Math Milestones in Grades K-2

Math milestones in grades K-2
Math milestones in Grades K-2

Kids start learning math the moment they start exploring the world.  Kids develop their math skills at different rates, but there are some math milestones in grades K-2 that most kids hit ROUGHLY in those grades. Each skill—from identifying shapes to counting to finding patterns—builds on what kids already know.

Kindergartners (Age 5 years)

  • Begin to understand basic time concepts, like morning or days of the week
  • Add by counting the fingers on one hand—1, 2, 3, 4, 5—and starting with 6 on the second hand
  • Identify the larger of two numbers and recognize numerals up to 20
  • Understand the meaning of words like unlikely or possible
  • Copy or draw symmetrical shapes
  • Start using very basic maps to find a “hidden treasure”
  • Follow multi-step directions that use words like first and next

First and Second Graders

  • Know the difference between two- and three-dimensional shapes and name the basic ones (cubes, cones, cylinders)
  • Count to 100 by ones, twos, fives, and tens
  • Do basic addition and subtraction up to 20
  • Read and create a simple bar graph
  • Predict what comes next in a pattern and create own patterns
  • Recognize and know the value of coins
  • Write and recognize the numerals 0 to 100, and the words for numbers from one to twenty

Don’t forget that THESE ARE BALLPARK AGES. Don’t worry if your child does not yet have all the skills listed for their age group.  Every child is different and progress at their own rate.  Your child is on a lifelong learning journey with many stops along the way.  Enjoy the journey and see where they have been and where they are going.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Math Milestones for Preschoolers

Math milestones are generally reached ABOUT the same age.
Math milestones are generally reached ABOUT the same age.

Kids start learning math the moment they start exploring the world.  Whether it is shapes, counting or finding patterns, little ones are constantly building on what they already know and hitting some major math milestones.  

Kids develop their math skills at different rates, but there are some math milestones most kids hit around ROUGHLY the same age.   Each skill—from identifying shapes to counting to finding patterns—builds on what kids already know.

Babies (0-12 months)

  • Start to understand relative size (baby is small, parents are big)
  • Begin to understand words that describe quantities (more, bigger, enough)
  • Begin to predict the sequence of events (like setting the table means dinner is coming soon)
  • Start to understand basic cause and effect (tickling makes you laugh)
  • Begin to classify things in simple ways (play with toys, eat food)

Toddlers (Ages 1-2 years)

  • Match basic shapes (triangle to triangle, circle to circle)
  • Explore measurement by filling and emptying containers
  • Begin reciting numbers, but may skip some of them
  • Understand that numbers mean “how many” (using fingers to show how many years old they are) 
  • Start seeing patterns in daily routines and in things like floor tiles
  • Understand words that compare or measure things (under, behind, faster)

Preschoolers (Ages 3-4 years)

  • Start predicting cause and effect (what will happen to the ground when it rains)
  • Uses spatial awareness to put puzzles together.
  • Recognized shapes in the real world
  • Start sorting things by shape, color, size, or purpose.
  • Compare and contrast using classifications like size, gender, height
  • Count to at least 20 and accurately point to and count items in a group.
  • Understand that numerals stand for number names (3 stands for three)

Don’t forget that THESE ARE BALLPARK AGES. Don’t worry if your child does not yet have all the skills listed for their age group.  Every child is different and progress at their own rate.  Your child is on a lifelong learning journey with many stops along the way.  Enjoy the journey and see where they have been and where they are going.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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June Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  In March we looked at questions in the General Knowledge category. and in April we looked at the category of movies. June Trivia focuses on U.S. Trivia. Check them out and have some fun!

June Trivia questions can help your memory.

Warm Up (Easy) Questions

  1. Which US State is nicknamed The Golden State?
  2. What US State can you find San Francisco
  3. If Alaska is the biggest state in America what is the second biggest?
  4. In which state is Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the USA?
  5. What was called Windy City by a New York newspaper editor?
  6. Which ocean is off the California coast?
  7. Which ocean is off the New York coast?
  8. What is the four-letter name of the valley that stands north of San Francisco and is an important grape growing area of the USA?

