Active Listening Can Be Taught

Active listening can be taught to kids.
Active listening can be taught to kids.

As a teacher and a principal, I was often asked by parents what they can do to prepare their child for school.  People were always surprised that I didn’t answer with pre-reading and/or math skills.  My answer was always active listening. REALLY LISTENING.  I laugh when I think about that now because even today, I say (or think about) saying “are you listening to me”?

Much of a child’s school day is spent speaking and listening. Schools and states recognize the importance of listening and speaking and include these components in most testing. A child with good listening and speaking skills will have increased comprehension and communication skills.

Your child can develop the skill of being an active listener.  Active listening means that a child uses what he hears and acts on what was said.  Listening activities strengthen the entire communication process and are necessary for daily living.  The activities below can be done often, anywhere and with little preparation.

3 Active Listening Activities

  • Following Directions – Create simple following direction activities involving things in your home or classroom. (Stand up, sit down, touch your head, turn around, count to 10 etc.) This activity involves listening and doing.  After saying a sequence of activities, the child is challenged to try to do the activities in the correct order.  Younger kids and “newbies to following directions” can start with 1 and 2 step directions and proceed to more difficult or longer sequences.
  • Blind Directions – Have kids sit back to back, to listen to directions from a partner to draw a picture of a simple 6-line design. When the directions are completed, the students can compare how close the new drawing was to the original.
  • Puppet Talk – Some kids find it difficult to speak in front of others, Playacting provides lots of opportunities for speaking and listening in a relaxed atmosphere. Puppets are one way to help ease public speaking.  It also encourages creative dialogue as the puppets (talk) to each other

By working with your child on these activities you can give him academic and social advantages in the future.  All the while having a good time. Enjoy!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Using Gradual Release of Responsibility helps kids learn
Using Gradual Release of Responsibility helps kids learn

Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) came up recently in a discussion with one of my student teachers.  The topic came up during brainstorming ways to meet the Distinguished criteria on the Teacher Evaluation tool. The GRR model of instruction suggests that learning should gradually shift from solely teacher modeling, to joint responsibility between teachers and students, to independent practice and application by the students.

I was introduced to Gradual Release of Responsibility during a Professional Development opportunity in our school. The consultant demonstrated an activity in our classroom, co-taught with us the next day and then observed us use the strategy. Each session ended with self-reflection. This method is successful both in classrooms and in Teacher Professional Development. Simply: “I do, we do, you do it alone.”

Gradual Release of Responsibility Principles:

  • Mistakes are part of the learning process; the more practice, the fewer mistakes.
  • Background knowledge and skills sets differ student by student which means that preparedness for learning also differs.
  • Many students learn best through hands-on learning as opposed to watching or listening to others. 

Although the GRR instructional model was first used in reading comprehension, it is now used in all content areas.  The model helps move classroom instruction from lecture and whole group instruction to a more student-centered classroom that uses collaboration and independent practice.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: January Posts

Happy New Year Friends!

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

January posts … maybe not? 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! 1 newsletter down and 11 to go. Hello 2020!

January Posts

January’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite January 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!

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • Buddy Reading
  • February Writing Prompts
  • Gradual Release of Responsibility

February Prompts to Get Students Writing

February prompts to encourage student writing
February prompts to encourage student 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.

February Prompts

  • Magical Garden:  Gardens grow many foods for us to eat.  But what if you had a magical garden?  What magical things grow in your garden?
  • Valentine’s Day:  Valentine’s Day is this month.  Have you given a compliment to anyone to make them feel good?  If not, it’s not too late.  Write down a compliment for 5 different people that you see often.  IF you decide to share it with them you might see some big smiles.
  • Soup of the Day: When it’s cold outside, don’t you just love a bowl of soup? How about a soup made with your favorite foods?  Write down your recipe with 15 different foods to make your “Soup of the Day”.  Do you think it will taste great?
  • Fortune Cookie: Fortune Cookies have small pieces of paper included inside with a message.  Sometimes it’s a prediction, a lucky number or some advice.  Write down 5 messages that you would like to find inside YOUR fortune cookie.  Then write down 5 messages that you would like to find inside a family member’s fortune cookie. 
  • Talk to me: How many times do you find yourself asking (and sometimes answering) your pet questions?  Are you hungry, do you want to go out, how’s my boy today?  Write down five answers to 5 different questionos you might ask your pet. Perhaps your pet will answer like a comedian or maybe he/she is having a bad day. Be creative!

