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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Double Negatives and Musical Selections

Double Negatives

The English teacher hates when students write using double negatives because a double negative changes the meaning of what is said. Although the math teacher may not have a problem with double negatives, he or she knows that when you put them together you have a positive.

The rule states that minus a negative is adding. Other than memorizing a meaningless rule, this can be a tough concept to teach. However, if you are teaching minus a negative to seventh graders, you'll probably do better than when I taught this concept to gifted and talented fifth graders.

Let's think of minus a negative as taking away debt! Suppose a student borrowed a dollar from his friend's mom to get a goody at the bake sale. When the student went to pay the friend's mother back, she told him not to worry about it. So in a sense, the boy made a dollar.

$0 - (-$1) = $1

She took away the dollar debt, thus giving the boy a dollar.

Let's look at this another way, from the viewpoint of the English teacher. If I held a pencil in my hand and said, "I don't have nothing in my hand," would this be true?

Yes. I don't have nothing in my hand. I have something . . . a pencil!

The big question, however, is whether or not this argument works in an ethical debate. If I did a wrong and apologized for it, did I take away the wrong? Maybe or maybe not.

Good luck explaining this to your students. The older they are, the more likely they are to understand because once again, this is a Piaget sort of concept!

If you are interested in a resource for teaching middle school math, check this out!
Tune in next week for my last math post, multiplying integers. 

If you'd like to receive freebies along with my posts, sign up for my email list! Although my email posts are similar to my blog posts, people on the email list often receive free resources with my articles. You can, too, simply by signing up to have my emails delivered. Plus, by signing up, you get the free product pictured below. So what have you got to lose? Nothing!

#Free #Teacher #lessons

Monday Music Moves Me

Since I mentioned the ethics of taking away a wrong through an apology, I decided to post these songs about apologizing

First up is Linda and Paul McCartney with Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. I actually had an Uncle Albert; but if anyone should apologize, I'd say it should be him. He was awful to my Dad . . . but that's another post. I'm glad Paul McCartney has fond memories of his Uncle Albert and is apologizing for his generation's treatment of the older generation.

Here's another great song. Elton John with 
Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.

What's even more important than the apology is what someone does to change. That's why I chose this next song, Man in the Mirror, by Michael Jackson.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Leap Into Learning Blog Hop

Blog hop for teachers to pick up free resources

 Reading Specialty  Gateway Behaviors to Bullying Free Reading Passage

Thanks for hopping to Catch My Words. Some bloggy friends and I have joined together to share FREEBIES that you can use at anytime during the year no matter the season. Grab a total of NINE freebies by hopping to each blog until you end up back here. Or, if you want you can check out  just the blogs that feature an item in these grade levels. 

Blog hop for grades pk-2 
Blog hop for grades 3-5 (Contains my Resource)

My freebie has been featured in the TpT newsletter and advertised throughout Teachers Pay Teachers. It's an original story about Gateway Behaviors to Bullying.

 Gateway Behaviors to Bullying FREE Reading Passage

A couple of years ago, our school had an anti-bullying initiative where we were encouraged to teach about gateway to bullying behaviors. I searched all over the internet for a reading passage for my fifth grade class. Everything I found was either babyish or had someone attempting suicide. Since I found nothing in between, I wrote this story to highlight exactly what I wanted to say, and it's FREE!  

This seven page resource, was written to help curb the bullying epidemic in schools. The story follows Miriam and her best friend to see how their behaviors just might hurt feelings. The teacher is instructed to stop throughout the passage to discuss what has taken place. Just click HERE and join over 10,000 teachers who have downloaded this story. If you like it, I'd love to read your feedback!

Read what buyers have said:
  • "Very few resources, if any, focus on those "smaller" bullying behaviors which often go overlooked, but definitely add up emotionally to a victim. I'm so glad this resource takes these behaviors into account. Great job!"
  • "I am blown away. What an excellent resource that gets to the heart of SO MANY behaviors that so many of us do, having begun in our early years of school. I will be using this with my own children in our family discussions, but this would be excellent for classroom guidance class or even just character building time in an ordinary classroom setting. Thorough. Realistic. Fit to today's times and things real kids can relate to. I'm awfully curious to read other stories just like this."
  • I like that the story discusses hurtful behaviors commonly seen on the playground but not identified as "bullying". The questions were very thought-provoking. I think my kids (and I) gained a lot from this lesson!

I have a lot of thought provoking reading passage in my store that are from third grade up to high school. Feel free to browse my reading passages as a group or check out a few of my favorites!

Are you looking for a new and different historical fiction passage about the Underground Railroad? Take your students on a reading adventure about runaway slaves with this original story. Through this close reading passage, students will learn what it was like to be a runaway slave from around 1860s, America. Students will remain engaged with the story and intrigued with higher level, critical thinking questions. This product is perfect for Black History Month or year round!
This easy to use resource includes:
  • Original first person narrative as told through voice of a male slave.
  • Human faults or qualities of the characters.
  • Close Read symbols to guide and ready students for discussion.
  • Vocabulary questions to clarify meaning of text.
  • Higher level questions to spark critical discussions in the classroom.
  • Grammar correction opportunities from speech of fictional characters.
  • Lines and plenty of room for student answers.
  • Complete answer key for teacher

Or maybe you are interested in saving 30% off the price of individual resources with a bundle.

Are you on the lookout for fun historical fiction reading passages because your social studies book is not grabbing your students' interest? Find this bundle complete with everything you need to engage and challenge you kids. Your students will love these easy to print and go stories with questions and activities that will teach history in an exciting way.
By purchasing this bundle, you are saving 30% off the price of individual resources.
This bundle include SIX reading passages:

Thanks for hopping by. Teachers are awesome!


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Adding and Subtracting Positive and Negative Numbers and Stories

When kids are tasked with having to add and subtract negative numbers, the easiest way to teach this is to pull out a numberline. Although a line has arrows at the ends and never ends, notice how teachers always tell students to, "Get in a line!" I was a weird teacher because I told mine to get into a line segment or make two parallel line segments. Sometimes when we were waiting outside the bathroom, I asked the kids to make perpendicular lines, or I'd ask them to count off using prime numbers. That was always fun! But back to the old number line.

using a number line for teaching addition and subtraction of positive and negative numbers

The number line above goes in both directions, as a middle school number line should, so when you go to solve a problem, you simply count in the direction of the number's sign. Ie., if there is not a negative sign in front of it, you will head right or in the positive direction. If the number is negative move to the left.

 -10 + 5 = -5

Number lines to solve problems involving positive and negative integers

A number line makes teaching this concept so much easier than trying to teach without one.

But, what if kids are tasked with adding numbers such as:

- 4 + 8 =

To solve this problem, I tell kids to use the commutative property of addition.

-4 + 8 = 8 + -4 = 8 - 4

You can turn this problem into a first grade problem!

If you are interested in a resource for teaching middle school math, check this out!
Tune in next week for tips on how to teach minus a negative number.

Monday Music Moves Me

This week is all about songs that tell stories, so here is the ultimate classic in that department.

American Pie, by Don McLean

This musical number tells a farewell story to the 50s and 60s and how music died with the plane crash that killed Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper. The music is filled with hidden messages involving the Vietnam War and Jackie Kennedy, "the widowed bride" in some accounts, while others believe the song is referring to Buddy Holly's pregnant wife who miscarried. One could spend the year analyzing the story of American Pie, but I'd rather just listen to it.

Next up is Paul Simon with Me and Julio Down at the School Yard.

This is the story of a couple of kids in trouble for the unknown actions down at the school yard. Simon purposely kept the actions vague; but whatever it was, Mama and Papa didn't like it!

This last song is one I had to post because I believe history has gotten it all wrong with blaming poor Mrs. O'Leary and her cow for the Chicago Fire of 1871. I've written a different version of this story that you can purchase at my TpT Store.

Historical Fiction Story about Chicago Fire of 1871, theory of what really happened

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Another Chance to Win TpT Money #Weloveteachers

Guess What? 

I've joined in with another group of sellers to give you 
a chance to win a $375 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.

Want to win $375?
Click HERE to find the Rafflecopter!

and enter!

This month, I have posted two new resources
for middle school students.
Be on the lookout for several more to come, soon!

Positive and Negative Integer Operations Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying

Are your kids having trouble understanding how to work with positive and negative integers and telling them to "memorize the rules" doesn't help? Are you also looking for word problems involving integers? Here is a thorough resource that explains positive and negative integer operations in a language that kids can understand.

This math resource is so new that it's
1/2 off for 24 days,
so grab it while it's on sale!

Middle School ELA Stations about YouTube Stars #iteachtoo

Do you see middle school eye rolling everytime you pull out a nonfiction passage with questions for your students to read? Here is a nonfiction reading passage that measures up to the interests of 6th, 7th, or 8th graders. Now, your kids can read about what they love to watch on YouTube!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Algebra, Geometry, It's Math, Oh My!

Now, that you've learned all about teacher evaluations, it's time for a new topic, math. If you don't teach math, please bear with me. Afterall, I am the author of Catch My Products, which is The Gifted Department Store, so I change topics frequently. Were you around in the fall for my writing tips month? I have something for just about everyone. If you don't teach math, what topic would you like to see me tackle, next month?

Math book has a lot of problems. #education #iteachtoo


As a child, I seemed to make better grades in reading class than mathematics; however, my math achievement test scores were always higher than reading. Go figure? Maybe I had harder math teachers who taught me more.

Nonetheless, everything went south in eighth grade when the teachers did not recommend me for algebra. This was not okay with my dad. He called the teachers and pushed me into a class I was not ready for. I believe this mistake had two results. First of all, I was not mature enough for the subject matter and thus not able to grasp it; two, I believe my teacher resented me being in her class and not understanding the concepts. It wasn't my fault that I was pushed into her class and therefore could not understand her teaching.

Math is developmental and is all part of Piaget's Theory of Development. Pour the same amount of water into a tall thin glass and a short wide glass and then ask a toddler which container contains more water. The kid will undeniably assert that the tall glass has more water in it. To try to explain that the amount of water in both containers is the same is like beating your head against the wall. Toddlers are just not ready to understand this concept. That is math. Understanding relates to maturity, even more than intelligence, all of the way up the grades.

I passed Algebra in eighth grade, which forced me into geometry come freshman year and advanced algebra as a sophomore. This set me up for a pattern of failure, or in my case, successes with a lot of hard work and frustration.

Math phobia with math books in horror section of library #iteachmath
When I entered my freshman year of college, I was required to take a math class. I took one look at that textbook and saw the advanced algebra class that gave me a fit in high school. So, I did what any scared student would do. I took the class pass/fail. This was one of my biggest mistakes in college. By the time I had reached college age, I had matured a lot. This math class was the easiest class I ever took, yet I had signed up for it, pass/fail. When it came time for exams, all of my tests were scheduled for the beginning of the week with my math final on Saturday. So, I approached my professor and asked if my /A/ was strong enough to pass me, if I received a zero on the final exam. He said, "Yes," and with his blessing, I skipped town without taking the final.

So why tell you this? It's two fold. If you are a parent, please listen to teacher recommendations for your children and do not force them into classes that they are not ready for. As a teacher, please try to have patience with that child in your class who just doesn't understand math concepts. Although my eighth grade teacher never admitted that she didn't like me, I knew it. 

Please tune in next week for some ideas for teaching math concepts. It's ironic but having once struggled in math classes, I find myself to be a pretty good teacher when it comes to explaining these concepts.

Would you like a free resource? Although my email posts are similar to my blog posts, people on the email list often receive free resources with my articles. You can, too, simply by signing up to have my emails delivered. Plus, by signing up, you get the free product pictured below. So what have you got to lose? Nothing!

#Free #Teacher #lessons

Monday Music Moves Me - Blogger's Choice

Since I discussed math, how about some musical selections that contain math themes or numbers? First up is Harry Styles and One Direction with "Your Math Skills are Terrible."

Next up is one of my favorite bands from the past, Chicago with "25 Or 6 To 4."

Monday, February 3, 2020

TpT Gift Card Giveaway and Sitewide Sale!

You aren’t going to want to miss out on this!

I have some crazy big news that is going to have you doing a happy dance.

Starting now but ending soon . . .

Starting tomorrow…
Every single resource in my store will be 20% off!
It gets even better. If you use the promo code FEBSALE, TPT will give you an additional 5% off!
That is a total of 25% off of all of my resources, including bundles.
This amazing offer will only be available tomorrow and Wednesday! You need to be quick. So how about getting your cart ready now?
Not sure where to start?
Here are four of my favorite resources:
Are you looking for a Harry Potter product that will engage your students while giving them a fun and challenging logic puzzle activity at the same time? If your kids are in love with anything Harry Potter and looking for a fun activity, too, here is the resource for you. Your kids will love it!
Do your students have trouble making inferences from text? This standards based PowerPoint lesson guides students in the art of making inferences. It also includes a funny photo with the chance to make an inference and an exit ticket. Your students will love being asked to make inferences from these written passages.
Do you have trouble getting your kids to use accountable talk or to respond to open ended questions during class discussions? If so, this bundle is made for you! With easy to use printable pages that will have your students excited about learning, this resource will make accountable talk super easy.

Are you looking for math products to compliment your literary studies? Students love to solve word problems related to the novels they read, especially when they are funny. Plus, with today's emphasis on multi-subject lessons, here are several, standards based, math worksheets related to novels. This easy to use, print and go, is a good way to tie in two subjects during a novel study. Find common core standards in this packet of multiple novel-based word problems.

Also, find these links to February Resources and Winter Resources!
I have a plethora of seasonal products to engage and challenge your kids.
I hope this helps you to get your cart ready for the big sale! Let me know if you have questions.
Click HERE to head to my store.
Happy shopping!
Catch My Products
P.S. Remember that the giveaway ends at midnight tomorrow and the sale is only TOMORROW and Wednesday!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Closing the Observation Lesson and Music

Time to Close the Directed Lesson

Time to end the teaching lesson - how to

Have you ever been so nervous during an evaluation that you forget to close the lesson? I have! Here are some tips for ending that teacher observation and thus giving that administrator the signal . . . it's time for you to leave.

  • I will usually close a lesson by asking the kids what they have learned. Then I will say, "Let's do one more." With that final problem, teachers can look at the faces on the kids and get a clue at who may be ready for independent practice and who needs more help.
  • Finally, give those who are ready, some sort of independent practice and work individually with anyone who seems confused.
  • To test the kids' understanding, do something on each child's individual level. This is where things can get tricky! You have so many different kids to teach, yet that administrator expects individuality. Also, you must do this while doing your best not to let the kids know that they aren't all getting the same thing. It helps to have the pages look alike on a quick glance.
  • Enrichment: Of course you must have something in play for that early finisher but make sure it relates to the day's teaching. I've been dinged for having the kids go to my enrichment center that has general materials that don't necessarily relate to what I taught on any given day. Dang! Teaching is a lot of work. I remember one lesson on area and perimeter where I taped off a section in the back of the classroom. Early finishers would get out of their seats to count floor squares. That was pretty cool! Although, you must be wary of kids disrupting those who are still working.
  • When everyone is done, I like to take them to the bathroom, water fountain, or recess. Ie., the signal for the principal to leave and for you to take a deep breath. Congrats! You're done until next time.
Celebrate that night! 

Teachers celebrate being finished with observation lesson.
Would you believe this was a gift from a student?

If you are just checking in, find past posts on the teacher evaluation: 
Teacher Observations, Beginning 
The Observation Continues

If you are looking for great, ready made lesson, check out my store, Catch My Products. I call myself the gifted department store because I have just about everything. I'm even thinking about adding some resources for adult literacy learners, since I will soon be teaching helping an adult improve reading skills.

And now, Monday Music Moves Me

Today's theme is love songs and break up songs. This first musical number by Bachman Turner Overdrive has been on my mind.

Here's a great break up song from way back when by Simon & Garfunkle.