Sight Word Practice at Home & School

Sight word practice can help kids learn sight words.

8 Ways to Practice Sight Words

Sight Word Search – Let the child select a handful of sight word cards at random and ask them to find them around the house or classroom. (magazines, newspapers, books etc.)

Hide- and-Seek Sight Words – Hide ten-word card and let your child find them and read them to you.

What is on my Back? –  Trace a word on your child’s back and see if they know what it is.  Take turns with different words.

What is my Color – Have your child write their new sight words using different types of writing tools.  They might also want to try writing the letters in different colors.

Cupboard Search – Let your child explore the cupboard or pantry boxes to find sight words.  Often the item descriptions, and not the item name, are filled with sight words. 

Sing a Song of Sight Words – Practice sight words my replacing them into familiar songs.  Familiar songs can include but not be limited to Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Twinkle, Twinkle.

Spill a Sight Word – Put some of the cut-up words into a cup and spill the cup and ask your child to read the words spilled.  Extension activity is to use the word in a sentence.  

Find the Letter – Place scrabble letters on top of the letters in the sight words.  Ask child to say the word, say the letters and restate the word. Ex: Best is spelled B-E-S-T the word is best.  Extension activity is to use the word in a sentence.

The more sight words children know, the better readers they become. 

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:

September Learning Activities

September 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 September learning activities.

Read a New Book Month

Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15-Oct. 15

Sept. 2        Birthday of K. Macmillion (inventor of the first bicycle with pedals)

STEAM Activity: Draw a picture of a bicycle

Sept. 4        Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan, New York (1609)

Art/Geography Activity: Draw a picture of the Hudson River or visit the Hudson River

Sept. 5        Voyager 1 launched a grand tour of the Solar System, 1977

Art/Science Activity: Draw and label a picture of the Solar System

Sept. 6        Read a Book Day

Literacy/Art Activity: Write a book report on your favorite book or draw a picture to describe your favorite part.

Sept. 8        International Literacy Day

Literacy/Art Activity: Write a book report on your favorite book or draw a picture to describe your favorite part.

Sept. 9        California became a state, 1850

Geography Activity: On US map: find California, name capital, state flower.

Sept. 10      Elias Howe patented his sewing machine, 1846.

Science Activity: Find 5 things in your house that were sewn or try to use a sewing machine.

Sept. 12      Mid-autumn Festival, China

Science/Art Activity: Make a leaf rubbing

Sept. 13      Grandparents Day

Art Activity: Make a card for your grandparent or a favorite person in your life.

Sept. 15      International Day of Peace

Art Activity:  Make a dove, a symbol of peace

Sept. 15      Make a Hat Day

Art Activity:  Make a hat that you like

Sept. 17      Constitution Day (US)

History Activity: Ask someone about the Constitution

Sept. 21      World Gratitude Day

Literacy/Art Activity: Write about or draw something you are thankful for

Sept. 25      Birthday of Shel Silverstein (1930)

Literacy Activity: Read a silly poem

Sept. 26    Johnny Appleseed born (1774)

Literacy Activity: Read about Johnny Appleseed

Sept. 28      National Family Day

Literacy/Art Activity: Write about your family or draw a picture of your family.

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?

Other posts related to this topic:

Sight Words: Good Start for New Readers

Kids that know sight words are better readers.

Did you know that there is a list of 200+ sight words that are seen LOTS OF TIMES in reading and writing? Kids that know these words can become better readers.   Including them in games and everyday activities can make learning fun for kids. 

These words are high-frequency words and kids that know these words are more fluent readers.  When kids know these words they use them more often in  reading and writing.  This also results in a child having more time to focus on other words in their reading.

6 Steps to Teaching Sight Words Guidelines

  1. Introduce the word, saying and spelling it.
  2. Read the word in a sentence.  Reading it from a book you are reading with the child is perfect
  3. Write the word on paper or chalkboard, say it, spell it again and underline it. 
  4. Talk about the word and invite kids to see the differences in the word (e.g. tall letters, round shapes, double letters, camel humps)
  5. Have children practice writing the word in journals, in the air, with letters etc.
  6. Add the word to your word collection.  This could be a card on the refrigerator, a jar, a twist tie or a hook, zip lock bag or taped to a wall.  The best location is one that be seen and practiced. For families on the go- make an extra set of cards or take photos of cards and use your phone’s photo gallery to practice.

