Increase Vocabulary by “Fancy Talk”

Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language.

Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language.
Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language.

Children need to talk in order to develop vocabulary and language. Parents can help their child’s language development by providing opportunities to increase both the quality and quantity of language. Children need opportunities to talk, use vocabulary words, and respond to adults’ questions.

9 Strategies to Increase Vocabulary Development

  1. Say it, Say it and Say it again– Once is not enough!  If you want your child to know the new word sleet, they have to see it out their window (or in books) and hear the term multiple times to remember that sleet is frozen rain.  Vocabulary increases with repeated opportunities to hear and use the word in meaningful contexts.
  2. Define new words with child-friendly definitions to expand vocabulary.
  3. Connections to experience – Children need varied, first-hand experiences with the world in order to broaden the scope of the words and language that they use. Fieldtrips and conversations help to broaden a child’s spoken or receptive vocabulary which also helps their reading ability.
  4. Reading with your child – When you read aloud to your child, you are not only helping to prepare her to learn to read, you are also exposing her to rich language she otherwise might not hear. Reading will help her become familiar with new words and a different language structure, as the form and feel of written language is quite different from spoken language.
  5. Pretend Play – Acting out stories and role-playing are open-ended opportunities to use and learn new language.
  6. Illustrate drawings – Ask your child what they have drawn and expand their language when you repeat what they have said or ask questions about their drawing.
  7. Plan language activities – PLAN times you can plan “fancy language”.  On a car ride or just getting dressed in the morning, describe things you see along the way.  In other words, talk to yourself out loud for your audience of one.  You’ll be surprised how quickly they will learn new words.  While talking aloud stop and ask your child some open- ended questions or repeat some of the words that you say.
  8. Fancy up your talk– Add “adult words” to your everyday conversations.  Replace car with automobile, or bike with bicycle.  Use them interchangeably and explain to your child that the “adult word” can also be used.
  9. Conversations – It’s important to have as many conversations as possible with your child during the day.   Adults need to think of conversations as learning opportunities and include open-ended questions rather than simple yes/no responses.  If you “think aloud” or talk with your child about what you are doing and why, you will be inviting her into some wonderful language-building chats.
    • Ask for clarification on words- What do you think “sleet” feels like? 
    • Suggest synonyms for some of their words- Can you think of another word for the word “cold”.
    • Ask what do you think would happen if  _____?
    • Adult responses should invite more conversation. I like that idea a lot.  I wonder if…..

The more words a child hears, the more words he will learn and use. Children who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply, express themselves better, and learn new things more quickly. Even a few minutes a day of “fancy talk” can help your child’s language.

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Math Enrichment Problems: March Grades 2-3

Practicing the problems each month will help students solve the problems easier.

Math Enrichment Problems

Welcome to the 3rd month of threeringsconnections.org  Monthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies: 

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. Bob has 5 dimes and 5 nickels.  April has 2 quarters and 3 pennies.  Bob has _____ more money than April?
  2. Tommy has 4 times as many nickels as dimes. If he has 40 cents in dimes, how much money does he have altogether?
  3. Start with 6 and add 8 four more times.  What number do you end up with?
  4. Golf balls come in boxes of 3 or 5 balls.  Brian has to buy exactly 61 golf balls.  What is the least amount of full packs he will need to buy?
  5. Brooklyn’s softball practice begins at 3:15pm and last for an hour and a half.  It takes her 35 minutes to change clothes and get home.  If dinner is at 6:30pm, Brooklyn has 1 hour and ____ minutes to practice the piano before dinner.
  6. A lobster’s age in year is approximately his weight multiplied by 4 plus 3 years.  What is the age of a 5 lb. lobster?

Answers

  • Answer: (22) 50 cents + 25 cents = 75 cents.  50 cents + 3 cents = 53 cents.  75 cents – 53 cents = 22 cents.
  • Answer: ($1.20) Tommy has 4 dimes and 16 nickels.  4(10) + 16(5) = $1.20
  • Answer: (38 ) 6 +8 =14, 14+8 = 22, 22+ 8 = 30, 30 + 8 = 38  OR 4 X 8 = 32 and add the original 6 = 38
  • Answer: (13 boxes) 61 divided by 5 (the larger sized box) = 12 packs and 1 ball from a box of 3.  This will give him 61 golf balls with 2 left over.
  • Answer: (1 hour and 10 minutes) Practice begins at 3:15 and ends at 4:45pm.  It takes 35 minutes more to change and get home which makes it 5:20pm. She can practice the piano before dinner from 5:20pm to 6:30pm.
  • Answer: ( 23)  5 X 4 = 20 +3 = 23 years old

Other posts related to this topic

Math Enrichment Problems: Jan. Grades 2-3 

Math Enrichment Problems: Dec. Grades 2-3   December 15, 2018

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?  December 13, 2018

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.  

Encouraging Independent Reading

The strong correlation between Independent Reading and academic success is a good reason to encourage your child to read independently.

The most critical skill for success in school or in life is the ability to read well. Children who are interested and motivated to read tend to do more independent reading. Take a few minutes to look at some quick and easy ways to encourage your child to read independently.

What is Independent Reading?

Independent reading is an easy and effective way to reinforce the joy of reading. Independent reading is the type of reading a child does on their own with minimal to no assistance from an adult. For young readers, independent “reading” is little more than looking at the pictures in a book

Why is Independent Reading important?

