South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center

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

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

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

 

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

Kindergarten Behaviors to Start School

Kindergarten readiness starts at home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Readiness and Kindergarten Screening

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

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

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

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

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

Kindergarten Ready or Not?

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

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

Readiness: Letters and Words

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

Readiness and Speaking

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

Book Readiness

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

Math Readiness (Numbers and Shapes)

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

Same, Different and Patterns

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

Growing Up: Are They Ready?

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

Health & Safety Readiness

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

Take some time to enjoy the journey!

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

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

DayByDayNY: Kindergarten Readiness Calendar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Kindergarten: Great Resource

Kindergarten transition is important.
Kindergarten transition is important.

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

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

The toolkit includes multiple topics on transition such as: 

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Summer Jokes Are Fun!

Summer Jokes for FUN!

It is summer and time for some Summer Jokes!  After the last 15 months I think we all deserve some time to laugh and enjoy life.  It’s time for fun and relaxation. Check out the jokes below that are simple, silly and will give you some summertime FUN!

Happy Summer!

19 Summer Jokes

  1. Why do bananas use sunscreen?
  2. Which letter is the coolest?
  3. What do you call a snowman in July?
  4. What race is never run?
  5. What is the best day to go to the beach?
  6. What does the sun drink out of?
  7. What do you get when you combine an elephant with a fish?
  8. What do you pay to spend a day on the beach?
  9. Why are mountains the funniest place to vacation?
  10. What do frogs eat in the summer?
  11. Do fish go on vacation?
  12. What do you call seagulls that live near the bay?
  13. What happens if you throw a red sun hat in the water?
  14. Why does a seagull fly over the sea?
  15. What kind of water cannot freeze?
  16. What kind of tree fits in your hand?
  17. What animal is always at a baseball game?
  18. Why are fish never good tennis players?
  19. Where do sheep go on vacation?

Summer Joke Answers

  1. Because they peel.
  2. Iced t.
  3. A puddle.
  4. A swimming race.
  5. SUNday.
  6. Sunglasses.
  7. A: Swimming trunks!    
  8. Sand dollars. 
  9. They are hill-arious. 
  10. Hopsicles! 
  11. No, because they are always in school!
  12. Bagels. 
  13. It gets wet! 
  14. Because if it flew over the bay, it would be a baygull.
  15. Hot water.
  16. A palm tree!
  17. A bat
  18. Because they never get close to the net!
  19. To the baa-hamas!

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?

Father’s Day Jokes 2021

Father’s Day jokes will make everyone smile.

I am loving being the Grandma on Father’s Day because I can help the grandkids prepare something for their DADs for the special day.  For the little ones, we tackled a card. But for the older ones…. we went for Father’s Day jokes. Teaching vocabulary, explaining the puns, and helping them “deliver” the jokes was hysterical. But watching some of the kids crack up with laughter and the others rolling their eyes, just made my day. 

So, to my sons and son-in-law, I hope you enjoy the kids presents as much as I did helping them get ready.  

Happy Father’s Day Friends! 

10 Father’s Day Jokes

  1. What did the golfer dad want for Father’s Day?
  2. What do dads like to snack on for Father’s Day?
  3. When does Father’s Day come before St. Patrick’s Day?
  4. Why did the kids give their dad a blanket for Father’s Day?
  5. What is the last thing the balloon said to his dad on Father’s Day?
  6. What is the easiest kind of flower to find for dad on Father’s Day?
  7. What do dads like to eat for breakfast on Father’s Day?
  8. How do dads look on Father’s Day?
  9. What kind of music did the kids play for their dad on Father’s Day?
  10. What is the first thing a dad does on Father’s Day?

Answers

  1. A Tee Shirt
  2. POPcorn.
  3. In the dictionary!
  4. Because he was the coolest dad.
  5. POP!
  6. Daddylions.
  7. POP Tarts!
  8. With their eyes.
  9. Pop music.
  10. He wakes up!

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?

Summer Travel Car Games

Summer Travel Car Games

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

Summer Travel Games

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Stories and Jokes with Holes

Stories and Jokes with Holes

When you give stories and jokes with holes to your kids you have to teach them to look at them differently.  Teaching them that the nonsense or confusing language they are reading is part of “the trick” will help them to find solutions.

Guide them to look for a word or a phrase that may have more than one meaning.  Check that they understand what the question is asking. Encourage them to reread the story and the question aloud SLOWLY, thinking about each word.  Just knowing that these are “tricky” will help them get in a mindset to figure out the answer.  

Need a little help to get you thinking? Check out the hints listed below.  

Stories and Jokes with Holes Challenges

  1. What has a large mouth but cannot talk?
  2. What 3 syllable word contains all twenty-six letters
  3. What has cities without people, rivers with no water, and forests without trees?
  4. How long would it take someone to cut a log into ten pieces if each cut takes one minute?
  5. Emily bragged about her softball team.  “Three of our ladies hit home runs, and two of those were grand slams.  We won but not a single lady crossed the plate.” How is this possible?
  6. The car salesperson was selling lots of cars last week.  Each day she sold 5 more cars than she did the day before.  How many cars did she sell on the first day? How many cars did she sell at the end of the entire week?
  7. Two teenagers traveled to Tennessee to talk to the governor about voter’s rights.  How many T’s are in that?
  8. What question can you never answer “yes” to?

Answers

  1. A jar
  2. Alphabet
  3. A map
  4. 9 minutes- it only takes 9 cuts. 
  5. All of the players were married.
  6. On the 1st day, she sold 0, 2nd day -5, 3rd day – 10, 4th day 15, 5th day 20, 6th day 25, 7th day 30.  At the end of the first day, she did not sell any cars. Total cars sold in a week was 105.
  7. There are only two T’s in the word THAT.
  8. Are you asleep?

Stories and Jokes with Holes Hints

  1. HINT:  It is an item that can be found in a refrigerator or a cupboard.  
  2. It is a word that many kids learn about in preschool.
  3. HINT: It can help you find your way.
  4. HINT: Try using a chart to solve the problem and include how many pieces are cut each minute.
  5. HINT:  The two words “single lady” is key to the answer.
  6. HINT: Try using a chart to solve the problem and include how many cars are sold each day. 
  7. HINT: Focus only on the question and NOT on the story.
  8. It is something that everyone does every day (usually at nighttime)

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:

National Park Service: Virtual Resource

National Park Service has outstanding virtual resources.

The United States has 62 officially protected areas designated as national parks. Since they are spread across the country, most of us can’t get to visit a park easily.  Lucky for us, the National Park Service (NPS) has created an extensive list of digital opportunities and activities to do at home or at school. The resources are good for all ages and can be integrated into all content areas and subject areas. 

Virtual visitors can access live tours, kid’s activities, reading lists, digital suggestions and participate in live presentations. There are also online galleries of photos, videos, webcams, podcasts, and sound recordings. They also have made it easy to connect 24/7 to their websites and through social media.  You can share stories, photos, trip ideas. Park experiences, and more with park staff and other enthusiasts.  Many parks and programs have their own account to follow but you can also follow national NPS accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

National Park Service (NPS) Social Media

  • Facebook: Receive updates, news releases, photos, videos, events, and live streams from parks and NPS programs.
  • Instagram: Get your daily inspiration of photos, videos, and live stories from parks around the country.
  • Twitter: Receive park updates, news releases, photos, and videos from @NatlParkService.
  • YouTube: Explore videos about wildlife, history, events, trip planning, and more.

My Favorite Virtual National Parks

National Park Service (NPS) Activities

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?

Calendar Dates for June/July

June/July FUN Activities

Just because kids aren’t in school doesn’t mean you don’t celebrate special dates.  Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! 

