ThreeRingsConnections’ February 2019 Newsletter

Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.
Good teachers know how to bring out the best in students.

Two months down in 2019- how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 11 February posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 3 down and 9 more to go! Have a great month!

February 2019 Archives

February’s Most Popular Posts:

3 most viewed by our blog readers. Were they on your favorite list?

My Favorite February Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month


See some posts coming next month!
  • Science Fair for a Kindergartner
  • Vocabulary Development – Fancy Up Your Talk
  • Educational Buzzwords: How to use them to get that job!
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Read Across America Day March 1, 2019

A special day to celebrate and promote reading throughout the United States.


A special day that celebrates and promotes reading throughout the United States.

What is Read Across America Day?

In 1997, the National Education Association (NEA) started the initiative to create a special day to celebrate and promote reading. Since then schools, libraries, and community centers across the United States participate in the day by bringing people together to take part in reading books. The first celebration was held on March 2, 1998, which coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is an American author best know for writing children’s books. 

Each year this nationwide observance is held on the first school day closest to March 2.  In 2019 it will be held on Friday, March 1st. The event continues to grow in scope and size each year. Today, more than 50 national nonprofit and association sponsors and more than 3.3 million NEA members support the effort every year.

Resources for Read Across America Day

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Nursery Rhymes Are Good for Kids

Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and can provide hours of fun for kids. .

Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and can provide hours of fun for kids.
Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and can provide hours of fun for kids.  

“Little Baby Bum” and Me

When my Netflix account appears on screen, do you know what my shows up as my favorite show? “Little Baby Bum”!  Why?  My two youngest granddaughters, a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old, just love this show! Yes, it’s TV, but these nursery rhyme videos are both educational and entertaining.

My favorite show is a result of letting the girls watch the show as a distraction so I can get them to eat their “non-favorite” foods.  While we watch the show together, we sing, laugh and “fly the food” right into their mouths. Even vegetables get past them when “Baby Bum” is on!  Getting them to eat their veggies is the short-term goal but knowing that teaching children nursery rhymes can help them become better readers. This makes some TV time OK with me.  

Why do kids need nursery rhymes?

  • Speech articulation –  When singing nursery rhymes, we naturally speak more clearly and slowly. Slowing down our speech helps children learn words.  This slower pace allows children to see how we form our mouth when making words, thus helping their articulation.  
  • Perfect first stories – Nursery rhymes are short and therefore can be repeated multiple times. The rhyming also catches their attention and helps them complete phrases.    
  • Help early language development – Seeing and hearing nursery rhymes helps kids make connections with new vocabulary. The more stories and rhymes kids hear, the larger their vocabulary.  As a result, they are better have better comprehension.   
  • Opportunities to strengthen fine motor skills and coordination – When children act out nursery rhymes, they strengthen their large and small muscles.
  • Strengthen creativity – Nursery rhymes are not your “everyday happenings” in life. The stories involve characters and settings that spark a child’s imagination. 
  • Create a sense of community – All kids are different and therefore their experiences with stories and songs are different.  However, exposing kids to common rhymes builds a sense of community. How cool, is it when 8 grandchildren, living in 3 separate states, can all tell the story of “Three Little Kittens” or Itsy, Bitsy, Spider”?  
  • Promote a love of books – Building a love of reading nursery rhymes can help a child transition to reading books.

Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and easy for a Gigi to remember. They can provide hours of fun for kids, parents and Gigi’s.  

Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Historical Dates and Learning: March & April

Including Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.

Including Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.
Including Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed  by their teachers historical knowledge!

March

Music in Our Schools Month

March 2                Iditarod begins

March 2 Dr. Seuss Birthday

March 2 Read Across America

March 5                Mardi Gras begins

March 10              Daylight Savings Time begins

March 14               Scientist Albert Einstein born (1879)

March 17              St. Patrick’s Day

March 20               First Day of Spring

March 29                Coca Cola invented (1886)

April

National Poetry Month

April 1               April Fool’s Day

April 1 April Fool’s Day

April 2    International Children’s Book Day

April 18 Paul Revere’s Famous Ride (1875)

April 19th Passover Begins

April 21st Easter

April 22nd Earth Day

April 23rd William Shakespeare born,  (1854)

April 24th Administrative Professionals/Secretaries Day

April 26th  Arbor Day

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Math Enrichment Problems: Feb. Grades 2-3

Practicing the problems each month will help students solve the problems easier.

Practicing the problems each month will help students solve the problems easier.

Math Enrichment Problems

Welcome to the 3rd month of threeringsconnections.org  Monthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

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

  1. Draw a picture
  2. Guess and Check
  3. Use a table or list
  4. Find a pattern
  5. Logical reasoning
  6. Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. If 1 chicken can lay 3 eggs in 4 days, how many eggs can 3 chickens lay in 8 days?
  2. A machine takes any number fed into it, adds 9 and then subtracts 1.  Abby fed the number 10 into the machine.  When the answer came out, she fed that number back into the machine.  What final number came out of the machine?
  3. At the pet shop there were 7 puppies in one cage and 5 kittens in another cage.  How many more feet (paws) were there in the puppy cage than in the kitten cage?
  4. Donna, Jerry and Noreen and ken collected empty soda cans to return for deposit.  They received 5 cents for each can and received a total of $2.  Donna collected 18 cans, Jerry 9 cans and Noreen 20 cans. How many cans did Ken collect?
  5. A passenger train has 297 passengers aboard. There are 45 passengers in each of the first 4 cars of the train.  Each of the remaining 3 cars has an equal number of passengers.  How many passengers are there in one of those cars?
  6. If     X   – 4 – 2 = 5, how much is  X + X?          +
  7. IF a + 11 = 35, how much is a – 11?

Answers:

  1. (18)        If 1 chicken can lay 3 eggs in 4 days, then 1 chicken can lay 6 eggs in 8 days.  Three chickens can     lay 18 eggs in 8 days.
  2. (26)        10 + 9 – 1 = 18, 18 +9 -1 = 26
  3. (8)          7 puppies have 28 paws total and 5 kittens have 20 paws total.  There are 8 more paws in the puppy cage than in the kitten cage.
  4. (53)        To get $2 for returning cans that are each 5 cents, 40 cans had to be returned.  Adding Donna’s cans (18) + Jerry’s cans (9) and Noreen’s cans (20) the total # cabs together are 47 leaving Ken to return 53 cans.
  5. (39)        45 passengers X 4 cars = 180 passengers.  Since the total passengers were 297-180 that leaves 117 passengers divided equally into 3 cars.  That means 39 passengers in each of the remaining 3 cars.
  6. (22)        To make the statement true:  11 must go in first box so that 11-4-2 = 5 and therefore, 11 + 11 = 22.
  7. (13)        a = 24 and therefore 24-11 =13.

Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems 

threeringsconnections.orgOther posts related to this topic

Math Enrichment Problems: Jan. Grades 2-3 

Math Enrichment Problems: Dec. Grades 2-3   December 15, 2018

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?  December 13, 2018

Enrichment in Class? Is Your Child Being Challenged?  December 4, 2018

Highly-abled students need attention too!  September 17, 2018

New Teacher: Best Resources

7 Best websites to support new teachers

If you're looking for quick tips, easy-to-implement ideas, and practical advice, here are some great resources for new teachers covering a range of topics.
Resources to help new teachers survive the first year of teaching.

A new teacher will face challenges and pressures during their first few years in teaching. However, there are some great resources online. Take a look at the quick tips, easy-to-implement ideas, and practical advice on the following websites. The resources cover a range of topics to help your first few weeks run smoothly and your first year.

7 Websites to Support New Teachers

Edutopia is a trusted source shining a spotlight on what works in education.  The George Lucas Foundation funds the initiative to provide educational resources for educators and parents. The Resources Toolkit for New Teachers contains an array of articles, videos, and other resources that are chock-full of tips and advice.

Scholastic New Teacher’s Survival Guide is posted in monthly installments to navigate the first year of teaching.  Tips on classroom management, curriculum and working with parents are included.

TeacherVision: New Teacher Resources – Everything a beginning teacher needs for a successful year. In addition, the site contains tips for the first day, classroom-management, and lesson plans. 


TeachersFirst –  A  rich collection of lessons, units, and web resource delivered in a user-friendly format.  Sign up is FREE.

The National Education Association (NEA)Teacher Toolkit offers a collection of blogs, videos, and other resources on a range of subjects.  First time users must register.

Teaching Channel New Teacher Survival Guide – includes various resources to support new teachers related to your first year teaching.

U.S. Department of EducationSurvival Guide for New Teachers is written to give research and information on first-year teaching. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

On this Valentine’s Day, a great big Thank You to all the teachers who LOVE to teach and teach kids to LOVE learning. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thank you to all the teachers who LOVE to teach and teach kids to LOVE learning.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Science Fair is COMING!

