Short Mysteries for Kids: May

Read carefully to find the mystery solutions.
Read carefully to find the mystery solutions.

Short minute mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story. Put on your thinking caps for this month’s fun.

May Mysteries

  1. There were two fathers and two sons on a boat fishing. They each caught a fish, but only three fish where caught. How can this be so?
  2. What would you be sure to find in the middle of Toronto?
  3. If today is Monday, what is the day after the day before the day before tomorrow?
  4. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
  5. In the basement there are 3 light switches in the “off position.” Each switch controls one of three light bulbs on the floor above. You may turn on any of the switches, but you may only go upstairs one time to see which light(s) were affected. How can you determine which switch controls each particular light bulb?

Mystery Clues:

  1. One of the characters plays more than one role.
  2. You don’t have to know anything about the city of Toronto.
  3. Write down the names of the days of the week in order and use it to figure out the answer.
  4. Water can be in different forms.
  5. You can tell whether the light was “on” without seeing it.

Answers:

  1. There was a Grandfather, his son, and his son’s son in the boat. Two fathers and two sons.
  2. There is the letter “o” right in the middle of the word TorOnto.
  3. Monday…today!
  4. Freeze one or both jugs, then cut the plastic away leaving only the ice. You could now put them into the barrel and still tell which water came from which jug.
  5. Turn any one switch to the “on” position for 5 minutes. Then turn that switch “off” and quickly turn on one of the other two switches to the “on” position. Then run upstairs and touch the two lights that are “off.” One of them will be “hot” because it was turned on for 5 minutes. Obviously the “hot” bulb is controlled by the first switch you turned “on.” The light that is currently “on” is controlled by the switch you last turned “on.” The “cold” bulb that is “off” is controlled by the only switch left.
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Math Enrichment Problems for Grades 2-3: May

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.
To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Enrichment Problems:

  1. It takes GPA 13 hours and to get to Myrtle Beach from his house.  The distance of the trip is 700 miles.  What was the average speed he traveled on the trip? 
  2. What is the value of 2 Ferris Wheels, if you add them together and get 128?
  3.  If 9 X D = 54, what is the value of D?
  4. If 12 + DG = 74, How much is DG + DG? 
  5. Abby woke up at 7:02am on Thursday and went to be at 8:11pm.  If she napped for 1 hour, how long was she awake on Thursday?
  6. Six tomatoes cost $7.06.  Eleven apples cost as much as 4 tomatoes.      What is the cost of 7 apples? 

Answers:

  1. 53.85 miles per hour (MPH) 700 miles divided by 13 hours = 53.85 miles per hour.
  2. 24.  Since the total of 2 Ferris Wheels = 228, they each are an equal amount of 124.
  3. D = 6
  4. 124. Since DG = 62 therefore, 62 + 62 = 124.
  5. 12 hours and 9 minutes.
  6. 7 apples = $3.01
    • $7.06 divided by 6  = $ 1.18 for each tomato
    • 4 X $1.18 (each tomato) is a total of $4.72
    • So, 11 apples = $4.72
    • So, 1 apple = 43 cents. ($4.72 divided by 11)
    • So, the total cost of 7 apples $3.01 (7 X 43 cents)
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Creative Thinking Tools

Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.
Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.

When I was a teacher in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program I had to administer a creativity test to all 3rd grade students in the district as part of admission into program.  That test, along with achievement and cognitive tests, were equal components in the program admission.

I loved administering the creativity test and so did the kids!  The test asked students to draw a series of pictures using only partial shapes; adding details and identifying what they drew.  Every year, there were always a few students who asked if they could do the test again.  They just knew they could do it better!  This realization showed us that teaching kids to think creatively was not only important for learning but could also be fun. Working with classroom teachers, my partner and I created lessons and programs that allowed students to be creative.

We started by teaching kids the tools needed to be creative thinkers. Creative thinking builds on the concept that a single question can have multiple answers. It doesn’t focus on right or wrong answers but on the importance of giving students the opportunity to express their ideas. This idea was especially liberating for our student with special needs, quiet, anxious and ELL students.  Being allowed to give non-ordinary responses, especially in a group activity, allows ALL students to participate.

How to Teach Creative Thinking

Once the TAG admission tests were completed, we used a similar Creativity activity to show kids the “tricks” or “creative thinking tools” to be creative.  We taught them 5 creative thinking tools; the SAME 5 components of good writing: fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration and evaluation.  

