Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Maths Tricks To Teach The Kids

I was never a big fan of Maths at school, I had one great teacher at high school, she was that good that I actually understood everything she taught, aced my exams and got me into the top class the following year. That turned out to be my downfall because I didn't understand anything the next teacher taught.

For maths I need to see every step and it wasn't until a few years later when I was at college that I figured out that was the reason I never understood Mr Murray's class. He would skips steps that he assumed everyone would know.

I was always under the impression that I was crap at maths because as a kid, that is what I was constantly told. BUT when I was 18 I applied to get on a government run scholarship, at that point I had done a year at art college then a year at tech doing an engineering foundation course. I had not got A level maths or physics and hadn't studied the curriculum.

Nether the less I managed to get an interview for the scholarship and then we had to sit some tests. I was the only one in the interviews that hadn't done A levels or the Scottish equivalent yet I aced the test and got the top score on my maths!

And yes, I got the place, there were just 60 in the whole country so it was a pretty big thing for me.

The point of this story is that I struggled at school and was led to believe that there was only one way to get the answer, this appears to be another deception! When I look at Ebi-kun's maths book I am often baffled at the way he has been taught to find the answer, it doesn't feel logical because it's not the way I was taught. It doesn't make it wrong and I do like the fact that he is taught different methods to reach the same answer.

I think the bead material that is used in Montessori hit a chord because I wish I had been taught in that logical way, I still love the Montessori maths materials and I'm sure it is down to that, that Ebi-kun has a strong foundation for his maths.

Anyway, this might be old news to you but for me, this trick made me very happy! I discovered the Trachtenberg method, Ebi-kun loves the idea, so I'll hare each trick on here as I teach him.

Challenge #1 - Multiply by 11

3 2 4 x 11

Imagine the number is is actually written:

     0 3 2 4 0

Start from the right and work to the left, add the first number to it's neighbour, the 2nd number, and write the answer below the 2nd number

     0 3 2 4 0  (0+4)

Then add the 2nd and 3rd numbers...

     0 3 2 4 0  (4+2)
           6 4

And continue along the row of numbers adding the next to it's neighbour...

     0 3 2 4 0  (2+3)
        5 6 4


     0 3 2 4 0  (3+0)
     3 5 6 4

Easy-peasy right? But what if you use numbers that carry over. Well then you do the same as normal, carry the ten over to the next number, represented by a * here

437440 x 11

     0   4   3   7   4   4   0

     0   4   3   7   4   4   0
                         8   4

     0   4   3   7   4   4   0
                  *1   8   4

     0   4   3   7   4   4   0
             *1 *1   8   4

     0   4   3   7   4   4   0
          8 *1 *1   8   4

     0   4   3   7   4   4   0
     4   8 *1 *1   8   4

therefore 437440 x 11 = 481184

The best thing to do is try a few out for yourself. When we showed this to daddy, he had another method which was similar but involved an extra line of numbers.

Ebi-kun pointed out that at school they have to show the workings out so that the teacher could see how they have arrived at the answer, which is fair enough. But I still think it is valuable for kids to know that there isn't just one way to do something.

There are quite a few of these tricks in the Trachtenberg method so as we work through them I'll share what we are doing. Who would have thought I found maths fun!  Not me!!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Taste tests: Ebi-kun Eats and taste tests - chocolate umbrella

Where is Ebi-kun eating through this week? Check out his show to find out and whether chocolate umbrella's are in fact tasty!

Don't forget to click through and leave him a message and subscribe to his channel!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Self Care Challenge is Back!

Due to popular demand I am running the self care challenge again, we kick off on Monday.

Join the 5 day challenge to feel calmer, more energised and happier in just 10 minutes a day

Easy and fun daily challenges and the Moms That Rock group for support, you also get the Self Care Challenge fun sheet when you sign up to help you figure out the areas you need to work on. 

Oh yeah, and it's all FREE!

Just fill in the form below and you'll be whizzed away to get your fun book....

Friday, 17 February 2017

Being More Mindful About Creativity...

It dawned on me the other day that the reason I have been neglecting the blog a bit recently is because I usually get inspired to write from the photos I've taken. The photos are often something we have been doing, places we have visited, crafts and projects we have been working on.

