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Some children do very well at memorizing their multiplication tables.  Some struggle.  An important bridge students need to cross before multiplying is skip-counting. Skip-counting is a concept that helps students understand their multiplication drills.  Sometimes, the reason children struggle with their multiplication tables is that they have skipped this VERY important step. Skip-counting forwards is not enough.  They must learn to skip-count backwards, as well. If a child can say their multiplication tables with ease and cannot skip-count with ease, then they have only memorized a bunch of numbers.  This will cause problems eventually.      The first step to learning to skip-count should involve a hundred chart or number line.  This visual tool helps them have some confidence and visualize number sequences.  Have them count backwards from 60 to zero by 3's.  Next, have them start at 100 and count backwards by 5's.  Finally,... read more

From the very beginning, I have always loved reading. Even today, it is one of my favorite things to do for fun. If you are not sure what books to get, here are some ideas. The two most famous awards given to childrens' books are the Caldecott Medal and Newberry Medal. Caldecott Medal books are all aimed at the younger readers, while the Newberry ones are generally for older children. The 2011 Caldecott Medal winner is "A Sick Day for Amos McGee" by Philip C. Stead. The following description came from the American Library Association. "In this tender tale of reciprocity and friendship, zookeeper Amos McGee gets the sniffles and receives a surprise visit from his caring animal friends. Erin Stead’s delicate woodblock prints and fine pencil work complement Philip Stead’s understated, spare and humorous text to create a well-paced, gentle and satisfying book, perfect for sharing with friends." There are also two Caldecott... read more

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