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Imagine This!

Learning resources, fresh ideas & timely tips from Imagine Learning

Pi Day Winners Share Math Activities and Ideas

Our Imagine Math students are always game for sharing their learning successes with us. So, when we asked schools across the country to share their 2017 Pi Day celebrations with us, we weren't disappointed! Here are the winning Imagine Math classrooms and the creative ways they celebrated the biggest math day of the year. Thompson Elementary - Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (TX) In Ms. Crump's first block (homeroom) and second block classes, students created Pi Day posters that showcased the creative side of pi. Thanks for the inspiration!    Henderson Middle School - Vance County Public Schools (NC) At Henderson, Mr. Banaag's students made Pi Day into a week-long celebration, including
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Celebrating Math: Pi Day Facts and Fun

You don't have to be a math geek to love Pi Day (March 14)--but it helps! Like many others throughout the world, the Imagine Learning family celebrates Pi Day with pie, from blueberry to lemon chiffon--the more flavors, the better. But eating a slice of pie is only one time-honored tradition on Pi Day. Fun 'Pi Day' Facts How much do you really know about Pi Day? Test your knowledge with a few fun facts:
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Getting Kids Excited About Math: March MATH Madness is Underway

Now that March has blown in, which schools have passed more math lessons than all the rest? Read on to see who made the Sweet 16 in our annual Imagine Math MX3 contest! Before our contenders can advance, they must compete in a new math challenge each week during March. Who will have what it takes to advance in our MATH Madness competition--or win it all? As past winners can attest, it takes an entire school to win the MX3 contest, now in its tenth year. But expect all the hard work to pay off. The winning school will receive an impressive trophy, school banner, gift card, student certificates, medals, and guest speakers--the works! Sweet Sixteen Contenders The following schools are contenders for our Elite 8 and Final 4 rounds.
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Music and Learning: The Songs of Imagine Español

Have you ever caught yourself humming the tune to a song you heard years ago? If so, you've tapped into the power of music and long-term memory. The fact is, music makes learning stick. Just ask a neuroscientist. But first: a word or two on long-term memory. Inherent to long-term memory are explicit (or declarative) and implicit (non-declarative) memory. If you consciously think of a specific memory, you're tapping into explicit/declarative memory. By contrast, implicit/non-declarative memory requires no conscious effort. When the brain is exposed to music and words together, that information becomes a part of the brain's explicit and implicit memory. This helps explain why dementia patients who seemingly have little or no explicit memory can still remember tunes and words to songs they knew decades earlier. Imagine Learning designers recognize that developing brains are open to myriad learning cues from an early age. In a semi-literal way, young brains are like sponges as they soak up information from multiple sources. That's why during the development of Imagine Español learning activities, designers worked closely with musicians, actors, and sound engineers to create an optimal learning environment--one in which music plays a critical role.
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Math and Charitable Giving: The Perfect Sum

On any given day, at any given hour, somewhere in America a student is completing a math lesson on Imagine Math (formerly Think Through Math). But math isn't the only problem they're helping to solve. Ask any math teacher: math can solve real-life problems. Need to balance your checkbook? That's a math solution. Building a house? You need math skills to ensure a sound construction. And if you're donating to a good cause, math helps you calculate the bottom line and deliver the goods as promised.
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Black History Month Activities for the Classroom

During Black History Month each February, K-12 teachers across the country take a special look at their lesson plans. Will it be a guest speaker this year, or a lecture on Harriet Tubman? Although some prominent black Americans question the need for a Black History Month, Americans as a whole think it's worth commemorating. And all cultural backgrounds can benefit by learning about the black experience--then, and now. But to really engage students, this occasion requires thoughtful planning. Here are six ideas for making black history come alive in the classroom. Move Beyond Familiar Historical Figures Alonzo Herndon While names like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are important, they shouldn't eclipse the names of unsung black Americans. The recent success of the movie "Hidden Figures" illustrates this point well. Depending on the ages of those you teach, why not craft a lesson around black inventors--or ask students if they have a lesser-known hero they'd like to discuss? Ask a local historian for further ideas. You can even talk about and play musical excerpts by black composers. Or profile black musicians in general. The point is: get creative. Learn More About the Underground Railroad Make history come alive by seeing how former slaves escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
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Math Journaling: Success in writing through math problems