Warm Up (Easy) Answers

  1. California
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. Nevada
  5. Chicago
  6. Pacific
  7. Atlantic
  8. Napa

Challenge Questions

  1. Which mountains stretch from West Virginia to Georgia?
  2. If you landed at Lindberg airport where are you?
  3. Which US city looks southwards into Canada?
  4. IF it is 3 a.m. in Nevada, what time is it in Montana?
  5. Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest waterfall but where is the second highest waterfall in the world?
  6. Located on three islands, what is the only American national park located south of the equator?
  7. Which is the only one of the original 48 states to have a fjord – a narrow sea inlet bordered by steep cliffs?
  8. In which US State is Panama City?
  9. What is the capital of Alabama?
  10. What is the only place below sea level in the US that is not in the California desert?
  11. The Colorado River flows through which mountain range? 
  12. In which US city is the Sears tower?
  13. Which American state beginning with the letter A was the first US STSTE to recognize Christmas as an official holiday?

Challenge Answers

  1. Blue Ridge
  2. San Diego
  3. Detroit
  4. 4 a.m.
  5. Yosemite
  6. National Park of Samoa
  7. Maine
  8. Florida
  9. Montgomery
  10. New Orleans
  11. The Rockies
  12. Chicago
  13. Alabama

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on WORLD GEOGRAPHY

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Jokes for Kids & Adults

Jokes Make Us Smile
Let’s all Laugh

If ever there was a time that we all need to smile, it certainly is now. When kids learn about jokes they often tell some really “corny” ones and sometimes you just have to laugh because THEY THINK they are REALLY FUNNY!    A smile or a laugh could do us all some good!

Top Jokes This Month

  • What do you call a snowman in July? ANSWER: A puddle.
  • What race is never run? ANSWER: A swimming race.
  • What is the best day to go to the beach? ANSWER: SUNday.
  • Why does a seagull fly over the sea? ANSWER: Because if it flew over the bay, it would be a baygull.
  • Where do sheep go on vacation? ANSWER: The Baaa-hamas. 
  • What part of the fish weighs the most? ANSWER: The scales. 
  • What happens if you throw a red sun hat in the water? ANSWER: It gets wet 
  • What does a mermaid use to call her friends? ANSWER: A shell phone
  • What’s gray, has four legs and a trunk? ANSWER: A mouse on vacation
  • How can you tell that the ocean is friendly? ANSWER: It waves!

Go on.  Admit it. 

At least one of these gave you a laugh, a giggle or at least an eye roll.  

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Handedness: Left or Right? Can you Tell?

If you’re curious about which hand your young child prefers, be sure to watch closely and take notes. Identifying hand preference can be difficult. A parent will have to use good observation skills and patience.

Good observations and skills will help you determine your child's handedness.
Good observations and skills will help you determine your child’s handedness.

The discussion of left vs. right handedness has been a conversation in by household since my oldest child was a toddler.  With 2 right handed parents, my oldest son is a lefty.  This perplexed our family until we learned from my parents that until I entered school, I was a lefty.  In those days, it was quite common to “unlearn” left handedness in school to be considered “normal”. Today, educators are more aware that it’s genetics and the brain that leads to a child’s dominant hand. Changing a child’s dominant hand is no longer an accepted practice and left handedness is, indeed, normal.  

The left/right hand conversation continues in our house today but has moved to understanding the handedness of my grandchildren.  With a left-handed son and daughter in law it would be my guess that at least one of their 3 children would be left handed.  However, so far, we have 2 righty’s and 1 not yet determined.  My daughter and son in law, both right handed, have confused us by having 3 left handed children.  My youngest son and daughter in law, both right handed have 1 right handed daughter and 1 not yet determined. So, with all these unexplained handedness questions in our family, I’m on a search for answers.

