be made. Maintain your testimony during these times. Don’t be shocked when they happen. Just pick up the pieces and start over. Life’s lessons can sometimes teach what we cannot. Learn from the mistakes and adjust as needed. Misplaced items will eventually be found.

  14. Network with other homeschooling parents. Share bits of wisdom and encouragement.

  15. Outline your objectives for the year in each subject. Keep the list before you each day to help you stay focused and not be led away by activities that do not support your school year.

  16. Prevent burnout with proper breaks, but keep progressing productively. Periodically check each child’s performance and adjust schooling as needed.

  17. Quiz orally and give children ample time to answer. Have older students defend their answers with facts.

  18. Revise curricula as needed. If a lesson plan needs to be retaught, do so. Try different ways to present a lesson.

  19. State simply what is expected from each lesson each day. Children need to know what is important.

  20. Tape recorders are great helpers. Children can use them to help with vocabulary drill, math drills, practicing oral communication, etc. Older children can record stories for younger children to listen to while you are teaching older ones.

  21. Utilize time wisely. Schedule your day. Be creative with chores and naptimes.

  22. Variety is the spice of life. Vary the way lessons are presented. Lecturing every day will bring learning to a standstill.

  23. Wake up to a new day and know that it is another opportunity to instill in your children what you wish for them to learn. Wisdom goes far beyond simple understanding.

  24. Expect your children to learn. Examinations are part of life. Test their skills.

  25. Yah is an informal word for yes. Yes, you can do this. Just remember that you are learning to discipline yourself just as you are teaching your children to discipline themselves. Yield to God’s leadership in this area.

  26. Zeal is required to finish any race. The course that you are on requires patience and devotion. Be committed to cross the finish line.

    I hope these ABC’s for Your New School Year have been helpful and encouraging. May your homeschooling journey be the great adventure into learning that it is meant to be.

 


Does your family have a special activity for beginning the new school year?
Do you have any helpful ideas for those beginning their first year of homeschooling?

©2017 by Peggy Clark

 

Model Teaching: Lesson Presentation

Model Teaching: A Simplified Approach to Lesson Presentation

Prepared to teach but not sure how to present the material?

Relax.  Here’s 4 steps you can follow and be successful.

You’ve gathered the needed materials. You’ve prepared your lesson. But now you must TEACH the lesson.

Make sure you have gathered all the materials you will need to teach your lesson before you begin your presentation.
Make sure you have gathered all the materials you will need to teach your lesson before you begin your presentation.
You know what you want your children/students to learn, but how do you present it?

Yes, there are many ways to present lesson material, but following these simple steps will help you become confident until you feel comfortable varying your teaching strategy. This simplified approach will also enhance the learning of your students.

Don’t let first year jitters keep you from moving forward with your plans.  Just follow these 4 steps and you will be successful.

4 Steps to Successfully Present Any Lesson

Step 1:  Ask the students what they already know about the subject material to be presented. Allow them to share their knowledge for a limited time.
Step 2:  Present the lesson.  Be sure to define any new vocabulary and include discussion of terms within the material.
Step 3:  Carefully guide students to discover the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion.
Step 4:  Finally, students should be able to clearly explain the main idea, plot, principle, or conclusion in their own words and be able to defend their position and/or reasoning. They should be able to paraphrase the material presented, retell the story, or restate the main facts.

Continue to follow these 4 steps, and you will build confidence in yourself as a teacher.  An extra benefit is that your students’ retention is greatly enhanced.

I hope this simplified approach to lesson presentation has been helpful.

Have a successful year teaching.

©2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

ABC’s of Finalizing Your School Year

Finishing Your School Year Successfully

The time comes when the school year must end and the next begin.

Whether you school on a nine-month, year-round, or quarterly schedule, there are items that all administrators must do to finalize the school year.

If you are winding up your home school year, may these ABC’s of Finalizing Your School Year guide you to a successful finish.

ABC's to Finishing Your School Year

ABC’s to a Successful Finish

 

A — Assess your school year. Note your children’s accomplishments. Accept what you did not accomplish and adjust plans for the following year accordingly.

B — Brainstorm ideas for the following year.