Research shows that there is a strong correlation between Independent Reading and academic success.  Independent Reading has been found to develop extensive vocabularies, builds stamina, develops problem-solving skills, strengthens comprehension and helps kids learn how reading works. Students have also shown to help students score higher on achievement tests and have greater content knowledge than those who do not. With all that research, why wouldn’t teachers and parents encourage Independent Reading?

Ways to Encourage Independent Reading at Home

Teachers are aware of the importance of Independent Reading, but some find it hard to find time in their daily classroom schedules. The balancing of high-stakes testing and increased grade level expectations have resulted in many teachers assigning students to read independently at home.  This request has made families play a critical role in supporting independent reading. This role may seem daunting for some parents, but don’t worry, you may be readier than you think.  

  • Find books that are “just right” – A “just right” book means students should be able to read their books with at least 95% accuracy without adult help. This ensures that the book is not too difficult to read independently, and the child will experience success.  If you are unsure of your child’s independent reading level check your child’s last report card or ask your child’s teacher.
  • Role modelsParents are more likely to raise kids who are frequent readers when they are readers. It’s important for students to see you prioritize reading for yourself. Read different things and explain to your child your reading choices.  Highlight that reading can be done anywhere for enjoyment or information. 
  • Encourage reading for enjoyment – Children will read more if they choose a book they enjoy.  Set up a collection of reading materials that includes some of their favorite topics, authors or characters. Make it easy to find different topics and types of texts, such as non-fiction books, fictions, magazines and newspapers, poetry, etc. A bonus of reading different topics is that kids will be better able to understand the variety of subjects in school.
  • Talk, Talk, TalkGive children an opportunity to share what they have read with you.  This encourages them to read more and helps reinforce what they have learned. Try partner reading in which you both read for 5 minutes independently (time can be longer depending on child age and interest) and then share what you read.   
  • Pack some books in their suitcase – Send some “just right” books with kids when they visit friends and relatives. Encourage your child to share their reading adventures. Kids will love sharing their reading ability and relatives will love to hear them read. A perfect match! 
  • Use spare moments wisely:  Carry something in your handbag or car for your child to read when you find yourselves with a few minutes to spare.  Waiting in doctors’ offices or car rides are great opportunities to read.  When your child is finished reading ask simple questions about the book such as:
    • What did you like or not like about the book?
    • Who was the main character?
    • What was the main idea?
    • How did the story begin or end?
    • What was your favorite part?
    • What part didn’t you like

Independent Reading lays the foundation for becoming enthusiastic lifelong readers. Adding a focus on Independent Reading in your home, for even a short period of time each day, can be effective to strengthen your child’s reading ability.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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St. Patrick’s Day Resources

Join in on the St. Patrick’s Day fun and include some activities in your classroom this year!

Join the fun and check out the great St. Patrick’s Day resources.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th ) can be a great learning opportunity for students to learn facts about the origin of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture.  The following 2 sites include everything you need to celebrate this popular holiday in your classroom this year. 

  • https://www.teachervision.com/st-patricks-day  The site includes lessons and activities to help you explore St. Patrick’s Day in your classroom.  Free printable worksheets, art projects, literature activities and history activities are included to help your students learn about the holiday and have lots of fun.
  • http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/51015.htm  Help your students learn about and explore Irish culture, history and traditions, including Irish folktales literature, recipes, Celtic art and mythology, the Great Potato Famine, and more. Resources for St. Patrick’s Day include videos, arts & crafts, worksheets, interactive maps, and tutorials.

  On St. Patrick’s Day “Everyone is Irish”.

  It’s time to get your “GREEN” on.

  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Read Across America Day March 1, 2019

A special day to celebrate and promote reading throughout the United States.


A special day that celebrates and promotes reading throughout the United States.

What is Read Across America Day?

In 1997, the National Education Association (NEA) started the initiative to create a special day to celebrate and promote reading. Since then schools, libraries, and community centers across the United States participate in the day by bringing people together to take part in reading books. The first celebration was held on March 2, 1998, which coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is an American author best know for writing children’s books. 

Each year this nationwide observance is held on the first school day closest to March 2.  In 2019 it will be held on Friday, March 1st. The event continues to grow in scope and size each year. Today, more than 50 national nonprofit and association sponsors and more than 3.3 million NEA members support the effort every year.

Resources for Read Across America Day

  • National Education Association’s Read Across America (RAA)Day website- Along with RAA activities, the site provides resources and activities for reading throughout the year.

Nursery Rhymes Are Good for Kids

Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and can provide hours of fun for kids. .

Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and can provide hours of fun for kids.
Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and can provide hours of fun for kids.  

“Little Baby Bum” and Me

When my Netflix account appears on screen, do you know what my shows up as my favorite show? “Little Baby Bum”!  Why?  My two youngest granddaughters, a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old, just love this show! Yes, it’s TV, but these nursery rhyme videos are both educational and entertaining.

My favorite show is a result of letting the girls watch the show as a distraction so I can get them to eat their “non-favorite” foods.  While we watch the show together, we sing, laugh and “fly the food” right into their mouths. Even vegetables get past them when “Baby Bum” is on!  Getting them to eat their veggies is the short-term goal but knowing that teaching children nursery rhymes can help them become better readers. This makes some TV time OK with me.  

Why do kids need nursery rhymes?

  • Speech articulation –  When singing nursery rhymes, we naturally speak more clearly and slowly. Slowing down our speech helps children learn words.  This slower pace allows children to see how we form our mouth when making words, thus helping their articulation.  
  • Perfect first stories – Nursery rhymes are short and therefore can be repeated multiple times. The rhyming also catches their attention and helps them complete phrases.    
  • Help early language development – Seeing and hearing nursery rhymes helps kids make connections with new vocabulary. The more stories and rhymes kids hear, the larger their vocabulary.  As a result, they are better have better comprehension.   
  • Opportunities to strengthen fine motor skills and coordination – When children act out nursery rhymes, they strengthen their large and small muscles.
  • Strengthen creativity – Nursery rhymes are not your “everyday happenings” in life. The stories involve characters and settings that spark a child’s imagination. 
  • Create a sense of community – All kids are different and therefore their experiences with stories and songs are different.  However, exposing kids to common rhymes builds a sense of community. How cool, is it when 8 grandchildren, living in 3 separate states, can all tell the story of “Three Little Kittens” or Itsy, Bitsy, Spider”?  
  • Promote a love of books – Building a love of reading nursery rhymes can help a child transition to reading books.

Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, easy to learn, and easy for a Gigi to remember. They can provide hours of fun for kids, parents and Gigi’s.  

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Math Enrichment Problems: Feb. Grades 2-3

Math Enrichment Problems

Welcome to the 3rd month of threeringsconnections.org  Monthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies: 

  1. Draw a picture
  2. Guess and Check
  3. Use a table or list
  4. Find a pattern
  5. Logical reasoning
  6. Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. If 1 chicken can lay 3 eggs in 4 days, how many eggs can 3 chickens lay in 8 days?
  2. A machine takes any number fed into it, adds 9 and then subtracts 1.  Abby fed the number 10 into the machine.  When the answer came out, she fed that number back into the machine.  What final number came out of the machine?
  3. At the pet shop there were 7 puppies in one cage and 5 kittens in another cage.  How many more feet (paws) were there in the puppy cage than in the kitten cage?
  4. Donna, Jerry and Noreen and ken collected empty soda cans to return for deposit.  They received 5 cents for each can and received a total of $2.  Donna collected 18 cans, Jerry 9 cans and Noreen 20 cans. How many cans did Ken collect?
  5. A passenger train has 297 passengers aboard. There are 45 passengers in each of the first 4 cars of the train.  Each of the remaining 3 cars has an equal number of passengers.  How many passengers are there in one of those cars?
  6. If     X   – 4 – 2 = 5, how much is  X + X?          +
  7. IF a + 11 = 35, how much is a – 11?

Answers:

  1. (18)        If 1 chicken can lay 3 eggs in 4 days, then 1 chicken can lay 6 eggs in 8 days.  Three chickens can     lay 18 eggs in 8 days.
  2. (26)        10 + 9 – 1 = 18, 18 +9 -1 = 26
  3. (8)          7 puppies have 28 paws total and 5 kittens have 20 paws total.  There are 8 more paws in the puppy cage than in the kitten cage.
  4. (53)        To get $2 for returning cans that are each 5 cents, 40 cans had to be returned.  Adding Donna’s cans (18) + Jerry’s cans (9) and Noreen’s cans (20) the total # cabs together are 47 leaving Ken to return 53 cans.
  5. (39)        45 passengers X 4 cars = 180 passengers.  Since the total passengers were 297-180 that leaves 117 passengers divided equally into 3 cars.  That means 39 passengers in each of the remaining 3 cars.
  6. (22)        To make the statement true:  11 must go in first box so that 11-4-2 = 5 and therefore, 11 + 11 = 22.
  7. (13)        a = 24 and therefore 24-11 =13.

Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems 

Other posts related to this topic

Math Enrichment Problems: Jan. Grades 2-3 

Math Enrichment Problems: Dec. Grades 2-3   December 15, 2018

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?  December 13, 2018

Enrichment in Class? Is Your Child Being Challenged?  December 4, 2018

Highly-abled students need attention too!  September 17, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

On this Valentine’s Day, a great big Thank You to all the teachers who LOVE to teach and teach kids to LOVE learning. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thank you to all the teachers who LOVE to teach and teach kids to LOVE learning.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Science Fair is COMING!

Learning about science is at the heart of a Science Fair project.

Learning about science is at the heart of a Science Fair project.
Learning about science is at the heart of a Science Fair project.

So, the secret is out, I love a Science Fair.  However, this is a trait that was not inherited since my adult kids are not big fans! I know I’m to blame, partially at least, for loving to do science experiments with them when they were young. At one point, they loved doing them too. But at times they just wanted to do something else and were just not interested in designing aluminum foil boats to see which boat could carry the most amount of pennies. What a surprise for me! In case you were wondering, your boat design should include sides and the pennies carefully placed and distributed evenly across the boat. A 4 X 4-inch boat can hold well over 100 pennies! I’m sure there are a few people out there that just might want to give that a try.

