Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making Math Fun!

In my junior high school days a guidance counselor had to listen to this confident declaration: "I'll never pursue any career that has to do with math!" Naturally I ended up being a bookkeeper for my freelance business, measuring pages, illustrations, and/or type on a daily basis, and have created over a dozen math picture books so far. It wasn't a very good estimate of my future activities, was it?

One of my primary goals has been to present the side of math to kids that is intriguing, entertaining, light-hearted...in other words, fun! In that spirit, here is a screenshot of my Making Math Fun! board on Pinterest:
This board has over 300 pins with all sorts of ideas for teaching elementary level math from place value to money to basic facts to graphing. I follow over 5,000 people/boards on Pinterest, so great ideas are added on a regular basis. 

If you'll be implementing Common Core this year, over fifty pages of teaching tips and links to freebies can be found in this FREE Common Core Math Back-to-School eBook for Grades 3-5, from a group of teacher-authors on TeachersPayTeachers. (There are similar ebooks for other grade levels and ELA topics.) Here are some pages, just to give you an idea:
The Math Content standards are cited to make it easier for teachers to find what they need. Here is a close up of my page (22), which focuses on line symmetry in Grade 4 Geometry, CCSS.Math.Content.4.G.A.3:
One of my Pinterest boards is devoted to symmetry and has hundreds of pins, if you need any more inspiration on that subject. Collecting ideas and images on a topic is a little obsession of mine which makes Pinterest my favorite place to do research on almost anything.

I hope you have plenty of fun with math in your future!

My web site

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bloglovin' + How to Crop iPad Screenshots

Follow my blog with Bloglovin The reason the follow link is at the top of this post is it appears that is how you "claim" your own blog for bloglovin'. (I could be mistaken but I'm trying to follow the directions! Update: it seems to have worked!) By the way, if you are new to bloglovin' and want to make a custom follow button for your blog, here is a post on Raspberry Sunshine that explains how. I haven't made one yet because things have suddenly become "hectic" around here, but hopefully will get around to it soon. For now my blog just has a generic follow button. The bloglovin' reader has a nice layout so that should help me keep up with the blogs I'm following more easily.

Incidentally, this is the first post I've (mostly) written on my iPad, so yay! Here is a way to crop screenshots on your iPad using the free PS Express app:

1. Most people already know this but just in case: to take an iPad screenshot, press the Lock and round Home button at the same time. Here is a screen shot of my Pinterest boards:
As you can see, it shows the entire screen with the timestamp and extra "stuff" as well as the cut off boards at the bottom. To crop it, you'll need to download the free version of the  PS Express app from the iTunes App store. When you launch the app, you get this screen:
Click on the Select Photo grid in the middle and find the screenshot you just took, which should be the last image on your Camera Roll. Now tap the icon in the lower left corner (see below) then tap Crop in the pop-up menu.
Adjust the "handles" to crop the image however you like, then tap Save. It will save a new copy and not alter the original screenshot. Here is the cropped image of 8 of my boards.
I use this technique to get images from my iPad to upload to my blog, my Google+ profile, and so on. Have fun with this #edtech tip!

My web site
To check out my new picture book on Amazon, click here: Jack and the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate

Monday, July 15, 2013

Falling for Symmetry...Autumn Pictures to Draw and Color!

Ever since working on my picture book Seeing Symmetry, I've had an ongoing obsession with symmetry. My Pinterest board with teaching ideas on the subject has over 1,500 followers, so at least I'm not the only one! Because my Spring/Easter egg activity has been so popular, it seemed like a good idea to make a similar one for fall. It's called Falling for Symmetry: Math + Art for Autumn, Halloween, & Thanksgiving. The feedback has indicated that teachers and students LOVE to be able to combine a math lesson with an art activity.

As the image below shows, there are 3 levels included: Color only; Trace dashed lines; Draw the missing half. It's easy to choose the right one for students with different abilities.
Two of my lovely nieces were able to help "demo" Falling for Symmetry, using the most advanced version. Kids can draw the missing half by eye (scarecrow) or can use a ruler to measure and mark key points first (owl.) One of the girls measured the width of the owl's head, chest, leg, and so on.
Using the ruler definitely made it easier for her to draw the 2 halves as matching mirror images.
After the lines were drawn, she went over the lines with a black marker. Next the owl was partly colored in ...symmetrically, of course.
And here is the scarecrow in progress. I asked the girls what their favorite coloring tool is...markers, colored pencils, crayons? They like using crayons the best because they don't bleed like markers and give a more vibrant result than colored pencils.
Here are all of the pictures the girls completed. One of the fun aspects about these symmetry pictures is that each student chooses their own colors so they all turn out differently.
The packet has 20 images in all: 10 general autumn, 6 Halloween, and 4 for Thanksgiving. To download the Preview with more info and a free sample page to try from my TPT shop, click here or on the cover image below.
Click to visit my TPT shop
The Common Core State Standards include line symmetry in 4th Grade geometry (4.G.3) but the underlying concepts of equality (matching), halves versus wholes, unit fractions, and so on appear in earlier grades. Thanks for reading!