During January 2017, we asked math educators all across the country to send us their best student journal entries for Imagine Math (formerly Think Through Math). And we weren't disappointed! So what is "Journaling January" all about? In a nutshell, we asked student/teacher teams to send us an Imagine Math journal page that illustrated how students broke down a math problem and solved for the correct answer. Journaling January--Weekly Winners Through great teamwork, these winners took their math understanding to the next level. Congratulations to the winning student/teacher teams from these schools:
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Academic Language: What is it and why teach it?

Every day in American schools, teachers welcome more students whose first language is something other than English. According to the Pew Research Center, this demographic trend will only grow exponentially in coming years. In fact, Pew estimates up to 93% of our population will come from immigrant populations and their children by the year 2050. What do these numbers mean for schools? Here's the short answer: schools will need better ways to teach language generally, and academic language in particular. Why the importance? When students don't master academic language, they're at greater risk for falling behind or even dropping out of school. The Language of Textbooks Learning to speak, read, and write in English can be challenging enough. But without knowing academic language (e.g., general-instruction words like "summarize," math words like "times" as another way to say "multiplied by," or science words like "hypothesis"), English language learners can quickly fall behind in their progress.
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Effective Math Activities: Using Multiplication Worksheets to Assess Fluency

Multiplication worksheets. Schools commonly use these to measure math fact fluency, yet aggregating response times is tricky, especially given the typical number of math facts measured. What's more, the resulting data rarely tells you which math facts a student knows fluently compared with facts they are still calculating. How to Maximize Effectiveness When it comes to multiplication worksheets, use these tips to maximize your effectiveness in the classroom: 1. Assess each individual fact. You can use a stopwatch or let a program like Timez Attack do the job for you automatically; but at some point, it's critical to measure which facts students can recall automatically and which ones they have to stop and calculate. If you don't measure each fact accurately, you won't fix it.
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Holiday Giving 2016: Imagine Learning Gives Back

Every day, caring educators give their all to help kids everywhere succeed, learn, and grow. At Imagine Learning, we enjoy helping educators do all three of these things. But what about kids in the local community--particularly during the holidays? Here's our report for late 2016: Aquarium book box Startup Santa During November and early December of 2016, Imagine Learning employees gathered 1,138 books (some new, some gently used) to donate to United Way's "Startup Santa" project. As part of the fun, employees were invited to decorate a box of books. Ours went swimmingly, as you can see! Stansbury Elementary Each December, Imagine Learning employees give back to disadvantaged kids who otherwise might not get holiday gifts. For example, Stansbury Elementary (Salt Lake City, UT) welcomes many low-income students through its doors daily. Because of donations from Imagine Learning employees, 70 Stansbury students were able to have a happy holiday season in 2016. And we look forward to helping again in 2017! Sponsored Families The holiday season was also a little brighter for 15 other Utah children in four families, thanks to several of our Imagine elves who gathered clothing items, toys, and books for each child on the list. In some cases, employees purchased more than one gift for these kids--and some offered cash donations. We love and appreciate our generous Imagine Learning team for all they do to help children and families each year. Happy New Year!  
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Holiday Wishes from Imagine Learning to Educators Everywhere

The holiday season is a busy time for educators. One day it could be an intense new project for the first-graders; the next day it might be a food drive that involves the entire school. During times like these, exhaustion hits hard--and the holiday break can't come soon enough. But every now and then, a word of encouragement to a struggling student can make all the difference. Who knows--that extra boost might just help a struggling student triumph over a hard math problem. Or help a shy student speak up in class. Or help an English language learner read at grade level for the first time. To all who work so hard to nurture the minds and hearts of kids, please enjoy the video below--and happy holidays!
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Building Empathy and Gratitude at School

