Announcing Solution Squad Volume 2!

After careful consideration and getting approval from the two most important people I have to clear decisions like this with (Margarita Mandoki McClain and Tracy Edmunds), I am going forward with Solution Squad Volume 2!   Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to back another Kickstarter so soon after I just did one. […]

Digital Comics and How to Use Them in the Classroom

One of the common questions I receive is, “How do I use Solution Squad in my classroom?” That’s a fair question to which I have an unfair answer. I generally don’t use the physical book in my classroom. I have copies on hand for kids to read, but the physical book really isn’t meant for […]

How Many Days Old Are You? Part 1

When I want to assess my students’ problem solving abilities to begin the semester, I ask one simple question. It’s the title of this post.  So simple. It requires nothing more than whole number addition and multiplication and a rudimentary knowledge of the calendar. But watching student after student answer the question incorrectly, I lay […]

Teaching with Jim McClain’s Solution Squad, Part 3

Students continued their writing today, and I promised them that I would do the activity right along with them. I guess their thought is if we suffer together, it’s more bearable? Since they’ve moved past the organized list phase into the paragraph writing phase, I modeled what I think their paragraphs should look like. What […]

Teaching with Jim McClain’s Solution Squad, Part 2

There isn’t only one way to teach using Jim McClain’s Solution Squad. I’ve been using it for years. Ordinarily, I’d go right through the first story, developing prime number skills. But this year, I decided to go off-script. My favorite Solution Squad activity is a writing prompt: What Would You Do with One Billion Dollars? […]

Teaching with Jim McClain’s Solution Squad, Part 1

We have published our first graphic novel, available here and here, but now the question is, “How do we teach with it?” The answer follows! In my seventh grade classroom yesterday, I polled my students to find out how many of them had never read a comic book or a graphic novel. I was pleased to […]

Games: Lo-Hi

Jim McClain here! If you have access to two 12-sided dice, try this game out for your elementary age kids who are struggling with their multiplication facts. My kids–seventh graders, mind you–beg to play this game. It’s easy, it’s fair, and you can copy the score sheet to your heart’s content. I do them back-to-back […]

Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter

Formerly known as The Graphic Textbook, Reading With Pictures: Comics That Make Kids Smarter is a 184-page anthology of educational comics from science, social studies, language arts, and math for grades 3-6. It features comic stories by Katie Cook, Mike and Janet Lee, Chris Giarusso, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, Trevor Mueller, Russell Lissau, […]