Daily Brain Teaser #35

It's raining numbers!

Draw a bubbles around groups of raindrops to make four different groups. The raindrops in each group must add up to 20.

Creative Inspirations

The quote above is located in the restroom at the Horses Mouth Bookstore and Internet Cafe in Buffalo, Texas. If you were here, as I am (far from my home in Bothell, Washington), you would not need to read it backwards because it is located on the wall directly across from the mirror, so of course it is reflected backwards, which is forwards to the reader.
How amazingly clever is that? And what a great example of creativity. And how did Laura St. John, the owner of this absolutely charming establishment (that I would frequent daily, were it only located in my part of the country) come up with the idea? She was in her car driving, thinking about the bookstore when the movie, The Shining popped into her head, specifically, the part where a little girl writes the words, red drum on a mirror, which of course when read backwards is murder. Leonardo da Vinci often wrote things backwards. And so the whole thing flows together perfectly, beautifully.
I love this story because it shows how the experiences of our lives can inspire creativity. Something you see, do, feel, learn, or experience in one sphere of your life can be the beginning of a creative idea in a whole different part of your life.
Which means that one great way to facilitate creativity is to have a great many and varied experiences, and to give your kids that same opportunity. So, go to the zoo, the museum, the bookstore. Travel, read, ask questions, walk in the woods, try a new recipe, learn new things and on and on and on and on. Creativity is everywhere, even, and perhaps especially, thousands of miles from home.

Daily Brain Teaser #34

  • Grandma and Grandpa had six children.
  • Each of those six children grew up and had four children of their own
  • Those children all grew up and each one had two children.
  • Everyone is coming to Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
How many people will be at the table?
Hint: It will have to be a really big table!

Traveling with Kids: No Screens Allowed

Yes, you have a portable DVD player (your vehicle may have even come with one) and yes, your kids have a wide array of handheld video games. And yes, making use of these devices ensures a quiet and peaceful ride. It also ensures that your kids' brains will be on autopilot and that no interaction of any depth will take place.

The alternative? Make a travel kit for your children. Put everything into a bin, plant it in the backseat (or under the seat in an airplane) and watch your kids actually use their brains, have fun, and perhaps even grow closer to their siblings as they interact together (really, it can happen!)

Audio Books With books on CD, MP3 or cassettes, you get basically the same effect as a movie or video game - kids are happy and quiet, but they are also listening to quality literature and using their imaginations. Public libraries have a wide selection and many have ways to download MP3 audio books online without even visiting the library. You can listen as a family by using the vehicles audio system, or you can hook your kids up with earphones. A double jack is a handy thing to have so that two children can listen to the same story.

Arts and Crafts Materials You can buy a travel set, but it is not all that hard to collect things from around the house. Consider including:
  • Colored pencils and markers (no crayons if you are going somewhere warm!)
  • Pad of drawing paper
  • Stickers (get lots of colored dots for little kids)
  • A portable whiteboard with markers
  • Small amount of playdough in a baggie
  • Wiki Stix
  • Colorful pipe cleaners
  • Yarn if you have a knitter, finger weaver, or braider
Games It seems like every board game ever made now has a travel edition, which is great, but just because it is small, does not necessarily make it a good choice for the car. Watch out for small pieces that are easily lost and games that require a flat playing surface. Choose two or three favorites. We have gotten a lot of mileage from Trouble, Travel Bingo, Mad Libs, and card type trivia games. You can also play family car games.
Other Neat Stuff
  • Map of where you are going so they can track the journey
  • Puzzle books - sudoku, invisible pen books, word searches etc.
  • Mini Etcha Sketch
  • Various Klutz products
  • Magnet boards
  • Window stickies
  • Prism glasses (makes lights into rainbows, great for night travel)
  • One-piece handheld puzzles such as a Rubrics Cube or those puzzles with loops, and rings that you have to untangle in some clever way
  • You could print out Daily Brain Teasers for some challenging fun
  • Snacks!
Looking for more ideas for Summer Learning Fun? Check out the Linky Party at Teacher Blog Addicts!

I'm sure I missed many great ideas. If you have more to add, please add a comment!

