Thursday, July 21, 2011

Slide into Summer Fun & Learning (Part 3 Math Games)

It hasn't happened in so long that we were all caught off guard.  It must have happened because of the extreme heat we have been having.  Just when we were getting ready to sit down and watch our favorite shows - the lights went out!  No television or internet! What's a child to do? 

What's a child to do?  Why, hone up on their math skills with some fun and easy games of course! Just like we did!  Playing board games or games on the computer will help keep math skills from sliding during the summer.  Here are some family favorites!

Yahtzee.  My daughter, her girlfriend and I played this game of strategy and probability that involves addition.  It was especially fun as we played by candlelight with lots of chatting and laughter.  Meanwhile, the girls, who are teenagers were practicing their basic math operations.  (For those who like playing games online there is a Yahtzee Online Version. Just make sure to turn off chat feature.)

Monopoly:  This classic board game is a sure hit with the family as they wait to see who has the most money at the end.  For older children it is a great review of counting money and you can even work on the skill of counting back change!  There is an online version by Hasbro for younger kids with a 'Lightning McQeen, Cars' theme and smaller values.  

Tower Blaster Online Game
Mancala, the ancient game with stones is a great way to practice counting and strategy.  For those who love online games try this online Mancala version or these other Math & Logic Games .   

Racko: I LOVE this game as it reminds me of my childhood. However, I use it in my classroom during math centers.  The player to put their cards in order first, wins. Click on the Racko link above to learn the rules.  An online version of this game is called "Tower Blaster".

For those computer lovers, here's a page full of fun math games is Johnnie's Math Fun.  There are all kinds of logic, puzzle and other type number games.  The logic games are even good for adults.

Revisit the games of your own childhood and you will likely find many connections to mathematics. Playing them with your child will surely bring about fond memories for all of you! 

Enjoy these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer while they last (and have some fun connecting with your kids while practicing math!).  Let me know what games you'll be playing in the comment section!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Slide Into Summer Fun & Learning (Part 2)

My neighbor is always teasing me this time of year.  "So, you're finally off for the summer! Rough job you have!"  We'll, summer has arrived, and while it's true that I am not going into my classroom everyday it doesn't mean I'm not working. To avoid the "summer slide," I look to keep my teaching skills current by working 'away' from the classroom.  

For the past two summers, I was completing my Master's program through Simmons College. As I consider myself a lifelong learner,  I have decided this year to find other methods to help me become a better teacher.

Here are some of the ways that I am working this summer:

*Tweeting through Twitter:  I am continuing my professional development by participating in Twitter Chats.  A Twitter Chat is a group of people meeting at a specific time on Twitter for a specific purpose.  On Mondays, I am involved with a group of (mostly) 4th grade teachers for #4thchat. We have discussed such topics as: Writing Conferencing, Editing, Homework and much more.  On Tuesdays I participate in #5thchat and on Thursdays #6thchat.  By participating with these groups I have extended my professional development.
My Tweetdeck showing #4thchat & #elemchat conversations.

*Blogging: I continue to keep this blog updated.  I am currently working on a "Slide into Summer Series" as a guide for parents to help their child keep up their skills.  Writing a blog often involves some type of research which also allows me to keep up my skills as well.  Not only will I continue to write my blogs, but I will continue to read the many educational blogs to which I subscribe.  In this way I will learn from my peers.

*Attending Conferences or "Unconferences": This year I have decided to be involved in some Unconferences. Read here to learn about such events and How to Prepare for it.  At the end of July I plan on attending an online Conference called: RSCON11.  Educators from all over the globe will be presenting to educators from all over the globe for free thereby, sharing their expertise with those trying to learn new skills.

In August I plan on attending EdcampCT.  This unconference will take place in Connecticut in the United States.  Again, it is free, presented by educators for educators.  Anticipating that I will be learning a great deal over the next two months.

*Reading Books for Professional Development: After listening to some great educators on Twitter (especially @mrsd5107) speak about the Daily5 and Daily CAFE, I decided I would acquire the book to learn more.  The Daily CAFE, which was designed by Gail Boushey & Joan Mosher, is a way of "helping students understand and master strategies used by successful readers."

Another book I have just recently purchased is "The Book Whisperer", by 6th grade teacher, Donalyn Miller.  It came highly recommended by many of my Twitter friends.  I am hoping that it will provide more strategies that will help "awaken the inner reader in every child" in my classroom!

It is important for students and teachers, to continue their learning during the summer hiatus to avoid the 'summer slide'.  Of course, having fun and coffee is also allowed!