How Do You Say Your Name? Thoughts on Student Identity

My Name My Identity, Imagine Learning blog, name pronunciation, classroom, teachers, educatorsA new boy shows up at school. As he walks through the classroom door, the teacher welcomes him by saying, “Tell us your name.”

The boy, who has just moved to America from the Philippines, announces his name as Banoy Pamatmat. Whereupon the teacher asks, “Could you repeat that?”

Welcome to an increasingly common scenario in today’s schools.

As more immigrants relocate to America, educators encounter a wider array of new names and faces. And many of those names are challenging to pronounce. Read more »


Fun Math Games For Kids This Summer

At Imagine Learning, we know that “fun” and “math” don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. This challenge makes learning basic math concepts a little difficult sometimes.

However, we also know how important these basic math skills are––so we created a list of super fun math games to help your kids learn subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication this summer. Or anytime!

Beach Ball Addition

beach ball addition math game

Supplies needed:

  • Beach ball
  • Permanent marker


Label a beach ball with numbers 1-12 (make sure to repeat numbers for practice adding doubles). Have your children toss the ball to each other. Before they can pass it on to the next person, they simply add whatever numbers are under their hands after they catch it. Read more »


Teacher Highlight: Tips from a TESOL kindergarten teacher in Shanghai

Catherine Lamb is a teacher in Shanghai, China and is, coincidentally, my mother! The beginning of her teaching career started with the birth of her first child, and continued until her youngest (that’s me!) was preparing to leave the nest. She then returned to the workforce. She currently works as a Primary Reception (Kindergarten) teacher and grade coordinator in a British international school.

Because she is located in an international school in Shanghai, Mrs. Lamb’s students are often from many different countries. They speak many first languages but their knowledge of English varies from fluency to none at all. She has had students from Brazil, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Britain, America, China, etc. Her classroom is bilingual, and she team-teaches with a Mandarin speaking teacher; part of the day’s instruction is held in Mandarin and the rest is in English.

Mrs. Lamb, a teacher in Shanghai, China

Tips from the Teacher:

1. Repeat repeat repeat. Repetition is key with young kids. Don’t worry about boring them. The repetition will bring fluency and confidence. When I give instructions, I model them; I say the same line over and over and over and I circulate among the children. Sometimes I say something twenty-four times, “Johnny, now it is your turn to show us your living thing. Susy, now it is your turn to show us your living thing.” Repeat repeat. After the “reader of the day” reads, I always ask the same question: “Do you want to keep this in your reading folder or put it in the red bin?”  By the time a shy speaker reads, he knows that question is coming and what it means, so he will be ready for it and have a successful experience responding.

2. Follow a strict routine so they know what comes next. My students are tossed into a world where they can’t understand what’s happening. They are young too. Knowing what comes next comforts them.  Seeing the schedule and knowing when they will go home gives them a sense of security. Even now (when they’ve memorized the schedule better than I have) they look at it first upon arrival. If I haven’t updated it for the day they want to help me get it ready. They question any new items. One of my students was struggling with being away from his mom everyday, so every day at noon he’d go through the schedule with me to ensure himself he got to go home. The ELL students learn how to spell class subject names because they learn quickly what each word means and they know exactly where to find those words on the schedule.

Read more »


6 ways to teach with technology

Our post on post-literacy got me thinking about some ways to use technology as a tool in the classroom. Here are some ideas on using technology with your middle/high school students. These suggestions could both engage your students as well as introduce tech-savvy skills they don’t have yet.

1. Google it. If students have a question, join them in researching it online. Show them the best way to phrase their search with keywords. Google has a search engine specifically for research called “Google Scholar.” Direct your students to this for googling scholarly articles online. SweetSearch is another search engine created especially for teachers and students to use in research. It only searches on credible websites that have been reviewed by the experts of SweetSearch.

2. Analyze sources. Teach students how to recognize which websites/authors/publications are more reliable sources than others. Many teachers find that when assigning research to students, their bibliographies tend to be full of mostly Internet sources that aren’t always accurate. Students are going to use the Internet, so show them where to go. Have them look at publishing companies, the author’s credentials, and the date of the information. This article shows some great questions to ask as you are analyzing the reliability of a source. A good example of showing how irreliable sources can look reliable would be to show your students The Onion. While the site looks very legitimate, it is completely satirical in content and would not be a reliable source for any research paper.

Read more »


How to write a limerick

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! To get your students in the Irish spirit, here’s a fun little song about writing limericks featuring Nick from the Imagine Learning software. Nick’s song makes a perfect lesson plan to teach your students about writing limericks (the lyrics are below for your reference).

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OR watch the video on YouTube here.

And to get you in the Irish spirit, we’d like to have you participate in our annual limerick contest! Write your own limerick in the comments section below. Prizes will be awarded by our judges to the top three limericks:

1st prize: a $25 Amazon gift card
2nd prize: a Booster bobblehead
3rd prize: a talking Mike the Microphone plush toy

We’ll accept submissions through end-of-day Monday, March 18th. Special consideration will be given to limericks with an educational flavor, and also to student submissions. Check back often to see the entries—and who won!

Good luck (o’ the Irish) to everyone!


Hello! How are you? I’m Nick.
Here to teach you a fun little trick.
To have a good time
when writing a rhyme
try writing your own limerick!

There are limericks of all different kinds.
So how do you write one that shines?
You’ll see that it’s cool
if you follow the rule:
a limerick is made of five lines.

So listen close to this song.
Lines one, two and five are all long.
And in poems of this sort
make lines three and four short
and I promise you’ll never go wrong.

You need to be sure and contrive
to rhyme lines one, two, and five
Then do it once more
with lines three and four
and your limerick surely will thrive!

So let these pointers take hold
And if you’ll write as you were told
at the rainbow’s end
you’ll find there my friend
your own limerick pot o’ gold!