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! 

Other posts related to this topic:


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.



9 Sight Words Games for Kids

Look at Sight WordsWhat Are Sight Words?

The importance of learning sight words is that it will help your child’s reading accuracy and fluency. Sight words are the most common words found in reading.  They appear on almost every page in a book; especially in early reader books.

It is important for beginning readers to practice reading sight words.  They usually don’t follow any phonics rules which means that kids will not be able to “sound them out”.Having this instant or automatic recall of sight words helps early or beginning readers develop into smooth and efficient readers.

The fun part of teaching sight words is that kids can learn the words by playing a variety of games. The more exposures to the words the quicker they will learn them and be able to identify them in books.  All you need is a list of sight words, some dedicated parent/child time to review and some activities to make the learning fun.

9 Sight Word Games for Kids

Fly Swatter Game – Using a blank BINGO card, add some of the sight words.  Give your child a fly swatter (or something similar) and when you read a sight word, have them “swat” the word.  Parent advisory, kids are going to really hit the word, so stand back and try not to laugh! When I taught Kindergarten and first grade, I played a variation of this game where 2 children raced to “swat” the word on the whiteboard. Flying fly swatters!

Roll a Sight Word – Child rolls a die and then finds a word from the master list of sight words with the same number of letters that came up on the die.  Child can write the word on a piece of paper or just say the word. Add some fun to the activity by allowing the child to say the word with some voice changes (yell, whisper) or allow them to do an action (stand up, turn around) while they tell you the word  Be creative and have fun.

Sight Word Writing – Draw the sight word in play dough, sand or salt with a pencil, spoon or a finger. Young children love to “sweep” the word away with a small paintbrush.   Another variation is to write the words on a blackboard with a paintbrush using water.  After writing the words they can be brushed away or will evaporate (a Science lesson too!)

Sight Word Magnet Race – Cut out the sight words and add a paperclip.  Spread the sight words on different surfaces and use a magnet under the surface to move the sight words.  Two people can race to move a sight word across the paper to a finish line.

Memory– Make 2 copies of the sight words, cut them out and choose 10-12 words.  Taking both copies off the word, turn them over and have your child keep turning over cards until a sight word match is made.  This can be done taking turns or the child can do the game by themselves.

Sight Word Jars – Make 1 copy of the sight words and cut them into slips ad put them in a jar or dish.  Choose a word and ask your child to find the word and say the name aloud.

Find the Sight Word -When reading with your child, have them find sight words in the book.  Once they notice the word, they can make a special movement (touch nose, hand up)  Finding sight words in books helps kids see the connection between reading and oral language. I

Sight Word Basketball – Ask your child to read a certain number of sight words (# is your choice). When they read the words then allow then to shoot a basket.  No, you don’t have a real hoop.  Anything that is unusual will do.  Throwing a pair of socks into a laundry basket works great.

Simple Sight Word Bingo – Create sight word BINGO cards by adding sight words to the BINGO card template (DLTK’s Custom Bingo Cards). Print out sight word BINGO cards by using the word list below and the DLTK site and you have free, simple to make cards that can be randomized for multiple cards.    B-I-N-G-O !

Dolch Sight Word List has them all! 

The Dolch Sight word list includes the most common 220 words and 95 nouns encountered in children’s books. The Dolch word list resource below is organized a few different ways: Alphabetically by grade, by frequency by grade, and in some cases by frequency combined. This provides you with several different ways to conduct Dolch word list practice in your classroom or at home. The Dolch Website has many activities to use in your classroom or at home.

Have fun!

Other posts related to this topic

Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

Pre primer (40) Primer (52) First (41)
 a all after
and am again
away are an
big at any
blue ate as
can be ask
come black by
down brown could
find but every
for came fly
funny did from
go do give
help eat going
here four had
I get has
In good him
is have her
it he how
jump into just
little like know
look must let
make new live
me no may
my now of
not on old
one our once
play out open
red please over
run pretty put
said Ran round
see ride some
the saw stop
three say take
to she thank
two so them
up soon then
we that think
where they walk
yellow there were
you this when
too
under
want
was
well
went
what
white
who
will
with
yes

 

A Thanksgiving Turkey for Christmas!


I planned to spend the day before Thanksgiving with my 5-year-old                granddaughter making a Thanksgiving Turkey craft. When she arrived that morning she immediately asked about the crafts and I realized I had forgotten to go to the craft store.  Well, this certainly was going to stretch our creativity.

After looking through boxes of decorations, she decided that a straw pumpkin and some Easter eggs would be perfect to make a turkey. Honestly, I had my doubts, but back we went to the kitchen to make a turkey!

