South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center

Home learning resources, and strategies to connect schools, families and communities.

You do not have to be a South Dakota resident to take advantage of this great website to support early learners. The South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center (SD SFEC) has partnered with other education agencies to create early learning kits.  For South Dakota friends (teachers, families, and childcare providers) you can request early learning kits for young children. However, for non- South Dakota residents there are 24 Kindergarten Readiness cards that can be downloaded on its website. 

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?

Kindergarten Behaviors to Start School

Kindergarten readiness starts at home.

It’s funny the things you think of at big moments in your life.  I remember very clearly what I was thinking my first day as a K-5 principal when I went out to meet the children.  As they enthusiastically came off the buses, I’m sure none of them knew that their new principal was thinking “ready or not, here they come”.  They arrived and although I questioned myself many times over that year, I finally came to terms with my readiness.

For years, future kindergarten parents have questioned whether their child “would be, is, or was” ready for kindergarten.   The typical flightiness of 5-year olds, gives some parents cause for sleepless nights. 

Parents often try to get a head start on academics with their preschooler.  However, if you ask a group of kindergarten teachers what skills are the best predictors of success in kindergarten, the answer may surprise you. Although I had taught Kindergarten, it was when I became the principal of a K-2 school that I REALLY saw these behaviors ring true. 

Kindergarten Behaviors to be “Ready to Learn” (alphabetical order) 

  • adapts easily to change
  • follows classroom rules
  • learns independently
  • organizes belongings
  • pays attention
  • persists in completing tasks
  • shows eagerness to learn

Kids, like adults, are imperfect.  So when looking at your future kindergarten students, think “big picture” when looking at the traits.  Think how your child does overall with those characteristics.  If you see an area, that they need additional support, try to find opportunities to practice these skills at home over the next few months.  

As a kindergarten teacher, various readiness levels are a “given” in a classroom.  Sharing your concerns and working together with your child’s teacher will help support your child’s success. 

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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Readiness and Kindergarten Screening

Is your child ready for kindergarten. Check out a list of readiness skills.

Ready or not for Kindergarten
Readiness for Kindergarten is learned over time.

I’ve been struggling to write this post for some time. My struggle has been how to balance giving parents information about readiness skills without causing fear about Kindergarten Screening. So, to get in front of this, this post is meant to be a simple check up to see how your child is progressing.  All the skills below can be learned by spending time with your child doing activities and are learned over time. Many of them can be done through simple play.  

As a principal of a primary school I’ve talked to many parents about their child’s kindergarten screening results.   Kindergarten screening tools are intended to see if your child is “ready” for kindergarten.  In other words, is your child socially, emotionally and academically “ready to learn”.  For some parents their goal is to “ace the kindergarten screening”.  For those parents I give them 100% on enthusiasm.  However, please remember that children develop at different rates and perfection on kindergarten screening should NOT be the goal.  Real results help teachers plan appropriate programming for your child.

It’s important to remember that kindergarten screening results give an overview of how a child performed on “that particular test, on that particular day”. Therefore, it may not be an 100% accurate on your child’s abilities. It is for this reason that your child’s kindergarten screening SHOULD NOT be the only thing that a school looks at when assessing your child’s school readiness. Your knowledge along with preschool teacher evaluations are also important.  Although your child’s school may have done thousands of screenings, they have only done 1 screening on your child. Don’t be shy to share your observations about your child with the school.

Kindergarten Ready or Not?

So, if you are wondering if your child is ready for kindergarten take a look at the list below. The items below help you to look at your 4 or 5 year old’s physical, social, emotional and academic development.

You may find that some younger kids can do some of the items on the list. That is perfectly fine since learning occurs over time. However, the list, in its entirety is not intended to be used for children younger than three. For my enthusiastic friends, consider it as “Coming Attractions”.

Readiness: Letters and Words

  • Identifies and names at least 10 letters of the alphabet.
  • Matches a letter with the beginning sound of a word: for example, matches the letter “h” with a picture of a house.
  • Recognizes rhyming words such as mouse and house.
  • Begins to write some of the letters in his or her own first name.
  • Recognizes his or her own first name in print and some of the letters.
  • Understands words such as top, bottom, big, little.
  • Identifies words or signs he or she sees often, for example: McDonalds, Wal-Mart, stop signs.
  • Draws pictures to express ideas and tell stories.
  • Can recognize and name at least five colors.    

