## 2-Minute-Mysteries: November

2-Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story.

1. Chris was enjoying a bowl of chili at a restaurant in Montreal.  Looking into the bowl, he saw a fly.  He informed the waiter and asked for a new bowl of chili.  When the waiter brought him the new bowl, he tasted it and accused the waiter of bringing him back the same bowl.  Why did he think that?
2. Uncle Bug’s baseball bat company sells baseball bats for \$25.00 each. This month there is a sale 2 baseball bats for \$36.00. He said he makes the same profit either way but that it is a good sale.   How much profit must he make on each bat when he sells them at the regular price of \$25.00.
3. Kelly is walking down the street dressed in black.  There are no lights on anywhere and no moon.  A car without its lights on comes down the street and avoids hitting her?  How did that happen?
4. You walk into a room with only one match.  You must light a lantern, a stove, the pilot light on the water heater and a fire in a fire place.  What do you light first?

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Mysteries to support critical thinking

Minute-Mysteries: October

1. What else did Chris know about the soup?
2. Use the problem solving strategy of making a table.  Be sure to include examples of buying the bats at the full price.
3. When is the story happening?
4. What 5 items do you know you have in the room?

1. Before Chris found the fly, he had put salt on his chili.  When the chili returned, it was bland.
2. The profit on each bat must be \$14.00.  Since he makes no extra profit on the second bat, he must be selling it at cost.  With the price of each bat \$25.00 the cost is \$11.00 with \$14.00 profit.  Selling 2 bats at \$36.00 means that the total cost of 2 bats is \$22.00 leaving \$14.00 as the total profit.
3. Kelly is walking down the street during the day.
4. The first thing you have to light is the match.

## FREE Books for Adults and Kids

• Overdrive is a database of books that allows you to borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration.
• Tumblebooks is a collection of audiobooks and ebooks for kids. Books are leveled and the site also includes activities. Once you register using your library card, you will be given access information.

## 100 Chart for Math

Recently I was driving home with my granddaughter, who just started kindergarten.  To help distract her on our long ride, I thought it would be fun to count to 100 and see how long it would be before we saw our house. When we got into the 50s she informed me she wasn’t very good at the higher numbers.  Ah, a challenge for GG!

So, for her next visit I downloaded a 100 chart to help her develop an  understanding of numbers.  A hundred chart is an easy way to do fun math without lots of preparation.  A 100 chart can easily be found online.  I was ready for an exciting game of 100 chart BINGO.

Let the game begin!

After about 10 numbers, I realized her focus was more on the purple butterfly tokens we were using to cover the numbers rather than the numbers themselves.  A good early childhood teachers knows to keep a lesson focused, short and fun. That day Miss M did not think my 100s chart game was any of the three. So, the hundred (100) chart game will wait for another day.

Kindergarten Concepts to Review Using a 100s Chart

• Number identification
• Number order
• One to one correspondence(be sure to point to each number)
• Patterns
• Practice counting forwards
• Practice counting backwards

### Examples of 100s Chart Games

• Find the number
• Count off the days
• Numbers are symbols for amounts
• Ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.)
• Roll a die(1) or dice(2) and move that number of boxes on the chart.

Remember the fun is in the journey.  Enjoy the moment !

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

# Fostering Creativity in Kids and Love Doing it!

When I was a teacher of the talented and gifted we administered the Torrance Tests of Divergent Thinking as one of the admission tests. Points were given if kids expanded some basic squiggles into creative drawings.  Kids loved the test and always wanted to do it over. IF they did take the test again, they probably would have done better.  Why?  Because after the test I had shown them how they scored Therefore, they learned how to score better the next time.

A Torrance retest would be a perfect example of learning, but could I use the results to test creativity? I’m not sure.  The example showed that creativity is a skill can be developed. So, what about the kids who scored high on the original test?  Was that inborn talent or had they had opportunities to develop their creativity prior to testing?  Perhaps they had experiences that gave them the confidence to try different challenges where there was no right or wrong answers.