Daily Brain Teaser #33

Uncle Clarance ate more turkey than Uncle Ethan.
Uncle Ethan ate less turkey than Uncle Morton.
Uncle Pete is a vegetarian.

Write "T" if the statement is true, "F" if it is false, and "C" if you cannot tell.

___Uncle Morton ate more turkey than Uncle Ethan.
___Uncle Clarance ate the most turkey.
___Uncle Morton may have eaten more turkey than Uncle Clarance.
___Uncle Pete ate less turkey than Uncle Ethan.
___Uncle Pete ate ham instead of turkey.
Favorite Quotes

Macrame Owls

A Few Good Jokes

SoS on TpT

Charter for Compassion

No Prep Teaching Materials

In addition to Minds in Bloom, I am also a Top Ten seller on teacherspayteachers.com. I specialize in creating ready-to-use materials that can be implemented with little or no teacher preparation. My offerings are all highly rated and reasonably priced.

I have included a little information about each set of materials here, but there is much more information available, as well as free preview pages if you follow the link.

Creative and Critical Thinking

Analogy Practice
This bundle is 18 pages plus answer keys and includes:
-3 Multiple choice worksheets
-9 Themed fill-in-the blank worksheets
-1 Analogy Challenge worksheet
-3 Analyzing Analogies worksheets
-2 Finish/Create the analogies worksheets

Math Enrichment
This bundle is 20 pages plus answer keys
Reinforces basic skills in ways that require critical and creative thinking. Skills include:
- Addition and subtraction
- Regrouping
- Multiplication basic facts
- Multiplication operations
- Division
- Fractions
- Money
- Graphing
- Measurement
- Equalities
- Spatial/Geometry
- Story problems

Educational Scavenger Hunts

This bundle is 12 different scavenger hunts and includes:
-Library Scavenger Hunt
- Dictionary Scavenger Hunt
- Newspaper Scavenger Hunt
- Calendar Scavenger Hunt
- Internet Scavenger Hunt
- Classroom Scavenger Hunt (good for the start of the year)
- Kids in our Class Scavenger Hunt
- Food at Home Scavenger Hunt
- Math Scavenger Hunt
- Word Scavenger Hunt
- Nature Scavenger Hunt
-Creative Scavenger Hunt

200 Would You Rather Questions for Kids
Here are 200 appealing Would You Rather question, plus 2 worksheet templates that allow you to easily cut and paste the questions of your choice for a fun writing assignment.

Creative and Critical Thinking Activities
This bundle is 16 pages
-Lots of upper-level Blooms (analyze, synthesize, and evaluate), creative thinking, and logic.
-Great as homework or enrichment
-Fun and Challenging

More Creative and Critical Thinking Activities

This bundle is 16 pages plus answer keys
Another exciting set of great activities!

Any Book Literature Worksheets.
These worksheets can be used with almost any book. They are great when you don't have a literature guide or when students are reading independently. You can use many of them over and over again throughout the year.

Literature Worksheets Grades 1-3
This bundle is 18 pages and includes:
-One pre-reading teacher approval worksheet
-Sixteen worksheets that can be used while reading or after reading the book
-One student handout of creative book projects.
Skills include: summarizing, characterization, plot, setting, creative thinking, critical thinking, and vocabulary

Literature Worksheets Grades 3-6

This bundle is 16 pages and includes:
-One pre-reading teacher approval worksheet
-twelve worksheets designed to be used at then end of a chapter
-Two worksheets for the end of the book
-One student handout of creative book projects
Skills include: summarizing, characterization, plot, setting, creative thinking, critical thinking and vocabulary.

More Literature Worksheets Grades 3-6
This bundle is 25 pages
Skills include: characterization, plot, main idea, summarizing, point of view, dialogue, similes, personification, homophones, synonyms, antonyms, creative and critical thinking, personal connection.

Nonfiction Exploration Worksheets
This bundle is 28 pages and includes:
- Pre-reading teacher approval form
- Pre-reading worksheets
- Practice using the glossary, index and maps and charts.
- Main idea and supporting details
- Note taking and summarizing
- Book Review and other End-of-Book activities
- Four, two-page Guided Book Reports for use with Biography, Animals, Countries, Culture/Tribe/Society
- Independent Project choices for each of the above kinds of books
- Rubric Assessment form to use with Independent Projects

More English Language Arts Materials

Use with Any List Spelling Activities
This bundle is 34 pages and includes:
-30 differentiated spelling worksheets
-2 homework activity sheets, each with several choices for spelling projects
-2 pages to use for pre and post spelling tests.
Skills include: syllables, prefixes/suffixes, alphabetical order, writing sentences, scrambles, codes, patterns, critical and creative thinking.