Broaden your vision by attending homeschooling conferences, teacher’s conferences, writer’s conferences, and support group workshops.

C —Clarify your goals for each child for the next year.

Create new folders for each and make comments to remind yourself of why you chose those goals. Those goals can be changed later, but your comments will help you as you plan for the next year.

D — Dedicate a small portion of each day during your school break to plan for the next year so that you will not be overwhelmed as the new year draws closer. This time should be devoted to research curricula, gather needed materials, make plans for field trips, and develop lesson plans.

E — Enjoy your school break by exploring the environment with your children. Engage in meaningful activities that will peak children’s curiosities and enrich their learning experiences.

F — Finalize and fax or mail required forms with your state’s Department of Non-public Instruction. Keep your own file copies of these forms for future reference.

G — Gift graduates.

If your own child is graduating, host a great graduation reception.

H — Have a holiday and relax. Take some much-needed time for yourself.

I — Invest in storage containers for children’s assignments that you wish to keep.

J — Join online homeschooling groups/blogs to stay encouraged.

K — Keep a journal of summer activities

L — Lobby legislators during your break from teaching. Let them know of any concerns you have concerning home school legislation.

M — Make final reports of grades for the year.

Even if you do not issue official report cards, your children still need to have that feeling of having passed to the next level. Give a report card, certificate, or statement of completion for the school year.

N — Notify family members and acquaintances of school year accomplishments, graduation dates, or other pertinent information you wish to share.

Nominate your children for scholarships to academic camps that may be of benefit to them.

O — Own up to any failures during the past year. Make a commitment to yourself to avoid those failures next year.

P — Persevere to the end. Prevent burnout but stay productive.

Praise progress and promise something special when all lessons have been completed. Follow through with that promise.

Q — Quiz your children. Develop a questionnaire that allows your children to critique their school year. Make it simple. There are no right or wrong answers. Let your children be honest with you.

What did they like most about the school year?

What was their favorite lesson/project?

What did they find most difficult?

What would they change if they could?

Ask a variety of simple questions. Use the answers to critique your teaching style versus their learning styles. You may be surprised at their answers. What may have been most difficult for you may have been most enjoyable for them.

R — Revise your schedule. Don’t just fill in lessons to fill up time.

If your children are through with lessons for the year in a certain subject, then utilize that time for completing your records, putting away unnecessary resources, and finishing other end of year projects.

Check registration due dates for graduates furthering their education through college or vocational schools.

S — Smile a lot. Don’t allow yourself to get stressed out with end of year tests or to start rushing through lessons to get done by a designated date. If your projected end date needs to be adjusted, do so.

Don’t let pressures ruin your testimony before your children. Be as excited about ending as you are about beginning. Success is not measured merely by pages completed.

T — Transcripts should be completed. This is an important record of each student’s accomplishments especially during the high school years.

U — Unexpected interruptions seem to be more frequent during this time of year. Plan your response before they happen.

Some interruptions may be valuable opportunities, but weigh each carefully before you change your schedule. Are they worth extending your school year?

V — Vary your teaching style. As subjects taper off, use the extra time to add variety to the rest of your lesson plans.

W — Welcome the school/summer break with a well-deserved end-of-year party.

X — Exalt your children for jobs well-done. Recognize achievements and victories from the school year. It is okay to give your child a certificate of completion, a certificate of victory over some difficulty they experienced, or a certificate of accomplishment such as learning cursive.

Y — Yesterday is gone. It is in the yearbook of life. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but learn from it. What do you wish to do better next year? Write it in a simple statement and place it on the first page of next year’s school planner.

Z — Zip up the pencil cases and notebooks and enjoy time away from the kitchen table.

Zoom to the zoo. Zoom to the beach or to any other of your favorite getaways.


I hope these ABC’s for finalizing your school year have been helpful.
What other activities are necessary to finalize your school year?
Does your family have a special end of year activity?

 

Mother Seeking Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman

A Mother’s Lesson Plan

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

King Lemuel’s mother gave her son valuable lessons concerning the pitfalls into which any son can fall prey.  She was highly concerned that he be guided properly, so she bore this role personally.

A virtuous woman is a source of strength for her husband.
A virtuous woman is a source of strength for her husband.

