## Monday, June 24, 2013

### Picture This: Graphing Our Summer Vacation

 Excel Math Picture Graph
Let's take a look at how to make picture graphs interesting and understandable. In Excel Math, we help students understand and create their own picture graphs, line plots, circle graphs, bar graphs, and more!

Try out an Excel Math scaled picture graph (such as the one on the left) with your own class. Then let your students (or family members) begin a summer data project and create their own picture graphs.

Encourage students to track, for example, their calorie intake, their finances or the number of miles that they travel on vacation. In the summer months, with more free time, are they consuming more food than they would during the rest of the year? More vegetables or more junk food? Are they spending more time shopping? Are they spending more money on sports and activities?

Students might use a picture of a car to indicate miles traveled each week in July. One car could represent 10 miles or 100 miles, depending on how far they plan to travel over the summer. A picture of an airplane or boat could represent 1000 miles, if the distances are even longer.

A summer data project can help students extend math learning through the summer months. Each student can choose a topic, collect data, make a tally chart and then a graph, and finally share the results with the rest of the class. Or have family members work in pairs to collect data and make graphs, with older children helping younger ones.

Some websites let your students create their own picture graphs or complete the picture graph provided. Here are just a few:

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New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Thursday, June 20, 2013

### Summer Solstice: Let the Sun Shine!

Tomorrow marks the day with the most hours of sunlight during the year, also known as the summer solstice. The word solstice is from the Latin word solstitium. Sol means sun and stitium is to stop. The solstice is the day on which the sun appears to stop, giving us some extra hours of daylight.

In many parts of the country, families will take advantage of the extra daytime hours with fishing, swimming, biking, camping, hiking, and many other outdoor activities to begin the official start of summer vacation.

Excel Math has a six-week summer edition so students of all ages and abilities can continue to learn math concepts over the summer. For over 35 years, Excel Math has been a proven method to help kids from Kindergarten through Grade 6 achieve measurable results. The unique spiraling process is an important component of the program that leads to mastery and long-term competency for each student. Students regularly review concepts throughout the lessons while developing a solid foundation of skills. Read more about Excel Math on our website.

This year the summer solstice will occur on June 21 in the in the northern hemisphere. During this time, the winter solstice begins in the southern hemisphere.) Around December 21 the solstices are reversed and winter begins in the northern hemisphere.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

How do you keep students engaged with math over the summer? Leave a comment in the box below.

## Wednesday, June 19, 2013

### School's Out for Summer!

 Summer at the ocean in Huntington Beach, California
In many parts of the country, school's out for summer and students are heading to the beach for some surfing, swimming or beach volleyball.

Just as it takes practice to be able to stay on the surfboard or swim long distances, it takes regular practice for elementary students to keep from losing ground in math over the summer. That's where Excel Math Summer School Edition can help.

Some teachers are recommending that parents use the Excel Math Summer School Edition with their students to help close the achievement gap over the summer. Here's what one teacher in Illinois called to tell us:

"We are thrilled with Excel Math! We even have parents ordering the summer school edition to keep the math concepts fresh in their students' minds over the summer break.”
— Teacher at St. Patrick Catholic School in Washington, Illinois

According to The HechingerEd blog, "When kids return to school in the fall, on average they’ve slipped by about a month from where they were in the spring."

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Tuesday, June 18, 2013

### Down for the Count: Math Games

In Excel Math, students learn to count, skip-count, use expanded notation and add (plus lots more). We've pulled together some resources for counting and some online math games to reinforce counting skills. Do you have some favorite counting games or math resources? Leave us a comment in the box below.

Excel Math Projectable Lessons include lots of counting activities and math lessons that can be projected onto a whiteboard, electronic board, wall or screen. Each grade level Projectable Lessons comes on its own CD. The best part is that you only need one CD per grade level for each school site!

The Projectable first shows the lesson with problems. The next slide shows the work and solutions in red. Additional text and graphics and color may be used to clarify complex concepts.

With Projectable Lessons, the entire class can focus on the day's math concept together:
 Excel Math Projectable Slide

The new Excel Math Projectable Lessons CD for Kindergarten is now available. Here's a sample slide to help students compare and sort objects by length:
 Excel Math Kindergarten Projectable Slide

http://www.excelmath.com/tools.html

The first slide shows the problems, which the students can work out together. The next slide shows the answers. Read more and try out some math games . . .

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Wednesday, June 12, 2013

### Flag Day Math

Friday, June 14 is Flag Day. The flag pictured on the left flies year-round outside our home in San Diego. We have to replace it each year because the sunny weather fades it to a light pink after 11 or 12 months. (Today it doesn't look as bright as it does in the photo—must be time to go shopping for a new flag.)

Flag Day is believed to have first originated in 1885 when B.J. Cigrand, a schoolteacher in Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, arranged for the pupils in his district to celebrate 'Flag Birthday'—the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned flag related ceremonies for the children of his school. His idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration. The following year, on June 14, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day. Read more at http://www.usflag.org/history/flagday.html.

Help your students celebrate this special day with a math coloring page and an Excel Math flag word problem. Download the coloring page and print or copy one for each student. You may want to provide star stickers for your students to add to the blue field. Or have them draw stars in the field before coloring it.
In Excel Math, students tackle word problems in 2nd through 6th grades. In addition to shorter problems that occur regularly throughout the lessons, Excel Math has a unique take on story problems, called Create A Problem. With these more complex word problems, students are given a chance to express their own understanding of a story problem. Create A Problem exercises merge math and literacy as they help students develop higher-order thinking skills.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Monday, June 10, 2013

### Raising the Bar with Graphs

In Excel Math, we help students understand and create their own picture graphs, line plots, circle graphs, bar graphs, and more! Let's take a look at how to make bar graphs interesting and understandable. Download a free printable math worksheet you can use with your own class.
 Excel Math Bar Graph

Some websites let your students create their own bar graphs. Here are just a few:

Create a Graph from the National Center for Education Statistics

You can choose the color for your bars and your background, specify whether you prefer a vertical or horizontal (or stacked) bar graph, a rhombus or triangular shape (or a pattern), whether you'd like it in 2-D or 3-D (or with a shadow).

You can also choose a line plot, an area graph, a pie chart or coordinate points. Then import your data and print your graph or email yourself a link to save it for later.

 ChartGo Online charts and graphs
ChartGo lets your older students create colorful 3-D bar graphs.

The options are a bit more complicated, but you can label each x and y axis, choose the width and height of your graph, add rounded corners, a shadow, a border and gridlines.

The bars can be shaped as cylinders, rectangles or polygons.

Choose your bar colors and either a soft or glass shading. You can even copy the code so the graph will display online.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Tuesday, June 4, 2013

### Eternal Light for WW1 Soldiers

 Arlington National Cemetery
On June 15, 1864 Arlington National Cemetery was established by Brig. General Montgomery C. Meigs, who commanded the garrison at Arlington House. One of the first monuments to the slain Union soldiers erected under Brig. General Meigs' orders was a stone and masonry burial vault in the rose garden, 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep, contained  the remains of 1,800 Bull Run casualties. Meigs himself was later buried within 100 yards of Arlington House with his wife, father and son. Read more about the history of Arlington National Cemetery.

In Excel Math, we teach students how to calculate distance, area, perimeter, dates in the past, and lots more. Take a look at lesson samples for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

 Madison Square ParkPhotograph by Malcolm Pinckney, May 3, 2005
Sixty years after Arlington Cemetery was established, on June 4, 1924, an eternal light was dedicated at Madison Square Park in New York City in memory of all New York soldiers who died in World War I. (See photo below.) The massive ornamental pedestal is made of Milford pink granite.  Each side is inscribed with dedicatory tributes to those who served their country in World War I, and lists the names of significant battle sites.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Monday, June 3, 2013

### Summer Math Learning—Eat It Up!

Summer is only a few weeks away, and it's a great time to sample the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables filling our local farmer's markets and grocery stores. If you have an outdoor garden or an indoor pot of herbs, you can enjoy picking your own.
As you shop, bring in a few extra fruits or vegetables to class, along with a scale. Show your students how to weigh produce and estimate the total cost based on the cost per pound.
Let them divide recipes into smaller serving sizes or double recipes to practice their math skills in real-life situations. Encourage them to try some recipes at home and freeze the leftovers.
Talk about equivalent measurements such as 4 quarts = a gallon or 8 ounces = a cup. Do some baking together. Or, on hot days, make a batch of no-bake cookies or a tray of fruit juice pops. (Simply fill ice cube trays with fruit juice. Add a craft stick to each cube while it's still slushy. Let freeze, and enjoy!)
The Children's Nutrition and Research Center in Houston has put together a fun Healthy Eating Calculator you can have your students (and their families) use to encourage good nutrition over the summer months: www.kidsnutrition.org/HealthyEating_calculator.htm