The Science Fair packet comes home

Last week, my granddaughter in Kindergarten came home with a Science Fair packet from school. Excitedly, she explained that high school students visited her classroom and made lava come out of a volcano made out of Play- Doh!  She was thrilled to learn that she could participate in the Science Fair by just doing an experiment. Great marketing high school students!  Miss M wanted to sign up IMMEDIATELY!

Reluctant at first to share with me the news about Miss M’s Science Fair, my daughter broke the news cautiously to me. So as not to appear too excited, I calmly walked to the basement door and when out of sight, excitedly ran down the stairs to find my collection of Science Fair books. After suggesting different experiments that could be done “quick and easily”, she informed me that she already had an idea.

Miss M’s experiment question will be “What type of liquid will make plants grow best”?  She has already checked the refrigerator to find different watering liquids and decided she would try milk, iced tea, lemonade, and apple juice. Yes, she is missing a “few things” but she’ll get it done. 

Miss M has already shown that she is curious and enthusiastic. Two characteristics needed to be a successful scientist. Science Fair, here she comes!

Coming Soon: The Science Fair Experiment Continues  

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Your Child’s Vision Should Be Checked

Your child’s vision should be checked.

Your child's vision should be checked
Your child’s vision is important for school success.

How is the child’s vision?  That was a common question to our school’s s Response to Intervention (RTI) Committee, when a struggling student was referred to the committee. Our school nurse, a key contributor to RTI, would give an update to the team on the most recent vision screening.  If necessary, she would re-screen the child to be sure to rule out vision issues as a reason for the child’s classroom difficulties. A student may indeed be struggling in class if they are having vision or hearing issues. Thank you, Miss Peggy and School Nurses, everywhere!

I have a personal connection with school vision screenings.  In the mid 60’s it was a school nurse that discovered that I could not see out of one eye and recommended to my parents to have my vision checked.  I was diagnosed with amblyopia, the most common cause of vision problems in children. Commonly known as “lazy eye”, one eye is weaker that the other because the brain area for one eye didn’t fully develop.  This causes the loss of the eye to see details. If detected early, it is reversible. Unfortunately, in my case, it resulted in permanent vision loss.  My disability has made me hyper-vigilant to be sure young children get eye exams at a young age.

When should your child’s vision be tested?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Your child’s pediatrician should checks your child’s eyes during routine exams and will make a referral if a problem is suspected. School screenings, although valuable. should not be a substitute for an eye exam completed by a doctor.  

How important are eye exams to learning?

Healthy vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn and to reach their academic potential. In order to be successful in school your child needs the following basic visual skills for learning:

  • distance vision
  • near vision
  • eye movement skills
  • focusing skills
  • peripheral awareness
  • eye/hand coordination

At your child’s next routine physical exam, be sure to check with your doctor if a vision problem is suspected.  They may even refer you to an eye doctor that specialized in pediatrics.  Good vision is key to a child’s physical development and success in school.  

Other resources to support your child’s vision

Vision for Kids

American Optometric Association

Calling 911 Needs to be Taught to Kids

Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Teaching your child how to call 9-1-1.

In case of emergency Call 911
Teaching children how to use 9-1-1 is crucial and could save lives.

911, I wondered. Recently I passed our local fire department and saw their notification board with the question “Does your child know how to call 911?” I wondered if my grandkids knew how to use 911 in an emergency? So, just to be sure I put together a post to help parents have the information easily accessible to them. Knowing what to teach your child about 911 is essential to ensure they use it properly and do not call 911 unnecessarily. Teaching children how to use 911 is crucial and could save lives.

When to Call 911

Teach kids that a 911 emergency is when someone needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger. Help your child understand that major things like fires, seriously injured people and intruders in your home are real emergencies and things like a missing toy or a flat bike tire are not.

They should call 911 if:

  • there’s a fire
  • someone is unconscious after an accident, drinking too much, or an overdose of pills or drugs
  • someone has trouble breathing, like during an asthma flare-up or seizure
  • someone is choking
  • they see a crime happening, like a break-in, mugging, etc.
  • there’s a serious car accident

How to Call 911

  • Call 9-1-1 if you think you have an emergency and explain the situation to the dispatcher.
  • Make sure your kids know that the emergency operator that answers the phone will ask them questions about the emergency and it’s OK to share information.
  • Stress that they should call 9-1-1 AFTER they are in a safe place.
  • Explain to your child that it is important to stay as calm as possible so they can give information to the 911 dispatcher and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. So the operator can understand all their important information.

Helpful Tips to Teach Your Child 911:

  • Never say “nine eleven.” There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say “nine-one-one.”
  • Calling 9-1-1- is very important. Never call it unless it is necessary. Calling 9-1-1 as a joke, might slow down the emergency help from getting to someone who really needs it. They should also know that people who call as a joke can also get into trouble. But if they call 9-1-1 by mistake, don’t hang up. When the dispatcher answers, tell him/her that they made a mistake and that there is no emergency.
  • Post your address near the phone or in a place everyone has access (i.e. memo board, refrigerator, etc.) and be sure the kids know where it is and how to read it. If you live in an apartment building, make sure your child knows the apartment number and floor you live on.
  • Once your child knows how to use 9-1-1, practice different scenarios to make them more familiar with the concept without frightening them.