While teaching, keep in mind that many of these words are irregular.  Irregular words do not follow the phonics rules that kids may be learning (e.g. with, where, were, when, the, them this). 

Sight Word Lists

Different lists are available in school, but a commonly used list is the Dolch list. The list of 200+ sight words was developed by Dr. Edward William Dolch in the 1930’s-40’s Yes, a long time ago but the list is still used in many classrooms today.  The list can be used in its entirety or by grade levels.  There is even a special list of nouns.

  • Dolch Sight Words (complete list)                                                                                          
  • Pre-K Dolch Sight Words (40 words)                                                                                 a, and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, I, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my, not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you                                                                   
  • Kindergarten Dolch Sight Words (52 words)

    all, am, are, at, ate, be, black, brown, but, came, did, do, eat, four, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, no, now, on, our, out, please, pretty, ran, ride, saw, say, she, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, under, want, was, well, went, what, white, who, will, with, yes

  • First Grade Sight Words (41 words)after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, going, had, has, her, him, his, how, just, know, let, live, may, of, old, once, open, over, put, round, some, stop, take, thank, them, then, think, walk, were, when

  • Second Grade Sight Words (46 words)

    always, around, because, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, don’t, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your

  • Third Grade Sight Words (41 words)

    about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full, got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never, only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, together, try, warm

  • Noun Dolch Sigh Words (95 words)

    apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, birthday, boat, box, boy, bread, brother, cake, car, cat, chair, chicken, children, Christmas, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, goodbye, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, kitty, leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, morning, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, picture, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, Santa Claus, school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, squirrel, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood

Reinforcing sight words and celebrating the many new words your child’s learning is key to reading success.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

9 Sight Words Games for Kids

Math Milestones in Grades K-2

Math milestones in grades K-2
Math milestones in Grades K-2

Kids start learning math the moment they start exploring the world.  Kids develop their math skills at different rates, but there are some math milestones in grades K-2 that most kids hit ROUGHLY in those grades. Each skill—from identifying shapes to counting to finding patterns—builds on what kids already know.

Kindergartners (Age 5 years)

  • Begin to understand basic time concepts, like morning or days of the week
  • Add by counting the fingers on one hand—1, 2, 3, 4, 5—and starting with 6 on the second hand
  • Identify the larger of two numbers and recognize numerals up to 20
  • Understand the meaning of words like unlikely or possible
  • Copy or draw symmetrical shapes
  • Start using very basic maps to find a “hidden treasure”
  • Follow multi-step directions that use words like first and next

First and Second Graders

  • Know the difference between two- and three-dimensional shapes and name the basic ones (cubes, cones, cylinders)
  • Count to 100 by ones, twos, fives, and tens
  • Do basic addition and subtraction up to 20
  • Read and create a simple bar graph
  • Predict what comes next in a pattern and create own patterns
  • Recognize and know the value of coins
  • Write and recognize the numerals 0 to 100, and the words for numbers from one to twenty

Don’t forget that THESE ARE BALLPARK AGES. Don’t worry if your child does not yet have all the skills listed for their age group.  Every child is different and progress at their own rate.  Your child is on a lifelong learning journey with many stops along the way.  Enjoy the journey and see where they have been and where they are going.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Math Milestones for Preschoolers

Math milestones are generally reached ABOUT the same age.
Math milestones are generally reached ABOUT the same age.

Kids start learning math the moment they start exploring the world.  Whether it is shapes, counting or finding patterns, little ones are constantly building on what they already know and hitting some major math milestones.  

Kids develop their math skills at different rates, but there are some math milestones most kids hit around ROUGHLY the same age.   Each skill—from identifying shapes to counting to finding patterns—builds on what kids already know.

Babies (0-12 months)

  • Start to understand relative size (baby is small, parents are big)
  • Begin to understand words that describe quantities (more, bigger, enough)
  • Begin to predict the sequence of events (like setting the table means dinner is coming soon)
  • Start to understand basic cause and effect (tickling makes you laugh)
  • Begin to classify things in simple ways (play with toys, eat food)

Toddlers (Ages 1-2 years)

  • Match basic shapes (triangle to triangle, circle to circle)
  • Explore measurement by filling and emptying containers
  • Begin reciting numbers, but may skip some of them
  • Understand that numbers mean “how many” (using fingers to show how many years old they are) 
  • Start seeing patterns in daily routines and in things like floor tiles
  • Understand words that compare or measure things (under, behind, faster)