 Two important areas she discussed in her lesson plans were women and strong drink.

This mother knew that if her son did not conduct himself properly in these two areas, his authority over his kingdom would be damaged and his judgment thwarted.

To protect his future kingship, she wisely advised him:

“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.” Proverbs 31:3-4

Her plans included two important words.

The list of attributes describing the virtuous woman that this mother desired for her son may seem challenging to today’s woman but are basically contained in two words which this mother used to teach an important lesson to her son.

The first is ‘ruby’ and the second is ‘heart’.

Lemuel’s mother wanted to instill in Lemuel the value of a good woman. To do this, she placed the image of a ruby in his mind.

As a man in training for kingship, young Lemuel would be taught the value of gems and their use in commerce.

Precious stones were given by visiting royalty as presents unto kings. Lemuel had to be able to distinguish quality between the various stones presented.

Why did this mother choose the ruby to educate her son in these matters?
What qualities does a ruby possess that would describe a virtuous woman?

Large transparent rubies are rarer than diamonds. Thus, the value of a natural, transparent ruby is more than that of a diamond.

Obviously, this mother realized that a virtuous woman would be someone for whom Lemuel would have to diligently seek. A virtuous woman was not a common commodity.

The more transparent a ruby is the greater the value. Although all rubies have some flaws, the less imperfections a ruby has, the more it is desired.

When a woman is transparent, she has nothing to hide. She allows her husband to see her as she is. She does not try to put a veil over his eyes as to her character.

A ruby can be heat treated to remove some internal flaws.

Trials and afflictions are the fires that God uses to purify man. A virtuous woman can endure those trials and afflictions and remain true.

It takes an expert to distinguish between a natural and a man-made ruby.

God is the expert that can discern a woman’s heart and her motives. A wise man will seek God’s will when contemplating courtship. His eyes cannot see into a woman’s heart, but God’s eyes can.

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12

The second word that King Lemuel’s mother focused upon was heart.

Men consider trust a major factor in describing a healthy marriage.

If a man feels he cannot confide in his wife, if he feels she has betrayed his confidences, he will stop entrusting her with his words. This may lead him to seek spoil or an unscriptural relationship with another.

Many marriages end because another woman chose to listen to a married man’s words and keep them in confidence, thus drawing the man away from his wife.

The advice that King Lemuel’s mother gave was directed in such a way that King Lemuel would be able to understand the consequences of unwise choices.  She turned his focus upon his own heart and how it would be affected by those choices.

The choice that he would make as to a wife would do him good or do him evil all the days of his life.

He could choose that which was more valuable than rubies in which he could safely invest his heart and profit, or he could choose that which was of less value and loose his investment and suffer loss.

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband." Proverbs 12:4
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.” Proverbs 12:4

“Who can find a virtuous woman?”

She is described as transparent and trustworthy.

She reflects what is inside of her, the character of Christ. She is a haven for her husband and keeps his words close to herself.

Her motives are pure, showing her intent to protect her husband’s heart.  Therefore, she is given the liberty to accomplish all that the Proverbs 31 woman had liberty to accomplish.

The virtuous Proverbs 31 woman could involve herself in such activities as described in Proverbs 31:13-24 because she could be trusted to do those things without bringing shame to her husband or her household.

The Proverbs 31 woman was portrayed, not by her performance, but by the transparency of her true nature.

King Lemuel was taught to ask himself two important questions as he sought for a wife.

Does this woman’s transparency or lack thereof reveal Christlike character or a flawed character?
Does this woman’s transparency or lack thereof reveal a trustworthy heart or a questionable one?

King Lemuel’s adopted course of action hopefully brought him a Proverbs 31 woman that he safely trusted in all his days.

©2016 authorpeggyclark.com


Join in the conversation. Leave your comment below.
  • The Proverbs 31 woman is usually described by what she does.
  • Do you define the Proverbs 31 woman by her performance?
  • If measuring performance, how do you measure up?
  • According to Proverbs 31:30, what woman is to be praised?
  • Did the Proverbs 31 woman’s performance define her relationship with God or did her relationship with God define her performance?
  • How does your above answer correspond with Ephesians 2:8-10?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a Magazine – Make It a Family Affair

Enrich your homeschool by creating a magazine that reflects your family’s interests.