Additional Resources:

Energy Balancing: GG vs. Grandkids Visit

Grandchildren are full of energy.
Grandkids are full of energy

Let’s face it, as grandparents most of us just don’t have the same energy levels we had when our kids were young.  So, when the grandkids are coming to visit, I plan an “Energy Defense” strategy. If you’re wondering what that is; it is the 3 Ps:  Plan, Plan, and Plan. You love to have them visit and want them to have a good time, but you also want to enjoy the time with them.  Out of necessity, I’ve figured out a plan that works for me.  I call it my 9-point Energy Defense Strategy.  Take a look, maybe some of the ideas can work for you.  Good Luck! :    

Planning an Energy Defense

  • Start your list – Make a list of things that you THINK they MAY want to do.
  • Get ideas from the kids – Before their visit, ask them if they have activities that they want to do so you can get ready. IF they come up with new ideas after they arrive, do them if you can.  If not, tell them you’ll add it to the list of things to do the next time they visit.  
  • Over planDon’t be surprised to find out that it wasn’t enough.  Kids are full of energy and fly through activities.
  • Gather materials – Prep the materials you need so they are “ready to go”.
  • Know your Energy levelPacing yourself will help you get through the day. The trick is to get the grandkids to Think they are choosing everything and not that their choices impact your pacing method.
  • Label by Energy Levels – Think of activities as if sorting into 3 Energy (E) buckets: active, quiet and solo activities.
    • Active – activities that you need to be involved in.  Either to teach, play or manage. 
    • Quiet – activities they can do with you but do not need active involvement.  Playing a game, reading together, talking, watching a show. 
    • Solo —activities are things they can do alone, and your hands-on assistance is not needed.  Ex. coloring, drawing, independent play.
  • Order of activities – In your planning, keep in mind a good balance of your E buckets. Try giving them 2 or 3 choices of possible activities which gives them ownership in the planning.    
  • Mealtime – It never fails that I don’t seem to have the right food in the house for whichever child visits. One child only eats white bread, one only brown, one only eats meat, one only pasta, one only juice that’s watered down and one only water.  I try to get it right, but I haven’t yet achieved 100% (not even close) mastery on this objective. It’s a “work in progress”.   
  • Set Morning and 3 o’clock snack times – Setting a “snack time” helps to hold off their hunger until the next meal and decreases the amount of “grazing all day”. Morning snack time can vary but 3 o’clock snack has been set in stone since my kids were small. As a multi-tasking mom, I set a time to have “uninterrupted mommy and kids time”. Now, just the name has changed to “GiGI and grandkids time”. It also serves as a built-in quiet activity to rest up for our next adventure. Oh, how life has changed!   


20 Activities Planned and Unplanned for a 7-hour visit with 3 of my grandkids (sorted by bucket level)  

  • Shared reading of Thomas Edison biography. Child reads a page and I read a page. (Q)
  • Math problems (A)
  • Basketball outside (A)
  • Matchbox cars (independent play) (S)
  • Play Jenga and teach 4-year-old how to play the game. (A)
  • Color (S)
  • Mazes in coloring books (Q)
  • Make a bear using paper plates. (Q)
  • Find videos online of Grizzly bears, brown bears and panthers to watch. (You Tube and zoos have great sites). Be sure to watch videos before child to avoid any unpleasant animal behavior. (Q)
  • Identify the birds at the bird feeder.  Try to identify the bird by researching on the computer. Talk about size of head, beak, coloring, eating. (A)
  • Watch baby polar bear video at the zoo and talk about mammals (Q)
  • I also am a big believer that watching a show, or a singalong show is not a bad thing while kids eat. I consider it to be “lunch or dinner theater”.  I give them 3 GiGi “chosen and approved” options and ask them to choose one.  Sometimes they must take turns being the “remote boss” to get any agreement on a show.  (Q)
  • Hide and seek (A)
  • Independent play with baby dolls. (S)
  • Play musical instruments and put on a show. (A)
  • Create a parachute for an action figure and drop from different heights.  (A)
  • Science Experiment: “How many pennies can fit in an aluminum foil boat before it sinks?” (A)
  • Science Experiment: “How can we get a paperclip to float?”  (A)


“Bucket Overflowing”: System Is Not Perfect

Be prepared that your buckets may overflow and that the kids may not like all your planned activities.  Kids change every day along with their likes and dislikes.  If your planned activities are not a big hit one day, recycle the idea for the next visit.  That also works if you had great success with an idea.  Why invent the wheel? Maybe they’ll ask to do it again their next visit.  

When they leave, it’s time to sit back and think about the great day you had together. Of course, with your feet up.  I love being a GiGi!


Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Blog Content January 2019

Education is the means of developing our greatest abilities.
Education is the means of developing our greatest abilities.

One month down in 2019- how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? Was one of your resolutions to fit in some professional development for yourself? If so, take a look at January’s archives and catch up on your resolution. All January’s posts are below, as well as, all 72 posts since I started this blog in September 2018. With this second Newsletter post I’ve achieved 2 months of MY resolution to post a monthly newsletter for Threeringsconnections.org.  2 down and 10 more to go! Have a great month!

January 2019 Archives

January’s Most Popular Posts:

3 most viewed by our blog readers. Were they on your favorite list?

My Favorite January Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month

  • Calling 911 Needs to be Taught to Kids
  • Kids: It’s time for a “shower of hearts”
  • Historical Dates and Learning: Feb. & March

Kid Songs and “Battle of the Sexes”

Mrs. Bear wears the winning medal.
Mrs. Bear wears the winning medal.