Preschoolers (Ages 3-4 years)

  • Start predicting cause and effect (what will happen to the ground when it rains)
  • Uses spatial awareness to put puzzles together.
  • Recognized shapes in the real world
  • Start sorting things by shape, color, size, or purpose.
  • Compare and contrast using classifications like size, gender, height
  • Count to at least 20 and accurately point to and count items in a group.
  • Understand that numerals stand for number names (3 stands for three)

Don’t forget that THESE ARE BALLPARK AGES. Don’t worry if your child does not yet have all the skills listed for their age group.  Every child is different and progress at their own rate.  Your child is on a lifelong learning journey with many stops along the way.  Enjoy the journey and see where they have been and where they are going.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Jokes for Kids & Adults

Jokes Make Us Smile
Let’s all Laugh

If ever there was a time that we all need to smile, it certainly is now. When kids learn about jokes they often tell some really “corny” ones and sometimes you just have to laugh because THEY THINK they are REALLY FUNNY!    A smile or a laugh could do us all some good!

Top Jokes This Month

  • What do you call a snowman in July? ANSWER: A puddle.
  • What race is never run? ANSWER: A swimming race.
  • What is the best day to go to the beach? ANSWER: SUNday.
  • Why does a seagull fly over the sea? ANSWER: Because if it flew over the bay, it would be a baygull.
  • Where do sheep go on vacation? ANSWER: The Baaa-hamas. 
  • What part of the fish weighs the most? ANSWER: The scales. 
  • What happens if you throw a red sun hat in the water? ANSWER: It gets wet 
  • What does a mermaid use to call her friends? ANSWER: A shell phone
  • What’s gray, has four legs and a trunk? ANSWER: A mouse on vacation
  • How can you tell that the ocean is friendly? ANSWER: It waves!

Go on.  Admit it. 

At least one of these gave you a laugh, a giggle or at least an eye roll.  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Handedness: Left or Right? Can you Tell?

If you’re curious about which hand your young child prefers, be sure to watch closely and take notes. Identifying hand preference can be difficult. A parent will have to use good observation skills and patience.

Good observations and skills will help you determine your child's handedness.
Good observations and skills will help you determine your child’s handedness.

The discussion of left vs. right handedness has been a conversation in by household since my oldest child was a toddler.  With 2 right handed parents, my oldest son is a lefty.  This perplexed our family until we learned from my parents that until I entered school, I was a lefty.  In those days, it was quite common to “unlearn” left handedness in school to be considered “normal”. Today, educators are more aware that it’s genetics and the brain that leads to a child’s dominant hand. Changing a child’s dominant hand is no longer an accepted practice and left handedness is, indeed, normal.  

The left/right hand conversation continues in our house today but has moved to understanding the handedness of my grandchildren.  With a left-handed son and daughter in law it would be my guess that at least one of their 3 children would be left handed.  However, so far, we have 2 righty’s and 1 not yet determined.  My daughter and son in law, both right handed, have confused us by having 3 left handed children.  My youngest son and daughter in law, both right handed have 1 right handed daughter and 1 not yet determined. So, with all these unexplained handedness questions in our family, I’m on a search for answers.

What is Hand Dominance or Handedness?

Simply, hand dominance or handedness is the hand that is most used in performing tasks.  This hand is the most nimble and rapid in performance. When young children start to consistently favor one hand over the other, they are showing that they are a “righty” or “lefty”.

Interesting Facts About Lefties and Righties

  • Hand preference is usually hereditary.
  • Boys are more likely than girls to be left-handed.
  • No matter what your child’s preference is experts advise against pressuring your child to choose one hand over the other or rushing the process.
  • Roughly 90 percent of us are right-handed.
  • You won’t be able to completely identify if your child is right or left-handed until the beginning of elementary school.

11 Things to Observe When Discovering Handedness

The list below contains some generally considered reliable indicators of hand preference.

  • Observe which foot is used to regain balance when a child loses balance.  
  • See which ear your child uses for speaking and listening on a phone.  
  • Which eye does he use when he looks through a hole in a piece of paper or looks through a telescope or kaleidoscope?
  • Ask your child to cross their legs and watch which leg they place on top.
  • When reaching for an item placed directly in front of him, what hand does he reach with?
  • If your child stirs things counter-clockwise, he/she is most likely left handed.
  • Which hand does he hold a toothbrush, silverware, comb?
  • Opening a door, a left-handed person will generally open it towards the right and a right-handed person towards the left.
  • Watch how your child twists a lid off a jar.  A left handed will try to twist to the left A right handed will try to open it to the right.
  • What hand does your child tend to use when blowing his or her nose?
  • Watch closely what foot and hand your child uses when participating in sports activities.