  • Fluency – Being able to think of lots of responses to a single question or response.
  • Flexibility – Being able to shift thinking from one way of thinking to another. 
  • Originality – Trying to come up with answers that are clever and unique.
  • Elaboration – Adding details to a basic idea to make it more interesting and complete.
  • Evaluation –Teaching kids how to weigh alternative ideas.  This was especially important when kids were working on team projects.   

Once the kids understood the basic components of creative thinking the LEARNING really began. 

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Math Enrichment Problems for Primary: April

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Enrichment Problems:

  1. 8 adults, 6 children and 4 dogs went to a concert.  Tickets cost $7 for adults, $5 for children and $3 for dogs.  What was the cost for everyone to go to the concert?
  2. Abby went on a picnic with her sisters.  She bought 7 apples for $1.25 each, 7 sandwiches for $3.75 each, and 7 desserts for $1.95 each.  How much did Abby spend on the picnic?
  3. Meghan bought 12 boxes of donuts that each had 12 donuts.  How many donuts did Meghan buy?
  4. Emmy bought 12 mice for $1.02 each.  How much did Emmy spend on mice?
  5. Teagan earned $2 helping her mom fold the laundry.  If she earned $2 every day, how much would she earn in a year.  (HINT: There are 365 days in a year)
  6. If 12 people each weigh 100 pounds.  What is there total weight?

Answers:

  • $98.00
  • $48.65
  • 144 donuts
  • $12.24 total
  • $730.00
  • 1200 pounds

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Enrichment Math Primary: March

Math Thinking Skills can be learned by trying math enrichment problems.
Math Thinking Skills can be learned by trying math enrichment problems.

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Enrichment: Count Them Up

  1. If 50 cookies need 5 eggs, how many eggs would you need to make 150 cookies?
  2. If you want to triple a recipe that calls for 9 apples, how many apples would you need?
  3. If a 15-pound chicken will feed 30 people, how many people well a 5-pound chicken feed?
  4. If a recipe that makes 90 cookies calls for 6 cups of oats, how many cups of oats would you use for 30 cookies.
  5. A 10-pound cake uses 3 cups of sugar.  How many cups of sugar would a 5-pound cake use?
  6. If a pound of spaghetti will feed 4 people, how many people will 2 and ½ pounds feed.

Answers

  1. 15 eggs
  2. 27 apples
  3. 10 people
  4. 2 cups of oats
  5. 1 and ½ cups of sugar
  6. 10 people
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COVID-19 Learning Activities Reading Newsletter

COVID-19 Learning  Activities for Reading
COVID-19 Learning Activities for Reading

Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? However, here we are with schools closed and millions of kids home. Parents are stepping up to “homeschool” their children and are using home packets and online resources. For many this is unfamiliar territory and an added element to their already full plates.

Many parents are scouring the internet to find school activities to support schoolwork or looking for additional activities. To help shorten your search I’m working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog threeringsconnections.org to get you started. This newsletter is focused on  READING activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Reading Resources

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

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Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults: March

Trivia questions can help your  memory.
Trivia questions can help your memory.

On some days my memory is great and I can remember words to songs that I heard 40 years ago. On other days, I can’t remember where I put my keys!   I’ve heard people say, “misery loves company” but for me it’s more that “forgetful people love company”.  It gives us something to laugh about.

My forgetfulness is especially evident at our weekly trivia nights at a local restaurant.  Believe it or not, my forgetfulness has led me once or twice to study the color of flags before our matches. Yep, I’m competitive. Whether we win or lost it’s always a fun night.  Great friends and lots of fun!  

Trivia questions can be fun for kids too!  Look at the questions below and try them out on the kids (or adults) in your life.  The range of questions vary in difficulty from the easy to the not-so-easy.   After all, why should adults get all the challenge and fun.  Grandkids…. Hope you are ready for some quizzing fun! 

For my Wizard teammates, I’ve highlighted in yellow those questions that I remember being asked. However, I don’t remember if we answered them correctly.  Oh, my memory!

