Five Finger Retell Rule

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

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

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

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

Five Finger Retell Rule

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:


Thanksgiving 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:

Math Learning Starts at Home

Parents can play a role in math learning.

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

Math Learning Before Children Enter School

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

Math Learning After Children Enter School

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

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?

Other posts related to this topic:

November Learning Activities

November learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

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

November 2020

3 Election Day (US) – Do a voting activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Riddles Are Fun for Young Kids

Riddles help kids practice reading comprehension

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

A very sour fruit,

And I start with L;

Add water and sugar,

And I taste just swell.

What am I? ____________

I can be very sharp,

And I start with P;

You can even erase,

What you wrote with me.

What am I? _____________

See me in the tree,

I do give a hoot;

I’m looking for mice,

My big eyes are cute.

What am I? ______________

My color means stop,

And I end in D;

And some fire engines,

Have been painted me.

What am I? _______________

I will be your friend,

And I start with D;

I will guard your house,

And I end with G.

What am I? ________________

The color of a juice

And I send with E;

A fruit that is quite sweet,

Is named for me.

What am I?  _______________

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Learning Games for Kids

Education games can be great review activities for kids.

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

5 Great Learning Games

PBS Kids Games

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

Funbrain

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

Academic Skill Builders

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

Mr. Nussbaum

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

ABCYa.com

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

National Geographic Kids

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

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


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

Other posts related to this topic:

October Learning Activities


October learning activities gives relevance to historical dates.

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

October 2020

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

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

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

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

20 National Fruit Day – Describe your favorite food.  

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

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

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: