Have you heard of TpT credits?  Chances are you haven't.  And that's because it's one of TpT's best kept secrets.  But don't worry, I'm about to let you in on the secret.  And it will literally pay off for you!


What are TpT Credits?

TpT credits can be used to partially or fully pay for paid resources on TpT.   You earn credits by leaving feedback on paid TpT resources. 


And while we are here... does that mean you should not leave feedback on free resources?  No!  Of course not!  While you will not get any credits for leaving feedback, it is super helpful to the seller to have the extra feedback so that he or she knows what you like or don't like.  Think of it like a thank you to the seller for giving you something for free.  Spread TpT kindness...leave feedback on freebies! :)


How do I earn TpT credits?

Leave feedback!  It's that simple!


Head to the TpT website and click "My Purchases."



Then, click FREE resources and be a kind human and leave feedback to help the seller that gave you a free resource! :) #winkwink


Next, click "Paid resources" and you should see a list of all of the resources you have paid for.  If you haven't left feedback for the resource, it will look like this.


Click on "leave a review," and you will see this screen.


If you haven't used the resource, don't leave feedback yet.  The most helpful feedback to sellers is detailed feedback that tells what you like and want you wish the resource had.  That's super hard to do before using the resource, amiright?  

After you've used the resource, click the green "Yes, I've used it" button.  It will walk you through a few short and simple questions.  As a seller, I will tell you that I LOVE getting good, useful feedback. 

Unhelpful feedback sounds like, "Thanks," or "Love it," or even ":)" believe it or not.  While these will currently earn you tpt credits too, it's just not helpful to me to read this because I don't know what is useful or not useful in a resource.  Also, when you are looking for a resource to buy and reading through reviews, thanks and the infamous :) just aren't helpful to you as a buyer either, right?

An essay isn't necessary either (although fine by me if you have that kind of time!).  Just a sentence or a few about what you love or wish we could add in a future update.  Think like what you write on the comments section of the report card that's actually useful to parents! :)

Once you've left feedback, it will look like this.



If you're like me when I first discovered the hidden gem of TpT credits, you will have quite a few resources to go through and leave feedback on.  Grab some coffee, watch some reruns of friends, and get busy!  I promise you it will literally *pay* off!


How can I check my TpT credits balance?

So you've seen a few Friends reruns, your coffee cup is empty, and you wanna know how many credits you have.  Here's how.


Head to the TpT website and click on "TpT Credit Balance."


This will take you to this page. 


You can see I have 1 credit right now.  And I have a few more things to give feedback on so, I need to find some downtime to do that!

You earn 1 credit for every dollar paid for resources.  And TpT will round up.  For example, if you paid $4.50 for the resource, you will earn 5 credits.

Each credit gets you 5 cents off of a resource.  That may not seem like a lot, but it is essentially 5% off.  And that's 5% more that you would've gotten before you realized you could earn TpT credits!

But seriously, they add up.  I've gotten paid resources completely free just by using credits to purchase them!

So, how do I use credits to get my resources for FREE?

Add the resources you want to purchase to your cart.  Then, view your cart and choose "Secure Checkout."

Underneath the Order Summary is the TpT Credits section.  In this section, it will tell you how many credits you have left.  You can type in the credits you want to use.  You can use all of them, none of them, or part of the credits.

Then, click "Apply."  And that's it!  Now you can get that resource you've been wanting at a discount when it's not on sale, at more of a discount if it is on sale, or maybe even for free! Time to start shopping and leave feedback!

For some reason, we (or maybe just me) tend to think that division is super hard and littles just can't handle it.  But when my oldest kid was just 3, he started naturally doing division on his own when he shared his snacks with me.  He would divide his banana in half so we could each have some.  And he would desperately try to share his goldfish between the two of us too!  It was at that moment, that I knew, that if I just used the natural, and accurate division language, it would help lay a solid foundation for his division skills later!


Today, let's talk about laying more of a foundation for "straight up division" by dividing sets, understanding equal parts, and partitioning shapes in second grade.


Dividing Sets

The first thing we worked on in 2nd grade was dividing sets.  We played share the cookies.  We used these printed placemats as sorting mats, but you could also use these fun and cheap plastic plates!  My 2nd grader set the table with the placemats and then I gave him a set number of cookies to share with the family.


The cookies and placemats made the perfect, engaging manipulative to help him do the division without feeling like he was doing "hard" math! Manipulatives for the win, once again!

We also used the book, The Doorbell Rang, and acted out the story with our cookies and mats.


We charted the the number of people sharing and the number of cookies they each got so we could look for the relational patterns in division. (As the number of sharers increases, the number of cookies each gets decreases.)


Division Trade Books

We've already talked about the book, The Doorbell Rang, but one of my newest favorite tradebooks is The Lion's Share.


I love this book because it's a fiction story that just happens to include some math.  And it also teaches a really, really great moral.  In fact, it reads like a fable and would be great to do with a fable unit and integrate division!  Math and morals... what more could you ask for in a book, right??


In the first half of the book, the animals keep dividing the left over cake in half thinking they are all getting the same piece of cake.  With this story, we acted the first half out.  We started with a full sheet of construction paper as our cake.  


Each time an animal divided it in half, we divided ours in half and labeled the half the animal kept with its initial.


This visual is super powerful in helping kids see that not all halves are equal!  Then, I gave my kiddo a new "cake" construction paper and had him cut the cake so that each animal would be able to get the same size piece.  This hits on that second grade standard of dividing rectangles into arrays of equal sized pieces. #2birds #onestone #winning


If you don't want to take the time to cut and use up the construction paper, this handout acts as the perfect visual too!


The second half of the book is multiplicative.  Each animal tries to "show up" the animal before by making double the cakes.  I had my 2nd grader figure out how many cakes each animal would make as we read this section.  It was really great for practicing mental addition and doubling and relating that to multiplication.


Dividing With Fractions

Later on in the year, we worked on partitioning shapes and giving them fractional names.  


One of my favorite ways to review math skills are with Roll & ... games.  This one, was called Roll & Partition.  In this game, you roll a die and solve one of the skills in that row.  You can play alone and just see how many rolls it takes to complete a row.  Or you can play with a partner and each get your own mat and see who can fill up a row first.


For our homeschool lesson, my 2nd grader wanted to use the same mat for both of us and I used the odd number rows only and he used the even number rows only.  So, for example, if he rolled a 3, he would just roll again until he rolled an even number.


You can find all of the detailed plans and paper materials for these activities in my Guided Math Workshop Plans for 2nd grade.


I'm always looking for simple crafts to do during Easter season that are quick, cheap, and easy to do with any extra kids that may come on Easter Sunday.


Crucifixion bracelets are my latest favorite Easter craft!  And all you need are beads and pipe cleaners!  Here's how we made them.


First, we used a black pipe cleaner.  We put 12 beads on the pipe cleaner and put a space so that one side had 5 beads and the other side had 7 beads.


Then, we cut a pipe cleaner in half.  We twisted it around the space between the two groups of beads.

Next, we put 3 red and white beads on each side of the half pipe cleaner and pushed the 12 beads next to the middle of the pipe cleaner cross we'd just made.  We put the extra pipe cleaner behind the red and white beads...


...and twisted it in an "X" pattern around the middle of the cross.


Last, we twisted the remaining black pipe cleaner into a circle to make a bracelet!  Easy, fast, and great fine motor practice too! :)

You can find the Easter Bible Story unit this craft goes with here.




A few weeks ago, we did some math operating in our homeschool 2nd grade class! :)


And, ya'll, I wish we had worked on this much sooner!  My kid is a strong math thinker, who struggles with notation or showing/telling me how he figured out his answer.  His little brain works so fast that he has a hard time using the right language to explain his thinking.  That has been my main goal this year for him.  


I knew it was important for him to know and understand the 4 math operations, but I had no idea just HOW helpful it would be in giving him more math language to frame his thinking and ultimately write down his notation in a mathematical way.  


Sound familiar?  Here's a look at our week of math operations!



Introducing Math Operations

We kicked off the week introducing math operations.  I wrote the numbers 6 and 2 on the board and asked, "6 and 2 come to our math hospital.  There are 4 math operations that we can do with these numbers.  What's one thing we can do to 6 and 2?"


