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Turn Your Backyard into a Never-Ending Adventure!

There is about one month (or less) left of summer vacation! Hard to believe it’s almost over, but we think there is still PLENTY of time to turn your backyard into a play area your little adventurers will never tire of. Check out these DIY outdoor creations that YOU can put together! 

Adorable Treehouse

Think a treehouse is too complicated to put together? Think again! This tutorial from Apartment Therapy will have your little ones and their friends loving you! In just 6 simple steps, you will have yourself an adorable treehouse perfect for your little climbers. 

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Outdoor Movie Theater

In the mood for a movie night but don’t have enough room in your living room to hold all of the excited little ones? Why not take the experience outside?! Giver’s Log has created this easy to read tutorial so you can set up your very own outdoor movie theater! 

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Backyard Camping

Set up a tent, grab some pillows, blankets, your favorite books, and call it a night! You don’t have to leave your own backyard to get the true experience of camping. Setting up a tent in your backyard is the perfect place to take your kiddos camping for their first time! 

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Build a Teepee

Building a teepee is easy with these simple steps from The Etsy Blog! Her directions are descriptive and engaging. Your children will even be able to help you! Once you build this little teepee, they’ll never want to leave!

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Spray Paint Twister

Don’t have the space in your house to play twister? Why not take it outside? This tutorial from Little Birdie Secrets tells you ALL you need to know about bringing one of our favorite games outdoors! 

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Outdoor Chalk Board

This DIY chalkboard idea from My House and Home will have your little artists busy for hours. They’ll love to draw, color, and write OUTSIDE! We think you will love it too :) 

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Little Hideouts

You and your little ones can now spend the last few weeks of summer comfortably enjoying the outdoors. These little hideouts are perfect to relax, read, and eat snacks. The Craft Nest explains all the materials you will need to create a fantastic and comfy spot for your kiddos. 

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Bunk-Bed = Star Gazing Loft 

This is our favorite DIY summer idea yet. If you have an old bunk bed you’ve been trying to get rid of, this is the PERFECT way to put it to good use. Add a fresh coat of paint, add some pillows and blankets, and enjoy! If you have a telescope, even better! 

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Feel free to share any ideas you may have! If you post about them on Instagram, be sure to tag us @educents.

Happy DIY-ing :)

 

 

 

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Back-to-School-Blowout-Sale-2014

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I am so excited to announce that Educents.com is having a HUGE back-to-school blowout sale and I am going to be featured in one of the curriculum bundles! From July 30 – August 2 (Wednesday – Saturday), they are bringing back all of their favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 77% OFF! There is something for everyone and it is their BIGGEST sale of the year!

Take a peak into what is on sale! Tell your friends, because there is something for everyone who teaches children in PreK-8th grade!

Preschool Full-Year Curriculum Bundle – 72% OFF

Preschool

Kindergarten Full-Year Curriculum Bundle – 75% OFF

Kindergarten

K-2 The Write Stuff ELA Bundle – 68% OFF

GradesK-2(writestuff)

First Grade Literacy Bundle – 74% OFF

1stGrade

School Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 2-3) – 74% OFF

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Poetry Curriculum & Activities Bundle (Grades 2-6) – 75% OFF

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Tricky Math Curriculum Bundle (Grades 3-5) – 69% OFF

Grades3-5(trickymath)

Complete Full-Year Curriculum Bundle (Grades 6-8) – 77% OFF6-8

Management, Decor & Organization Bundle – 76% OFF

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Don’t Miss It!

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Math Madness Wednesday: Back to School Math Tips