Good News: Well, she did it.  Her basic idea was to make the pumpkin the turkey body and to somehow use the colorful eggs for the feathers. Adding some paper plates, glue and some color, our turkey “Lila” was created.   

Bad News: On the way home in the car, “Lila” the turkey got squashed and needed to be repaired.  She was devastated.

Good News: Miss M brought the broken “Lila” back to our house and we glued her back together again. Miss M asked me to bring “Lila” to Thanksgiving dinner, so she wouldn’t get squashed again in her car.  Great faith in GG!

Bad News: On the way out the door to Thanksgiving dinner, I left “Lila” on the kitchen table. Once again Miss M was devastated. Uggh! So much for trusting me.

So, after all that work, “Lila the Turkey” never made it to Thanksgiving.   

Good News: Wanting everyone to meet “Lila”, Miss M decided to add some Christmas decorations to her.  An additional plus to her plan was that since Christmas was at my house, we were pretty sure Lila would make it to the holiday table.   

Good News:  While others were singing about a “Partridge in a Pear Tree”; at our house we were singing about a “Turkey on our Christmas table”! 

Merry Christmas!  

Other posts related to this topic:
October 20, 2018       Fostering Creativity in Kids

DIY Recyclable Puzzles for Kids

recyclable puzzle

Recyclable Puzzles: DIY

Recyclable Puzzles are simple, homemade puzzles using recyclables.  They are easy to make, FREE and support recycling.  They have become my favorite arts and crafts activity with my grand kids.   

2 Simple Steps:

  1. Choose a front panel of a cardboard box.  I usually use cereal boxes or snack boxes because  the picture is familiar to the kids but any cardboard box will do. 
  2. Allow your young child to cut the front panel of the box into pieces and then have them put the panel back together.  Once the panel is cut up, store the pieces in a Ziplock bag.

Kids love to play puzzles and there are many benefits:

  1. Fine Motor Skills Development
  2. Shape Recognition and Geometry
  3. Eye hand coordination
  4. Reinforces knowledge of environmental print
  5. Practice Problem solving 
  6. Helps to build patience and attention span. 

Recyclable Puzzles: Tips for Success

  1. Remind kids to put completed puzzles away in Ziplock bag (zipped) when finished before another puzzle is attempted.  
  2. When possible keep a second front panel to use as a model.  When that is not available, be sure to take a photo before the box is cut up. In this way, kids can use the picture stored on our phone if they need help.
  3. Use familiar boxes or pictures.  It is much easier reassemble a puzzle when kids know what it “should” look like. 
  4. Number the back of each puzzle with a marker and circle the last number so you know you have the last piece.  How many times have you worked on a puzzle for a long time and found out at the end that you were missing a piece?   
  5. When allowing older kids to make puzzles for younger siblings or cousins, be sure to explain the importance of cutting up fewer, larger pieces.  Great opportunity to teach them about how we all learn.  It’s best to start with something simple when learning something new.   
  6. Ask kids to “autograph” their puzzle creation.  They will love turning the pieces over to put together their names!  

Recyclable puzzles are convenient to make and tons of fun.  Why not cut up some boxes today? 

Other posts related to this topic:
December 8, 2018    Puzzles the Perfect Present: But For Who?

November 15, 2018  Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Historical Dates and Learning

I admit it.  When I was both a teacher and a principal, there were some historical dates that came and went; and I totally missed them.  For kids in school, knowing those dates on the calendar provide opportunities to learn about history and helps to build their  general knowledge.  Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed  by their teachers historical knowledge!

Personally, I hope knowing some of these dates will help my trivia team score some points at our weekly competition!  Go Wizards! 

(December 2018 and January 2019)

Dec.2-Dec 10          Hanukkah

December 10          Emily Dickinson’s Birthday (1830)

December 10          Human Rights Day

December 15          Bill of Rights Day (1791)

December 16          Boston Tea Party Anniversary (1773)

December 17          Anniversary of the Wright Brothers Flight (1903)

December 21          First Day of Winter

December 25          Christmas

December 25          Clara Barton’s Birthday

Dec. 26-Jan. 1         Kwanzaa

Happy 2019!

January 1               New Year’s Day

January 1               Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary (1863)

January 1-3            Japanese New Year Festivities

January 7               Orthodox Christmas Day

January 20             World Religion Day

January 21             Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Observance (1929)

January 23              First Native American US Senator (1907)

January 28              Christa McAuliffe Day

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?

Does Your Child Need Math Enrichment Problems? 

When I was a classroom teacher, I found the first week of December a very busy time.  First quarter Parent Conferences were over, and parents were ready to support their child’s strengths and weaknesses. For those students with high math ability I recruited parents to encourage their child to try the Math Enrichment Fun Center (MEFC).  The center had 12 more advanced math problems.  I found some kids were hesitant to try the center due to fear of failure. Once students finished the 12 problems in the MFC, they were able to bring the problems home to share with their parents.

Math Fun Centers (MEFCs) for Everyone!

Five years later when I became the school’s teacher of the Talented and Gifted program, I made Math Enrichment Centers for all the grade 2 and 3 regular education classrooms. They were made with a large trifold board with 12 library pockets with a problem in each.  The MEFCs became quite popular and teachers loved having the center available.  Each month I replaced the problems with a new set.  Because good resources never get old, I reused the problems again as a K-2 principal when I offered Enrichment Math to second graders!

This month I’m starting a Monthly Math Enrichment post that will include Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  Please check out my post on December 15rh titled  Math Enrichment Dec. Grades 2-3 .

4 Reasons Why Math Enrichment Will Benefit Kids

  1. Improves Problem Solving – Enrichment problems can benefit students that excel in classroom math and want to deepen their mathematical understanding. It allows them to explore different strategies to strengthen their problems solving skills.
  2. Reduces Stress– Enrichment problems extend your child’s math skills without the added pressure of grades or comparing themselves with other classmates. Practicing math problems on a child’s own schedule eliminates time pressures and allows kids to enjoy math.
  3. Builds Confidence– Enrichment math problems helps to build confidence by improving a child’s math skills.
  4. Strengthens Critical Thinking – Math enrichment keeps kids thinking.  Math problems should engage a child in reasoning and thinking out of the box.

I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

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

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

 

Puzzles the Perfect Present: But For Who?

puzzles are great to help kids with problem solvingPuzzles, Puzzles Everywhere….

With the holidays around the corner, I’ve started to wrap the grandkid gifts .  As I unearth them from  secret hiding spots around the house, I see  that I have bought a large selection of puzzles.  As a yearlong Christmas shopper, I have discovered that my quest to find the “the perfect gift for a certain grandkid” has left me with a hodgepodge of gifts with too many for one child and nothing for another! Staring at the collection of gifts I wonder ” which grandchild did I buy this perfect present for”? Good thing puzzles are interchangeable “perfect” gifts!

Truth is, I’m a puzzle lover.  Sudoku, Wheel of Fortune or jigsaw, love them all.  As a result, I have discovered that I am also a serious puzzle buyer!  Looking at my grandkids kids gift collection I have all sizes and topics ranging in size from 2 to 1000 pieces. Yes, only 2 pieces in my homemade environmental puzzle for the 2 year old. Puzzles challenge my thinking and exercise my mind.

When assessing students in school, we focused on their social, emotional and academic growth. Now, when choosing toys for my grandkids I try to think of these same areas.  Ok, I admit it, sometimes it’s a real stretch to justify a Pokemon Mega Powers Collection Card Game. But that’s what GG’s are for! However, there’s no stretching with puzzles.  They’re an idea toy that benefits kids and can be lots of fun.

Let’s see the top 6 benefits for kids playing with puzzles.puzzles are great to help kids with problem solving

  1. Problem solving– Children must think and develop strategies on how to solve a puzzle. This This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions. Whether they choose to fill in a puzzle around the frame or from picture clues, it helps children think in a logical way.
  2. Attention Span and Patience -Most puzzles are not done quickly. An interesting puzzle can hold a child’s attention and keep them engaged for hours. Therefore, the challenge of solving or completing a puzzle will help develop patience.
  3. Social– My granddaughters love doing puzzles with us. Working on a puzzle as a team gives many opportunities for talking. Sharing ideas and joint problem solving will help a child work as a team.  Working on a team effectively is one of the qualities that today’s employers look for.  Never too young to build your resume skillset.
  4. Self-esteem– Who doesn’t love the feeling of satisfaction when you finish a puzzle? That feeling helps build a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Two very important life skills to develop.
  5. Fine Motor Skills Development– Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop and refine their fine motor skills. When engaged in playing with puzzles, children are required to pick up, pinch and grasp pieces turning them around until they fit into the puzzle. Fine motor skills are necessary for handwriting and other important achievements. This trial and error of matching pieces also involves a lot of hand and eye coordination.
  6. Shape Recognition and Geometry– In order to complete puzzles, kids need to recognize and sort pieces. For this reason, many first puzzles are shape recognition puzzles.