Learn about writing, editing, and publishing.

Children have different talents and gifts. Why not utilize those talents and gifts by making a family magazine?
This may seem like an overwhelming task, but it needn’t be. Just follow a few basic steps and your magazine will become a pleasurable accomplishment.

Discuss the different parts of a magazine.

Take some time letting your children leaf through various magazines taking notice of what they find interesting. (If you do not have access to interesting magazines through family and friends, then plan a trip to your local library. A large selection is available for viewing and for checkout. It would be advantageous to have your first lessons completed there.)

Then continue by pointing out pages with specific purposes. Included in these should be the copyright page, contents pages, editorial pages, features pages, product pages, etc. Any discussion should also include the type of and purpose for advertising articles and advertising posts.

Children will probably notice that some magazines appeal to a wide variety of readers (mass magazines) and some appeal only to a select few (class magazines).

Discuss the job descriptions of those who are responsible for each step in the process of development.

From editors, illustrators, reporters, printers, to photographers, the list of people who do the work of producing a magazine is varied.

Responsibilities involve layout, design, news departments, sports departments, editorials, photos, images, production, marketing, etc. It truly takes a team to produce a successful magazine.

Discuss the idea of producing a family magazine.

Discuss the idea of producing your own magazine. This could be a family magazine or group magazine. Get the children excited about producing their own work.

If you feel your family is too small to do this, engage the assistance of other homeschooling families or your local homeschool support group.

Let Your Magazine Reflect Your Family's Interests
Let Your Magazine Reflect Your Family’s Interests

Enjoy the process.

Don’t let the process bog down your family. If you decide to just do a few pages within a single week or if you make it a year long process by collecting material accomplished during the year, the important thing is to give children the knowledge of and opportunity in developing their individual gifts and talents. Make it an adventure they will remember as they continue their educational goals.

Set guidelines and give job descriptions.

Some children love to write stories, but others love to tell them. Some like to draw or doodle while others have fun painting or crafting.

Some like to tell riddles and read comic strips, while others would rather grab the camera and catch family members in fun.

Some children like the outdoors (so what critters are in the area?) and others like hanging out with Mom in the kitchen (so what’s their favorite recipe?).

Some like to play sports (so how do you play that game?) while others seem to know all the sports statistics (batting averages, anyone?).

Some are great at playing musical instruments, but others like to listen to the radio, know all the top hits, and can tell you where their favorite artists will be next week.

Utilize those individual characteristics to make a magazine that will reflect the children’s talents, interests, and gifts and not just your own.

Yes, specific guidelines and deadlines should be set, but let the children do the work as much as possible.

Make the Publishing Process a Learning Experience
Items to Consider in Publishing Your Family Magazine

Let each child do what they find interesting.

Some will enjoy writing about their topics of interests. Some will hate writing altogether, but may love doing the illustrations or creating graphs for a sibling’s articles.

As much as possible, let each child do what they find interesting. This may take some insight on your part.

And when it comes to publishing the material, everyone will probably want to know how to use the copy machine. Even if you must do this at a local printer, ask the manager if your children can watch the process.

Enjoy creating your magazine and just think about all the areas of publishing to which your family has been exposed.

And if you decide to let the children ‘sell’ the magazine to family and friends, you may discover that you have a successful entrepreneur under your wings.

 

Paragraphs: Helping Students Overcome Difficulties

Overcoming Difficulties Students Have with Writing Paragraphs

Follow these steps to write a good paragraph.
Paragraph writing does not have to be difficult.

During my teaching years in the classroom, I found that many students had difficulties with writing assignments.

It wasn’t that they didn’t have anything to say. That was obvious during morning break and lunch.

However, if asked to write a paragraph or an essay, students fiddled with their pencils and drew a blank.

That is normal, by the way, for the elementary age. If yours does the same thing, think nothing of it. Just go to work and help them with their topics.

Brainstorm.

Brainstorm with the students. What topics pose interest to them?

What are their hobbies? Their favorite sports? Their favorite pastime? Their favorite restaurants? Be sure to have a list of ideas on hand.