Bottom line is that parents can foster creativity in their kids.  Fostering a child’s creativity through art and music is a common idea.  However, creativity and problem solving can be seen in all areas.

### 10 Ways to Promote Creativity in Children

• Give kids lots of unstructured playtime to let their imaginations be unlimited.
• Provide resources to let them explore. (Ex. paper, pencils, boxes, old clothes for dress up, straws, newspapers, blocks, Legos) Let them look around and find things to use.
• Give them flexibility to make choices and think of solutions.
• Help them learn words associated with creativity by asking questions. Ex. What would happen if? What could you do with that?  Any ideas that might be possibilities? Let’s think of possible solutions.
• Applaud their creativity! Remembering that there is no right or wrong.  Allowing kids to express themselves with acknowledgement helps to build confidence to try new things.
• Allow them to make rules to a game. They’ll experience whether they work or not. When they don’t let them change them again.  Problem solving at its best
• The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.
• Remind them it’s ok to make mistakes. You don’t want them to be afraid of failure. Adults make mistakes too!
• Encourage divergent (different) thinking. I used to challenge all my first-grade classes to find 100 ways to melt a snowball. It was a struggle, but they always did it.  Wow, those kids were creative!
• Show kids creative ideas. In other words, something that will trigger “out of the box thinking”.

The photo attached to this post was taken by my husband on a golf outing.  He thought it was unique and knew I would share it with some of my grandkids. But he didn’t know that I would use it as the focus photo of a post on creativity!  Who would ever thinking of carving and painting  a scene on a tree?  So, maybe, you won’t paint on the next tree you see, but I bet you’ll think of this photo the next time you see an entwined tree trunk.  Now, you’re being creative.

Thanks to Griffon Ramsey, for the creative inspiration from “Bad Day on the SS Normandie” (2017)

## Student Teacher Characteristics

Becoming an Effective Student Teachers Is Up to You!

Recently I received an email from a former student teacher asking for advice on her upcoming student teaching placement.  She was so excited to embark on this new adventure and wanted to do a good job. Her excitement and willingness to learn was evident in the note, both great characteristics to have when starting student teaching. We met the next day for coffee and I ran through a somewhat shortened list of observable characteristics of effective student teachers. Our conversation motivated me to put together a more cohesive, organized list to help other student teachers. The list has no hierarchy of importance since I believe they are ALL important to a successful student teaching experience.

# 5 Most Common Characteristics of Effective Student Teachers in the Classroom

1. Ask questions. Time is a precious commodity in a classroom so be prepared to ask questions when a moment arises. Prepare your questions ahead of time and be sure to write down the answers. Remember  you have a lot to learn and only a short time to student teach. Your Cooperating Teacher (CT) will understand if you are full of questions!
2. Be prepared.  Better yet, over prepared and be ready to CHANGE. If anything is constant in school, it is CHANGE.  Student performance, schedule changes, assemblies you name it, there will be changes.  Even if flexibility has not been easy in the past, it is a necessity in the teaching world. The best solution is to have a back-up plan and  be ready to think on your feet.
3. Help without being asked. Offer to be helpful when you see something that can be done. Your CT has probably been running solo for a long time and may forget to ask you for help. There is always a list of things to get done in a classroom. Your CT may be aware of them but have ranked them low on the priority list. If you find yourself with nothing to do, look around and seize the opportunity.  Of course, check with your CT first. Helping in this way can make a big difference in strengthening the relationship with your CT.
4. Take notes and photos. There is so much to see and learn in a school. You may be unsure of what is important and useful, so take it all in now.  When reviewing later, tag items for future use.  A general rule of thumb is to NOT photograph students. Talk to your CT about school policy on this issue.
5. Show Their JOY! Let’s face it, everyone knows if a teacher enjoys their job. Be enthusiastic and don’t forget to smile.  Don’t hide the JOY!

## 5 More Characteristics That Didn’t Make the Top 5 BUT Are Important Too!

1. Visit other classrooms. Each teacher is different, and you will learn something new in every classroom. It is best to work with your CT to arrange visitations. Some teachers may be hesitant to open their doors for a variety of reasons. It is important that the teacher you are visiting is  comfortable with your observing.
2. Share knowledge. Student teachers very often have been exposed to recent research that may be helpful to your CT. Don’t be shy to share a recent article, or new technology that you may have learned.  Student teachers can be an excellent source of professional development in a school.  Collaboration is a major focus in schools today.
4. Welcome input. Accepting that student teaching is a learning experience will make feedback easier. Welcoming feedback as an opportunity for growth which will better prepare you for future formal observations.
5. They are “Worker Bees”. Worker Bees Live in Schools.  As a lifelong member of the hive, I know it would be be hard to find a great teacher that wasn’t busy, busy, busy.  Show your CT that you are willing to do extra work outside the scheduled day.

### Prior to the Big Day!

• Clean up social media – We all use it and therefore anyone can see it. Be sure to clean up any social media items that may appear to be unprofessional in nature.  When in doubt on an item, check with your CT.
• Dress appropriately. In other words, dress professionally. Always consider yourself on a long-term job interview and always look your best.  Your wardrobe does not have to be fashionable or expensive to be professional.  It doesn’t matter how the teachers around you dress, they’re employed!
• Punctuality is Important. Your great planning will go unnoticed if you are not punctual. Rushing around can be interpreted as unprepared.  Plan to arrive each day 15 -30 minutes early. Talk with your CT on the expectations of  your schedule.
• Silence the phone. We all know that our phones are our lifeline to the world. However, they should  NOT  be part of student teaching. My best advice is to manage your phone at a time that you are NOT with students.  Being present with your students is much more than just being in the classroom.  Send your students the message that being with them is important and you’re not going to be interrupted by your phone.

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Student Teacher Refs: Are VIP

## 5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

So good news.  If you are reading this blog, you have been taught to read.  However, how did you learn to read?  What are the main parts when teaching reading? I’ll give you a hint… there are 5 parts of reading.

I asked that question to a few non-teaching friends recently.  They all responded comprehension, and with some additional prodding, they added vocabulary. Both are correct!  Now, what are the other 3? For anyone helping kids learn to read it is important to know that it takes all 5 ingredients working together for kids to become successful readers. Adding to comprehension and vocabulary are fluency and phonological  and phonemic awareness.  Often, students that have difficulty with reading comprehension have difficulty in 1 or more of the other reading components.

Comprehension is what most people think reading is. It is creating a meaning out of a group of individual words.  Reading comprehension is the most complex aspect of reading.  It includes the other 4 components and requires the reader to think about what they are reading and make connections with their personal knowledge.

Vocabulary is needed for kids to read books.  As they become stronger readers, they will tackle more difficult readings with new vocabulary words.  When reading with a child ask them to try to figure out a new word by the context clues (hints) in the text.  They can look at other words in the sentence, the main idea of the story, or the pictures in the story to provide hints to identify the new word.  Like vocabulary, reading comprehension skills develop and improve over time through practice.

Fluency is a reader’s ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. It is important for reading comprehension because it frees up working memory in the brain to spend time comprehending what they are reading. Reading books slightly below your child’s reading level will help build confidence and therefore, increase fluency.

Phonemic Awareness is recognizing parts of words. To see that a word has a beginning, middle and end and makes a new word if you add an ending such as /s/.  Phonemic awareness is also blending the parts of words together to make a full word. For example: /h/ and /at/ to form hat.  Phonemic awareness also recognizes specific sounds and location in a word.  For example: knowing what the first sound in the word “ball”.

Phonological awareness is the connection between sounds and letter symbols.  These sound/symbol connections create words. Children need to understand the connection between the individual sounds that each letter makes and how putting the letters together to create a word to understand. Nursery rhymes are great resources to help develop both phonological and phonemic awareness skills.

# Top 5 things for parents to do to help their child read

2. Reread books to expose kids to same words to build fluency.
4. Use different vocabulary words in conversations with your child (age dependent)

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## Speech Language Pathologists

As a building principal for many years, I had the pleasure of working with many classroom teachers and special area teachers.  There was not a day that went by that I didn’t learn something from one of them!  One group of teachers that I found to be an amazing source of information was the Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). Our SLPs were exceptionally helpful in our school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) process.  As part of our RTI process, they worked to find different ways to include language interventions to strengthen student skills.  Collaborating with classroom teachers they were able to explain a child’s limitations based on testing and suggested interventions.  Partnering with parents they explained test scores, program   recommendations and shared progress reports.

Thank you, Holly and Connie!

The 2 sites below are good resources to support teachers, parents and caregivers looking for information on any speech concerns.  Both are active sites with the Main Page having multiple links and search engines to ask specific questions.

American Speech Language Hearing Association

National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDC)

## Use Your Words Daniel Tiger

“Use Your Words”: Learning Kit with Daniel Tiger

The technique “use your words” encourages children to talk about their feelings. Being able to use words to describe what they are feeling gives children power over their feelings. Giving words to feelings can make them become a lot less overwhelming or upsetting or scary. The Use Your Words Learning Kit with Daniel Tiger is a FREE resource has many tips for parents and teachers for helping children learn to use their words to express how they are feeling. Great resource that kids will love!

Use Your Words: Learning Kit with Daniel Tiger

3 Words to Help Expression

## Every Kid Needs A Champion

I saw the video “Every Kid Needs A Champion” a few years back at an ASCD conference in Texas.  I don’t know exactly what touched me about it, but it gave me “the goosebumps”.  You know what I’m talking about.  The goosebumps you get on your arms when you really “get” it.

Take a few minutes and sit back with a cup of coffee to watch this video.   Then think about the question below of how you feel after watching it. Whatever answer you choose, it validates your choice to become a teacher. What you DO makes a difference in a child’s life.  Thank you for what you do.

Rita Pierson: Ted Talks Education: Every Kid Needs a Champion

How do you feel after watching this video?

1. Honored to be a teacher
2. Thankful to be a teacher
3. Inspired to keep teaching
4. All the above

Children remind us to pay attention to the details and the magical moments. They encourage us to sing “Let It Go” for the 100th time. (with hand movements, of course). Children’s enthusiasm is contagious and that’s why we teach. How can we keep that joy alive in our teaching?

It’s because we are champions.

## Change Happens… Now What?

I’ve used the video below many times in Teacher Professional Development workshops when we try to understand the many changes occurring in education today. Sometimes the video helps to focus a group to understand the need for changes.  Other times it helps to support a group challenged to change and looking for meaningful and sustainable pathways.  Overall, a good visual to illustrate how our world has changed and a glimpse into the future.  At the very least it’s a 5 minute history lesson.

I had this video embedded in a recent Keynote speech,  only to find out that the Internet was not working.  (Don’t you just love technology!) So, here you go Astor Friends!  I will also be posting the Champion Speech.   You all deserve it!

Did You Know (Shift Happens  – 2018 Remix

## Minute-Mysteries: October

Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story.

Emily and Connall were playing checkers at GG’s house. They played 5   games.  Each of them won the same number of games and there weren’t any ties.  How could this happen?

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was the youngest person elected to the presidency.  However, he was the second youngest man to hold the office? How could this be?

On Monday, the teacher asked Teaghan how old she would be on her next birthday.  She answered that in two years she would be twice as old as she was five years ago.  How old is Teaghan today?

A photographer went for a walk in the woods to take pictures of nature.  That was the last time anyone saw her alive.  Three days later she was found dead in the woods.  The story says that she died because of a pack on her back.  What was so deadly about the pack?

Other posts related to this topic

Mysteries to support critical thinking

1. How many kids were playing checkers?
2. Are presidents always elected?
3. Use a chart or a table as your problem solving strategy.
4. Is there anything else special about the phrase  “pack on her back” other than it rhymes?