Readiness and Speaking

  • Answers simple questions: who, what, when, where?
  • Shares and talks about his/her own experiences in a way that can be understood by most listeners.
  • Follows directions with at least two steps, for example: “Pick up the book and put it on the shelf, please.”
  • Initiates and joins in conversations with adults and children.
  • Asks questions about how things work in the world around him, for example: “Why do babies cry?”
  • Says and/or sings familiar nursery rhymes.    

Book Readiness

  • Shows growing interest in reading and being read to.
  • Holds and looks at books correctly: for example, holds the book right side up and turns the pages one at a time from front to back.
  • Tells a story from the picture on the cover or in the book.    
  • Retells a simple story after listening to it while looking at the pictures in the book.
  • Makes simple predictions and comments about a story being read.      

Math Readiness (Numbers and Shapes)

  • Recognizes and names 4 shapes: circle, square, rectangle and triangle.
  • Counts out loud from 1 to 10 in correct order.
  • Identifies written numbers from one to ten.  
  • Puts written numerals in order from 1 to 10: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
  • Counts at least 5 objects such as 5 pennies.     
  • Sees the numeral 3 and understands this means 3 objects, such as 3 cookies.    
  • Adds and subtracts familiar objects such as stickers.  
  • Uses familiar objects, such as chips, to show concepts of more and less.    
  • Draws a line, circle, rectangle, triangle, X and + .

Same, Different and Patterns

  • Matches two pictures that are alike.  
  • Looks at groups of objects and says which are the same shape, color or size.  
  • Tells things that go together, for example: a spoon and fork are for eating and a fish and a boat go in the water.
  • Repeats a pattern you start, for example: blue, blue, green – blue, blue, green.   
  • Puts three pictures in order, for example: 1. Child puts on boots 2. Child point to a puddle 3. Child jumps in puddle while laughing.

Growing Up: Are They Ready?

  • Takes care of own needs such as toileting, washing hands, dressing and trying to tie his or her own shoes.  
  • Tells full name, address and telephone number.
  • Uses pencils, crayons and markers for drawing and writing.
  • Cuts safely with scissors.
  • Tells if he or she is a boy or a girl.
  • Tells how old he or she is.
  • Adjusts to new situations without parents being there.
  • Runs, jumps, hops, throws, catches and bounces a ball.
  • Rides a tricycle.
  • Goes up and down stairs using both feet (Left, Right, Left)
  • Attempts and completes tasks, understands it’s okay to make mistakes.  
  • Remembers to say “please” and “thank you”.
  • Resolves conflicts with playmates and others appropriately.
  • Responds appropriately to his feelings and the feelings of others.
  • Uses words to express feelings, “I’m angry”, “I’m sad”.  
  • Takes turns, shares and plays with other children.
  • Initiates positive interaction with peers.  
  • Puts puzzles together.

Health & Safety Readiness

  • Asks for adult help when needed.  
  • Follows a set routine and schedule for preparing for bed, personal hygiene and eating meals. 
  • Uses good habits, for example uses a spoon to eat, closed mouth when chewing, covers nose and mouth to sneeze and washes hands after using the toilet and before eating.  
  • Is aware of and follows simple safety rules.  
  • Recognizes potentially dangerous or harmful objects, substances, situations and activities.  
  • Participates in vigorous physical activity daily.
  • Remember that your child will grow tremendously in kindergarten.

Take some time to enjoy the journey!

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

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

DayByDayNY: Kindergarten Readiness Calendar

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is an early literacy calendar that features daily activities to foster kindergarten readiness skills.

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is an early literacy calendar that features daily activities to foster kindergarten readiness skills.
Daily Calendar to support Kindergarten Readiness

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is a great resource for young kids. Parents or guardians in ANY state or ANY country will find information to help their children learn. Great resource. Take a look!

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is an early literacy calendar developed by the New York State Library Association. The calendar features daily activities to foster kindergarten readiness skills. It also contains wellness information and resources to encourage daily reading.

The homepage is updated daily and includes songs, videos, crafts and an eBook that reads the text aloud. The pages can even be set to turn automatically. Parents can download the One More Story app to have it available on their mobile devices too. Daily links also include health and literacy information.  

If families spend a few minutes together a day on these activities your time will be well spent. However, if you still aren’t sure if it’s worth a look check out the DayByDayNY link.

Please share this site with others.  They will Thank you for it!