For boys, topics of interest may include cars, hunting, sports, or four-wheeling. For girls, topics may include fashion, hair styles, sports, or shopping.

Expect interests to vary by age and gender.

Narrow down the topic.

The problem is that many teachers stop at that juncture, still leaving students bewildered. The above topics are much too broad.

Your job as a teacher is to help the students narrow down their topics to a specific point. Then follow through by asking some basic questions.

For example, if a student wishes to write about cars, what specifically will they write about?

What is it about cars that interests them as a topic? Is it the make, the model, the style? Or is it the mechanics or the motor or the wheels?

Continue asking questions until students narrow down their topics to a specific point that can be stated in a single sentence.

Cars are fun. (Too broad.)

What is it about cars that makes them fun?

I like to ride in them? (Still too broad.)

Why do you like to ride in them?

I like riding in them because I like to go fast.

What makes cars go fast?

I like a fast motor.

What kind of motor do you think is the best motor for the car you want to drive?

Or

What kind of motor do you think would be the fastest for the car you want to drive?

Now the topic is narrowed down to a specific point that the students can research if necessary. This specific point is called the main idea of the paragraph.

Write the main idea.

Have the students write their specific point or main idea in a single sentence.

A 454 cubic inch V-8 motor is the best motor (or whatever motor they feel is the best or the fastest).

Write supporting sentences.

Students should write at least three supporting sentences.

Help students with this by asking several questions to get them thinking about what they will write. Give specific instructions to help them with this part of their assignment.

Why is it the best motor? I want you to give me three reasons. Write each reason in a single sentence. (Students will have three sentences for this part.)

Do research.

Let the students research for the three reasons if necessary.

Look over their three sentences concerning reasons. If they have attempted to start their sentences with the word “because”, have them restate those sentences.

(This may be a good time for a class in sentence structure. Do not miss the opportunity to teach restating of sentences if needed.)

Now the students should have a topic sentence and three sentences supporting the topic sentence.

Write a final or concluding statement.

The final sentence should be a restatement of the topic sentence. For some paragraphs, the last sentence may be a concluding sentence.

The finished product of their writing will be a minimum five-sentence paragraph.

Older students can then embellish their paragraphs with additional information if desired. They will need to be instructed that any additional information must support the topic sentence.

Edit paragraphs.

Have students correct spelling and punctuation errors.

Rewrite paragraphs.

Proofreading steps include edit, rewrite, and present.
Teach students how to proofread paragraphs.

Finally, students should rewrite their paragraphs in their best handwriting.

Many students hate writing class because they are required to turn in an error-free paper.

Having students use erasable black pens gives students experience in writing in ink. The use of erasable pens also reduces the frustration that everyone experiences when they make mistakes.

Remember that the focus of this assignment is paragraph writing not penmanship, although penmanship is important. That is why using an erasable pen at this point is invaluable.

Present and/or display paragraphs.

As a classroom teacher, I mounted students’ writing assignments on construction paper and displayed their finished products on the classroom or hallway walls.

Students were always excited to see their work on display. They also enjoyed reading other students’ accomplishments. Having their work displayed also encouraged them to strive harder on their future writing assignments.

As time allowed, I also asked the students to present their work orally. This was to increase their oral presentation skills.

The supper table is an excellent place to have students do oral presentations. Parents and siblings alike can enjoy the newly acquired writing skills of their loved ones.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark


Join in the conversation:
What frustrations have you experienced in teaching your students/children to write?
What ideas can you suggest to get students writing?

 

 

 

Division: Laying the Groundwork, Part 3

Manipulatives make learning fun.
Manipulatives make learning fun.

 Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, Part3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, I discussed ways parents can begin laying the groundwork for the future teaching of division to their children.

Teaching division may seem like a complicated task but using manipulatives makes the skill easy to teach and to acquire.

For our purposes in this post, we will use recycled ice cream sticks. Family members could assist in recycling so that you have a useful amount.

Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.
Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.

(Another alternative would be to use tongue depressors. Just ask your doctor for a handful next time you have an appointment. If you tell him or her the purpose for your request, you may find yourself with a generous handful free of charge.)

Let’s Review Place Value First

Before we continue let’s take a moment to discuss the place value of numbers. This is just for the parents’ information.

The number 2 is a one-digit number which is made up of 2 one’s.

The number 23 is a two-digit number which is made up of 2 tens and 3 ones.

The number 234 is a three-digit number which is made up of 2 hundreds, 3 tens, and 4 ones.

In the number 2, the digit 2 is in the one’s place.

In the number 23, the digit 2 is in the ten’s place.

In the number 234, the digit 2 is in the hundred’s place.

In other words, a 3-digit number has 3 digits, one which represents the hundred’s place, one which represents the ten’s place, and one which represents the one’s place.

In the number 2, there is only one digit. This tells us we have 2 ones.

In the number 23, there are two digits. This tells us we have 2 tens and three ones.

In the number 234, there are three digits. This tells us we have 2 hundreds, 3 tens, and 4 ones.

Prepare Your Manipulatives
Choose your colors.

Back to our ice cream sticks. Choose a color you wish to use to represent the hundred’s place. For our demonstration we will use purple.

Choose another color to represent the ten’s place. For our demonstration we will use red.

Now choose another color to represent the one’s place. For our demonstration we will use yellow.

Use markers, paints, crayons, etc., per your color choices

Use markers, paints, or crayons according to your color choice to dye your assortment of ice cream sticks.  If your budget allows, colored ice cream sticks may be purchased inexpensively at various craft stores.

Teaching the Skill of Division Using Your Manipulatives

Now that you have your own manipulatives, let’s see how we can use them to continue laying the groundwork for teaching the concepts of division. You will find it much easier than you thought.

Ice cream sticks may be used to represent numbers.
Ice cream sticks may be used to represent numbers.
To represent the number 234, we will use 2 purple sticks, 3 red sticks, and 4 yellow sticks (per our color choices).

(To make this task even easier, you may decide to only use even numbers for all digits, especially if your child/student is very young.)

234/2 = ____
The example problem we will be solving is 234 divided by 2.
  • Lay the sticks out in proper order to represent the number 234.
Place value represented by manipulatives
Representing place value
Explain to your child what the colors represent.
  • Explain to your child what the colors represent. Always use the same colors to represent the same place value.
  • Tell your child to “pretend” he or she has two friends. The number 234 can represent marbles, cookies, building blocks, or whatever your child likes to play with.
  • Tell your child to divide the 234 between his or her two pretend friends equally.
Direct them through the process.

Draw attention to the 2 “hundred’s” sticks (purple). Share these two sticks equally.  They will place one stick in each pretend friend’s pile.

The “hundreds” divided.

Then direct them to divide the three “ten’s” sticks (red). They will place one stick in each pretend friend’s pile. But what will they do with the third stick? No, they cannot break it.

Problem represented thus far

Show them that they can solve this by trading the “ten” stick for ten “ones” sticks.

Now show them to place the ten “ones” sticks with the 4 “ones” sticks. How many “one” sticks (yellow) do they have now?

Ask them to divide these 14 “ones” sticks between the two “pretend” friends. 7 “ones” sticks should be placed in each pretend friend’s pile.

7 yellow sticks go to each friend
Explain the answer to the problem.

234 has now been divided into two equal but separate groups. The answer to the problem is the amount in one of the groups.

  • So, if we share 234 building blocks equally between two friends, each friend will have 117 blocks.

Therefore, 234 divided by 2 is 117.

234 divided equally between 2 friends.
234 divided equally between two friends.

This is an example of the division of a three-digit number by a one-digit number.

Where to start
  • Begin with the division of a one-digit number by a one-digit number, continue with the division of two-digit numbers by a one-digit number, and then the division of three-digit numbers by a one-digit number.
  • Go at your child’s pace.

Remember this is to be a time of enjoyment. Don’t get stressed if your child struggles at first. Eager learners will pick up on what you are requesting as you continue along.

I do hope these posts have been helpful. Parents can do a tremendous job of helping their children enjoy learning these somewhat difficult tasks.

Just take a few minutes each day to lay the groundwork for division and your child will find this task conquerable.

You may leave any questions in the comment box below.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

Laying the Groundwork for Division, Part 2

Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, Part 2

The process of division may seem intimidating to students and parents. However, it is not as complicated as many think.