A Worthwhile Gift

Let’s be honest, grandkid visits change the dynamics of retirement.  My house becomes noisy, a little messier and a lot more fun.  Puzzles have become my” go to” as a grandkid gift for many reasons.  They are fun educational toys that are reasonably priced and challenge my grandkids minds.  They are also easy to store, can be done without adult help, and somewhat quiet!

Other posts related to this topic

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

Math Problem Solving and Young Children  – November 1, 2018

 

 

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2

early language
Great resource that is easy to use

Early Language?  She said what? Verbs, Prepositions and Adjectives… Oh MY.

As an adult in a child’s life we play a major role in helping them learn new words. When helping a young child develop early language, be sure to include different types of words.  Usually, babies and toddlers learn nouns (people, places and things).  However, once your child reaches about 50 common words they will start to say phrases.  You can help expand their vocabulary by adding verbs (actions) adjectives (descriptions) and prepositions (locations). A grammar review for you in one short sentence!  Adding new categories will help your child combine more words to make sentences.

A Google Search of the term “baby’s first 100 words” located almost 24 million hits so it certainly is a topic of interest. The table below includes lists of words by category that most children include in their first 100 words or so. The list is compiled from several sources. I have also added a column for you to add the additional words that your  child may use.

Tip: Make a copy of the table and highlight the words as you hear them over a time period. You may even want color code them relating them to frequency or clarity.

Good Resource that includes speech and language milestones. How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?

Other posts related to this topic

Reading to Babies?  Why?

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Early Language Development Common Words

Category Common Words Add your own
Social Function more, please, thank you, hi/hello, bye-bye, again, sorry, uh-oh, yes/uh-huh/okay, no/uh-uh, no thank you
Action (Verbs)

 

eat, drink, run, stop, go, kiss, open, shut, jump, walk, sleep/night-night, wash  close, push, pull, fix, play, want, hug, broke, love, hurt, tickle, give (“gimme”), all gone, all done, dance, help, cry, ride, rock, fall, see, watch, look, sit, stand (up), throw, catch, blow, cry, throw, swing, slide, climb, ride, rock, come (“C’mon”), color/draw
Location (Prepositions)

 

updown, in, out, off, on, here, there (Plus later ones such as around, under, behind, over at/after age 3)
Descriptive (Adjectives/Adverbs)

 

big, little, hot, cold, loud, quiet, yucky, icky, scary, funny, silly, dirty, clean, gentle, wet, soft, fast, slow, color words (red, blue, yellow, green, pink, orange, purple, black, white, brown) and quantity words (all, none, more, some, plus early number words – especially 1, 2, 3)
Early Pronouns

 

me, mine, my, I, you, it (Then toward age 3 the gender pronouns such as he, she, him, her)
Nouns

 

People names– Mama, Dada, Names of family members, GG, Gpa, book and TV character names.

Toys: bubbles, ball, car, boat, train, bat, choo-choo, train, book, bike, truck, baby, plane

Outdoors: sunny, rain, moon, star, dark, tree, flower,

Food: bowl, spoon, plate, chip, cracker, cereal, banana, juice, water, milk, candy, apple, cheese, ice cream, cereal (Cheerios)

Animals: cat, dog, bird, duck, cow, bunny, horse, bear, fish, horse, pig, snake, frog, chicken, lion, elephant, giraffe, monkey, butterfly, bee

Clothes: hat, shirt, sock, shoe, diaper, boat, pants,

Household items: phone, house, bed, light, blanket, bath, chair, brush, towel, soap,

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1

What parent hasn’t questioned their child’s early language development? We are always looking at other kids to benchmark our child’s growth.  It’s normal and we all do it!  As a principal of a K-2 school, a child’s limited vocabulary seemed to be one of a parents’ biggest worries when entering school.

Research says…..

Studies conducted on the importance of vocabulary development certainly helps to heighten our worries.  Research such as:

  • a child’s vocabulary growth is directly linked to his or her overall school achievement [1]
  • the size of a child’s vocabulary in kindergarten predicts his ability to learn to read [2]

WOW, that’s worrisome! However, I, like many other parents didn’t know about the research when my kids were young, and yet my adult children can talk. Don’t get me wrong, my friends and I all worried about their speech.  We got through it by supporting each other by sharing ideas and using common sense. And yes, there was more than one of us who soon thought their child talked too much!

Early Language Development: Top 3 Strategies 

From talking and singing to playing and reading, there are a variety of ways you can nourish early language development in infants and toddlers. Helping children remember the meanings of words and discover the meaning of new words is an important component in early literacy.

  • Talk, Talk, Talk. Yes, it is important to encourage children’s vocabulary development so that they develop the language and literacy skills necessary to succeed in school. However, through everyday conversations and interactions, children can learn unfamiliar words. Use lots of examples and use different more creative words as they get older. Be sure to repeat the words many times in different situations.  Usually, children will understand the word before they can say it or use it in conversation.
  • The key to support your child’s speech and language development is in building language during every day activities. Verbalize what you are doing and try to engage her in conversation about your activities.   A short walk outside will introduce your child to many new words along the route.  Look for new words through your child’s eyes. A good strategy to introduce words is by finding new words through your child’s eyes.  What does he see, hear, smell or touch along the path? Keep the tasting to lunch or a snack when you get home!
  • Engage your child in conversation rather than a “rapid fire” vocabulary activity. Talk about what you have done, doing and are going to do in the future. Follow their lead and don’t “push conversations” when kids are not interested. Slow down and let their talking begin!

Three more early language development activities

  • Sing and say nursery rhymes with toddlers. Be animated with your voice and actions when singing and saying nursery rhymes.  Children will love the actions and it will help them repeat and remember some new words. Prepare yourself  to read stories and nursery rhymes many times and perform multiple encores of songs.
  • Although you may not completely understand everything your toddler says, smile and nod to encourage her to continue talking. Try repeating what he/she says and add some more words for clarification or details.
  • Make games out of picture flash cards to reinforce words. Play hide and seek, find the cat card, turn over the apple, what animal barks. Be silly and have fun!

Reading books helps expand vocabulary 

  • After reading the book, incorporate more open-ended questions into your conversations. This moves your child from naming things/characters in the book to thinking and talking about the story. Ex. why do you think the color of the house is blue??
  • When reading books be descriptive about the language in the book. Discuss the color of the grass or the size of the giraffe.  Although you may read the book multiple times, your conversations can be different.
  • While you are reading, encourage your child to repeat a word for phrase from the book. Sprinkle in “what” questions and add more words.

Final Thoughts:

Expanding your toddler’s vocabulary is all about exposure and fun. Parents are their child’s first teacher and play a major role in helping their child develop language skills.  Start small by setting a simple goal to “language it up” at least one time each day. The bottom line is that by talking, reading, singing and playing with your child, you will see significant growth in their language development.  Sit back and enjoy the journey.

References

  1. Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2010). ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. The Hanen Centre: Toronto.
  2. Rowe, M. (2012). A Longitudinal Investigation of the Role of Quantity and Quality of Child-Directed Speech in Vocabulary Development. Child Development: 83(5), 1762-1774.

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Reading to Babies?  Why?

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Scholastic Warehouse Sales

Scholastic Warehouse Sales

http://registration.scholasticbookfairs.com/events/warehouse/

               Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Danbury Ct. is December 5-15 .

Go to website and check for the SALE near you!

 My local friends our closest location is Danbury, Ct.  Approximately 40 minutes from Fishkill area.

This holiday – for a limited time only – you can buy one, get one free on hundreds of books, gifts, schools supplies – and even Build-a-Box!* Refresh your school, home, and classroom libraries, and stock up on gifts for everyone.

Exclusively for librarians, teachers, district/school employees and volunteers, Book Fair chairpeople, and homeschool teachers.

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

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

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

2018 Holiday Warehouse Sale (see details) Dec. 5-15th

DANBURY, CT

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

This is a Build-a-Box event. As many books as you can fit in a box for less than $25.00.

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Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Simon Says: Receptive Language and Toddlersplaying Simon Says helps toddlers' receptive language development

It’s Thanksgiving and the Grandkids Are Coming!  Yeah, now how to keep them occupied?

This year for the first time, I’m going to try to recruit the older ones to lead the younger ones to play a language game. (this is what happens when you retire too early). What game is the easiest to tackle?  Eliminating the 6 month old, I’m going to get the older grands (ages 8, 5, almost 5 and 4)  to teach the two 2-year-olds how to play “Simon Says”.  An opportunity to strengthen everyone’s receptive language skills.

Why Simon Says and Receptive Language?

Since language development hits a critical period from 18 months to 3 years, it’s a perfect opportunity to give our 2’s some quality time to practice following directions under the guidance of their 4 older cousins.  A toddler’s ability to understand the meaning of words and follow directions grows at an amazing pace.  Coupling that with older cousins taking on the role of teachers, this could be an amazing opportunity. I’ll be posting an update, both positives and negatives after Thanksgiving!

