Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Adding Decimals with a Visual Model


My 9-year-old son is a whiz at math. I wasn't sure though, how he'd do adding decimals. I thought I'd make it a little bit easier. Sometimes seeing and doing is understanding.


A simple 10x10 grid makes a wonderful visual model.

I made 10 grids with some of the squares filled in, and two grids without. Download them free from Google Drive here.


I printed the eight with colored blocks on heavyweight cardstock and cut them apart. Next, I laid a piece of acetate (an overhead projection transparent plastic sheet) over the top and with a ruler and fine-tip Sharpie marker, drew the grid.

Then I turned the paper over and laid it on top of one of the colored grids. I put the other colored grids underneath the first and tucked them all under the clip on a small clipboard.


With the addition of some fine-tip dry-erase markers, I was ready to teach my son to add decimals.

When my son came home from school, I added a second number with dry-erase ink to the acetate page to complete the math problem. My son then colored the white squares to represent the second decimal number and looked at the total number of colored squares, writing the answer in the blank rectangle to finish the equation.

This really clicked with my son and after four problems, he didn't need the visual model.


Don't have an acetate sheet? No sweat! Either laminate the cards (blank or colored) or place them inside a clear glossy plastic sheet protector. Both work with dry-erase markers.

This great idea was inspired by the visual models in the book Dazzling Decimals. Check it out!

Monday, December 15, 2014

After School Linky 12-15

Welcome to the party!


If you're like me, as the holidays draw near, days are super hectic. That is when this linky of ours REALLY comes in handy. After all, the kids will be home for winter break soon, and what are they going to do? 

Here are just some of the amazing ideas shared last week.





 Christmas Muffin Tin Reading Games at Growing Book by Book




Flip Your Lid Upcycle Lockets at Doodles and Jots

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Follow the Phonics Footprints (a Treasure Hunt)


My five year old son's alternative kindergarten program has begun introducing the school district's phonics program. The kids (my son included) are picking up on it super quick, too. 



To reinforce the letter sounds my son has already learned in school, I devised a fun treasure hunt for him.

If you're interested in doing this activity at your house, here's what you need.
A-Z footprints PDF
Paper 
Scissors
A small prize (I used a pack of Pokemon cards)



You can download the A-Z footprints I used here; they're free on Google Drive. Depending on the distance of your treasure hunt from start to finish, you may want to print more than one set of pages; I used two.

For added durability, print onto heavyweight cardstock. Cut out. Yes, it's a lot of cutting, but there's no need to be tidy and particular; just get the job done. Your kid will be so focused on getting to the prize, they won't knit-pick your cutting skills.

Shuffle the footprints and begin placing them on the floor in a path. Make sure that you add extra footprints that form new paths to throw off your little girl/guy. 

When you've placed the last footprint, add a prize nearby. Now carefully retrace your steps and with a notepad write down all the letters that will get your son/daughter from the starting point to the prize. 


Once your child is ready, ask that they stand before the first footprint and say the sound that the letter on it makes. You child will look at the footprints before them and move to the letter. Continue making the phonics sounds until your child has moved from one footprint to another all the way to the end and retrieved the treasure.

My son got stuck a few times, but I was able to sing the Jolly Phonics songs he's learned to trigger his memory. He was so proud of himself for finishing the hunt and VERY excited to get his prize!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homemade Scratch Art Ornaments


I've wanted to try scratch art with my boys for eons. Since we make homemade ornaments every year, the timing seemed right.


Here's how we did it and what you'll need for the project.

Cardstock or posterboard
Crayons
Black tempura paint
Liquid dish soap
Paint brush or sponge brush
Scissors
Paper punch
yarn/string
lamination (optional)
toothpicks
Ornament shapes (download mine free here)


Before my boys got home from school, I printed the ornament shapes onto heavyweight cardstock and cut them apart. I didn't cut the shapes out since they'd be easier to color that way.

When the boys arrived, they each picked a shape and began covering it using crayons. TIP: You must color the entire ornament so that there is no white from the paper peaking through. When in doubt, go over it again. Don't worry if you don't stay inside the lines; it's easier not to. When finished, your ornaments should feel waxy and have a sheen to them from the heavily applied crayon.


Now cut the shapes out.


Get your paint ready. You'll want to combine 1-2 drops of dish soap with every 1 tbsp. of the tempura paint. Mix and then sponge or brush over your cut-out ornaments. Try to apply the paint as evenly as possible. If it looks streaky, let dry and apply a thin second coat.


When the paint has dried (it will have a dull finish and be dry to the touch), you're ready for the real magic.

With a toothpick, begin scratching away the black layer of paint to reveal the crayon colors underneath. Use any shapes and patterns that you fancy. Bolder lines and shapes look best.


When finished, laminate for long-term durability if you want. Then simply use a paper punch to make a hole in the top and thread the yarn through.

Lastly, hang on the tree to admire!


Monday, December 8, 2014

7 DIY Music Instruments {Make Your Own Band} + Linky!


My boys LOVE music so making instruments is always a favorite activity. Here are seven DIY instruments we've made (and loved).










What have you been doing with your kids? We'd love to know!


The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!


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