Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vocabulary Spelling Game

This is a fun way to practice spelling and vocabulary.

What you need for two players:
A set of small double-sided letter cards for each player
(See how to make them below),
10 vocabulary word definition cards
10 skittles or other candies for each player

How to Play
Divide the definition cards face down in two piles of 5 cards each and place them in front of each player. Each player should also have one set of letter cards in a pile or on a plate next to the definition cards. At the word "Go" the players turn over the top card, silently read the definition, and determine which word it is. Then, they find the letters that will spell that word and put them next to the definition card. When they finish spelling that word they turn over the next card. When they have spelled all the words, they should double check their spelling. Then they get a skittle candy for each one they spelled correctly. If they misspell a word, you can give them a second chance to spell it correctly to get the skittle. Players switch cards and do it again.

To make the letter cards, write each vocabulary word on one side of a strip of cardstock with a space between each letter so you can cut the letters apart. Write the same letters on the other side of the strip so when you cut them apart, the same letter is on the front and back. Then put all the letter cards on a paper plate or in a pile. You can also print them on the computer in this way: Make columns (I used 8 columns). Type each word vertically, one letter per line, with a space between. Add extra letters if you have room. To print the same letters on the other side, you will need to copy and paste each column in the opposite order on the second page. Then cut the letters apart.

This is the vocabulary book we have used.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kickball Review

Playing kickball is a fun way to review any subject. You can play it indoors with a foam ball or outdoors with a regular kickball. On the day we took these pictures we were reviewing math. For two children, we set it up so there were review questions at home base and second base. The person kicking picks a card, tells the answer, then the pitcher (mom) rolls the ball. They kick and run to first base. Then the next kicker does the same thing. Then the first player picks a card at 2nd base, answers it, and kicks the ball again. Having review questions at two bases makes it so that there is always someone who gets to kick. For more children, you could probably have the review questions only at home base. We had individual ziplock sandwich bags for each child (with an identifying sticker) with their specific review questions, at home base and 2nd base.
Jessica reads her review question at second base.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zapping Fractions -- Division Math

Dividing Fractions can be fun when you bring in a magician. Although this can be done with a paper and pencil, we found it helpful to use manipulatives and spread it out on the floor. Start with a deck of number cards. Our favorites are the "Number Jugglers" cards, but Uno cards work well too. Create the fraction you want to divide. We were dividing mixed numbers, but simple fractions will work well too. We used math rods to create the line between the numerator and the denominator. Create an operation dice or block with a division sign on one side and a multiplication sign on the other. Find an object that can be the magic wand (We used a canning lid magnet). 
Here's how it works.  
If you are dividing mixed numbers you first need to change them into improper fractions, as my daughter did in the first picture. Then imagine that the first fraction is a magician and is going to zap the other fraction. Then get the magic wand and say the magic word: "Reciprocal!" And point the wand at the 2nd fraction and flip it around so the numerator is on the bottom and the denominator is now on the top. Then zap the operation dice so the multiplication symbol now shows as in this picture.
 Then zap the numbers as you do cross cancelling before you multiply the fractions. Use math rods to "cross out" the numbers and number cards to show the new number. If your product is an improper fraction, then change the answer back into a mixed number.
 Edible Variation:Put a piece of candy over the first fraction to represent the magician's hat. Then after the problem is done correctly then the student can eat the treat. If doing this on paper, a chocolate chip "magician hat" could be put over the first fraction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jigsaw Words (Dividing Words Into Syllables)

Print ten 2-syllable words with the same syllabication rule on a piece of colored cardstock. Cut the words into cards and let the child determine what those words have in common. Then talk about what the rule is for dividing those words into syllables. Then give the child a pair of scissors and let them cut the word into syllables (encourage them to cut them in fun creative ways). Do the same with words with other syllable rules, but print them each on different colors of paper. Store them in a bag and let the child spread them out and find the matching syllables. In the rules below letter V means vowel , letter C means consonant.

Basic Syllables Rules
VC/CV – Separate two consonants!
Trum-pet, sel-dom, plas-tic, sis-ter,
num-ber, pub-lic, con-test,
con-tent, prob-lem, won-der
V/CV – Leave the vowel!—
Divide after a long vowel
Hu-man, pi-lot, fe-male,
de-mand, se-lect, ho-tel,
de-mon, be-cause,
ba-con, pa-per,
VC/V –Close in the vowel!
Divide after the C (consonant)
Sev-en, pan-ic, lem-on, com-ic,
trav-el, drag-on, sal-ad,
plan-et, van-ish, ped-al
C + final y = ee – Never leave Y alone –
Divide before last C
Hap/py, mes/sy, can/dy, cra/zy, mis/ty,
mum/my, mis/ty, bo/ny, jol/ly, tru/ly

4 Square Quadrant Jump (Math)

To help my girls learn the different quadrants on a graph, I used a clear vinyl shower curtain. I drew a vertical and horizontal line from end to end to create four squares, or quadrants. Then I made each line a number line, with Zero being the point where the lines intersected. Then I wrote the numbers (positives and negatives) the way they would be on a graph. I used blue for the numbers on the vertical line and red for the numbers on the horizontal line. Then we learned where each quadrant was. Then I would call out the name of a quadrant and they had to jump in the correct square for that quadrant. Then we tried it with ordered pairs. We learned that the first number in the ordered pair is the number on the horizontal line and the 2nd number is the one on the vertical line. Then, I would give the girls an ordered pair, and they had to jump in the square where that ordered pair would be found.

Jump to the Roof -- Floor Division

What you need:
Black yarn cut in the following lengths: 2 feet, 8 inches, and 2 inches
A deck of number cards 0-9

What you Do
Create a division house on the floor with the longest piece of yarn. In the picture above, my daughter used part of the yarn to create a chimney where she would put the remainder. The 8 inch yarn becomes the floor of the basement. Use number cards to create the division problems. Use a small object (penny size or smaller) to be a treasure hidden on the roof. The numbers inside the house (dividend) are the family that lives inside hiding a treasure. The divisor is the King’s soldier who comes knocking at the door. When the soldier knocks, the treasure must be hidden on the roof in the spot where the first number of the quotient will go. Then the divisor has to decide which soldier will jump to the roof to get the treasure. Each soldier has a number. The only soldier that can get the treasure is the one with the correct quotient number. If it is an edible treasure, the child can eat it after correctly solving the division problem. Use pennies for decimals in decimal and money division. Make two dollar sign cards—one for inside the house and one for the roof for money division.

Here are the words of a song I created to help us remember the steps in long division. To get the sheet music please email me at

The Division Song
By Sherri Boekweg
First you divide, then jump to the roof.
Then you multiply --
Put the product in the basement.
Eat your favorite candy bar
While you subtract,
Then find the next digit and slide-------
Then start all over again.

The candy bar represents the subtraction sign (the 2 inch piece of yarn)
Jump to the Roof  – You could make a giant division house with yarn and use large number cards and let the child do the jumping to the roof with the number to get the treasure. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Floor Multiplication of Big Numbers

Black Yarn
7 pieces cut 12-inches long 
Number digit cards 0-9
(you will need several cards of each number)
Operation symbol cards
for addition and multiplication
(+ and x)

What We Did
First, the girls laid out the yarn as in the picture, so that there were 5 vertical lines and two horizontal. The vertical lines created columns to keep the numbers lined up. Then they laid out the number and multiplication symbol cards above the top horizontal line to create the multiplication problem. Then, as they solved it, they would place the other cards, including the addition symbol card, in the correct spots below the top horizontal line, showing the the steps to finding the product.

Jump the Hoops With Powers of Ten

We laid six hoops on the floor, and in each hoop with put a card with one of the powers of ten, including ten to the zero power. Then the girls would read a number, and translate it into scientific notation while stepping in the correct hoop. For example, if they read the number 3526, this is how they would do it:
They would first determine which hoop to start in--in this case it would be the one with the card that says 10 to the 3rd power. They would jump in that hoop and say "three times 10 to the third power plus", then they would jump into the next hoop and say "five times ten to the 2nd power (then jump to the next hoop) plus two times ten to the 1st power (then jump) plus six times ten to the zero power.

