ThreeRingsConnections.org November Posts

November posts can help kids learn at school & home

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

Happy November! Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health, and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I have seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school every day to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, but they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning, and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I am hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of December, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

November Posts

November’s Favorite Posts

My Favorite 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!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Take a look at a few posts coming next month
  • Lesson Adjustments for Special Ed Students
  • Multisensory Learning is Beneficial
  • Christmas Trivia for Kids & Adults

Five Finger Retell Rule

Use the 5 Finger Retell Rule by assigning story components to fingers.

Recently, while working with one of my grandkids, I learned about 5 Finger Retell as a way to retell a story.  The Five Finger Retell Rule for reading is designed to help kids recall the five key elements of the story. Although I had summarized many a story with either my own children or primary students, I never used this simple strategy.

The 5-Finger Retell Rule engages kids to repeat a story in their own words, immediately after reading or hearing it.    The trick here is that they use their own hand to organize their thoughts by assigning story components to a finger and their palm. The 5 Finger Retell helps students to analyze the story by setting, character, problem events, and solution or ending. It can be used to summarize the content orally or complete a written summary.  

Since many kids have a hard time retelling/summarizing a passage or story this helps kids focus on the most important parts of the story. In addition to summarizing they acquire listening and forecasting skills by asking the BASIC 5W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. This helps them make connections to things they know and understand which is critical for comprehension.

Five Finger Retell Rule

  • Thumb – Setting
  • Pointer – Characters
  • Tall Finger – Problem
  • Ring Finger – Events/Episodes
  • Little Finger – Ending/Solution
  • Palm – Add your palm for the book title and you have an entire story right in your hand.

The best part of the Five Finger Strategy is that kids can do it anywhere anytime.  No lesson prep, manipulatives or long discussions. Once you teach, model, and review the finger assignments, the kids are ready to go.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:


Thanksgiving Riddles Make You Laugh

Thanksgiving Riddles to make you laugh

Thanksgiving should be about gratitude, togetherness, and relaxation. For many of us, this year has been exceedingly difficult. Let us try to lift all our spirits and had some fun and laughter to our Thanksgiving celebrations.  So, if you have a few loved ones around the table or you have a “Family Zoom Call”, why not try a few Thanksgiving riddles to add some laughter. 

Thanksgiving Riddles

Q. If roses are red, violets are blue, what is stuffed, brown and blue?

A. A turkey holding its breath

Q. I can be hot or cold, I can be made with fruit, vegetable, or meat but either way you see it, on a Thanksgiving table I will be a treat. What am I?

A Pie

Q. You see this festive event along the street on this special day, from Felix to Mickey to Dora and Bugs Bunny, all people will make way. What is it?

A. The Thanksgiving Parade

Q. I have ears but I cannot hear, and I have flakes, but I have no hair. What am I?

A. What do the Pilgrims, Indians and Puritans have in common? 

A The letter i.

Q. What can never be eaten at Thanksgiving dinner?

A. Breakfast and lunch on Thanksgiving

Q. What do grateful, thankful, wonderful, and joyful have all in common?

A.  ful

Q. Can you tell which side of the turkey has more feathers?

A. The outside

Q. What is brown, big, and red all over? 

A. A turkey with cranberry sauce.

Q. Can a turkey fly higher than an ostrich?

A. Yes, because an ostrich does not fly.

Q. Pious and devout, I wear black and white clothes and funny hats. I am not a nun nor a priest, but I was an adventurer. Who am I?

A. Pilgrims

Q. When the Pilgrims walked off their boat into the new world, on what did they stand?

A. On their feet

Q. What has feathers, a bowed head and kneels?

A. A turkey praying to not be eaten

Q. If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? 

A. The Pilgrims

Q. What is hard, oddly shaped and brings you good fortune on Thanksgiving?

A. A wishbone

Q. How do you make a Pilgrim and turkey float?

A. Put 2 scoops of ice cream, a root beer and a pie and turkey in a glass

Q. What is that favorite sport of pumpkins and gourds?

A. Squash

Q. If it took 3 women 4 hours to roast a turkey, how long would it take 4 women to roast the same turkey?

A. None the turkey is already roasted

Q. What is red and has feathers all over?

A. A turkey blushing

I think we all deserve a little whimsy this year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids

Math Learning Starts at Home

Parents can play a role in math learning.

Just as parents can help their children be ready to learn to read, they can give children a good start in math learning, too.  Developing proficiency with informal math concepts and skills are easy to do and can start before children enter school. 

