Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Books Week

In case you haven't heard, this is banned books week. An entire week dedicated to reading books that other people find offensive. Here are five reasons why books shouldn't be banned.

1 - I'm entitled to my own opinion. I don't find things offensive that other people find offensive. I was surprised to see A Wrinkle In Time on the banned book list because it could undermine religious beliefs. I bought that book for my son when he was ten. Guess what? He still believes in God. It cracks me up when I see Harry Potter on the list for similar reasons. This type of banning is an insult to the intelligence of people everywhere.

2 - The big picture. Huckleberry Finn has been banned because of racial slurs. Huck often referred to Jim as (the "N" word). Well of course he did. That's what they used back then. But anyone who has read the book would know that Jim is also the most honest and intelligent character in the book. It is an anti racial book.

3 - Forbidden fruit. Want to make a kid want to read a book? Tell them they shouldn't read it. Duh.

4 - My job is to teach my kids how to choose, not to choose for them. I hope they make the right choice in the books they choose to read, but ultimately, it's their choice. I only have 18 (or fewer) years in which to teach them. After that, they're on their own. The Giver is a book about a society that makes choices for everyone. Guess what? It was banned. Hmmmm

5- If you're offended, put it down. It's okay to stop reading if you don't like it. I put books down. My kids put books down. We are smart enough to know when we don't want to read about certain topics or if the number of swear words bothers us.

So that's why I don't think books should be banned. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

36 Club Subtraction tips

Subtraction is hard for a lot of children.  This method helped my children but there are kids that won't understand how to do it. It may seem too complicated. There was a girl in my son's 6th grade class last year who was having a really hard time passing off her subtraction. I told her this method and she immediately passed it off. I was amazed at how quickly she picked it up. So it will help some kids. It also depends on the child's attitude.  This girl really wanted to learn but I have worked with children who have convinced themselves they can't do it.  They won't even try.

This only works when the top number in the tens column is less than the bottom number in the tens column like this.

18
- 9

A lot of kids freak at this because they don't have eighteen fingers. So I tell them to subtract upside down. Take 8 from 9 and get 1. If the upside down answer is 1 then the answer to the problem is 9.

16
- 8

If the upside down answer is 2, then the answer is 8. (3 - 7 and 4 - 6.)

Go back to 18 - 9. If 18 were one more (19) then the answer to the problem would be 10. But 18 is one less than 19 so the answer is one less than 10. Notice the pairs always add up to ten.

This works because if the top number is 2 away from giving you the answer of 10, then the answer is 2 from 10 or 8.

If your child doesn't understand the upside down terminology, try the 1 from ten or 2 from ten. They can use this method for more complicated math, just don't let them forget that they still have to borrow!

I'd love to know if this helps anyone.

Addition Facts Here
Multiplication Facts
Division tips
Humdinger tips

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blogging on pain meds

Update: I've noticed I'm still getting hits on this old post.  No doubt from other people who sprained both ankles and need some advice.  So I'm adding some tips here so you don't have to read my drug induced spew.  I'm a little scared to read it myself.
-For the first few days, if the sprains are bad enough, you'll have to stay off both feet.  I used our office chair to roll around since we don't have a wheelchair. I did some rather undignified crawling too.
-You can use crutches once you can put some weight on your feet.  Move the crutches independently of  each other so one crutch helps take weight off one leg.
-Once you can move your foot with minimal pain, take the brace off and write the alphabet in the air with your toes.  You have to do this without the brace.
-Get a resistance band.  Hook it around your foot.  Point and flex your foot for as many reps as you can do without pain. Then move your foot back and forth while holding the band at an angle.
-Stand on your toes.  This hurts but I noticed how much faster I started healing after I did it.
-Stand on one foot.  Your balance won't be what it used to be.  Stand next to something so you won't fall over. (again.)
-Stand with your feet pointed to the wall and lean into the wall until you can feel a stretch up the back of your legs. (Runners stretch) Do one leg at a time and then both together.  Hold each stretch for about 30 sec.
-  Once you can stand on one foot comfortably, you can use your stairs or a chair for more runners stretches. Put your foot up and lean toward the foot.

