Additional Math Pages & Resources

Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Library of Congress!

Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
On April 24, 1800 the Library of Congress was established. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. President John Adams approved legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress," thus establishing the Library of Congress.

The first books were ordered from London and arrived in 1801. They were stored in the U.S. Capitol, the library's first home.The first library catalog listed listed 964 volumes and nine maps.

Twelve years later, the Library of Congress housed 3000 volumes.

Unfortunately, the British army invaded the city of Washington that year and burned the Capitol, including the Library of Congress.

President Thomas Jefferson responded by selling his personal library, the largest and finest in the country, to Congress to "recommence" the library. The purchase of Jefferson's 6,487 volumes was approved in the next year, and a professional librarian, George Watterston, was hired to replace the House clerks in the administration of the library.
Library of Congress
Jefferson Building

In 1851, a second major fire at the library destroyed about two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes, including two-thirds of the Thomas Jefferson library (pictured). Congress responded quickly and generously to the disaster, and within a few years a majority of the lost books were replaced.

Read more . . .

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five-Minute Math Class Warm-Ups: Adding Time Intervals

school clock
Making every minute count in your math class means giving your students something to do the moment they enter the room. It also means letting them know your expectations so no time is wasted with repeating instructions.

At this time of the school year, students may need to relearn some of the procedures you (hopefully) taught them at the beginning of the year.

So we wanted to give you some tips for finishing the year on a positive note. How wonderful would it be if your students were on task before the bell rings, already beginning the work of learning mathematics (or whichever subject you teach).

Keep Students on Task
Number Line with Time Intervals
Excel Math Number Line with Time Intervals
However you begin your class, discipline problems are kept to a minimum when your students know they must be on task from the minute they enter the room.

Having control of the class, filling each moment with well-prepared activities, and setting up a structured way to begin the lesson that they can count on each day provides students with a sense of security and familiarity. 

According to Harry Wong, educational speaker from Mountainview, California, "You would not expect a truck driver to haul an expensive load without first making sure he knew how to drive the truck. Neither can you expect students to succeed if they do not know the routines and procedures of your class."

There's no time like the present to get your students on task before class starts.  Read more from Harry and Rosemary Wong at

Flower Clock Patterns
Flower Clocks from Excel Math
Decide on a Warm-Up Activity
Here is a well-thought-out math class warm-up routine from the Teaching Channel: 
You can easily adapt Laura Alcala's "Favorite No" warm-up activity for elementary math classes. Try it out with the clock exercises below and let us know how it worked with your students.

Flower Clocks
If your students need practice telling time, print out these Flower Clock patterns onto heavy paper or cardboard (or let students glue a clock pattern onto a paper plate) and give one to each child along with scissors, a cardboard arrow shape, and a brass paper fastener. 

Read more . . .

If you have additional math warm-ups you've used with your class, feel free to share them in the comment section immediately following this post. (Click on the word comment to begin.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrate the Week of the Young Child

The theme for the 2015 Week of the Young Child™ is Celebrating Our Youngest Learners! However, the National Association for the Education of Young Children's theme for WOYC is a suggestion rather than a mandate.

Children learn so much as they sing, count, play instruments, bang pots and pans, prepare food with their families, build with blocks, paint (even with water), create art projects, wash dishes, splash in the tub, watch objects sink or float, dig in sand, tend a garden, water plants, jump in leaves and feel the grass between their toes.

Here are some additional ideas to spark the creative juices in young children from infants to toddlers and preschoolers:

Excel Math lessons are filled with creative ideas to spark the interest of young children and help them succeed in math.

Lessons begin with Kindergarten, and a Pre-Kindergarten edition is available for Summer School to help youngsters prepare for the school year.

Activities include sorting, counting and cardinality, creating numbers with various art materials, clapping and stomping, finding patterns, recognizing coins, tracing numbers, and much more.

Take a look at lesson samples in three versions:
Here's a student lesson sheet from Excel Math Kindergarten:
Excel Math Kindergarten Student Lesson Sheet
Here are just a few of the reasons these math lessons work so well for young students:

Kindergarten Exercise
Kindergarten Exercise from Excel Math
Creative Exercises 
Exercises are provided after every five days of lessons.

They are designed to be fun to do and to reinforce the math concepts the students are learning.

Exercises might include coloring by number, following a maze, tracing a path through a number grid, counting by tens in teams, comparing attributes of shapes, finding shapes in the classroom, sorting objects of different lengths and lots more.

Hands-On Resources
Manipulatives (printable resources) are included on the Excel Math Student Lesson Sheets, in the back of the Teacher Edition and online.

Some manipulatives are reproducible masters that the students can use to make 3-D objects, picture cards to sort and classify, visuals and counters to cut apart for math story problems, and lots more.

Using these masters, students begin to add and subtract using Ten Frames, create composite shapes with smaller shapes, form patterns, count objects, decompose numbers, and play math games.

Shapes Cube

Creative Activities 
Activities are included every 6-10 lessons.

These hands-on mini-lessons may reinforce a concept taught a few days before or teach something that is not easily communicated with pencil and paper work.

Activities often involve students moving out of their seats or creating things from craft supplies.

Excel Math provides lots of opportunities for young children to experience hands-on learning. 
Excel Math lessons give teachers the resources they need to help every child succeed and achieve (at high levels) in elementary mathematics.

Read more . . .
Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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Financial Awareness for Students

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Financial Awareness for Students

Since April is Financial Awareness month, we thought we'd give you some teaching ideas for bringing financial awareness to your math classroom.

Excel Math lessons provide lots of opportunities for students to learn about coins, dollars, decimals, making change, solving word problems dealing with money, calculating unit cost, etc.

Excel Math Teacher Editions are also available in versions for:
Excel Math Coin Comparison Chart
Our Grades 1 - 6 Excel Math Texas Teacher Editions include a reproducible Budget Worksheet to help students develop a system for keeping and using financial records and to learn to balance a budget when expenses exceed income.

Older students learn to calculate interest, sales tax, and percents. Feel free to give each of your students a few coins and the Coin Dimensions Chart on the right so they can compare the various attributes of the coins. (Click to Read more for the downloadable chart.)

Ask a few of the following questions:

Which coin is widest? (half dollar)
Which is smallest? (dime)
Which is thickest? (nickel)
Which coin probably weighs more? (half dollar)
Which is worth more? (dollar coin)
Which is made of copper? (penny)

Read more . . .
Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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