Trivia Questions for March

  1. Great Whites and Hammerheads are what type of animals? sharks
  2. According to legend, who led a gang of merry outlaws in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, England? Robin Hood
  3. How many legs does a spider have?  8
  4. What is the name of the pirate in Peter Pan? Captain Hook
  5. He’s “smarter than the average bear”, but what’s the name of the most famous resident of Jellystone Park? Yogi Bear
  6. How many rings make up the symbol of the Olympic Games? The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the center: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colors are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
  7. According to the Dr. Seuss book, who stole Christmas? The Grinch
  8. In which continent is the country of Egypt found? Africa
  9. What is a brontosaurus? Dinosaur
  10. Scooby Doo and his friends travel around in which vehicle? The Mystery Machine
  11. What is the name of Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend? Eeyore
  12. How many grams are there in a kilogram? 1000
  13. By what name are the young of frogs and toads known? Tadpoles
  14. By what title were the leaders of ancient Egypt known? pharaoh
  15. Which famous nurse was known as “The Lady of The Lamp” during the Crimean War? Florence Nightingale
  16. What’s the name of the town where The Flintstones live? Bedrock
  17. What’s the colored part of the human eye called? iris
  18. Q. How many holes are there on a golf course? 18
  19. Which country is home to the kangaroo? Australia
  20. The giant panda’s diet is almost entirely made up of which plant? bamboo
  21. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what is Charlie’s surname? Bucket
  22. Which planet is closest to our sun? Mercury
  23. Which famous ocean liner sank on her first voyage in 1912? Titanic
  24. What is the name of Shrek’s wife? Princess Fiona
  25. How many lungs do humans normally have? two
  26. What is a group of lions called? Pride
  27. Is the planet Jupiter larger or smaller than the Earth? larger
  28. Which is the fastest land animal? Cheetah
  29. What color are emeralds? green
  30. Which animal is the tallest in the world? giraffe
  31. If you suffer from arachnophobia, which animal are you scared of? Spiders

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on MOVIE TRIVIA

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Multiple Intelligences and Learning

Multiple Intelligences and Learning
Multiple Intelligences and Learning

The topic of Multiple Intelligences (MI) and student learning has been around a long time.  Simply it’s trying to match up the various abilities that students have and the teacher’s instructional approaches.

For me, it wasn’t until I was teaching almost 10 years that I learned of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence (MI) Theory.  Up until then I knew that kids learned differently but once I learned about MI my teaching toolkit exploded with ideas.  Understanding the theory and learning new ways to meet student needs opened my eyes to endless possibilities. These strategies were extremely helpful when I was hired as a Teacher of the Talented and Gifted. Although the students were highly abled, many were limited in their strengths and the MI approach helped them to think about topics differently.

As a student teacher supervisor at the local college I find that teachers are well versed in learning intelligences and styles. Most lessons include differentiation in content, approach and assessment.  This is important as teachers try to balance educational standards and innate abilities of each student. Having a good understanding helps teacher’s options to engage and motivate ALL learners.

Parents are very aware of their child’s natural abilities but may not know the “technical” name for it.  As a teacher and principal, I heard from many parents the areas their children excelled in or the way they learned best. This information was especially helpful when placing children in class placement.  So, when teaching kids at home or in school, or finding the perfect new classroom, why wouldn’t we think about the strengths and learning styles of kids.  Don’t we want them to do their best?  

Learning Intelligences Simplified

  • Word learner – Child expresses himself/herself well and enjoys reading and writing.
  • On-the-move learner – Child is well coordinated and learns best when physically involved in doing things.
  • On-my-own learner – Child prefers to work alone.  Enjoys independent projects and likes to set own goals.
  • Number learner – Child is interested in logical thinking.  Often enjoys puzzles and math.
  • Nature learner – Child likes being outside and often enjoys science.
  • Rhythmic learner – Child enjoys music and rhythm.
  • With-friends learner – Child works best with other students and is often a leader in the class.
  • Construction learner – Child loves drawing and building things.

In addition to learning intelligences we all have a preferred learning style.  In general, the more avenues of input (auditory/hearing), kinesthetic/movement, or visual/sight, the higher the possibility of student learning. Don’t we all learn better when we learn in different ways?   

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Writing Prompts to Encourage Writing

Writing prompts can help kids get writing.
Writing prompts can help kids get writing.

Why Writing Prompts?

There is something special when your child starts to be a writer.  Writing gives children an opportunity to share their ideas and express their creativity.  While writing kids get to use their pre-reading and writing skills in a way that is relevant to them.   Writing prompts can help. 

But writing is not easy and many new writers struggle when faced with a blank page.  Writers, both novice and experienced, need lots of encouragement to be successful. But they also can benefit from getting some ideas (prompts) to get them started.  Think of it as that “slight push” you give your child when they first learn to ride a 2-wheeler.

Writing Prompts Motivate

When creating prompts, think of different ideas that will spur an interest to write.  Giving kids a variety of topics helps them extend their vocabulary and use different language skills.  Kids can find their “voice” through writing poems, songs, jokes or stories.  But don’t limit their choices to “common” types of writing.  Encourage kids to see and find “writing” in the world around them.  Commercials, plays, TV shows, ads, emails and blogs are all opportunities to share their writing.