5 Activities to Reinforce Left and Right

So how do we learn our left and right? Although the exact process is not totally understood, the concept can be taught and reinforced both in preschool and at home.   

  • Sing songs such as the Hokey Pokey to both teach and reinforce left/right.
  • Left, Right, Center (LRC) game – Start with 3 tokens and 3 dice that have a L, R, or C on each one.  After rolling the 3 dice, you pass one of your tokens to each of the directions rolled.  The C is for the middle.  Dots mean you keep your tokens.     
  • Be sure to stand next to the child (not opposite) when demonstrating left/right to avoid confusion.  
  • Use the terms left and right in everyday activities –Show me your left foot, raise your right hand etc.
  • Dressing – When helping your child to dress always begin with their dominant side “step in with your right foot, slide your right arm through the sleeve”.

Quick Trick: Have children place their hands palm down in front of them with the thumbs touching. The left hand looks like the letter L.  Explain that this will remind them which hand is the Left.

If you’re curious about which hand your young child prefers, be sure to watch closely and take notes. Identifying hand preference can be difficult.  A parent will have to use good observation skills and patience.  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Kids and Question Topics

Kids ask LOTS OF questions

COVID -19 has taught us many things.  As many parents have experienced full time over the last few months, kids ask a lot of questions.  Sometimes they are different but most of the time, it is the same question over and over.  Of course, we should be answering all their questions but, that’s not life. Question Topics might be the answer!

However, answering and asking questions is good for kids.  It helps them respond to answers and gets them thinking.  Asking questions helps them express their creativity but also shows their comprehension skills. The trick to questioning and answering, (and keeping your sanity) is to ask questions that can have both broad and multiple answers.  Focusing on a topic will help to keep the conversation focused and will allow your child to expand their thinking.  Extending their thoughts is beneficial to both of you.  Check out the following topics and see if you can “survive” the next round of questions.

Question Topics for Discussion

  • What things make you happy?  Extend conversation with why?
  • What do you like daydreaming about?  What was your favorite daydream and why?
  • What would you do if I told you we were going to the beach?  Extend with prompts like: how would you get there, what would you bring, what will we do when we get there, when and how will we get home.
  • How would you design a treehouse?  How would you start the plan, what would you include, what would it be made of, how would you get into it, where would it be, what would you do in it, who would you invite to visit you.
  • What are three different things you want to do this summer?
  • If your stuffed animal could talk, what would it say?  Which animal, how about a different animal?
  • When you woke up this morning, what did you want to do? 
  • What is your favorite meal?  If you were the chef in a restaurant what would you add to your menu?

Don’t be afraid to recycle question topics. It’s fun to see the changes to their stories.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

May Jokes for Kids & Adults

Jokes Make Us Smile
Jokes Make Us Smile

If ever there was a time that we all need to smile, it certainly is now. When kids learn about jokes they often tell some really “corny” ones and sometimes you just have to laugh because THEY THINK they are REALLY FUNNY!    A smile or a laugh could do us all some good!

Top Jokes of the Month

  • What kind of tree fits in your hand? ANSWER: A palm tree
  • What animal is always at a baseball game? ANSWER: A bat
  • How do we know that the ocean is friendly? ANSWER: It waves
  • Why do fish like to eat worms? ANSWER: Because they get hooked on them
  • What is a shark’s favorite sandwich? ANSWER: Peanut butter and jellyfish
  • Where do eggs go for summer vacation? ANSWER: New Yolk
  • Why didn’t the elephant buy a suitcase to stuff his clothes for vacation? ANSWER: Because he already has trunks!
  • Tell us one instance when you go at red and stop at green? ANSWER: When you are eating watermelon.
  • What do we call a dog enjoying his summer vacation on a beach? ANSWER: A hot dog
  • How does the sun drink water? ANSWER: Out of sunglasses
  • What kind of water cannot freeze? ANSWER: Hot water

Go on.  Admit it. 