Learning about science is at the heart of a Science Fair project.

Learning about science is at the heart of a Science Fair project.
Learning about science is at the heart of a Science Fair project.

So, the secret is out, I love a Science Fair.  However, this is a trait that was not inherited since my adult kids are not big fans! I know I’m to blame, partially at least, for loving to do science experiments with them when they were young. At one point, they loved doing them too. But at times they just wanted to do something else and were just not interested in designing aluminum foil boats to see which boat could carry the most amount of pennies. What a surprise for me! In case you were wondering, your boat design should include sides and the pennies carefully placed and distributed evenly across the boat. A 4 X 4-inch boat can hold well over 100 pennies! I’m sure there are a few people out there that just might want to give that a try.

The Science Fair packet comes home

Last week, my granddaughter in Kindergarten came home with a Science Fair packet from school. Excitedly, she explained that high school students visited her classroom and made lava come out of a volcano made out of Play- Doh!  She was thrilled to learn that she could participate in the Science Fair by just doing an experiment. Great marketing high school students!  Miss M wanted to sign up IMMEDIATELY!

Reluctant at first to share with me the news about Miss M’s Science Fair, my daughter broke the news cautiously to me. So as not to appear too excited, I calmly walked to the basement door and when out of sight, excitedly ran down the stairs to find my collection of Science Fair books. After suggesting different experiments that could be done “quick and easily”, she informed me that she already had an idea.

Miss M’s experiment question will be “What type of liquid will make plants grow best”?  She has already checked the refrigerator to find different watering liquids and decided she would try milk, iced tea, lemonade, and apple juice. Yes, she is missing a “few things” but she’ll get it done. 

Miss M has already shown that she is curious and enthusiastic. Two characteristics needed to be a successful scientist. Science Fair, here she comes!

Coming Soon: The Science Fair Experiment Continues  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?


Other posts related to this topic:

Kids: It’s time for a “shower of hearts”

Our hearts are ready and we are ready to "Shower Mom and Dad" with hearts!
Our hearts are ready and we are ready to “Shower Mom and Dad” with hearts!

With Valentine’s Day, just around the corner, it’s time to share your love with mom and dad.  So, you say you don’t have any money or a way to get to the store to get them a present?  Not a problem!  You can give them a great present by making them hearts and all you will need is paper, scissors, tape, and something to write with.  So, let’s use our 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and let’s add an H for How are we going to do our hearts project.

  • Who: Kids (young and old) 
  • What: cut out 14 paper hearts with one reason on each of why you love them
  • When: Every day from February 1st through February 14th
  • Where: You can make them anywhere but you are going to tape them on your parents bedroom door.
  • Why:  This is a nice way that you can show them how much you love them.
  • How: Find someone older (like a GG or GPa) than can help you cut out the hearts and add reasons why you love mom and dad.  They can also help you add tape to each heart. You get to be the “heart hanger” and will hang one heart every morning on your parents’ bedroom door starting on February 1st and ending on February 14th which is Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day your heart can say Happy Valentine’s Day! Shhhh! Try to be quiet so they will be REALLY SURPRISED.  They are going to love it!  

Some ideas of what you can say:

  • Because you love me
  • I love you
  • I love it when we play.
  • I love it when we have snack.
  • I love it when we cook.
  • I love it when you let me play on your phone.
  • I love it when we have dance parties.
  • I love it when we go to the movies.
  • I love it when we go on a picnic
  • I love it when you take me to dance class.
  • I love it when you take me to school.
  • I love it when you pick me up at school.
  • I love it when you come to my school.
  • I love it when we have mommy and me time.
  • I love your hugs.
  • I love your kisses.
  • I love it when we read a book.
  • I love it when we take a walk.
  • I love it when we snuggle.
  • I love it when we play ______________.
  • I love it when you make me dinner.
  • I love having breakfast with you.
  • I love it when you tickle me.
  • I love it when we play together.
  • I love it when we go to the store.
  • I love it when we play outside.
  • I love it when we watch TV.
  • I love it when we watch a movie.
  • I love it when we go to a movie.

Shortcut:  Ask an adult to buy some paper hearts at a Dollar Store.


Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic

Your Child’s Vision Should Be Checked

Your child’s vision should be checked.