Today’s technology can capture the attention of a wide range of audiences making it easier than ever to reach people on the other side of the world. I would never have dreamed 30 years ago that my thoughts on education would be seen worldwide!  I am so honored to have so many blog readers.  It’s the comments and ideas that I get from my readers, students, colleagues and parents that help me choose my posts. Thank YOU for helping so many kids learn.

Let’s use 2020 to develop some writers. Check out the new prompts that will be posted each month throughout the year to inspire our new authors.

January Writing Prompts

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR: Try creating a HAPPY NEW YEAR acrostic. Choose words or phrases that relate to your wishes for 2020.  The H, for example could be “Hope I’ll learn how to dance this year.”
  • Say Something Nice in 2020:  Everyone likes to hear a compliment.  Choose 5 people in your life and write down a compliment and give it to them.  You’re sure to get a smile.
  • Soup of the Day: Create a recipe for your favorite “unusual soup”.  Perhaps one that makes you silly, old or talking another language!  Write the 10-15 ingredients that make your soup special.
  • Winter Clothes: The winter season brings cold weather to many parts of the U.S. Dream up some new clothing ideas you would like to invent for your new winter clothes.  Be creative.  Maybe some skis attached to your flip flops?
  • Fortune Cookies: Fortune cookies have a piece of paper inside with a message.  Write 5 messages that you would like to find in a fortune cookie.

Happy New Year Writers!

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Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids

Thanksgiving jokes can add some fun to your celebration.
Thanksgiving jokes can add some fun to your celebration.

Why not add some Thanksgiving jokes to your Thanksgiving celebration this year?

Teaching kids to appreciate jokes is a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Why not take some time to be silly this Thanksgiving and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll).  Happy Thanksgiving!

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Gladys.
Adult: Gladys who?
Kid: Gladys Thanksgiving. Aren’t you?

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Harry.
Adult: Harry who?
Kid: Harry up, I’m hungry!

Q. Why did the farmer run a steamroller over his potato field on Thanksgiving Day?

A. He wanted to raise mashed potatoes.

Q. What is a turkey’s favorite dessert?
A. Peach gobbler!

Q. Why did the police arrest the turkey?

A. They suspected it of fowl play!

Q. What do you call it when it rains turkeys?

A. Foul weather!

Q. What smells the best at a Thanksgiving dinner?

A. Your nose

Q. Why do pilgrims’ pants always fall down?
A. Because they wear their belt buckles on their hats!

Q. Why did the cranberries turn red?
A. Because they saw the turkey dressing!

Q. What did the turkey say to the computer?
A. “Google, google, google.”

Q. What kind of music did Pilgrims listen to?
A. Plymouth Rock.

 Q. What’s the best thing to put into pumpkin pie?
A. Your teeth

 Q. What always comes at the end of Thanksgiving?
A. The letter “g”.

Q. Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
A. The outside.

Q. What do turkeys and teddy bears have in common?
A. They both have stuffing.

Q. Where does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?

A. In the dictionary

 Q. What do you get when you cross a turkey with a centipede?
A. Kid: Drumsticks for everyone on Thanksgiving Day!

Q. What did the turkey say to the turkey hunter on Thanksgiving Day?
A. “Quack! Quack!”

Q. What key has legs and can’t open doors? 

A. A turkey.

Q. Who isn’t hungry at Thanksgiving?
A. The turkey because he’s already stuffed.

 

Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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  • Jokes for Kids Develops a Sense of Humor

How to Help Highly Advanced Readers

Ideas to help you and your advanced readers.
Ideas to help you and your advanced readers.

How do you meet the reading needs of a child that is 2 full grade levels above the rest of your students in class? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can be very difficult for a classroom teacher.  Of course, you must differentiate for the advanced reader, but how do you do that for 1 child when the others are at least 8 levels below your precocious reader?  Here are some ideas to help you and your advanced readers.

4 Ways to Help Advanced Readers

  • Find their interests- The sooner than you find their interests, the sooner you can help them find appropriate books for themselves. Like all readers, it is important that they be encouraged to read books that they will find challenging but approachable.
  • Guided Reading Group of 1 – One person does not a group make!  So, how can you engage your advanced reader in a discussion group?  Putting them in a regular guided reading group with students reading multiple grade levels lower than them will be of limited value to them. Perhaps there are other children in another class that can help form a group.  A classroom volunteer can also be a wonderful reading buddy. 
  • Student Driven Independent Reading The Schoolwide Enhanced Model Reading (SEM-R) approach allows a student to read a book at their own interest and reading level and check in with the teacher during scheduled reading conferences. The SEM-R approach is flexible enough to be used with individual students or a small group of students as needed. 
  • Skill-based groups – A popular way of meeting the needs of your gifted reader is to consider using some skill-based groups.  Although the reading level may be different, a skills group can review and reinforce skills that your gifted reader may find valuable. In order to become even better readers skill development is necessary.   

As a teacher, your gifted readers need you just as much as the other students in the class.  They just may need your attention in a different way. 

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Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Math Thinking Skills Primary: October

Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems.
Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems.

Some students in the Primary Grades need additional math activities that goes beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  This month we’ll look at some problem solving involving counting body parts.  (good practice in repeated addition which is…… multiplication). 

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Thinking Skills: Count Them Up

  1. Abby went to see the animals on a farm in Wappingers Falls. She saw 20 chickens.  How many chicken heads did she see?  How many legs do the chickens have all together?
  2. Teagan went to the Bronx Zoo.  She saw a tree with 9 monkeys.  How many fingers did the monkeys have all together?
  3. Connall has a dog and a cat.  If the dog and cat wore animal shoes, how many shoes would Connall have to buy?   
  4. In Emily’s family there are 3 children and 2 adults.  How many heads do they have all together? How many legs do they have all together? How many fingers do they have all together?  How many eyes do they have all together?
  5. Meghan loves spiders.  She saw 4 spiders in GG’s garage.  How many legs do the spiders have in all? HINT: You must know how many legs spiders have.
  6. Lowyn saw 5 Ladybugs on the peonies in GG’s yard.  When she counted all the legs on the Ladybugs, how many legs did she count?  HINT: You must know how many legs ALL INSECTS HAVE.
  7. The spiders were planning to have a dance party.  It was going to be a big party and they were only going to allow 102 spiders to attend.  IF all the spiders went to the party, how many dance shoes will they have to order?  If the dance shoes only come as a pair, how many pairs of shoes will they have to order for all 102 spiders to have dance shoes?

ANSWERS

  1. 20 heads and 40 legs
  2. 90 fingers because each of the 9 monkeys have 10 fingers.
  3. 8 shoes (4 for the dog and 4 for the cat)
  4. 5 heads, 10 legs, 50 fingers, 10 eyes
  5. Spiders have 8 legs.  4 spiders = 8+8+8+8 = 32 legs
  6. Ladybugs are Insects and insects have 6 legs.  6+6+6+6+6= 30 legs
  7. Spiders have 8 legs.  102 spiders = 102+102+102+102+102+102+102+102=816 legs OR 408 pairs of shoes Each spider would get 4 pairs of shoes for their feet. 
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Article-A-Day Helps Comprehension

An article each day builds comprehension skills.
An article each day builds comprehension skills.

Article-A-Day in 3 Steps

Article-A-day is a strategy that teachers use in a classrooms that assigns students a non-fiction article to read each day.  This technique strengthens a student’s background knowledge, vocabulary and stamina.  This research-based classroom routine combines writing & oral sharing. The technique is used in whole-class or  small groups and also as an independent project.

A great FREE resource to support your Article-A Day program is ReadWorks. The site provides article sets that include 6-9 articles related on nonfiction topics.  The articles are leveled from Kindergarten – 8th Grade. The resources can be printed, used digitally or projected on a Smartboard. ReadWorks encourages teachers to share their resources with other colleagues. 

  • Step 1: Students read an article independently. For students who cannot read independently yet, the teacher reads the article out loud twice.
  • Step 2: Each student then uses their own “Book of Knowledge” to write down, or draw a picture of, two or three things they learned from reading and would like to remember in their own “Book of Knowledge.” A classroom Book of Knowledge can also be created if the article is used in whole class instruction.  The strategy builds writing skills and strengthens the reading-writing connection.
  • Step 3: Student volunteers share with the class, in 1-2 minutes, what they’ve learned and want to remember.   

IF 10 minutes is all you need to make an impact on reading comprehension, why not give it a try?

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Gifted Learner Resources

There are MANY resources available to support gifted learners.
There are MANY resources available to support gifted learners.

One thing I quickly realized when I started teaching gifted learners was that I had to design lessons that were interesting and suitable for fast learners. I also needed great sites to find appropriate activities. 

Teachers and parents often look for resources available to meet the gifted learners in their lives. Personally, I’ve searched for information as a teacher of Talented and Gifted (TAG) students, a principal and now, as a GG. Whatever the reason, there are MANY resources available to give you information and activities for your gifted learner.  The websites below will help you meet the needs of your special learners at home and school.

Top 7 Resources for Gifted Learners

  • https://threeringsconnections.org/gifted-learner-resources/:  I’ve used this site and have shared the link with many parents.  Contains an extensive list of resources for teachers, parents and students.  It also is a great resource if you are looking for a gifted and talented community for support.  One stop shopping.
  • National Association of Gifted Children: Take a close look at the Information and Publications tab for resources for administrators, parents and educators.  Be sure to use the Search Link to find your topic.
  • Smithsonian Education – One of my favorite sites to explore because it expands a general topic to meet the needs of gifted students. 
  • Mensa for Kids – The Mensa Foundation recognizes and encourages education, gifted youth and lifelong learning. Be sure to check out the Mensa for Kids’ Excellence in reading that encourages the joy of reading.  Lesson plans are available along with fun and challenging games for kids.
  • Davidson Institute for Talent Development:  Provides a FREE online community for elementary and secondary educators committed to meeting the unique needs of highly gifted students. In the section called Educator’s Guild and you’ll find lesson plans, techniques and other related topics. 
  • Bright Hub EducationSite is geared towards gifted teachers, but it’s a great resource for regular classroom teachers with gifted students. Provides tips and lesson plans for gifted students from Preschool through Grade 12.
  • Know It AllFun, Fun, Fun:  Great website to keep kids learning and having fun. Site has many lesson plans, student activities and supplemental materials.  Be sure to check out Resources.  A new link (September 2019) will be added with activities for South Carolina (SC) standards. Not to worry, if you’re not from SC. State standards are very similar. words and numbering are different).
Education is about meeting the needs of all students.
Education is about meeting the needs of all students.

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: July 2019

Teaching is the one profession that crates all other professions.  Unknown.  This quote honors all teachers!
This quote honors all teachers.

Seven months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 12 July posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 7 down and 5 more to go! Have a great month!

July’s 2019 Archives

July’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite July Posts

 See some posts coming next month
See some posts coming next month
  • Gifted Learner Resources
  • Understanding IEPs Starts with Vocabulary
  • 10 Answers To Understand Your Child’s IEP

Solving Stories with Holes

"Stories with Holes" develops helps develop critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking skills can be enhanced by solving “Stories with Holes”.

When I taught TAG (Talented and Gifted) students many years ago, I often used “stories with holes” as time fillers.  Sometimes we played 20 questions to figure out the answer.  Other times, I told them the story at the end of the class so they could think about it overnight.  Often, they would come in the next day with lots of questions and possible solutions. 

Stories with holes” are word-based logic puzzles that tell a story.  However, some key parts of the information are not given. As a result, the story does not make sense.  It is effective questioning with yes or no answers that the unknown information is discovered.  

Stories like these inspire imagination, develop listening skills and enhance problem solving ability. Children have fun as they think in new creative ways to find the answer. Time to give it a try! 

Many watched the steak of brilliant orange and red as it totally disappeared leaving nothing at all behind.  What was it?

Answer: The sun at the end of the day as it set in the sky.

This month’s “Stories with Holes” (July 2019)

  1. Declan went on a safari to Africa.  He shot a tiger, a leopard and a giraffe.  Although he was only allowed to bring 2 suitcases back with him to New York City, all of the animals looked great on the wall in his house.  How did he do it?
  2. Connall’s stealing made his parents proud.  They didn’t think of him as a thief.  Why not?
  3. The pool had no water in it, but Meghan, Emily and Abby stayed in it all summer long.  Why?
  4. There once was a guy that just got on a plan and after greeting his friend, six rows back, he got arrested.  Why?
  5. A woman brought her car up beside a hotel and knew immediately that she was about to become bankrupt. How did she know?

Answers:

  1. He shot the animals with his camera.  He hung the animal’s pictures on this wall at home. 
  2. He was a baseball player and he stole 2nd base.
  3. It was a carpool.
  4. They guy said Hi-Jack to his friend named, Jack.
  5. She was playing the games Monopoly. After landing on the space with the hotel, she knew she would not have enough money to pay the rent due.

These riddle-like challenges are fun activities for children and adults alike!  Enjoy!

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Gifted Learner Strategies: Good for All

All kids, including gifted students, have the right to learn something new every day.
All kids, including gifted students, have the right to learn something new every day.

My first teaching job in public school was teaching “Talented and Gifted” students.  I had differentiated instruction to meet the needs of my highly abled students before, but it was not easy. So, once I was assigned to the “Talented and Gifted” students, I thought it would be different. 

To my surprise, I leaned that although I had a few gifted students; most of the students would be considered only highly abled.  Some were certainly gifted in specific areas (math, reading). However, their strengths were different. The result was I was still designing lessons to include variations in both content and techniques.  However, all good teachers know that differentiation is necessary to meet student needs.  It’s difficult, but necessary.

3 Gifted Learner/Highly Abled Strategies

  • Differentiated Lessons – Lesson design focus should combine two types of thinking: critical thinking and creative thinking. Critical thinking involves using evidence to support a conclusion.  Creative thinking involves students learning to generate and apply new ideas.  Both skills are important to thinking and learning.
  • “Guide on the Side” Instruction – It was humbling to teach gifted students.  No longer could I be the “sage on the stage”.  Some of my kids were just smarter than me!  The truth was that I needed to do detailed planning to be able to answer and/or explain student questions.  My role quiet often, was more of a “guide on the side”. I had to learn to ask them the right questions.
  • Opportunities for Group Work – According to NAGC, research shows that enabling gifted students to work together in groups boosts their academic achievement . It also benefits other students in the classroom. When gifted students work together, they bounce ideas off one another to expand a peer’s idea. Activities that share personal interests can be eye opening for highly abled students. They may not know about the topic and become more active learners.

The above strategies can be used in all classrooms during the school year.  All students benefit from being challenged at times. However, this is difficult in the general education classroom. Teachers already have a “full plate” in meeting the various student needs. However, for gifted/highly abled students, using differentiated instruction techniques are a necessity.   All students have the right to learn something new every day. This includes both highly abled and gifted students. 

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Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Creativity is Enrichment for Kids

Think CREATIVITY and enrichment this summer.
Think CREATIVITY and enrichment this summer.

Summer vacation is here and how do we encourage kids to keep learning?  The quickest and easiest way is to pick up some math or reading workbooks and assign pages for them to complete.  Although that may be tempting, finding some activities to get kids thinking and learning is  effective to strengthen kids creativity. 

Why Creative Activities?

Creative children believe the world is full of possibilities.  They look at obstacles as challenges to find another way to the end.  This type of thinking is a valuable learning experience. It makes kids confident active learners.

Here’s a list of 5 activities that can be easily adjusted and repeated to get you started. Be creative by making changes to fit your child’s age level, interests and your time schedule. 

Creativity at Home and Traveling

  • Stock a dress up box with clothes and costumes. (Scarves, hats, belts, material) Adding accessories that go with a career like magnifying glass, helmets, stethoscope also are great.  Don’t miss out on After-Halloween sales!
  • Pantry Shopping- Allow your kids to fill a grocery bags with items (remove breakables for little ones). They can pretend to be grocery shopping, having a meal or use them to build towers or mazes. Endless possibilities!
  • Build blanket forts.  After the fun of boiling it, why not give the structure a name?  A castle, a mall, grocery store, the ideas are endless. 
  • Start simple drawings together that you can finish or color. Allow your child to start drawings for you. 
  • In a restaurant, play with small items from your purse or table items.  Items such as sugar, salt packets, straws, paper clips and coins can help to keep kids occupied while waiting for your order.  
  • Plan activities during your car ride on a schedule.  At mile markers or time, take a new activity out of your travel bag.  Include items like inexpensive books, toys, games etc.  Be strategic to give our a “GREAT” activity at times in the journey when you NEED it the most.  For older kids, they can pack their “travel bag” prior to the trip.  The trick is to schedule taking out a new item. Without a schedule, kids will use all the activities in the first hour and your trip is bound to be much less enjoyable.  Building some suspense may make even the smallest activity a little more enjoyable.  Happy Travels!

Developing a child’s creativity is lots of fun for both you and your child.  Enjoy the journey! 