Language Extension Worksheets
This bundle is 16 pages and includes:
- Homonyms, synonyms and antonyms
- Simile, alliteration and onomatopoeia
- Compound words
- Contractions
- Common and Proper Nouns
- Singular and Plural Nouns
- Adjectives and adverbs
- Using a Thesaurus

Fun Comma Usage Practice Worksheets

This bundle is 18 pages of humorous comma practice. The sentences to be punctuated are sure to make your students giggle while they learn. This lighthearted approach is great for the reluctant learner, but probably not a good fit for conservative teachers. Be sure to download the preview before purchasing.

Shiloh Comprehension Worksheets
This bundle is 18 pages to be used with the novel Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
and includes:
-A pre reading worksheet
-12 Comprehension Worksheets - roughly one per chapter
-3 End-of-Book Worksheets (Cause and Effect, Characters, Plot Summary)
-A book vs. movie worksheet
-An Independent Project Grid with 9 choices

Other Great Resources

Single-Serving Cooking Projects in Pictures
Here is everything you need to cook with kids in a whole new way. Kids love these recipes because they they each get to make their own treat. Teachers love them because they promote independence, following directions, cause and effect relationships, reading, math and fine motor skills.
This bundle includes:
-Instructions and tips on how to best use the recipes with large groups
- Ten Colorful, Kid-Friendly, Single Serving Graphic Recipes
- Ingredient Labels
- Ingredient Request Form

300+ Teacher Tips
Here are over 300 Teacher Tips categorized alphabetically and listed in a quick-to-read bulleted format. Some of the tips are basic for new teachers, but many may be ones you haven't seen before.

Tools for Classroom Management

This bundle provides tools and activities to use throughout the school year, as well as some activities for the first week. Everything is "ready to use" but can also be easily edited. This packet would be ideal for a new teacher or an experienced teacher who would like some new ideas.

Is there a product that you would really like to see that is not here? Please tell me about it! I am always interested in new product ideas.

Daily Brain Teaser #32

What five consecutive numbers add up to 100?

___ ___ ___ ___ and ___

All Brain Teasers
I'm so glad you are here!  Minds in Bloom started as a place for me to share strategies and ideas for teaching creative and critical thinking skills, and while that is still and important piece, it has blossomed into so much more. At this point, about 3/4 of the posts here are written by guest bloggers in the field of education. This has resulted in Minds in Bloom becoming an amazing resource for teachers, tutors, and homeschoolers, as well as counselors, and other professionals who work with children. In addition to posts about teaching strategies and classroom management, you will also find plenty of freebies and an occasional giveaway. Stay on top of it all by using he follow buttons on the right sidebar. 

About Me
As much as I wish I looked like my curly-top cartoon, this is the real me. I have a background in gifted education, but currently work full time as a writer and creator/seller of teacher resources (most recently, task cards). I have over 100 nonfiction books children in print, which you can see here. In addition, I have written several teacher resource books. The ones I am most proud of are a series of Creative and Critical Thinking Skills books that I wrote for Evan Moor. 

Although I enjoy writing books, my passion is creating high quality, ready-to-use teaching resources which I sell on the TeachersPayTeachers website. I believe our future depends on our children being able to think creatively and critically, so I incorporate higher level thinking skills into almost everything I create. Many of my products are also Common Core aligned. About a year ago I started creating Task Cards and now have over 200 sets of them in my store. 

On Teacher Pay Teacher's Top 100 Sellers list, I am currently #2. I am also the #1 seller for grades 3-5.