June Daily Calendar Dates

  • June 3: World Bicycle Day
  • June 5: National Doughnut Day (first Friday)
  • June 8: World Ocean Day
  • June 10: Iced Tea Day
  • June 19: Juneteenth
  • June 20: Summer Solstice/Summer Begins (varies)
  • June 21: Father’s Day (third Sunday)

June Weekly/Monthly Calendar Dates

  • Teacher Thank You Week (first week)
  • National Gardening Week (first week)
  • National Flag Week (usually third week with Flag Day)
  • Dairy Month

July Daily Holidays and Observances

July 4: Independence Day

  • July 4: Independence Day
  • July 18: World Listening Day
  • July 19: National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday)
  • July 23: Gorgeous Grandma Day
  • July 26: National Parents Day (fourth Sunday)
  • July 30: International Day of Friendship

July Weekly/Monthly Holidays and Observances

  • Clean Beaches Week (July 1-7)
  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Make a Difference for Children Month
  • National Picnic Month

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?

Google Earth: Home Learning

Google Earth is great for home learning.

So, in looking for additional things to do with my granddaughters on virtual school days, I started exploring Google Earth. Google Earth is a learning tool to experience new places and adventures around the world without leaving your home. It is one of the easiest distance learning resources requiring little prep and the kids love it; almost as much as I do. Without travel this year, it has become our virtual “staycation”.

Kids Favorite Google Earth Activities:

  • Voyager Games and Activities – A collection of interactive guided tours, quizzes and layers that uses rich media, 360 videos, and street views that allow you to see the world. Kids can explore National Parks, track hurricanes, and explore space. They can even play travel games using Carmen Sandiego and discover new places, cultures, and customs. 
  • I’m Feeling Lucky button – As a kid, I would spin the globe and see where my finger landed.  I had read the name, but I never researched anything about where my finger landed.  Now, with a simple “click” you can stop the globe from spinning and learn about the place where the globe stopped. 

Be sure to check out the Resource Hub on the Google Earth Education website. It has amazing resources for teachers that are READY to GO.  Complete lesson plans are available on multiple topics and on many grade levels. The site, complete with tutorials, makes learning fun and easy.  There are also opportunities to join global projects with other classrooms and publish student writing.   This site is a win-win for everyone! 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:

  • Virtual Aquariums Are Fun
  • Historical Landmarks Virtual Tours

June Dates for Classroom FUN

June Dates for Classroom FUN

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

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

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

June Dates: Daily Celebrations

  • June 4                  National Donut Day
  • June 8                  World Ocean Day
  • June 14                Flag Day
  • June 18                International Picnic Day
  • June 18                National Flip Flop Day
  • June 19                Juneteenth
  • June 20                Start of Summer
  • June 20                Father’s Day
  • June 21                World Music Day
  • June 27                National Sunglasses Day

June Weekly Observances

  • Teacher Thank You Week (1st week)

June Monthly Observances

  • National Safety Month
  • Child Vision Awareness Month
  • National Safety Month

FREE Celebration 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 in the classroom and at home?

Other posts related to this topic:

Mother’s Day Jokes 2021

Mother’s Day jokes to make us laugh.

I am loving being the Grandma on Mother’s Day because I can help the grandkids prepare something for their MOMs for the special day.  For the little ones, we tackled a card. But for the older ones…. we went for Mother’s Day jokes. Teaching vocabulary, explaining the puns, and helping them “deliver” the jokes was hysterical. But watching some of the kids crack up with laughter and the others rolling their eyes, just made my day. 

So, to my daughter and daughters-in-law, I hope you enjoy the kids presents as much as I did helping them get ready.  

Happy Mother’s Day Friends!

10 Mother’s Day Jokes

  1. What color flowers do mama cats like to get on Mother’s Day?
  2. What was the mommy cat wearing to breakfast on Mother’s Day?
  3. What makes more noise than a child jumping on mommy’s bed on Mother’s Day morning?
  4. What did the mommy cat say when her kittens brought her warm milk on Mother’s Day?
  5. What kind of flowers are best for Mother’s Day?
  6. What did the mama tomato say to the baby tomato?
  7. What did the cheerleader bring her mom for breakfast on Mother’s Day? 
  8. When does Mother’s Day come before St. Patrick’s Day? 
  9. Why do mother kangaroos hate rainy days?
  10. Why did the banana mom go to visit a doctor?

Answers

  1. Purrrrrrrrple flowers.
  2. Her paw-jamas!
  3. Two children jumping on mommy’s bed!
  4. It is purrrrfect!
  5. Mums
  6. Catch up!
  7. Cheerios
  8. In the dictionary!
  9. Because then her kids have to play inside.
  10. Because she was not peeling well.

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?

Strategies for Teaching Problem Solving Skills

Teaching kids specific strategies will help kids be better at problem solving.

Teaching kids who struggle in math is not easy.  But there are some procedures and strategies that have been shown to be helpful when learning mathematical concepts.  The following 5 strategies should be included in each math lesson.

  1. Teach each step in the sequence.
  2. Ensure that steps are taught through demonstration.
  3. Allow sufficient time for guided practice.
  4. Provide independent practice with guidance.
  5. Create a visual display and post in the classroom or student notebooks to assist students.

4 Problem Solving Strategies

Check our 4 problem solving strategies that use mnemonics to help remember them: RIDE, FAST DRAW, TINS, and STAR. I like to consider the mnemonic math strategies to be the “training wheels” of problem solving. They get your students up and solving problems, helping to build confidence until they are ready to solve the problems without mnemonics.

RIDE (Mercer, Mercer, & Pullen, 2011) RIDE is a strategy used to assist students with solving word problems. Students who have trouble with abstract reasoning, attention, memory, and/or visual spatial skills may benefit from the strategy.

R – Remember the problem correctly.

I – Identify the relevant information.

D – Determine the operations and unit for expressing the answer.

E – Enter the correct numbers, calculate, and check the answer.

FAST DRAW (Mercer & Miller, 1992) Like RIDE, FAST DRAW is another strategy used to solve word problems.

F— Find what you are solving for.

A— Ask yourself, “What are the parts of the problem?”

S— Set up the numbers.

T— Tie down the sign.

D — Discover the sign.

R — Read the problem.

A — Answer or draw and check.

W— Write the answer

TINS Strategy (Owen, 2003) The TINS strategy allows students to use different steps to analyze and solve word problems: (1) Think, (2) Information Circle, (3) Number Sentence, (4) Solution Sentence.

T—Thought Think about what you need to do to solve this problem and circle the key words.

I— Information Circle and write the information needed to solve this problem; draw a picture; cross out unneeded information.

N— Number Sentence Write a number sentence to represent the problem.

S – Solution Sentence Write a solution sentence that explains your answer.

STAR – The STAR strategy prompts students to apply a 4 -step problem-solving method: (1) Search, (2) Translate, (3) Answer, and (4) Review.

Search for important information

  • Read it aloud.
  • Highlight key words.
  • Cross out information that is not important

Translate the word problem into a number sentence.

  • Arrange counters/objects to understand the problem.
  • Draw the problem.
  • Explain the problem in your own words.

Answer the problem.

  • Consider the math operations to use.
  • Think about the steps to follow and their proper order. 

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?

Recognizing Strengths in Kids

Recognizing Strengths in Kids

When the 8 grandkids (all under 10 years old), arrive for a visit, our house is filled with varied personalities. Empathetic, aloof, funny, competitive you name it, and we probably have it.  Each visit I am recognizing strengths that I had not seen before and I marvel at the changes right before my eyes. 

Kid’s strengths are different; some are obvious and others harder to notice.  It is easy to see athleticism, but it is harder to see a child that is good at compromising, unless they had to negotiate a deal! Some of those inner qualities go unnoticed unless we learn to recognize and talk about them.   This encourages skill development and open discussions about hard work and effort.  It helps to develop a child’s growth mindset to develop other strengths.

Check out the categories below that you see in kids and adults. Every time I teach or write about personal strengths, I recognize that my strengths have changed once again. The challenges of the pandemic I am sure have caused us all to find some undiscovered strengths. Can you identify some of your own strengths?