Your child's vision should be checked
Your child’s vision is important for school success.

How is the child’s vision?  That was a common question to our school’s s Response to Intervention (RTI) Committee, when a struggling student was referred to the committee. Our school nurse, a key contributor to RTI, would give an update to the team on the most recent vision screening.  If necessary, she would re-screen the child to be sure to rule out vision issues as a reason for the child’s classroom difficulties. A student may indeed be struggling in class if they are having vision or hearing issues. Thank you, Miss Peggy and School Nurses, everywhere!

I have a personal connection with school vision screenings.  In the mid 60’s it was a school nurse that discovered that I could not see out of one eye and recommended to my parents to have my vision checked.  I was diagnosed with amblyopia, the most common cause of vision problems in children. Commonly known as “lazy eye”, one eye is weaker that the other because the brain area for one eye didn’t fully develop.  This causes the loss of the eye to see details. If detected early, it is reversible. Unfortunately, in my case, it resulted in permanent vision loss.  My disability has made me hyper-vigilant to be sure young children get eye exams at a young age.

When should your child’s vision be tested?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Your child’s pediatrician should checks your child’s eyes during routine exams and will make a referral if a problem is suspected. School screenings, although valuable. should not be a substitute for an eye exam completed by a doctor.  

How important are eye exams to learning?

Healthy vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn and to reach their academic potential. In order to be successful in school your child needs the following basic visual skills for learning:

  • distance vision
  • near vision
  • eye movement skills
  • focusing skills
  • peripheral awareness
  • eye/hand coordination

At your child’s next routine physical exam, be sure to check with your doctor if a vision problem is suspected.  They may even refer you to an eye doctor that specialized in pediatrics.  Good vision is key to a child’s physical development and success in school.  

threeringsconnections a website for teachers and parents.
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other resources to support your child’s vision

Vision for Kids

American Optometric Association

Calling 911 Needs to be Taught to Kids

Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Teaching your child how to call 9-1-1.

In case of emergency Call 911
Teaching children how to use 9-1-1 is crucial and could save lives.

911, I wondered. Recently I passed our local fire department and saw their notification board with the question “Does your child know how to call 911?” I wondered if my grandkids knew how to use 911 in an emergency? So, just to be sure I put together a post to help parents have the information easily accessible to them. Knowing what to teach your child about 911 is essential to ensure they use it properly and do not call 911 unnecessarily. Teaching children how to use 911 is crucial and could save lives.

When to Call 911

Teach kids that a 911 emergency is when someone needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger. Help your child understand that major things like fires, seriously injured people and intruders in your home are real emergencies and things like a missing toy or a flat bike tire are not.

They should call 911 if:

  • there’s a fire
  • someone is unconscious after an accident, drinking too much, or an overdose of pills or drugs
  • someone has trouble breathing, like during an asthma flare-up or seizure
  • someone is choking
  • they see a crime happening, like a break-in, mugging, etc.
  • there’s a serious car accident

How to Call 911

  • Call 9-1-1 if you think you have an emergency and explain the situation to the dispatcher.
  • Make sure your kids know that the emergency operator that answers the phone will ask them questions about the emergency and it’s OK to share information.
  • Stress that they should call 9-1-1 AFTER they are in a safe place.
  • Explain to your child that it is important to stay as calm as possible so they can give information to the 911 dispatcher and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. So the operator can understand all their important information.

Helpful Tips to Teach Your Child 911:

  • Never say “nine eleven.” There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say “nine-one-one.”
  • Calling 9-1-1- is very important. Never call it unless it is necessary. Calling 9-1-1 as a joke, might slow down the emergency help from getting to someone who really needs it. They should also know that people who call as a joke can also get into trouble. But if they call 9-1-1 by mistake, don’t hang up. When the dispatcher answers, tell him/her that they made a mistake and that there is no emergency.
  • Post your address near the phone or in a place everyone has access (i.e. memo board, refrigerator, etc.) and be sure the kids know where it is and how to read it. If you live in an apartment building, make sure your child knows the apartment number and floor you live on.
  • Once your child knows how to use 9-1-1, practice different scenarios to make them more familiar with the concept without frightening them.
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Additional Resources:

Energy Balancing: GG vs. Grandkids Visit

Grandchildren are full of energy.
Grandkids are full of energy

Let’s face it, as grandparents most of us just don’t have the same energy levels we had when our kids were young.  So, when the grandkids are coming to visit, I plan an “Energy Defense” strategy. If you’re wondering what that is; it is the 3 Ps:  Plan, Plan, and Plan. You love to have them visit and want them to have a good time, but you also want to enjoy the time with them.  Out of necessity, I’ve figured out a plan that works for me.  I call it my 9-point Energy Defense Strategy.  Take a look, maybe some of the ideas can work for you.  Good Luck! :    

Planning an Energy Defense

  • Start your list – Make a list of things that you THINK they MAY want to do.
  • Get ideas from the kids – Before their visit, ask them if they have activities that they want to do so you can get ready. IF they come up with new ideas after they arrive, do them if you can.  If not, tell them you’ll add it to the list of things to do the next time they visit.  
  • Over planDon’t be surprised to find out that it wasn’t enough.  Kids are full of energy and fly through activities.
  • Gather materials – Prep the materials you need so they are “ready to go”.
  • Know your Energy levelPacing yourself will help you get through the day. The trick is to get the grandkids to Think they are choosing everything and not that their choices impact your pacing method.
  • Label by Energy Levels – Think of activities as if sorting into 3 Energy (E) buckets: active, quiet and solo activities.
    • Active – activities that you need to be involved in.  Either to teach, play or manage. 
    • Quiet – activities they can do with you but do not need active involvement.  Playing a game, reading together, talking, watching a show. 
    • Solo —activities are things they can do alone, and your hands-on assistance is not needed.  Ex. coloring, drawing, independent play.
  • Order of activities – In your planning, keep in mind a good balance of your E buckets. Try giving them 2 or 3 choices of possible activities which gives them ownership in the planning.    
  • Mealtime – It never fails that I don’t seem to have the right food in the house for whichever child visits. One child only eats white bread, one only brown, one only eats meat, one only pasta, one only juice that’s watered down and one only water.  I try to get it right, but I haven’t yet achieved 100% (not even close) mastery on this objective. It’s a “work in progress”.   
  • Set Morning and 3 o’clock snack times – Setting a “snack time” helps to hold off their hunger until the next meal and decreases the amount of “grazing all day”. Morning snack time can vary but 3 o’clock snack has been set in stone since my kids were small. As a multi-tasking mom, I set a time to have “uninterrupted mommy and kids time”. Now, just the name has changed to “GiGI and grandkids time”. It also serves as a built-in quiet activity to rest up for our next adventure. Oh, how life has changed!   


20 Activities Planned and Unplanned for a 7-hour visit with 3 of my grandkids (sorted by bucket level)  

  • Shared reading of Thomas Edison biography. Child reads a page and I read a page. (Q)
  • Math problems (A)
  • Basketball outside (A)
  • Matchbox cars (independent play) (S)
  • Play Jenga and teach 4-year-old how to play the game. (A)
  • Color (S)
  • Mazes in coloring books (Q)
  • Make a bear using paper plates. (Q)
  • Find videos online of Grizzly bears, brown bears and panthers to watch. (You Tube and zoos have great sites). Be sure to watch videos before child to avoid any unpleasant animal behavior. (Q)
  • Identify the birds at the bird feeder.  Try to identify the bird by researching on the computer. Talk about size of head, beak, coloring, eating. (A)
  • Watch baby polar bear video at the zoo and talk about mammals (Q)
  • I also am a big believer that watching a show, or a singalong show is not a bad thing while kids eat. I consider it to be “lunch or dinner theater”.  I give them 3 GiGi “chosen and approved” options and ask them to choose one.  Sometimes they must take turns being the “remote boss” to get any agreement on a show.  (Q)
  • Hide and seek (A)
  • Independent play with baby dolls. (S)
  • Play musical instruments and put on a show. (A)
  • Create a parachute for an action figure and drop from different heights.  (A)
  • Science Experiment: “How many pennies can fit in an aluminum foil boat before it sinks?” (A)
  • Science Experiment: “How can we get a paperclip to float?”  (A)


“Bucket Overflowing”: System Is Not Perfect

Be prepared that your buckets may overflow and that the kids may not like all your planned activities.  Kids change every day along with their likes and dislikes.  If your planned activities are not a big hit one day, recycle the idea for the next visit.  That also works if you had great success with an idea.  Why invent the wheel? Maybe they’ll ask to do it again their next visit.  

When they leave, it’s time to sit back and think about the great day you had together. Of course, with your feet up.  I love being a GiGi!


Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic: