4th Grade Frenzy: September 2019
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September 30, 2019

4 More Fun And Easy Ways To Practice Multiplication Facts

When it comes to math facts, drill and repetition are necessary, but the challenge is making the task interesting and fun for students. The key is to mix up the practice and try some new activities. You'll know which ones the kids like best because they will ask to play them over and over again!


Before The Activity

Ask students to focus on remembering one fact at the conclusion of the activity that previously has been difficult to memorize.

1. Play Rock Paper Scissors Math

I can't take credit for this game! I've seen it in a few places online, but I will explain how I adapted the game for my classroom.

Students walk around the room with hand raised until they find a partner. Each student high fives another student with hand raised and the pair begins to play. Together they say "Rock, paper, scissors, math!" On "math" each student puts out any number of fingers two through nine. No ones or zeros allowed because there's always that one kid! Students then multiply the two numbers of fingers that they each put out. The first student to say the answer correctly gets "wins."

The teacher rings a bell to signal the end of each round. Students again raise hands, find a different partner, and repeat the process.

This activity is great when you have limited time for practice and/or the kids are antsy and need to move about!

2. Use Write and Pass Notebooks

Using cheap notebooks, write the facts to be practiced on the cover of each notebook such as x7. Attach a multiplication chart to the back of the notebook. Some school notebooks already have one of these printed in the back! You will need as many notebooks as students.

Decide on and explain the direction that the notebooks will be passed around the class. Students should be able to reach the student who they will pass to without getting up with the exception of the one student at the end who will need to get up to give a notebook to the student at the beginning.

Give each student a random notebook and have them turn to the first blank page. He/she will write out the facts indicated in that notebook until the teacher indicates to stop.

7 x 1 = 7
7 x 2 = 14
7 x 3 = 21
and so on

You can ring a bell when it looks like most students are finishing up to signal that it is time to check answers and pass the notebooks.

Allow students a minute to check their answers with the key in the back of the notebook.

Notebooks get passed to the next student as explained and students start on the next set of facts. Continue as time permits. Collect the notebooks and store to use again for a quick review.

3. Grab the Sidewalk Chalk

Nice enough to go outside? Break out the sidewalk chalk and bring the flashcards and learning outside!

Separate into small groups of about 5 or 6 with a teacher, aide, or student leader for each group. The teacher, aide or student leader holds up flashcards and the students answer on the sidewalk or blacktop with sidewalk chalk.

If using student leaders, switch up the student leaders after a bit so everyone has the opportunity to practice with the sidewalk chalk.

Multiplication Facts Wheels

Multiplication Facts Wheels

4. Print and Go Math Wheels

Ready for some calmer practice? Try these printable math wheels. Use as morning work, daily practice, or small groups.

Follow Up

After the activity, students share which fact stuck by writing it on a sticky note and sticking it up on the board or in a place designated by the teacher.

Click here for 3 Additional Ways to Practice Math Facts

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September 22, 2019

A Plan For Successful Tutoring

After-school tutoring can be a great way to use your teaching skills and strategies to reach students on a different level while earning a little extra income along the way.


Legal Stuff

1. See Your Accountant

We do not offer tax or legal advice so be sure to consult your accountant and/or attorney to make sure that your tutoring business is set up correctly in your state or region before starting out.

Getting Ready

1. Securing a Place

Secure a place where you will conduct your tutoring. I have found the public libraries in my area to be good places to meet with students for tutoring because they offer a quiet area away from major distractions. As a bonus, being at the public library can open up possibilities to you and your student that you may not have known about! 

If tutoring at your school, make sure that you get permission from the administration or board. 

2. Getting the Word Out

Does your school secretary or guidance office keep a list of tutors? Will you leave business cards in prominent places? Will you use social media posts? 

Many clients seem to come by word of mouth and social media recommendations once you get established. 

3. Your First Student

As soon as you have your first student lined up, it's time to prepare. Preparation is the key to a successful tutoring session!