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!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Multiple Intelligences and Learning

Multiple Intelligences and Learning
Multiple Intelligences and Learning

The topic of Multiple Intelligences (MI) and student learning has been around a long time.  Simply it’s trying to match up the various abilities that students have and the teacher’s instructional approaches.

For me, it wasn’t until I was teaching almost 10 years that I learned of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence (MI) Theory.  Up until then I knew that kids learned differently but once I learned about MI my teaching toolkit exploded with ideas.  Understanding the theory and learning new ways to meet student needs opened my eyes to endless possibilities. These strategies were extremely helpful when I was hired as a Teacher of the Talented and Gifted. Although the students were highly abled, many were limited in their strengths and the MI approach helped them to think about topics differently.

As a student teacher supervisor at the local college I find that teachers are well versed in learning intelligences and styles. Most lessons include differentiation in content, approach and assessment.  This is important as teachers try to balance educational standards and innate abilities of each student. Having a good understanding helps teacher’s options to engage and motivate ALL learners.

Parents are very aware of their child’s natural abilities but may not know the “technical” name for it.  As a teacher and principal, I heard from many parents the areas their children excelled in or the way they learned best. This information was especially helpful when placing children in class placement.  So, when teaching kids at home or in school, or finding the perfect new classroom, why wouldn’t we think about the strengths and learning styles of kids.  Don’t we want them to do their best?  

Learning Intelligences Simplified

  • Word learner – Child expresses himself/herself well and enjoys reading and writing.
  • On-the-move learner – Child is well coordinated and learns best when physically involved in doing things.
  • On-my-own learner – Child prefers to work alone.  Enjoys independent projects and likes to set own goals.
  • Number learner – Child is interested in logical thinking.  Often enjoys puzzles and math.
  • Nature learner – Child likes being outside and often enjoys science.
  • Rhythmic learner – Child enjoys music and rhythm.
  • With-friends learner – Child works best with other students and is often a leader in the class.
  • Construction learner – Child loves drawing and building things.

In addition to learning intelligences we all have a preferred learning style.  In general, the more avenues of input (auditory/hearing), kinesthetic/movement, or visual/sight, the higher the possibility of student learning. Don’t we all learn better when we learn in different ways?   

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Motivate Young Learners Easily

Motivate your child today with these simple ideas
Motivate your child today with these simple ideas

Getting kids to want to learn at home or in the classroom can be challenging. For some kids, they just LOVE to learn, and EVERYTHING is a learning experience.  For other kids teaching is TOUGH.  Finding ways to motivate them can some days seem impossible.  So, how can we get them moving?

To start, you are not doing anything wrong.  The bottom line is that a child’s individual personality plays a big part in their willingness to learn. Adding to the difficulty is that young children have short attention spans with many things to distract them. So, catching and KEEPING their attention may some days seem like catching butterflies! Fun but frustrating!

So, for those kids finding WHAT motivates them is key. The topic can make a difference, but so can the LOCATION. Extending learning outside the walls of the classroom can help motivate them to see learning all around them. You are important to help them learn the importance of lifelong learning.

