Kids and Question Topics

Kids ask LOTS OF questions

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

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

Question Topics for Discussion

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Memorial Day Tribute: 2020

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our country. 
Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our country. 

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who lost their lives serving our countryRecently, I’ve been spending time in South Carolina. I’m always humbled and taken back when I see the outpouring of thanks for veterans at public events. Concerts, shows and baseball games often take a few minutes to honor the veterans in attendance. As members of each branch stand to be recognized, audiences applaud in appreciation.  It certainly is a “goosebump moment” that helps me remember their service.  These days, where the pandemic has shaken our world, I couldn’t imagine how our world would be IF  it weren’t for men and women who serve in the armed forces.   

Country music is known for storytelling, and as such have many songs that honor America.  Regardless of the artist, each song brings to light plenty of reasons to appreciate America and those who protect it. My choice for this Memorial Day is one of the most famous by Lee Greenwood (1984) Proud to be An American.  Thank you veterans!

God Bless the U.S.A

God Bless the U.S.A.,” Lee Greenwood, 1984

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea

From Detroit down to Houston
And New York to L.A.
Where’s pride in every American heart
And it’s time we stand and say

That I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free                                                                                                  And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Short Mysteries for Kids: May

Read carefully to find the mystery solutions.
Read carefully to find the mystery solutions.

Short minute mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story. Put on your thinking caps for this month’s fun.

May Mysteries

  1. There were two fathers and two sons on a boat fishing. They each caught a fish, but only three fish where caught. How can this be so?
  2. What would you be sure to find in the middle of Toronto?
  3. If today is Monday, what is the day after the day before the day before tomorrow?
  4. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
  5. In the basement there are 3 light switches in the “off position.” Each switch controls one of three light bulbs on the floor above. You may turn on any of the switches, but you may only go upstairs one time to see which light(s) were affected. How can you determine which switch controls each particular light bulb?

Mystery Clues:

  1. One of the characters plays more than one role.
  2. You don’t have to know anything about the city of Toronto.
  3. Write down the names of the days of the week in order and use it to figure out the answer.
  4. Water can be in different forms.
  5. You can tell whether the light was “on” without seeing it.

Answers:

  1. There was a Grandfather, his son, and his son’s son in the boat. Two fathers and two sons.
  2. There is the letter “o” right in the middle of the word TorOnto.
  3. Monday…today!
  4. Freeze one or both jugs, then cut the plastic away leaving only the ice. You could now put them into the barrel and still tell which water came from which jug.
  5. Turn any one switch to the “on” position for 5 minutes. Then turn that switch “off” and quickly turn on one of the other two switches to the “on” position. Then run upstairs and touch the two lights that are “off.” One of them will be “hot” because it was turned on for 5 minutes. Obviously the “hot” bulb is controlled by the first switch you turned “on.” The light that is currently “on” is controlled by the switch you last turned “on.” The “cold” bulb that is “off” is controlled by the only switch left.
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May Jokes for Kids & Adults

Jokes Make Us Smile
Jokes Make Us Smile

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

Top Jokes of the Month

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

Go on.  Admit it. 

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

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May Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults

May Trivia questions can help your memory.
May Trivia questions can help your memory.

Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  In March we looked at questions in the General Knowledge category. In April we looked at the category of movies. This month we take a look at the category of History. Check them out. Do you think they are easy or not-so-easy? Enjoy the fun!

Top 15 History Trivia Questions

  1. Where was the Titanic heading when it hit an iceberg and sank? New York
  2. Complete the title of the famous Martin Luther King Jr. speech “I have a ____”? Dream
  3. The Mayan civilization was located in which modern day country? Mexico
  4. Alexander Graham Bell invented which of the following devices? Telephone
  5. In what century was Queen Victoria ruler of the British Empire? 18th century
  6. In which country were the Modern Olympics held for the first time in 1896? Greece
  7. Leif Eriksson was the son of which famous Viking? Erik the Red
  8. Which US Apollo mission was the first to land on the moon? 11
  9. Not including annulled marriages, which English King was famous for having 3 wives? Henry VIII
  10. Which of these cities was divided by a “wall” from 1961 to 1989? Berlin
  11. Which of the following was the name of one of Christopher Columbus’ famous ships? Pinta
  12. Of the following famous politicians, who drafted the Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson
  13. Who invented the lightbulb, and over 1000 other inventions? Thomas Edison
  14. Who was the first man on the moon? Neil Armstrong
  15. Who was the first President of the United States? George Washington

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on U.S. GEOGRAPHY

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Math Enrichment Problems for Grades 2-3: May

To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.
To strengthen thinking skills challenge kids with math enrichment problems.

