Enrichment Math Primary: March

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

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

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

Math Enrichment: Count Them Up

1. If 50 cookies need 5 eggs, how many eggs would you need to make 150 cookies?
2. If you want to triple a recipe that calls for 9 apples, how many apples would you need?
3. If a 15-pound chicken will feed 30 people, how many people well a 5-pound chicken feed?
4. If a recipe that makes 90 cookies calls for 6 cups of oats, how many cups of oats would you use for 30 cookies.
5. A 10-pound cake uses 3 cups of sugar.  How many cups of sugar would a 5-pound cake use?
6. If a pound of spaghetti will feed 4 people, how many people will 2 and ½ pounds feed.

1. 15 eggs
2. 27 apples
3. 10 people
4. 2 cups of oats
5. 1 and ½ cups of sugar
6. 10 people

Puppets: Easy to Make

There are many advantages of puppet play with kids and they are quick and easy to make.  Your puppets don’t have to be marionettes or ready for Sesame Street.  Kids love dramatic play and we all know how young kids can make “talking characters” out of pretty much all their toys.  So, let’s be good to ourselves and make puppetry easy for us to tackle so we can enjoy those special moments with our kids. No puppet “stage”, no problem.  All you need is something (large or small) for your little puppet master to hide behind that allows their character to be seen.  Then, you are “on with the show”.

Puppets Everywhere Using Everything

• Sock puppets – Perfect use for those socks without a match!  Add a face with markers and you are ready to go.  Once again, scraps only add to the creativity.
• Stick puppets– Add some faces on craft sticks or even an emery board. Craft scraps or googly eyes are a nice addition but not necessary.
• Paper bag puppets – Drawing a face to the bottom of the bag and adding some teeth, and a tongue into the folder part and your talking puppet is ready to go.  Draw some clothes on the bottom of the bag and you can make all types of characters.
• Mitten puppets – Lost mitten use. Yes, crafts scraps (wool, buttons) can be added but not necessary.
• Oven mittens – Yes, I’ve had my oven mittens talk with NO ADDITIONAL decorations! No planning just some basic puppet talking with the grandkids.    They now come in different sizes and textures and perfect to make different characters.  They even have small size now which are perfect for little hands.
• Paper plate puppets – Paper plates are not just for picnics.  They are perfect to draw a face on and tape them on silverware or large serving utensils.
• Shadow puppets – No materials, no problem.  Use your hands and fingers to make shadow puppets on a wall.  Hold your hand between a light source and wall and “see” what puppet characters you can make.

Quick, fun and easy ways to keep those kids in your lives busy. Enjoy!

Other posts related to this topic:

• Puppets Are Good for Kids

Virtual Field Trip Activities: COVID-19

Years ago, when school funding was tight and field trips were a luxury, our district started doing virtual field trips to different locations.  Going on a virtual field trip allowed us to explore destinations both near and far. Prior to our trip we received background information and during the fieldtrip the students had packets to complete to keep on task. At most locations, we also had a director “show” us around the museum and answer students’ questions. Kids loved it and even though the technology connections were sometimes “iffy”, teachers enjoyed the activities too.

For those trips to happen we had to partner teach with a Technology Teacher. Today, I spent 2 hours exploring China and California with simple clicks. With the COVID -19 pandemic parents are searching for great activities to explore.  But, with so many places out there to explore easily, where should you go?

Top 3 Destinations for a Virtual Field Trip

• San Diego Zoo: I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo, but I didn’t see half the things that you can explore on a virtual field trip. Students can learn animal facts, play games and activities and explore exhibits in real time.  Be sure to check out the live cams. Sometimes you can see live births!
• Monterey Bay Aquarium – The virtual tour allows students to go on a deep-sea adventure through exhibit webcams that allow student to watch sea creatures in real times.    The classroom resource page has fact sheets, activities and games to play.
• The Great Wall of China: This site is a new favorite of mine. At first glance, the site looks like a Travel ad but take a closer look. The panoramic tour at one of the oldest and most historically significant wonders of the world is very cool!

Next Virtual Field trip location will be to see some dolphins. Stay tuned! Happy Travels!

COVID-19 Virtual Museum Tours

With schools closed throughout the world many parents are searching for additional resources that are worthwhile for kids to explore.  One suggestion that I received from a blog follower is to explore the Virtual Museum resources of some of the most famous museums in the world. Your kids can spend countless hours exploring these worldwide resources.  You can visit them all in one day or one or two a day.  Alone or with a partner, kids and parents are bound to see and learn interesting facts about our world.

As we face these uncertain times, we might as well use the time wisely and learn while sheltering in place.  Be safe everyone.

5 Virtual Museum Tours in the United States

• The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Located in Washington, D.C it is one of the most visited museums in the world.  The online virtual tour brings visitors on a walking tour of its many famous exhibits.  Be sure to check out the Hall of Mammals, Insect Zoo, and Dinosaurs.
• The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met is in New York City and is home to over 2 million works of fine art.  Check out the online collection and virtual tours of some of its most impressive pieces from famous artists. The Met also works with the Google Cultural Institute to make even more artwork (that’s not featured in its own online collection) available for view.
• NASA offers free virtual tours of the Langley Research Center in Virginia, as well as Ohio’s Glenn Research Center.  While exploring space, you can also download the new app for the  Houston Space Center that provides virtual tours and videos.
• The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City makes some of its collections and exhibits available online. Be sure to check out the works of Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons, two of my favorites.
• The National Women’s History Museum is located in Alexandria, Virginia.  The museum includes online exhibits and oral histories that highlight the role of women in the history and culture of the United States.

2 Virtual Museum Tours in Europe

The Louvre is in Paris, France and is one of the world’s largest art museums. Check out the free online tours of the popular exhibits such as Egyptian antiquities and works from Michelangelo.

The Vatican Museums feature an extensive collection of important art and classical sculptures. Be sure to check out the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Beautiful!

Enjoy!  Happy Travels!

Other posts related to this topic:

One thing that I stress when working with my Elementary Student teachers is to remember that observing their students’ reading skills should occur often and throughout the day. Using a checklist of reading skills and behaviors helps a teacher track student reading needs and helps to better plan instruction.

The BIG 10 of Reading Skills

Yes, I am using a March Madness term, but after all it is March!  However, it’s also a good way of remembering 10 BIG areas to track in early reading behaviors.  Some behaviors are basic and usually achieved in the very early grades.  Other skills need to be reviewed and reinforced throughout the reading process since mastery may be dependent on the reading or genre of the reading material. Since student teachers are always preparing for that first teacher job, knowing all 10 areas is always a good idea. Excellent info for teaching interviews as well.

• Directionality
• Knows where to start on a page
• Reads from left to right
• Return sweeps
• One to One correspondence
• Matches spoken to written word
• Rereads to make word match
• Unknown Words
• Can locate unknown word using letters and sounds
• Structure
• Asks, does it sound right?
• Asks, does it sound like the way we say it?
• Rereads for how it sounds
• Monitoring
• Recognizes when an error is made but may not know how to fix it.
• Self-correcting
• Recognizes when a mistake is made and is able to fix it.
• Cross-checking
• Uses picture, meaning, structure and visual clues
• Rereads and uses more than one source to check information
• Visual Clues
• Matches spoken to written word
• Checks beginning, middle and end
• Uses sound and chunks to solve unknown words
• High frequency words
• Is able to locate words on a word wall for spelling
• Reads (number) of words from Dolch list
• Determining meaning
• Uses pictures
• Asking does this make sense
• Uses background knowledge
• Uses story

Other posts related to this topic:

Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? However, here we are with schools closed and millions of kids home. Parents are stepping up to “homeschool” their children and are using home packets and online resources. For many this is unfamiliar territory and an added element to their already full plates.

Many parents are scouring the internet to find school activities to support schoolwork or looking for additional activities. To help shorten your search I’m working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog threeringsconnections.org to get you started. This newsletter is focused on  READING activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Understood.org: Resources for Coronavirus

I don’t usually just post one link that I think is terrific, but understood.org has posted some great information to support learning during the COVID-19 crisis. We certainly need some good information in these difficult times.

The website Understood.org is a website that I’ve used for years to support the needs of students that learn and think differently. However, I think there postings on Coronavirus are very well done and certainly continue to fit their mission of helping us to learn and think differently. I’ve added some links below, however, there are additional links on the site. I think it’s certainly worth a look by my blog followers.

Hope you find the information helpful. I am working on reposting learning activities and new activities to support learning. Keep checking threeringsconnections.org

Stay well Friends!

Donna

St. Patrick’s Day Trivia for All

Growing up, St. Patrick’s Day for my family was not one day a year. We were Irish all year. It was who we were and what we did. Irish Music on the radio every Sunday afternoon and Irish Step Dance lessons were a way of life.  When my dad referred to “the holiday” we all knew he was talking about St. Patrick’s Day.

As a teacher and principal, I found the wearing of green clothing, gold coins and leprechaun traps to be a great day of fun for the entire school community. Now, as a grandparent, I want my grandkids to join in the fun but a “wee bit of Irish info” is a good thing too.

For my trivia team friends, check out the answers below.  Maybe we’ll see some questions about “the holiday” this week.

10 Easy St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

1. St. Patrick is the patron saint of what country? Ireland
2. What animal did St. Patrick drive out of Ireland? Snakes
3. What’s the color you usually associate with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day? Green
4. What is the good luck symbol associated with St. Patrick’s Day? Four leaf clover
5. What are the small, mischievous spirits called? Leprechauns
6. What does the shamrock symbolize? The Holy Trinity
7. Something you kiss to get the “gift of the gab”? Blarney Stone
8. Which of these meals is often eaten in America on St. Patrick’s Day? corned beef and cabbage
9. What you might find after it rains if you’re luck? Pot of Gold
10. What does Chicago dye to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day?  River

12 Challenging St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

1. What was the first official color of St. Patrick’s Day? Sky Blue
2. What color is the flag of Ireland? white, orange, and green.
3. What do the colors of the Irish flag represent? Orange is for the protestants, the green for the Catholics and the white represents the hope for peace between Catholics and Protestants
4. Where did the first St. Patrick’s Day parade take place? New York City in 1762
5. What symbol appears on Irish coins? Harp
6. What didn’t flow on St. Paddy’s Day for most of the 20th century? Beer
7. What is the color named Ireland’s nickname? Emerald – The Emerald Isle
8. What do you get if you don’t wear green on St. Paddy’s Day? A pinch
9. Which American St. Patrick’s Day tradition began as an accident? dyeing rivers green
10. What will kissing the Blarney Stone bring you? eloquence
11. What is the Hibernian Society? A charitable group that helps Irish Immigrants
12. What country was St. Patrick born in? England

Great Resources to Teach About St. Patrick’s Day

• TeacherVision:  Always a great site and a “go to” for me to find great resources.  Check out the collection of resources that are easy to use for St. Patrick’s Day
• PBS LearningMedia:  Great site for classroom resources.  Check out the collection of resources to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

COVID-19 LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? However, here we are with schools closed and millions of kids home. Parents are stepping up to “homeschool” their children and are using home packets and online resources. For many this is unfamiliar territory and an added element to their already full plates.

Many parents are scouring the internet to find school activities to support schoolwork or looking for additional activities. To help shorten your search I’m working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog threeringsconnections.org to get you started. This newsletter is focused on Math activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Rubrics for Kids and Teachers

A rubric is a set of guidelines for measuring progress towards a standard or objective.  Using one helps students and teachers share the same understanding of how progress will be measured and what constitutes mastery of that skill or goal.  Unlike letter grades, rubrics allow you to measure a child’s progress by identifying skills mastered and which ones need additional work. They can be written as a number, a checklist, or a narrative.

Rubrics can be developed by individual teachers, school or districts but the most powerful ones are developed WITH students.  Children sometimes have a tough time understanding what a “good job” means in a classroom. Often, it’s said without clarity and sometimes it looks different for different kids. Also “good job” can vary from teacher to teacher or time of the day. So, as teachers, we have to be sure that we are using language that kids understand and that understand the skills they have to achieve.  Once rubric language is taught to kids, teachers have to consistently use them to improve student learning.

I used to explain to students the reason for using rubrics by using this example. When your parent tells you to clean your room, you do it, they check it and they think you did not do a good job. Kids immediately saw the need for a rubric.  They had experienced the difference between “mom’s clean and kid clean”.

Rubrics give details into a rating and can be created for all kinds of things!  What’s important is that kids and adults need to understand what they need to do at each level so they understand how they are doing.

Puppets Are Good for Kids

Yesterday I finished helping a kindergarten teacher friend of mine write a grant for some puppets for her classroom.  Writing the grant was easy because, I just LOVE puppets.  I remember vividly watching “Lambchop” on TV many, many years ago.  Happy memories.  These days I am reliving my past playing with puppets and connecting with my grandkids.  Laughing and having fun just like it should be in retirement.

Why Use Puppets with Your Child?

There are many benefits in using puppets with kids.  Puppets provide a developmentally appropriate way to build vocabulary, creativity, and imagination.  Acting out scenes, telling stores, practicing new words, and talking about emotions all tend to be easier behind a puppet.

Puppet Activity Ideas

• Help your child identify each character by giving them an identity.  Have them give their new friend a name, a voice, place to live, or a favorite book.  Everything to make them a “real person”. Best thing is that the next day, their puppet can be someone else with a new story to tell.
• Build their vocabulary by helping them describe their puppet.  Their personality, their clothes, their homes are all opportunities to learn and use both day to day vocabulary and advanced vocabulary.  How often do you hear a 3-year-old tell you that something is hilarious?  Challenge yourself to give your child enough information about a puppy being funny that they will start to use the word hilarious.  Use it with puppets and in everyday activities and step back (and smile) when you hear it from your child.
• Use the puppets to act out a scene.  An everyday routine or a creative adventure.
• Encourage your child to act out a story they know or a story they’ve made up.
• Help your child navigate difficult social situations playing with puppets.  Perhaps it’s a problem with a friend that says inappropriate words.  Help your child through puppet play to know what to do and what to say when it happens.  Give them the words to help the understand and speak up to solve the problem. Giving their puppet the correct language will teach your child problem solving skills.
• Kids can be brave when they are behind a puppet.  Puppets can share problems and joys and be listened to by caring and loving people.  They can be a great lens into your child’s life.

Puppets can become a part everyday play.  They give us a chance to talk together, laugh together and share quality time.  I hope you enjoy this wonderful “hand to hand” activity.

Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults: March

On some days my memory is great and I can remember words to songs that I heard 40 years ago. On other days, I can’t remember where I put my keys!   I’ve heard people say, “misery loves company” but for me it’s more that “forgetful people love company”.  It gives us something to laugh about.

My forgetfulness is especially evident at our weekly trivia nights at a local restaurant.  Believe it or not, my forgetfulness has led me once or twice to study the color of flags before our matches. Yep, I’m competitive. Whether we win or lost it’s always a fun night.  Great friends and lots of fun!

Trivia questions can be fun for kids too!  Look at the questions below and try them out on the kids (or adults) in your life.  The range of questions vary in difficulty from the easy to the not-so-easy.   After all, why should adults get all the challenge and fun.  Grandkids…. Hope you are ready for some quizzing fun!

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

Trivia Questions for March

1. Great Whites and Hammerheads are what type of animals? sharks
2. According to legend, who led a gang of merry outlaws in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, England? Robin Hood
3. How many legs does a spider have?  8
4. What is the name of the pirate in Peter Pan? Captain Hook
5. He’s “smarter than the average bear”, but what’s the name of the most famous resident of Jellystone Park? Yogi Bear
6. How many rings make up the symbol of the Olympic Games? The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the center: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colors are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
7. According to the Dr. Seuss book, who stole Christmas? The Grinch
8. In which continent is the country of Egypt found? Africa
9. What is a brontosaurus? Dinosaur
10. Scooby Doo and his friends travel around in which vehicle? The Mystery Machine
11. What is the name of Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend? Eeyore
12. How many grams are there in a kilogram? 1000
13. By what name are the young of frogs and toads known? Tadpoles
14. By what title were the leaders of ancient Egypt known? pharaoh
15. Which famous nurse was known as “The Lady of The Lamp” during the Crimean War? Florence Nightingale
16. What’s the name of the town where The Flintstones live? Bedrock
17. What’s the colored part of the human eye called? iris
18. Q. How many holes are there on a golf course? 18
19. Which country is home to the kangaroo? Australia
20. The giant panda’s diet is almost entirely made up of which plant? bamboo
21. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what is Charlie’s surname? Bucket
22. Which planet is closest to our sun? Mercury
23. Which famous ocean liner sank on her first voyage in 1912? Titanic
24. What is the name of Shrek’s wife? Princess Fiona
25. How many lungs do humans normally have? two
26. What is a group of lions called? Pride
27. Is the planet Jupiter larger or smaller than the Earth? larger
28. Which is the fastest land animal? Cheetah
29. What color are emeralds? green
30. Which animal is the tallest in the world? giraffe
31. If you suffer from arachnophobia, which animal are you scared of? Spiders

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

KidCitizen: Great History Resource

The KidCitizen site introduces kids in grades K-5 to engage with history using primary sources. Episodes are highly interactive and include demonstrations that keep kids engaged in content while having fun. Each episode builds on students’ prior experiences to make the content meaningful.  The photographs included in each episode are from the Library of Congress, which helps develop students’ visual literacy.

The KidCitizen resource is part of the Congress, Civic Participation, and Primary Sources Project.  It is also part of the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program, which is part of the Library of Congress’s premier educational outreach program for teachers.  TPS provides professional development for teachers focused on enhancing their ability to embed digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress into inquiry-based instruction that builds students literacy, critical thinking skills and content knowledge.

KidCitizen episodes run on PCs, Macs, Chromebooks and iOS and Android mobile devices. This site is worth some time to explore.

Other posts related to this topic:

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

Last year my 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Resolution Success! This year I weighed whether to continue the blog or to spend the majority of my time with a larger writing project. After much deliberation and support from family and blog followers, I’ve decided to continue blogging for another year. So, my 2020 Blog resolution is to continue writing the Threeringsconnections blog AND still getting the newsletter out on time each month. Let the balancing of efforts begin! 2 newsletters down and 10 to go. As for other “writing”… woohoo! 2 grants written. Awards in May. Fingers crossed! Batting 500%

My Favorite February Posts

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

2018 Archives

• KidCitizen: Great History Resource
• March Prompts to Get Students Writing
• Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

March Prompts to Get Students Writing

Writing gives children an opportunity to share their ideas and express their creativity.  But writing is not easy and many new writers struggle when faced with a blank page.  Writers, both novice and experienced, need encouragement but they also can benefit from getting some ideas (prompts) to get them started.

Giving your kids a variety of topics to help them extend their vocabulary and language skills.  Kids can find their “voice” through writing poems, songs, jokes or stories.  But don’t limit their choices to “common” types of writing.  Encourage them to see and find “writing” in the world around them.  Commercials, plays, TV shows, ads, emails and blogs are all opportunities to share their writing.

March prompts

• Green Tale: St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.  Green is a popular color in March.  Write down a list of 20 things that are green.  Write a story that includes 5 of the green things.
• Magic Words:  Harry Potter isn’t the only one with magic words.  Write a story in which you are a wizard or princess and when you say three magic words something amazing happens.
• New Sport:  It’s a cold, snowy day outside and perhaps you can’t think of something to do.  Invent a new sport that you could play outside.  Write down your idea and how to play the game. Share your idea with someone else.  They may have some ideas to include in your game also.
• Did I hear that?  Adding something strange to a normal situation can start a story.  You’re sitting at the breakfast table one morning and you hear your cereal say something to you. Tell a story of what your cereal said to you.
• Once upon a time:  There are many books, movies and TV shows that tell stories about characters.  Choose your favorite character and write a story about how that character came over to your house for a sleepover.  Did anything unusual happen?

Check out my monthly post of writing prompt ideas to help inspire our new authors. Let’s make 2020 the Year of the Writer! Enjoy!