Welcome To A Teacher In Your Corner

Before I began teaching,I spent my evenings tutoring my son who had a learning disability. I had no teaching material and so learned to use things out of my kitchen to teach the concept. When I began teaching,I continued to use household items to illustrate the lesson. This site will give you ideas on how to use everyday items to help your child master a difficult concept.

Whether you are home-schooling or just helping your child complete homework, this site will be helpful.

Reading Fluency

View detailsThe world we live in today is getting smaller and smaller.  We are becoming a blend of many cultures.  While that is great, it can be difficult when trying to pronounce names in reading.  As teachers we need to remember that comprehending the information is more important than pronouncing a foreign name.  Now I'm not advocating that we ignore the name.  I'm saying that if the pronunciation is an issue with the student, adjustments should be made. 
I have had interactions with people from all over the world and hearing them mutilate my name has never bothered me.  I understand that in their language they have different sounds than English.  Therefore my name doesn't always come off as Theresa.  I've been called Potresa, Tressa, and Tedessa, just to mention a few.  The important part wasn't the pronunciation, but rather the interaction we shared. 
The bottom line is--don't get so hung up on pronunciation of names or words that it impedes reading fluency.


Montage of school, teacher, and math principlesI just finished teaching a student to estimate.  It is a difficult concept because the students have nothing to look at.  I usually make a number line and lay it in front of the student.  For younger ones I require them to put an object (marker) on the number they are supposed to round.  This allows them to see if it is closer to 0 or 10.
Remembering which number to look at is the most difficult concept for students.  I usually ask them to use their hand to cover the number to be estimated and then look at the number they can see to the right of their hand. If they are estimating dollars and given the number $24.82.  I'd instruct them to cover up $24 and then look at the number seen on the right of their hand.  They would see the '8' in .82 and be able to round up to $25.  If they were to round to the nearest $10, they would cover the '2' in $24 and then look to the right at the '4'.  The four should be rounded down making the answer $20.00.  When I taught first grade, I created rhymes to teach the children things like this.  I do not remember what we said for this situation.  If anyone can think of something to teach the students to say when they are working the problems, please leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear it.
By the way, don't try teaching a student to estimate or round if they are not very grounded in place value.  It will be really confusing for them and frustrating for you.

Parts of Speech Nightmare

View detailsI can hear you screaming, "I hate learning the parts of speech."  "Why is this important?"  "I hated diagraming sentences when I was in school."
I am one of those weird people who loved diagraming sentences.  I saw it as a puzzle and approached it that way.  When I taught first grade, I drilled on two parts of speech:  Noun and Verb.  Why?  Because to be a complete sentence, it must contain both a noun and a verb.  When teaching small children to recognize complete sentences, it is important that they be able to recognize both parts of speech.
A few years later, I moved to teaching fifth grade reading and language arts.  The students who were in my first grade class, were now in my fifth grade class.  I remember the day I asked 'what is a noun?'  I received the most blank stares I've ever seen.  No hints seemed to trigger their memory.  I was frustrated.
Out of my frustration, I designed an activity to help them remember the parts of speech.  Every day when they entered the classroom, there were two sentences on the board.  They were required to copy the sentences and perform the task assigned.  When the bell rang, I closed the door and we went over the sentences together.  They were allowed to correct any mistake they had made.  On Friday, I checked notebooks.  They received a grade for simply having all the sentences written down.
When we started, they were asked to underline the nouns in each sentence.  After about two weeks, we added verbs to the sentences.  We labeled each noun with a small 'n' over the word and verbs were labeled with a 'v'.  Throughout the year, we continued adding parts of speech, never leaving the previously studied parts.
One day as a class was filing out, one girl looked up at me and said, "Thank you for making us find the parts of speech every day.  That's the only way I can remember it."

Not only did this activity teach parts of speech, it also cut down on inappropriate behavior before class started.  The students knew to come in the room, take out their notebook, and copy the two sentences on the board.

For home-schools, it might be a good idea to begin every class with this activity.  Remember to begin with ONLY one part of speech.  I chose nouns because they can be seen.  I made it a point to repeat the definition of the targeted part of speech each day.  Keep it simple- A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing.  *dad, home, dog* A verb is an action word. *run, walk, jump, go* (In the beginning focus on verbs the child can DO.)  An adjective describes a noun. *small book, red dresstwo hotdogs*  An adverb describes a verb. *walk slowly, jump high, think quickly*

Adjectives and adverbs can be confusing.  Remember to look at what the word is describing before deciding.

Pretty girls wear red dresses.  In this case, pretty is describing girls  and red is describing dresses.
 The first boy jumped higher than the second.  In this case, higher is describing jumped.

The child is able to comprehend the concept if it is broken down like this.  The best way to teach parts of speech is:
  • don't give too much information at once.
  • don't leave the previously learned part when you go to the next one.