Penpal Writing: Free Brainstorming Sheet

Writing letters can be considered a lost art, but it is important to teach students how to write a proper letter. A letter (even if it is in the form of an email) is needed when applying to jobs, writing to government advocating for change, and used to write to family and friends.

This year, our class is writing to a class in Virginia (a teacher and I connected on a CEC forum and she asked if we would be penpals) and we are writing to a girl I support in Mozambique, Africa. I decided to have my students write to students in the United States and outside the United States to broaden my students’ perspective. For the letter to the class in Virginia, my students were given more models and support. For the letter to the girl in Mozambique, less support and guidance was given. Typically, when I teach a particular type of writing, I have my students write two copies. The first prompt with a lot of teacher guidance, models, and visual supports and the second prompt with the same models and visuals support, but without the direct teacher guidance.

elementary, writing ideas

In Mozambique, schools look a lot different than here in the US. Students do not have the same access to books, writing supplies, school buildings, and at times, even teachers. Children in Mozambique sometimes need to drop out of school to help their families make money. My students are writing to a girl named Emily who is around their age. They are interested to know how Emily’s life is different from their life and how her life is similar to theirs. We cannot wait to get a letter back from Emily! Our letters to her are shown above.  I included a free writing brainstorming sheet for writing to a penpal. This brainstorming sheets provide students step by step directions.

Free Division Resources

When teaching division, it is essential that students have a strong background in multiplication. If students are not fluent with their multiplication facts, a multiplication chart can be given as a modification.

Below, you will find some of my favorite FREE resources I have found/made when introducing division to my students.

Anchor Charts for Basic Division: 

basic, visuals, math, elementary math, visuals, elementary

TeacherPayTeacher FREE resources:

  1. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Division-Strategy-Mini-Posters-546788
  2. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Division-Strategies-Anchor-Chart-Freebie-1274169
  3. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Multiplication-and-Division-Strategies-FREEBIE-2105850

Video Reference: **brainpop requires a subscription 

  1. Making Equal Groups: https://jr.brainpop.com/math/multiplicationanddivision/makingequalgroups/
  2. Dividing with Remainders: https://jr.brainpop.com/math/multiplicationanddivision/dividingwithremainders/
  3. Repeated Subtraction: https://jr.brainpop.com/math/multiplicationanddivision/repeatedsubtraction/
  4. Division: https://www.brainpop.com/math/numbersandoperations/division/

Long Division

Acroynms to help students remember the steps: 

DMSBR: Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down, Repeat

Does McDonald Sell Burgers Raw?

The Division Family: Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Rover

***I have my students write DMSBR on a post-it note or on top of each problem and they need to check off each step. This helps keep them organized and structured when working.

Visuals to help students remember the steps:

free resource, math elementary, lesson ideas

Free Resources:

  1. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Two-Long-Division-Strategies-1274072
  2. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/FreeDownload/Long-Division-Practice-Sheets-1469531

Video References:

Free Subtraction Worksheet

When teaching skills such as addition and subtraction, many websites provide free resources to help students practice their math skills. Education.com is a website I use when looking for homework and classwork.

One of the best features about education.com is that you can build your own custom worksheet.  This is a great feature for teachers who want to modify the number of problems or type of problems they are giving their students.

If you do not want a custom built sheet, Education.com provides many choices for teachers to choose from. Challenge your mathematicians with this FREE fun school-themed subtraction worksheet below.

Free Subtraction Worksheet from Education.com

Answers To Free Subtraction Worksheet from Education.com

Here is a subtraction poem I use in my classroom to help students remember the steps to subtraction.

math charts, resources, anchor posters

Enjoy more math worksheets from Education.com.

Veterans Day

Thank you to all who serve and have served our country. To celebrate, our school put on an assembly where every grade sang one patriotic song that was learned during their music special. The fifth graders put on a cute skit describing what Veterans Day was and why it was important. 


veterans day teaching lesson plan

Veterans Day Activities: 

1. Write a letter of thanks to a Veteran 

2. Articles found on ReadWorks (Available for all grade levels)

3. Create a PowerPoint presentation on a Veteran

4. Use lesson plan ideas on EducationWorld

5. Worksheets and Children Book recommendations found on NEA