Language development is linked closely with following directions. Success in following directions will be a way that we will be able to evaluate our 2-year-olds receptive language development or understanding skills. Generally, a 2 year old’s understanding vocabulary is much bigger than their expressive vocabulary (their talking language.  Each of these 2-year-olds understands hundreds of words thanks to their talkative parents and siblings.  It is generally easier to know if a child’s expressive language is progressing because they are talking! It’s more difficult to know if a child is showing appropriate receptive language (understanding) development.

Receptive Language and Following Directions

In general, toddlers should be able to follow directions of increasing length and complexity showing they are understanding more vocabulary words and concepts. Our game will start with one-step directions since they are the easiest and will help teach the 2’s how the game “Simon (Dec, Con, Meg or Em) Says” is played! (eg., touch your nose, pick up the ball, hold my hand). The directions will increase to 2-3 steps as long as the 2-year olds are engaged and still having fun.  Knowing my grandkids, the game will certainly continue after the 2’s lose interest with the 4 older ones challenging each other with more complex questions.  Who knows, maybe my adult kids will challenge one of their siblings or a spouse to a round of Simon Says! We are a competitive bunch!   I love when the kids come back home!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming Soon!  Blog Topics:

  • Receptive Language Milestones,
  • Expressive language Milestones,
  • Vocabulary Development in Toddlers

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Speech language

 

Encouraging Writing for Kindergartners

encourage writing at an early age
Encourage writing at an early age.

Our Kindergarten student has no school today.  What shall we do?  She’s reading above grade level; but have we written any stories lately?  Nope! Encouraging writing, here we go!  Today we will be authors!

Encouraging Writing: Where Do We Start? 

Young children love to write because it makes them feel like a grown up.  Encourage their writing at very early stages of development even before they understand letters, words or sentences.  Adults play a very important role in all stages of a child’s writing development.

Encouraging Writing: Before Writing Starts:  

  1. Encourage writing by modeling your own writing by “thinking aloud” when you are making a list of things to do or a shopping list. Show your child how you use writing throughout your day.
  2. Try to find a reason for your child to write at least once every day. Suggest ideas to write about such as: a note to a friend or family member, an addition to a list, labeling a drawing, copying a word, copying from a book, adding to a list of things to do, writing a word to evaluate a book, labeling or adding details to a story illustrations, dictate to them something they can write down.
  3. Encourage them to role-play familiar jobs that involve writing. (e.g. restaurant, store, doctor, library, pharmacy).
  4. Provide a variety of writing materials to use that include different types of paper and markers (paper, pencils, crayons, chalk, easel, post its, index cards, scraps of paper, markers). Along with traditional materials, allow them to be creative by writing on napkins, paper bags, sidewalk, driveway, old mail or cards; whatever and wherever they think would make writing fun! (with limits of course). Tip: Make it portable by storing in a zip lock bag.  Ready to go when they are!

Encouraging Writing During Writing: 

  1. Let children create picture books by stapling 4 or 5 pieces of paper together. Once they start drawing and writing words you can guide them to creating a 5 page story. Cover page, what happened first, then what happened, then what happened and what happened at the end.  Beginning authors can use “the End” on the last page to complete the story.  Writing is a process that takes time.  Be patient and rejoice for each page.
  2. Be available to answer questions that they may have or provide additional materials to support their writing.
  3. Let children invent their spelling. By eliminating the stress of spelling everything correctly while writing, children will learn how to express their thoughts in writing. Writing phonetically, (the way it sounds) will help build their confidence as writers and help them be better able to read their writing back to you. Don’t worry, they will begin to ask you how to spell using conventional spelling when they are ready.

Encouraging Writing After Writing: 

  1. Ask children to read to you their writing. After they finish reading, congratulate them and take the opportunity to repeat their accomplishments.  Suggest one or two ideas they may want to try next time.  Allow them the opportunity to make additions if THEY want to during the reading.  RESIST the temptation to make MANY suggestions.
  2. Celebrate their accomplishments by giving them opportunities to share their writing with others.
  3. This sharing time can easily become a teaching time by asking questions about their writing. Questioning will help them expand their thinking for future writing. Encourage their writing by asking questions such as:
  • “Emily, why did you decide to put Abby in the story with you?”
  • “Lowyn, I see that you put your animals in a park? What other animals might you see in the park?”
  • “Teagan, I like how you drew a blue dress on the little girl. A good color choice.  I like blue dresses too.  Do you have other colors that you like?”
  • “Meghan, how did you come up with the idea for your book?”
  • “Declan, why did you decide to add that detail to your picture?”
  • “Connall, I noticed you reading your story, while you were writing. Can you tell me why you were doing that?”