Back to School….3 words that can provoke fear or excitement (or maybe both!).  As August is almost here, school is on everybody’s mind.  In fact, some have already started their new school year, while others never stopped.
I have collected some of the best tips for teaching math, especially for the beginning of the school year.  Thanks to those who helped out witht he tips!  Be sure to check them out as well.  Here is what I have found, in no particular order.
1.  Decide on procedures and routines before school starts.  Make sure YOU know how you want math to go so you can relay that message to your students.
2.  As you are thinking about those routines, consider using journals.  Use these journals to list vocabulary terms, track thinking, make diagrams, and create a portfolio for the year.   (Stefany Smith, Tutoring Supplies by Demand)
3.  Make it personal–Get to know your kids and their interests.  Use this information to make math meaningful to your students!  (Jen Larson, The Teacher Next Door)
4.  Realize it is NOT about the answer–Math is a process and their is learning during the entire journey!  Don’t focus solely on the answer.  Encourage your students to explain their thinking and develop a community of thinkers.  Teach the students to also appreciate the process! (Mary Beth Riley, Run, Teacher Run!)
5.  Everyone learns differently.  The way YOU learn math may not be how your students learn math.  So, make sure to use lots of different strategies and accept “non-traditional” methods.  Of course, if your standards say they MUST know the standard algorithm, teach it.  But, take what they know to help them master the standards.
6.  Use food and hands on manipulatives whenever possible, no matter the age of the students!  Not only do kinesthetic learners have a better chance at understanding the material, but it makes it more FUN and who doesn’t like that!?
7.  Check, check, double check, and then check one more time!  Teach the kids to check their work.  But, you check too.  Double check your work too.  Check that your students are understanding.  Most importantly, check to see if what you are doing is working.
8.  Teach for understanding, not just rote memorization.  Sure, there are some things (simple math facts) that need a lot of practice.  If students don’t understand WHY 3 x 4 = 12, then what good does it do?  Understanding MUST come first. (Martha Hach, The Owl Spot)
9.  Incorporate technology any time you can.  Just like the food and manipulatives, technology is great for specific learners (visual learners,  this time), but more importantly, it is FUN and engaging.  Computers, tablets, overheads, interactive whiteboards, iPods, document cameras, whatever you have access to.  These are kids of the digital age….it’s what they know! (Amy Mezni, Teaching Ideas 4 You)
10.  Don’t be afraid to re-teach and go back when needed.  Teaching is NOT a One Way Street!  Sometimes, the planner or the pacing guide need to be tossed out the window!  Listen to your kids and meet THEIR needs! (Angela Strong, The Almost Their Height Teacher)
I hope these tips have helped you get yourself ready for back to school.  Of course, this is not an all inclusive list!  What tips do YOU have?
Don’t forget to grab my Factors and Multiples bundle, still on sale until Thursday evening!  You can get it here.
Want more math tips?  Follow my Math for Elementary Pinterest board here.




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Writing About the Minecraft World

Wouldn’t you love for your child to be as excited about writing as s/he is about computer games like Minecraft? That’s exactly what I was thinking one day as I was pushing (actually, it felt like dragging) my son through the writing process yet again. I had tried a variety of writing methods and websites and books, and he would comply, but he just didn’t enjoy it. I knew it wouldn’t come alive for him unless I could integrate writing instruction with something he loved.  What did he love most in the world next to Mom, Dad, Brother, and the dog? Minecraft!

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That’s how WriteCraft: Writing about the Minecraft World from Time for Homeschool became the answer we were looking for. The first WriteCraft unit builds on your child’s love for Minecraft by using it as the vehicle for high interest writing instruction and practice.

This is not just a booklet of writing prompts with cute Minecraft clip-art on each page.  No, it uses Minecraft as the topic for each of the 10 writing prompts that cover a variety of genres. Each prompt comes with instructions and a pre-writing activity. Students can use their own paper or the Minecraft-themed notebooking pages included with the unit.

Some of the writing prompts ask the students to build something in Minecraft first and use that as part of the pre-writing activity, so it really lets them play while they learn, encouraging the transfer of their enthusiasm for the game to their writing.

The unit is 27 pages of colorful learning tools with all original Minecraft-themed artwork. There’s also an annotated page of web resources for writing to help you keep writing instruction fun. While WriteCraft was developed for students between the ages of 8 and 12, it can be modified easily for students who are younger or older.

And now, on Educents, you can purchase Writecraft: Writing about the Minecraft World for only $1.99! That’s 60% off the full retail price, and it comes to less than 20 cents per topic activity.

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Just watch your children’s faces when they ask, “What are we doing today?” and you say, “Minecraft!”

 

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Time for Home School is a division of Robbins Creative Content, LLC. Veronica Robbins is president and owner of the company. She is a former classroom teacher, curriculum writer, and school administrator. Veronica lives in Woodland, California with her husband and two sons. She holds a Masters degree in Education and has over 25 years of experience working in and with public, charter, and private schools.

As an outgrowth of her educational experience and homeschooling of her 10 year old son, Veronica established Time for Home School to develop curriculum materials of superior quality. The Time for Home School website can be found at http://timeforhomeschool.com.

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Back-To-School BLOW OUT SALE!

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We’re so excited to announce that we’re having a HUGE back-to-school blowout sale! From August 1-4 (Friday-Monday), we’re bringing back all of our favorite and most popular bundles for INSTANT download at up to 90% OFF! This sale is for teachers, parents, and homeschoolers – there is definitely something for everyone! Get an entire year of curriculum for your kids, supplemental products, subscriptions, online classes and more! It’s our BIGGEST sale of the year!