Social Strengths

  • Has a good sense of humor.
  • Accepts the differences in others.
  • Is a good listener.
  • Puts effort into making friends and keeping them.
  • Shares, takes turns, and can compromise.
  • Asks for help when needed.
  • Accepts personal responsibility for actions.
  • Tells the truth and can apologize when needed.

Literacy Strengths

  • Can retell and remember story details.
  • Can sound out unfamiliar words.
  • Understands the structure of sounds.
  • Makes connections between reading material and personal experiences.
  • Can rhyme.
  • Can make predictions in stories.
  • Reads with expression.
  • Recognizes sight words easily.  

Math and Logic Strengths

  • Solves puzzles or word problems.
  • Uses math concepts in the real world.
  • Remembers math facts.
  • Can do mental math in head.
  • Has strong number sense.
  • Sees and understand patterns in nature and in numbers.
  • Understands math terms used in word problems.

Study Skills Strengths

  • Understands and can set goals.
  • Stays focused on tasks.
  • Follows rules and routines well.
  • Learns from mistakes and solves problems.
  • Is a self-starter.
  • Flexible thinker.
  • Organizes thoughts and physical items like a backpack.

Language Strengths

  • Participates in discussions at home, at school, and with friends.
  • Uses words to express needs, wants, and ideas.
  • Use lots of words and likes learning new words.
  • Tells stories that have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • Can change tone of voice when telling a story or asking a question.
  • Can answer who, what, when, where, why and how questions in a conversation about a story.
  • Understands jokes, puns, and sarcasm.

Character Strengths

  • Is honest and trustworthy.
  • Is resilient.
  • Shows independence.
  • Cooperates
  • Works hard
  • Shows loyalty.
  • Helps others.
  • Is caring, kind and empathetic.

Other Strengths and Talents

  • Is creative/artistic.
  • Does community service projects.
  • Plays sports or games (video games included)
  • Takes care of animals and/or younger children.
  • Entertains people by telling jokes or stories.
  • Practice’s yoga, mindfulness, or meditation.
  • Dances, acts, sings, or plays a musical instrument.

Upcoming Post: Developing a Growth Mindset

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?

Historical Landmarks Virtual Tours

Historical landmarks virtual tours bring the world into your home.

I always loved field trips with my own family and with my students.  Field trips give kids an opportunity to explore different places and learn new things.  But with COVID-19 limits this past year online adventures have been the GO-TO for many kids and families. Historical Virtual Tours brings the world TO your students.  It is an opportunity for kids to explore different cities, customs, and cultures.  They are not as good as “the real thing” but hopefully, they will leave a lasting impression on kids and they will choose to revisit them in the future. Two great things about online adventures are that you can “visit” then any time of the day and they are FREE!  Enjoy!

Historical Landmarks in USA

  • Ellis Island Tour – New York City, New York -The Ellis Island Virtual tour includes lots of information to give a clear explanation of the historical significance of Ellis island in American history. The tour includes great pictures and views of the island.  The information is appropriate for grade 4 and up.
  • Mount Vernon – Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Liberty Bell –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • White House Virtual Tour Washington D.C.

Landmarks Outside USA

This post gave you Historical Places to “visit”. Check back for upcoming posts that will include aquariums, zoos, museums, and National Parks. If you still want to “visit” other places, check out https://www.360cities.net/This site is the world’s largest collection of stock 360 degree images and videos. Teacher can bring hundreds of thousands of incredible 360 panoramas to your students.  It is Google Classroom compatible and Teachers can sign up for a FREE account.

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:

Executive Functioning and School Readiness

Executive Functioning and School Readiness

In recent years, a child’s “Executive Functioning” skills have been discussed as a possible reason for a child not doing well in school. “Executive Function” refers to a group of cognitive process that enables a person to set goals, plan, control behavior, complete tasks and achieve goals.  In schools, students who struggle with a number of those skills are often thought to be “not ready” for school.  Yes, they are sometimes considered to be “young behaviors”, but they are not ALWAYS. All kids’ experiences are different and that makes them the unique individuals they are.

However, knowing some “Executive Function” skills below will help parents and teachers work on those skills at home and in school. It gives us all an understanding of our own thinking and a realization that we are all a work in progress. 

8 Executive Functioning Skills

  • Flexible thinking – the ability to quickly switch focus and adjust to a new task or situation.  Ex. Can your child (most of the time) transition easily to do something else?
  • Emotional Control – the ability to moderate emotions through rational thinking.  Ex. Can your child (most of the time) control their emotions?
  • Working memory – the ability to hold information in memory while completing a task.  Ex. Can your child remember something, or they forget because they are distracted?
  • Impulse control – the ability to stop or change behavior that is not appropriate.  Ex. Do they think before they act?
  • Planning and organizing – the ability to plan for and organize current and future task demands.  Ex: Does your child appear not be able to plan to do things? 
  • Organization – the ability to create and manage system for organizing materials and spaces.  Does your child appear to be “scattered” most of the time?
  • Self-monitoring – the inability to monitor one’s behavior. Ex. Does your child have difficulty following the established routine in class?
  • Task initiation – the ability to start and follow through on a plan.  Ex. Does your child have difficulty solving problems for themselves?

After reading the list, you may be thinking that you, or someone you know, struggle in some of those areas.  You are 100% correct. We all, at one time or another, have difficulty with one or more of these skills.  There are days that I know that I am just not having a good day.  Perhaps, what I am really having is a day that I am not Executive Functioning well!

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:

May Dates for Classroom FUN

May Dates for Classroom Fun

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

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

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

May Dates: Daily Celebrations

May 1         Kentucky Derby Day

May 1         Mother Goose Day

May 4         Brothers and Sisters Day

May 4         National Teachers Day

May 5         Cinco de Mayo

May 6         No Homework Day

May 9         Mother’s Day

May 12       National School Nurse Day  

May 14       National Dance Like a Chicken Day

May 15       National Chocolate Chip Day

May 24       First Morse Code Message Sent

May 31       Memorial Day

May Weekly Observances

  • National Bike Week – Third Week in May
  • National Children’s Book Week – May 3-9, 2021
  • Teacher Appreciation Week – May 3-7, 2021 (First Full Week in May)

May Monthly Observances

  • Home Schooling Awareness Month
  • American Bike Month

FREE Celebration Resources

Other posts related to this topic:

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?

Math Websites: Fun for Kids

Math Websites: Fun for Kids

I have found 4 great Math websites that contain varied resources that can be used to review, remediate, and enrich student learning. The resources are easy to incorporate into home packets, math centers, homework, and classroom assignments. Many of the kid-friendly websites listed below also include games that review and reinforce concepts in a fun environment. There is a variety of topics and games that will give kids hours of learning and of course, FUN!  

4 Great Math Websites to Explore

  • Fun Brain – Fun Brain math games can be searched by topic or grade level.  The games reinforce key math concepts and engage young learners. Many of the games are kid-friendly theme based.  Be sure to check out the videos which help visual learners.  For pre-K and kindergarten students the “Playground” section will provide hours of fun. I have been using Fun Brain for over 20 years. This site includes other subject areas also.
  • Hooda Math – Extensive resources that with a range of math activities from math fact practice to logic and reasoning. Site includes games that focus on higher order thinking and problem solving.  These challenges help to sharpen students’ math skills.
  • Math Game Time – Site is designed for students from pre-K through 7th grade.  The site offers educational games focused on critical math concepts.  Games are fast paced and quickly engage students.  A favorite of 3rd through 5th graders.
  • Cool Math Games – One of my favorite because it has some unique learning activities that are not seen in other websites.  The photo puzzles are great for developing spatial relations in young learners.  It also contains an extensive preview and review of precalculus and calculus in addition to both elementary and middle school games and reviews. A comprehensive website worth investigating. There is a fee if you choose to go ad-free.

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: