Teach Addition and Subtraction- Reading Stories!

Reading can promote learning in all content areas. Teaching in predominately ESOL classroom, I love to include stories while I teach math. Parents can also purchase books connected with math. Math can be tricky to teach as well as for students to connect to math. If students are naturally good in math, they love it! If students feel nervous or do not do as well in math, they generally do not like math class. I try to incorporate as many other skills in math class so students can engage through their strengths.

In a general math lesson, I like to read a story every week to demonstrate what topic we are learning. There is a book for everything! Sometimes, I show videos of someone else reading it. I find videos like this on YouTube all the time. Crazy, huh! Next, I show examples for 5-10 minutes. The following 10-15 minutes, I have students give directions to other students or they work in partners and read the steps we created together as a class. Lastly, I give a 5-10 minute activity of independent work. Students love to engage others. Many students in my class express they begin to like math class. I teach 3rd grade. This scares me that students already associate math with fear and anxiety.

My top 5 reasons to include reading in math

1. Students love getting read to. I know even in high school, I enjoyed getting read to in classes. It’s strange and its weird but I think it reminds children or students when their parents read to them at night. Students associate read aloud to love and caring.
2. The students can understand the “why,” in math. Common Core wants students to understand the “why” and be able to express “the why” through oral and written formats. While I teach math, I constantly have students tell me “why” they added or “why” the borrowed in subtraction. Consistently giving them ways to hear and express the “why” is important.
3. Using different ways of teaching is beneficial. Some students have math anxiety. Reading a story might calm nerves and these students who do better with language skills. Teaching through their strengths might allow students to relate to math.
4. Add these books to a small library dedicated to math concepts that students can read during reading time. This promotes math concepts during reading lessons and reading skills during math lessons. Cross-curricular and making connections between subject promote and prove to show more learning. Students begin to have more long term memory about the different topics.
5. Connect writing or oral stories in the classroom. Books can encourage and be a support to help with word problems. Many books about mathematical concepts use similar language to questions in word problems. Also, word problems become less scary because they have already included reading comprehension in their math lessons.

Books for addition and subtraction

The first two books are the puppy series. Here are reviews about these series. Reading through this blog, I found so many positive reviews! They are great for younger students. Suggestions would be KG-2 grade.

The Number Tales series recieved mostly 5 stars on Amazon. From reviews, many parents who read to younger kids (3-5) found them less engaging. I reccommend these books for 1-3 grade.

If you are looking to get a set. Amazon has a set of 5 books, including the two I have here.

Only two reviews on Amazon, but both gave the next book 5 stars! I know I enjoy reading this book. This can be read to younger children still. I recommended KG-2.

The next two books are great for older students. Recommendation is 2-5 grade. Frankie Pickle is a collection of comic strip stories relating to math concepts! Engaging! No reviews were less than 3 stars on Amazon! Multiplying Meanace really engages older students in multiplication facts but students can relate through repeated addition. I love reading this story to my students.

Amazon might provide better deals, so check their prices at first!

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Hands-on Activities For Kids- Great Fun!

Mom, I’m Bored!


What parents out there have heard this sentence? I am sure on a daily basis. I hear it at school as a teacher. Usually, I hear this sentence when they need to do work they do not enjoy. So during math class (if they feel they are not good in math) or writing class (if they feel like they can’t write). Being bored can be good for children. It activates the creative process to figure out what to do so they are not as bored. Summer vacation is approaching and now mamas have their children all day. I bet, “I’m bored!” will ring in your ears every day. Some days let your children figure out what they will do to overcome their boredom but other days check out these resources to add to your repertoire.

Looking back to when I was a child, I am sure I said this to my mom. Heck, I still say this to my mom when I come home. Usually, it is because I am in summer mode while my parents and family are in work mode. They are not educators so do not have the summer when they can get more free time. As an international teacher, I more or less have the summer’s off. This is a huge plus! Talk to teachers in the United States or the United Kingdom. I bet they do not feel like their summers are free and wide open.

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Venezuela- Weeks of Protests


Weeks of protests. Weeks of lives being put on the line. Weeks of crazy virtual school and half day schedule change. Weeks where I was expected to help my students continue learning. TWeeks of feeling like the students are silently suffering. Weeks of hearing they are worried about their parents. Weeks were the more privileged children do not understand how many people are truly starving in Venezuela. Weeks of feeling like I am locked in my apartment for safety. Weeks where tire burning roadblocks only directly affected my hill twice.Weeks were no change was actually made by the government.

These Weeks have been extremely hard to continue teaching. I do not think parents realize how much their kids understand and see. I had to use a lot of printable resources so work will be done in virtual school. I felt like I was just giving work for the sake of work. However, TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS.com specializes in printable, spelling activities, worksheets and downloadable teaching materials designed to save teachers valuable time. This also was helpful for parents working with their students. I used so much work with these documents which saved me a headache of having to explain projects to parents. Virtual School is hard enough without having issues of parents not understanding the work due to many of them only speaking Spanish. Also to save from headaches, I used these Find affordable early childhood curriculum resources to meet each child’s individual needs and prepare for kindergarten.Educators only…Guided Reading Short Reads Bundles Save an additional 10%. I can’t express enough having materials ready and set made these difficult days easier to send to parents.