My web site
Click link below to check out my newest picture book on Amazon:
Jack and the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate

Saturday, July 13, 2013

New Place Value Activities for Fall

For some reason I've had place value on the brain...is that a bad sign? The various color-by-code pictures have always appealed to me and an idea for making puzzles with a place value angle popped into my head a couple of days ago. Here's a close-up that shows how they work:
These puzzles review place value up to Thousands so students will find the underlined number and determine if it is in the Ones, Tens, Hundreds, or Thousands place. They will use the key on the bottom of the picture to choose the correct color for each space.
Here are all three of the images...an owl flying by the harvest moon, a squirrel searching through the autumn leaves for acorns, and a raccoon enjoying a snack of apples:
This packet will be discounted for a few days...right now it's $1.25. Click here to see it in my TeachersPayTeachers shop.

In case you missed it I posted this freebie place value puzzle, It's a Fluke!, a few weeks ago:
Click cover image to visit my TPT shop.
When all the clues are solved, a picture of sun, waves, and a whale tale emerges. It can be downloaded from this page in my TPT shop. Over 200 people have downloaded it so far, so maybe it's not a fluke!

The Common Core State Standards for Math Content start to require "Understanding Place Value" in 2nd Grade.

Hope you're having a great summer!

My web site

Monday, July 8, 2013

Apples and Acorns and Leaves, Oh My! {New Clip Art Sets for Autumn}

I've been having fun lately designing clip art sets for teachers to use in classroom materials such as worksheets, journal covers, posters, and so on. You can also use them for educational products for sale with no additional license. Since fall and back to school isn't that far away, how about some apples?
Apple Borders, Papers, & More! (clip art)
This set has an apple tree with and without apples, various sizes of apples, bitten apples, apple cores, and seeds, 13 border options and 9 page elements, plus 7 coordinating digital papers (59 files in all). All black line art is included, so you can save on printer ink as needed. There is a FREE sample in the Preview, which can be downloaded from this page in my TeachersPayTeachers shop. Here is a sample book or journal cover that's easy to make with this set:
Another autumn option is my Acorns and Oak Leaves set:
Acorns & Oak Leaves Borders, Papers, & More!
It has 6 digital papers, 8 borders, 16 Frames, 11 Headers, 25 Large Leaves and Acorns, and 14 Circles and Rectangles to mix and match. Here is the link to the Preview, which contains a sample to try. Here are three of the included files, a page topper, a medium frame, and a circular frame:
Acorns & Oak Leaves
There are several other sets, including Happy Face Kids and Radiant Rainbow Frames, so to check out all my clip art sets, click on this link.

Thanks for reading...hope your summer is going well!

My web site

Friday, July 5, 2013

They're here...Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with MyPlate!

I was rummaging around on Amazon today, and noticed that my new picture book is shipping as of July 1st, so woo hoo! I've only gotten one advance copy thus far, guess the rest of my copies must be on the way. Jack & the Hungry Giant starts out like the traditional fairy tale...Jack gets the beans, they're tossed in the garden, he climbs up the resulting beanstalk and enters the giant's castle. Right away, he runs into a little glitch, or rather, a big furry one!
There may not be a kitty in the original tale, but this orange one demanded to be put into the story. Jack is chased inside a smelly boot, then discovered when the giant arrives home. The giant declares, "I'm hungry!" so the terrified boy makes a dive for it. The giant grabs him by a shoelace, tells him to be careful, and offers to cook him a healthy meal. Waldorf, as it turns out, is a friendly giant and also a wonderful chef.
As they prepare the meal, each spread shows colorful illustrations of the wide variety of foods in the Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy groups. They dish up their plates and enjoy a delicious meal together, along with Waldorf's wife, Zofia. At the end of the book, Waldorf's Tips for Healthy Eating summarizes the MyPlate program and shows many of the foods with empty calories. The last page includes the exercise activities they enjoy in addition to climbing up and down beanstalks.
To look at the book on Amazon, click on this link: Jack and the Hungry Giant Eat Right With MyPlate

Update: During the month of October, the publisher is sponsoring a #giveaway of several copies on Goodreads.

I've posted a FREE activity to go with the book in my TeachersPayTeachers shop. To complete I Can Fill Up My Plate! students will finish writing prompts, make a list of foods in the various groups, then fill up their plate with drawings or cut out photos. Click here to go to my TPT shop and download this resource.
Click cover image to visit my TPT shop
There aren't very many kid-friendly resources to introduce the MyPlate nutrition program, so I hope these will be useful.

Click to visit the Kit Lit blog hop, which has links to over 50 posts about children's books!

My web site

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Making Rainbows

I've spent several days immersed in all the colors of the rainbow...how great is that? Two of my nieces were over here a few days ago and I mentioned that one of my motivations for becoming an artist was to be able to play with color all day long! The reason for the rainbow colors was to make digital frames in variety of shapes and sizes. But why use words when a picture can show so much? Presenting my Radiant Rainbow Frames:
Here's a close-up:
As always, making something new is a learning experience, and some of these had to be redone several times. Anyway, there are 36 Rectangle, Circle, Oval, Curvy, and Star frames in 2 styles (transparent or filled with white) for 72 total. They are for personal or commercial educational use. If you need some eye-catching clip art to make posters, book covers, signs, scrapbook pages, or whatever else, this packet might be perfect! There's a free sample in the Preview in my TPT shop.

Thanks for looking!
My web site
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