Finally, young children love to write. Keep reminding yourself that writing is a process that takes time. Sit back and ENJOY your new author’s journey!

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Reading, Writing and Preschool?  Oh MY!

 

Understanding is in the Questioning

Understanding is in the Questioning

Good questioning is asking the right questions that will help you know whether your child understands a new concept. The trick is to find ways that allow children to apply their new knowledge.  The bottom line is to ask the right questions.

Blooms Taxonomy

Good questioning should be in every teacher and parent toolbox. For deeper understanding questions children should be asked questions that shows they can apply their knowledge. Often  children can recall information but are not able to explain their answers. Using question stems based on Blooms’s taxonomy helps strengthen children’s thinking skills.

REMEMBER (Level 1) Knowledge recognizing and recalling

  • What do you remember about _____?
  • When did ___?
  • Where is ___?
  • Why did ___?
  • How would you define_____?
  • Who were ___?
  • Which one ___?

UNDERSTAND (Level 2) Showing comprehension by stating the new information in own words.

  • How can you describe ___?
  • What would happen if ___?
  • What is the main idea?
  • How would you express _____?
  • What can you infer from _____?
  • How would you compare/contrast ___?
  • What did you observe ___?

APPLY (Level 3) Showing how the new information can be applied to solve a problem

  • What other way could you choose to ___?
  • How would you demonstrate ____?
  • Why does _____ happen?
  • What actions would you take to solve ___?
  • How would you change ____?
  • What examples can you find that ___?
  • How would you modify ____?

ANALYZE (Level 4) Breaking down an idea into parts to show relationships among the parts.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of ___?
  • What explanation do you have for ___?
  • What can you infer_____?
  • What ideas support/validate ___?
  • How would you explain _____?
  • Why do you think ___?
  • What is the problem with ___?
EVALUATE (Level 5) Making informed judgments about ideas based on information learned.
  • Can you state the most important idea of  ___?
  • What criteria would you use to assess _____?
  • State your opinion of  ___?
  • Data? Did you use data to evaluate _____?
  • How could you verify _____?
  • Looking at information, how did you use it to prioritize _____?
  • Rank the importance of ___?
CREATE (Level 6) Information is synthesized or brought together to build relationships for new situations.
  • Create a song that explains ___?
  • Thoughts on how you would revise _____?
  • What would happen if ___?
  • Can you devise a way to ___?
  • What could you invent? ___?
  • How would you create a plan to ___?
  • What alternative would you suggest for ___?
  • How would you explain the reason ___?

Source: Vanderbilt University: Center for Teaching

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Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

environmental print
Road signs are great examples of environmental print

Three of my granddaughters live 30 minutes away and visit quite often.  Buckled in their car seats, the 4 and 5-year-olds, can do little more than observe the many signs and stores they pass along the route. On a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of places and signs they were able to “read” along the way. After boasting about their Environmental Print awareness and getting quite a few blank faces from my family and friends, I realized I found a future blog topic!

What is Environmental Print?

The term Environmental Print (EP) refers to the signs and logos kids see every day in their world. It is one of the earliest exposures to written language that sends the message that print has meaning. Kids can make connections with some of the images because they may have visited the stores or seen them on TV.  What child doesn’t’ recognize the “golden arches”?

4 Benefits of Environmental Print?

  1. Helps to make connections to the world around them.
  2. Gives kids a “reading experience” before reading print in books.
  3. Builds confidence in young children and gets them excited about reading
  4. Requires no preparation and is FREE! Can’t get much easier than that!

Examples of EP All Around Us: Signs: (Speed Limit, STOP, Slow, Railroad, WALK), labels:(food boxes, bags/ bottles, signs: familiar stores/restaurants, logos for favorite toys.

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5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

 

Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

how to increase reading fluency
Model fluency when reading aloud

Reading fluency is the ability to read with accuracy and expression when reading aloud.  Fluent readers read more quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on comprehension.  Since fluent readers gain more meaning from text, they seem to enjoy reading and therefore may read more often.

Students struggling with fluency sound hesitant when reading aloud. This could be due to struggling with the meaning of text or decoding words. Therefore, addressing fluency difficulties is important in learning to read proficiently.