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

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

Hello Kindergarten: Great Resource

Kindergarten transition is important.
Kindergarten transition is important.

Two more of grandkids are going to Kindergarten in September. While we are all enjoying our summer, fitting in some academics can easily be done with the Hello Kindergarten toolkit. For those parents looking for a good resource the Hello Kindergarten toolkit is a great online option.

The toolkit contains a variety of resources to help families through kindergarten transition. The resource was developed by a partnership between the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and the Connecticut State Department of Education.  Although it was developed for Connecticut families, this is an excellent resource for ALL families looking to support their “soon to be” Kindergartener. 

The toolkit includes multiple topics on transition such as: 

  • What your child should know and be able to do before her/she goes off to school,
  • How to give your child a healthy start, and
  • How the registration process works.

Even if you think your child is ready for Kindergarten; it certainly is worth a look.  Enjoy this special time with your child!

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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Books Before Kindergarten: 1000?

Reading to kids is important. Try setting 1000 books before kindergarten and get reading.

Is  reading to young children important to you?  If your answer is YES!, perhaps the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program is a good goal for parents and preschool teachers. 

Research shows that as many as one in five children have trouble learning to read. As a result, reading has been linked to academic success. Unfortunately, formal school does not usually start until ages 5-6.  Therefore, parents and preschool teachers take on the important role of being first teachers to children. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenges parents and preschool teachers to read 1000 books to young children before they enter Kindergarten.

Take a look: https://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/

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

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

Summer Travel Car Games

Summer Travel Car Games

Summer travel with kids can be a challenge for parents and grandparents. Whether it is a 10-minute ride to do a quick errand or 10-hour road trip, keeping everyone “boredom free” is not always easy. Check out 5 games to try on your next car trip and see the miles fly by. They might even make getting there FUN! 

Summer Travel Games

  1. Add Them Up! – Each player chooses a license plate they see and writes the numbers down. Each player adds the numbers and gets a total.  The player with the highest total wins 1 point. The first player to get 10 points wins. Variations: Change the total number of points to win. Set a time (phone timer works well) for players to find the “best” license plate to use in the game.
  2. License Plate Words – Each player chooses a license plate that has at least three letters. Write the 3 letters down and try to make a word using all 3 letters. The player that makes the word first wins 1 point. The first player to get 10 points wins. Variations: Someone else chooses the license plate and each player tries to make a word using the same letters. Each player tries to make as many words as possible using the 3 letters in a given amount of time and gets 1 point for each word created. The total number of points to win can be adjusted as needed.
  3. License Plate Phrases – A variation from License Plate Words, Phrases challenges plyers to try to make up a phrase or sentence with the initials for the license plate in the same order.  “PGM” could become “Penny Grows Marigolds”. Variations: Choose 3 license plates with letters and make 3 different sentences to tell a story.  This idea can be adjusted to different number of sentences and can be done individually or as a group.
  4. License Plate State Race – Each player tries to find a license plate from different states.  With no preparation, kids can write down the name of the state they found.  With preparation, a list of all the states can be used and they can be checked off.  To make the list reusable, put the list in a page protector on a clipboard and give your child a highlighter to mark off the states as they are discovered. A number can be determined to name a winner, or a winner can be named after a set time limit. Variations: Count the license plates by the background color.  Set a number of each color to win the game. Check off the state by finding the license plate by the state motto.  For younger kids, the prep is a list of state names with the state motto.  Older kids can use a list of state mottos ONLY.
  5. License Plate Alphabet – The object of the game is to find every letter of the alphabet, in order, on license plates. Each player watches license plates and calls out the letters (big letters only) as she sees them. Letters must be called in alphabetical order and players can find more than one letter on a license plate. Completing the alphabet is the reward if it is a group game.  IF you have a competitive group, the winner can be the person who completes the alphabet by finding the letter Z.

I am ready for the 12-hour trip to the beach.  Bring it on girls!

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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Environmental Print Activities

Environmental Print Activities help kids learn to read

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about teaching my granddaughters Environmental Print. Environmental Print is the name given to the print that appears in signs, labels, and logos you see in everyday life. Learning to “read” Environmental Print is an important step in learning to read print. This type of learning helps young children build confidence and transition into the world of reading more easily.

Today, while driving in the car I started pointing out Environmental Print to another granddaughter. Although our trip was filled with signs and logos that she undoubtedly was aware of, it did not engage her interest. Her only focus was when she was going to get to my house.  So, “reading around our town” we will attempt on another day and try some of the ideas listed below. 

