Is your class working on building number sense?  Shut the Box is the perfect game to play to build addition and subtraction skills.  It also helps students understand "part part whole."  Even better, you can modify the game layout of Shut the Box to make it for a few pennies!  If you don't have woodworking skills, just make it with numbered cards and dice.

Learn how to play Shut the Box - Post includes a video that demonstrates how to play Shut the Box, an easy game that helps players improve their number sense. Players need to add on two dice.
I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you downloads of value and information about educational resources. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full disclosure here.

On our trip to Colonial Williamsburg, we found a store with an entire corner dedicated to games played during Colonial times.  One of our favorite finds is Shut the Box.  Other game enthusiasts may know it.  I had seen it in stores, but I didn't really know how to play.

This is a great game for number sense and addition skills.  It is very easy to learn, and it involves luck.  Sometimes math games are tricky because the better math students always win.  Shut the Box requires great dice rolls to win, so everyone has a chance.

Shut the Box would be easy to incorporate into math class, but it could also be used during a Colonial America unit.

I think it is easier to learn a new game when you see it played, so I made a quick video for you!

                                        

What are your favorite educational games?

Enjoy!

Are you still searching for your perfect personalized planner?  Many teachers have started using daily planners instead of planbooks.  I need a planner, but usually end up forgetting to use it because the layout doesn't work for my needs.

The Arc Planner: The Best Personalized Planner! - Create a 100% customizable planner using the ARC Planner system! This system can be used for teacher or life planners. In addition, it can be reused and modified as your needs change.

I tried many planners, but usually inexpensive ones because I am also cheap.  Why spend money on something I probably will forget to use?  Then my sister told me about Staples' ARC planners, and now I am hooked!  Staples did a great job designing the ARC system so that it can be adapted to meet anyone's needs.

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you downloads of value and information about educational resources. The link below is an Amazon affiliate link. You can read my full disclosure here.

What are ARC planners?

ARC planners are "build-your-own-planners."  They do sell a few already assembled, but in general you buy the pieces you want and organize the binder however you like.  It uses discs as the spine, and the paper can be popped on and off the discs.

If premade planners frustrate you, then you may like the ARC planner.  Right now we have so many things going on: homeschool, swim team, chorus, business, blogging, and on and on.  I need to be able to have each week together, plus I need space to plan for the week.  In other binders, I never had enough room.

Also, the discs come in two sizes.  This was a big selling point for me, because I have tried keeping everything in one binder and splitting things into multiple binders, but it never works for me.  Three-ring binders are either too large or busting at the seams.  With the ARC planner, I can make a smaller (and lighter) binder to carry around and later, I can just pop the pages out and move them.  This could be great for teachers, because smaller binders could be used for things like the gradebook, guided reading notes, literature circles, math centers, etc.

Which parts of the ARC  are customizable?

ALL OF THEM.  For real.  They make a number of pre-made pieces, but they also sell an ARC hole punch so you can use this system with any printable pages you want to use!  I have even thought about printing a cover, laminating it, and using that instead of the premade pieces.

The Arc Planner: The Best Personalized Planner! - Create a 100% customizable planner using the ARC Planner system! This system can be used for teacher or life planners. In addition, it can be reused and modified as your needs change.

What pieces are available to purchase?

The pieces I found recently included covers, dividers, calendar page sets, folders, pouches, pen grips, business card holders, multiple paper versions, and the discs.  They also sell a one page punch and a multiple page punch.  The pages are available in two sizes as well.

How much does it cost to make a binder?

The cost really depends upon how many pieces you want to buy.  I purchased a sample of nearly every piece, so I forked out a lot up front.  However, I have enough pieces leftover to make a second binder.  Also, the paper itself can be pricey, so I will probably print punch my own pages at home in the future.

Are there any negatives?

One thing I worried about was the pages falling out.  So far, mine have not popped out.  However, the pages on top can pull out fairly easily.  You also have to be careful when turning your pages around the discs - they don't slide around quite as easily as a spiral-bound planner.

It was also a little pricy, in my opinion, but I would say comparable to other customizable binders.  I believe the ARC planner could be cheaper in the end if you use fewer pieces.

If you are looking for a planner that you can 100% make your own, the ARC planner may be for you!

So, you want to take a field trip to New York City!  Whether you are a homeschool family or a just taking a vacation with kids, I learned a few tips during our visit.