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

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

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

Math Enrichment Problems:

  1. It takes GPA 13 hours and to get to Myrtle Beach from his house.  The distance of the trip is 700 miles.  What was the average speed he traveled on the trip? 
  2. What is the value of 2 Ferris Wheels, if you add them together and get 128?
  3.  If 9 X D = 54, what is the value of D?
  4. If 12 + DG = 74, How much is DG + DG? 
  5. Abby woke up at 7:02am on Thursday and went to be at 8:11pm.  If she napped for 1 hour, how long was she awake on Thursday?
  6. Six tomatoes cost $7.06.  Eleven apples cost as much as 4 tomatoes.      What is the cost of 7 apples? 

Answers:

  1. 53.85 miles per hour (MPH) 700 miles divided by 13 hours = 53.85 miles per hour.
  2. 24.  Since the total of 2 Ferris Wheels = 228, they each are an equal amount of 124.
  3. D = 6
  4. 124. Since DG = 62 therefore, 62 + 62 = 124.
  5. 12 hours and 9 minutes.
  6. 7 apples = $3.01
    • $7.06 divided by 6  = $ 1.18 for each tomato
    • 4 X $1.18 (each tomato) is a total of $4.72
    • So, 11 apples = $4.72
    • So, 1 apple = 43 cents. ($4.72 divided by 11)
    • So, the total cost of 7 apples $3.01 (7 X 43 cents)
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Easy Mother’s Day Songs

Create songs Mother’s Day songs to celebrate mom

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

4 Steps to Creative Songs

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

5 Mother’s Day Songs

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

Title: MOMMY (Tune: BINGO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teacher Appreciation Week and COVID-19

 Appreciating Teachers in a Pandemic
Appreciating Teachers in a Pandemic

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

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

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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ThreeRingsConnections.org April Posts

 April Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org
April Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org

Each day we spend with kids is an opportunity to teach a piece of ourselves.

What a month! My 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Today, living through a pandemic, my 2019 goal certainly seems trivial. It was so important to me to get my posts out in a systematic, timely fashion – and I celebrated that my goal was met. In 2020, I deliberated on whether to continue blogging. I thought perhaps my efforts would be better placed spending more time with my college students or grant writing. After much thought, I decided to continue balancing the three efforts. Once again it was an internal struggle that today, a short 4 months later, seems trivial. Today’s health crisis certainly puts everything into perspective. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Parents have taken the helm to be their child’s teachers and kids are learning. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful. I’ve changed the frequency and topics to provide resources and ideas to support parents in their new teaching role.

So, as we move into the month of May I hope that your day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable. Parents are and will always be their child’s #1 Teacher. For the past few months, it’s been 24/7. I hope you enjoy this time with your children and continue to find learning opportunities all around you. Stay safe and be well.

April’s Posts

April’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite April Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Check out some topics coming next month
  • Mother’s Day
  • Reading Buddies
  • COVID-19 Activities

Creative Thinking Tools

Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.
Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.

When I was a teacher in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program I had to administer a creativity test to all 3rd grade students in the district as part of admission into program.  That test, along with achievement and cognitive tests, were equal components in the program admission.

I loved administering the creativity test and so did the kids!  The test asked students to draw a series of pictures using only partial shapes; adding details and identifying what they drew.  Every year, there were always a few students who asked if they could do the test again.  They just knew they could do it better!  This realization showed us that teaching kids to think creatively was not only important for learning but could also be fun. Working with classroom teachers, my partner and I created lessons and programs that allowed students to be creative.