Math Learning Before Children Enter School

  • Find natural opportunities to count, to sort objects, to match collections of objects, to identify shapes (while reading bedtime stories, going up stairs,  setting the table, etc.)
  • Play games such as dominoes and board games
  • Count a collection of objects and use number words to identify very small collections
  • Talk with your child about simple math problems and ideas.  (How many spoons do we need to set the table? Give me the cup with the two flowers on it.  Find the other circle on the page. Sort the blocks by shape.)

Math Learning After Children Enter School

  • Expect some confusion to be part of the learning process but emphasize that effort, not ability, is what counts. Math is understandable and can be figured out.
  • Avoid conveying negative attitudes towards math.  Never tell children not to worry about certain kinds of math because it will never be used.
  • Encourage your child to use computers for tasks like developing charts, graphs, maps, and spreadsheets. 
  • Ask your child what he or she did in math class today.  Ask him or her to give details and to explain.
  • Let kids know that occupations require a sound based in mathematics. Careers in carpentry, landscaping, medicine, pharmacy, aeronautics, and meteorology all require strong math skills.
  • Give your child meaningful problems that use numbers or shapes while you are going about everyday life.  Ask the child to explain what he or she did.
  • Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger math skills. Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their net earnings, making change and tips at restaurants.  Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts like planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring our how long it will take to drive to your family destination.
  • Encourage children to solve problems by providing assistance but letting them figure it out themselves.

Remember math is not just a 40 minute subject taught in school each day. Math concepts are needed for problem solving which is a lifetime skill.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

US State Capitals Trivia

US State Capitals

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Monthly, we’ve looked at questions in many categories: General Knowledge, movies, World History & Geography, US History, US State Flags and this month US State Capitals. Next month is World Flags!

  1. Connecticut                                   Hartford
  2. Delaware                                        Dover
  3. Alaska                                              Juneau
  4. Georgia                                            Atlanta
  5. South Carolina                             Columbia
  6. Arizona                                             Phoenix
  7. Ohio                                                   Columbus
  8. Louisiana                                         Baton Rouge
  9. Michigan                                         Lansing
  10. Rhode Island                                  Providence
  11. Tennessee                                        Nashville
  12. Hawaii                                              Honolulu
  13. Wyoming                                         Cheyenne
  14. Missouri                                          Jefferson City
  15. New Mexico                         Santa Fe
  16. Alabama                                           Montgomery
  17. New Jersey                                      Trenton
  18. California                                      Sacramento
  19. Massachusetts                              Boston
  20. Washington                                    Olympia
  21. Montana                                          Helena
  22. Oklahoma                                        Oklahoma City
  23. Kentucky                                         Frankfort
  24. Colorado                                         Denver
  25. Minnesota                                      Saint Paul
  26. Texas                                                Austin
  27. New York                                        Albany
  28. Kansas                                             Topeka
  29. South Dakota                                Pierre
  30. Florida                                             Tallahassee
  31. North Dakota                                Bismarck
  32. Nebraska                                        Lincoln
  33. Wisconsin                                      Madison
  34. North Carolina                             Raleigh
  35. Oregon                                             Salem
  36. Illinois                                             Springfield
  37. New Hampshire                           Concord
  38. Maine                                               Augusta
  39. Utah                                                  Salt Lake City
  40. Colorado                                         Denver
  41. Nevada                                             Carson City
  42. West Virginia                                Charleston
  43. Virginia                                           Richmond
  44. Pennsylvania                                 Harrisburg
  45. Maryland                                        Annapolis
  46. Mississippi                                     Jackson
  47. Vermont                                          Montpeller
  48. Idaho                                                Boise
  49. Iowa                                                  Des Moines
  50. Arkansas                                         Little Rock

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


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

How Do Kids (and Adults) Learn Best?

Use best practices to help kids learn.

 How do we learn?  As I review lesson plans, I am reminded of my days teaching students in a Talented and Gifted program.  Although I was an experienced classroom teacher, it was not until I was challenged in this new role, did I truly learn how to differentiate instruction effectively, I learned to find ways to structure lessons to optimize learning, based on researched instructional strategies that made a difference in student learning. Researchers that I relied on were: Glasser, Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock. 

So, for my student teachers, check out the some VERY condensed basics in planning your lessons.

WE LEARN……

10% of what we READ

20% of what we HEAR

30% of what we SEE

50% of what we both SEE and HEAR

70% of what is DISCUSSED WITH OTHERS

80% of what we EXPERIENCE PERSONALLY

95% of what we TEACH someone else.