I am the mother of two pretty much grown children. My son, David is finishing up at Evergreen State College and my daughter Lucy just started her freshman year at Western Washington University. I am recently married to a wonderful guy and am the step mom of two fabulous girls, Emily 15 and Claire 11. We have a dog named Dobby that we are crazy about and an aging kitty. We live in the Seattle area which is beautiful...and wet.
When I am not at the computer, I love to travel, spend time with friends, read, bike, play racquetball, do ZUMBA, Zentangle, and crochet obnoxiously colorful hats. 

Here we all are. Since it was a second wedding, I decided to shake things up by wearing purple and putting our daughters in white. 

We had a chocolate cake!

This is Dobby. He did not get to come to the wedding.

Please feel free to contact me with comments, ideas, questions, etc.


Thanksgiving Analogies

Here are some fun Thanksgiving Analogies to use with your students.
  1. Thanksgiving : November : : Valentine's Day : _________
  2. pilgrim hat : head : : pilgrim shoes : ______________
  3. turkey : bird : : yam : ______________
  4. parade : watch : : food : ______________
  5. kind : helpful : : grateful : _____________
  6. empty : full : : apart : ______________
  7. Thanksgiving : Thursday : : Mother's Day ____________
  8. drumstick : turkey : : crust : _________
  9. Plymouth Rock : place : : The Mayflower : ___________
  10. fork : utensil : : plate : ___________
  11. water : cup : : food : ____________
  12. mash : potatoes : : carve : ____________
  13. Miles Standish : Pilgrim : : Squanto : ____________
  14. turkey leg : drumstick : : spud : ____________
  15. delicious : yummy : : stuffed : ____________
Analogy Worksheets

Daily Brain Teaser #31

Label the yellow chairs to show where everyone sits for Thankgiving dinner.
  • Jan sits at the North end of the table.

  • Peter sits next to Jan and across from Bobby.

  • Marsha sits to the right of Greg.

  • Cindy sits across from Marsha and next to Bobby.

  • Greg sits across from Jan.
Trivia Bonus: Who are Greg, Marsha, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy?

Need a Great Thanksgiving Song?

Here is a link to A Turkey Knocked on My Back Door, from Gettin Creative. It has the lyrics and a video of a child singing the song, which is great for learning the tune.

My daughter brought this song home in second grade. She is in eighth grade now and I still make her sing it!

The Creative Classroom: Come to the Front

Your students spend a lot of time looking at the front of your classroom, so it is important to make the most of that space. This is valuable real estate, so think carefully about how you want to use it.

In most classrooms, the central feature is the whiteboard. If you are one of the lucky few that is blessed with an Interactive White Board (sometimes called an Activboard or SMART board) you may want to have a look at this excellent site on Interactive White Boards in the Classroom, which includes all kinds of ideas for uses, tutorials, and software downloads.

A document camera (sometimes called an ELMO), is another amazing teaching tool to have. If have one, you may want to take a peek at this site, which offers 100 Ideas for using a document camera.

Even if you have these fabulous tools, you probably also have a traditional whiteboard, and in fact, many teaches only have a white board. Hopefully, yours is big and magnetic. Here are some thoughts on making the most of it:

  • Colored dry-erase markers cost the same as black ones, yet so many teachers just have black and red. Colors engage your students and can help make a point. Just stay clear of yellow and light shades of orange and pink.
  • All dry-erase pens are not created equal. Find a brand you like and stick with it.
  • If your school does not budget enough for dry-erase pens, have each child bring a pack at the start of the year as part of their school supplies.
  • I've heard that storing dry-erase markers vertically, caps down extends their life. Consider mounting a marker holder on the whiteboard try for that purpose.
  • Keep nondry-erase markers away from the whiteboard (seems obvious but...)
  • Make sure you have lots of strong ones. Great for displaying specific lesson visual aids, posters, charts, etc. You can get some with hooks too.
  • Make a set of magnets with each child's name. Make sure they are big and easy to grab for the younger grades. These can be used to split kids into groups, take attendance, show the results of a poll, track individual students, show classroom jobs etc.
  • Rather than writing the daily schedule on the board each day, use strips of tag board (sentence strips work great) to write the names of the subjects, laminate, and put magnets on the back. Now you just have to move the subjects around each day and maybe add the times.
More Ways to Use the Space
In addition to the alphabet, roll-up screen and maps, clock etc., you might also want to consider some of these ideas:
  • Table space with commonly used teaching supplies.
  • A tall stool.
  • Banners above and/or below the white board with you favorite quote or saying.
  • Charts or posters you'd like to be in the front of your student's minds, e.g., classroom rules, steps to the writing process, editing symbols, classroom jobs etc.
  • An extra whiteboard, flip chart or giant pad of paper on a stand.
  • You can make a class dictionary by labeling a library pocket with each letter of the alphabet and then putting them below the whiteboard. Add index cards with the corresponding letters for each pocket. When students need a word, they bring it to you (or another classroom helper) to write the word on the card. By December, many of the words students need are already on the cards. When a student needs a word, he simply gets the card, copies the word and puts it back for the next user.
Every so often, sit in one of your student's desks and take a look at what they see when they look at the front of your classroom. Ask yourself: Is it interesting and appealing? Is it too busy? Is it too plain?

Be sure to check back next week for ideas about how to make the most of the back of your classroom.

You may also want to check out the other posts in the Creative Classroom Series

Image from Ms. Larsen's Classroom Homepage.


Daily Brain Teaser #30

Darren goes bowling every third day.
Samantha goes bowling every fourth day.
Tabitha goes bowling every sixth day.
All of them went bowling today. In how many days will they all go bowling on the same day again?

________ days

Trivia Bonus: Who are Darren, Samantha and Tabitha?

Creative Brainstorming with Post-Its

 Traditional group brainstorming usually involves a leader fielding ideas and writing them in list format. However, you can use Post-it notes to make group brainstorming more personal and interactive. In addition, The Post-its method allows you to easily organize ideas once they are all given.

You could use this process in several ways:

  • To solve a classroom problem, e.g., Our Book Nook is in a constant state of Disarray. How can we keep it neat and organized?
  • To gather ideas, e.g., What should we do for our end-of-the-year class party?
  • To Facilitate creative and fluent thinking, e.g.,What are some alternate uses for a paper towel tube?
To brainstorm with Post-Its you will need:

  • A large piece of empty wall or white board space. Use butcher paper if you anticipate wanting to save the brainstorm.
  • Several of the larger-sized Post-it pads. It is nice to have different colors.
  • Felt Tip Markers. Again, nice to have several colors.
Begin by distributing the Post-Its and markers. Encourage children to peel off part of the pad so they get 5-10 Post-its.

Explain the Issue, problem, or question.

Encourage students to write responses on their Post-its. One response per Post-it, ideally written in a short phrase, or even a single word. Adding a little cartoon picture can be fun too.

As students finish each Post-it, they come to the board and post it. They can put their Post it anywhere on the space.

Continue the process until you have a pretty full board and the group seems to be running low on ideas. Then you know it is time to move onto Part 2.

Part 2 involves organizing what is probably a mass of Post-its.

Begin by asking the students if they see any duplicate or similar ideas. Group duplicate ideas together.

Continue this process until every Post-it is grouped. You may have a few stragglers that don't fit into a group. That is just fine.

You can give each group a name that characterizes the group. This is a nice exercise in synthesis. But that depends on the kind of brainstorming you are doing.

This could be the end of your process. However, if you are problem solving, you will want to look more carefully at your groupings and work on choosing or developing a concrete solution.

If you want to keep a record of the process, take a picture of the board before you take it all down.

I learned this powerful technique from Stan Crow, a man who taught with kindness and wisdom and who sadly, is no longer with us.

You can find more ideas for using Sticky Notes at the linky party at Create-Teach-Share

Picture from Fresh Ideas Blog


Daily Brain Teaser #29

Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack each have a favorite school lunch. Read the clues to discover each child's favorite.

Karen is allergic to dairy products.
Grace does not eat meat.
Thanksgiving is Will's favorite holiday.