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No More Homework- Play Is Important

Play vs. Homework

I get the question all the time about homework. There is plenty of research out there that highlights that homework shows no significant impact on a child’s abilities. Personally, I view homework as a method of teaching student responsibility. However, Homework can be a stressor on the family, especially on the international circuit where most parents do not speak English. Homework also sometimes becomes more about busy work. I am all for parents who want their child to give an hour a week with additionally studying but playing is extremely important.

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International Schools- Virtual School

Does Virtual School Work?

Whenever you work in a new country, you start to realize how the United States in many ways has figured out to be a stable country. Many friends, who have only traveled to Europe, are the only people who would disagree. They might mention are terrible public transit in the United States or how education is not up to par. But working and living overseas in obscure places has taught me that the United States has a lot figured out.

Working overseas many teachers will teach the elite of the country. Venezuela was no different. I only taught truly local kids in China when I made $800 dollars a month. International teachers make enough to save but sadly do not teach the true middle class without taking a pay cut to the salary.

Scholastic Teacher Store Online

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Blue Whale Challenge- Prevent, Preserve and Protect

If you’re a Momma and you haven’t heard about this challenge quickly look up your son or daughters phones if they are in Elementary school. That is Kindergarten or above. A new challenge that youngsters talk about is called the blue whale challenge. It is an extremely scary and dangerous.

It started in Russia. The man who started has been imprisoned, however, it has not stopped overs from copying his antics. This challenge plays off of grooming like sex trafficking does. Differently, your child is not taken by another person they are encouraged in a span of 50 days to commit suicide. This is through grooming efforts online having them complete weird but innocent tasks the first few days and they progressively get more violent, includes self-harm, watching extremely violent content while waking up at wee hours in the morning. And the final day with the selected members, the last day in order to win the challenge the youngster is encouraged to commit suicide to live a happy life and not face the evil things in the world they have witnessed through online content. They are also encouraged to clear all their history and contact with the group a day or two before it happens. So catching it early is crucial.

Like sex trafficking, it is hard to completely prevent this from happening. It requires a lot of people on board, not just the mom and dad. Children do go through phases of not liking their parents’ decisions and finding them difficult. However, blaming the parents and teachers on this is a bit rough. What we can be doing and should be doing is constantly talking about internet safety with our children and having discussions about what is age appropriate and not. We should discuss what kinds of behaviors crazy dangerous people who want to sex traffic children or who will invite for the blue whale challenge look for. Knowledge is power. Students will remember these conversations when faced head on with the problem. The 3 seconds extra a child thinks about what they are doing can be the difference of falling for a trap and saving their lives.

Speak to your child about online safety and what that means. Get acquainted with how and who predators are attracting. I believe the biggest skill you can teach your child is confidence in themselves and love for themselves. With these two qualities, predators have a more difficult time. Also, have your child come up with 3 to 5 people as their inner circle to speak to whenever they feel uncomfortable about something in real life or over the internet. If they have a group of adults who put the child’s best interest at heart, guidance from the adult can help a child overcome challenges they may face. Make sure these adults understand to take everything your child says seriously and to tell you after he/she confides in them.

Tell your child they can confide in you about other children. I know most of the time, a child will tell their best friend something before a teacher. This way, you can update the teacher what you heard and he/she can continue with a report.

It is best to be proactive than reactive to problems.

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Programs to Learn- Mom’s Choices

1. Curious World

This is a super-cool APP on iPads or smartphones. It is owned by a well-known textbook company. This is extremely cool for the kiddos between ages 2-7 because it is reflecting what they learn in school and providing building blocks before they get to school. There are tons of videos that they categorize by age. This means little time to watch content to double check if it is appropriate. YouTube channels are great, but you would need to spend time watching each video to make sure it is appropriate for your child. Videos are great but this app also provides games. We all know children love playing. If they love what they are doing than learning is easy and naturally takes place. You can choose yearly or monthly subscriptions. This is between 10 and 80 dollars.

2. Online Newspapers for kids

Online newspapers give children current events articles which are easier for them to answer. They are interactive and fun. This is also a great way to get them interested in current events, scientific reasoning, and critical thinking skills. Who doesn’t love that? A few suggestions below that I find useful as a teacher.

Scholastic, even using Scholastic Teacher Store Online
National Geographic
Zoobooks: This I found to be interesting is Zoobooks offers a program for 1-3 years old. Start their curious minds earlier!


3. KHAN Academy
This is a great resource. Teachers that sign up can sign up for free. I am unclear if a parent signs up if it is also free. KHAN academy aligns itself with MAP testing. It has great instructional videos about topics in Math and gives standardized test questions. This is geared to 2nd-grade students or older. Students highly enjoy using KHAN academy in class.

4. Readtheory.org

This is a free website for teachers. It is definitely geared to higher grades because the focus is on reading comprehension. However, the stories are shorter and many students can do two or three stories in 20 minutes at their correct reading level. I use this as an alternative to the more childish versions such as RAZ-Kids.

5. Study Island
Many schools use this program and it is a lot of fun and very effective. It connects to the curriculum and is aimed at school-aged children. If you want you can always give Study Island a try. I suggest you try Study Island today!

6. Reading Eggs
This program is geared to 4 to 11 years odd. It concentrates on the building blocks of language. It reviews Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension through interactive games online. It is the Online Phonics Program That Kids Love. Parents are highly satisfied with this game. This product is ideal for children between 3 to 11 years old. They offer tons of options: monthly for $9.95, 6 months for $49.95 and 1 year for $75. Also, you can get workbooks. Great program and a great cost.

learn to read online

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