Recently while observing student teacher lessons I realized that each of them used Exit Tickets as their closure activity. Although they each teach different grades and subjects, they all used Exit Tickets as the “go-to” strategy to check for understanding. And it worked!

What are Exit Tickets (slips)

An exit ticket is a formative assessment tool used to assess student learning and to plan future lessons. Typically, a prompt or a question, it is given to students at the end of a class that is tied to the objective of the lesson taught that day. They are usually in a multiple-choice format or an open response. These mini assessments are meant to be no more than 1-5 minutes and not graded.

10 Exit Ticket Benefits

Allows students to self-assess

Clarifies main concept of the lesson

Keeps students engaged in the lesson

Assesses student understanding

Creates an additional review and reinforcement opportunity

Invites students to ask questions or clarify thoughts

Guides teacher lesson design based on student understanding

Helps organize small group instruction

Provides data on student progress.

Opens a communication channel between teacher and student

Exit slips are easy to use for teachers and students. They can be used at every grade level. So, why not give them a try?

I’ve written a post about Overdrive as a database to access free books for adults and kids. However, I was not aware that they also have collections of books on different subjects. One of the listed subjects is Education. The collection includes books for both teachers, parents and students. Books are in both digital and audio files.

Using your library card you can borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration and you’re ready to go. Books can be borrowed from 7 to 21 days.

Sample: Overdrive PD Teacher Books

Building A+ Better Teacher Green 2015

How Children Succeed Tough 2013

Mathematical Mindsets Boaler/Dweck 2015

Montessori From the Start Lillard and Jessen 2004

Secrets of the Teenage Brain Feinstein/Jensen 2013

Teach Like a Pirate Burgess 2012

The Coddling of the American Mind Lukianoff/Haidt 2019

Six 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 _____June 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: 6 down and 6 more to go! Have a great month!

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!

October has 31 days. The 15^{th} 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

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?

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.

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?

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?

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?

IF 15 + A = 21, how much is 15 – A?

Answers:

(a) Friday Because the 1^{st}, 8^{th}, 15^{th,} 22^{nd}, 29^{th} will be on a Wednesday. There will be 5 Fridays that month (the 3^{rd}, 10^{th}, 17^{th}, 24^{th}, 31^{st}).

(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.

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)

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?

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.

(13) She hears the following # of chimes: 3:00(3), 3:15(1),3:30 (2),3:45 (3) 4:00(4)

(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

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!

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?

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.

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?

Some 2^{nd} and 3^{rd} graders entered a total of 32 poems in the Poetry Contest. Five 3^{rd} grade students entered 4 poems each. The 6 remaining 2^{nd} grade students entered the rest of the poems. If each of the 2^{nd} grade students entered the same amount of poems, how many poems did each 2^{nd} grader enter.

Lowyn added up all the single-digit odd numbers and all the single digit even numbers. What was the sum?

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

22 students in the class

25 minutes: 2 X 12 minutes = 24 minutes and 1 additional minute

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.

3^{rd} graders entered 20 poems (five students each entered 4 for 20 total). The 32 total poems minus 3^{rd} 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

1+3+5+7+9 = 25 and 2+4+6+8 =20 so 25+20= 45

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

Monthly newsletter archives front Threeringsconnections.org gives parents, teachers and administrators resources to support kids.

Four 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 11 April 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: 4 down and 8 more to go! Have a great month!

This Easter we will be celebrating with 5 of our 8 grandkids (all under the age of 6) with 4 of them participating in an Easter Egg Hunt. Now, mathematically, for each of them to “find” 20 Easter eggs; we will need 80 plastic eggs. Now that’s “eggstravagant”.

I’ve always been about recycling or re-purposing items. Maybe it’s the teacher in me that was always looking for something FREE or to use something that I had in another way. Today, upcycling is the popular term and plastic Easter eggs are the perfect material to get your creativity flowing.

Plastic Egg Uses All Year Long

Spring Garland – String some wire (fishing wire works great) through the eggs to make some fancy garland.

Portion control – great size for a little treat that can fit in a lunchbox or handbag.

Maracas– Fill with anything that will make noise. Let your music flow. Depending on the filler, your little musician will be either play loudly or softly. Be sure to put tape around the egg after filling. Your young artists can also decorate their Maracas.

Bird Feeders– Who doesn’t love homemade bird feeders? Put the string through the eggs (many eggs have a hole in the end), put peanut butter or icing all over egg and roll in bird seed. Simple quick and kids love it.

