Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Another version of the twelve days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
A shoe.

On the second day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Two Backpacks
And a shoe.


On the third day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (You just had both your shoes!  What did you do with it?)


On the fourth day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (How did you shoe get in your bed?)



On the fifth day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Five missing tree lights
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (Your Sunday shoes too?)



On the sixth day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Six bags of candy
Five missing tree lights
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (Why am I not surprised?)


On the seventh day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Seven rolls for wrapping
Six bags of candy
Five missing tree lights
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (No, the cat did not eat it.)


On the eighth day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Eight stocking stuffers
Seven rolls for wrapping
Six bags of candy
Five missing tree lights
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (I Velcroed your shoes together.  How did you still manage to lose it?)


On the ninth day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Nine candy canes.
Eight stocking stuffers
Seven rolls for wrapping
Six bags of candy
Five missing tree lights
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (sigh)



On the tenth day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Ten gift tags
Nine candy canes.
Eight stocking stuffers
Seven rolls for wrapping
Six bags of candy
Five missing tree lights
Four homework assignments
Three perfect presents
Two backpacks
And a shoe. (The snow isn't very deep.  Your sandals will work.)




On the eleventh day of Christmas, the mommy had to find:
Forget it. You don’t have school today.  Just wear socks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blog Hiatus

I'm taking a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks. (Unless I'm super inspired to blog.) There is fudge to make, presents to wrap, presents to make, fudge to eat, concerts to attend . . . You get the picture.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  I'll be back next year. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

36 club Multiplication Facts

It's been a while since I started posting tips for the 36 club.  I've been working with my youngest on multiplication so I thought I'd post on the subject while it's fresh in my mind.

Since multiplication is more complicated than adding, it's important to make sure they understand the concept behind it.  A fun way to teach this is to bake cookies.



 Show the child you have four rows and three columns. 

They have four sets of three cookies or

 three sets of four cookies. I like to call 3 X 4 the cookie problem.

Once they understand the concept, start with the twos. (I'm not posting ones, tens, or zeros because they're easy to explain.) They already know their addition facts.  Explain that when they are multiplying by two they are adding doubles. So 6 X 2 is the same as 6 + 6.

Next you have the threes.  This is where skip counting comes in.  They should already know how to count by 2's and 5's.  When teaching skip counting, put the numbers to a song.  Try the melody to Twinkle Twinkle Little star for 3's and Row Row Row Your Boat for the 4's. Once they have the songs down, show them how to count off with their fingers.



 This will take care of the 3's and 4's.

Kids can learn to multiply 5s by skip counting, but eventually, they need to speed things up.  All they half to do is cut the number is half.  So, for 6 X 5. Half of 6 is 3.  Put a zero on the end.  That's the answer.  For odd numbers, it doesn't half evenly, so they will have a 5 at the end instead of zero. So, for 5 X 7, half of 7 is 3.5. 5 X 7 is 35.

 My kids have a hard time remembering the skip counting for 6,7, and 8 so I went for a different approach. But first I'll skip to 9.  I think most people know this but I'm posting it anyway just in case.  Have the child hold up their hands when they are multiplying a number by 9. Count the number of fingers they are multiplying nine by and put that finger down.  My example below is for multiplying by six.  The answer to the problem is in the number of fingers left up.





This leaves us with higher numbers. 6X6, 6X7, 6X8, 7X7, 7X8, and 8X8

For 6X6 and 6X8, have the child count by fives first. This goes back to adding sets of numbers.  So first they have to figure out how many 5 sets of 6 equals.  Then they just have to add one more set. So five sets of six is 30. Then they add one more set of six for 36.  It also helps to point out that even numbers multiplied by six end in that number so when they say the complete fact out loud it rhymes.

My daughter learned a poem for 7 X 7: Seven and seven went to heaven to see the 49ers.
I added to it to help with 6 X 7.: 6 lost a shoe and only got 42. (No it doesn't make sense.  But the rhyming helps anyway.)
My son insisted I come up with one for 8 X 8: Eight and eight slipped on the floor.  How many stiches? 64.
The last one is the easiest.  7 X 8.  They're in order. 7 - 8.  The answer is in order too.  5 - 6. So it counts.  56 =7*8 (5,6,7,8)

One more tip for multiplying even numbers.  If they get stuck when multiplying any even number, all they have to do is cut the number in half, multiply, and then double the answer.  For example: 8X4. You could cut either number in half. Half of 8 is 4. 4X4 is 16. 16 +16 is 32. (8x4=32) Or you could cut the 4 in half. 8X2 is 16. 16 +16 = 32.  (I can't do that math problem without the inchworm song getting stuck in my head.  Click the link.  You know you want to.) My son has a hard time remembering 6X7, despite my genius poem.  Now he cuts 6 in half (3), multiplies that by 7 (21) then doubles the answer. (42)

And that covers all 36 facts.  It is important to practice the facts with the kids every day.  I time them and let them stop as soon as they beat their old time.  After a while they start remembering them without all the tricks.  My son's multiplication time is 4.5 min.  We've been working on these for about a month. I still have to remind him of the tips while we go through the cards but he remembers most of them on his own.