Well in the last couple of months, I have been busy with work and Ebi-kun doesn't have as much free time thanks to school so our creative endeavour have taken a bit of a nose dive.

So we decided this week to be more mindful and to actually make an effort to do more of the fun stuff, whether it be crafting, drawing, painting or experimenting.

I thrive on creativity and need to be doing something creative or I go into a boredom coma!

I picked up a couple of new sketch books and we are thinking of challenges to do, we have our own book so we will do the same challenge but interpret it in our own way. Hopefully this will produce some interesting results!

Challenge #1 - Decorate Your Sketch Book

We decided it was easier to flip it over and decorate the back of the book that to try and cover the flimsy front...

Of course, Ebi-kun went for a football theme, he is somewhat footie mad at the moment and currently reading Ronaldo's biography, I can't really complain, there are worse people out there that could be a role model!

I managed to do mine with the book upside down! doh! Of course I didn't realise until I was almost finished. Of well, it's just a sketch book, not exactly the end of the world. I treated myself to some new pens last week so this was a good excuse to play with them!

I've also been playing with some ipad apps, I still prefer pen and paper and because I work online, it's good to get off the screen but I'm a geek and I like playing around with new apps, what can I say!

I'd love to know what you have been up to recently, feel free to join in with the challenges if you need a creative boost!
I'm off to Tokyo tomorrow so that should provide me with some arty inspiration!

 We will be back with more next week...

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Heathy Snack Station Treats For Kids

Heathy Snack Station Treats For Kids

As you know Ebi-kun has his Ebi-kun Eats show, so we always have an array of weird and wonderful snacks in the drawer. Generally he record a show a week and I don't want him munching on crap food the rest of the weeks so I try and stock up on healthy snacks.

A Montessori snack station is an area that is set up for kids to be able to prepare their own food. They should have everything they need, from a chopping board and suitable knife, to cups and plates and cutlery.

We used to have a shelf for Ebi-kun but now he is bigger and older he can reach everything he needs in the kitchen.

Here are a couple of snack station ideas, I like that everything si easily accessible here and the an and brush is hanging from the side, perfect for any accidents!

This one is great for spooning too! One thing that I get asked about is whether you should leave all the snacks out or restrict them. For this, it really does depend on the child. My son will just take a scoop full of mix and be done but I know other kids (like me as a child) would polish off the whole box! 

It really is a matter of child by child. If you have more than one child then maybe implementing a colour code system so each child gets their own ration.

Ebi-kun was about 14 months old when he started preparing his own snacks, his first snacks were butchered banana and squeezed to death mini grapes. His knife skills have improved over the years! He started out with a little wooden butter knife which was great for chopping soft fruit like banana and spreading things like jam on bread or crackers.

This one looks good too, depending on the age/ability of the child you might need to pre-slice the apples

There are some fun ideas here, which would fit well with theme study units, but remember if doesn't have to be 'fun' or complicated, mastering making a simple sandwich is a task most kids are happy to do all by themselves. Just give them what they need to do the job. And the best bit is that it always tastes better if you have made it yourself - until you are a mom and you are doing all the cooking, then it always tastes better when someone else cooks!

Want to know more about Montessori?
Or are you struggling to make it work at home?
Sign up for the free Montessori Demystified workshop below...

You will also be added to my weekly newsletter and no, I will never spam you!



Thursday, 2 February 2017

Listen To Languages All Over The World 🌏

🌏 Listen To Languages All Over The World 🌏 

I stumbled upon this great interactive map the other day. I'm sure you and the kids will enjoy it too.

Click through to the page, the click on a country, underneath/to the side depending what you are watching on,  it shows how the name of the country is written in their own language, the countries flag and then if you click on the little faces (make sure your volume is up) you can hear the name of the country in several languages.

Also, if you click the speech bubble icons, you will get s few phrases in whichever language is indicated. Be warned, after clicking around I found some - not-suitable-for-kids phrases, you can flag them which will obviously help keep the site clean.

Some countries also have the national anthem and other extras. You can also add your own recordings to the site, some of the smaller countries don't have much info so it would be great if you can add to it.

This would be great if you are studying a specific country to include with your continent work!