Visiting New York City - with Kids! - Post gives tips for visiting NYC with school aged kids, but tourists of all ages will find many of the tips helpful.. Tips include places to visit and how to find your way around the city.

1.  Where to Stay in New York City

There are a lot of options for staying over in New York City.  We stayed with family, so I don't have advice on hotels.  If you are not comfortable following the Metro map, you may want to stay near Times Square, because all the tourist buses run through there.

A budget option that you may not have realized is staying in New Jersey.  My nephew lives in West New York, which is a 15 minute bus ride to the Port Authority and Times Square.  The ticket costs $3 - $3.50, depending upon the bus.  You may want to check the difference in price between hotels in Manhattan and West New York.

2.  Getting Around New York City

There are so many options for getting around the city.  Friends suggested taking one of the tourist buses, where you can get on and off as much as you want for the time period purchased.  That can be good if you are trying to pack in a lot of things in just a day or two.  You can also see a lot of the city as you are riding the bus.

For people that are good at maps, I really recommend getting a multi-day Metro card and taking the subway.  A 7 day unlimited Metro card was about $32 for an adult.  As long as you are not trying to take the subway at rush hour, you can easily get around the city.

Download the app, Subway Map: NYC for your phone.  This app allows you to see all the subway routes and stations without needing wifi.  We used this and Google Maps to help find our way around the city.

3.  Plan Ahead

Okay, I usually am a TYPE A planner, all caps.  However, I had this idea that we would just wing it in New York City.  That, my friends, is a seriously bad idea.  We were there in the middle of October, relatively off-season, and things were still sold out.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - Plan far, far ahead.  Tickets to go up in Lady Liberty's crown were sold out for four months.  We went mid-day thinking we would have enough time to just visit the islands.  Much to our surprise, the ferry tickets were sold out.  They also explained that the security line to get onto Liberty Island takes about 2 hours and another 30 minutes for Ellis Island.   (If you stay in New Jersey, you could go to Liberty Park and travel from there.  It is possible that it would not be as busy as South Ferry.)

The Tenement Museum - I wrongly thought this out of the way museum would be less busy.  Nope.  They run different tours, but the tours have limited space because they are inside the tenement.  Most days, the majority of the tours were sold out by the night before.

Broadway Shows - If you want to see a show at a discounted price, you need to go to the TKTS Booth in the morning and wait in line.  If you are lucky, you will be able to snag some tickets.  Your best chance of this is during the week.
Visiting New York City - with Kids! - Post gives tips for visiting NYC with school aged kids, but tourists of all ages will find many of the tips helpful.. Tips include places to visit and how to find your way around the city.

4.  New York City Museums

The nice things about most museums is that they have a suggested payment policy.  There is a price, but you can pay less if you can't afford it.  We went to the American Museum of Natural History, which was fun for a while but exhausting by the fourth floor.  We enjoyed the limited time exhibitions though, because they had a lot of hands-on things to do.  I definitely recommend buying the extra tickets to see them.

5.  Look for Freebies!

Okay, even being careful, things can get expensive pretty quickly.  My son wanted to see the Empire State Building, and that was actually really nice - but not cheap.  Instead of hitting all the tourist spots, we decided to go do "New Yorker" things.  Central Park is free - and you could hike around the park for days!  In Brooklyn, you can walk under the bridge to DUMBO.  Another day, you can go to South Ferry to ride the ferry to Staten Island, see the charging bull statue on Wall Street, and visit the Museum of the American Indian  - all for free!  It is actually pretty easy to entertain yourself without spending a lot of money.

6.  Helpful Hints

A few takeaways from our trip:

1.  Wear your most comfortable shoes.  We walked all day, every day.  And be prepared for a lot of stairs.  A LOT!

2.  The weather is unpredictable.  The city feels hotter than the temperature - especially on the Metro platforms.   Even in the high 60s, which is usually cold for us, we were wearing t-shirts.

3.  You cannot swipe your card at the same Metro stop twice.  If you accidentally go down and swipe, then realize you need to be on the other side of the platform you are stuck for 20 minutes.  If you are lucky, you might see a Metro worker who could reset it for you.  My nephew warned us not to duck under the stalls unless you want a fine.

4.  Broadway matinees are only on the weekend.  If you are not a night owl, plan ahead to see one Saturday or Sunday.

If you have any travel tips for New York City, I would love to hear them!

Back to Top