Make a wreath– Glue the eggs on a wire frame. To make a large wreath glue the eggs onto a pool noodle. Frames and pool noodles are only $1 at your local dollar store.

Bathtub toys– They are colorful, float and can be filled with water. A perfect bathtub toys.

Craft storage – Perfect holder for small craft supplies such as googly eyes, and beads. For some crafts you can even color code your eggs.

Learning numbers and letters– A permanent marker can be used to match upper and lower letters, and numbers or letters. You can also spell out words and letter sounds. Save those “real” egg cartons for perfect storage.

Money holders– Holds loose change in your handbag or car.

Storage– Good size for play dough, or slime.

Color identification – ½ and ½ – Good way to demonstrate ½ and whole by showing how an egg is composed of 2 halves. Helps when you demonstrate using 2 different colors.

Containers for Sensory Items- Perfect size to scoop items such as; rice, flakes, beans, noodles, sand etc.

Picture frame decorations – Glue the egg halves around a plain picture frame to create a colorful frame.

Shake & Guess– Fill the eggs with items for kids to guess their contents (e.g. coins, rice, rocks, pebbles)

Mismatch Eggs– Have kids “fix” the eggs to be all one color.

Sand Toy – Perfect or shoveling sand at the beach. Small to fit in your suitcase and cheap so you can throw out when done.

Egg Race – Balance a plastic egg on a spoon and compete against others in a race. Plastic eggs can be filled with water or dirt to give them weight.

Small Storage- Perfect for buttons, sewing kits, cotton balls, band-aids, jewelry, screws.

Happy Easter Folks! Hope you have an Eggcelent Day! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Monthly Math Enrichment problems will give your child an opportunity to practice challenging math problems by trying problem solving strategies.

Math Enrichment Problems

Welcome to the 4th 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

Guess and Check

Use a table or list

Find a pattern

Logical reasoning

Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go!

Abby has 60 cents in pennies, nickels and dimes. She has at least one of each coin. What is the difference between the largest number of coins that she could have and the smallest number of coins that she could have?

There are 18 children in Room A and 6 children in Room B. If ____ children move from Room A to Room B, there will be twice as many children in Room B as in Room A.

Amy and Ann were playing tic-tac-toe. Amy won 4 games and Ann won 4 more games than Amy. If there were 9 ties, how many games of tic-tac-toe did they play?

A parking meter gives 30 minutes of parking for a quarter and 10 minutes for a dime. Mrs. Jaynor feels she will need 2 hours and 15 minutes on the meter. What is the least amount of money she should put in the meter?

Brooklyn added up all the single-digit odd numbers and all the single-digit even numbers. What was her sum?

There were 9 coins on a table totaling $1.20, consisting of nickels, dimes and quarters. Al, Ben and Casey each pick up 3 coins. Al has 3 times as much money as Casey. Al has as much money as Ben and Casey together. What 3 coins did Al pick up?

Find 2 two numbers that multiply to 9 and add to 10?

(10) There are 24 total children (18 +6). The result must be 8 children in Room A and 16 in Room B. This can be done by moving 10 children from Room A to Room B.

(21) Amy won 4 games, Ann won 8 games, (4 more than Amy) and 9 ties. 4 + 8 + 9 = 21.

($1.20) Four quarters (2 hours) and two dimes (20 minutes) would be the least expensive way to cover the time period.

(45) 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 0 + 2 + 4 + 6 + 8 = 45

(2Q, 1D) Al has 60cents, Ben has 40 cents and Casey has 20 cents. Al’s 3 coins are 2 quarters and 1 dime.

Monthly newsletter archives front Threeringsconnections.org gives parents, teachers and adninistrators resources to support kids.

Three 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 13 March 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: 3 down and 9 more to go! Have a great month!

Practicing the problems each month will help students solve the problems easier.

Math Enrichment Problems

Welcome to the 3rd 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

Guess and Check

Use a table or list

Find a pattern

Logical reasoning

Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go!

Bob has 5 dimes and 5 nickels. April has 2 quarters and 3 pennies. Bob has _____ more money than April?

Tommy has 4 times as many nickels as dimes. If he has 40 cents in dimes, how much money does he have altogether?

Start with 6 and add 8 four more times. What number do you end up with?

Golf balls come in boxes of 3 or 5 balls. Brian has to buy exactly 61 golf balls. What is the least amount of full packs he will need to buy?

Brooklyn’s softball practice begins at 3:15pm and last for an hour and a half. It takes her 35 minutes to change clothes and get home. If dinner is at 6:30pm, Brooklyn has 1 hour and ____ minutes to practice the piano before dinner.

A lobster’s age in year is approximately his weight multiplied by 4 plus 3 years. What is the age of a 5 lb. lobster?

Answer: ($1.20) Tommy has 4 dimes and 16 nickels. 4(10) + 16(5) = $1.20

Answer: (38 ) 6 +8 =14, 14+8 = 22, 22+ 8 = 30, 30 + 8 = 38 OR 4 X 8 = 32 and add the original 6 = 38

Answer: (13 boxes) 61 divided by 5 (the larger sized box) = 12 packs and 1 ball from a box of 3. This will give him 61 golf balls with 2 left over.

Answer: (1 hour and 10 minutes) Practice begins at 3:15 and ends at 4:45pm. It takes 35 minutes more to change and get home which makes it 5:20pm. She can practice the piano before dinner from 5:20pm to 6:30pm.

Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14). On this day people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

Pi (π) Day has been celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14) since 1988. On this day people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

What is π anyway?

The π symbol, a Greek letter, is universally recognized as being Pi. Here’s the amazing fact about Pi. If you divide any circle’s circumference by its diameter; the answer (whether it’s a pie plate or a planet) is always approximately 3.14.

Don’t Believe It? 3 Steps to Give it a Try

Take a string and place it on the outside of a paper plate. You just measured the circumference.

Take a second piece of string and put it across the middle of the paper plate. You just measured the diameter.

Compare the 2 pieces of string. Notice that you will need ABOUT 3.14 pieces of the diameter string to equal the circumference of the plate. Try it on other circles around the house. Neat, right?

Pi is a homophone of pie: the 2 words are pronounced similarly but are spelled differently and mean different things. This first celebration featured participants marching around a large circle and consuming fruit pies. Over the years, PI Day celebrations have become very popular and involve many different activities.

Take some time today to celebrate Pi Day and enjoy a piece of pie!

Welcome to the 3rd 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

Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go!

If 1 chicken can lay 3 eggs in 4 days, how many eggs can 3 chickens lay in 8 days?

A machine takes any number fed into it, adds 9 and then subtracts 1. Abby fed the number 10 into the machine. When the answer came out, she fed that number back into the machine. What final number came out of the machine?

At the pet shop there were 7 puppies in one cage and 5 kittens in another cage. How many more feet (paws) were there in the puppy cage than in the kitten cage?

Donna, Jerry and Noreen and ken collected empty soda cans to return for deposit. They received 5 cents for each can and received a total of $2. Donna collected 18 cans, Jerry 9 cans and Noreen 20 cans. How many cans did Ken collect?

A passenger train has 297 passengers aboard. There are 45 passengers in each of the first 4 cars of the train. Each of the remaining 3 cars has an equal number of passengers. How many passengers are there in one of those cars?

If X – 4 – 2 = 5, how much is X + X? +

IF a + 11 = 35, how much is a – 11?

Answers:

(18) If 1 chicken can lay 3 eggs in 4 days, then 1 chicken can lay 6 eggs in 8 days. Three chickens can lay 18 eggs in 8 days.

(26) 10 + 9 – 1 = 18, 18 +9 -1 = 26

(8) 7 puppies have 28 paws total and 5 kittens have 20 paws total. There are 8 more paws in the puppy cage than in the kitten cage.

(53) To get $2 for returning cans that are each 5 cents, 40 cans had to be returned. Adding Donna’s cans (18) + Jerry’s cans (9) and Noreen’s cans (20) the total # cabs together are 47 leaving Ken to return 53 cans.

(39) 45 passengers X 4 cars = 180 passengers. Since the total passengers were 297-180 that leaves 117 passengers divided equally into 3 cars. That means 39 passengers in each of the remaining 3 cars.

(22) To make the statement true: 11 must go in first box so that 11-4-2 = 5 and therefore, 11 + 11 = 22.

(13) a = 24 and therefore 24-11 =13.

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

One month down in 2019- how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? Was one of your resolutions to fit in some professional development for yourself? If so, take a look at January’s archives and catch up on your resolution. All January’s posts are below, as well as, all 72 posts since I started this blog in September 2018. With this second Newsletter post I’ve achieved 2 months of MY resolution to post a monthly newsletter for Threeringsconnections.org. 2 down and 10 more to go! Have a great month!

Welcome to the first month of threeringsconnections.orgMonthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I will 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.

Which Strategies Will You Use?

When solving math problems try one of the 6 common strategies listed below:

Draw a picture

Guess and Check

Use a table or list

Find a pattern

Logical reasoning

Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Enrichment Problems – Here we go!

Teagan’s brother is now 8 years old, two years ago she was old as he is now. How old will Teagan be in 5 years?

Declan spent 18.00 on baseball cards. This is twice as much as Meghan and Lowyn spent together. Meghan spent $4.00. How much did Lowyn spend?

Marian, Cole, Kelly and Donna were invited to a party. Marian did not arrive last. Kelly arrived after Cole but before Donna. Kelly did not arrive right after Cole. Of the 4 of them Marian was the ____ to arrive.

Abby bought as many 24-cent hair ribbons as she could with her $5. How much change did Abby receive.

Matt has 35 quarters in his collection. If he puts 7 quarters in each row, how many rows of quarters will he have?

Chris is Kelly’s brother. Chris has one brother. Kelly has twice as many sisters as brothers. How many children are in the family?

Connall eats breakfast at 6am and lunch at noon. When it is ____ it is twice as much time until lunch as it has been since breakfast. a) 7am b) 10am c) 8am d) 5pm

Math Enrichment Problems- Answers:

Teagan is now 10 and in 5 years she will be 15 years old.

Half of $18 is $9.00. Meghan spent $4. Lowyn spent $9 – $4 = $5.00

2nd. Kelly had to be 2nd or 3rd (after Cole but before Donna),. Since Kelly did not arrive right after Cole, Cole arrived first, Kelly 3rd and Donna last. That leaves Marian to arrive 2nd.

She bought 20 ribbons 20 X .$24 – $4.80. $5.00-$4.80 = $.20.

35-7= 28-7 = 21-7 =14-7 =7-7 =0 there will be 5 rows 0f 7 quarters.

If Chris has one brother than Kelly has tow brothers. Since she has twice as many sisters as brothers. Kelly has 4 sisters. In the family there is a total of 7 children. The seven children are Kelly’s 2 brothers + her 4 sisters + Kelly.

c) 8am is 4 hours from noon and 2 hours from 8am

Try some of the problems today with your child. Once solved, create for them a similar problem by changing the numbers. This gives them an opportunity to try the problem again to reinforce their new skills. This strategy helps them solve the problem easier each time which will build their math confidence. Enjoy!

When I was a classroom teacher, I found the first week of December a very busy time. First quarter Parent Conferences were over, and parents were ready to support their child’s strengths and weaknesses. For those students with high math ability I recruited parents to encourage their child to try the Math Enrichment Fun Center (MEFC). The center had 12 more advanced math problems. I found some kids were hesitant to try the center due to fear of failure. Once students finished the 12 problems in the MFC, they were able to bring the problems home to share with their parents.

Math Fun Centers (MEFCs) for Everyone!

Five years later when I became the school’s teacher of the Talented and Gifted program, I made Math Enrichment Centers for all the grade 2 and 3 regular education classrooms. They were made with a large trifold board with 12 library pockets with a problem in each. The MEFCs became quite popular and teachers loved having the center available. Each month I replaced the problems with a new set. Because good resources never get old, I reused the problems again as a K-2 principal when I offered Enrichment Math to second graders!

This month I’m starting a Monthly Math Enrichment post that will include Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3. Please check out my post on December 15rh titled Math Enrichment Dec. Grades 2-3 .

4 Reasons Why Math Enrichment Will Benefit Kids

Improves Problem Solving – Enrichment problems can benefit students that excel in classroom math and want to deepen their mathematical understanding. It allows them to explore different strategies to strengthen their problems solving skills.

Reduces Stress– Enrichment problems extend your child’s math skills without the added pressure of grades or comparing themselves with other classmates. Practicing math problems on a child’s own schedule eliminates time pressures and allows kids to enjoy math.

Builds Confidence– Enrichment math problems helps to build confidence by improving a child’s math skills.

Strengthens Critical Thinking – Math enrichment keeps kids thinking. Math problems should engage a child in reasoning and thinking out of the box.

I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

Recently, while working with a group of teachers, I was asked to recommend great website resources to help them meet the needs of their students. I’m starting with the 7 below because they are some of the websites that our teachers used when I was a K-2 and K-5 principal.

So here they are teacher friends and thank you for the great topic for future posts. Be on the lookout for monthly posts that will include 7 (lucky #7) website resources to support students from preschool through Grade 12.

