ThreeRingsConnections’ March 2019 Newsletter

Monthly newsletter archives front Threeringsconnections.org gives parents, teachers and adninistrators resources to support kids.

Preparing kids to think is what we do as teachers.

Three 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 13 March 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!

March 2019 Archives

March’s Most Popular Posts:

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

My Favorite March Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month

  • Is your child ready for kindergarten
  • Kindergarten Screening- What do they test?
  • Kindergarten Readiness Skills
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Increase Vocabulary by “Fancy Talk”

Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language.

Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language.
Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language.

Children need to talk in order to develop vocabulary and language. Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language. Children need opportunities to talk, use vocabulary words, and respond to adults’ questions.

9 Strategies to Increase Vocabulary Development

  1. Say it, Say it and Say it again– Once is not enough!  If you want your child to know the new word sleet, they have to see it out their window (or in books) and hear the term multiple times to remember that sleet is frozen rain.  Vocabulary increases with repeated opportunities to hear and use the word in meaningful contexts.
  2. Define new words with child-friendly definitions to expand vocabulary.
  3. Connections to experience – Children need varied, first-hand experiences with the world in order to broaden the scope of the words and language that they use. Fieldtrips and conversations help to broaden a child’s spoken or receptive vocabulary which also helps their reading ability.
  4. Reading with your child – When you read aloud to your child, you are not only helping to prepare her to learn to read, you are also exposing her to rich language she otherwise might not hear. Reading will help her become familiar with new words and a different language structure, as the form and feel of written language is quite different from spoken language.
  5. Pretend Play – Acting out stories and role-playing are open-ended opportunities to use and learn new language.
  6. Illustrate drawings – Ask your child what they have drawn and expand their language when you repeat what they have said or ask questions about their drawing.
  7. Plan language activities – PLAN times you can plan “fancy language”.  On a car ride or just getting dressed in the morning, describe things you see along the way.  In other words, talk to yourself out loud for your audience of one.  You’ll be surprised how quickly they will learn new words.  While talking aloud stop and ask your child some open- ended questions or repeat some of the words that you say.
  8. Fancy up your talk– Add “adult words” to your everyday conversations.  Replace car with automobile, or bike with bicycle.  Use them interchangeably and explain to your child that the “adult word” can also be used.
  9. Conversations – It’s important to have as many conversations as possible with your child during the day.   Adults need to think of conversations as learning opportunities and include open-ended questions rather than simple yes/no responses.  If you “think aloud” or talk with your child about what you are doing and why, you will be inviting her into some wonderful language-building chats.
    • Ask for clarification on words- What do you think “sleet” feels like? 
    • Suggest synonyms for some of their words- Can you think of another word for the word “cold”.
    • Ask what do you think would happen if  _____?
    • Adult responses should invite more conversation. I like that idea a lot.  I wonder if…..

The more words a child hears, the more words he will learn and use. Children who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply, express themselves better, and learn new things more quickly. Even a few minutes a day of “fancy talk” can help your child’s language.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic

Is Your Child Struggling with Reading? Talk to the Teacher Today

Learning to read is not easy. If you are concerned that your child seems to be struggling contact your child’s teacher. Together you can structure a plan to help your child. be more successful.

If your child is struggling with reading be sure to contact your child's teacher.  Together you can create a plan to help our child be successful.
If your child is struggling with reading be sure to contact your child’s teacher. Together you can create a plan to help our child be successful.

Learning to read is not easy. For some kids learning to read can be a struggle.  For parents, watching their child struggle can be both heartbreaking and frustrating. However, you are not alone.  Be sure to reach out to your child’s teacher if you see reading struggles. Together you can structure a plan to help your child be more successful.

5 Suggestions to Help Your Struggling Reader

  • Schedule a parent teacher conference – If possible, schedule an initial face to face meeting (use phone and emails for follow up meetings) to share your concerns about your child’s struggle to learn to read. Share specific behaviors that you are seeing at home when reading or completing homework.  Don’t hesitate to bring notes!  After all your child’s teacher will have notes too!  Compare notes and see if additional testing and/or programming is necessary.
  • Testing or programming – If your child’s teacher suggests extra help in school and/or testing, say YES!  Did you know that in some school districts parents are eager to get extra help for their child, even if their child does not qualify? Extra help is OK.  The purpose of testing is to get specific information about your child’s needs.  The testing results may show that your child qualifies for additional reading support. However, even if they don’t qualify for extra help outside the classroom, the classroom teacher will have more insight on ways to meet your child’s needs. As a parent, you have the right to accept or reject the recommendation, so information is your FRIEND.
  • Support at Home – At your meeting ask for suggestions on how you can support your child at home. This may include some at-home reading practice.  If so, clarify with the classroom teacher exactly what needs to be done.  It’s important to remember that “at home” practice is just that “at home”.  Your child has already been in school all day and although they may be struggling, balance is important.  Together, parents and teachers must develop a plan that helps a child that is struggling but not make them feel punished when completing extra work.
  • Set a timeline to re-evaluate the plan – Most teachers are eager to work with parents to help their child.  At the end of your initial meeting, set a date to review the child’s progress in school and home. This check-in can easily be done by phone or email. Share what is working or not working and ask questions.  Discuss progress, current activities and ask about next steps. At the end of the check in be sure to schedule your next check-in date. 
  • Request evaluation -Often a child will make some progress after additional support in class and at home.  However, check with your child’s teacher if the progress is great enough or if additional testing is necessary.  A child with specific reading difficulties may need some additional support from a reading specialist.  In most schools, the classroom teacher must request additional testing and a child will need to qualify to receive these services.  Ask your child’s teacher about the school’s procedures for requesting formal testing.

Reading Struggles: What Does Testing Look Like?

Under the federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) law there are two routes that parents and schools can take for evaluating children for specialized services:

  • Response to Intervention (RTI) – In the RTI process, the classroom teacher is required to have made modification to your child’s instruction and provided interventions to your child’s instruction.  If those interventions have not been successful, a specialist may be assigned to your child for additional instruction (individual or small group). This teacher will also give suggestions to the classroom teacher for additional in-class support.  If these interventions do not bring your child to the level that he is capable of reading at, traditional formal testing may be recommended.
  • Traditional formal testing: If a teacher or parent suspects a child may have a reading disability and has compelling evidence to support this claim, s/he may request formal testing to identify educational issues. In many schools, RTI may be required before formal testing is allowed. Be sure to get additional information on the type of testing that will be administered. 

Reading Struggles or Reading Disability?

IF testing shows that your child has a reading disability, take a deep breath. Simply, this means that your child has some type of disability (in this case reading) that affects their ability to learn and that in order to be successful some specialized help can be provided. A special education designation and having an IEP simply ensures that your child will get the support she needs to develop as a reader. You and your child’s teacher will create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will list your child’s needs and a proposed plan of instruction to meet your child’s, educational needs.

Some parents are concerned that having an IEP for their child will mean that their child will always have to receive extra services. Don’t worry. By law your child’s IEP must be re-evaluated and revised annually (at least) by the school staff and YOU to allow for changes to be made.  As the parent you are an important member of the process and your input is not only welcomed but is required at the committee meeting.  You will be involved in the entire process and have the final say on your child’s program. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?  I

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Math Enrichment Problems: March 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.
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: 

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

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. Bob has 5 dimes and 5 nickels.  April has 2 quarters and 3 pennies.  Bob has _____ more money than April?
  2. Tommy has 4 times as many nickels as dimes. If he has 40 cents in dimes, how much money does he have altogether?
  3. Start with 6 and add 8 four more times.  What number do you end up with?
  4. Golf balls come in boxes of 3 or 5 balls.  Brian has to buy exactly 61 golf balls.  What is the least amount of full packs he will need to buy?
  5. Brooklyn’s softball practice begins at 3:15pm and last for an hour and a half.  It takes her 35 minutes to change clothes and get home.  If dinner is at 6:30pm, Brooklyn has 1 hour and ____ minutes to practice the piano before dinner.
  6. A lobster’s age in year is approximately his weight multiplied by 4 plus 3 years.  What is the age of a 5 lb. lobster?