As we listed out the operations, we charted them.  We charted the symbol, the name of the operation, the sample equation, and keywords or phrases we use when performing that operation.


Once we worked through all 4 operations and compared and contrasted them, we read the digital book from my Guided Math Workshop Plans called, "Socks for Knox."


Each page has a different story problem type.  We read the problem and discussed which operation we should use and why.  The answer is less important...in fact, that's why I used very low numbers.  I wanted him to think about the operation and not get caught up in the numbers.

Let's just take a moment to add that I really, *really*, wanted my 2nd grader to dress up in his old doctor outfits and pretend like we were performing surgery, but he wasn't having it.  #boys  This would make a super fun classroom transformation project though! :)


Math Operations Sort

In Guided Math Workshop, Mondays are mostly whole group days where most of the content is frontloaded and introduced.  Then, the rest of the week, kids work independently on the goals and content we learned on Monday.  They solve a new problem independently each day, play a hands on game with a partner, meet with a teacher in a small group to discuss their problem solving and work on a technology based game to practice the math skill from Monday.  You can read more about those routines here.


This week, our hands-on activity was an operations sort! We used the cards to sort symbols, equations, and stories into the 4 operation categories.


These cards can also be used to play memory!


Then, he did a cut and paste sort on his own.


All of this practice made a HUGE difference in his ability to show his strategies during problem-solving.  He was able to name the operation he needed to use and write his equation more easily.  

You can find all of these lesson plans and activities and more in my Guided Math Workshop Plans for 2nd Grade!


One of the things I work hard on instilling in my preschoolers at church and at home is that you can do hard things.


I remember one day with Cooper when he was about 4 and he got into this habit of telling us how he couldn't do this, this, or this.  He would tell us, "I can't do it.  It's too hard."  After failing many times at getting him to see that he could do it, we finally just met this head-on and said, 


"You're right.  It IS hard.  But...you can do hard things."


And then one day, I made up a song to the tune of The Farmer In the Dell to sing along with that statement.  (**side note: Am I the only mom constantly making up songs for anything and everything? Yes, I am?  Okay, well thanks!**)


I can do hard things,

I can do hard things,

With the help of God,

I can do hard things!


That song has served us well over the years!  And for that reason, it showed up in our Samson Bible unit for my preschoolers at church.  During this unit, we play a "hard things" game each week.  It's kinda like a minute to win it for preschool kiddos! 


Here's a look at the games we use to build our strength, courage, and confidence so that even the littlest begin to understand that we can do hard things.


For each game, there are multiple levels of difficulty.  You can use this to choose the level that best fits your kids.  Or, you can use it as a way to start easy and talk about what happens when the game gets harder with each new level!


Bead Stack

Materials: plastic beads


Directions: have kids try to stack the beads into a tower of 5 beads high.  **TIP: You can get different sized beads depending on the fine motor skills of your kids.


If they do well with that, try stacking 10 beads.  Last, try to stack a tower of 5 or 10 beads in 1 minute or less!


Chopsticks

Materials: chopsticks or pencils and pompoms


Directions: Use chopsticks or pencils as chopsticks to move the pompoms from one plate to another.  For a harder level, do it in 1 minute or less.


Snow Tower

Materials: craft sticks and marshmallows


Directions: put the stick in your mouth.  Stack 3 marshmallows on the stick to make a snowman.  To make it harder, make a taller snowman or do it in less than 1 minute.


Cup Pyramid

Materials: red solo cups


Directions: Build a cup pyramid with 3 cups on the bottom.  You will need to model this for the preschoolers and have a sample out for them to see.  To make it harder, they can build one with 4 cups or 5 cups on the bottom or do it in less than 1 minute.


Noodle Pickup

Materials: raw penne pasta and raw spaghetti noodles


Directions: Use spaghetti noodles to pick up the penne noodles with no hands.  See how many you can do in 1 minute to make it harder.


These minute to win it like challenges are perfect for this Samson Bible Unit or for the classroom setting as you are trying to build confidence and teamwork at the beginning of the school year.



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