If you are looking for some ideas for continent work, we have "travelled" to these places, see what we got up to... Nigeria, Australia, North America, Antartica, Barbados...

Want to know more about Montessori?
Or are you struggling to make it work at home?
Sign up for the free Montessori Demystified workshop below...

You will also be added to my weekly newsletter and no, I will never spam you!


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Taste tests: Ebi-kun Eats and taste tests - Broccoli florets

This one was recorded a while ago but he forgot to share it with the blog! Better late than never. Iluska who sent this recommended what I though was a very off was to eat it...

Watch the video to find out more...

Remeber to subscribe to his channel and leave him a comment with what you think he should try next!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Heart Centred Business

Entrepreneurs - wave your hands in the air...

When I first started out selling online Crissy from Indie Biz Chicks was one of the people I would turn to knowing I would get good solid advice. So I was sad to hear that she had been going through a rough time recently with her mom passing away unexpectedly.

As you know, if you work for yourself taking time off can be hard on the old bank account. Anyway 2 of Crissy's friends came up with a fab idea of a bundle sale.

A group of us all pitched in with a product for life and biz suitable for entrepreneurs, all these products cost $20 or more if you were to buy them individually. Totted up is is $1300 worth of good.

To get the whole lot, it will set you back a whole $19! 

I know, crazy pants right.

Not everything will be a fit for you but even if you just use a couple you will be getting a bargain! My Get Visible On Facebook For Free is included, normally $29.99 so I know you are getting value for money just there!

There are two or three things I have my eye on so I will be getting the bundle for myself.

You can get yours here The Great Big Life And Biz Bundle

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Read Your World - Multicultural Children's Book Day

Today's  Book Bag book is part of Multicultural Children's Book Day. There are some great reviews of some brilliant books coming up and a whole host of amazing books to win!

The book we got assigned is called Obstacles by Gregory E Ransom Published by Lulu Publishing Services.

Now I have to be totally honest here, we haven't quite finished it yet, it's a chapter book and we decided to read out loud, together. So,  it's taking a bit longer than usual to get through it. That and the fact that now Ebi-kun is in the 5th grade we get very little downtime together.

Obstacles is a giant but he has a problem, he is little, which if you are supposed to be a giant, it's huge problem. Needless to say the other giants don't think he's up to much. He gets bullied by the local giant kids and ends up getting sent to a school up in the mountains but to get there is has to go through places like the Forests Of Future Regret and The Lake Of Lost Souls.

As soon as we started reading and discovered that Obstacles was being bullied I noticed Ebi-kun getting drawn in and giving advice on how Obstacles could handle the situation, for new readers here, we went through our own bullying incident when he started school so it is very much something he relates to. Plus he is mixed race, somewhat a minority in this neck of the woods, he understood what Obstacles was going through.

Obstacles character shines, the courageous talk and the self doubt, the stubbornness that won't let him quit, his empathy and love and his quiet determination to get through the problem no matter what makes him a lovable and relatable character even if he is a giant.

I think this would make a great book to read in class as well as one to read at home, it brings up some great topics for discussion and makes it easier to broach subjects that kids might not want to talk about.

We are looking forward to seeing where the tale takes us, both of us are enjoying the book and Ebi-kun asks each day to read it.


As bullying is one of the topics of the book and it is something that is close to my heart. I would love for you to show your kids this short video. I demonstarted this to my sons headmaster and was so happy that he showed the whole school in assembly, it was something that he hadn't come across before and there are almost 1400 kids at Ebi-kuns elementary school so that is a lot of kids to be touching by this simple gesture.

So take 10 minutes, show this to your kids and then talk about it.

Ready to join the fun? 

Use the #readyourworld to share your multicultural children's book day finds and to find what others are sharing!

More About Multicultural Children's Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of colour, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i
And info on the Twitter party and giveaways are HERE

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honoured to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Taste tests: Ebi-kun Eats and taste tests - NASA ice cream

My best mate and her boy won a trip to Florida last year and sent Ebi-kun some astronaut food to try - NASA ice-cream. Ever wondered what is inside those bags... take a look!

Don't forget to pop through and leave him a comment!

And if you are doing a space unit or if you are bored and want to make your own space food then check out this post!
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