Answers

  • Answer: (22) 50 cents + 25 cents = 75 cents.  50 cents + 3 cents = 53 cents.  75 cents – 53 cents = 22 cents.
  • Answer: ($1.20) Tommy has 4 dimes and 16 nickels.  4(10) + 16(5) = $1.20
  • Answer: (38 ) 6 +8 =14, 14+8 = 22, 22+ 8 = 30, 30 + 8 = 38  OR 4 X 8 = 32 and add the original 6 = 38
  • Answer: (13 boxes) 61 divided by 5 (the larger sized box) = 12 packs and 1 ball from a box of 3.  This will give him 61 golf balls with 2 left over.
  • Answer: (1 hour and 10 minutes) Practice begins at 3:15 and ends at 4:45pm.  It takes 35 minutes more to change and get home which makes it 5:20pm. She can practice the piano before dinner from 5:20pm to 6:30pm.
  • Answer: ( 23)  5 X 4 = 20 +3 = 23 years old

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other 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

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

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  • Hand preference is usually hereditary.
  • Roughly 90 percent of us are right-handed.
  • Boys are more likely than girls to be left-handed.
  • Many toddlers show a hand preference by the time they are 2 years old, though some don’t do so until preschool or later.
  • 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.
  • 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?

Social Studies: Resources for Teaching

Great Social Studies resources for teaching.

Top Resources for Social Studies

I regularly attend Team Trivia Nights with friends at a local restaurant. The weekly event entices about 100 players to answer questions on a variety of subjects. Each night the winning teams are awarded gift cards to the restaurant. I’m proud to say we have won our share of gift cards. 

However, our team struggles with the History/Geography categories. I’ve often wondered whether we could do better if we studied these topics. However the topic is so broad, it seems next to impossible to even make a dent in the information.  Perhaps, we could do better in an area or two. A little more information about maps and flags might be helpful. However, what really gets us to attend each week is the laughs and great fun we have playing the game.  Go Wizards!

Social Studies teaches kids about culture, economics, history and geography.  Knowing about the world will help kids become better citizens.  Take a look at the K-12 Social Studies resources listed below and share with others.

  • EdHelperResources in different subjects, grades and age groups. Membership is available but there are many FREE resources.
  • Education World – Contains high quality in all subject areas.
  • EDSITEment – Includes hundreds of resources that are sorted by subject, theme and grade level.  The site is updated regularly.
  • History.com – The site includes many interactive activities.
  • History Matters is an annotated guide to best U.S. history websites.
  • Learner.org – Good all-around website for classroom resources in all subject areas. The site is updated by the Annenberg Foundation.
  • National Council for the Social Studies – Membership gives access to the entire site but offers excellent FREE teaching resources.   
  • PBS Learning Media – FREE standards-based videos and lesson plans.  The link is for New York teachers, but many resources can be used outside NYS.
  • The Learning Network – Teaching resources to support the news published in the New York Times.  Great site for Current Events.
  • The Library of Congress – Offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers use primary resources from the Library’s digital collections.
  • Smithsonian Learning Lab – Lesson plans for teachers, students and families in many subjects.
  • Teachinghistory.org –Funded by the U.S. Department of Education it has a large collection of K-12 resources.
  • Teach-nology – Includes lesson plans, rubrics, teaching tips, and general resources for the classroom.
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Pi Day is Today- March 14th

Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14). On this day people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

On Pi Day, March 14th (3/14), people  around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.
On Pi Day, March 14th (3/14), people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

Pi (π) Day has been celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14) since 1988. On this day people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

What is π anyway?

The π symbol, a Greek letter, is universally recognized as being Pi. Here’s the amazing fact about Pi.  If you divide any circle’s circumference by its diameter; the answer (whether it’s a pie plate or a planet) is always approximately 3.14.

Don’t Believe It?  3 Steps to Give it a Try

  1. Take a string and place it on the outside of a paper plate.  You just measured the circumference.
  2. Take a second piece of string and put it across the middle of the paper plate. You just measured the diameter.
  3. Compare the 2 pieces of string. Notice that you will need ABOUT 3.14 pieces of the diameter string to equal the circumference of the plate.  Try it on other circles around the house.  Neat, right?  