Pepperoni Pizza___________
Corn dog_______________
Turkey and Gravy_________
Green Salad___________

Thanksgiving Would You Rather Questions

Would you rather….
have to eat turkey for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week after Thanksgiving
orhave to wear a pilgrim costume to school for a week after Thanksgiving
wash your hair with mash potatoesorhave to take a bath in gravy
eat your entire Thanksgiving dinner with no eating utensilsorhave to sit at the table in your swimsuit and a pilgrim hat
get to lead the Thanksgiving day paradeorget to eat Thanksgiving dinner in the White House with the president
eat Thanksgiving dinner with a large group of extended family and friendsoreat with just your immediate family and a few close friends
have the best tasting Thanksgiving dinner you can imagine with a group of strangersorhave an only okay tasting Thanksgiving dinner with your family and friends
eat Thanksgiving dinner with your familyoreat Thanksgiving dinner with the three celebrities of your choice
have to cook the entire Thanksgiving mealorhave to clean up and do the dishes for the entire Thanksgiving meal
have to eat only cranberry sauce for a dayorhave to eat only gravy for a day
be a pilgrim at the first Thanksgivingorbe a Native American at the first Thanksgiving
have to write a five paragraph essay on what you are thankful fororhave to solve a page of Thanksgiving-themed word problems
have to eat a piece of pumpkin pie in which the cook accidentally switched the salt and the sugarorhave to eat a bowl of mashed potatoes that contains three flies
have your teacher over to your house for Thanksgiving dinneroreat Thanksgiving dinner at your teacher's house
watch football after dinnerorplay football after dinner
not be allowed to talk during Thanksgiving dinnerornot be allowed to have dessert on Thanksgiving
never celebrate Thanksgiving againornever celebrate Valentine's Day again
have to sing the song "Over the River and Through the Woods" by yourself in front of your classorhave to walk around with mashed potatoes on your head for one school day.
have to cook the entire Thanksgiving meal for your familyorvolunteer at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving
have to slaughter the turkey you and your family eat for Thanksgiving dinnerorhave the turkey your family eats for Thanksgiving live with you in your room for a week before it is killed for your Thanksgiving feast
be a turkey farmerorbe a pilgrim

Daily Brain Teaser #28

Use the phone keypad to decode all of these Thanksgiving words.
Example: 887539 = TURKEY

  1. 9267___________
  2. 74547467_________
  3. 33278 __________
  4. 47289__________
  5. 629356937__________
  6. 84265385___________
  7. 7867546 743 ______________
  8. 533868377______________

Daily Brain Teaser #27

During October Lucy played her guitar for 45 minutes each day.
During November, she played her guitar for an hour each day.
How many more hours did she play the guitar in November than October?

Where are the Daily Brain Teasers?

Check out the right sidebar to get to the Daily Brain Teasers or you can get them all here. I've filtered them off the main page in order to implement tabs, which are coming soon! Actually, my CGBF filtered them off for me. I just watched and clapped.

New York Times Article on Teachers Selling their Work

How is it that no one thinks twice about teachers forking out big bucks (often their own) for teaching materials from coorporate publishers, but when a teacher wants to make a few extra dollars from lesson plans, worksheets, or other teacher material she has developed, people cry foul play?

This morning's NY Times article Selling Lesson Plans online Raises Cash and Questions, kind-a-sorta presents both sides.

Obviously, I think teachers buying and selling each others' products is a great way for us to help each other out. It isn't like teachers are paid nearly what they are worth. I am happy to pay a fellow teacher for a high quality, classroom-tested product, and I don't feel that I am entitled to her work for free just because we are in the same profession.

Personally, I'd rather have my child's teacher selling what she has developed while working in the classroom (on my tax dollar) than coming to work tired because she had to take a second job to pay the mortgage.

Find X

Today I stupidly lost a document. I am too frustrated to write a wonderfully inspirational post or even a useful one, so instead I offer this, in hopes that it will at least make you laugh.

I wish my document was "x."

Fun Math Enrichment

Educational Scavenger Hunts

Daily Brain Teaser #26

David decided it was time to get rid of a bunch of books that he had outgrown. He started out by giving half the books to his younger cousin. Of the books that were left, one-eighth of them were about trains, so he gave those to the little girl next door who loves trains. Of the books that were left, he gave one-fourth of them to his little brother. He sold two-thirds of the ones that were left at a yard sale. Then he donated the last seven books to charity.
How many books did David decide to get rid of before he gave any away?