*Update.  It's been a few years since I first posted this blog.  My son is now in 3rd grade and his multiplication time is down to 1:41. (So close!)  His second grade teacher didn't do 36 club so he got rusty. We're still learning as we go so I added tips on cutting numbers in half.

Addition Tips
Subtraction Tips
Division Tips
Humdinger tips

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been hearing Christmas music at the grocery store since Halloween.  I realize that stores are gearing up for the season, but I'm not feeling the Christmas spirit while I'm looking for costumes that turn my children into zombies.


I like Thanksgiving.  I like getting with family and eating comfort food.  A lot of my friends have been posting what they're thankful for.  I did it for a few days before I forgot - not because I'm not grateful, but because I don't want my gratitude to sound forced.  I am grateful for my family.  I am so fortunate to have three healthy happy children and a fantastic husband. I am also grateful for Amazon.  Shopping for the kids from home is the best Christmas present ever!

The day after Thanksgiving we will go explore the mall and enjoy the decorations.  Then we'll go home and put up our Christmas tree. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The book review that isn't a review.

I'm not big on book reviews.  It feels too much like homework and I spend enough time trying to get my kids to do their homework to have any desire to do it too.  Wreck The Halls is by Jen Yates.  It doesn't have a plot so there isn't anything to review except to say it's funny. It's a great way to offset all the super sweet Christmas stories you'll hear during the holidays about kids that have no money and get presents anyway. 

I often read the blog, http://cakewrecks.squarespace.com/, with my kids and they all think it's pretty funny. I have to preview it to make sure there aren't themes I don't want to explain to my young children.  (People should not put balloons or rockets on cakes.  Also, people don't look appetizing with or without clothes. Don't turn them into cakes.  Ew.) The first cake wrecks book was PG-13 and I didn't let my kids read all of it. I thought about waiting until my kids went to bed before I previewed Wreck The Halls but I couldn't wait. 

I tried to hold it in, but I couldn't help it.  I laughed while my seven year-old was in the room.



I gave him a little taste of the book and sent him on his way.

Then came my twelve year-old. His voice is changing so every word he says starts on one octave and ends in another.  There can be three or four octaves in between.  It's always fun to hear what comes out of his mouth. He can do things with his voice I didn't know were humanly possible.







 I was a little tired of the interruptions by the time my daughter came around. 



She disappeared quickly.

Unfortunately, those tactics only work for my daughter.  The boys already knew what I had and they hung around like vultures, waiting for a chance to pounce. (And they like fish.)
I was pleased to see that there wasn't anything in it I didn't want my kids to see so I let them have it.


My twelve year-old nabbed the book first.  He was just about to sit down with it when...

The seven year-old flew out of nowhere, snatched the book from his brother's hands and disappeared into the wastelands (also known as his bedroom.) 

I was laughing too hard to reprimand my seven year-old. It was a pretty impressive move and how can you argue with the albino sprinkle bush of joy? The next day I braved the wastelands to find the book.  It was nestled next to Puppy and Bad Kitty (and dirty clothes, and books, and blankets, and toys, and trash). I rescued the book and put it on the book shelf for everyone to enjoy. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Then and Now

My husband and I were reminiscing about our childhoods and realized how different our kids lives are.  For starters, when we had to do research, we went to the library.  Actually, my husband went to the library. He had to ride his bike there and haul all the books home in his backpack.  I didn’t go to the library.  My mom worked there, so I’d call her.

The counter under the phone was never that clean.  Junk is much easier to collect than to draw.



I could never figure out why my mom always said this when we called.  We never called about anything trivial.  It was always super important. (Also I was going to put books on the shelf behind her, but my drawing skills haven’t yet reached that point.  It’s harder than it looks.)








Mom was always late coming home those days.  Then I had to read the book and write a bunch of stuff with a pen.  I never got to bed until really late and was exhausted the next day.


My kids, on the other hand . . .
The best part about drawing instead of real pictures is I can make myself as skinny as I want.







Then they copy and paste the information directly into a document, print it, and have it ready before bedtime.


When we played, we went outside. It was time to go in when Dad yelled my name for the third time. (I was never sure if he was serious until the third call.) 




My kids don't spend as much time outdoors.




They have all the entertainment they need inside.




We had video games too.  They just weren't as colorful.



What color we lacked on the television screen was made up for in the wallpaper and carpet.  The 70s had its own style and flare.




Kids have gotten soft.  They carry cellphones in case of emergency or bad weather.



We had something in case of bad weather too.  It was called a coat.
Please note the shoes.  I did not walk barefoot in the snow for a mile uphill just to get to the mailbox.  That was my parents generation.  They still complain about how tough they had it without flushing toilets or cars. And gas was only 5 cents a gallon. (I'm still not sure what the horses did with 5 cent gas.)