Pi is a homophone of pie: the 2 words are pronounced similarly but are spelled differently and mean different things. This first celebration featured participants marching around a large circle and consuming fruit pies.  Over the years, PI Day celebrations have become very popular and involve many different activities. 

Take some time today to celebrate Pi Day and enjoy a piece of pie!  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Encouraging Independent Reading

The strong correlation between Independent Reading and academic success is a good reason to encourage your child to read independently.

Independent reading is an easy and effective way to reinforce the joy of reading.
Independent reading is an easy and effective way to reinforce the joy of reading.

The most critical skill for success in school or in life is the ability to read well. Children who are interested and motivated to read tend to do more independent reading. Take a few minutes to look at some quick and easy ways to encourage your child to read independently.

What is Independent Reading?

Independent reading is an easy and effective way to reinforce the joy of reading. Independent reading is the type of reading a child does on their own with minimal to no assistance from an adult. For young readers, independent “reading” is little more than looking at the pictures in a book

Why is Independent Reading important?

Research shows that there is a strong correlation between Independent Reading and academic success.  Independent Reading has been found to develop extensive vocabularies, builds stamina, develops problem-solving skills, strengthens comprehension and helps kids learn how reading works. Students have also shown to help students score higher on achievement tests and have greater content knowledge than those who do not. With all that research, why wouldn’t teachers and parents encourage Independent Reading?

Ways to Encourage Independent Reading at Home

Teachers are aware of the importance of Independent Reading, but some find it hard to find time in their daily classroom schedules. The balancing of high-stakes testing and increased grade level expectations have resulted in many teachers assigning students to read independently at home.  This request has made families play a critical role in supporting independent reading. This role may seem daunting for some parents, but don’t worry, you may be readier than you think.  

  • Find books that are “just right” – A “just right” book means students should be able to read their books with at least 95% accuracy without adult help. This ensures that the book is not too difficult to read independently, and the child will experience success.  If you are unsure of your child’s independent reading level check your child’s last report card or ask your child’s teacher.
  • Role modelsParents are more likely to raise kids who are frequent readers when they are readers. It’s important for students to see you prioritize reading for yourself. Read different things and explain to your child your reading choices.  Highlight that reading can be done anywhere for enjoyment or information. 
  • Encourage reading for enjoyment – Children will read more if they choose a book they enjoy.  Set up a collection of reading materials that includes some of their favorite topics, authors or characters. Make it easy to find different topics and types of texts, such as non-fiction books, fictions, magazines and newspapers, poetry, etc. A bonus of reading different topics is that kids will be better able to understand the variety of subjects in school.
  • Talk, Talk, TalkGive children an opportunity to share what they have read with you.  This encourages them to read more and helps reinforce what they have learned. Try partner reading in which you both read for 5 minutes independently (time can be longer depending on child age and interest) and then share what you read.   
  • Pack some books in their suitcase – Send some “just right” books with kids when they visit friends and relatives. Encourage your child to share their reading adventures. Kids will love sharing their reading ability and relatives will love to hear them read. A perfect match! 
  • Use spare moments wisely:  Carry something in your handbag or car for your child to read when you find yourselves with a few minutes to spare.  Waiting in doctors’ offices or car rides are great opportunities to read.  When your child is finished reading ask simple questions about the book such as:
    • What did you like or not like about the book?
    • Who was the main character?
    • What was the main idea?
    • How did the story begin or end?
    • What was your favorite part?
    • What part didn’t you like

Independent Reading lays the foundation for becoming enthusiastic lifelong readers. Adding a focus on Independent Reading in your home, for even a short period of time each day, can be effective to strengthen your child’s reading ability.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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St. Patrick’s Day Resources

Join in on the St. Patrick’s Day fun and include some activities in your classroom this year!

Join the fun and check out the great St. Patrick’s Day resources.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th ) can be a great learning opportunity for students to learn facts about the origin of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture.  The following 2 sites include everything you need to celebrate this popular holiday in your classroom this year. 