11 Environmental Print Activities

  • Grocery Ads – Ask children to read the print in grocery store ads to make a shopping list.
  • Add Real boxes/Labels to Play – Encourage your child to play with real empty boxes and labels.
  • Create a Menu Book – Using any type of notebook or paper create a menu of items your child recognizes by gluing fronts of boxes or labels. Into the menu book.  At mealtime ask your child to choose from the menu to choose what they want to eat.
  • Shopping Helper – Kids can bring their Environmental Print book to the store and try to locate the items on the shelves.
  • Shop your Pantry – Ask your child to get items from your pantry using the brand name or a type of food.  Be sure to show when where the words are on the boxes to help them “read” the words.
  • Cooking in the Kitchen – Using their Environmental Print book they can collect items needed to prepare their meal.
  • Create Environmental Print Book – Print out or cut out logos, box tops, names of stores, school items that are familiar to your child.  If you are printing the items, be sure to use large print and proper coloring.
  • Shopping Photos – Allow kids to take pictures using your phone of items in the store they like.  They can then review the photos and name the products.
  • Road signs – Print out copies of road signs and place around house or an outside space.  Ask kids to pretend they are driving and obey the traffic signs.  A great way to make them “SLOW DOWN” on a busy day!
  • Puzzle Boxes – Cut up the front of boxes (ex. cereal) to make a puzzle and ask kids to put them together. Start with 2 pieces and work up to more pieces depending on the child’s age and skill level.
  • Match Game – Make 2 copies of the word or label and ask kids to find 2 of the same thing.  Variations can be a card game or a memory game.

With a little bit of effort and creativity we can create opportunities for kids to see print and learn to read it.  Sharing Environmental Print with our kids is just one more way we can show how important reading and writing are for life. Happy Reading!

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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Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Reading Websites (FREE) for Kids

Reading websites keep kids reading

Who does not like the word FREE?  I am always looking for new FREE reading websites for parents and teachers and I have found a few more to share with you. With so many kids learning at home, many parents are looking for additional learning activities for their kids. The sites below are ideal for review, reinforcement and FUN! These websites are not only FREE they are also kid and parent friendly.

5 New Reading Websites

Oxford Owl – After registering for a FREE account as a parent or a teacher you have access to over 250 children’s audio books. The free eBook library has been created to help children aged 3-11 develop their reading skills.

ABCya! – Children can listen to short stories read alound to them as they follow allong with the highlighted text.  There are a variety of educational games that are categorized by grade levels too   Resources focus on grades K through 5. There is a premium service available for a cost but there are many FREE resources available.

Storynory – A great collection of classic, fairytales and original stories.  Students can follow text while the story is read to them. Some of the stories are also translated into different languages.  Great resource for ENL students.

Storyline Online – I love this site.  Developed by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation the site features actors and actresses reading some of their favorite children’s books.  Each story comes with a free Activity Guide and can be viewed on Vimeo, YouTube or SchoolTube.

Read to Me – Similar to Storyline Online, Read to Me features popular children’s books being read by famous performers.  There are activity guides with hands-on ideas, discussion questions, and lesson plans that can easily be adapted for classrooms. The site has been updated to include the Read to Me International Workshop Recordings and Materials. 

Encore Mention

  • Starfall – I have listed this one before, but it is certainly worth an encore mention.  It is used quite often in schools and homes. A premium service is also offered but there are many early reader stories available for FREE. The site is highly engaging and is a favorite of young readers. Activities are available from PreK through Grade 3.

Great resources that allow kids to access pages on their own. 

Happy Reading!

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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St. Patrick’s Day Jokes to Make You Smile

St. Patrick’s Day Jokes to Make You Smile

St. Patrick’s Day jokes can make us all laugh! But, there is nothing like it when a child realizes the value of jokes and riddles.  For little ones, after they hear someone tell a joke and watch people laugh, they start “silly joke telling”. Those are the jokes that make no sense, and they wait for you to laugh. Of course, we do, and we will try once again, to explain all about jokes!  For older kids, we enjoy it when we see the look in their eyes, when they “get” the inferences in the jokes. Or the roll of their eyes when they realize you just told them a silly joke!

Jokes are a great way to bond with your kids or grandkids or just to add a little silliness into our lives.  Check out some of the St. Patrick’s Day jokes I dug up from my Principal Files.