Ah, Thanksgiving. That time of year when students celebrate life's bounty by creating paper turkeys filled with colorful 'gratitude' feathers. Meanwhile, older students may collect canned goods for the local food bank or gather coats for the homeless shelter. As everyone buzzes with holiday anticipation, it's pretty easy to feel grateful. However, the holidays aren't always rosy for everyone, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and those who live in negative or dangerous circumstances. Even students with the greatest advantages can struggle with ingratitude, despite holiday activities that remind them to count their blessings. What's the solution?
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Common Core and Multiplication Tables

Much has been said and written about the use of Common Core standards in today's classrooms, particularly when it comes to CCSS math standards. Case in point: some educators claim that mastering multiplication tables is less important in the Common Core. But is this claim really true? Let's take a deeper look. Multiplication and the Common Core When it comes to multiplication standards, here's what Common Core has to say: CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.C.7 Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers. In a nutshell, the more you care about developing higher-order mathematics, the more important fluency becomes. Now, let's deconstruct a few Common Core assumptions as they relate to math.
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A Teacher's Perspective: Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

A guest post by Ashley Porter 7th-grade math teacher, Webster Groves School District, Missouri Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   Think back to the college years when you were choosing your major. Education? Check. As to age group, you would have noted four basic categories: early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school students. Each had its merits, but you could only pick one. Check. I chose the math path--middle school first, followed by high school math later. I decided on math because it was in my comfort zone. That's what most middle school and high school teachers do; they choose the area they're most comfortable with. Yay! No more science, world studies, or English for me, right? My first teaching assignment was at a high school, teaching all levels of algebra. There was a big push, as there should be, to get students to graduate on time. Some teachers were assigned as "graduation coaches," and I was one of them. It was my job to work with students, build a relationship, help them catch up, and get them to a timely graduation. These students were struggling, behind on credits, and risked not graduating at all (or certainly not on time). So, as a graduation coach, I was encouraged to help students in all their areas of struggle. At this point, I received some of the best advice I ever got as an educator.
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Literary Halloween Costumes for Every Book Lover

Halloween time is here. Is your costume ready to go? If you're a book lover, you can answer that question in the affirmative, thanks to our book-inspired Halloween costumes! Costumes from Childhood Books When seeking inspiration for a literary Halloween costume, no need to look further than the books you loved as a child. Here are a few basics: Fairytales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and so on) Dr. Seuss (Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who) Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach) Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, etc.)
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5 Principles of Cognitive Growth

In a 2011 Scientific American article, behavioral therapist Andrea Kuszewski reinforced a concept that continues to gain traction today--namely, that it's possible to improve one's native intelligence. In the past, even respected scientists assumed that intelligence was purely genetic and unlikely to change over time. Nowadays, neuroscientists and cognitive therapists recognize that fluid intelligence (e.g., the capacity to learn and process new information) is the reality. More importantly, people can boost their fluid intelligence by improving their working memory. But how? Five Principles According to Kuszewski, you don't have to be a genius to improve cognition. Even those with low IQs can grow in fluid intelligence. To quote the author, "what doesn't kill you (will make) you smarter."
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Universal Design for individualized learning

Peeked inside a typical classroom lately? If so, you're likely to see one teacher surrounded by an increasingly diverse group of students--each with unique learning needs. What's more, that 'typical' classroom is filled with students who are anything but typical. For one thing, there's really no such thing as an average student. Each class might contain students who struggle with reading or math, students who don't yet speak English, and students with disabilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the gifted students who may need more challenges to stay engaged. How on earth can one teacher meet the needs of all these diverse learners?
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How to Bring the World into Math Class

A guest post by Lori Breyfogle K-6 Elementary Math Specialist in Missouri Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.     When you were a student in math class, how many times did you ask yourself, "When will I ever use this?" And how often do you ask the same question about the math you are teaching now?
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Bring on the Smiles at "Shoes for School"

Kids tour helicopter at Franklin Elementary (Provo, UT) It's a common scenario each year: teachers use money from their own wallets to purchase school supplies for their classroom. Of course, even when school budgets cover the purchase of school supplies, too many families still can't afford to buy new school clothing, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies for their children. Enter the annual "Shoes for School" campaign. What Is "Shoes for School"? Each year in America, too many underprivileged kids will return to school without even the most basic of school supplies.
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How To Evaluate Educational Software Games

Math video game characters Do you know how most people evaluate educational games? Quite simply--they don't. For example, consider Dragon Box, an affordable, highly engaging, and extremely educational math video game on algebra. If Dragon Box were a car, it would probably be named Car of the Year. So what percentage of algebra teachers or parents do you think will be adding it to their toolbox this year? At a rough guess: probably less than one percent. ST Math, Dreambox, and Big Brainz are three other great programs that can make a significant impact on children's education. Yet how many math teachers or principals have even heard of these programs? And how many have taken steps to evaluate them to see if they're truly helpful?
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Imagine Learning Gives Back--in a Flash

FreePik   If you had to raise over $20,000 in just two and a half hours, could you do it? During a recent flash fundraiser held on July 11, 2016, Imagine Learning employees did just that, benefitting four noteworthy charities in the process. The four beneficiaries chosen by Imagine Learning employees were:  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), Habitat for Humanity - Utah County, and the Imagine Kids Foundation. All four organizations were chosen for their ability to help children and families throughout the world.
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A Guide to Math Picture Books in the Classroom

If you're an elementary teacher, you've probably seen these two kinds of students in your classroom: Students who understand and enjoy math. Students who are frustrated by math because they don't understand it. It's your job to help those in the second group find their way into the first group. Luckily, picture books about math can really help. The 'Why' of Math Picture Books It's human nature to enjoy stories. By relating to a character who feels the way they do, students can gain the confidence to move through their own challenges--both in and outside the classroom. Even more importantly, there's a tangible link between reading and math. It stands to reason that doing one can help the other. When teachers use picture books containing math themes (either implicit or explicit), they offer students a contextualized experience with mathematics generally. Plus, a good story can comfort the heart of any student who's afraid of math.
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Myth or Truth? Accepting Cultural Differences for a Global Mindset

A guest post by Deborah Cochran ESOL Teacher for grades K-5 at Craig Elementary School, Parkway School District in St. Louis, MO Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning. *The following article is an updated version of a prior post by the author.   Multiculturalism is a hot topic in education today; just ask any teacher. As more multicultural students enter the classroom, educators have to continually challenge old ways of thinking about culture. But where to start? Like it or not, most assumptions about other cultures arise from cultural stereotypes or complete myths. And debunking those myths is an important first step when entering the pathway to a global mindset.
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Teach Children Math the Fun Way

Mention the words "math" and "fun" in one breath and you might prompt a few raised eyebrows from those around you. But the truth remains that math actually can be fun. All the same, a negative view of math tends to prevail in America; even in the latest flurry over STEAM-based learning initiatives. For one thing, too many parents' own experiences with math were less than stellar. Similarly, teachers may feel anxious about motivating youngsters in their classrooms if they aren't already huge math fans themselves. What to do? Don't worry. Here are a few ways you can help children (and yourself) see math as a fun experience right from the start.
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Can Technology Stimulate Mental Development in Young Children?

A guest post by Dr. Eugene Emmer, medical entrepreneur and author Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   As a physiologist and parent, I have long been interested in the impact of early childhood education on the child's developing brain. Over the years, an increasing number of scientists have devoted lab research to brain development and function. Their findings are not only fascinating, they also show how important proper stimulation is for the developing brain. For example, years ago I read an intriguing study that demonstrated a marked increase in hippocampal neurons in adult mice living in an enriched environment. Basically, the study showed that young rats raised in a stimulating environment had better-developed brains than rats raised in unstimulating environments. During this study, scientists raised two groups of rats. One group lived in an enriched environment that included toys, tunnels, wheels, and so on; the other group was raised in an empty cage with only food. Scientists showed that the rats raised in the enriched environment developed more hippocampal neurons than the rats raised in an empty cage. The stimulating environment had developed each rat's young brain much the same way that lifting weights develops muscle.
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How to Choose a Fun and Effective Digital Math Program

Let’s face it—not many kids are interested in reciting their multiplication tables or practicing addition when they’ve got video games to play, TV to watch, and technology to explore. Unfortunately, too many parents and educators automatically assume that video games are mere time wasters, as mentioned in our earlier discussion about game-based learning. Of course, sorting out the effective math games from the mediocre ones can be a challenge. Not every game is equal when it comes to producing lasting learning. So, what to do?
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What's in a Name? Thoughts on Student Identity

A 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.
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Imagine Learning Talks About the Common Core Standards

At Imagine Learning, we're quite familiar with the variety of opinions surrounding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Although our own programs are aligned with multiple state standards (and not just the CCSS), we know what most educators are thinking on the subject. Here, we share a few of our findings. What the Data Say In August of 2015 a nationwide PDK/Gallup poll revealed that a majority of respondents oppose the teaching of Common Core. Interestingly, black and Hispanic respondents showed a lower level of opposition, at just 35 and 50 percent respectively. In an earlier (2013) poll by PDK/Gallup, 72 percent of those polled indicated that they trust public school educators. But the same respondents also assume most educators oppose the CCSS, a view not aligned with the data. In reality, 75 percent of educators support CCSS standards.
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It's a Grand Old Flag! 10 Facts about the Stars & Stripes

Betsy Ross and the flag People around the world recognize it as one of a kind. Officers salute it, children pledge allegiance in front of it, and citizens honor it. It's arguably our most famous national symbol--the flag of the United States of America. While Americans and world citizens alike may know our country's flag, everyone can still learn more about its history and use. For young and old, here are ten important facts to remember on Flag Day, Independence Day, or any other time of year when the flag passes by. Flag History 1. Many flag historians believe that the first American flag combined the Union Jack (British flag) with the 13-striped Colonial Merchant ensign. At that time, posting the Union Jack without authorization was an illegal act, but the Continental Army ignored the statute and flew the flag as an act of rebellion against the British Crown.
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Imagine Learning Teaches Figurative Language

  Sleep like a rock Light as a feather Cream of the crop As big as a bus     The above phrases are examples of figurative language, all of which are commonly used in day-to-day English. Any student--especially any English language learner--can struggle with such figurative speech, particularly when the implied meaning (i.e., idiom) does not translate to the student's first language. The concept of figurative language is also difficult for struggling readers to understand, but all students need to be able to identify and use it in reading and conversation.
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Making the Case for Math Fact Memorization

A guest post by Ben Harrison Developer of Big Brainz math-fact fluency software Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning. The following article was originally posted in February, 2015 on the Big Brainz Blog.   Every once in a while I encounter a savvy educator who is opposed to memorizing math facts--or at least he or she appears to be. Just today I saw a fearful article that exclaimed "memorization can inhibit fluency" and "memorization . . . can be damaging." Of course, educators are doing a wonderful job of championing number sense, comprehension, and problem-solving, but by attacking the vital skill of automaticity, they unwittingly undermine the very processes they intend to champion. From Where I Sit Before I go any further, let me jump to the punchline, because I know that if you're one of these educators, you're already getting ready to give me your very passionate point of view. So . . . if, as an educator, you have a negativity towards memorization, I would suggest that it's because you haven't seen it done well.
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The Truth About Game-Based Educational Software

Math-fact gamification Ask a typical educator about game-based learning and video games in school, and expect at least some skeptical responses. Many educators and parents worry about gaming as an educational tool. Research on the educational worth of video games has been mixed, and some educators point out the fact that most data come from short-term studies. While research on educational software is still young, increasing evidence points to positive outcomes for today’s students—despite the prevalence of headlines linking video games to bad behavior or lukewarm learning outcomes. According to James Gee, an education professor at Arizona State University, blaming all video games for poor results is like blaming all food for the existence of obese people.1
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2017 Summer Reading List for Teachers

What's on your to-read list this summer? If you're a teacher, you probably have a stack of books you can't wait to start reading. Still, there's always room for more--right? Here are our top picks for your 2017 summer book nook.
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Math Fluency Can Save Your Marriage

Yes, this is a tongue-in-cheek post, but considering how our Big Brainz team members spend their lives trying to help folks master their core math facts, we thought this would be a wonderful story to share about how math fluency just might save your relationship. James Clerk Maxwell and his wife Katherine--together, a math-fluent pair!   Read the article here: Math Fluency Can Save Your Marriage Enjoy!
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The Student Portfolio: A New Showcase for Student Work

Sample list, Student Portfolio If you've been an Imagine Learning educational partner for any length of time, you probably already know how to access offline resources at myimaginelearning.com (aka, the teacher's portal). However, you may not have discovered another wonderful tool within the portal: the new Student Portfolio. Educators gained access to this handy resource in February 2016. If you haven't yet tried it, don't worry--we'll guide you through it here. By learning how to use the Student Portfolio, just think how prepared you'll be for a new year of Imagine Learning this Fall!
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Memorize Your Times Tables, Dear

Six in every ten Americans report having difficulty solving some type of math, and 30 percent of Americans say they would rather clean the bathroom than solve a math problem. Yet 93 percent of Americans say that developing good math skills is crucial to having a successful life. So why would anyone dislike something that brings success? Most Americans develop their attitudes about math from others. For example, if parents don't enjoy math, they may pass that attitude forward to children. Perhaps parents or teachers nag too much. "Memorize your times tables!" they might say, "Work harder!" Or, perhaps nagging isn't to blame. Maybe students feel inadequate during math class because they're just missing out on some key fundamentals. Whatever the reasons, no one can really deny the importance of mathematics. Math is important in everyday life!
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The Culture of Imagine Learning Español

Learning about España In Imagine Learning Español, young students have a great time learning to read in Spanish. As students begin their learning paths, they listen to letter and syllable sounds, sing along to captivating songs, and build reading skills in activities made just for them. But most kids are less familiar with how Spanish is spoken around the world. They might think that every Spanish speaker sounds just like them! The designers of Imagine Learning Español want to help young readers of Spanish appreciate the wider world that surrounds them. With this goal in mind, Imagine Learning Español includes cultural activities featuring Spanish-speaking countries around the globe.
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Do Math Video Games Really Improve Mathematical Skills?

Math can be a frustrating challenge for some kids. Less so for most adults, generally because age and experience make math easier to comprehend. It’s not always so simple for kids. Each child has a unique learning style. Some children learn to add by counting on their fingers. Others may make up a song to help them with their times tables. The best teachers accommodate all learning styles. However, even when teachers use multiple strategies to teach basic addition and subtraction skills, it's sometimes hard to tell if kids are truly fluent in math facts. Flash forward to video games. They've been around a long time and are a huge hit with kids and teenagers. To many teachers (and parents), video games may seem like a complete waste of time. Because kids love them, they want to spend a lot of time playing--sometimes to the exclusion of other worthwhile activities. Enter game-based learning strategies, aka video-based math games. Educators may wonder if these, too, are a waste of time--or if they actually help kids learn. Current brain research seems to indicate the latter outcome.  A Case Study: Timez Attack Big Brainz is a case in point. Its designer, Ben Harrison, was tired of hearing his young daughter come home each day saying that she was "stupid." As she struggled with math, Ben knew there had to be a better way to give his daughter the math skills she needed to feel confident and successful.
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Skip the Apples--Here's What Teachers Really Want

It's that time of year when eager young students come to class with teacher gifts in hand. Those gifts might be anything from a fruit basket to a plate of brownies to a homemade card. Do teachers appreciate these gifts? Of course. But do they use them? Not always. The truth is, most teachers are just happy to be recognized for what they do. Still, it's hard to be completely thrilled by another "World's Greatest Teacher" mug. Or by anything that remotely resembles an apple. Top-rated teacher gifts can be simple Parents should be credited for wanting to show appreciation to their child's teacher. But instead of another scented candle, bottle of lotion, or expensive art piece, why not choose:
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How To Make Multiplication Tables Fun

Learning multiplication tables can be a challenge for children who struggle to grasp these concepts quickly. Luckily, kids are more likely to pick up math-fact skills by playing games that test their knowledge rather than by simply doing math homework. Here are 5 fun ways to help kids memorize times tables:   Play Bottle Cap Multiplication Write the times table equation on the top of a bottle cap and write the answer on the inside of the cap. Once the child answers the question correctly he or she can turn the bottle cap over. Time your child and see how quickly they can flip all the caps over! (Alternately, see how many caps they can flip over within an allotted time).
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