Have a child in Preschool – 8th grade? We’ll have 9 curriculum packages that will give you all sorts of awesome items to help your kids learn this year! Whether you need a full curriculum or just add-on items, you aren’t going to want to miss this sale!

Sign-up here to be notified when it goes live! There are limited quantities available so you don’t want to miss out!

http://www.educents.com/back-to-school-blowout-sale/

We can’t wait to show you what we have in store!

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Thrively

Watch out, Yelp! Thrively is a new marketplace website designed to inspire children in fulfilling their dreams, passions and goals and help parents find the right places for them to do so. Thrively allows parents to search and find local activities for their kids but customizes searches while combining social networking as well! Thrively allows parents to share ideas and thoughts about local activities, classes, etc. that other Thrively users have experienced.

How does Thrively work?

Parents can create both a family login and profile of their child’s interests. Thrively will then provide resources that match your child’s interests. For example, let’s say your 8-year-old daughter is interested in furthering her ballet skills. You’re able to browse different schools, teachers, and programs that might match your daughter’s ballet abilities/interests that are located within a specific distance from you. Thrively also allows additional children to be added to the family’s login account. So, if your other daughter prefers martial arts, soccer, and musical theatre, Thrively will provide a list of activities that could include all of the above.

The dashboard on Thrively has a lovely user interface with different subsections and quick descriptions for every activity or video that make it easy and accessible to search for what I want.Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 3.01.19 PM

What really makes Thrively stand out?

Thrively’s Strength Assessment is the first and only online assessment designed specifically for children. They worked with California’s leading pediatric neuropsychologists to use kid-friendly questions that identify your child’s strengths! It’s interactive and simple-to-use (they recommend that children under 9 have your help).

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Thrively will then give your child a profile on his/her strengths and activities that they might be interested in. Super easy and personalized!Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 3.39.33 PM
My Experience

My daughter is nearly 3, and we live in California’s Central Valley. I was interested in swimming, ballet, hiking (we’re 2 hours from Yosemite, not to make you drool), piano, and tennis for her. I was happy to discover a list of swim lessons and summer outdoor camps available within 50 miles of our city. Although some results for the lists of activities for ballet and tennis were from the Bay Area or the Greater Los Angeles Area, there was a good selection from the neighboring areas. If I expanded my Thrively friend base, I might be able to explore more options, provide feedback, receive feedback, and read about tips for local events. I suppose that’s the beauty of the website; the more you network, the more you receive!

Aside from a list of activities near you, Thrively also inspires children by suggesting videos on youtube, for example. Ever heard of Sophia Lucia? I hadn’t, until I saw a youtube clip in which she performed 54 pirouettes! And, this child was 10! If I was an 8-year-old aspiring dancer, I imagine I’d be pretty inspired at that video. Also, Thrively included lists of age-appropriate apps for tablets and smart phones. I don’t know about you, but I sure appreciate a list of age-appropriate apps so I don’t have to find them myself.

So think of Thrively as a combination of Yelp, Google, and Facebook. If you’re looking for fun, local activities designed to inspire your child, and want to review or read reviews about each interest, all while befriending other parents like you, then you’ve found yourself a gold mine!

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What’s Insta-Fun, Insta-Educational, and Insta-Creative? @Educents!

If you haven’t heard – we have our very own Instagram, @Educents!! We love to share current deals, our own crafts, #mancrushmondays, happenings in the office, and other fun things! We’d love to see you follow us and we’d love even more to see you tag us in one of your own adventures with your family. Here are some of our favorite past posts, what do you think?

Our CEOs, Kate and Kaitlyn with one of our favorite bloggers @simplykinder at I Teach K 2014!

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We love making crafts with some of the products on our site! #tbt to the valentine dedicated to all of you!

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@mrjhughes used #Educents and we got to share this moment from I Teach K 2014! Thanks for sharing!

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Follow us and please tag us in some of your own creations @Educents! We love seeing your beautiful faces!!

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Math Madness Wednesday: Factors and Multiples



How do you teach factors and multiples?  Whew!  What a question!  While the concepts may not seem that difficult, kids seem to have a problem remembering which one is which!  And, they don’t really understand WHY they need to learn them in the first place!  Please tell me I am not the only one with this problem!!



BrainPop has come to my rescue, once again!  Our family uses these videos often, especially my son.  He is visual (and has a TON of questions) so these videos are great for him.  Plus, he is discovering humor right now (he’s 11, but his autism prevents him from figuring out humor sometimes) so he likes the funny parts with Moby!  Here is a link to the Factoring video (this is NOT a free video, unfortunately, but if you already have a subscription or your school has one, you can access it!).