After the last year of COVID-19, don’t we all need a few laughs?

St. Patrick’s Day Jokes

  1. What happens when a leprechaun falls into a river?
  2. What’s a leprechaun’s favorite cereal?
  3. What do they call the Irish jig at McDonald’s?
  4. Why do leprechauns recycle?
  5. What does it mean if you find a horseshoe in Ireland?
  6. What did the leprechaun say when the video game ended?
  7. Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day?
  8. What type of bow cannot be tied?
  9. When does a leprechaun cross the road?
  10. How is a best friend like a 4-leaf clover?
  11. They are both hard to find and lucky to have.

And the punchline is…..

  1. He gets wet!
  2. Lucky Charms
  3. A Shamrock Shake
  4. They like to go green!
  5. A horse lost its shoe.
  6. Game clover!
  7. Because they are already wearing green
  8. They like to go green!
  9. A rain-bow
  10. When the light turns green
  11. They are both hard to find and lucky to have.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Friends!

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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Resources for Remote Teaching

Remote Teaching Resources

The NYS Education Department has an extensive list of remote teaching resources. The links are specifically intended for teachers to provide ideas and inspiration as they plan and implement remote and/or online learning during extended closures.  Although NYS has provided the information, most of the links will be beneficial for all teachers.  

Remote Teaching Links

  • Remote Education Resource Center, SUNY Albany – Resources for teaching online, from “Where to Start,” to content resources and suggested tools.
  • Tips for Distance Learning with PBS Learning Media – In this one-hour virtual learning seminar, PBS master trainers and educators share tips and techniques to support engaging, effective distance learning. Educators of children of all ages are introduced to virtual learning technologies, tools, and hacks to set up a digital classroom with confidence.
  • NYSUT Webinar Series: Teaching in Blended & Hybrid Models – In this two-part webinar series hosted by NYSUT, educators discuss practical strategies for teachers to confront the challenges of working with blended/hybrid classes split between in-person and remote environments.

Get the Latest Updates!

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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?

Dr. Seuss Day 2021 is March 2nd

Dr. Seuss Day: March 2, 2021

Dr. Seuss Day 2021 is also known as Read Across America Day. It is a yearly observance in the USA inaugurated by the NEA (National Education Association) that is held on the school day that is nearest to 2 March, Dr Seuss birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American artist, book publisher, animator, poet, a political cartoonist as well as an author. He is best known for authoring over 60 children’s books.

The Read Across America initiative began in 1997 to encourage children to read more and get excited about reading. The holiday mainly focuses on motivating children to read as it improves their performance in school. On this day, hospitals, bookstores, community centers, churches, libraries as well as schools host many events. So, it’s time to grab your Dr. Seuss hat get reading!    

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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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Valentine’s Day Jokes for 2021

Valentine’s Day jokes will make us all smile

Valentine’s Day is always in the middle of winter but this year, it is in the middle of a pandemic too!  Many kids across America will miss their classroom Valentine’s Day parties. For some, they have not even seen many of their family and friends in the last year.  IF there was ever a year to send some love and make someone smile; it is this year!  Check out the Valentine’s Day jokes!

Valentine’s Day Jokes 2021

  • What did one whale say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • “Whale” you be mine?
  • What did one squirrel say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I am “nuts” about you.
  • What did the ghost say to his girlfriend? 
    • You look “boo”-tiful!
  • Why did the girl put candy under her pillow? 
    • Because she wanted “sweet” dreams
  • What did the rabbit say to his girlfriend? 
    • Some “bunny” loves you.
  • Do you have a date for Valentine’s day? 
    • Yes, February 14th
  • What did the stamp say to the envelope on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I am “stuck” on you.
  • What did one sheep say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I love “ewe!”
  • Why did the Valentine get arrested? 
    • For “stealing” someone’s heart.
  • What did the blueberry say to his Valentine? 
    • I love you “berry” much.
  • What did one volcano say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I “lava” you a lot!” 
  • What did one cat say to the other on Valentine’s Day? 
    • I think you are “puurrr-fect”.

Come on…. you had to at least smile with some of those jokes?  

Happy Valentine’s Day Friends! 

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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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

 

March Dates for Classroom Fun

March dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms.

March dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms. Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

These special days don’t have to be only celebrated at home.  Knowing the days can extend to homes and family activities too.  Aren’t we all looking for ways to make learning at fun everywhere?  After a year of being in the midst of a pandemic aren’t we all ready for some FUN?  

