Monday, January 18, 2010

Blog Bits #3:
New from Bill Nye
Principal Crowned ‘King’
Teaching Financial Responsibility…

My files are full of ideas and stories to share, so from time to time I clean out the 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 third batch of Blog Bits of principal concern and interest.


Bill Nye, known worldwide as The Science Guy, is back with a new passion -- math! As he did with science, so Bill can add excitement and a new perspective to teaching and learning math. In this original, all-new series from Disney, Bill teaches algebraic principals such as fractions, exponents, and proportions in colorful and unexpected ways. By using Nye’s exciting conceptual approach to learning key mathematic principles, kids everywhere can discover how algebra relates to the world around us.

The new series includes two DVDs, that would make great gifts for the math teachers in your school.
● Solving for X: Pre-Algebra, Volume 1
● Solving for X: Algebra, Volume 1
Learn more about these DVDs and others in the Disney lineup at Disney Educational Videos: Math and Science.


When Principal Greg Alexander turned 40, the kids and teachers at Sacajawea Elementary School in Caldwell, Idaho, gathered in the gymnasium. There they had positioned a king’s throne in the center. They sat Alexander down on his throne and presented him with a crown, scepter, and a cape signed by all the kids and teachers.

That special birthday celebration stands as testament to Alexander’s special brand of “servant leadership,” which resulted in his school being named one of three Distinguished Schools in Idaho for 2009.

Read more about Greg Alexander and his success at Sacajawea in an Idaho Statesman article, Principal Rallies Kids to Read at Caldwell’s ‘Distinguished School’.


Saving Our Futures: A Financial Responsibility Program for Young People is a free online curriculum that teaches young people in middle and high school about financial responsibility. The curriculum contains six chapters and 26 modules that can be used in whole or in part to teach students about budgeting, saving, and more. The curriculum, from, also includes extensive resources and provides opportunities for quality service-learning projects. Learn more about the Saving Our Futures curriculum, perfect for classroom and after-school program use.


Habitat for Humanity’s Teacher Fellows program educates teachers about Habitat for Humanity and the volunteer opportunities available to engage their students in Habitat’s mission. During a weeklong summer build, participants will build with Habitat and learn about the local community and educational resources Habitat provides. Participants will then lead a new Habitat project with the students they work with in the year following the trip and share their knowledge and resources with colleagues.

To learn more, or to fill out an application, go to the Web page Habitat for Humanity: Teacher Fellows.


If your school includes students in the upper elementary or middle school grades, provide them with the math problems below to solve. (Answers are shown in orange.) Do students notice the symmetry of the answers that result?

Before presenting the problem, you might 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. All correct answers will be entered into a contest. One winner’s paper will be drawn at random and the winner will be presented with a special prize. (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!

    9 X 9 + 7 = 88
    98 X 9 + 6 = 888
    987 X 9 + 5 = 8888
    9876 X 9 + 4 = 88888
    98765 X 9 + 3 = 888888
    987654 X 9 + 2 = 8888888
    9876543 X 9 + 1 = 88888888
    98765432 X 9 + 0 = 888888888
  • 1 comment:

    1. The last part is a great trivia for kids. I'm going to keep this and teach this to my homeschooled kid when we get to this level. Science Camp