 



Another way to help students understand factors is by creating arrays.  You can create arrays with any kind of manipulatives (cubes, beans, counters, lids, etc.).  But, if you are allowed to bring food into the classroom or you are practicing at home, it is always fun to bring in edible “counters” to practice factoring!  Skittles, M&Ms, goldfish, marshmallows, and grapes are all perfect for this.  Just have the kids count out a certain number of counters and show you all of the different arrays you could make with them.  You can track what numbers were used and reinforce the word “factor” while doing it. 
 
 

 

For multiples, you can use a hundreds chart.  Kids can color in the multiples for a certain number or they could put the manipulatives they were using for factors directly on the hundreds board.  It is fun to see the patterns show up!  In this picture, you can see the diagonal lines that show up with the multiples of threes!  If you have multiple colors of highlighters, they can do more than one pattern at a time!  If you want a FREE version of a blank hundreds chart, click here (I have a version that begins with 0 and a version that begins with 1).  
 

SALE TIME!!

If you are looking for some more practice with Factors and Multiples, check out my BUNDLE.  It includes all you need to teach factors and multiples, as well as practice finding Greatest Common Factors and Least Common Multiples.
 

This bundle includes:
*A poster showing the difference between factors and multiples
*Color-By-Number pictures to practice finding GCF and LCM
*Practice pages for finding GCF and LCM
*A cut-and-paste activity to show the differences between factors and multiples
*A Monster Mash game board and instructions
You can grab this bundle from Educents for only $5 this week (it is normally $10, so it is a great time to snag it!).  That means it is less than $1 per activity!!  

I would LOVE to hear how YOU teach factors and multiples!  Leave a comment below to share your ideas.
 

Until next time,

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How to Prep for the SATs on your Smartphone

As soon as someone mentions “SAT,” the listener probably tunes out and starts to fiddle on his or her phone. But what if there was a way to make SAT Prep as easy and painless as texting? PrepCube has devised a program that prepares the technologically-inclined learners for SATs in their preferred format – texting.

How does PrepCube work? Students are pushed one question and solution via text message every day. After the question has been texted, the learner has the option to get help from a tutor via private message or through the PrepCube website. The PrepCube also system allows students, parents, and teachers to track all of their student’s results on its dashboard.

DID YOU KNOW?
Texting has become the preferred mode of communication for American teens.

All the PrepCube SAT Prep questions are developed by the Co-Founder of Bell Curves, a leading standardized test preparation company. He oversees all aspects of the development of programs and materials, as well as the training of tutors. He has spent the last 18 years working as a standardized test prep trainer and materials developer at three different test prep companies.

Get a 2-Month Membership to PrepCube ($38 Value) for $19.99 – that’s 50% off retail price!

CLICK HERE to start shopping!

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Coming Soon: Teaching Momster Pop-Up Shop

The Educents team is very excited to announce the Teaching Momster Pop-Up Shop is coming this week! Krista is offering every deal she has EVER listed on Educents. That means you can save on resources for multiplication, division, symmetry, probability, and MORE math lessons! Oh, and don’t forget the famous WILD! Uno Card Games!

Here’s a list of our Top 3 Favorite Math Madness Moments (so far):

3. A Family Trip to Big Sur

2. Krista’s Favorite Lesson of the Year

1. Symmetry - We just LOVE using Legos to learn!

More About Krista of Teaching Momster:

My name is Krista and I am so excited to start my blogging journey!  I am a Mid-West girl, but my family now lives in California.  I have two kiddos of my own (ages 10 and 11) and they keep me very busy!  Prior to our move to California, I taught in the classroom for over 12 years.  While I definitely miss it most days, I have decided to put my family first and take care of my own kids while they are still young enough to need me.  It wasn’t an easy decision, but one that definitely needed to be made.  During the transition (we moved from Indiana, so this was a HUGE change), I homeschooled my kids.  My son is autistic, so the change was even more difficult for him than it was for the rest of us.  While homeschooling had never crossed my mind before (I was a public school teacher, for Pete’s sake!), I know it was the right thing for us to do at the time.  I knew I wanted him to get back to the classroom soon to help him try to make friends and learn some more social skills, but the school we were “supposed” to go to was not the right one for us.  I had to fight a little, but I was able to get both kids into a fabulous school!  His teacher is amazing and works hard to help him (and us) everyday!  I have a feeling the homeschool may be for us again in the future, but for now, I am happy to have the time during the day to work on blogging and creating products that can help other teachers be as amazing as his teacher is this year!