We started by teaching kids the tools needed to be creative thinkers. Creative thinking builds on the concept that a single question can have multiple answers. It doesn’t focus on right or wrong answers but on the importance of giving students the opportunity to express their ideas. This idea was especially liberating for our student with special needs, quiet, anxious and ELL students.  Being allowed to give non-ordinary responses, especially in a group activity, allows ALL students to participate.

How to Teach Creative Thinking

Once the TAG admission tests were completed, we used a similar Creativity activity to show kids the “tricks” or “creative thinking tools” to be creative.  We taught them 5 creative thinking tools; the SAME 5 components of good writing: fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration and evaluation.  

  • Fluency – Being able to think of lots of responses to a single question or response.
  • Flexibility – Being able to shift thinking from one way of thinking to another. 
  • Originality – Trying to come up with answers that are clever and unique.
  • Elaboration – Adding details to a basic idea to make it more interesting and complete.
  • Evaluation –Teaching kids how to weigh alternative ideas.  This was especially important when kids were working on team projects.   

Once the kids understood the basic components of creative thinking the LEARNING really began. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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April Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults

April Trivia questions can help your memory.
April Trivia questions can help your memory.

April Trivia questions can be fun for kids and adults.  Last month we looked at some questions to try on your family and friends. This month we head to the category of movies. Check them out. Do you think they are easy or not-so-easy? Don’t forget trivia players that sometimes trivia answers can be about information in the other part of the question. Example: In question 1 the question asks “Which movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009”? However, another way of asking the question could be “In what year did the movie The Hurt Locker win the Academy Award for Best Picture? Would you know it was 2009? Enjoy the fun!

For my Wizard teammates, I’ve highlighted in yellow those questions that I remember being asked. However, I don’t remember if we answered them correctly.  Oh, my memory!

April Trivia “At the Movies”

  1. Which war movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009? The Hurt Locker
  2. What was the name of the second Indiana Jones movie, released in 1984?Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  3. Which actor starred in the 1961 movie The Hustler? Paul Newman
  4. In which year were the Academy Awards, or “Oscars”, first presented? 1929
  5. “After all, tomorrow is another day!” is the last line from which movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1939? Gone with the Wind
  6. Which movie features Bruce Willis as John McClain, a New York police officer, taking on a gang of criminals in a Los Angeles skyscraper on Christmas Eve? Die Hard
  7. What is the name of the hobbit played by Elijah Wood in the Lord of the Rings movies?  Frodo Baggins
  8. Which actress plays Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies? Jennifer Lawrence
  9. Judy Garland starred as Dorothy Gale in which classic movie? The Wizard of Oz
  10. What is the name of the kingdom where the 2013 animated movie Frozen is set? Arendelle
  11. Which 1997 science fiction movie starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones tells the story of a secret agency that polices alien refugees who are living on earth disguised as humans? Men in Black
  12. Which English actor won the 2014 Academy Award for best actor for his role in The Theory of Everything? Eddie Redmayne
  13. In which 1984 science fiction movie did Linda Hamilton play the role of Sarah Connor? The Terminator
  14. Which classic thriller movie stars Roy Schnieder as the police chief Martin Brody? Jaws
  15. Which 1952 musical comedy tells the story of three performers making the transition from silent movies to “talkies”? Singin’ in the Rain
  16. Which English director was responsible for the epic movie Gladiator in 2000? Ridley Scott
  17. In which movie did Julia Roberts play a kind-hearted prostitute called Vivian Ward? Pretty Woman
  18. Who played Jack Dawson in the 1997 epic Titanic? Leonardo DiCaprio
  19. Which Tom Hanks movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1994? Forrest Gump
  20. Who directed the epic historical drama Schindler’s List in 1993? Steven Spielberg
  21. Who was the first African American actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor? Sidney Poitier for his role in Lilies of the Field in 1963.

