Smlwoman\’s Weblog

“Waiting for that golden moment when fear and desire die, and only the unspeakable reality of love remains. “

Math Memory Game November 2, 2013


My kids struggle with math.  And it is not my best subject.  So I came up with a game to make learning the equations more fun.  I have four children and all of them are at different levels.  1-4th grade.  With this game we can all play it together but still be challenged at our own level.  I posted a picture of all you will need.  I used empty cups from the crystal light.  School Glue. Black construction paper or card stock, A Gold acrylic paint pen, or a white out pen, and the canaster to hold the crystal light, and scissors.  I glued black paper in so the numbers are not seen on the reverse side.  I wrote numbers on the paper with a gold deco color pen.  If you don’t have a pen like that, they sell them at Michaels and are not too expensive, you can also use a white out pen.  It is less expensive and works just as great as you can see with the number 8 I made.  If you have just one level, you can write equations, then the kids have to match them but have to answer the question in a specific time to collect the cups.  For my kids I used just numbers.  Now my 6 year old can add the numbers to get the right answer and my 4th grader can multiply the same numbers to get the cups.  I can even use it for division and subtraction if I don’t use anything other then numbers.  And the containers for the crystal light are a perfect place to store the game when you are done playing it!

So the rules:

Youngest goes first

play goes clock wise

on your turn: turn over two cups multiply, subtract, add, or divide the numbers to get the right answer in less then 30 seconds. (As the parent you set what each child has to do, so there is no easy way out.  Remember it is a game but you want to help them learn their math facts faster.)

If you get it right you keep the cups.

play ends when all cups are gone and winner is the one with the most cups.

Have fun!


100 Days of School Project 2012 February 17, 2012

This is by far one of my favorite events in school with my kids. This year it was my own children’s turn to make a project. I was so excited to do this, that I started planning in the beginning of the year!

When fall came I started taking one of my children to go collect Acorn tops. We collected big and little ones.  We knew the bottoms fall off the trees way before the tops do.  Once we saw the bottoms on the ground we knew it wouldn’t be too much longer.  We waited another 3 weeks and finally there were a lot on the ground. We did have to get a few from the trees because we needed a hundred of them and not enough had fallen off yet. When we had enough, we put them in a bag in the garage and waited for our 100th day of school!  Finally the week came for the project! Our 100th day of school fell on Valentines day this year, so they postponed the celebration until the 15th.  I grabbed a brownish orange posterboard from the store to use for the body. I drew the acorn first, but found later I should have just drawn a line to show my child where to stop and let her glue them on. My origional acorn was too large for the ammount of acorn tops that we had.  We wound up just drawing the line after a few mishaps.

First we counted out our 100 acorn tops and double, tripple checked our count.  This is important because it is very hard to recount them after they are on the acorn.  I am sure there is a better way to glue them on so you can count them easier, maybe in 10 rows of 10, but we didnt’ think of this until after we already had them glued on.  She painted a thick layer of glue on about 2 inches wide and 12″ long, and then she started to put the acorn tops on the glue.  We added more glue with a paint brush as we worked our way to the top of the acorn and the stem.  This kept the glue from drying too fast on us.

Another lesson learned is:  I would have used Elmers Glue All instead of school glue. It was way too watery, and left the paper pretty wet and hard to dry. By morning it still wasn’t dried, so I turned it over and turned the ceiling fan on and that helped it to dry while we were getting ready for school. It was still a little wet an hour later, but not too bad.  Another thing that was helpful is I put a heavy book on top of the acorn tops to keep the paper from folding and lifting up as it dried.  After she had all the tops on, I cut out an acorn shape on the bottom. I think it turned out great! And she was pretty proud of it too! Her teacher loved it and hung it up in the classroom.  She was the only one who did something like this and felt even more of a sense of pride when she saw her teacher make such a big deal out of it and to hear the oohs and aahs of her classmates.  She collected the acorns herself with a little help from her big sister, and she glued them all on herself, and counted them out all by herself.  The only thing I did was show her how much glue to use and how to put the glue on the first time, and then i cut out the final shape.  We had a blast working on this together, and I can’t wait to do another 100 days of school project with my youngest child next year!


How to look for a Good Quality Preschool – Teacher Turn Over July 5, 2011

Filed under: Children,Life as a Mom,Preschool Tips for parents — smlwoman @ 12:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have come to realize that a lot of parents are not sure what to look for in a preschool. How do they know if it is the right school for their child? Well I can give you some inside tips about preschools. I was a preschool teacher 20 years, as well as an assistant director for 7 of those years. Working with kids is my passion in life. It is why I taught for so long at such a small wage, and it is why I became a nanny, and it is why I foster and adopt the children in my care.

There are lots of tips so I will break them down to one or two tips per blog. My first tip is about teacher turn over. Preschool teachers are paid very low wages. It is statistically proven that 99% of preschool teachers make poverty wages. Many are taken advantage of. Many are unappreciated. In the first year of teaching you can lose your voice, and have several colds while your body is trying to build up immunity to all the new germs you are exposed to. Some “Open school” plans will allow one teacher to have 20-25 children as long as there are enough teachers in the school to cover ratios. And closed room schools are not much better, you are lucky to get a bathroom break if you need to wait for the director or someone else to come into your room so you can leave to use the restroom. Rarely do Preschool teachers get seen as a teacher. They are often considered glorified babysitters. And it is rare to find a preschool that actually gives it’s teachers their 2/10 minute breaks, and some barely get a lunch if they are to short of staff to cover ratios. You are also required, hours are set depending on which state you work in, to do 15-25 hours of continuing education every year. These hours are unpaid. Most preschool teachers not only teach but clean up vomit, and potty accidents, while also trying to keep 15 children from getting into trouble. They also are the janitors of the school, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning up from lunches, etc. So why do we choose to teach in a preschool?

Some teach to get by while in school. Especially those who are seeking a degree in any career working with children. Some do it for the hours, always off nights and weekends. Some are big kids themselves and then there are some who have a passion for making a difference in the lives of children. It is a career for them. And they spend much of their “personal time” thinking of new and exciting ways to teach. These are the teachers you are looking for. Keep in mind that some teachers may start out in a preschool not having any intention of staying long and then wind up loving what they do so much that their reason for staying changes.

When looking for a school, ask the director how long she has been at this center and how long she has been the director. Ask about turn over. Ask how long the the teacher with the most senority has been at the school. It is rare, but if you find a school with a teacher that has been there for at least 3-5 years then the school treats them right or the teacher has a passion for teaching. If you find a school with several teachers that have been there that long or longer, then snag the school. It means not only do the teachers have a passion for teaching, but that the director helps to keep them from being over stressed. You want a director to be active with their teachers. yes there are things she has to do outside of being in a classroom, but a good director always remembers what it was like to teach before they became a director. If you can find a school like this, and they do exist, then grab it! Preschools with a low turn over rate are not easy to find, but they do exist. And even though this is not the only thing to look for, it is in my opinion, one of the most important ones.