Take a look at December’s TOP Website Resources

Education Northwest for Writing- Even if you don’t use the 6+1 traits of writing, this site offers great resources that can be adapted to your needs. Included in the site are lesson plans, writing prompts and rubrics to support language arts. Be sure to look at the samples to practice scoring and see how other teachers score the same piece. This will be helpful when preparing for state testing. (ELA)

Read, Write, Think – The site provides high quality resources in language arts instruction. Every lesson has been aligned to both the IRA/NCTE Standards for ELA and also to individual state standards. (ELA)

Smithsonian Education -The Learning Lab offers thousands of resources for educators, including lesson plans, virtual tours of their latest exhibits, and the opportunity to connect with experts in the field. Be sure to check out the virtual field trips. It’s not a real field trip but it’s the next best thing. (General)

SMART Exchange for Interactive Whiteboard -Take a look at the SMART Exchange before creating any lessons for your interactive whiteboard from scratch. This site has existing lessons and ideas submitted by teachers. (General Tech)

Annenberg Learner– The Annenberg Foundation provides many professional development series on demand for FREE. The foundations’ goal is to encourage more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge about teaching. Annenberg Learner resources can be accessed for free. (Professional Development)

Utah Education Network (UETN) – Don’t be fooled this site is not just for Utah! The UETN connects all Utah school districts, schools and higher education institution to create a site with quality education resources that can be used in any classroom. (Multi-subject)

With the holidays around the corner, I’ve started to wrap the grandkid gifts . As I unearth them from secret hiding spots around the house, I see that I have bought a large selection of puzzles. As a yearlong Christmas shopper, I have discovered that my quest to find the “the perfect gift for a certain grandkid” has left me with a hodgepodge of gifts with too many for one child and nothing for another! Staring at the collection of gifts I wonder ” which grandchild did I buy this perfect present for”? Good thing puzzles are interchangeable “perfect” gifts!

Truth is, I’m a puzzle lover. Sudoku, Wheel of Fortune or jigsaw, love them all. As a result, I have discovered that I am also a serious puzzle buyer! Looking at my grandkids kids gift collection I have all sizes and topics ranging in size from 2 to 1000 pieces. Yes, only 2 pieces in my homemade environmental puzzle for the 2 year old. Puzzles challenge my thinking and exercise my mind.

When assessing students in school, we focused on their social, emotional and academic growth. Now, when choosing toys for my grandkids I try to think of these same areas. Ok, I admit it, sometimes it’s a real stretch to justify a Pokemon Mega Powers Collection Card Game. But that’s what GG’s are for! However, there’s no stretching with puzzles. They’re an idea toy that benefits kids and can be lots of fun.

Let’s see the top 6 benefits for kids playing with puzzles.

Problem solving– Children must think and develop strategies on how to solve a puzzle. This This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions. Whether they choose to fill in a puzzle around the frame or from picture clues, it helps children think in a logical way.

Attention Span and Patience -Most puzzles are not done quickly. An interesting puzzle can hold a child’s attention and keep them engaged for hours. Therefore, the challenge of solving or completing a puzzle will help develop patience.

Social– My granddaughters love doing puzzles with us. Working on a puzzle as a team gives many opportunities for talking. Sharing ideas and joint problem solving will help a child work as a team. Working on a team effectively is one of the qualities that today’s employers look for. Never too young to build your resume skillset.

Self-esteem– Who doesn’t love the feeling of satisfaction when you finish a puzzle? That feeling helps build a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Two very important life skills to develop.

Fine Motor Skills Development– Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop and refine their fine motor skills. When engaged in playing with puzzles, children are required to pick up, pinch and grasp pieces turning them around until they fit into the puzzle. Fine motor skills are necessary for handwriting and other important achievements. This trial and error of matching pieces also involves a lot of hand and eye coordination.

Shape Recognition and Geometry– In order to complete puzzles, kids need to recognize and sort pieces. For this reason, many first puzzles are shape recognition puzzles.

A Worthwhile Gift

Let’s be honest, grandkid visits change the dynamics of retirement. My house becomes noisy, a little messier and a lot more fun. Puzzles have become my” go to” as a grandkid gift for many reasons. They are fun educational toys that are reasonably priced and challenge my grandkids minds. They are also easy to store, can be done without adult help, and somewhat quiet!

I was recently talking to a friend about some of the posts on the blog and realized that it would be good to create a Table of Contents for quick access. So here it is! All the postings for the September and October in a single post. One Stop Shopping! Enjoy!