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Adventure Books Introduce Kids to 8 Countries

What’s more exciting than receiving a post card from a traveling friend? Getting a package of books from around the world!

We couldn’t be more proud to offer the Adventure Series at a discount this week. Included in the package are eight books from eight counties. Kids will also find a “top secret” invitation and password to join the main character’s online community of kids.

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Here’s a few reasons why we LOVE this book series:

  • Beautiful watercolor illustrations
  • Fun, and easy to read first person stories
  • Stories from around the world get readers excited about geography and traveling

We received our box this week and couldn’t wait to open it. In the video, Finn walks us through the packet and reads an excerpt from the Finland book.

So, what are you waiting for? Share this adventure with a friend!

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale at Educents

bfcmaffibanner_600They’re finally here! The two biggest sale days of the year! Educents is having their Black Friday & Cyber Monday sale from November 28 – December 1st. You’ll get an EXTRA 10% off + FREE SHIPPING (in the continental US) on top of their already discounted prices! Use code Educents10Free at checkout to receive the discount. Check out the amazing deals below, categorized by age!

prekUntitled 12FOR MORE PRE-K DEALS, CLICK HERE30aabbbc-f4bb-476f-9202-84a6c37b1d57Untitled 2FOR MORE KINDER – 2ND GRADE DEALS, CLICK HEREUntitled 3FOR MORE 3RD – 5TH GRADE DEALS, CLICK HEREec9a08f1-f9d2-46fe-be59-de55e0eade66middleschoolFOR MORE MIDDLE SCHOOL DEALS, CLICK HEREUntitled 3FOR MORE HIGH SCHOOL DEALS, CLICK HERE
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Adding Musical Instruments to Lessons

Music education has multiple learning components that are equally important — history, appreciation, and hands-on learning.

Teaching Music

Music history encompasses studying famous composers. Choose a basic instrument your child might be interested in, like the a keyboard, and start by studying famous musicians who are known to write or perform that particular instrument. Get your child excited by listening to songs composed by those famous musicians.

 

Kids Listening
Next, set aside some time for music appreciation. Compare different musicians (who you just learned about) and comment on the similarities and differences of the songs. Start to engage your learner by setting a stage for them to think critically.

eMedia My Piano Starter PackNow is the time your little learner will want to see the music, so what better way then to teach them to read music! Teach the basic notes and have your child follow along with basic music. Learning to read music can be difficult, which is why a lot of musical instruments come with programs to teach music. Check out the eMedia Piano Starter Pack (save $55 + get free shipping).

Now your little musician will be so excited to start playing music!

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Math Madness Wednesday: Number Bonds and Frozen Math

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Have you heard of number bonds?  They are a wonderful visual math tool for students to understand decomposing numbers.    There are MANY great ideas out there for ways to use number bonds.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Number Bonds:  Make 10 from Math Playground–This fun game is for everyone!  There are versions…
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Uncover Your Adventurous Side With North Mystic by M.J. Evans

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In keeping with the tradition of tales of fantasy worlds, magic, and adventure, M.J. Evans parts from her beloved Mist Trilogy to tell the story of three kindhearted children and their wild adventure in North Mystic. An allegory of the Revolutionary War, the story opens with our three heroes, Evelynd Callahan, a responsible, nurturing thirteen year old who looks after her younger brother, Drew, and sister Avery as they live their lives under the thumb of their new nanny, Miss Schmidtwitch. With distaste for children and disorder, Miss Schmidwitch greatly enjoys her unique role as a nanny with the Callahan family. With the help of a mansion-wide P.A. system, several security cameras, and a responsive staff, the not-so-friendly nanny keeps the children in line from a distance from sunrise to sunset. In such an adventure-less world, the three Callahan children rely on each other not only as siblings, but best friends. Life for the children is boring, neat and tidy until one day Evelynd discovers a curious trap door in the floor of the linen closet.

With a little trickery and a handful of bravery the three children soon escape their droll life and are introduced to the land of North Mystic. Inhabited by Leprechauns, peace in North Mystic is disrupted when a band of Vikings cross the North Sea and arrive on their shores demanding a random of harvested gold in exchange for the safe return of the Leprechaun children. Filled with fear, the dwellers of North Mystic look to a prophesy dating back hundreds of years promising the arrival of three heroes who would defeat the Vikings and help the children return safely to their families.