Parents can make the passage to proficiency of this skill easier by laying the groundwork early in their child’s life.

In Part 1 of this post, two ways were discussed that parents may employ.

In this post we will discover another easy and inexpensive way to further aid in helping children develop the skills necessary to achieve mastery.

That way is through a simple technique that employs the use of manipulatives.

Manipulatives make learning fun.
Manipulatives make learning fun.

Yes, manipulatives may be costly to purchase but they can be readily made by recycling items already found in most households. One only need the imagination to come up with a variety of useful tools made from simple everyday objects that are usually thrown in the garbage.

For our purposes in this post, we will use recycled ice cream sticks.

Enlist the aid of extended family members in recycling so that you have a useful amount.

Make this a fun game. Your child will be learning concepts of division without realizing it.

Do this discovery activity.

Pile a number of ice cream sticks on the middle of a table or other flat surface. Ask a variety of questions that will engage thinking skills.

Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.
Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.

Change the amount of sticks. Then continue asking questions for that amount.

Adjust questions according to your child’s skill level.

Let your child discover the answers.

Whether your little one can count past ten or not is not important. Mathematical concepts such as one-to-one correspondence is being developed.

If your child is older, he or she should be able to give you a numerical answer through this discovery activity.

Some sample activities when working with one child:

Divide the pile of sticks so that you and I have the same number of sticks. How many sticks do you have?  How many sticks do I have?

Put all the sticks back in the middle of the table.

Now pretend that there are 3 people here. Divide the sticks into three equal piles. (Give the child time to complete the activity.) How many would each of us have?

Put 10 of the sticks in the middle of the table.

Divide the sticks into two equal piles.

Put 8 sticks in the middle of the table.

Divide the sticks into four equal piles or groups.  How many sticks are in each pile or group?

Use mathematical terms as you see your child progressing.

As your child progresses in understanding, begin to add in mathematical terms.

In the last question above, the word groups was added to the instruction. This is a simple but nonthreatening way for your child to begin understanding mathematical terms. Do this in a gentle way. When the child has grasped the understanding of the new term, use that term instead.

For instance, when you perceive that your child has grasped the understanding of what you are requesting when you use the word group, drop the word pile. “How many sticks are in each group?”

Don’t rush.  Just add in a new term as you see your child progressing.

Another example from above is the use of the term equal. The term equal should eventually replace the words same number.

Do a few minutes of discovery activities each day.

Adding just a few minutes of this activity to your child’s playtime each day will go far in laying the groundwork for what will not be daunting, but will actually become a welcome task of teaching the process of division.

More to come in Part 3.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark.

Division: A Daunting Task

Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division

Manipulatives Make Learning Fun Photo
Manipulatives Make Division Easy and Fun
Division is that part of math class that seems daunting to teachers and students alike.

I remember watching my older brother do long division. His homework pages had problems that seemed so long they looked as if they covered half of his paper. I assumed those problems must have been very important.  Doing that type of math looked so grown-up. It was a process that I wanted to be able to conquer. I couldn’t wait to get to that level of math.

Division is not so complicated as many think. It just needs to be taught correctly. Part of that comes with laying the proper groundwork.

Long before division class comes around, children should already be engaging in the concepts of dividing.

Those “official” concepts begin with kindergarten and continue level by level. But division has already been introduced to the child even before that “first” day of formal schooling begins.

For example, children see division at work around the supper table as they share the meal. A family of four shares four pieces of chicken equally. The pumpkin pie is divided into six or eight pieces.  A gallon of milk is poured into glasses. Rolls are shared round the table.  The last one may be divided in two parts to share between eager siblings.

So how can parents begin that formal groundwork for division?

Parents can add to what the child is observing day by day by simply adopting the usage of mathematical terms.

“Please share with your brother,” may be changed to “Please divide the roll between the two of you.”

Look for opportunities to use mathematical terms when appropriate.

Divide these sandwiches so we have two (or four) pieces each.

There’s only four cookies left. Share them equally with your sister.

Divide the candy bar equally between yourself and your brother.

Divide the last of the milk between yourself and Dad.