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on HISTORY TRIVIA

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COVID – 19 Tip: ABC’s of Active Reading

Active Reading starts with the ABCs of questions
Active Reading starts with the ABCs of questions

Many parents are helping their children with schoolwork during the COVID-19 pandemic.  What I’m hearing from them is that they don’t know what to ask their child after he/she has completing the home assignments.  A good strategy to use that if often used in schools is to steer the conversations around the ABC’s of active reading. This method will engage your child through Asking questions, Building vocabulary and Connecting with the world.  This strategy helps to keep both you and your child focused and on track.

Check out the common questions listed below to get your started.  All of them can be adjusted to meet your needs. 

Ask questions

  • What happened in the story?
  • Can you tell the events in order from the beginning to the end?
  • How does the main character feel in the beginning of the story?
  • What does the character do or say to make you think this way?
  • How does the author organize the book and why was it organized this way?

Build Vocabulary

  • Identify the words that were familiar?
  • What part of the text helped you to figure out what the word meant?
  • Besides the words the author uses, what are other words you can use to describe the character’s actions for feelings?
  • Why did you choose these words?

Connect with the world

  • Write about how this problem exists in the real world and how it is solved or is trying to be solved?
  • What is the big problem that is at the heart of this story?
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COVID-19 Social Studies Learning Newsletter

COVID-19 Social Studies
COVID-19 Social Studies

A COVID-19 Social Studies newsletter? Wasn’t even a thought 30 short day ago. However, here we are with schools closed and millions of kids home. Parents are stepping up to “homeschool” their children and are using home packets and online resources. For many this is unfamiliar territory and an added element to their already full plates.

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

COVID -19 Social Studies

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

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Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans

Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans is VIP
Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans is VIP

Demonstrating a Knowledge of Resources is always a discussion in End of Year (EOY) evaluations. This topic now comes up quite often with Student Teachers when I’m evaluating lesson plans. The key word in this area is Demonstrates.  Most teachers use many resources but when they’re asked to list them, they sometimes get stuck.  Usually, with some reminders they can name many and get scored Highly Effective.  Occasionally, however, I found that some teachers did not use a variety of resources.  Sometimes it was a lack of awareness but often they used resources that were familiar and successful. Don’t we all like to use things that make us comfortable? For novice teachers and student teachers it is essential that they are aware of a variety of resources and use them in lesson planning.

Teacher observations/evaluations are supposed to be objective.  But we all know that there is also a degree of subjectivity. So, to make it easier on teachers and administrators in the evaluation process, check out the list below and include some of them in your lesson plans.  A good way to track your progress is to add the list to your plan book and color code the different resources. This simple year-round organizational tool will also help to make your end of the year Accomplishment List just a little bit easier.

13 Strategies to Demonstrate Knowledge of Resources

  • Uses varied resources (same content/different reading levels, instructional aides) that match student’s various skills.
  • Makes direct contact with resources or liaisons to determine availability to students to extend and enrich lessons i.e. guest speaker, field trip
  • Uses multidisciplinary resources to enhance learning.
  • Appropriately incorporate the use of the Internet.
  • Uses resources from professional organizations to support learning.
  • Incorporates technology into lessons (media center, computer lab, Instructional Technology (IT) specialist).
  • Uses hands-on resources (technology, science materials, models etc.)
  • Uses multiple approaches to deepen content knowledge.
  • Explores district offerings that enhance content knowledge or pedagogical knowledge.
  • Works with colleagues (lesson study, PLC, books study, team meetings, etc.) to share ideas to deepen professional knowledge.
  • Explores content knowledge through colleges/ universities and professional organizations.
  • Incorporates community resources into lessons and shares resources with colleagues.
  • Suggests resources available to students outside of schools especially over vacations and breaks (libraries, museums, etc.)
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Early Childhood Great Websites

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

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

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

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

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

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National Zoo Day: April 8th

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

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

National Zoo Day Facts

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

Zoo and Aquarium Live Cams

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

Zoo Trivia

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

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COVID-19 Organizing Learning

COVID-19 Learning
COVID-19 Learning

COVID-19 learning is our new reality and it has created a new kind of teaching for everyone.  But for parents, who are now taking on this responsibility, the question of where do we start is major.

