Gtec Kids' Blog Page


Think Outside the Bowl

Inspiring Creativity: Think Outside the Bowl

With the resurgence of testing nationwide, many teachers report that they have to “cover the curriculum” rather than “uncover the curriculum.” With the Common Core Curriculum, parents express feeling exhausted from helping their children with increased homework to meet test expectations. Teachers are pushing to cover as much of the content necessary for their students to pass the state-level exams, sometimes given only 70% into the school year.So, it is not surprising that teachers see a change in their...

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Role-Play in the Classroom with Delicious

Delicious ( is an online social bookmarking platform that stores and categorizes photos, videos, and articles that teachers can use to motivate and engage students. It is part of social media because teachers can see each other’s folders called “stacks” of information and share each other’s postings of links on the web. These links are usually of high quality because teachers have invested time in surfing the internet to make meaningful selections.Many teachers have used Delicious  to share great links with...

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COACHing Questions for Cooperative Group Work

                         For a complete guide to coaching, please see Teachers as Classroom Coaches                          by Andi Stix, Ed.D. and Frank Hrbek, published by ASCD..The objective of a teacher as coach is to elicit responses that reflect how well cooperative groups or a student is progressing. The questions should be open-ended, probing for as much detail and description as possible. This strategy...

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Fraction Rings: Teaching Time, Decimals and Degrees

  (c) 1993 Fraction Rings designed by Andi Stix were produced by Cuisenaire Company of America. This set of math manipulative rings are to be used with Fraction Circles.  Order a set at:           Andi Stix is an educational consultant & coach who specializes in differentiation, interactive learning, writing across the curriculum, classroom coaching, and gifted education. For further information on her specialties or social media, please email her on the Contact page.

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Imagery Walk

 The Imagery Walk is an exercise that allows students to visually bring content alive by utilizing their imaginations. It is based on meditative practices but allows for scenes in English Language Arts, historical periods in Social Studies, geometrical designs in mathematics, and procedures in science to be recreated. By implementing this strategy, students are more able to move the content from short-term to long-term memory, because they personally create and interact with the content area. Using a soft, gentle, soothing, and...

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Open-Ended Questions

 Research has shown time and time again that if we pose a close-ended question, our students will elicit a minimal amount of answers. However, we can draft the same question using the following question starters that provoke higher level thinking coupled with brainstorming.In the beginning, you will find that it is hard to draft an open-ended question. However, with time, it will become easier and easier until it becomes a habit. So, how do you break the habit? Use this simple...

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Essential and Guiding Questions

 Using essential and guiding questions certainly binds a unit of study together, bringing a clearer focus to the lesson. Originally introduced by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, we modified the practice and infused it into our Exploring History series back in 2000. We are finding that more and more people ask for a clear explanation of how to draft these questions for each unit of study.The Essential QuestionWhat is an essential question? Simply put, the essential question:is a definition question, serving as...

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Fun with Picture Grids: Teaching the Addition of Fractions

 An Introduction to Picture GridsWhy is it that mathematics often conjures up images of desperate students trying to solve seemingly impossible problems? The subject of mathematics often compels otherwise well-adjusted adults to grimace with the memory of futile hours spent poring over numbers that seem at once both meaningless and threatening. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. The impossible really is possible, and we can do more than tell our students to clap...

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Fun with Picture Grids: Teaching Multiplication of Fractions & Decimals

 Order a set at: This is the third and fourth parts of the Fun with Picture Grids Series of Addition, Subtraction, Division, Multiplication & Decimals, and Square RootPart III: Teaching Multiplication with the Picture Grids ManipulativesA few weeks later Henry asks the class, “How do you feel about multiplication?” The students groan. Multiplication is even harder than addition and subtraction. They’re not ready to believe that these grids hold the magic that can ease the discomfort of multiplication. After all, students rarely...

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Fun with Picture Grids: Teaching the Subtraction of Fractions

   Order a set at: Part II: Teaching Subtraction with the Picture Grids ManipulativesHenry continues using the Picture Grid materials to teach subtraction:1. “The grids can also be used to do subtraction,” Henry says. “Let’s take the problem of one-half minus one-fourth.” He hands out the halves grid, the fourths grid, the clear grid, and a bunch of colored pencils. He tells the students to solve the problem. One group takes the quarters grid and overlays it directly on top of...

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