What is Hand Dominance or Handedness?

Simply, hand dominance or handedness is the hand that is most used in performing tasks.  This hand is the most nimble and rapid in performance. When young children start to consistently favor one hand over the other, they are showing that they are a “righty” or “lefty”.

Interesting Facts About Lefties and Righties

  • Hand preference is usually hereditary.
  • Boys are more likely than girls to be left-handed.
  • No matter what your child’s preference is experts advise against pressuring your child to choose one hand over the other or rushing the process.
  • Roughly 90 percent of us are right-handed.
  • You won’t be able to completely identify if your child is right or left-handed until the beginning of elementary school.

11 Things to Observe When Discovering Handedness

The list below contains some generally considered reliable indicators of hand preference.

  • Observe which foot is used to regain balance when a child loses balance.  
  • See which ear your child uses for speaking and listening on a phone.  
  • Which eye does he use when he looks through a hole in a piece of paper or looks through a telescope or kaleidoscope?
  • Ask your child to cross their legs and watch which leg they place on top.
  • When reaching for an item placed directly in front of him, what hand does he reach with?
  • If your child stirs things counter-clockwise, he/she is most likely left handed.
  • Which hand does he hold a toothbrush, silverware, comb?
  • Opening a door, a left-handed person will generally open it towards the right and a right-handed person towards the left.
  • Watch how your child twists a lid off a jar.  A left handed will try to twist to the left A right handed will try to open it to the right.
  • What hand does your child tend to use when blowing his or her nose?
  • Watch closely what foot and hand your child uses when participating in sports activities.

5 Activities to Reinforce Left and Right

So how do we learn our left and right? Although the exact process is not totally understood, the concept can be taught and reinforced both in preschool and at home.   

  • Sing songs such as the Hokey Pokey to both teach and reinforce left/right.
  • Left, Right, Center (LRC) game – Start with 3 tokens and 3 dice that have a L, R, or C on each one.  After rolling the 3 dice, you pass one of your tokens to each of the directions rolled.  The C is for the middle.  Dots mean you keep your tokens.     
  • Be sure to stand next to the child (not opposite) when demonstrating left/right to avoid confusion.  
  • Use the terms left and right in everyday activities –Show me your left foot, raise your right hand etc.
  • Dressing – When helping your child to dress always begin with their dominant side “step in with your right foot, slide your right arm through the sleeve”.

Quick Trick: Have children place their hands palm down in front of them with the thumbs touching. The left hand looks like the letter L.  Explain that this will remind them which hand is the Left.

If you’re curious about which hand your young child prefers, be sure to watch closely and take notes. Identifying hand preference can be difficult.  A parent will have to use good observation skills and patience.  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Kids and Question Topics

Kids ask LOTS OF questions

COVID -19 has taught us many things.  As many parents have experienced full time over the last few months, kids ask a lot of questions.  Sometimes they are different but most of the time, it is the same question over and over.  Of course, we should be answering all their questions but, that’s not life. Question Topics might be the answer!

However, answering and asking questions is good for kids.  It helps them respond to answers and gets them thinking.  Asking questions helps them express their creativity but also shows their comprehension skills. The trick to questioning and answering, (and keeping your sanity) is to ask questions that can have both broad and multiple answers.  Focusing on a topic will help to keep the conversation focused and will allow your child to expand their thinking.  Extending their thoughts is beneficial to both of you.  Check out the following topics and see if you can “survive” the next round of questions.

Question Topics for Discussion

  • What things make you happy?  Extend conversation with why?
  • What do you like daydreaming about?  What was your favorite daydream and why?
  • What would you do if I told you we were going to the beach?  Extend with prompts like: how would you get there, what would you bring, what will we do when we get there, when and how will we get home.
  • How would you design a treehouse?  How would you start the plan, what would you include, what would it be made of, how would you get into it, where would it be, what would you do in it, who would you invite to visit you.
  • What are three different things you want to do this summer?
  • If your stuffed animal could talk, what would it say?  Which animal, how about a different animal?
  • When you woke up this morning, what did you want to do? 
  • What is your favorite meal?  If you were the chef in a restaurant what would you add to your menu?

Don’t be afraid to recycle question topics. It’s fun to see the changes to their stories.

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Memorial Day Tribute: 2020

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our country. 
Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our country. 

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our countryRecently, I’ve been spending time in South Carolina. I’m always humbled and taken back when I see the outpouring of thanks for veterans at public events. Concerts, shows and baseball games often take a few minutes to honor the veterans in attendance. As members of each branch stand to be recognized, audiences applaud in appreciation.  It certainly is a “goosebump moment” that helps me remember their service.  These days, where the pandemic has shaken our world, I couldn’t imagine how our world would be IF  it weren’t for men and women who serve in the armed forces.   

Country music is known for storytelling, and as such have many songs that honor America.  Regardless of the artist, each song brings to light plenty of reasons to appreciate America and those who protect it. My choice for this Memorial Day is one of the most famous by Lee Greenwood (1984) Proud to be An American.  Thank you veterans!

God Bless the U.S.A

God Bless the U.S.A.,” Lee Greenwood, 1984

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea

From Detroit down to Houston
And New York to L.A.
Where’s pride in every American heart
And it’s time we stand and say

That I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free                                                                                                  And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Short Mysteries for Kids: May

Read carefully to find the mystery solutions.
Read carefully to find the mystery solutions.

Short minute mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story. Put on your thinking caps for this month’s fun.

May Mysteries

  1. There were two fathers and two sons on a boat fishing. They each caught a fish, but only three fish where caught. How can this be so?
  2. What would you be sure to find in the middle of Toronto?
  3. If today is Monday, what is the day after the day before the day before tomorrow?
  4. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
  5. In the basement there are 3 light switches in the “off position.” Each switch controls one of three light bulbs on the floor above. You may turn on any of the switches, but you may only go upstairs one time to see which light(s) were affected. How can you determine which switch controls each particular light bulb?

Mystery Clues:

  1. One of the characters plays more than one role.
  2. You don’t have to know anything about the city of Toronto.
  3. Write down the names of the days of the week in order and use it to figure out the answer.
  4. Water can be in different forms.
  5. You can tell whether the light was “on” without seeing it.

Answers:

  1. There was a Grandfather, his son, and his son’s son in the boat. Two fathers and two sons.
  2. There is the letter “o” right in the middle of the word TorOnto.
  3. Monday…today!
  4. Freeze one or both jugs, then cut the plastic away leaving only the ice. You could now put them into the barrel and still tell which water came from which jug.
  5. Turn any one switch to the “on” position for 5 minutes. Then turn that switch “off” and quickly turn on one of the other two switches to the “on” position. Then run upstairs and touch the two lights that are “off.” One of them will be “hot” because it was turned on for 5 minutes. Obviously the “hot” bulb is controlled by the first switch you turned “on.” The light that is currently “on” is controlled by the switch you last turned “on.” The “cold” bulb that is “off” is controlled by the only switch left.
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May Jokes for Kids & Adults

Jokes Make Us Smile
Jokes Make Us Smile

If ever there was a time that we all need to smile, it certainly is now. When kids learn about jokes they often tell some really “corny” ones and sometimes you just have to laugh because THEY THINK they are REALLY FUNNY!    A smile or a laugh could do us all some good!

Top Jokes of the Month

  • What kind of tree fits in your hand? ANSWER: A palm tree
  • What animal is always at a baseball game? ANSWER: A bat
  • How do we know that the ocean is friendly? ANSWER: It waves
  • Why do fish like to eat worms? ANSWER: Because they get hooked on them
  • What is a shark’s favorite sandwich? ANSWER: Peanut butter and jellyfish
  • Where do eggs go for summer vacation? ANSWER: New Yolk
  • Why didn’t the elephant buy a suitcase to stuff his clothes for vacation? ANSWER: Because he already has trunks!
  • Tell us one instance when you go at red and stop at green? ANSWER: When you are eating watermelon.
  • What do we call a dog enjoying his summer vacation on a beach? ANSWER: A hot dog
  • How does the sun drink water? ANSWER: Out of sunglasses
  • What kind of water cannot freeze? ANSWER: Hot water

Go on.  Admit it. 

At least one of these gave you a laugh, a giggle or at least an eye roll.  

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May Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults

May Trivia questions can help your memory.
May Trivia questions can help your memory.

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  In March we looked at questions in the General Knowledge category. In April we looked at the category of movies. This month we take a look at the category of History. Check them out. Do you think they are easy or not-so-easy? Enjoy the fun!

Top 15 History Trivia Questions

  1. Where was the Titanic heading when it hit an iceberg and sank? New York
  2. Complete the title of the famous Martin Luther King Jr. speech “I have a ____”? Dream
  3. The Mayan civilization was located in which modern day country? Mexico
  4. Alexander Graham Bell invented which of the following devices? Telephone
  5. In what century was Queen Victoria ruler of the British Empire? 18th century
  6. In which country were the Modern Olympics held for the first time in 1896? Greece
  7. Leif Eriksson was the son of which famous Viking? Erik the Red
  8. Which US Apollo mission was the first to land on the moon? 11
  9. Not including annulled marriages, which English King was famous for having 3 wives? Henry VIII
  10. Which of these cities was divided by a “wall” from 1961 to 1989? Berlin
  11. Which of the following was the name of one of Christopher Columbus’ famous ships? Pinta
  12. Of the following famous politicians, who drafted the Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson
  13. Who invented the lightbulb, and over 1000 other inventions? Thomas Edison
  14. Who was the first man on the moon? Neil Armstrong
  15. Who was the first President of the United States? George Washington

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on U.S. GEOGRAPHY

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Math Enrichment Problems for Grades 2-3: May

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.
To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Enrichment Problems:

  1. It takes GPA 13 hours and to get to Myrtle Beach from his house.  The distance of the trip is 700 miles.  What was the average speed he traveled on the trip? 
  2. What is the value of 2 Ferris Wheels, if you add them together and get 128?
  3.  If 9 X D = 54, what is the value of D?
  4. If 12 + DG = 74, How much is DG + DG? 
  5. Abby woke up at 7:02am on Thursday and went to be at 8:11pm.  If she napped for 1 hour, how long was she awake on Thursday?
  6. Six tomatoes cost $7.06.  Eleven apples cost as much as 4 tomatoes.      What is the cost of 7 apples? 

Answers:

  1. 53.85 miles per hour (MPH) 700 miles divided by 13 hours = 53.85 miles per hour.
  2. 24.  Since the total of 2 Ferris Wheels = 228, they each are an equal amount of 124.
  3. D = 6
  4. 124. Since DG = 62 therefore, 62 + 62 = 124.
  5. 12 hours and 9 minutes.
  6. 7 apples = $3.01
    • $7.06 divided by 6  = $ 1.18 for each tomato
    • 4 X $1.18 (each tomato) is a total of $4.72
    • So, 11 apples = $4.72
    • So, 1 apple = 43 cents. ($4.72 divided by 11)
    • So, the total cost of 7 apples $3.01 (7 X 43 cents)
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Easy Mother’s Day Songs

Create songs Mother’s Day songs to celebrate mom

Here’s an easy activity to help kids celebrate their moms’s this Mother’s Day. Choose a song kids know, help them change the words to talk about their mom and help them practice, practice, and practice. Dad’s don’t be surprised if you hear similar songs on your big days. Be sure to act surprised!

4 Steps to Creative Songs

  • Pick a tune your child knows.
  • Put your words into the song to make it rhyme (or close)
  • Write it down so you can sing it again. 
  • Keep it simple so it is easier to remember and practice.

5 Mother’s Day Songs

(all adapted from familiar nursery rhymes and/or familiar children’s tunes)  

Title: MOMMY (Tune: BINGO)

There was a kid and he/she had a mom, and Mommy was her name-o. M-O-M-M-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, And Mommy was her name-o.

Title: Five Little Mommies (Tune: Five Little Ducks)

Five little mommies I once knew,
Nice ones, pretty ones, happy ones, too,
And the one in the middle that belongs to me…
I love her and she loves me!
Down to the grocery store we would go,
Wiggle – wobble, wiggle – wobble, to and fro,
And the one in the middle that belongs to me,
I love her and she loves me! 

Title: Mother’s Day (Tune: This Old Man)
Mother’s Day,
Mother’s Day,
Is a very special day.
Here’s a great big hug
And lots of kisses too.
Each one says that I love you! 

Title: I Love You Mommy (Tune: You are my Sunshine)
I love you mommy
My funny mommy,
You make me happy
When I am sad.
I want to tell you
How much I love you!
When I’m with you
I am so glad! 

Title: Happy Mother’s Day (Tune: Happy Birthday)
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Happy Mother’s Day, dear Mommy,
Happy Mother’s Day to you!

To all the moms out there, and especially my daughter and daughters-in-law, THANK YOU for being great moms and taking such good care of your families. I love you all!

Teacher Appreciation Week and COVID-19

 Appreciating Teachers in a Pandemic
Appreciating Teachers in a Pandemic

Teacher Appreciation Week is always the first week in May. It is a week full of activities to thank teachers for their hard work. Obviously, COVID-19 has closed many schools closed this year and therefore, the event will not be held. It is ironic, in a year where teachers have been challenged to teach remotely, some appreciation would certainly be welcomed. Teachers have learned to use new technology, in warp speed, to present lessons and continue relationships with kids and their families. All, while managing their own issues and worries in their own family life.

Luncheons and daily treats were always enjoyed during Teacher Appreciation Week.  But it was the notes from kids and parents that were the most appreciated.  If you get a minute this week, write a quick note to a classroom teacher and thank them for helping teach your child. It will make their day!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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Classroom Grant Winners: Applause

 Grants can help provide high quality classroom resources.
Grants can help provide high quality classroom resources.

Classroom grant winners were just announced for the Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley. Congrats to Mrs. J (Grade K) and Mrs. N (Grade 1) two creative teachers that were awarded over $2500.00.

Thank you to the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley for being a great source of support for teachers to obtain high quality classroom resources.  I was so pleased to work with these 2 dedicated teachers to help them write grants for materials for their classrooms. The grants provide STEAM and language arts activities for over 200 students. Their creativity and dedication to their students is evident in their classrooms every day. Thank You Teachers!  Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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ThreeRingsConnections.org April Posts

 April Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org
April Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

What a month! My 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Today, living through a pandemic, my 2019 goal certainly seems trivial. It was so important to me to get my posts out in a systematic, timely fashion – and I celebrated that my goal was met. In 2020, I deliberated on whether to continue blogging. I thought perhaps my efforts would be better placed spending more time with my college students or grant writing. After much thought, I decided to continue balancing the three efforts. Once again it was an internal struggle that today, a short 4 months later, seems trivial. Today’s health crisis certainly puts everything into perspective. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Parents have taken the helm to be their child’s teachers and kids are learning. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful. I’ve changed the frequency and topics to provide resources and ideas to support parents in their new teaching role.

So, as we move into the month of May I hope that your day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable. Parents are and will always be their child’s #1 Teacher. For the past few months, it’s been 24/7. I hope you enjoy this time with your children and continue to find learning opportunities all around you. Stay safe and be well.

April’s Posts

April’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite April Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

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Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Check out some topics coming next month
  • Mother’s Day
  • Reading Buddies
  • COVID-19 Activities

Creative Thinking Tools

Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.
Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.

When I was a teacher in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program I had to administer a creativity test to all 3rd grade students in the district as part of admission into program.  That test, along with achievement and cognitive tests, were equal components in the program admission.

I loved administering the creativity test and so did the kids!  The test asked students to draw a series of pictures using only partial shapes; adding details and identifying what they drew.  Every year, there were always a few students who asked if they could do the test again.  They just knew they could do it better!  This realization showed us that teaching kids to think creatively was not only important for learning but could also be fun. Working with classroom teachers, my partner and I created lessons and programs that allowed students to be creative.

We started by teaching kids the tools needed to be creative thinkers. Creative thinking builds on the concept that a single question can have multiple answers. It doesn’t focus on right or wrong answers but on the importance of giving students the opportunity to express their ideas. This idea was especially liberating for our student with special needs, quiet, anxious and ELL students.  Being allowed to give non-ordinary responses, especially in a group activity, allows ALL students to participate.

How to Teach Creative Thinking

Once the TAG admission tests were completed, we used a similar Creativity activity to show kids the “tricks” or “creative thinking tools” to be creative.  We taught them 5 creative thinking tools; the SAME 5 components of good writing: fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration and evaluation.  

  • Fluency – Being able to think of lots of responses to a single question or response.
  • Flexibility – Being able to shift thinking from one way of thinking to another. 
  • Originality – Trying to come up with answers that are clever and unique.
  • Elaboration – Adding details to a basic idea to make it more interesting and complete.
  • Evaluation –Teaching kids how to weigh alternative ideas.  This was especially important when kids were working on team projects.   

Once the kids understood the basic components of creative thinking the LEARNING really began. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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April Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults

April Trivia questions can help your memory.
April Trivia questions can help your memory.

April Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Last month we looked at some questions to try on your family and friends. This month we head to the category of movies. Check them out. Do you think they are easy or not-so-easy? Don’t forget trivia players that sometimes trivia answers can be about information in the other part of the question. Example: In question 1 the question asks “Which movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009”? However, another way of asking the question could be “In what year did the movie The Hurt Locker win the Academy Award for Best Picture? Would you know it was 2009? Enjoy the fun!

For my Wizard teammates, I’ve highlighted in yellow those questions that I remember being asked. However, I don’t remember if we answered them correctly.  Oh, my memory!

April Trivia “At the Movies”

  1. Which war movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009? The Hurt Locker
  2. What was the name of the second Indiana Jones movie, released in 1984?Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  3. Which actor starred in the 1961 movie The Hustler? Paul Newman
  4. In which year were the Academy Awards, or “Oscars”, first presented? 1929
  5. “After all, tomorrow is another day!” is the last line from which movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1939? Gone with the Wind
  6. Which movie features Bruce Willis as John McClain, a New York police officer, taking on a gang of criminals in a Los Angeles skyscraper on Christmas Eve? Die Hard
  7. What is the name of the hobbit played by Elijah Wood in the Lord of the Rings movies?  Frodo Baggins
  8. Which actress plays Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies? Jennifer Lawrence
  9. Judy Garland starred as Dorothy Gale in which classic movie? The Wizard of Oz
  10. What is the name of the kingdom where the 2013 animated movie Frozen is set? Arendelle
  11. Which 1997 science fiction movie starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones tells the story of a secret agency that polices alien refugees who are living on earth disguised as humans? Men in Black
  12. Which English actor won the 2014 Academy Award for best actor for his role in The Theory of Everything? Eddie Redmayne
  13. In which 1984 science fiction movie did Linda Hamilton play the role of Sarah Connor? The Terminator
  14. Which classic thriller movie stars Roy Schnieder as the police chief Martin Brody? Jaws
  15. Which 1952 musical comedy tells the story of three performers making the transition from silent movies to “talkies”? Singin’ in the Rain
  16. Which English director was responsible for the epic movie Gladiator in 2000? Ridley Scott
  17. In which movie did Julia Roberts play a kind-hearted prostitute called Vivian Ward? Pretty Woman
  18. Who played Jack Dawson in the 1997 epic Titanic? Leonardo DiCaprio
  19. Which Tom Hanks movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1994? Forrest Gump
  20. Who directed the epic historical drama Schindler’s List in 1993? Steven Spielberg
  21. Who was the first African American actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor? Sidney Poitier for his role in Lilies of the Field in 1963.

