Tuesday 26 December 2017

How to Start the New Year Like a Boss!

The end of another year is also a time to reflect and to resolve going into a new year. It's good to assess what didn't work and to feel good about the things that worked well. End of year is also a great time to work on the things that didn't go well by making changes and getting inspired about new adventures.
I've found some great advice that I thing can help you to start the new year like a boss!

nicadez, A Teacher's Idea

I have already begun to claim my space in this world. How about you?

Friday 8 December 2017

How to Go Green this Christmas

A Teacher's Idea, www.nicadez.com

I am so excited about a recent project at our school that I just had to blog about it! Our mission was to use foil wrappers to make Christmas decorations. Yes, you heard right! Christmas decorations! At first, I thought that it would not at all be an attractive accomplishment. I thought that it would make the tree look a little too drab or boring but boy, was I wrong! As our school community came together to accomplish this feat, there was an added sense of relief for me and a great sense of pride. The tree turned out pretty FABULOUS! We made angels, 3D balls, 3D stars and lots of fan bows! This made me realize how much money can be saved on decorations if we turn discarded items into a functional item. Take a look at what we did! Wow! Totally, amazing!

A Teacher's Idea, www.nicadez.com

Saturday 18 November 2017

13 Great Read Alouds for Teaching Map Skills to Kindergarten Kids

Teaching map skills to young students may seem daunting especially when you think about the difficult terms and vocabulary. I find it very helpful to use stories which help students to visualize the concepts and bring a fun and interesting spin to the content. In a recent search, I found these titles that can assist both you and your students when teaching map skills to young students.

Map Skills

(This post contains affiliate links)

These are a few of the many titles that are great for teaching young children about maps and globes.

Sunday 5 November 2017

How To Teach Inference Using Picture Prompts

How to teach inference using picture prompts

*This post contains affiliate links.

Making inferences is a higher-order thinking skill that may seem difficult for many students. However, my purpose today is to show you how easy it can be taught and how much fun your students can have by using their power of observation. Essentially, students learn best when they are given "real-world" examples to make inferences.

What is an inference?

An inference is an educated guess or a conclusion about what is happening that is drawn from evidence and reasoning. The viewer or reader uses his knowledge and information come up with one or more possible reasons for a particular event. In many cases, the conclusion may not be accurate, however,  the power of reasoning can be used convincingly. For example, take a look at picture A.

How to teach inference using picture prompts
Picture A

OBSERVATION: The rose is wet. 
                                                 (2) It is morning dew. 
                                                 (3) The sprinkler was on.
All these conclusions are based on both reasoning and background knowledge. The true answer may not be know as to why the rose is really wet, however, the list of possible inferences are good answers. 

Let's take a look at another picture. 

How to teach inference using picture prompts
Picture B

OBSERVATION: The girl is getting her face painted.
POSSIBLE INFERENCES: (1) She's at a birthday party.
                                                 (2) She's an actress.
Any of these inferences can be true but it is the viewer's responsibility to give a good reason for his answer. Without the reasoning many readers can be lost or may challenge the inferences.

Resources for Teaching Inference to Young Viewers

I created a set of printables for students who need some extra practice with this skill. They are asked to look at a picture and use their experience along with details from the pictures to make an 'educated guess'. This is a great set for budding readers for building reading comprehension skills.

How to teach inference using picture prompts

Also here's a list of suggested titles that can be used to teach inference.

Friday 20 October 2017

Creating Constructive Responses using the RACE and RACES Strategies

RACE Writing Strategy

Some students either fail to answer written questions or give shallow responses that lack details. Many even go off topic which is a clear indication that they did not understand what the question was asking. To help alleviate this problem experts suggest using a targeted strategy such as RACE and RACES. These simple mnemonic devices can help students to remember the essential parts of a strong answer.

Each resource set contains the following:

1 full colored general RACE/S poster (with border)
1 full colored general RACE/S poster (without border)
1 black and white version
1 full colored RACE/S poster with detailed outline (with border)
1 full colored RACE/S poster with detailed outline (without border)
1 black and white version
1 set of 3 colored bookmarks with detailed outline 

I created these for students who need visual references when writing. These posters and bookmarks are recommended for older students but can be used with the lower classes with teacher support.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the resource.

RACE writing strategy

RACES writing strategy

Sunday 13 August 2017

How to Teach Mental Mathematics Using the Front-end Addition Strategy

I came across this easy way to teach mental addition that I just had to blog about it! It is super easy to follow simply because it makes you start with the larger place value and flows from left to right (coincidentally it's also called the left to right addition).  Here's how we do this with three digit numbers:

First, add the hundreds, then add the tens and last the ones.
Next add these sums together.

Here's a link to some fascinating videos that explain this mental strategy:

Monday 31 July 2017

How to Get Organized for Back to School

last minute, savings, Teachers Pay Teachers, TpT

Wow! It's back to school again and it helps to get organized properly for the new school year. Did you take advantage of those great sales and stock up on those much-needed supplies? Are you done yet? Well, I've got one more for you! You can get the most bang for your buck with this fabulous sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. TpT has yet another sale going on just for teachers like you who might be in need of a few more resources at a great discount, of course! Their sitewide sale has many stores discounting their resources as much as 20%. The great news is that TpT is giving an additional 5% off as well. The sale starts on August 1st and ends on the 2nd. All you do is add your items to the cart and type in the promo code BTS2017 before check out. Isn't that an amazing opportunity?