On a recent vacation, I participated in a “Battle of the Sexes” competition and went head to head against my husband.  Unfortunately, I lost the speed test of pulling tissues from a box. Ladies, it’s all in the wrists; which I learned too late. Please learn from my mistakes.

However, I did make it to the finals where the challenge was a race to sing songs without repeating a song already performed in the round. So, while the guys were thinking of current songs, I channeled my inner Kindegarten teacher and broke into kid songs! Isn’t it amazing how you can remember all the words to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, but you can’t remember where you put your keys? Who won?  Sorry guys, but you can’t go wrong with singing kids songs!

What kid songs should I sing?

This event reminded me that when my first grandchild was born, my son told me he didn’t know any songs to sing to the baby.  I reminded him of the nursey rhymes, Christmas songs, Irish songs and kid songs we sang together when he was little. Armed with a musical repertoire, he was ready in case a song or two was needed to soothe his son.

Here’s a quick A to Z list of kid songs

If you too need to have a few kids songs on hand, here’s a quick A to Z list of songs to jog your memory. You will see some “author creativity” in songs that start with G, Q, U, V, X, Y and Z since there were not many choices. (or maybe ones that I could remember!) Don’t afraid to be creative when you are stuck!  Include your child’s name or something they like to do and your kids will love it!  

  • ABC Song
  • BINGO
  • Clap Hands, Clap Hands
  • Do Re Mi
  • Eeensy Weensy Spider
  • Five Little…. (monkeys, ducks)
  • GG and Gpa (sing to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”)
      GG and Gpa are so much fun
      Playing and dancing
      Until the day is done
      Singing, laughing loving me
      We’re as happy as can be
  • Happy Birthday
  • If Your Happy and You Know It 
  • Jack and Jill
  • Koala Bear Turn Around
  • London Bridge is Falling Down
  • Mary Had A Little Lamb
  • Nick, Nack, Paddy, Whack (This Old Man)
  • Old McDonald Had A Farm
  • Pop Goes the Weasel
  • Q is for Quiet Please (sing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)
      Quiet Please, Quiet Please
      Kids are in the school
      Singing, learning, having fun
      And Learning the Golden Rule
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Skip to My Lou
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
    • U is for Unicorns (sing to the tune of” Old McDonald”)
        Unicorns are so much fun
        Oh yes, they are.
        And in the air they fly around
        Oh yes, they do!
        they have a long horn,
        they have 4 legs
      pretty colors
        and a shiny mane
        Unicorns are so much fun
        Oh yes, they are!
  • V is for Violin (sing to the tune “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
    Play, play, play a tune,
      on your violin.
      Meg is doing a really good job.
      Play it once again.
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • X is for X-ray (sing to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
      X-ray starts with letter X,
      Letter X, Letter X.
      X-ray starts with letter X,
    X, X, X, X!
  • Yo Yo’s Are Fun (sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Your Boat”)
      Yo Yo’s are lot of fun
      Won’t you play with me
      Wrap the string
      Drop it down
      Pull it up again.
  • Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da!

Kids songs are a fabulous learning tool

Be prepared because we all know that little kids love repetition.  When you have heard “Five Little Ducks” or “Let it Go” for the hundredth time; try to remember that repetition encourages the use of words and memorization and that’s a good thing! Happy Singing!

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Train Rides, Taxis and Mr. Uber: Oh MY!

All aboard for train rides to Grand Central Station and back home.
All aboard for Grand Central Station!

Commuters coordinate their travel to the minute, to maximize efficiency. If you are traveling to NYC from Dutchess County, you certainly don’t want to make the 2-hour train rides any longer!  However, if you are a 4 and 5-year-old going to your 1st NYC show, you wake up 3 hours before the train departs and are ready to go 30 minutes later.

The anticipation of a “bubble show” would be obvious but adding in their first train ride raised the enthusiasm to a fever pitch.   My daughter packed their backpack for the long haul that included bagels, donuts, juice pouches, yogurt covered raisins, candy, ring pops and 2 coffees for GG and GPa.  We were prepared, just in case there were no food/snack stores in NYC.

Train rides and princesses

As the train traveled south to the city, the girls marveled at things that probably go unnoticed by the daily commuter. First boat sightings were greeted with delight but soon became common place. Seeing a quarry, a train breezing past them, and a train on the western shore of the Hudson all generated a myriad of questions and conversations. The castle on Bannerman Island of course brought up the “obligatory” daily conversation about a princess. No, I don’t think one lives there but yes, I don’t know for sure!

Hopping in a taxi at Grand Central to get to the theater brought out questions of “why” we had to hop into the taxi and why couldn’t we just walk? Just get in the taxi and yes, if you want to hop you can! After the show, we called an Uber rather than hailing a taxi to be sure we did not miss the next train.  I was surprised that “hailing a taxi” did not lead to a discussion on the weather, nor did the idea of “catching a train”.

No Carseats on Train Rides?

Our trip included train rides, a taxi ride and an Uber ride.  Their excitement was boundless since each mode of transportation came without car seats.  When you are 4 and 5 years old, this is a big deal!  Their energy was “puppy-like” like a puppy without a leash. If they had tails, they would have been wagging! A formal apology goes out to my daughter since she will be dealing with the “why” car seats are the law but not on a train, taxi or Uber. I’m sure she will have curbed their “car seat free” enthusiasm by the time we see them next.  An advantage of being a GG.

Tall buildings. lots of people, and taxis was a new experience for the girls. For their city-living cousins (8, 4 and 2) NYC was home and managed it without a blink. The girls followed their experienced cousins up and down escalators maneuvering through the crowds with confidence with their “city cousins” always in sight.  Not to be followers the entire trip, they were the “big cousins” to their 2-year-old New Jersey cousin who loved holding their hands and being one of the girls. Looking at them I imagined them 20 years older going to NYC for a “girls’ day”. This is the stuff that makes a GG smile. 

Return Trip to Poughkeepsie

The train ride home was much different.  They lamented on the long ride and why Poughkeepsie was the very last stop and questioned our choice of hometowns! On each of the last 5 stops they wanted to get off with the other riders.  After explaining that our car was at the Poughkeepsie station, the youngest one suggested that we just call Uber again and he could bring us to our car. Another explanation of Uber as a service. and not our driver’s name ensued.  

Giggles set in around Tarrytown, possibly a result of boredom and/or the Mike and Ike candy!  They also discovered their dislike for Sweet Tarts and that they indeed were not sweet.  A discussion of renaming them Sour Tarts and writing the company was discussed and dismissed.  Instead they chose to just eat them and make “sour faces” which brought on a serious case of the “giggles”.

Still stalling for time as the train made its way to Poughkeepsie, we talked about other types of transportation that might be faster than the train to get us up and down to the city. How surprised was GPa to learn from the girls that our next trip to NYC we were going by helicopter or a submarine and that it was GiGi’s idea.  That’s not what I said!  An explanation of a “bucket list” ensued and now we have helicopters and submarines in our buckets. I also convinced them to add a plane or a boat ride to their bucket lists, since they certainly were more probable.    

When the train arrived at 3:50pm at the Poughkeepsie station we transferred them to their mom and dad and waved good bye.  As we headed home, we let out a collective sigh of exhaustion. We had lots of fun with all the grandkids but for this GG and GPa, it was time for a nap.   

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Historical Dates and Learning: Feb & March

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed  by their teachers historical knowledge!

February

American Heart, Black History, and National Dental Health Months

February 2           Groundhog Day

February 5           Chinese New Year- Year of the Boar

February 11         Thomas Edison born (1847)

February 12         Abraham Lincoln born 1809 (16th president)

February 14         Valentine’s Day

February 15         Susan B. Anthony born 1820

February 16         Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 18         President’s Day

February 22         George Washington’s Birthday

February 27         International Polar Bear Day

March

Music in Our Schools Month

March 2                Iditarod begins

Dr. Seuss Birthday

Read Across America

March 5                Mardi Gras begins

March 10              Daylight Savings Time begins

March 14               Scientist Albert Einstein born (1879)

March 17              St. Patrick’s Day

March 20               First Day of Spring

March 29                Coca Cola invented (1886)

Mary Poppins (1964) Returns to Meet the Grandkids

Mary Poppins was the first movie that I saw in a movie theater.  To a 5-year-old, Mary Poppins was the happy, singing, magical figure dancing on a giant theater screen. Along with movie popcorn, I vividly remember holding my dad’s hand walking home from the movie that afternoon.  What a memory!

Who is Mary Poppins and why is she returning?

So, when I saw that Mary Poppins Returns was being filmed, I wondered how I was going to adjust to a new Mary Poppins.  After all, could anyone be as “Practically Perfect” as Julie Andrews?  In my eyes, probably not, but for my 4 and 5-year-old granddaughters they were excited to go to another Saturday matinee.  For me, it could be a life changer.

As we talked about going to see the new movie, I shared with them my love for the original and how much their mommy loved the movie when she was little. I was thrilled when they asked to see the “old” Mary Poppins movie. Now, what die-hard Mary Poppins fan would not have their own copy of the movie on CD?  So, that afternoon, my husband and I sat down with the girls to introduce them to “Mary and Bert”. 

So much fun through a child’s eyes

The 2+ hours had many surprises for us all.  The fact that both my husband and I could sing some of the songs “practically” perfect was a surprise to us and shocked the girls.  Their eyes darted between the screen and us, watching and laughing that we sang along and even added some dialogue. My husband’s demonstration of jumping into an imaginary chalk sidewalk picture brought on a case of the giggles for us all! Little kids see such fun in little things!

Mary Poppins magical presence and adventures through the streets of London, horse races on carousel horses and tea parties on the ceiling added to the countless “how did she do that?” questions throughout the movie. It was interesting to see the girls question the unrealistic things in the movie but not question when fish talk underwater in their favorite cartoons. Perhaps they know cartoons are fake  but people who look real in movies, even though they are doing magical things, makes them question reality? Not sure, but I loved seeing their amazement.    

Did they really understand Mary Poppins?

Did they get the Mary Poppins message to reach for their dreams or to look past what they see on the outside to see the good in all of us? I would say no.  Did they enjoy 2+ hours of fun with their grandparents? Absolutely! That afternoon we did not experience the magic at 17 Cherry Hill Lane but there was magic in our house when our granddaughters met Mary Poppins.

Could Mary Poppins Returns be as good as the original movie?

Did we go to see Mary Poppins Returns? This past Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I took the 2 girls to see Mary Poppins Returns. It took a few minutes for the girls to realize that there were different people playing the roles and lots of whispering to explain the differences between the movies. But, we all loved the new movie (yes, even me!).  It was fun, made us smile and an experience I will never forget. 

However, the best outcome was hearing the girls singing in the back of the car, Let’s Go Fly A Kite from Mary Poppins (1964) on our ride home.  Sorry Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, you both were great, but sometimes the original movie is simply more than “Practically Perfect”!

Toddler DIY Activities Kit

Toddler DIY Activities Kit


Time to create a Toddler DIY Activities Kit because …. there is a baby on the way! 

When our new granddaughter arrives next month she will be our 8th grand child with the oldest grandchild being only 8 years old. Yes, we have a busy house when they all visit!  Upon her arrival, she will be welcomed by her very excited 2 year old sister.  Although my daughter- in -law has done a great job preparing Little Miss L for her new sister; I’m sure there will be times when an extra set of hands will be helpful.  So how can I lend a helping hand when I live 2 hours away? 


Toddler Activities for Less Than $10.00


So this month I decided to create a GG Fun Kit to provide fun, quiet activities that Miss L can play with independently. Hopefully, the activities will keep Miss L busy and give my daughter- in- law a few minutes to take care of the new baby or enjoy a well-deserved cup of tea. As in my previous learning kits, my goal is to make them reasonably priced, easy to duplicate,  and filled with fun activities  to keep kids engaged. Usually, my kits are created to be done with your child. However, the focus this month is to find materials and activities that Miss L can do alone.  So with $10 in hand, I’m off to the Dollar Store.    

Busy Toddler Activity Kit

Materials Activities
pompoms                  Sort pompoms in ice cube trays by color
Pick up pompoms with tongs and put in ice cube tray. Put pompoms into containers, baggies
Crayons and color-ing sheets Individual coloring sheets ((5) are folded in kit. Let
child color one coloring sheet at a time
Hour glass timer Watch how the sand can do back and forth. Can be used to remind children to complete a task.  
small pencil Write with small pencil on small post its
Pipe cleaners Twist to make jewelry
Twist to connect
A pack of picture cards (any) Sort pictures by color, picture, back or front of the cardLine up the cards in a straight line.Toss the cards in the lid of the container
Different types of paper: post its, different colors, sizes Encourage them to draw pictures for different peopleHang artworks throughout the house  
tongs Use to pick up small to medium items in kit
Ice cube trays Use tray to sort items by color, number and to make patterns
Baggies with zippers Store items.
Use as a container and take out items using tongs or tweezers
Clear plastic containers Use for storage
Put hole in lid and put small items from the kit through the hole using fingers.
Put items from kit through the hole using tongs.
clothespins Use to pick up pompoms, pencils, paper.     
Plastic cupcake holder with lid Used to store all items in the kit.  Ideally one with ahandle is best so it can be carried by children.

Enjoy some quiet time and a cup of tea! 

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November 6, 2018   Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00  


October 20, 2018 Fostering Creativity in Kids   

Double Rainbow New Year

Double Ranibow

In Eastern cultures, a double rainbow is considered a sign of good luck. To leprechaun believers, they know that the leprechauns left his pot of gold for those that believe. Lastly, In the Bible (Genesis 9) a rainbow is part of Noah’s story in which God promises never to create another destructive global flood. Overall, a double rainbow is pretty special!   T

For my science friends…because I know you want to know how this happens.  Here’s the scientific info on double rainbows in 10 easy (sort of) steps:

  1. In a single rainbow, sunlight spreads into a spectrum of colors from red to violet. But in a double rainbow, the colors are inverted, with red appearing on the inside and violet on the outside.
  2. All rainbows require the presence of the sun and rain in order to form. The sun must be to the viewer’s back and the rain must be falling ahead of the viewer.
  3. As sunshine breaks through the clouds and beams towards the raindrops, some of the light encounters the raindrops and bends – this process is called refraction.
  4. When the light refracts, the process causes the sunlight to separate into different wavelengths. These different wavelengths correspond to different colors: red and orange correspond to longer wavelengths, while blue and purple correspond to shorter wavelengths. 
  5. The refracted lightwaves then bounce – or reflect – off of the circular edge of the raindrop, and then they refract again as they exit the raindrop and travel through the air.
  6. Because raindrops are relatively round when the sunlight refracts through them, the visual result is a spherical arc that soars all across the sky.

Double Rainbow- How Did that Happen?

  1. The first and brighter rainbow is called the primary rainbow. This rainbow is created by the process described above,and only requires the light to reflect off the raindrop once before refracting out of the raindrop. 
  2. The second and more faint rainbow is called the secondary rainbow. It occurs when refracted light does not escape the raindrop afterbeing reflected the first time. Instead, the refracted light reflects off the raindrop’s surface a second time as well, producing a secondary rainbow with its colors reversed compared to the primary rainbow
  3. Fewer light rays are available to undergo the additional refraction process, so the resulting secondary rainbow appears less vivid.


To all my blog friends:
I wish for you a Double Rainbow 2019 filled with luck, fortune and                              sunny days!                             

                                                                                   Donna G.