Great Ideas: Creative Solutions

From our Winter 2018 issue

Teacher-tested ideas you can use in your classroom

Quick math

Sister Grace Augustine from Saint Luke School, Bronx, New York, shares this idea for a quick math review while teaching any other subject:
Whenever I begin a lesson in class, I tell the children the page and then write the page number on the board. The other day we had to turn to page 37. Instead of writing the number on the board, I wrote 5×7 + 2. This was a good review of the multiplication tables. I also could have written 40-3, or 30+7, or 70 divided by 2+2 to get the same results. I did this when I taught Roman numerals as well. It is a good way to review, and the children seem to enjoy the challenge of finding the correct page for the lesson.


Image courtesy of Calvert Catholic School.

Mary Claire Griffin, a fourth-grade teacher at Calvert Catholic Elementary in Tiffin, Ohio, assigns this creative project for studying famous people. It’s highly adaptable to any lesson that focuses on key people in a particular field.

“My students study famous people from our state and then write a research paper. They construct a ‘bottlehead’ in the likeness of their chosen person and give a 3-minute oral report. Students from other classes visit to learn and ask questions of the creative students. This idea would also be great for a ‘Bottlehead Saints’ project.”

What can you do with $5?

Sr. Maria Corazón, formerly of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, divided her students in groups of three or four at the beginning of Lent, then proceeded to give each group $5. She instructed the groups to use the cash to make more money, and at the end of Lent, all money was given to a charity the class had chosen. Students were very creative: Some used the money to buy strawberries, dipped them in chocolate, and then sold each for $1 during lunch. Another group used the money to purchase baking supplies and made cookies to sell. A third group invested in color copies of a scenic photo with quotes, which they offered for a donation. By the end of Lent her freshmen had spent $250 and raised almost $7,000!

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When Carmen Lagalante isn’t teaching the students, she’s teaching the teachers. Find her online at

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