Roman Numerals With Money Manipulatives

Roman Numerals
I (1) V (5) X (10) L (50) C (100) D (500) M (1000)

To help remember the order of the Roman Numeral Symbols, here are two pneumonics. We learned the first one.

In Venice, X-tra Little Children Drink Milkshakes.
In Venice, X-tra Lazy Cows Don't Moo.

To help understand the value of Roman Numerals, we labeled coins and dollars as follows:
I (1) = penny    
V (5) = nickel    
X (10) = dime   
L (50) = 50 cent piece     
C (100) = $1 bill   
D (500) = $5 bill             
M (1000) = $10 bill
Then as we read a roman numeral, we would lay out the coins that represented each numeral. Then the girls did a worksheet where there was a number written, and they had to write the Roman Numeral equivalent, using the money manipulatives to help them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Act It Out-- Four Sentence Types

This was a fun way to learn the four different types of sentences--declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory. First we learned about each kind, using an illustrated poster to help us remember what each kind was. Then we picked a sentence card and determined which kind of sentence it was, and then read it in the dramatic way described below.

A Declarative sentence declares something. It is a statement. To help my girls remember this, they would use a Southern Belle voice and say, “Well, I declare!” before reading the sentence. They would also use appropriate mannerisms, like fluttering eye lashes and walking with a swing.  They could even wear a shawl or carry a parasol as well.

An Interrogative sentence is a question. To help my girls understand what this word means, we talked about how in World War II the Nazis would often interrogate their prisoners.  So for these kinds of sentences, my girls had to read the question in a German accent and use a very stern voice, clicking heels together or pointing fingers, etc., using the “z” sound instead of “th” and “V” instead of “W”. For example, they would say “Zis is an interrogatory sentence. Ven vill ve go?”

An Imperative sentence is a command. To help my girls understand what this word means, we talked about how kings and queens would give commands, so with this kind of sentence, they would pretend to be a king or queen and put on a crown, if they wanted, and say their sentence in a commanding voice, beginning with “It is imperative that you do this.”

An Exclamatory sentence has an exclamation point, so it invites a lot of dramatic gestures and expressions, kind of like in silent movies where they were over dramatic. So for these kinds of sentences, the girls were encouraged to be over dramatic in their gestures and expressions and voice like they are on stage. They could even faint at the end.

Sentence Cards
Print out examples of the four different sentence types on cards. Then, after you have learned about them, pick a card, decide what sentence type it is, then act it out as described above.

Here are some sentences we used.
When can we eat?
Can we have ice cream?
Do you like green eggs and ham?
Oh, where is my hairbrush?
Why is your hair purple?
Can we play now?
Look at this stuff!
Your face is frightening the baby!
My shoe is on fire!
We’re on the wrong planet!
The monster is attacking!
I'm so excited!
I had the strangest dream last night.
I can’t get up. I have to finish my dream.
I like to eat apples and bananas.
I wish it was Saturday.
I left my shoe at the park.
No, I do not like to eat fish.
Stuff it in the closet.
Shut the door.
Get me a drink of water.
Tell Daddy to come here.
Don’t tell Lisa.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hands-On Graphs and Plots

We learned and reviewed different kinds of graphs and plots with this hands-on activity. First, we started with a graphing kit (a bag with the manipulatives and cut outs for the activities). Here is what we did to learn about these graphs and plots:
 Bar Graph
Materials: different colored and lengths of math rods and graph paper.
What we did:The girls created a bar graph by drawing a horizontal line across the bottom portion of their graph paper, and a vertical line along the left side of the graph paper. They had to leave enough room to write the data information. Then they lined up the rods vertically along that line. Then they determined what they wanted their data to be and wrote it on their graph. One daughter taped her  bars on so she could lift the paper.

Broken-Line Graph

Materials: chocolate chips for the points and toothpicks for the lines with large grid graphing paper
What we did: The girls placed their chocolate chips at different points on their graph. Then they connected them with the toothpicks. They could have simply connected them by drawing a line with a pencil. They also chose what their data would be and included it. Then they got to eat the chocolate chips.


Materials: stickers and large-grid graph paper
What we did: The girls were given a sticker sheet with a variety of stickers. They put the same kind of stickers in a row on the graph paper. Because there was a different number of each kind of sticker, the length of each row was different.

Stem and Leaf Plot
Materials: a "stem" and "leaf" cut out of green paper, dice, and markers
What we did: After learning how to make a stem and leaf plot, the girls rolled two dice to get a two-digit number. They wrote the number down, and then did it five more times. Then they wrote all the tens digits on the green stem. Then they glued the leaf to the stem in such a way that they could write the ones on the leaf in the way that you do with a stem and leaf plot on paper.

Box and Whiskers Plot
Materials: rectangle paper, ruler, and markers
What we did: The girls used a ruler to make and label a number line by tens from 0-100. Then we learned where to place dots when making this kind of plot. You are dividing a list of numbers in four parts. You first have to line them up from smallest to largest. Then you make a dot below the number line under the smallest of those numbers and another one below the largest one. Then you have to make another dot exactly under the middle point, which you find by finding the median of the numbers. Then you put a dot below the middle point between the middle dot and the dots on each end. To do that you have to find the median number between the numbers represented by those dots. After the girls did that, then they learned how to make a "whisker" by connecting the two dots on each side, and how to draw a box around the dot in the middle. Then I let them decorate them by adding more whiskers and making a face in the box.
Scatter Plot
Materials: frosting decorator dots and paper
What we did: The girls scattered a few decorator frosting dots on graph paper to represent the scattered dots in a scatter plot. Then we talked about what kind of data might be represented on a scatter plot. Then the girls got to eat the decorator dots.

Circle Graph
Materials: White 4" paper circles, Pie-shaped pieces of different colored paper cut from 4" circles

What we did: The girls chose which colored pieces they wanted to glue onto their white circle so the "pie" was completely covered and showed different colored sections. Then they labeled the sections to represent the kind of data that might be included in a circle graph.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Run, Jump or Dig -- Ordered Pairs On a Graph

To help remember which way ordered pairs go on a graph
We used a race analogy. When you run a race you have to run on the ground -- or the horizontal line. The starting point of the race is the Zero on the horizontal line (X axis). At the beginning of the race they give you a card with two numbers (or ordered pair of numbers). The first number that tells you how far to run from the starting point of zero. If it is a positive number then you run forward that many blocks or steps until you reach that first number. If it is a negative number, you run backward that many blocks or steps. The second number on the cad represents where to claim your prize. If it is a positive number you will jump up to get your prize. Each prize is located at that specific number, so you have to jump up to get the prize at the exact spot or number of the second number on your card. If the second number is negative, the negative symbol is a shovel, and that means you have to dig to get your prize. Again, when you dig you can only have the prize that is at the exact number that is on  your card.  

How to remember which line is the X-axis.
When you find or graph ordered pairs on a graph, you find the first number on the horizontal line (x-axis), just as in the race, you first run to that number on the horizontal line. When you are ready to run the race, they marked the spot you run to with a giant X made of two axes. Those are the X Axes. You will always see them on the ground (horizontal line) when you run a race. Remember that X marks the spot for your prize.

How to remember which line is the Y-axis.
At the beginning of the race, if the first number they give you is Zero (0) then you stay where you are to either jump or dig for your prize. But the prizes on the vertical line are attached to that vertical line (y-axis), and the only prize you get is two axes. Then you ask them, "Why axes?" If you have to dig for your prize on the vertical line they hand you axes to dig with. Again, you ask, "Why axes?" The second number of the ordered pair that you get at the beginning of the race tells you how far away from the Y axis your prize will be, and whether you have to jump or dig to get it. Hopefully that will help you rememer that the vertical line is the Y axis.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Polyhedrons Scramble (Geometry)

For an introduction to polyhedrons I taped one letter of the word to different polyhedrons. Then we dumped them out on the ground and had the girls try to figure out the word. I asked them to tell me what the fancy word for flat shapes was (polygon), so that helped them get the right beginning of the word, since each polyhedron is made up of polygons that are connected.