_____ books

Allowing Children to Take Risks

A very long time ago I read something in a parenting book (of course I can't remember which one) that said that we as parents should allow our children to do risky things, even those things like tree climbing that scare us half to death. Further, this author said never to tell a child to be careful. The reason given was that by telling our kids to be careful we are essentially saying something along the lines of, "You are too stupid to exercise enough caution in this endeavor, and so therefore you need me to remind you to be careful." Rather said the author, we should trust that our children have a healthy sense of self-preservation and know their boundaries.

And so I followed her advice (within reason). I allowed my kids to climb trees, swim in ocean currents, free range on their bikes and so forth. I did of course draw lines, but I think my lines were drawn at places that often made other parents uncomfortable, and quite frankly, made me uncomfortable. And I didn't tell them to be careful. Thankfully, they are both still intact, not even a broken bone.

In theory, my kids should be more confident, and less afraid of what is waiting for them in the unknown world of adulthood. But, there is no control group in child raising. I am not necessarily encouraging this path for others, merely, asking parents to consider where they are drawing those lines, and why, and to reconsider the words, "be careful."

200 Would You Rather Questions

Fun With Commas

Daily Brain Teaser #25

Julia is half as old as her older brother.
When she is the age that her big brother is now, he will be 18.
How old are Julia and her brother now?

Julia's brother ____

Today is My Birthday!

If you would like to give me a birthday present, here are some ideas:

  • Submit a post (but not this one!) from Minds in Bloom to your favorite social networking site - Stumble Upon, Delicious, Face Book Twitter etc. There is a handy little link button at the bottom of each post for doing just that!

  • Link to Minds in Bloom on your own blog or website.

  • Become a Friend (follower) of Minds in Bloom or subscribe. There is a place to do both those things on the left sidebar.

  • Leave comments. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  • Keep coming back and tell your friends. I post every weekday so there is always something new to see!
My goal is to make Minds in Bloom a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers. Anything you can do to help is very much appreciated!

Daily Brain Teaser #24

Today is Rachel's Birthday! Use the clues to find out how incredibly old she is.

Rachel's age is a two-digit number. One of the numbers is even and one of the numbers is odd.

If you add the two digits, the sum is 9

If you subtract one digit from the other, the difference is 1.

Rachel is not yet half a century old (although her boyfriend is).

How old is Rachel? _____

The Creative Classroom - Your Class Library

The two main challenges with a classroom library seem to be making it cozy and inviting, yet easily accessible and keeping it organized. Here are some thoughts on both.

Make it Inviting
Most kids love cozy spaces. Ideally, your class library should be in a corner of your room, away from the door and the sink. A rug is a must. Bean bags, big pillows, cozy chairs, or even a couch will really add to the space. I've also seen lofts, tents, tepees, and hanging curtains or beads to help make the space special and different from the rest of the classroom. Using furniture such as a low, sturdy bookshelf to divide the space from the rest of the room is also a good strategy. Decorate the walls with something interesting. Some possibilities:
  • Dust jackets from your favorite books.
  • Quotes from your favorite books (poster or banner size).
  • Book posters - there always seem to be some from the scholastic book clubs.
  • Photos of your students reading together.
  • Construction paper circles with the names of books kids have read (they write the titles and put them up themselves, you just have the circles available)
  • One year I decorated with five colorful clocks set (and labeled) to different times around the world. The words that went with them were, "There's Always Time for a Good Book."
Keep it Organized
If you have a lot of books (and hopefully you do) then keeping things organized is likely to be a challenge. Here are some thoughts:
  • Labeled bins work really well, even for older kids.
  • Rain gutters nailed to the wall can also be used to display books.
  • You'll need a check-out system of some sort. There are some good ideas at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk
  • The class library is a great place for class books (books in which each student has contributed a page.)
  • You can also encourage kids to recommend books to each other with a Class Book Review Notebook. Use a 3 ring binder and a simple and fun-to-fill-out book review sheet. You can get a free one here. Encourage students to add their reviews as they finish books, grouping them alphabetically.
Call your class library something inviting like The Book Nook or The Reading Corner.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Creative Classroom series and be sure to come back next week when we'll talk about the whiteboard/front of class.

Looking for more Class Library Ideas? Check out the linky party at The Sweet Life in Third Grade!

Green Bins Picture from Coaches Corner
Book Nook Picture from Krista Franklin

Teaching Resources

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