At least one of these gave you a laugh, a giggle or at least an eye roll.  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Easy Mother’s Day Songs

Create songs Mother’s Day songs to celebrate mom

Here’s an easy activity to help kids celebrate their moms’s this Mother’s Day. Choose a song kids know, help them change the words to talk about their mom and help them practice, practice, and practice. Dad’s don’t be surprised if you hear similar songs on your big days. Be sure to act surprised!

4 Steps to Creative Songs

  • Pick a tune your child knows.
  • Put your words into the song to make it rhyme (or close)
  • Write it down so you can sing it again. 
  • Keep it simple so it is easier to remember and practice.

5 Mother’s Day Songs

(all adapted from familiar nursery rhymes and/or familiar children’s tunes)  

Title: MOMMY (Tune: BINGO)

There was a kid and he/she had a mom, and Mommy was her name-o. M-O-M-M-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, M-O-M-M-Y, And Mommy was her name-o.

Title: Five Little Mommies (Tune: Five Little Ducks)

Five little mommies I once knew,
Nice ones, pretty ones, happy ones, too,
And the one in the middle that belongs to me…
I love her and she loves me!
Down to the grocery store we would go,
Wiggle – wobble, wiggle – wobble, to and fro,
And the one in the middle that belongs to me,
I love her and she loves me! 

Title: Mother’s Day (Tune: This Old Man)
Mother’s Day,
Mother’s Day,
Is a very special day.
Here’s a great big hug
And lots of kisses too.
Each one says that I love you! 

Title: I Love You Mommy (Tune: You are my Sunshine)
I love you mommy
My funny mommy,
You make me happy
When I am sad.
I want to tell you
How much I love you!
When I’m with you
I am so glad! 

Title: Happy Mother’s Day (Tune: Happy Birthday)
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Happy Mother’s Day, dear Mommy,
Happy Mother’s Day to you!

To all the moms out there, and especially my daughter and daughters-in-law, THANK YOU for being great moms and taking such good care of your families. I love you all!

Teacher Appreciation Week and COVID-19

 Appreciating Teachers in a Pandemic
Appreciating Teachers in a Pandemic

Teacher Appreciation Week is always the first week in May. It is a week full of activities to thank teachers for their hard work. Obviously, COVID-19 has closed many schools closed this year and therefore, the event will not be held. It is ironic, in a year where teachers have been challenged to teach remotely, some appreciation would certainly be welcomed. Teachers have learned to use new technology, in warp speed, to present lessons and continue relationships with kids and their families. All, while managing their own issues and worries in their own family life.

Luncheons and daily treats were always enjoyed during Teacher Appreciation Week.  But it was the notes from kids and parents that were the most appreciated.  If you get a minute this week, write a quick note to a classroom teacher and thank them for helping teach your child. It will make their day!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: YES!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten
1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Reading 1000 Books to a child before Kindergarten? We’ve all heard about the importance of reading to young children. But, 1000 before kindergarten? It sounds like a lot, but if you read just one book a day that’s a little less than 3 years. Or, reading just 2 books a week, is another way to get to a 1000 by the time your child is 5. It certainly is possible if you start to keep track.

So, why is it important? Research shows that as many as one in five children have trouble learning to read and reading has been linked to academic success. With formal schooling not usually starting until ages 5-6, exposing your child to reading before kindergarten makes a lot of sense.

This gives the role of teacher for the first years of a child’s life to parents, caregivers, and preschool teachers. These are the people that spend countless hours with our kids, so recruit them into the counting process. Join the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge and give your child a good head start in learning.

So, maybe you don’t read 1000 books, but you get the idea. The more books you read to your child before kindergarten the better it is for your child.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Early Childhood Great Websites

Great resources for early childhood teachers
Great resources for early childhood teachers

When working with Early Childhood Student Teachers I often hear that they are spending lots of time looking online for resources.  There is SO MUCH OUT THERE, I certainly can see how that happens! My suggestion for them is to start with just 2 “Tried and True” sites and explore them thoroughly.  The two that I suggest are The National Association for the Education of Young Children and Family Education. They are extensive and are updated regularly.

I also suggest that they open a Word Doc and write a few notes about their favorite websites including notes and the dates that you researched it. This helps to organize past research and topic areas. Yes, you can BOOKMARK it too, but you’ll soon learn that many of the site names sound alike! 

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children Expand your knowledge and skills and find classroom activities quickly with these great resources from NAEYC.  Check out the quick list of resources for new and classic resource.
  • Family Education Great articles, activity ideas, internet tips for teachers (including special needs) can be found at this site. Good parenting articles also.

