Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blog Bits #1:
Three Programs of Interest
Math Fun for Students
A Capital Idea

My files are full of ideas to share, so from time to time I will clean out my files by sharing a few “bits” --- things of interest, things to think about, or things to share with your staff or students. Following is my first batch of bits and pieces of principal concern and interest.


Emails land in my inbox about tons of fun new programs that might motivate students as they support the curriculum. Here is news of just a few timely programs I’ve learned about in recent weeks.

Classrooms Care from Scholastic Book Clubs
There’s a football match-up this fall and millions of kids across the U.S. will benefit if your students get in the game. Top names in education and in football -- Scholastic, Inc., and Super Bowl MVPs Eli and Peyton Manning -- are joining forces and inviting America’s teachers and students to join them in bringing more than one million books to kids in need across the U.S.

King Arthur Flour’s Life Skill Baking Program
Baking is a great hands-on way for kids to learn math, science, and cultural traditions, all while having fun. Through its Life Skills Bread Baking Program, King Arthur Flour has taught more than 100,000 school children how to bake bread. In turn, the students have shared this bread with social-service organizations in their community. This program is available to grades 4 to 7 in schools located in the Midwest or Northeast.

The Idaho Potato Harvest Story & Game
This new interactive video game offers students and schools an opportunity to split a $10,000 prize. Students learn about Idaho Potatoes and then complete a simple sequencing activity. Of course the game does require students to give personal information at the end in order to be entered into the contest, so this might be something you share with parents instead of doing in school. The game and sweepstakes runs through October 31, 2009.


If your school includes students in the upper elementary or middle school grades, provide them with the math problem below to solve. (Answers are shown in orange.) Before presenting the problem, set a few ground rules:
  • Name please. Write your name at the top of your paper.
  • “Show me the work!” The detailed math must be shown for all steps of the problem.
  • Watch for the Prize Patrol. Tell students you have prizes in store for someone who gets all the correct answers and shows all the math calculations. Then draw one winner’s paper at random and provide a prize as promised. (If you have a deep prize drawer, you might even have multiple winners. How about a winner at each grade level?)

    What a fun -- and educational -- way to keep kids engaged on a rainy indoor-recess day!

    1 x 9 + 2 = 11
    12 x 9 + 3 = 111
    123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
    1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
    12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
    123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
    1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
    12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
    123456789 x 9 + 10 = 1111111111

    For more frequent math fun, be sure to check out Education World's principal-created math feature, Morning Math.


    While many newspapers and Web sites present headlines in stylish lower-case letters,
    Bits and pieces #1: a capital idea, cool programs, math fun…
    you might notice that Education World keeps to the more traditional headline treatment. Key words get capitalized as in the headline at the top of this page. We do this for a reason: it’s the way grammar books teach headline or title writing, and it’s the style that teachers teach and students learn. If we can reinforce the skills that teachers teach in any way, then we should do that.

    And so this week I pass my Golden Grammar Book Award to the staff, students, and families of Algood Elementary School in Cookeville, Tennessee. This school just opened in August, a brand new school with a brand new sign out front that read
    algood elementary school
    Clearly, that sign was designed by architects, not teachers. As stylish as it might have appeared, teachers, parents, and kids stood up and called the local newspaper and school board members to protest. If teachers will be teaching lessons on capitalizing proper names, how could the sign out front break those basic rules of good grammar?

    Their voices were heard. Capital letters A, E, and S were ordered. And now Algood Elementary School gets an A+ in grammar.

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