William Glasser

Instructional Strategies That Affect Student Achievement
CATEGORYPERCENTILE GAIN
Identifying similarities and differences, using metaphors and analogies 45
Reinforcing effort and providing recognition 34
Homework and practice 28
Nonlinguistic representations 27
Cooperative Learning 27
Setting objectives and providing feedback 23
Generating and testing hypotheses 23
Questions, cues, and advance organizers 22
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Pollock, J., Classroom Instruction that Works, 2001

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

 

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI)

SDI makes special education “special“.

Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI) refers to the teaching strategies and methods used by teachers to instruct students with learning disabilities and other types of learning needs (strengths and weaknesses). SDI’s help a child achieve their academic goals listed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

SDI Features

  • Delivered by a special education teacher or a related services provider.
  • Provided in any location, if the location is consistent with the student’s IEP and the student’s least restrictive environment.
  • Directly addresses the student’s IEP goals.  Goals are designed to enable the students to achieve grade-level content standards and/or close the learning gap.
  • Is planned, organized and meaningful and is delivered in an explicit, intentional, and systematic manner.
  • It is specific instruction that is delivered to the individual student. 
  • Closely monitored to ensure that the intended results, i.e., a reduction in the learning gap, are being achieved.
  • Addresses any area of individual need including academic, behavioral, social, communication and/or health.
  • Does not involve lowering standards or expectations for the student.

Check out a great Guidance Document developed through the NYSED Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE-TASC) which explains SDI and is a step by step resource to help teachers select the best strategies to meet student needs.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

Comprehension Strategies Aid Understanding

Comprehension strategies help students understand what they read.

Research has identified six comprehension strategies proven  to raise students’ level of understanding.  

Prediction/Prior Knowledge– Thoughtful readers use relevant prior knowledge to predict when reading. Use of this strategy helps students: 

  • Bring knowledge from life experiences to their reading
  • Form predictions based on this prior knowledge
  • Engage more deeply with the text

Questions and Questioning – Fluent readers actively and strategically engage when reading by asking questions. Questioning allows students to: 

  • Focus their reading
  • Clarify meaning
  • Critically reflect on what they have read

Think-aloud – By recognizing and talking out loud about their metacognitive processes students learn to:

  • Monitor their own thinking processes
  • Adjust their thinking to achieve clearer comprehension
  • Clarify meaning as hey continue to read

Text Structure and Features – Students who consciously attend to text structures and features are able to:

  • Comprehend and recall texts more effectively
  • Analyze and synthesize written texts
  • Think critically about their reading

Visualizing –  The use of visualizing techniques and visual representations helps students:

  • Use mental imagery as a comprehension strategy
  • Focus on concepts, and relations between concepts, as they read
  • Learn how to view information critically and thoughtfully

Summarization – Summarization is an essential comprehension strategy that enables students to: 

  • Focus on major points in the text
  • Establish in their own minds what they think the text is saying
  • Deepen their knowledge of what they have read. 

I have often shared these strategies with parents and teachers throughout my career as an elementary principal.  These six comprehension strategies are easy to teach, easy to use and can be used across many subject areas. 

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

SDI Strategies in Reading

SDI Strategies makes special education “special“.

Specifically Designed Instruction (SDI) strategies refer to the way teachers instruct students with learning disabilities and other types of learning needs (strengths and weaknesses). SDI’s help a child achieve their academic goals listed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

SDI Strategies in Literacy

  • Use books on tape, and books with large print and big spaces between lines.
  • Provide a copy of class notes to student.
  • Provide a quiet area for reading activities.
  • Help students notice the letters in the environmental print that surrounds them.
  • Announce reading assignments well in advance.
  • Have students use both visual and auditory senses when reading text.
  • Present material in small units.
  • Use graphic organizers to connect ideas.
  • Read and share stories with students.
  • Provide students with chapter outlines or study guides that highlight key points in their reading.
  • Offer to read written material aloud, when necessary.
  • Allow alternative forms for book reports.
  • Share informational texts and invite students to wonder about the new ideas presented.
  • Point out ways in which reading is important in everyday life (e.g., on labels, instructions, and signs).
  • Teach students how books are organized.
  • Use stories that have predictable words and words that occur frequently in the text.
  • Label objects in classroom.
  • Engage students in activities that help them learn to recognize letters visually.
  • Teach students to attend to the sounds in language.
  • Model and demonstrate how to break short sentences into individual words.
  • Have students clap out syllables and listen for and generate rhymes.
  • Focus on activities that involve sounds of words, not on letters or spellings.
  • Model specific sounds, and ask students to produce each sound in isolation.