4 Simple Strategies to Motivate

  • Reading, Reading Everywhere: Reading is the foundation of lifelong learning so Fill their life with reading opportunities.  Show them that everyday life includes books, signs, billboards, texts, emails etc. Point out to them that they are readers and learners whenever they look around them.
  • Make Learning Easy: Help kids to read or learn by making it EASIER so they will build confidence. Think of it this way.  When you go on a beach vacation, do you bring a textbook or an enjoyable book?  Most of us bring an easy “beach read”.  (no offense to my textbook blog readers). Let children pick their own books or things to learn by making it EASY. When they get frustrated, go back to EASIER. And when they’re “just not into it”, try another time or another day. Even when reading a “beach read”, you sometimes need a break to apply more suntan lotion or to jump into the water. Learning can occur in 30 seconds.   
  • Sneak in Learning: Learning can be hidden as well. What is the result when you secretly add chopped vegetables to your “anti-vegetable” child’s dinner? If they clean their plates, they’ve eaten their vegetables.  If they don’t, you hide them better next time! The key to success is that they didn’t know about your secret ingredients. Not everything has to be talked about and discussed.  IF your “hidden veggie attack” accomplished a balanced meal without the fuss, “mission accomplished”. Somewhere in the future, the “visible” vegetables may be welcomed by your young child or perhaps your adult children.  
  • Make Learning Fun: Learning can be hidden as well.  Look for fun opportunities for learning to keep kids motivated to learn.  Who doesn’t like a card game of “War”?  So much more fun that a workbook showing how some numbers are greater than others. When you want to teach kids something, think how can I make this fun? Yes, it may take more time, but the extra time solidifies the learning and it can be fun for both you and your child.  

Although it may seem like a battle to get your child motivated to learn, a different approach may make the difference. Once you find some strategies that work, it’s time to sit back and watch your child discover the joy of learning.  Enjoy the journey!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Parent Resources at NYS Parenting.org

NYSparenting.org has many  parent resources to help parents.
NYSparenting.org has many resources to help parents.

This site is a one-stop, digital portal of parent resources on parenting, childcare options, concerns about child development and how to talk and work together with your child’s teacher. The Council on Children and Families (the Council) worked closely with its member agencies to develop the resources. This site was funded by the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five Initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The site was created for New York families but there are great resources included that are helpful for parents and children all over the world.

Parent Resource Areas

For More Information

You can subscribe to the NYSB5 newsletter, text NYSB5 to 22828, or email them at NYSB5@ccf.ny.gov.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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New Kindness Quotes to Start the New Year

Scientific studies have shown that kindness has a great number of physical and emotional benefits.  Quotes about Kindness give students “the words” to motivate them to be kind. Kindness is best learned by feeling the emotion of caring for someone else and feeling cared for by others.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • The Great Kindness Challenge January 2020
  • Kindness Quotes for Home and School

ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: December 2019

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

Happy New Year Friends! Welcome 2020!

Yeah! I achieved my 2019 Blog resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter posted each month on time! I wasn’t sure if I could do it. However, the many followers and comments that I received throughout the year, motivated me to GET IT DONE! Let’s go 2020!

I hope you have a year filled with your hopes and dreams!

December 2019

December’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite December 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!

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

  • Gradual Release of Responsibility
  • Kindness Quotes to Start the New Year
  • Math Thinking Skills Primary
  • Math Thinking Skills Grades 4-5

Christmas Jokes for Kids

Christmas jokes to make you laugh!
Christmas jokes to make you laugh!

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

As I sit watching the first snowfall of the year, I’m reminded of the snow days that my kids and I would enjoy together. Yes, there was some shoveling with hot chocolate afterwards, but we also played games, hung out in our pajamas and enjoyed the SNOWDAY!

With Thanksgiving behind us we look forward to Christmas a short 24 days away. Why not use some holiday time to teach your kids some Christmas/winter jokes? Joke telling helps kids learn new vocabulary, strengthens comprehension and helps communication skills. Best of all, the holidays are a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Why not take some time to be silly this Christmas season and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll)?  Merry Christmas!

Q. What Christmas song do wild animals sing at Christmas? Answer: Jungle Bells

Q. What happens if you eat Christmas decorations?
Answer: You get tinselitus

Q. What do you call Santa when he stops moving?
Answer: Santa Pause

Q. What comes at the end of Christmas Day?
Answer: The letter “Y!”

Q. What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Answer: Snowflakes. (or Frosted Flakes!)

Q. What does an elf study in school?
Answer: The elfabet.

Q. What do you get if you mix a vampire with a snowman?
Answer: Frostbite!

Q. What does Santa suffer from whenever he gets stuck in a chimney?
Answer: Santa Claustrophobia

Q. How do sheep wish each other happy holidays?
Answer:  Merry Christmas to ewe.

Q. What does Mrs. Claus say when there are clouds in the sky?
Answer: It looks like rain, deer.

Q, What do you call a greedy elf?
Answer: Elfish!

Q. Why wouldn’t the Christmas tree stand up?
Answer: It had no legs.

Q. What kind of ball doesn’t bounce?
Answer: A snowball.

Q. What did one snowman say another snowman?
Answer: You’re cool.

Q. What is every parent’s favorite Christmas carol? Answer: Silent Night.

Q, What do you get when Santa plays detective?
Answer: Santa clues! 

Q. What falls but never gets hurt?
Answer: Snow.

Q. What do you call a shark that delivers toys at Christmas?
Answer: “Santa Jaws!”

Q. Where do snowmen keep their money?
Answer: In a snow bank.

Q. What do snowmen like to do on the weekend?
Answer: Chill out.

Q. What does Jack Frost like best about school?
Answer: Snow and tell.

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Murray.
Adult: Murray who?
Kid: Murray Christmas, one and all!

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Pizza.
Adult: Pizza, who?
Kid: Pizza on earth, good will toward men!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Kindness Quotes for Home and School

Scientific studies have shown that kindness has a great number of physical and emotional benefits. So what can we do at home and school to promote kindness? Remember, for kids to learn it’s a combination of what we say and do. Sometimes for kids to learn they just need a few simple words to promote an action. Quotes about Kindness give students “the words”. Kindness is best learned by feeling the emotion of caring for someone else and feeling cared for by others.

Kindness quotes spread the happiness

Next month we’ll post some new Kindness quotes to add to your toolbox. It’s never too early to start building your resources for The Great Kindness Challenge (January 27-31, 2020)

Kindness quotes to spread some happiness!
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • The Great Kindness Challenge January 2020

Are You A Real Teacher?

Good Luck Student Teachers -You've got this!
Good Luck Student Teachers -You’ve got this!

On Opening Day, each year, I gave each staff member an inspirational poem about being a teacher. The poems were typed on decorative paper with a small trinket (heart, shell) attached. Often I would see it in the classrooms, and that made all the printing and gluing worth the effort. 

So, as we end our semester together, I want to share with you my Opening Day poem from 2010-2011.  How many of the 13 items below sound like you this past semester?   

I hope you enjoyed your student teaching experience.  It’s time to go out and find the teaching job that is right for you!  Enjoy the journey friends.  You’ve got this.  

  • Real teachers grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meeting at times in the bathroom.
  • Real teachers cheer when they hear April 1st or Halloween does not fall on a school day.
  • Real teachers can’t walk past a crowd of kids without straightening up the line (or at least thinking about it).
  • Real teachers have disjointed necks from writing on boards or turning their backs on the class.
  • Real teachers are written-up in medical journals for the size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.
  • Real teachers have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes.
  • Real teachers can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.
  • Real teachers are solely responsible for the destruction of the rain forest.
  • Real teachers have their best conferences in the parking lot.
  • Real teachers have never heard an original excuse.
  • Real teachers buy Tylenol and Advil at Costco.
  • Real teachers will eat anything that is put in the Faculty Room.
  • Real teachers know secretaries and custodians run the school.

Real teachers hear the heartbeats of crisis; always have time to listen; know they teach students, not subjects; and are non-expendable.

THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING A CAREER THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN KIDS LIVES.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9
  • Student Teacher References: Are VIP
  • Resources for Substitute Teachers

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sales are great opportunities to buy books at bargain prices.
Scholastic Books at deep discounts

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale 2019 is Coming!

December 4th – 14th 

My local friends the closest location is Danbury, Ct.  (Approximately 40 mins. from Fishkill area.

Scholastic Books Warehouse offers for a limited a limited time only deep discounts on books.  This holiday you can purchase “Buy One, Get One Box” from hundreds of books, gifts,  and school supplies. There is even a Build a Box opportunity!  Refresh your school, home, and classroom libraries, and stock up on gifts for everyone.

For every item you buy, choose an item of equal or lesser value for FREE

  • Shop from a large assortment of already reduced items
  • No limits on how many items you can buy
  • Build-a-Box is included with the BOGO offer (yes, Danbury has it)
  • Perfect way to maximize school purchase orders, grants, and Title 1 funds

Coupon is $10.00 off a purchase of $100.00. OR $25.00 off a purchase of $100.00 using Scholastic Dollars.

Danbury, CT Warehouse Sale:

Weekday Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Closed Sundays

The Danbury location is a Build-a-Box event. As many books as you can fit in a box for less than $29.95.

Sign up and get coupon! Enjoy!

Motivating Your Child to Learn

Motivating Kids to Learn
Motivating Kids to Learn

Motivating kids to learn? Here’s what I learned a long time ago.  Kids don’t always do what you want them to do.  I’m hearing parents all over the world saying “that’s certainly true”. Yes, folks and you might experience it from birth to adulthood!

So, getting kids motivated to learn is sometimes a combination of timing, strategies and luck.  Check out some of the strategies below that might get them motivated to learn.   They may even think it’s their idea!

  1. Show a Love of Learning – Be enthusiastic about learning by showing interest in your child’s interests and learning new things. 
  2. Make a Game Out of It – Kids love games, so why not learn something in a game format. You can sing it, dance it out or just play a game.  Add a bit of whimsy will make you both smile. 
  3. Learn Something New Every Day – Try to teach your child at least one thing new every day. It doesn’t have to be big, just something. That’s at least 365 things!
  4. Give up control (sort of) – Power struggles can start at an early age so try giving your child choices of what they want and how they want to learn it.  Remember, you goal is to get them to learn, why not guide them some choice?  You’ve already limited their choices, so it becomes a win-win!  
  5. Encourage learning styles – Kids have different preferences and styles of how they like to learn. Knowing your child’s preferences can help engage them in learning. For young kids it’s good to give them experiences in all the different learning styles. There are 7 basic learning styles
    • Kinesthetic/Physical – Learning through movement
    • Verbal – Learning through language activities
    • Auditory – Learn best through listening
    • Solitary – Learn best alone
    • Social – Learn best in a group
    • Visual – Learn best through seeing things  
    • Mathematical/Logical – Problem solving using hands on items.

Learning becomes fun when kids are interested in learning. It doesn’t really matter if it’s dinosaurs, trucks or skyscrapers. If kids are reading, talking and asking questions they are building background knowledge and learning.  Getting them to want to learn is the trick. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

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?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Jokes for Kids Develops a Sense of Humor

Store for Used Books Poughkeepsie Library

Used Bookstore at Poughkeepsie Library: Boardman Road branch
Used Bookstore at Poughkeepsie Library: Boardman Road branch

Great opportunity to fill your bookshelves at home or in your classroom. The book store has a selection of over 20,000 high-quality used books, cds, dvds and audiobooks. Books are organized and sorted to make shopping a breeze.

Entrance to the Friends’ Book Store is on the south side of the building – just look for the blue awning.

Store hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm.

Telephone: 845-485-3445 x 3423

Cash, checks (with valid ID) and MasterCard, Visa, and Discover cards are accepted.

Follow them on Facebook too to check out special sales and events:

Poughkeespie Library Bookstsore

Threeringsconnections.org  Isn't education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: October 2019

Thinking is the hardest work any one can do –
Henry Ford

Ten months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 12 October posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 10 down and 2 more to go! Have a great month!

2018 Archives

October’s Most Popular Posts

As regular readers know, at the end of each month I share the three most popular posts from the last month. I thought people might find it interesting to see what everyone else was looking at. Enjoy!

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!

  • Concepts of Print (COP)in Daily Reading
  • Teacher Motivational Quotes
  • How to Help Highly Advanced Readers
Coming Next Month
  • Online Safety: Free Classroom Resources
  • Math Thinking Skills: Primary – November
  • Scientist of the Month- Benjamin Franklin

Concepts of Print (COP)in Daily Reading

The Concepts of Print (COP) assessment was created by Marie Clay (1993), The assessment includes items to assess a child’s knowledge of both print and written language skills. These two skills work together to help children learn to read and write.