  • https://www.teachervision.com/st-patricks-day  The site includes lessons and activities to help you explore St. Patrick’s Day in your classroom.  Free printable worksheets, art projects, literature activities and history activities are included to help your students learn about the holiday and have lots of fun.
  • http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/51015.htm  Help your students learn about and explore Irish culture, history and traditions, including Irish folktales literature, recipes, Celtic art and mythology, the Great Potato Famine, and more. Resources for St. Patrick’s Day include videos, arts & crafts, worksheets, interactive maps, and tutorials.

  On St. Patrick’s Day “Everyone is Irish”.

  It’s time to get your “GREEN” on.

  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Educational Keywords Get Teaching Jobs

By including educational keywords in a resume, a candidate shows that they are familiar with latest research and techniques. The words should also be included in the interview with personal examples and data to show them you can “walk the talk”. Using and knowing educational buzzwords could help you edge out your competition.

Adding educational keywords along  relevant skills, experience, and strengths may help you land a teaching job.
The interview process is not the time to be shy about your skillset or your desire for a job at a specific school.

By including educational keywords in a resume, a candidate shows that they are familiar with latest research and techniques.  The words should also be included in the interview with personal examples and data to show them you can “walk the talk”. Using and knowing educational buzzwords could help you edge out your competition.

Educational Keywords: What Are Interviewers Looking For?

I have been asked dozens of times what I look for in resumes. There are a myriad of issues involved in hiring a new teacher. Along with the candidates’ skillset and building/ district needs, I may also be looking for specific skills or a personality-type to enhance grade level collaboration.   Sometimes it was simply “something” in the resume that peaked my curiosity to offer an interview slot.

Educational Keywords: Will They Get Me A Job?

The number of applicants for a job depends on the position, timing of the posting and very often, the school or district hiring. Sometimes for just 1 or 2 teaching positions I would receive 200 resumes to review. Therefore, candidates need to create a resume that will impress the reviewer. Whether it’s certification/experience or a knowledge base, a candidate’s goal when submitting a resume should be to get an interview. Remember, if you don’t get in the front door, an interview committee will never get to see how great you are!

I’m sure over the 20 years as an administrator I missed interviewing some great candidates because their resume just didn’t catch my eye or there was a spelling or grammatical error. (yes, spelling DOES count). So, one of my top suggestions for teacher candidates is to include position-appropriate educational keywords in your resume.

Educational Keywords: What Are They?  

Educational Keywords are education buzzwords to include in your resume to help administrators identify good candidates for further review. By including keywords in your resume and interview you are highlighting that you are a knowledgeable candidate. For some interview committees, including keywords may not make a difference but for others it is high on their priority list. My suggestion is if using keywords to highlight your training and experience will increase the chances of opening your new classroom door, why not give it a try?

How to Use Education Keywords Wisely?  

A serious candidate should create a resume that matches a specific opening.  Yes, a generic resume will be accepted but it’s the resume with specific information about the position that will get yours to the top of the pile. A good source of information to create your unique resume is both the job posting and the school/district website.  

What Educational Keywords to Include?

The keywords to include in your resume and interview should highlight both the position available and your education/experience. The location of words is also important. A snapshot of your skills should be at the beginning of your resume to keep reviewers interested to read further.

In general, for early childhood positions be sure to include your knowledge of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) and the importance of play.  Both concepts create the “bedrock” of strong early childhood education programs and should be acknowledged and celebrated in an interview.

K-5 positions should highlight all aspects of literacy (including math) and the importance of ongoing assessment that “drives instruction”. For secondary positions (6-12), administrators are looking for teachers who are strong in pedagogy but are also experts in the subject area. Be sure to highlight your “knowledge skill set” (e.g. primary sources, Document Based Questions (DBQ). 

Other Educational Keywords to Consider

Along with grade level and content specific vocabulary the following list contains words to consider when creating your resume: Interdisciplinary teaching approaches, English as a Second Language (ESL), classroom management, Response to Intervention (RTI), special education process including terms, teaching and learning, formative and summative assessments, teaching across the curriculum, mindfulness, social and emotional learning, teacher-parent relations and communication, technology integration, team planning, differentiated instruction, brain-based learning, parent involvement,  discipline strategies, literacy across the curriculum, state learning standards, gradual release of responsibility.

Final Thoughts:

Searching for a school to start or to continue your career is a big undertaking. An interview committee’s goal is to get the very best candidate for their school.  By creating a keyword-rich resume you are showing recruiters that you are a good candidate to interview. Our students need good teachers. The interview process is not the time to be shy about your skillset or your desire for a job at a specific school.  Good Luck!  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Science Fair for Kindergarten

Participating in a Science Fair is a great way for kids to explore the world and how things work.  Young kids are curious and love to explore heir surrounding and nature, so it’s a perfect fit.  

However, for some parents the announcement by their child that they want to participate in the school Science Fair brings an onset of stomach butterflies. Not to worry, this post should make the Science Fair journey a bit more enjoyable for everyone!

Science Fair Teach Some Valuable Lessons

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers are growing at a fast pace with many jobs expected in the future. A Science Fair is a great introduction to the world of Science.
  • A Science Fair project includes problem solving and critical thinking skills.  It encourages kids to questions how things work. 
  • Bringing a project from an idea to a conclusion is not easy. Science Fair projects have definitive steps which helps teach kids a problem-solving timeline.  
  • Reflecting on Science Fair results helps kids to think about what happened and to consider things they could have done differently.  This gives them a real-world learning experience.
  • Participating in a Science Fair gives students the opportunity to communicate information in writing and speaking.  A good opportunity to help build self-confidence.

Friendly Science Fair Vocabulary

If your child’s Science Fair packet is already leaving you confused, don’t stress.  Here’s a list of science project terms and definitions you will help support your child’s project.

  • Hypothesis:  A hypothesis is simply an educated guess about what will happen in your experiment.
  • Materials: This is a list of exactly what you used (or plan to use) in your experiment:
  • Purpose: (Problem) Question (all mean the same thing) What does your project hope to find out.  What are you trying to test? 
  • Procedure: – A step by step description of how to do your experiment. Another person should be able to follow your procedure and be able to do the same experiment.
  • Observations: Write down any observations that you see happening.  This could be by the minute, hour, daily or longer.  Recording observations will depend on your experiment. Your information could be listed in a graph or chart.
  • Conclusion: From looking at the results, what statement can you make about what happened in your experiment and how it relates to the hypothesis. 
  • Variables – When doing a science experiment, variables are things YOU control to make good judgments about your experiment.
  • Independent variable: the thing you change in the experiment. Everything else stays the same
  • Dependent variable:  the thing that changes because of what you did (what happened because of your independent variable).

The Science Fair Board Made Easy

  • Buy a 3-sided Science Display board at a local craft store.  They are also available at a similar price at a VERY LARGE online store.
  • Buy or make headings for Science Fair– See the vocabulary terms listed for headings.
  • Use PowerPoint software to create slides to print the information. This allows kids to choose the font, design, and color.  Perfect for the young scientists that are in the early stages of writing. Also support technology skills.

Science Fair Result 

A Science Fair project can be the ultimate hands-on learning experience.  It can help kids understand scientific ideas and helps them remember the information they learned. 

Example: Miss M’s Science Fair project

  • Hypothesis:  Water will make plants grow best.  
  • Materials: 4 Primrose Plans, water, soda, iced tea, 2% milk, 4 saucers
  • Purpose: (Problem) Question (all mean the same thing) Which liquid will make the plants grow best?   
  • Procedure: Buy 4 plants of same type and of similar size.  Place plants in saucers.  Label each plant to be watered by 4 different liquids (water, 2% milk, soda and iced tea).  Put ½ cup of liquid in each saucer every 3 days.  Allow the plant to absorb the liquid for 30 minutes.  Observe plant and record observations before, during and after watering.  Look for changes throughout the project and record observations.
  • Observations: Record observations in journal and take photos of plants.
  • Conclusion: The plant watered with water grew tallest and had healthy looking leaves.  The plants watered with soda and milk died quickly.  The plant watered with 2% milk did not die but did not look as healthy as the plant only watered with water. The hypothesis was correct.   
  • Independent variable:  4 different types of liquids.
  • Dependent variablePlant growth and healthiness.   