I am joining the bandwagon of savings too! All of my resources are on sale at 20% and you get the additional savings with the promo code.

Take a look at some of the items on sale at A Teacher's Idea!

Tuesday 18 July 2017

9 Marks of Writing Readiness

pre-Writing skills

Children at the age of five are not all expected to be great writers from the start of school. Over the years I have found that many students enter first year (kindergarten) not knowing what letters are far less to even make a significant mark or representation on a page. Many others write marks that look like the target letters but a closer look reveals either incorrect formation, poor pencil grip or an incorrect writing posture.

What Does A "Good" Pencil Grip Look  Like?

These are the four (4) pencil grasps that are ideal for functional writing. Note the relative positions of the index (1), middle finger (2), thumb (3) and the ring finger (4).

handwriting finger position, nicadez

Position of Paper For Lefties

Left-handed learners should be taught to tilt their paper in a clockwise direction so that the bottom corner is a little to the left of the learner's midline up to 35 degrees. The greater the angle the less efficient the writing. The right hand should be used to steady the paper on the right above the writing.

Position of Paper For Righties

For the right-handed learner, the paper should be placed either level with the edge of the table or slanting slightly upwards at an angle of about 15 degrees. The upper left-hand corner of the paper should be to the left of the learner’s midline.

 There are nine (9) marks that students should master before they are developmentally ready to begin handwriting instruction. They must be able to independently copy these lines which are pre-requisite strokes for alphabet writing.

1. The Vertical Line

2. The Horizontal Line

This includes different types of lines: zig zag, curves, waves, etc.

3. The Circle

4. The Cross

5. Down Left Diagonal

6. The Square

7. Down Right Diagonal

8. Oblique Cross

9. The Triangle

It is the belief of experts that if formal writing instruction is attempted before a learner is developmentally ready, frustration and the development of bad habits sets in. Ultimately, the whole idea of writing readiness is much more important for a child's self-esteem and academic performance.

Monday 26 June 2017

How to Print Poster Size

Printing posters, nicadez
I must say that I took it for granted that everyone knows how to print a pdf document file poster size. It recently dawned on me that it would be a great idea to do a little tutorial for the benefit of people who don't really know how it is done. Now, I am more familiar with adobe reader so naturally that is what I am using today for the tutorial. Here goes...!

First, be sure to open your file using adobe reader then select the page you wish to print poster-size. I selected a page from my Good Writing Matters - 23 Colored Posters for Writing Centers for this tutorial.

Then you will need to change the page size to Poster (See illustration below).

How to print poster size in Adobe Reader

The dotted lines in the preview pane show you the points at which the pages will connect when assembling. The grid formed also shows you the number of pages that would be required to make up that poster. In this case, I would be printing 6 pages to make this poster.

Next you will need to change the Tile Scale to 200%This will give you a much larger poster (25.5 x 22 inches) (See illustration below). You can also toggle with the overlap option (default .005) which controls the size of the overlap which is actually where you would be sticking.

How to print poster size in Adobe Reader

There! That's how I print my resources poster size from my Adobe Reader software. Hope this was very helpful for you!

Monday 22 May 2017

Picture Writing Prompts with Sequencing Cards for Daily Writing

These picture writing prompts with sequencing cards are great for young writers who need more support in early writing. Your students get an opportunity to use their visual discrimination skills to help them pay attention to details in pictures. They may choose to order the cards first (ORDER TO WRITE) or another option is to complete the writing sheets then order the cards (WRITE TO ORDER). Ultimately they will be writing sentences about the pictures given. They also get to color their pictures and sequence the sheets to create their own little book as a keepsake. Simply print the page/s and review the directions with them. Encourage them to write one or two sentences that describe the picture on any given sheet. I also included a blank writing sheet for extended writing should it be necessary. The sheets are great for homework or small group work in which case they can each be given a different page to prepare a group book instead.The picture cards can be laminated and sequenced first and the sheets can be ordered accordingly to match them. I included little circles on the cards where students can write the number in the sequence with dry erase markers. Individually, your students can work on one writing scenario at a time.