Divide the potato tots so that each of you get the same amount.”

Children will be alert to the methods their siblings are using because they want to be sure they are getting their “fair share.” This unknowingly draws their attention to the division process.

Another way parents can lay the groundwork is to allow their children to measure.

Mother can let the children measure the ingredients for her favorite recipes. Dad can let the children measure items for his next building or repair project.

We tend to think of measuring as adding to something that we are making; however, we also measure because we are about to subtract from something. We are taking a cup of milk from the gallon.  We are sawing a foot of lumber from six foot of lumber.

Measuring is an indirect way of preparing the child for future concepts concerning division.

This may seem odd, but division is really just a fast way to subtract the same number over and over.

A third way parents can lay the groundwork for division is to actually divide groups of items – not on paper, but with manipulatives.

I’ll discuss an easy and inexpensive way for parents to do this in my next blog post.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

Visual Charts in the Classroom: Two Important Reasons

Visual Charts Help with Presentation of New Material

 Story webs and other types of charts make difficult tasks easier for students.

Story webs and other graphic charts make difficult tasks easier.

Two Important Reasons

Use of visual charts will greatly assist you as you present new material or review concepts already presented to children in your classroom.

Using a visual chart such as the one pictured above can help children in two very important ways.

First, visual charts break major tasks into manageable parts.

Children can become overwhelmed when given new and unfamiliar assignments, especially if they are writing assignments:

  • Paragraphs
  • Essays
  • Book reports
  • Research papers
  • Stories

These and other tasks can be simplified by utilizing charts, spider webs, timelines, Venn diagrams, and other visuals.

The chart shown above is an example of a story web. The chart could be used to teach in other subject areas. However, for our purposes we will use the information on the story web to see how a difficult writing assignment can become quite simple when the task is broken into manageable parts.

Notice that the chart displays the topic as the main part or central focus point of the visual. The topic is what the paragraph, report, or story is about.

TIP:   The graphic could be utilized to focus only on the subject matter, i.e. trees, until the subject matter is sufficiently narrowed down into a suitable topic that is manageable for the child, i.e. oak trees.

The smaller circles on the above chart show the parts that would be used to relate a story.

A simplified way for young children to write a story is to focus on the separate parts individually. Also, when writing a research report, it is beneficial for older students to focus on individual parts also.

The topic has been broken into five parts. As a teacher you may reduce these parts to four, leaving out the ‘why’. You may also wish to insert more parts. Adjust the chart according to the material and children’s ability.

Children should use one sheet of paper or notecard for each part. If you are teaching very young children, focus on teaching one part per day.

Ask questions that will help children ‘brainstorm’ about their character or event. The following are just a few sample questions. Adjust the questions according to the topic.

  • Who is this character, a person, an animal, an object, an event? What are they like? Describe them for me.
  • Where does this person live? Where did this event or series of events take place?
  • What is the character doing? What happened that is making the character happy or sad? What event or action is taking place?
  • When did this happen? How old are the people involved? Did this happen in the past? Is it happening right now? What major world or local events are happening around the main character or other characters in the story that may be influencing them?
  • Why did the characters act the way they did? Why did the car crash? Why did the building fall down? Why was the main character sad or happy or puzzled? Why did they have to go to town, to war, to the West?

TIP:   After these parts have been completed, have the children cut and paste the parts together onto a fresh sheet of paper.

The parts may have to be adjusted as the children put their individual parts together into story form. That will come as they learn to edit their new achievement.

Expect this part of the process to yield a very rough draft. However, it will help the children begin to write their stories on fresh paper using the information they have accumulated greatly reducing their frustration.

Second, visual charts help children stay focused on the task at hand.  

The graphic nature of charts draws children’s attention to the most important aspects of the writing process. It also allows children to know what parts of the process have been accomplished and what has not.

Whether using a spider web to show relationships or timelines to show a sequence of events, visuals are great assistants when it comes to presenting new material.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark

What types of visuals do you use in your classroom?
How have these visuals helped you with your presentations?
Can you relate a teaching experience using visuals that may help others in their teaching endeavors? If so, please share in the comment box at bottom of page.
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. More of her writing can be found at http://sowhatsthelatestnews.info.