Sunday, May 28, 2017

Manatees! A Wonderful Unit to Explore!



Inspire your students and add excitement to reviewing skills. Research and explore all about Manatees!

Join the Save the Manatee Club and have your students read about Manatees.

Adopt a Manatee and receive a photograph with the story and history of your adoptee!

Have students review and practice skills with the Manatee Unit Bundle.

*Research and Write an All About Manatees Book to share all that you have learned.

*Practice Math and Language Arts Skills

*Create a Watercolor Art Project to display on a bulletin board

*Even extra Manatee Writing sheets to just keep on sharing your excitement!

Students love learning about these amazing creatures and learning how they can make a difference in protecting them!

This is a wonderful unit for any time, for Life Science, Ocean Animals, Earth Day, or even as an extra review unit at the End of the Year or for over the Summer!

Some wonderful children's books about Manatees!
Image result for j rooker manatee

J. Rooker, manatee

Mary Manatee: A Tale of Sea Cows by Suzanne Tate - Used (Good) - 0961634499

Mary Manatee


Your students will love exploring these incredible sea animals!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Color-Code Technique: Help Students SEE and Understand Tricky Concepts

Color-Coding has been a major theme in my career as a Teacher right from the beginning.

When working with students that were struggling with difficult concepts in Tutoring, I was always trying to find a way to explain things,
or show them in and easier way.


was the best way I could find to show the subtle differences.

It worked.
And worked.

Today, I still use Color-Coding to teach tricky concepts.
Not just to struggling students, but to all of my students.
If Color-Coding could help struggling learners get a handle on tricky concepts...

maybe all students would benefit.


Here are a few ways to use Color-Coding to help explain some tricky concepts to your students.

Color-Coded Contractions

Use 2 colors for the 2 words.
Copy the Whole First Word.
Then add an apostrophe instead of the vowel (or letters).

So, they have = they've

Color-Coded 120 Chart
One More-One Less
Ten More-Ten Less

Start with the Black Box #
Then Follow the color codes

One More = RED BOX
One Less = BLUE BOX
Ten Less = GREEN BOX


Students can create their own or copy color-coded sentences.

They write in pencil and then use markers or crayons to trace over the 


This technique, we practice each month with seasonal or holiday vocabulary. Students become so solid on parts of speech when they color-code their Nouns, Verbs & Adjectives! 

They even ask if they can color code parts of speech in their journals and other writing too!

Color-Coded Mental Math Fact Families

Use color-coding to demonstrate the Fact Families for each of the Mental Math Strategies!

We show each equation with Cube-a-Links to show for example that 1 RED + 9 BLUE = 10

So, the 1, 9, 10 Family House would go like this...


We actually say Red + Blue = Black

You can find more ideas for 
Color-Coding in the Custom Category section in my TpT Store: Silly Sam Productions.

Here is a FREEBIE Sampler with some pages to try out the technique.

I am joining some of my friends with a 

  • Visit each blog and enter each rafflecopter.
  • A different winner will be chosen from each rafflecopter.
  • Enter between May 1-5, 2017.
  • Each of my friends will choose a winner.
  • Winners will be emailed.
  • Winners will also be announced on our FB pages. Make sure you follow our FB pages.
PLEASE NOTE: Winners will have 48 hours to respond to our email. If no response, we will choose a new winner.

To enter my giveaway: 
*Follow My Blog & Leave Your email in the Comment Section so that I can notify you if you win.

*It will also help to Follow my FaceBook Page to see the announcements.

My prize is 3 Sets (36) Flair Markers for great COLOR-CODING ahead!

You can win the following:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

*Ways to Make Ten *Part-Part-Whole *Missing Parts Made Easy with VIDEO!

*Ways to Make Ten 


*Finding Missing Parts

 Made Easy with VIDEO!

These are such tricky concepts for our youngest Mathematicians. I have been teaching for about 30 years and have spent many of those years individually tutoring and leading small group Basic Skills lessons for those students that are really struggling with understanding these concepts.

Teaching Math is so different now, compared to when I entered the Teaching profession. The main focus used to be on solving equations and performing steps correctly. We were still teaching the "Why" and "How" part of mathematical concepts, however, they were not tested on this part and understanding these ideas was not essential in passing the assessments for the unit.

Now, students actually solving problems and simply providing the correct number as the answer is only one third of the assessment question. Students need to show, draw, identify and often express in writing the steps that they used to solve a problem. 


This technique has helped so many students to visualize the steps and see the concept come to life with clarity and understanding. We use Color-Coding with Verbal and Visual cues to map out the steps to understanding *Part *Part *Whole, *Missing Parts and *Ways to Make 10. 

Ways to Make 10. 

Start with these templates and fill in the left side of the chart starting with 0 and counting up to 10 going down the chart. 
Next, fill in the right side of the chart starting with 10 and counting down to 0 going down the chart.
What forms on each row will be the "Partners to 10".


Color-Coding the Left Side Yellow for "Lemon Left" and the Right Side Red for "Raspberry Right" helps students to clearly see the difference.

It also helps with the doubles fact, 5 and 5. 5 Yellow Chips + 5 Red Chips = 10 Chips all together.

Here is your *Part *Part *Whole Model

As long as you know 2 parts of the equation, you will always be able to find the missing part.

In this example the Sum or Top # is provided.

That means that the...

This little trick will really help Young Mathematicians with this skill.

We can see that there are 4 chips on the "Lemon-Left" side of the mat.

Count and write the number of chips that we can see on the blank that says

Part I Know

That would be 4 in this example.

Now we are going to count all the way to 10, The STOP #.

Start with the yellow chips and count 1, 2, 3, 4,

Then add red chips to the "Raspberry Right" side until you get to the number 10.

Next, count just the RED CHIPS.

That is your ANSWER.

You have found the MISSING PART!

I hope that this method is successful for you and your Mathematicians as well!

One more little story before you go...

I had a student that was trying hard, listening carefully and then practicing carefully...

Then he shouted out with excitement...




I love my job.

Here are some resources to help you teach this concept from Silly Sam Productions.

Part Part Whole & Ways to Make a Number MATH KIDS

Sunday, March 12, 2017



 This comes naturally for some. 
Others need a reminder every once in a while.
Which one are you?

This is so true.

The best advice I ever received came from My Dad.

For all of the worriers out there.
My grandfather's words are always in my head.
There are enough real things to worry about, you don't need to fill your head with things that may never happen.

This sweet note was written by a very quiet student. 
If she hadn't written me this little note, 
I never would have known that she felt this way. 
Her little, sweet, profound words 
stay with me every day.
It is my profound hope 
that I can make hard things easy
(and fun) 
for my firsties.

Leave it to Pooh Bear 
to put it so eloquently.

Just LOVE.


Hands On Experiences









Make Memories

Follow the lesson plan from above.

Character Education should be the supplemental lesson to every single thing we teach.

What do you think? 

A good reminder.


This is our job description,
in a nutshell.


He was so determined.
He says he's not scared.
He just tells his head...
to just GO.


Thursday, January 19, 2017




This is why these concepts make so much sense to me to focus on at this time, and always.

We have just been through a particularly unique and volatile election process in our United States of America. January 20,2017 starts the next chapter in our country with new leadership.

So, after all that has occurred and all that we have been through as a nation and with the whole world watching, the question is...


We come together as EDUCATORS like we always do, and we dig in to some unifying projects to work towards our common goals for our students in this country and all over the world.

That's what we do.

So, what unifying projects should we choose to focus on right now in our classrooms with our students?


Focusing on kindness in the classroom, acceptance of others and consideration for others is always a wonderful place to start. 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." 
Thomas Jefferson

Words right from the Declaration of Independence, could not be a better place to focus on as our nation comes together to start this next chapter in our history.

So, whether you have younger students or young adults gathered in your classroom, looking to you for guidance as to How to move forward and What to focus on, these are some wonderful suggestions that are timeless and forever precious.

Many TpT Teacher-Authors have compiled a large selection of FREEBIES to help educators choose activities, lessons, projects or posters to help guide their students through these next first days and beyond.

Check the #s to find so many wonderful resources!


You can find my FOREVER FREEBIE 


Kindness Coupons for Students to fill out for their friends that have been kind.

Students can tell about the kind act on this version of Kindness Coupons.

Black-line Versions

This is a fold-fold THANK YOU CARD version for students to color and make for a classmate or staff member. 

KINDNESS THANK YOU CARD in color for students to give to someone who was kind.



Kindness Counts

Please check out all of the wonderful free resources with the hashtags...


Here are only a few of the wonderful Freebies available...

American Dream Posters Fighting for our Liberty Freedom and Rights
By Two Boys & a Dad Productions
Kindness Journal
By Rainbow City Learning

Character Education Kindness Poster Activity
By Pamela Kranz-Desktop Learning