Many students entering kindergarten understand that a book tells a story (the print has meaning). However, very few understand “how print works”. Concepts of Print (COP) skills involves kids knowing parts of a book (using the correct terms) and understanding the letter/writing concepts included. Since many parents and teachers read to children daily; why not add a few of the COP skills.

Concepts of Print (COP) in Daily Reading

Point to the Following Parts of the Book

  • Front and back of the book.
  • Binding.
  • Top and bottom of a picture.
  • Title Page.
  • Author’s Name (define that the author writes the book).
  • Illustrator’s name (define that the illustrator draws the pictures).

Show How to Read a Book

  • A sentence is read from left to right.
  • Pages are read from left to right.
  • Point to each word while you read.
  • Read pages from left to right.
  • A story has a beginning and end.

Words and Writing  in Books: Basics

  • A capital letter is at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Words and sentences have capital letters and lower case letters.
  • Point out 1 word in a sentence, Point out 2 words.
  • Point out that a word is made up of a group of letters.
  • A comma explains to the reader  that it tells the reader to pause or slowdown.
  • There are punctuation marks at the end of a sentences (period, question mark, exclamation mark) Explain that the marks tell the reader how to read.

Research: Clay, M. M. (1993). An observation survey of early literacy achievement. Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Hour of Code

An Hour of Code is a movement to introduce students to the basics of computer science.
A movement to introduce students to the basics of computer science.

I’ve heard about it. I’ve supported the teachers in my school to try it. Now… it’s time for me to sit down for an “Hour of Code”. OK friends, maybe longer than an hour!

The Hour of Code movement is a grassroots movement that has already introduced over 100 million students worldwide to the basics of computer science. The program was started to give every student an opportunity to try computer science for one hour. In an hour anybody can learn the basics of “code” by participating in computer science activities.  Computer science helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity.  All skills that are important to pursue a 21st century career path. Our elementary school first participated in an Hour of Code in 2015 during Computer Science Education Week (held in early December each year).

Today, Hour of Code activities are available year-round (tutorials and activities). The one-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages.  The tutorials are self-guided, and all materials are free of charge. Planning guides are easy to read and available for every age and experience-level, from kindergarten and up. Schools can enroll their class and enjoy the fun. The tutorials work on all devices and browsers and there are also unplugged activities for groups that can’t accommodate the tutorials!  Code.org is the ultimate resource if you are learning about an Hour of Code or you are already working on it with your kids.

Hour of Code: One Hour Later….

Well, it was longer than an hour but……I worked on an activity to code my characters to dance! See Dance Party. No experience necessary, easy to do and fun! Can’t wait to have my grandkids try it!

Thinking about giving it a try?  Computer Science Education Week 2019 will be held December 9-15. Be part of the largest learning event in history. Certainly, worth a look. However, it you can’t wait until December, try some of the links. Have fun!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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STEM/STEAM in Classrooms

 STEAM aims to spark an interest and life- long love of the arts and sciences in children starting at an early age
STEAM aims to spark an interest and life- long love of the arts and sciences in children starting at an early age

We all know the importance of marketing in selling things.  It’s all around us every day!  A great marketing campaign that has entered the school doors is the STEAM movement. Yes, it may be the catchy name but kids, parents and teachers now think STEAM is cool! Some of us have known all along about the cool factor of science but now the word is out. Now, we are all “living and loving” science. And, that’s OK!

What’s STEAM All About?

The rebranding of Science and Math is a result of the need to better prepare students for higher education. Students in the 21st century workforce need to have the skills and knowledge to be innovators.  The acronym was first introduced as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is now often referred to as STEAM with the inclusion of an A for Arts. STEAM lessons include the following:

  • Makes connections between standards, learning objectives and assessments.
  • Focuses on real world problems
  • An integrated approach to learning
  • Crosses all 5 disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts, math)
  • Teaches kids how to ask questions, experiment and be creative.  

STEAM projects aim to spark an interest and life- long love of the arts and sciences in children starting at an early age. Lessons are designed to teach skills to be good learners, therefore, the skills can be translated into almost any career. Teaching kids to think critically and solve problems will help them to thrive in the 21st century. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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