Talk with the student's parent or guardian to set up a time and place for tutoring. Exchange contact information. Talk about expectations, specifically where help is needed, and payment options.  Inform the parent about any materials that the student will need to bring such as homework and school materials. Ask about any allergies. If permitted at the tutoring location, consider having healthy snacks available for the student. Snacks are welcomed by students who are coming straight from school or practice. Finally, ask about the child's interests.

Contact the student's teacher to get some background information about strengths and where he/she needs the most support.

4.  Planning

Overplan! It's better to have too much to do than not enough! 

Plan time for your student to work on any assignment such as homework that the parent or teacher has requested your help with. 

Next, plan games and hands-on activities. These types of resources will keep your student engaged and having fun while learning.

Keep your lessons relatable to your student. For example, if your student is into art and you are working on descriptive writing, consider bringing in a print to discuss and write about. For a student into soccer and working on cause and effect, play a game clip, discuss, and have the student write about the cause and effect in the clip. For a student into the theater and working on ending punctuation, provide part of a script with missing punctuation marks. Have the student read the script and add in the ending punctuation.

Make a list of suggestions for ongoing practice. To maximize the interaction between you and your student, consider saving any online game or activity for last as a possible follow-up suggestion and form of practice. 

5.  Materials

Consider having a designated bag just for tutoring resources. Keep a supply of pencils, erasers, scissors, glue sticks, and colored pencils in your bag. Keep an iPad, Chrome Book, or Laptop in the bag. Add specific materials to the bag for each tutoring session after your plans are done.  Keep a notebook or binder such as these in your tutoring bag.



The Tutoring Session

1. Greeting

Greet the student and spend a minute or two asking how the day or week went. Include both school and after-school activities. If agreed upon and allowed, this would be the time to offer a healthy snack.

2. Five-minute warm-up

This activity should be a review of a previous lesson. Keep it short and simple.

3. Requested Help

Help the student with any assignments that the parent or teacher has requested your help with. Doing this first ensures that you won't run out of time.

4. Games and Activities 

This is the fun part! Break out all the games and activities that you found and prepare to support learning.

5. Closing

Use an exit ticket or another form of assessment to track student learning.

6. Follow up Suggestions

Use the last few minutes to discuss how to practice and apply skills. You may want to include the parent for this part.

7. Next Meeting

Set up the next tutoring session.

Use this freebie to summarize your session!


8. Keeping Records

Add follow-up appointments to your calendar or planner. 

Remember to record financial information as directed by your accountant.

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September 12, 2019

How To Manage Reward Coupons In The Classroom

There are many ways to use reward coupons in the classroom. Kids love to receive and use reward coupons, and they can easily be part of your classroom management.


3 Ways To Use Reward Coupons In The Classroom

1. Class Store or Treasure Box

Keep the reward coupons in your class store or treasure box and integrate them into your existing classroom management system. Students can have the opportunity to buy coupons with the points, chips, tickets, or classroom dollars that you already use. Try keeping 3 or 4 different coupons available and change them up from time to time to keep students interested.

2. Stand Alone Reward

Use reward coupons as a stand-alone reward for the attainment of a specific goal. For example, when students improve their individual multiplication facts mastery to a specified level, they get to choose a coupon.

3. Game Prizes

Use reward coupons as game prizes. Sure, sometimes we play class games and the only thing the kids win is bragging rights, but sometimes it's fun to play for prizes! Consider using reward coupons for prizes when you play games like review bingo.

Click here to get a set of 27 reward coupons to use in your classroom!

Reward Coupons

Managing the Reward Coupons

I have found that the 2 best times to allow students to cash in on their reward coupon are:

1. During Morning Work Time

For example, you could allow students to have "drawing time" instead of completing a morning work assignment. Of course, this is at your discretion and you know your students best.

2. During Indoor Recess

Using reward coupons during recess is very popular with students when there is inclement weather and they will not be going outside. They seem to prefer to return to the classroom during indoor recess to complete a coupon activity such as "painting time."

For my own sanity, I only allow 3 or 4 students to use a coupon at one time. Also, students may only use one coupon per day.

Reward Coupons are fun prizes and can easily be part of your classroom management plan!

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