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on HISTORY TRIVIA

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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COVID – 19 Tip: ABC’s of Active Reading

Active Reading starts with the ABCs of questions
Active Reading starts with the ABCs of questions

Many parents are helping their children with schoolwork during the COVID-19 pandemic.  What I’m hearing from them is that they don’t know what to ask their child after he/she has completing the home assignments.  A good strategy to use that if often used in schools is to steer the conversations around the ABC’s of active reading. This method will engage your child through Asking questions, Building vocabulary and Connecting with the world.  This strategy helps to keep both you and your child focused and on track.

Check out the common questions listed below to get your started.  All of them can be adjusted to meet your needs. 

Ask questions

  • What happened in the story?
  • Can you tell the events in order from the beginning to the end?
  • How does the main character feel in the beginning of the story?
  • What does the character do or say to make you think this way?
  • How does the author organize the book and why was it organized this way?

Build Vocabulary

  • Identify the words that were familiar?
  • What part of the text helped you to figure out what the word meant?
  • Besides the words the author uses, what are other words you can use to describe the character’s actions for feelings?
  • Why did you choose these words?

Connect with the world

  • Write about how this problem exists in the real world and how it is solved or is trying to be solved?
  • What is the big problem that is at the heart of this story?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Math Enrichment Problems for Primary: April

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Math Enrichment Problems:

  1. 8 adults, 6 children and 4 dogs went to a concert.  Tickets cost $7 for adults, $5 for children and $3 for dogs.  What was the cost for everyone to go to the concert?
  2. Abby went on a picnic with her sisters.  She bought 7 apples for $1.25 each, 7 sandwiches for $3.75 each, and 7 desserts for $1.95 each.  How much did Abby spend on the picnic?
  3. Meghan bought 12 boxes of donuts that each had 12 donuts.  How many donuts did Meghan buy?
  4. Emmy bought 12 mice for $1.02 each.  How much did Emmy spend on mice?
  5. Teagan earned $2 helping her mom fold the laundry.  If she earned $2 every day, how much would she earn in a year.  (HINT: There are 365 days in a year)
  6. If 12 people each weigh 100 pounds.  What is there total weight?

Answers:

  • $98.00
  • $48.65
  • 144 donuts
  • $12.24 total
  • $730.00
  • 1200 pounds

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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1000 Books Before Kindergarten: YES!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten
1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Reading 1000 Books to a child before Kindergarten? We’ve all heard about the importance of reading to young children. But, 1000 before kindergarten? It sounds like a lot, but if you read just one book a day that’s a little less than 3 years. Or, reading just 2 books a week, is another way to get to a 1000 by the time your child is 5. It certainly is possible if you start to keep track.

So, why is it important? Research shows that as many as one in five children have trouble learning to read and reading has been linked to academic success. With formal schooling not usually starting until ages 5-6, exposing your child to reading before kindergarten makes a lot of sense.

This gives the role of teacher for the first years of a child’s life to parents, caregivers, and preschool teachers. These are the people that spend countless hours with our kids, so recruit them into the counting process. Join the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge and give your child a good head start in learning.

So, maybe you don’t read 1000 books, but you get the idea. The more books you read to your child before kindergarten the better it is for your child.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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