12 Activities/Strategies to Promote Reading Fluency

  • Give students many opportunities to read different texts at their reading level. This builds confidence along with fluency.
  • Encourage silent reading where students can practice their reading without judgement. However, silent reading alone does not increase fluency with struggling readers. Adult supervision is necessary to assess progress.
  • Remind children of the characteristics of fluency so they understand what it means and how they can improve.
  • Allow children to use a whisper phone so they can hear themselves whisper read. The ability to self-correct is important in learning to read.
  • Model fluent reading when reading aloud to students so they can hear what it sounds like
  • Emphasize to students that fluency focuses on accuracy rather than speed.
  • Let students use a ruler or their finger to follow the words across the page while you read. This strategy helps students stay focused on reading, guides story rhythm and helps teachers identify hearing or vision (tracking) issues.
  • Encourage children to reread passages multiple times to build confidence.
  • Drill sight words to make children more familiar with common words in text.
  • Try different genres and book lengths to motivate students to learn.
  • Experiment with different font and text sizes. Students with visual difficulties may find larger text or text on different colored paper easier to read.
  • Preview new or challenging words prior to introducing a new text.

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5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

 

ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content Sept./Oct.

I was recently talking to a friend  about some of the posts on the blog and realized that it would be good to create a Table of Contents for quick access. Yeats quote So here it is!  All the postings for the September and October in a single post. One Stop Shopping!  Enjoy!

Topic Link
Grants Keats (Ezra Jack) Mini-Grant Opportunity

Trips for students from Target Due: Oct. 1st 

Grants for Trips in Hudson Valley

FREE Pet for Pre-K -Grade 9 Classrooms

Student Teaching Student Teacher Characteristics

Student Teacher Refs: Are VIP

Math Numeracy in Early ChildhoodMath Activities for Young Children for Under $10.00

100 Chart for Math

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

Math Problem Solving and Young Children

Literacy Why? Reading to Babies?

Picture Walks Promotes Reading

5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

Concepts of Print Support For Parents

Library Suggestions for Preschool Classrooms

Reading, Writing and Preschool?  Oh MY!

phonological-and-phonemic-awareness-6 (8)

Early Literacy and Common Core in Preschool: How Do they Fit Together in Our Classrooms?

Books Before Kindergarten: 1000?

Good Resources Early Learning Newsletter: U.S. Dept. of Ed.

Magazines: 2 Free for Educators

Best Reading Resources for Teachers

Video Resources Every Kid Needs A Champion

Change Happens… Now What?

Gifted Talented/ Enrichment Mysteries to support critical thinking

Minute-Mysteries: October   

2-Minute-Mysteries: November

Highly-abled students need attention too!

Teaching (General) Add Effective Questioning to Toolkit

Use Your Words Daniel Tiger

3 Words to Help Expression

Fostering Creativity in Kids

Behaviors (7) Predict School Success?

Special Education Resources Fostering Creativity in Kids

Speech Language Pathologists

Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00

What are Fine Motor Skills and why are they important?

fine motor activities kit for toddlers
DIY Fine Motor Activities Kit for Young Kids for Less than $10.00

Fine motor skills are those that involve using muscles which control the hand, fingers and thumb. With the development of these skills, a child is able to complete important tasks such as feeding oneself, buttoning, zippering and writing.  These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of activities.

So this month I decided to create a GG Fun Kit to to strengthen fine motor skills.  As many of you are aware, the kits are my attempt to create unique Christmas gifts for my grandkids.  My goal is for each kit to support learning, be reasonably priced and full of GG/grandkid FUN!  Last month, I created a Math Kit and this month I’m off to the Dollar Store with a $10.00 bill to find materials to support Fine Motor skills.

Fun Activities to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

Materials Activities
pompoms
  • Sort pompoms in ice cube trays by color
  • Pick up pompoms with tweezers and put in ice cube trays
  • Put pompoms into storage containers
beads
  • String beads using wire
  • Roll post its and put through beads
  • Build structure using beads and post its
wire
  • Use clothespins to hang post its, baggies, rubber bands on wire
  • Wrap wire around ice cube trays
small pencil Write with small pencil on small post its
Post its Use to make connectors between beads
Rubber bands Wrap rubber bands around fingers and practice picking up small items
tweezers Use to pick up small items in kit
tongs Use to pick up small to medium items in kit
Ice cube trays (2)
  • Use trays to sort items by color, number and to make patterns
  • Use the bottom of the tray as a geoboard stretching rubber bands over the shape
  • Stretch rubber bands over the trays
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 tweezer or tongs.
clothespins
  • Use to pick up beads, rubber bands, small pencil, post it.
  • Use to hang items on the wire
Plastic cupcake holder with lid
  • Used to store all items in the kit.
  • Ideally one with a handle is best so it can be carried by children.