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Math Enrichment Problems: June 2019

Welcome to the 7th month of threeringsconnections.orgMonthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. October has 31 days.  The 15th of the month is on a Wednesday. Which of the following days of the week will appear 5 times this month? a. Friday          b. Saturday c. Sunday   d. Monday       e. Tuesday
  2. Marie only has 3 cents and 5 cents stamps. If she needs 10 cent postage, she can use two 5 cent stamps. If she needs 11 cents postage, she can use two 3 cents stamps and one 5 cent stamp.  What postage between 5 cents and 20 cents can she not make?
  3. Some numbers on a digital clock read the same backwards as they do forwards.  For example: 5:06, 12:21, 11/11.  How many students are there that do that on a digital clock from 1P.M. to 2 P.M?   (Numbers or words that are read the same backwards as forwards are called palindromes.
  4. Fifty-one bags of sugar had to be put into bags. Some are 4-pound bags, and some are 5-pound bags.  The least number of full bags necessary to hold all 51 pounds of sugar is?
  5. There are 9 equal stacks of books. One class takes 4 stacks and another class takes 5 stacks.  The class that has 4 stacks has 28 books altogether.  How many books does the other class have altogether?
  6. Nicole has a clock that chimes.  At a quarter past the hour it chimes once. At half-past the hour it chimes twice.  At three-fourths past the hour it chimes three times and at each new hour it chimes that number of times. How many chimes will Nicole hear from five minutes to three until five minutes after 4?
  7. IF 15 + A = 21, how much is 15 – A?

Answers:

  1. (a) Friday Because the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th will be on a Wednesday.  There will be 5 Fridays that month (the 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st).
  2. (7 cents) She can make 8 cents, 9 cents and 10 cents.  Once she can make three in a ow, the next 3 amounts (11 cents, 12 cents, 13 cents) are made by adding a 3-cent stamp.  She can make any amount of postage greater than 7 cents.
  3. To get to the least number of bags you use as many 4-pound bags as possible up to 51.  (12 X 4 = 48) and one 3-pound bag to get to a total of 51.  Answer: Least number of bags is 13 (12 +1)
  4. There are 9 equal stacks of books. One class takes 4 stacks and another class takes 5 stacks.  The class that has 4 stacks has 28 books altogether.  How many books does the other class have altogether?
  5. IF 28 books means each stack has 7 books (4 X 7).  Then 5 stacks would also have 7 books each for a total of 35 books.
  6. (13) She hears the following # of chimes:  3:00(3), 3:15(1),3:30 (2),3:45 (3) 4:00(4)  
  7. (9) A must be 6 so that 15 +A (6) = 21.  SO, 15 – 6 = (9) 

Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems 

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Math Enrichment Problems: May 2019

Math Enrichment Problems (May) for Grades 2/3
Math Enrichment Problems (May) for Grades 2/3

Welcome to the 6th month of threeringsconnections.orgMonthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. It was Jerry’s birthday. He bought 26 cupcakes. He gave one cupcake to each member of his class, one to his teacher, one to his principal, and one each to the two secretaries in the office. He also had a cupcake.  All the cupcakes are gone.  Including Jerry, how many students are in the class?
  2. When Donna calls Noreen on the phone the call usually lasts 12 minutes.  Last night they talked on the phone for 1 minute more than twice the time they usually spend on the phone.  Last night’s phone call lasted ___ minutes.
  3. There are 5 numbered lockers outside Brooklyn’s classroom. She opened all 5 lockers.  Then Meghan closed lockers 2 and 4. Emily changed locker 3. (That means if it was open, she closed it or if it was closed, she opened it.) Teagan changed locker 4 and Abby changed locker 5.  Which numbered lockers are still open?
  4. Some 2nd and 3rd graders entered a total of 32 poems in the Poetry Contest. Five 3rd grade students entered 4 poems each.  The 6 remaining 2nd grade students entered the rest of the poems. If each of the 2nd grade students entered the same amount of poems, how many poems did each 2nd grader enter.
  5. Lowyn added up all the single-digit odd numbers and all the single digit even numbers.  What was the sum?
  6. A pet store has only cats and dogs.  There are a total of 64 legs for all the cats and dogs. If there are 9 dogs, how many cats are there?

ANSWERS

  1. 22 students in the class
  2. 25 minutes:  2 X 12 minutes = 24 minutes and 1 additional minute
  3. Brooklyn opened locker 1 and it stayed open.  Meghan and Emily closed 2,3,4.  Teagan reopened 4 and Abby closed 5.  The only ones that are opened are 1 and 4.
  4. 3rd graders entered 20 poems (five students each entered 4 for 20 total). The 32 total poems minus 3rd grade poems (20) =12 left to be divided by the remaining 6 students.  So, each student entered 2 poems (6 students X 2 poems =12 poems)  32 = 20 +12
  5. 1+3+5+7+9 = 25 and 2+4+6+8 =20   so 25+20= 45
  6. IF we have 9 dogs with 4 legs that means 36 legs (9 X 4).  64 legs – 36 legs = 28 legs belong to cats.  Since cats have 4 legs (4 X 7 = 28). There are 4 cats.

Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems 

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