COVID-19 Learning Tools

  • Keep a log of learning – Learning can occur anywhere, so take a few minutes, to get your child to write down what they’ve worked on. 
  • 24/7 Fieldtrip– Think of the time at home as a 24/7 field trip.  Look at family life as learning opportunities. It doesn’t have to be “worksheet learning”.  Ask your child to alphabetize the pantry or a book collection.  Take those same books and have them make a domino track and get them to fall down. In schools, teachers plan for the entire class.  Look for activities for YOUR CHILD to learn. They don’t have to be teacher-assigned. Use your log to track the learning.
  • Take Breaks – Kids and teachers have down time when they go to other teachers.  So be sure to include them in your schedule.   
  • Set routinesKids may not admit it but they like routine.  They like to know what’s next and with the uncertainty around COVID-19, a routine will be comforting for your child.   Schools revolve around routine.  So do your best to create a routine that works best for YOUR family. Maybe it’s blocks of time, early/late morning or even days of the week that work best.  Make the schedule one that you can ALL live with and CHANGE IT if it’s not working.  
  • Talk, Talk, Talk – Kids learn best when asking and answering questions.  Take cues from them.  And it’s OK if you don’t know all the answers to their questions.  A perfect learning opportunity is researching the answer. This is a great opportunity to build independence, too.
  • Read, Read, Read – Support reading by reading everything possible. Books, cereal boxes and even closed captions to anyone that will listen (dolls, pets, Facetime audiences, siblings). Follow up activities can include writing about what they’ve read or writing letters or sending drawings of their reading adventures. All these activities are literacy based and can be a few words, few sentences or a few paragraphs based on your child’s age.  
  • Project-based learningEngaging kids in a project that they want to do will make teaching SO much easier.  Help them identify a project and watch them be creative.  Two of my granddaughters created a lending library of their books that kept them involved for over 3 hours!

We don’t know how long these uncertain times will last.  But it may be a marathon friends, so pacing is important. Remember to keep in mind that perfection is not required.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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COVID-19 Is Making Educating Kids Tough

Education reforms have often been described as “building the airplane while it’s in the air”.  Yep, I’ve used the phrase, but it can’t be any more accurate that what we are going through right now.  Today, COVID-19 has us building fleets of airplanes to support millions of kids.  

Some districts had created an infrastructure that had teachers ready to go and made remote teaching somewhat seamless for kids and parents.  For other districts, their planes were in various stages of development. However, regardless of the status, teachers, parents and kids have assumed responsibility, took ownership and we are all working collectively towards shared goals.  Yes, this certainly wasn’t planned but we are all going to get through it together.

COVID-19 is our new reality and it has created a new kind of teaching for everyone.  For teachers, they are assigning activities and hoping that kids and parents will work on them and kids will learn.  In education, on-going assessment of material is critical to adjust lessons to support learning. Although lessons may be completed, whether kids learned may not be known for a while.  All of us are working hard and hoping for the best.

Kudos to the millions of parents that have been dealt a major assignment.  They are acting as both teacher and parents and, in many cases, continue their employment from home. Juggling at the finest. 

Next Post: COVID-19 Organizing Learning

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections.org March Posts

 March Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org
March Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org

Last year my 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Resolution Success! This year I weighed whether to continue the blog or to spend the majority of my time with a larger writing project. After much deliberation and support from family and blog followers, I’ve decided to continue blogging for another year. So, my 2020 Blog resolution is to continue writing the Threeringsconnections blog AND still getting the newsletter out on time each month. Let the balancing of efforts begin! 3 newsletters down and 9 to go. Other “writing” started, yeah! 

This month was a whirlwind for everyone!  So many unanswered questions and worries have become part of everyday life.  I created my blog 2 years ago to help parents and teachers have resources to support kids.  I never thought my posts would be used to help provide resources for the millions of kids that are being taught at home because of COVID-19.  I hope you will find some resources to help you support your kids during these tough times.  

Be well, my friends and take care of each other. 

March’s Posts

COVID-19 Newsletters: New Posts and Reposts by Subject Area- 2018-present

March’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite March Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Puppets: Easy to Make

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

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

Puppets Everywhere Using Everything

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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  • Puppets Are Good for Kids