Check out a great Guidance Document developed through the NYSED Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE-TASC) which explains SDI and is a step by step resource to help teachers select the best strategies to meet student needs.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

ThreeRingsConnections.org October Posts

October posts can help kids learn at school & home

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

October posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of November, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

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

October’s Posts

October’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite October 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!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • High Leverage Practices (HLPs) for All Kids
  • US State Capitals Trivia
  • Six Strategies to Raise Student Comprehension

ThreeRingsConnections.org September Posts

September posts can help kids learn at school & home

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

September posts certainly seem trivial while we all live through a pandemic. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Today’s health crisis has certainly put so many things in perspective! Family, health and friends have become our priorities with deadlines existing but flexible. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my own grandchildren go from kids that go to school everyday to kids that are either being homeschooled or learning virtually. The student teachers that I work with are not only learning how to be effective teachers in the classroom, they are also learning how to teach remotely. They are learning the importance of their chosen career, ongoing learning and adaptability. However, I wish they did not have to learn all those objectives in a single semester.

In many areas, my home state of New York included, parents continue to take the helm to be their child’s teachers and keep kids learning. Learning is happening but in a way that we never thought would be happening and in March we thought it would be temporary. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful.

So, as we move into the month of October, I hope our day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable and we continue to find learning opportunities all around us.

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

September Posts

September’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite September 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!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • Brain Breaks in Learning
  • US State Flags Trivia: Part II
  • Stories with Holes
  • Fifth Grade Standards for Learning
  • Learning Games and Websites & Apps
  • Academic Vocabulary Grades 1,2, and 5

November Learning Activities

November learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out November  learning activities.

November 2020

3 Election Day (US) – Do a voting activity

9 The first giant panda was collected alive in China in 1927. – Look at the giant pandas through the live cam at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

11 Veterans Day (US) – Write a letter to a veteran to thank them for their service.

12 Elizabeth Cady Stanton born (woman’s rights advocate)1815 – Read a story about Stanton and talk about women voting

13 World Kindness Day – Write about an act of kindness or do an act of kindness.

15 America Recycles Day – Create an art piece out of recycled materials

18 Four standard time zones for the continental USA were introduced, 1883. -Research what they are and find them on a US map.

20 Universal Children’s Day – Draw a picture of what you think you will be doing in 2040

26 Thanksgiving (US) (4th Thursday in November) – Make some Thanksgiving placemats

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

Riddles Are Fun for Young Kids

Riddles help kids practice reading comprehension

Riddles are a good way for kids to improve their reading comprehension. Kids quickly learn that they must pay attention to clues to figure out the answer. Check out the riddles below for “young riddle solvers”. Two good riddle solving strategies is to try to form a picture in your mind and ask yourself questions while connecting clues.

A very sour fruit,

And I start with L;

Add water and sugar,

And I taste just swell.

What am I? ____________

I can be very sharp,

And I start with P;

You can even erase,

What you wrote with me.

What am I? _____________

See me in the tree,

I do give a hoot;

I’m looking for mice,

My big eyes are cute.

What am I? ______________

My color means stop,

And I end in D;

And some fire engines,

Have been painted me.

What am I? _______________

I will be your friend,

And I start with D;

I will guard your house,

And I end with G.

What am I? ________________

The color of a juice

And I send with E;

A fruit that is quite sweet,

Is named for me.

What am I?  _______________

Feel like being an artist?  Why not draw a picture of the answer.  Have fun!

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

NYS Museum: Online Resources

NYS Museum is now ONLINE. Visit and Learn

The NYS Museum has launched the Portal to Online Educational Resources & Activities that brings together many of the museum’s resources.  Check out the links to the popular virtual “filed trips,” digital collections, online resources, and many fun activities for kids.   The Portal provides opportunities for educators, caregivers, and students looking for engaging and educational activities to do at home.

The portal resources and activities will be updated often.  Also included on the site is NYS Learning Standards supporting online lessons and content-created publications.  Virtual activities are coming soon!  Check it Out!

NYS Museum Resources

  • 360 Degree Virtual Field Trips
  • Regents Room of the State Education Building
  • The Replica Liberty BellThe Rotunda Murals
  • Teacher Guides & Activities for Students
  • NYSM Women of Science Programming
  • Women’s Suffrage Resources
  • Fun Activities
  • NYSM Videos
  • The Rotunda at NYSED

Critical Thinking Activity #3 for Kids

Critical thinking activity #3 helps to get kids THINKING.

Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Teaching kids to THINK is important in school and in life.  Kids need opportunities to think about things to make them “make sense”.  Critical thinking activity #3 gets kids to THINK.

Critical thinking activity #3 is perfect for a challenge activity, time filler, brain start, reward or extra credit. The first time I saw this problem, it took me some time to figure it out. I thought about it and then I started drawing it out to keep the possibilities straight. FINALLY, I got it. What will be your strategy?

Can you fill 3 jugs with just 4 gallons of water?

Brooklyn has three jugs that are known to hold exactly 4, 9, and 12 gallons of water. The 12 gallon jug is full of water. There is no extra water supply. Can you figure out a way to use these jugs to each have only 4 gallons of water in each jug?

Once your student figures out the answer, challenge them to create their own example that can be solved in the same way.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Critical Thinking Activity #3 Answer is:

  1. Fill the 4 gallon jug from the full 12 gallon jug. (that leaves 8 gallons in the 12 gallon jug).
  2. Then empty the 4 gallon jug into the 9 gallon jug. (now you have an empty jug)
  3. Go back to the original 12 gallon jug, that NOW has 8 gallons of water.
  4. Fill the empty jug with 4 gallons of water

Other posts related to this topic:

Brain Breaks Help Everyone

Brain Breaks are effective in learning.

We all know that we sometimes need just a few minutes to take a short break to help us get focused.  Sometimes, it is for a cup of coffee, a cookie or to check our phones.  It helps us catch our breath and gives us another opportunity to start again. Did you know that your breaks are call Brain Breaks? 

Smart teachers know that kids need short breaks in learning.  Sometimes, called Brain Breaks, they are short, physical activities that are interspersed with periods of focused academic work.  Research shows that shorter blocks of instruction are more effective for many kids, with younger kids maxing out after about 10 minutes and older kids lasting up to a half-hour or more. Adding short breaks can help improve students’ attention, retention of information, creativity, and efficiency.  Adding some breaks can be fun, make them a definite MUST in every classroom.

6 Benefits of Brain Breaks

  1. Improves focus by lessening frustration and boredom
  2. Provides physical activity
  3. Adds some fun into learning
  4. Gives a sense of accomplishment by completing an assignment
  5. Helps use up extra energy
  6. Give kids (and adults) something to look forward to

Brain Breaks and Remote Learning

Now that many schools have started remote learning once again, there is even more reason to give kids some much needed breaks from computer screens.  Since kids are missing the physical activity of a classroom, Brain Breaks are must.  Think simple.  Try jumping jacks, stretches, yoga poses or jogging in place for a short quick break.  If you want to extend your break a few more minutes add a dance party, take a short walk, play a boardgame or do a household chore.

Although short breaks during classwork or homework are beneficial be sure to plan carefully. Be sure your breaks are not too much fun or too lengthy or you might have kids not want to get back to work!

The length of Brain Breaks and the topics depends on your child’s age and interest levels.  So, choose things that YOUR child wants to do as a Brain Break.  Create a list of ideas so that you or your child can choose their own Brain Break.  Do not be afraid to let your child add to the list (of course with parent approved)

Remote learning is creating many challenges for parents, teachers, and students.  Why not add some Brain Breaks into your schedule to make learning easier and less stressful? Teach your child that you too, need Brain Breaks.  Show them that being able to drink a HOT cup of coffee is what makes you happy.  Enjoy your Brain Break!

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Lesson Fillers in the Classroom
  • Lesson Filler Activities

Learning Games for Kids

Education games can be great review activities for kids.

I am not a big fan of kids on the computer, so you can guess my thoughts on remote teaching this semester! However, we are all learning to adjust in these pandemic times. There are, however, some great review and reinforcement learning games that will keep kids engaged and having fun. Check out the games that I listed below. They are teacher-created, and Grandchildren approved.

5 Great Learning Games

PBS Kids Games

I have recommended this site in different posts, but it is worth the mention again.  Games are organized by subject area and have many popular literature characters included.  Who does not like Curious George or The Cat in the Hat?

Funbrain

Created for kids ages preschool through grade 8.  Interactive games that develop skills in reading, math, and literacy. 

Academic Skill Builders

Online educational video games in language arts, vocabulary, thinking skills and math. Repetitive, timed learning drills that give scores. 

Mr. Nussbaum

Greg Nussbaum, a teacher created the site with a wide variety of learning games that are organized by subject area and grade level.  Although it looks like there are no games for preschoolers, there are!  Filter to the lowest level.  I found some alphabet games that are appropriate for kids as young as 2!  Teachers it can be used on a tablet and is a great resource for interactive whiteboards.  

ABCYa.com

Educational games and activities for elementary students (lower grades) to learn language arts and math.   Teacher-created and recommended by New York Times.

National Geographic Kids

Over 100 fun, engaging and interactive science games and quizzes. 

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


Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Lesson Fillers in the Classroom

Lesson filler activities Part II for all ages

In the classroom, it is important to make every minute count.  In the remote teaching world, it is important to give the “teacher” a few minutes of downtime to catch her breath or a sip of coffee.  So, lesson fillers can be used to keep  kids engaged, learning, and having fun. 

Classroom Filler activities are dependent on the age and interest of the kids.  So, having a variety of activities ready to go is ideal.  Many of the activities can be adjusted to be repeated multiple times with a few small changes.

More Lesson Fillers

Pass the ______- Give the class a topic and ask each student to add to the answers without any repeats (Ex: Name a state, name a color). Give the answering child something to hold when the answer and then pass the item to the next child that answers.

Line Up – Ask students to line up by a characteristic (birthday, color shoes, # on house) 

Hot Seat – A student stands with their back to the whiteboard.  Another student writes a word on the board that was taught in class (you may want to give them a word list) and the first student tries to guess the word by asking questions with “yes” or “no” answers. Give a maximum amount of questions that can be asked.

How long is 1 minute? – Ask students to close their eyes and when they think 1 minute has gone by to raise their hand. This gives students practice in the dimension of time.  Vary times as students’ progress.  

Silly Story – Challenge students to take turns making up a story. Have them sit in a circle, and one by one add a sentence to the story. For example, the first student would say, “Once upon a time there was a little girl that went to school, then she…” Then the next student would continue the story. Encourage children to stay on task and use appropriate words. This activity is the perfect opportunity for students to develop and use their imagination and creativity. This can also be turned into a longer project in which students collaborate on a digital project.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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  • Lesson Filler Activities

October Learning Activities


October learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help parents and teachers engage students in valuable learning activities. Check out October learning activities.

October 2020

5 World Teachers Day – Write a description on what you would do if you were a teacher.

12 Columbus Day (US) (2nd Monday in October) – Read a story about Columbus and/or draw a picture of his 3 ships.

15 National Grouch Day – Draw a picture of a grouchy animal or person.

16 World Food Day – Draw and write about your favorite food.

20 National Fruit Day – Describe your favorite food.  

26 International School Library Day (4th Monday in October) – Create a book jacket of a book you have read recently.  Be sure to include 5 facts about the book.

27 Make a Difference Day – What can you do in your house to help someone that would make a difference?

28 State of Liberty dedicated, 1886 – Find a picture of the Statue of Liberty and try to draw it yourself.

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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Critical Thinking Activity #2 for Kids

Critical thinking activity #2 helps to get kids THINKING.

Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Teaching kids to THINK is important in school and in life.  Kids need opportunities to think about things to make them “make sense”.  Check out critical thinking #2 below to challenge your child.

Critical thinking activity #2 is perfect for a challenge activity, time filler, brain start, reward or extra credit. Once your student figures out the answer, challenge them to create their own example that can be solved in the same way.

WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?

Directions:  Read each statement and decide if it happened in the past, present, or future. HINT: Look for the clues that make the sentence “make sense”. Extension Activity:  Can you reword the sentence to change the meaning to be a different time? Time is divided into 3 categories: past, present and the future.

  • The past is time gone by.
  • The present is this moment in time.
  • The future is time that has not yet happened.
  1. He is on first base and it is the ninth inning.
  2. Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  3. Declan got out of bed.
  4. Will you go dancing with me?
  5. The lake froze last night.
  6. My sister is at the store getting a new cellphone.
  7. Dinosaurs became extinct because the earth’s temperature cooled.
  8. I am wrapping the gift now.
  9. I washed the dishes after breakfast.
  10. We are going on vacation after school is over.
  11. My birthday party invitations went sent out yesterday.
  12. I hear the dog barking inside the house.

Answers

  1. Present
  2. Past
  3. Past
  4. Future
  5. Past
  6. Present
  7. Past
  8. Present
  9. Past
  10. Future
  11. Past
  12. Present

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

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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