Once you tackle these two, start to explore some of the other resources from earlier posts.   Happy Researching!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

National Zoo Day: April 8th

April 8th is National Zoo Lovers Day
April 8th is National Zoo Lovers Day

April 8th is National Zoo Lovers Day and although COVID-19  has most of us staying home, there are many zoos and aquariums to discover online. I’ve posted about zoos and encouraged webcam watching.  Unfortunately, the animals aren’t always doing something when the kids stop by to view!  So, here’s a few more zoo links that might have animals doing something fun when you “drop by” to see them.

National Zoo Day Facts

  • The first public zoo in the United States was the Central Park Zoo in New York which opened in 1874.
  • The oldest zoo is the Vienna Zoo and was opened in 1765. 
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom has had almost 10 million visitors.

Zoo and Aquarium Live Cams

  • Atlanta Zoo– Along with the panda webcam, the zoo also has a large collection of “At Home” lessons.  Lessons are easy-to-use and include a wide variety of activities for kids of all ages. Check out the Panda Cam   https://zooatlanta.org/panda-cam/
  • Houston Webcams:  Check out the webcams that watch 7 different animals that call the Houston Zoo home. Kids will love seeing chimpanzees, giraffes, flamingos, rhinos, chimps, elephants, gorillas and ants.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium:  Explore the wonders of the ocean through the lens of ten live cams.
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland has a live cam of jellyfish and the Blacktip Reef and Pacific Coral Reef.  I like that they include photos of fish to look for while you are viewing the webcam.

Zoo Trivia

  • A group of deer is called a? Herd
  • How many legs does a spider have?  8
  • Which animal has the highest blood pressure? Giraffe
  • The largest mammal in the world? Blue whale
  • Name the only animal which cannot jump?  Elephant
  • How many heart chambers does a cockroach have?  12
  • Which bird is a universal symbol of peace?  Dove
  • The fingerprints of which animal most resemble a human’s? A koala
  • A mandrill is what kind of animal? A monkey
  • A snail can sleep for how many years?  Three
  • All six legs of an ant are attached to what part of the body?   thorax
  • A group of lions is called a?  Pride
  • Name the slowest animal in the world? Three-toed sloth
  • Dogs only have sweat glands in their? Paws
  • Which animal never sleeps?  Bullfrog
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Puppets: Easy to Make

Puppets are easy to make out of many different materials.
Puppets are easy to make out of many different materials.

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

Puppets Everywhere Using Everything

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Puppets Are Good for Kids

COVID-19 Virtual Museum Tours

Virtual Museum Tours for FREE
Virtual Museum Tours for FREE

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

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

5 Virtual Museum Tours in the United States

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

2 Virtual Museum Tours in Europe

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

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

Enjoy!  Happy Travels!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Reading Skills Checklist for Early Readers

Reading Skills Checklist for  Early Readers
Reading Skills Checklist for Early Readers

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

The BIG 10 of Reading Skills

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

COVID-19 Learning Activities Reading Newsletter

COVID-19 Learning  Activities for Reading
COVID-19 Learning Activities for Reading

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

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

Reading Resources

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?

Other posts related to this topic:

Puppets Are Good for Kids

Puppets are good for kids
Puppets are good for kids

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

Why Use Puppets with Your Child?

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

Puppet Activity Ideas

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Creative Thinking Fun for Kids

Creative Thinking Fun for Kids
Creative Thinking Fun for Kids

Creative thinking is the ability to invent and/or create something new.  It is based on looking at things in a new way that hasn’t previously been considered.  Teaching kids to use their creative thinking skills can be done easily using everyday happenings.

As a teacher of Talented and Gifted students, creative and divergent thinking activities were common. Divergent thinking involves looking at things and making new connections. When we encourage divergent thinking, we help to motivate student learning.

A favorite activity I used in the classroom was asking children to generate 100 ideas to melt a snowball. It involved little teacher preparation and fostered kids thinking skills. There ideas were VERY CREATIVE, and some were hilarious. The outcome of the activity was that kids were thinking and communicating their ideas.

Here’s a super easy example that can be replicated with small changes. Show the picture below of the yellow house.  Challenge the kids in your life to name 100 things that are almost the same color. Help kids think of things by thinking about categories such as cars, signs, plants, food, clothing etc.  Don’t be surprised if you start seeing yellow all around you.  Have fun!

The yellow house makes me think of…..
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic: