## Tuesday, February 24, 2015

### Number Line Addition in the Math Classroom

Using number lines in the math classroom can help your students visualize math concepts and learn some new problem-solving techniques.

Here's a simple number line showing the numbers 0 to 20 from Excel Math.

Draw this number line from 0 to 20 on your white board or post it on your wall.

Also use masking tape to create this number line on your class floor.

Your students can stand on a life-size number line to show greater than and less than.

Choose a number and ask a student to stand on it on the floor number line. Have another student circle the number on the white board.

While the first student remain on his number, choose a new number and ask a second student to stand on it.

 Excel Math Number Line with Half Inch Increments
Have the remaining students show you which number is smaller by using their fingers to make a "greater than" or "less than" sign.

(Have them form a peace sign or V with two fingers and then turn it sideways so the point of the V points to the smaller number.)

If your students are learning fractions, next use the half inch number line shown at right.

Give us a call at 1-866-866-7026. When you call between the hours of 8:00 and 4:30 Monday through Friday (West Coast Time), a friendly person will answer the phone to help you.

You might also like these articles:

Ten Tax Tips for Educators

## Thursday, February 19, 2015

### Chinese New Year: Goats in the Math Class

The Chinese New Year, year 4713, begins on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Say goodbye to the  Year of the Wood Horse; this marks the year of the sheep (or goat or ram). Here's a picture of sheep and goats grazing in a field.

Thursday is a new moon day, and is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year." We've compiled some fun ways to celebrate this festival in your math class.

According to Chinese astrology, each lunar year is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. This year is the eighth animal.

It is a Chinese custom to give out red envelopes with lucky money called ‘lai see’ as a blessing during Chinese New Year. Keeping to this tradition, visitors arriving in Hong Kong will be given red packets containing coupons at the airport throughout the first seven days of the Chinese New Year (19-25 February).

Bright red lanterns (and red decorations similar to those shown at right) adorn many cities during the Chinese New Year.

In Excel Math, we help build confident, successful math students. Here's a question about China's population from our Grade 5 Excel Math Guided Practice 95. Which answer would you choose?

In 1950, the population of China was 562,580,000 and
in 1990 it was 1,138,895,000. Which choice is the closest to the increase in China's population between 1950 and 1990?
a. 5 billion
b. 60 billion
c. 500 million
Chinese New Year's Eve is a day of family reunions. Your students could each create a family scrapbook (print or online or both) complete with photos, stories, and a family tree. Talk about some of the things that were not yet invented when their grandparents and great-grandparents were born.
Let your students bring Chinese food, clothing, toys, money and other objects to display. Show pictures of China—the land and its people while listening to Chinese music and trying some Chinese food. If you know someone who has lived in China, have them visit your class and share some of their experiences with your students.

Traditionally, people celebrate the Chinese New Year for 15 days, ending with the Chinese Lantern Festival. Make paper lanterns to hang around your classroom. You'll find directions for making colorful paper lanterns at Enchanted Learning. Continue your own classroom celebration through March 5, if you like.
 Lantern hanging from a cherry tree

New to Excel Math? Take a look at our proven mathematics curriculum for elementary students at ExcelMath.com and request your free samples. We have three versions available:

Texas Edition
Common Core Edition
Standard Edition
Download sample lessons. Then take a quick tour of Excel Math at http://www.excelmath.com/tour/tour01.html.

You may also enjoy these articles:

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

## Wednesday, February 18, 2015

### Bulletin Board Ideas: Snowflake Math Facts

 Snowflake Math Bulletin Board
Let your students help decorate your classroom for winter while learning their math facts with this snowy bulletin board idea from Excel Math.

Even if you don't have an actual bulletin board, your math classroom can come alive with creative wall decorations that encourage your students to do basic math facts. Cover your bulletin board or wall with black, silver or blue sparkly paper (or fabric), if you wish. Label the board: "Snowflake Math" or "It's Snowing Math Facts!"

 Snowflake Pattern
Give each student a square of paper. Also provide scissors, tape, and ribbon or yarn. (For more durable snowflakes, provide white dessert-size paper plates of the flimsy variety instead of sheets of paper.)

Have your students fold the papers or paper plates into triangle shapes, trim the wide, non-folded end of each triangle so it curves (similar to an ice-cream cone), and then make several small cuts or openings into the triangle, without cutting it in half. (Provide clear tape for mistakes.)
 Hanging Snowflake

Excel Math Teacher Editions are available in three versions: Texas Edition, Common Core, and  Standard Edition. Take a look at the options here.

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

## Monday, February 16, 2015

### Happy Presidents' Day!

On Presidents Day (February 16, 2015) we celebrate the birthdays of Lincoln (February 12) and Washington (February 22).

This past weekend we also celebrated Valentine's Day and the opening of the Cricket World Cup!

Here's a bit of number trivia about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. He was 6' 4" tall, our tallest president.
Lincoln was born in 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
Lincoln served in the Illinois legislature from 1834 to 1836, and then became an attorney. He married Mary Todd in 1842, and their family expanded to include four sons. On the left is a photo of the top portion of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

As leader of the new Republican Party, Lincoln was considered politically moderate. In 1858 Lincoln ran for a Senate seat, but did not win. Even so, he was recognized as a strong political force.

And two years later in 1860, Lincoln ran for president and won. This bronze bust of Lincoln pictured on the right was sculpted by Gilbert Riswold, an artist from Utah. It is housed in the Utah capital in Salt Lake City.

This is a commemorative one cent coin featuring Abraham Lincoln and circulated in 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.

George Washington was our first president. He was born in on February 22, 1732  in Westmoreland County, Virginia. In 1775, the Continental Congress unanimously chose Washington to command the new Continental Army.

Washington also was unusually tall at 6' 3". He was so stubborn that John Adams referred to him as "Old Muttonhead." This Masonic Statue of Washington is located in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

The base of the statue recalls some of his contributions as First Citizen, Churchman, President, Statesman, Farmer, Soldier, Patriot, Freemason.

This statue stands 7-feet, 6-inches tall and is carved of white Vermont marble. Washington's home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia is pictured below.

Excel Math lessons give students lots of practice with numbers, coins and mathematics concepts.

Take a look at lesson samples on our website: www.excelmath.com

 Mt. Vernon - Washington's Home

You may also enjoy these articles:

Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

## Friday, February 13, 2015

### It's Friday the 13th!

Numbers have always held a mystical fascination to peoples of all languages and cultures. Superstitions surrounding certain numbers have continued from ancient times to the present. Some hotels have no floor 13, catering to guests who avoid the number 13 and the 13th floor altogether.

Here at Excel Math we have some favorite numbers and enjoy playing around with mathematics and number games.

Excel Math levels the playing field for students of all abilities
Excel Math levels the playing field so students of all ages and abilities can learn math concepts and achieve measurable results. The unique spiraling process is an important component of Excel Math that leads to mastery and long-term competency for each student. Students regularly review concepts throughout the year while developing a solid foundation of skills.

Plus, the Excel Math CheckAnswer system lets students self assess as they go. No more continuing down the wrong path while practicing math concepts. Consistent use of the CheckAnswer process helps students develop good work strategies and starts them on a lifetime of learning. Read more about Excel Math on our website and take a look at our Teacher Editions, now in three different versions:
Texas Edition
Common Core Edition
Standard Excel Math Edition
The obvious question is, 'will investing in Excel Math help my students?'
Here's what one mom recently told us:
"My children have been using Excel Math Standard Edition at home for the last two years to supplement the math curriculum they have at school (which isn't very effective). This year they took the Common Core Math pretest for the first time. We had been warned that our children would probably not score very well on these tests. However, my fourth grader scored 83% and my third grader (who is not a math genius) scored 98%! When people asked me if he was a math whiz, I had to tell them, "Not at all. It was the Excel Math Lesson Sheets!" - Grateful mother of two

Excel Math is affordable — only \$1.00/month per student
Excel Math  is just \$12.00 per student for an entire year of lessons and tests—only \$1.00 per month for each student.

Schools in Texas used us for the first time last year and their 4th grade realized a 42% increase in the passing rate for the STAAR Test.

You may also enjoy these articles:

Tax Tips for Educators

Extreme Math

Visit Excel Math at the Title I Conference

Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

## Monday, February 2, 2015

### Ten Tax Tips for Educators, Part 1

As a teacher and educator, you probably spend your own money on classroom supplies, student treats, professional development, continuing education, and the list goes on.

Although this post provides general information about tax laws, please consult your tax professional for advice about your particular situation. The views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of AnsMar Publishers or Excel Math. We hope to give you some tips and places to look for additional deductions as you get your taxes ready this year.

Here are a few tax tips from the experts to help ease the burden as you prepare your taxes for 2014.

1. Keep Track of Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Hang on to those receipts (or hunt down your credit card statements) for bulletin board sets, small class rewards, extra paper and pencils and other supplies you purchase for your class without getting reimbursed. Qualified K-12 educators  can deduct up to \$250 for materials. That amount gets subtracted from your income, so you can take the deduction even if you don’t itemize. Who qualifies? If you are a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide for grades K-12, you will qualify if you work at least 900 hours during the school year (homeschool parents unfortunately do not qualify).

2. Keep Receipts from Donations and Gifts to Charity
Hang on to those receipts for donating clothes, household goods and cash to charities. You'll need to deduct the amount of any gift you receive in return for your donation. But if you give \$50 to your favorite radio station and then receive a \$10 gift card, you can still deduct \$40 on your taxes, if you itemize.

The Lifetime Learning credit can be claimed for any number of years you spend taking college courses and can be used to offset the cost of higher education for yourself or your spouse . . . not just for your children. This credit phases out at higher income levels, but doesn’t discriminate based on age.

This information is provided for informational and education purposes only and should not be construed as professional tax advice. Although it is accurate and reliable to the best of our ability, there is no guarantee of its accuracy in your situation. Plus tax laws change often. For information regarding your tax deductions, be sure to contact your tax consultant.