Not only is this story filled with magic, adventure, and a few good laughs, it also won first place in the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Awards for fantasy! North Mystic makes a great read for any fan of a fantasy and folklore. Staying true to her easy to read style, Evans tells a story which can be enjoyed by children and grownups alike. Infused with positive lessons of bravery, compassion, and justice, North Mystic is a story that speaks to the transformative power of creativity and kindness. Like many of your other favorite children’s stories, this book proves that a little adventure has the power to change lives, heal wounds, and create friendships that last forever.

NOTE: Homeschoolers can get a free lesson plan by contacting the author directly at [email protected].The lesson plan is a fun way to study the Revolutionary War using the North Mystic book.

You can purchase the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all bookstores. Autographed copies can also be obtained from the North Mystic website: www.northmystic.com.

North Mystic Author

M.J. Evans

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Make Geography Stick With The Peel, Play & Learn Set

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How do you teach geography? When the Mona MELisa reusable US Map arrived to the Educents office, we had a blast dreaming up all of the possible ways teachers, families, students and friends could use the 6 foot long, 44 inch high assortment of U.S. geography stickers. After much brainstorming, we couldn’t help but try a few activities ourselves!

Some of the awesome ideas our Educentsers came up with were:

  1. Playing “Name That State” with family and friends during the holidays. What better way to get the whole family together than a game for kids of all ages. Work in teams or alone to identify states and challenge seasoned family members in lightening fast rounds.
  2. Need a little direction? Use the compass to have children in the class describe where states are in relation to each other. Let your kiddos take turns directing each other around the country by using the directions on the compass. They’ll have an awesome time walking their fingers from east from west in search of the correct state– but be sure to watch out for the oceans! 
  3. Guess and reveal state capitals by peeling away the brightly colored shapes. Remembering capitals can be tricky, but the easy to peel states with state capitals hidden underneath offer up a great way to ditch the flashcards and take the learning to the walls!
  4. Keep track of where you’ve been (or where you’re going). We love this one! Use the state names to label the states where all of the students in your class have been. In our office we discovered we’ve got some pretty serious travelers and we can’t wait to see how far we’ve gotten this time next year.

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We don’t want you to miss out on all this geography fun, so be sure to check out the discounted Peel, Play & Learn sets on the Educents site. Also, don’t forget to tell us all about your adventures around the U.S using these nifty decals, who knows, your idea just might become a new staff favorite!

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How would you use the reusable U.S. map decal in your homeschool or classroom?

 

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How I Became a Book-Only-Giver: 5 Reasons Books Make The Best Gifts



How I Became a Book-Only-Giver-2I want congratulate YOU 
for getting one step closer to joining The League of Book-Only-Givers. Trust me, we’re a pretty big deal. My name is Tempest (named for the play, of course) and currently I’m an Educentser learning the ropes of the coolest resource for teachers, homeschoolers and parents ever–but that’s for another blog post. As a former daycare provider, nanny and preschool teacher, I have had the pleasure of playing with some of the coolest mini humans on the planet. As a lover of playtime, it might come as a surprise that my commitment to buying books was born from a promise to my best friend that I would never, ever, ever, buy her daughter a gift that lit up or made noise. No, I would not be responsible for driving Brittany crazy with automated repetitions of the alphabet or joyful dolls professing their love to her daughter (or worse yet, crying). So, when Raelyn’s first birthday came around I set out to buy a gift worthy of several gold stars.

With the help of Shel Selverstien and his beautiful book, Where The Sidewalk Ends, I was able to give my goddaughter the gift she wanted most: time with her mommy. After two years of special occasions and first holidays, I am proud to say that I have stuck to my word. I know, it might seem extreme (and perhaps inconvenient) to only buy books for kids in my life but the truth is, I’ve made deeper connections with children and their families since vowing to give the gift of literature. If you are not yet convinced, check out my top 5 reasons books are the ideal gift for kids.

1) Books Build Bridges (But Only With Your Help!)
Even without flashing lights a book has the power to connect people. I, perhaps like you, have fond memories of reading before bed with my mom and to this day we swap articles, books, and magazines for fun. When you give the gift of a book you give a child an opportunity to connect with people of all ages through storytelling. Whether it’s through the practice of reading with a family member or the excitement of discussing a zany story from the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! series during lunch with friends, a good book builds bridges between people, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that process?

 ChuggingtonBlog2) It’s Cheaper Than A Vacation To Ancient Egypt
As a kid I was absolutely obsessed with Ancient Egypt. I loved everything from the majestic images of African royalty to the artfully crafted headdresses and figures which adorned my favorite exhibits in the museum. If my parents could have had it their way, I’m sure they would have taken me to Egypt but I wasn’t yet familiar with the Tardis, so time travel still wasn’t an option. Instead, mom and I took trips to our local library and I would check out as many books as I could carry. Know a child who loves trains? Pick up a Chuggington book on the way to the birthday party. Books are the ultimate ticket around the world, and trust me, you won’t find a cheaper form of global travel around the the holidays.

3) If You Build it They Will Come
Kids sure do play a lot of video games today, don’t they? Well, I bet they wouldn’t play so manny if we “grownups” didn’t buy so many, right? Now, I’m not suggesting you eliminate all screen time or stop buying games entirely, but what if for every second and forth video game in a household it was a book instead? Maybe a book about engineering or how video games are made Being able to read is like knowing a special code which unlocks new achievements the better you get. How’s that for leveling up?

4) Books Give Little People Big Ideas!
“The most important color is people color!” I will never forget the day one of my preschool students said this in class. We teachers had no choice but to run with it. But how could we support the learning? Books! The Color of Us by Karen Katz became the centerpiece of an exploration of skin color. The children were inspired by the colors in the book and began painting their own pictures using human hues. Inspire the kids in your life to think deeply. As the holidays approach books about the significance Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year may inspire your littles to create new traditions which can be repeated for years to come!

5) It’s Always Personal
Where The Sidewalk Ends was a perfect gift for sweet baby Rae. Unlike a toy, a book offered me a blank space inside to tell her in 100 words or less, just how much I loved her. My sentiments will live in that book forever. Your children will be connected to you through the words on the page of the gift you give and there’s no better gift to give than one that never stops giving.

This year I challenge you to commit to buying the kids in your life at least one book. If you’re pinching pennies, or just like to save some cash during the holidays, check out the Educents Scholastic deals that will run through the holidays. Be sure to keep scrolling for a sneak peek at some of the awesome deals we’re offering! The gift of literacy is everlasting and who knows, your gift might inspire the next great writer of our time.

Happy Giving!
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Math Madness Wednesday: Project Based Learning

Hi all! I’m April from Performing in Education, and I am so excited to be guest hosting Math Madness Wednesday this week! I’m here to talk about using Project-based Learning to help students practice those tricky Math standards.

Have you tried Project-based Learning (PBL) in your class yet? I was first introduced to PBL a few years ago when we were taking our first look at the new Common Core State Standards. We didn’t really know what to expect except that students would have to use the Math for real-world applications. Project-based learning was our solution to this new way of applying the standards.

What is Project-based Learning?
Project-based learning is a teaching method where students gain and apply skills by working on a long project where they complete an in-depth inquiry into a specific topic or question. Like all teaching methods, it’s not standalone. It can be added to the teaching you are already doing in your classroom. PBL allows for more real world application and in-depth understanding of the concepts your students need to understand.



What are the benefits for students?
Project-based learning is exciting for students. The first time I did PBL in my classroom, students were voluntarily doing extra research and activities for their project at home. I am constantly impressed by the level of interest students take in these projects. Student interest equals engagement, which will raise your test scores without all that boring test prep. In the long run, PBL helps students practice life skills like creating a budget or starting a business.

 

What are the benefits for teachers?
In project-based learning, students work to investigate the concepts by making their own choices. Once you’ve set up the parameters, the students do all the work. You are just there to facilitate. PBL also involves far less paper than worksheets, and far less grading. Students receive a final project grade, and observational grades throughout.

Are you convinced yet?



With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to work on a Thanksgiving-themed Project-based Learning Activity! A few years ago, I began bringing in piles of grocery store ads and having my students plan their own Thanksgiving dinner. Throughout the years I’ve refined the process and created student handouts to focus on specific Math objectives. 

Here’s a peak at a couple of wonderful kiddos working on a Thanksgiving Project-based learning activity:

 

My favorite part of this project is that the numbers for their calculations are coming out of actual grocery store ads that students can flip through, write on, and cut out! The colorful pictures and headlines make it much more interesting than a table of prices from a Math textbook!

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Project-based learning! What projects have you done in your classroom?

 

For a limited time, you can download five of my Project-based Learning activities at Educents for only $9.99, which is 50% off!

 

http://www.educents.com/catalog/product/view/id/9380

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Math Madness Wednesday: Puzzles!

This week’s topic is PUZZLES!  Do you use puzzles in your classroom?  My kids LOVE puzzles (and, honestly, so do I!) so why not make them educational!?

 

There are lots of different ways to make puzzles.  They can all look the same or the pieces can be very different.  They can have only 2 pieces or have lots of pieces.
But, how do you keep them all organized?  I have found that printing them in different colors can help!  You can color code them by skill (telling time, money, synonyms, etc.), by level (separate them into groups so kids know which color puzzles they should always look for), or by number of pieces in the puzzle.
There are a lot of great ideas out there on ways to organize your puzzles so the pieces don’t get lost or mixed up.  You can use envelopes (laminate the first for extra durability!), baggies, various containers from around the house, school supply boxes or pencil bags, or binders.

Check out some of the CREATIVE storage solutions I have compiled on my Pinterest page {HERE}.  Two of my favorite are these.
 
The first is to put the puzzles inside of pencil pouches that fit inside 3 ring binders.  This would be great to use to store puzzles by subject, time of year, or size!  (This picture was found on Pinterest, but did not have a link to the original location).
The second picture is from Counting Coconuts.  These containers were used for large wooden puzzles (like the AWESOME ones below from Melissa and Doug, on sale right now!), but I think they could work with any type of puzzles and even for classroom games!  Since they are easy to stack, they would be easy to store.  Just attach a label with the name of the puzzle or game (or write directly on the container with a Sharpie!).

Educents puzzles

And, how about a way to use the puzzles you already have in an educational way?  Use the back of the puzzles!
For this example, I used a puzzle I found at the Dollar Tree.
 I put the puzzle together on an opened pizza box turned upside down.  After the puzzle was complete, I put the other half of the pizza box on the top of the puzzle and flipped it over so I could write on the back of the puzzle with the pieces in order.  If you have some fast finishers in your class, they could even write on the back for you.  (Suggestion:  If you are going to do this with more than 1 puzzle at a time, use different colored markers so you can easily identify which puzzle they go with!)
For this one, I created a hundreds chart.  This makes differentiation easy!  Students can put the whole puzzle together or you can have part of it already put together and have them fill in the missing pieces.  You could also use the puzzle for matching math facts, words in alphabetical order, or even skip counting.
Students can put the puzzle pieces together upside down (by putting the numbers in order) and when they are finished, they can flip it over to see what they have designed!

 

 

Want some puzzles for your classroom?  I have 2 Puzzle Packs on sale at Educents this week only!  My Math Puzzle Pack includes puzzles for shapes, telling time, coins, and numbers.  There are 2, 3, and 4 piece puzzles and lots of options in this big pack!

For my CVC pack, I have puzzles for each of the short vowel sounds.  Recording sheets are included in all of my puzzle packs!

 

What are YOUR best tips for working with puzzles?  

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Quick Fixes: How Does She Use Toothpaste in 24 Ways?

Educents has added a new item to our weekly shopping list: toothpaste. Katie from How Does She? created a list of 24 amazing ways to use toothpaste for quick fixes and home improvements. Sour smell in your kitchen? Use toothpaste. Foggy headlights? Use toothpaste!

Here are three items from Katie’s list that we were so excited to learn about:

Wow this idea is so simple, yet so brilliant.  I’m doing this from now on.  How to Hang a Photo Collage.

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Piano Keys can get dirty and grimy. Toothpaste is a great way to get them clean again!

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Wipe away Small Scratches off your Smart Shone Screen.

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Want more toothpaste solutions? Read Katie’s post on How Does She?