The writing scenarios are:-

Getting ready for school
Getting ready for bed
Washing my hands
Packing a lunch
Making Jelly Toast
Crossing the street
At Lunchtime
Setting the table
Washing the dishes
Starting the School Day
Making my Breakfast
Cleaning my bedroom

If you are interested in this resource you can find at the following links:

Teachers Pay Teachers Store
Tes Resources
Teachers Notebook

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Rights and Responsibilities of a Child Posters and Notebook Sheets

Just like adults, children also have rights and responsibilities that come with them. These printables highlight 12 of the rights and responsibilities explained in the UN Charter. I created these posters with kid-friendly graphics and simple sentences to make a clear distinction between both terms. There are 12 Rights and Responsibilities that come in black and white and color. These posters work well as notebook pages or anchor charts for social studies or character education lessons. I included mini version for you to use as reading cards also. This set works well with Children’s Day which is recognised on various days in many places around the world, with Universal Children’s day celebrations or it can be used all year round to enhance social skills. If you might be interested in these beautiful posters and more then check out any of my stores at the links below:

TES Resources

Teachers Pay Teachers

Sunday 7 May 2017

Procedural Writing Prompts and a Freebie

(This post contains affiliate links)

This extensive set of procedural 'How To' writing prompts will give your students many opportunities to write to explain different procedures for others to follow. The goal is for them to write clearly and accurately by using specific instruction to teach others how to perform given tasks. Responses to these prompts can be written in four clear steps (First-Next-Then-Last) or the steps can be written as 1,2,3 and so on.

Included in this resource are 120 colorful writing prompts
5 writing templates from which to choose

Simply print, laminate then cut out the cards. You may choose to group them by color into six sets and have your students try to complete all of that particular color. Store them in ziplock bags or small containers that are easily accessible for your students. Alternatively you can have them choose any color that they fancy. The key skill targeted is their ability to write the procedure in sequential steps. At the end they can staple all the sheets together and produce their own 'How To Book'.

And now, here's a free set of cards from this set for you to check out.

Hurry and purchase now for 50% savings for the First 48 hours!

Sunday 30 April 2017

Syllable Rules Posters and a Freebie

Syllable Resources are here! Yes! These are a set of printables which will help your students to visualise the syllable types by using key animals whose names are perfect examples. I used high-quality graphics along with a colorful safari paper theme to set your students along the road of long-term memorization of the division rules.

Syllable awareness is an important component of phonological awareness that must be taught to students. They need lots of opportunities to explore sounds in words to build their store of vocabulary. Learning the syllabic structure of words will help them to decode unfamiliar words, especially multisyllabic words in reading. This pack uses a familiar theme of animals to spark their interest and to cement the long-term learning of syllable rules.

This huge packet has 120+ pages of animal themed syllable posters, puzzles and more. Your students will absolutely love practising division rules with this set.

The following skills are covered in this set:

~ Division of two-, three- and multisyllabic words
~ Application of phonic analysis skills
~ Manipulation of multisyllabic words
~ Sorting/categorising of open/closed syllables

The set contains the following:

* open/closed syllable sort
* Syllable Division Rules Posters (using animals)
* Student Cards (smaller size)
* Animal Puzzles (two and three syllabic animal names)
* Word Cards (two and three syllabic animal names)
* Fillable Syllable activity (four syllable animal names)
* General Syllable Posters (using animals)
* Syllable Division Bookmarks

Here's a set of free bookmarks that is also included in this set.

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Children's Books About Growth Mindset

Here are some great books to use when focusing on growth mindset from kindergarten to grade one.

Click on the link below to be taken directly to the list.


Saturday 15 April 2017

Rabbits Do Not Eat Only Carrots

Rabbits do not eat only carrots

I had the opportunity of listening in on a lesson in a pre-school recently. It was a fantastic lesson! The teacher had worked along the Easter theme and planned a craft activity for her students. She had everything organized and mapped out properly. She showed them a rabbit made out of Styrofoam plates and cotton balls and then began to teach her lesson. She asked a few questions to get the eager four year olds thinking and ready for work. Then she asked one question that none of the students were able to answer. I looked on with amazement! The question was,

"What do rabbits eat?"

They all answered in unison, "Carrots!" 

"Carrots?" I thought. The teacher tried and tried very hard to get more ideas about what they know about rabbits yet no one offered any other food. Then it dawned on me, these children can only say what they have been shown. They don't know about rabbits eating anything else. They look at Bugs Bunny, Wabbit, Marsha and the Bear and many other cartoon series eating carrots. Wow! That was an eye-opener for me!

So What Do Rabbits Really Eat?

On my side of the globe rabbits eat grass and vegetables and pellets.  Rabbits do not only eat carrots like those cartoons taught us. This is a common misconception that many children are now being led to believe. I never thought about it before until that day.

Rabbits Eat Grass!

As someone who has always enjoyed creating things, I had a grand opportunity to drive the message across that rabbits eat grass. I was asked to create an Easter bonnet hat for a 3 year old boy to wear for his Easter bonnet parade. I toyed with an idea and later, through the visual help of Pinterest I got an inspired thought. This is what I came up with.

Easter bonnet hat for boys

See the grass? (Don't worry about the eggs too much. This rabbit just happened to see some while eating his grass, lol). There are no carrots anywhere! So now I want you teachers and parents out there to let the little ones know that rabbits do not only eat carrots. Stop the misinformation.

 Articles by Experts

Here are a few helpful articles that will shed light on my musing:

The Myth of the Carrot-Chomping Rabbit 

Rabbit diet myths 

What Foods Do Rabbits Eat?

Can Rabbits Eat Carrots? 

Can I Give My Rabbit Carrots?

Here's the portrayal for the Easter Bonnet Parade.

easter bonnet parade for boys, nicadez

Thanks for reading!

30 Fun Would You Rather Opinion Writing Prompts

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