I think what helped me the most was removing the braces and doing the stretches.  It's been 3 months and my left ankle is mostly healed.  My right is still a little sore and really hurts by the end of the day.  I  still have trouble going down stairs. I've heard it can take up to a year to fully heal so I'm trying to be patient.  Good luck!
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Last week I stepped outside, hit the welcome mat wrong with my left foot and sprained both ankles on the way down. For those who need a visual, I came up with one.


You may think this looks a lot like the no internet picture. It’s because the horror is the same.

Anyway, they’re both sprained. All the advice on the internet points to a pair of crutches to keep off the bad foot. Yeah? Well what if both feet are bad? I soon learned that crawling wasn’t an option. I could ignore the skinned knee and the massive bruise growing there. It was the mocking of my children I couldn’t take. Hee hee. Be careful, Mom. Don’t hurt yourself. So I moved to transport by office chair. This was great except that I had to be pushed around. I tried using the crutches as paddles. Then my husband sang Row Row Row Your Boat. Fortunately, I was able to put weight on both feet after 24 hours. Now my children sing parts of the Duck Song to me. I'm sure you can guess which part...



I am allergic to latex. I also often forget this. Did you know that ACE bandages have latex in them? I do now. I have always had itch issues. Part of that is because I’m so tasty. If we go outside my husband’s leg will look like this.


I think it’s because he has O+ blood. There isn’t anything special in there. It’s like eating a hotdog without any ketchup. And since all the blood suckers are female, they want something better...


I have AB+ blood. Also known as gourmet blood.


Bzzzz Mmmm Janice blood
So my point is…I forget. The pain killer is kicking in and my legs itch.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

36 club addition tips


My kids elementary school have a program called the 36 club.  They have to pass off 36 facts in 1.5 min or less in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Then they mix all the facts they've passed off into one massive pile called the Humdinger.  They get five min to pass it off.  It's an amazing program.  You would not believe how fast some of these kids can rattle off their math facts.

I love seeing how the kids answer the questions.  Some drawl out the answers like they are bored out of their minds.  Some dance on their chair and spit out the answers when it comes to them.  Some jump from their chair and point to the cards as they yell the answer.  I love seeing their excitement when they pass off their facts.  And it breaks my heart when they are sooo close. I can tell when they are stuck on the upper numbers so I give them hints.  I thought I'd share those hints so other people can help their little ones learn their math facts.

1- Close to double.  Most kids get their doubles right away.  My kid's teachers have drilled doubles into their heads starting with 1st grade.  They don't have a choice but to memorize them.  7+6 is almost a double.  They already know that 6+6=12.  So remind them that 7 is only one more than 6.  Once they understand this concept, they won't panic when they see 6+8.  Instead they can remember that 6+6=12 and then count up from there.

2- Nines.  We all know that 5+10 =15.  So 5+9 is one less than that.  I tell the kids when they are adding something to nine the answer is one-less-than-teen. So one-less-than five is four. Fourteen.  Once they understand this concept, they can apply it to 8 and 7.  8 is two-less-than-teen and 7 is three less-than-teen.  My kids sometimes do 6 too.

3-Take out the ones they get stuck on. When I have some extra time and I can see the student always gets stuck on the same two or three problems, I'll pull the cards out of the deck and go over them separately.  There is usually a reason why they hit a brain cramp on specific problems.  Focusing on the problem cards will usually help them sort it out in their heads. Then I put the hard cards first so they can get them over with. It also helps to inform them that they will never forget the problem again.  Somehow this solidifies the problem in their minds whether they want it to or not.

If I've been less than clear, please let me know and I'll try to reword it or draw pictures. When I explain these methods to the kids I can tell when they get it based on the look on their face. I'll do other posts on the rest of the math sets later. I guarantee a method to make sure your kids will never forget the answer to 7x8.

Subtraction tips
Multiplication Facts
Division tips
Humdinger tips