Great Resources for Science Fair Projects

  • Google Science Fair– A resource library to support every step of the Science Fair; from idea to completed project.
  • Science Buddies – A collection of project ideas in all areas of science.  The Topic Selection Wizard tool is fantastic and can help you find a project you will enjoy!
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Decades of research show that the more children read, the better their reading skills. Take a look at 7 Reasons to read Dr. Seuss to your kids.

I have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss as a child. I vividly recall reading the “Green Eggs and Ham”with my aunt and giggling at the silliness.  Sadly, I don’t recall reading many other books as a child, although I’m sure I read them.  Over the years I have met with concerned parents that were unsure if the “nonsense” language in Dr. Seuss books would harm their child’s language development. I understood their concerns and shared with them some reasons why reading Dr. Seuss books with their child can be beneficial. 

Why Read Dr. Seuss Books?

Do I LOVE Dr. Seuss books? No. The truth is there are many books that I have read to kids that I didn’t love. However, there are decades of research that show that the more children read, the better their reading skills. As an educator it is my job to get kids to love books, so they are motivated to read.  I believe that exposing kids to different authors and styles helps them choose their favorites. Dr. Seuss books are just some of the MANY books I read to kids. 

7 Reasons to Read Dr. Seuss

  • Silliness Abounds- Dr. Seuss books capture a child’s attention and make kids laugh. Whether it’s the nonsense language, the unexpected stories or the colorful illustrations, silliness abounds. Many kids enjoy hearing Dr. Seuss stories because they think they are funny. What young child doesn’t enjoy something silly?  Hearing adults reading silliness helps them see that reading is fun!  The books are perfect for those of us that sometimes are too serious.  Reading Dr. Seuss books with a child will give you ticket to “get your silly on”!
  • IllustrationsThe unique and imaginative illustrations help build a child’s vocabulary.  The simple color palette of blue, red, white and black also make the pictures recognizable and easy to understand and remember.
  • Great Read-Aloud Books – Dr. Seuss books sound great when read aloud.  The stories are just made for facial expressions and different voice inflections. You just can’t help doing it when reading one of his stories.
  • Rhyme – Early readers need to understand that words are made up of different sounds and the manipulation of these sounds creates words.   Hearing rhymes helps kids hear similar sounds. The rhymes included in the books is also a great exposure to poetry. 
  • Nonsense Words Are Important – Dr. Seuss books include lots of nonsense words to keep kids engaged in the story. Nonsense words deliberately draw attention to rhyme and helps develop a child’s “phonological awareness”. Phonological awareness is a basis for reading. A child with phonological awareness skills can manipulate sounds or words, or “play” with sounds or words. By engaging in word play, children learn to recognize patterns among words and use this knowledge to read and build words.
  • Sight Words Included – Sight words are words that are used commonly throughout texts we read every day. Dr. Seuss books give children experience in seeing these words in texts and helps them commit them to memory.
  • “Reading” Become Easy – Many of Dr. Seuss’ book use simple words chosen for a beginner reader.  Along with the rhyming and repetition it helps early readers remember the words and become “readers” quite quickly.  This type of “reading” helps build their confidence and motivates a child to read.

What Am I Doing on Dr. Seuss Day?

I’m grabbing my big red and white hat (doesn’t every retired Primary Principal still have one?) and I’m going to read some Dr. Seuss books to my grandkids.   I’m leaving behind any concerns and am going to share my memories of reading Dr. Seuss books when I was a child. I’m sure the thought of me being a child will bring about a chorus of giggles; and that’s OK.   Perhaps the girls will also forget the Dr. Seuss’ rhymes and nonsensical language that we shared together. My hope is that they remember fondly the laughing and the silliness of reading together. Thank you, Dr. Seuss! 

Other Dr. Seuss Resources

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?