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! If you are ready for even more fun, check out the websites below that list additional holidays and celebrations.  Along with basic information you will find classroom resources and lesson ideas.  ALL FREE!

March Dates: Daily Celebrations

March 2: Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, National Read Across America Day

March 4: World Book Day

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 11: Johnny Appleseed Day

March 12: Plant a Flower Day

March 14: National Pi Day, Learn About Butterflies Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 20: First Day of Spring, International Day of Happiness

March 21: World Poetry Day

March Weekly Observances

National Bubble Week (March 14-20)

Act Happy Week (starts on the third Monday)

March Monthly Observances

Women’s History Month

National Nutrition Month

FREE Celebration Resources

The Teacher’s Corner

Education World

Calendar at a Glance- National Day Calendar

 

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

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?

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Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids

Thanksgiving jokes can add some fun to your celebration.
Thanksgiving jokes can add some fun to your celebration.

Why not add some Thanksgiving jokes to your Thanksgiving celebration this year?

Teaching kids to appreciate jokes is a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Why not take some time to be silly this Thanksgiving and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll).  Happy Thanksgiving!

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Gladys.
Adult: Gladys who?
Kid: Gladys Thanksgiving. Aren’t you?

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Harry.
Adult: Harry who?
Kid: Harry up, I’m hungry!

Q. Why did the farmer run a steamroller over his potato field on Thanksgiving Day?

A. He wanted to raise mashed potatoes.

Q. What is a turkey’s favorite dessert?
A. Peach gobbler!

Q. Why did the police arrest the turkey?

A. They suspected it of fowl play!

Q. What do you call it when it rains turkeys?

A. Foul weather!

Q. What smells the best at a Thanksgiving dinner?

A. Your nose

Q. Why do pilgrims’ pants always fall down?
A. Because they wear their belt buckles on their hats!

Q. Why did the cranberries turn red?
A. Because they saw the turkey dressing!

Q. What did the turkey say to the computer?
A. “Google, google, google.”

Q. What kind of music did Pilgrims listen to?
A. Plymouth Rock.

 Q. What’s the best thing to put into pumpkin pie?
A. Your teeth

 Q. What always comes at the end of Thanksgiving?
A. The letter “g”.

Q. Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
A. The outside.

Q. What do turkeys and teddy bears have in common?
A. They both have stuffing.

Q. Where does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?

A. In the dictionary

 Q. What do you get when you cross a turkey with a centipede?
A. Kid: Drumsticks for everyone on Thanksgiving Day!

Q. What did the turkey say to the turkey hunter on Thanksgiving Day?
A. “Quack! Quack!”

Q. What key has legs and can’t open doors? 

A. A turkey.

Q. Who isn’t hungry at Thanksgiving?
A. The turkey because he’s already stuffed.

 

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

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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?

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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

Halloween Jokes for Kids

Halloween jokes to get you howling!

I admit it.  Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  But, when a three-year-old tells you a joke, thinks it hysterical and it is Halloween, it’s time for some Halloween jokes!

15 Halloween Jokes to Get You Howling

  • Q: Which fruit is a vampire’s favorite?
  • A: Neck-tarine!
  • Q: How do you fix a damaged jack-o-lantern?
  • A: You use a pumpkin patch!
  • Q: What dog breed would Dracula love to have as a pet?
  • A: Blood hound!
  • Q: What do ghosts wear when their eyesight gets blurred?
  • A: Spooktacles
  • Q: What would be the national holiday for a nation of vampires?
  • A: Fangs-giving!
  • Q: What is a skeleton’s favorite musical instrument?
  • A: A Trombone!
  • Q: What does a panda ghost eat?
  • A: Bam-BOO!
  • Q: What do birds say on Halloween to get candy?
  • A: Twick-or-tweet
  • Q: Who was the most famous skeleton detective?
  • A: Sherlock Bones
  • Q: What does the skeleton chef say when he serves you a meal?
  • A: “Bone Appetit!”
  • Q: What kind of monster loves to disco?
  • A: The boogieman.
  • Q: When is it bad luck to be followed by a black cat?
  • A: When you’re a mouse.
  • Q: How do you make a witch itch?
  • A: Take away the W.
  • Q: What do you call a witch’s garage?
  • A: A broom closet.
  • Q: What is in a ghost’s nose?
  • A: Boo-gers

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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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?

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