Earth Day is April 22, 2019

A collection of lesson plans and resources will help teachers and students prepare for Earth Day on April 22nd. Take a look and please share with others.

Earth Day started in 1970 as a day to gather national support for environmental issues.  On that day millions of people participated and the day continues to be widely celebrated on April 22ndToday, common activities include planting trees, cleaning up litter or simply enjoying nature through hiking, gardening, or taking a stroll in a park. 

Top 5 Earth Day Resources

This collection of lesson plans and resources will help teachers and students prepare for the celebration on April 22nd. Take a look and please share with others.

Earth Day Network

The site offers a comprehensive listing of activities that includes discussions of environmental issues and educational resources for parents and teachers.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Check out the Classroom Resources link. There are many activities specifically for the exhibits BUT they can also be used without a fieldtrip to the museum.  Curriculum videos and Games and Activities links are excellent.  Lessons for PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 cover marine life, ocean environments, and plastic pollution.

Celebrate Earth Day (Scholastic)

Lessons and activities (including printables) for grades 5-8 that promote environmental awareness.  In general, Scholastic does a great job in posting classroom resources. 

Environmental Protection Coloring Book!  

Love this site for its simplicity.  Easy downloadable coloring sheets to celebrate Earth Day.  The site I used with the grandkids this year.

Earth Day History (K-12)

There are 13 brief videos showing the green movement since the first Earth Day in 1970. Be sure to check this site out throughout the year since it includes a link to “This Day in History”.

Whatever you do in the classroom be sure to take a few minutes to go outside and enjoy our world!

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ThreeRingsConnections’ March 2019 Newsletter

Monthly newsletter archives front Threeringsconnections.org gives parents, teachers and adninistrators resources to support kids.

Preparing kids to think is what we do as teachers.

Three months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All 13 March posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 3 down and 9 more to go! Have a great month!

March 2019 Archives

March’s Most Popular Posts:

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

My Favorite March Posts:

  • Is your child ready for kindergarten
  • Kindergarten Screening- What do they test?
  • Kindergarten Readiness Skills

Increase Vocabulary by “Fancy Talk”

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

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

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

9 Strategies to Increase Vocabulary Development

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

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

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Is Your Child Struggling with Reading? Talk to the Teacher Today

Learning to read is not easy. If you are concerned that your child seems to be struggling contact your child’s teacher. Together you can structure a plan to help your child. be more successful.

If your child is struggling with reading be sure to contact your child's teacher.  Together you can create a plan to help our child be successful.
If your child is struggling with reading be sure to contact your child’s teacher. Together you can create a plan to help our child be successful.

Learning to read is not easy. For some kids learning to read can be a struggle.  For parents, watching their child struggle can be both heartbreaking and frustrating. However, you are not alone.  Be sure to reach out to your child’s teacher if you see reading struggles. Together you can structure a plan to help your child be more successful.

5 Suggestions to Help Your Struggling Reader

  • Schedule a parent teacher conference – If possible, schedule an initial face to face meeting (use phone and emails for follow up meetings) to share your concerns about your child’s struggle to learn to read. Share specific behaviors that you are seeing at home when reading or completing homework.  Don’t hesitate to bring notes!  After all your child’s teacher will have notes too!  Compare notes and see if additional testing and/or programming is necessary.
  • Testing or programming – If your child’s teacher suggests extra help in school and/or testing, say YES!  Did you know that in some school districts parents are eager to get extra help for their child, even if their child does not qualify? Extra help is OK.  The purpose of testing is to get specific information about your child’s needs.  The testing results may show that your child qualifies for additional reading support. However, even if they don’t qualify for extra help outside the classroom, the classroom teacher will have more insight on ways to meet your child’s needs. As a parent, you have the right to accept or reject the recommendation, so information is your FRIEND.
  • Support at Home – At your meeting ask for suggestions on how you can support your child at home. This may include some at-home reading practice.  If so, clarify with the classroom teacher exactly what needs to be done.  It’s important to remember that “at home” practice is just that “at home”.  Your child has already been in school all day and although they may be struggling, balance is important.  Together, parents and teachers must develop a plan that helps a child that is struggling but not make them feel punished when completing extra work.
  • Set a timeline to re-evaluate the plan – Most teachers are eager to work with parents to help their child.  At the end of your initial meeting, set a date to review the child’s progress in school and home. This check-in can easily be done by phone or email. Share what is working or not working and ask questions.  Discuss progress, current activities and ask about next steps. At the end of the check in be sure to schedule your next check-in date. 
  • Request evaluation -Often a child will make some progress after additional support in class and at home.  However, check with your child’s teacher if the progress is great enough or if additional testing is necessary.  A child with specific reading difficulties may need some additional support from a reading specialist.  In most schools, the classroom teacher must request additional testing and a child will need to qualify to receive these services.  Ask your child’s teacher about the school’s procedures for requesting formal testing.

Reading Struggles: What Does Testing Look Like?

Under the federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) law there are two routes that parents and schools can take for evaluating children for specialized services:

  • Response to Intervention (RTI) – In the RTI process, the classroom teacher is required to have made modification to your child’s instruction and provided interventions to your child’s instruction.  If those interventions have not been successful, a specialist may be assigned to your child for additional instruction (individual or small group). This teacher will also give suggestions to the classroom teacher for additional in-class support.  If these interventions do not bring your child to the level that he is capable of reading at, traditional formal testing may be recommended.
  • Traditional formal testing: If a teacher or parent suspects a child may have a reading disability and has compelling evidence to support this claim, s/he may request formal testing to identify educational issues. In many schools, RTI may be required before formal testing is allowed. Be sure to get additional information on the type of testing that will be administered. 

Reading Struggles or Reading Disability?

IF testing shows that your child has a reading disability, take a deep breath. Simply, this means that your child has some type of disability (in this case reading) that affects their ability to learn and that in order to be successful some specialized help can be provided. A special education designation and having an IEP simply ensures that your child will get the support she needs to develop as a reader. You and your child’s teacher will create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will list your child’s needs and a proposed plan of instruction to meet your child’s, educational needs.

Some parents are concerned that having an IEP for their child will mean that their child will always have to receive extra services. Don’t worry. By law your child’s IEP must be re-evaluated and revised annually (at least) by the school staff and YOU to allow for changes to be made.  As the parent you are an important member of the process and your input is not only welcomed but is required at the committee meeting.  You will be involved in the entire process and have the final say on your child’s program. 

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Math Enrichment Problems: March Grades 2-3

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

Math Enrichment Problems

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

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

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

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

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

Answers

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

Other posts related to this topic

Math Enrichment Problems: Jan. Grades 2-3 

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

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?  December 13, 2018

Historical Dates and Learning: April & May 2019

April & May Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.

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!

April

National Poetry Month

April 1     April Fool’s Day

April 2    International Children’s Book Day

April 18 Paul Revere’s Famous Ride (1875)

April 19 Passover Begins

April 21 Easter

April 22 Earth Day

April 23 William Shakespeare born  (1854)

April 24 Administrative Professionals/Secretaries Day

May

National Bike Month

May 1         Mother Goose Day 

May 4         Kentucky Derby Day

May 5         Cinco de Mayo

May 5         First Day of Ramadan

May 6         National Nurses Day

May 7         National Teacher’s Day

May 8         School Nurses Day

May 12       Mother’s Day

May 26       Sally Ride’s Birthday (1951) First American Woman in Space

May 27 Memorial Day (Day to honor service men and women who gave their lives for freedom and country)

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Social Studies: Resources for Teaching

Great Social Studies resources for teaching.

Top Resources for Social Studies

I regularly attend Team Trivia Nights with friends at a local restaurant. The weekly event entices about 100 players to answer questions on a variety of subjects. Each night the winning teams are awarded gift cards to the restaurant. I’m proud to say we have won our share of gift cards. 

However, our team struggles with the History/Geography categories. I’ve often wondered whether we could do better if we studied these topics. However the topic is so broad, it seems next to impossible to even make a dent in the information.  Perhaps, we could do better in an area or two. A little more information about maps and flags might be helpful. However, what really gets us to attend each week is the laughs and great fun we have playing the game.  Go Wizards!

Social Studies teaches kids about culture, economics, history and geography.  Knowing about the world will help kids become better citizens.  Take a look at the K-12 Social Studies resources listed below and share with others.

  • EdHelperResources in different subjects, grades and age groups. Membership is available but there are many FREE resources.
  • Education World – Contains high quality in all subject areas.
  • EDSITEment – Includes hundreds of resources that are sorted by subject, theme and grade level.  The site is updated regularly.
  • History.com – The site includes many interactive activities.
  • History Matters is an annotated guide to best U.S. history websites.
  • https://threeringsconnections.org/social-studies-resources-for-teaching/ – Good all-around website for classroom resources in all subject areas. The site is updated by the Annenberg Foundation.
  • National Council for the Social Studies – Membership gives access to the entire site but offers excellent FREE teaching resources.   
  • PBS Learning Media – FREE standards-based videos and lesson plans.  The link is for New York teachers, but many resources can be used outside NYS.
  • The Learning Network – Teaching resources to support the news published in the New York Times.  Great site for Current Events.
  • The Library of Congress – Offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers use primary resources from the Library’s digital collections.
  • Smithsonian Learning Lab – Lesson plans for teachers, students and families in many subjects.
  • Teachinghistory.org –Funded by the U.S. Department of Education it has a large collection of K-12 resources.
  • Teach-nology – Includes lesson plans, rubrics, teaching tips, and general resources for the classroom.

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Pi Day is Today- March 14th

Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14). On this day people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

On Pi Day, March 14th (3/14), people  around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.
On Pi Day, March 14th (3/14), people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

Pi (π) Day has been celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14) since 1988. On this day people around the world celebrate the uniqueness of the mathematical term of Pi.

What is π anyway?

The π symbol, a Greek letter, is universally recognized as being Pi. Here’s the amazing fact about Pi.  If you divide any circle’s circumference by its diameter; the answer (whether it’s a pie plate or a planet) is always approximately 3.14.

Don’t Believe It?  3 Steps to Give it a Try

  1. Take a string and place it on the outside of a paper plate.  You just measured the circumference.
  2. Take a second piece of string and put it across the middle of the paper plate. You just measured the diameter.
  3. Compare the 2 pieces of string. Notice that you will need ABOUT 3.14 pieces of the diameter string to equal the circumference of the plate.  Try it on other circles around the house.  Neat, right?  

Pi is a homophone of pie: the 2 words are pronounced similarly but are spelled differently and mean different things. This first celebration featured participants marching around a large circle and consuming fruit pies.  Over the years, PI Day celebrations have become very popular and involve many different activities. 

Take some time today to celebrate Pi Day and enjoy a piece of pie!  

Encouraging Independent Reading

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

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

What is Independent Reading?

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

Why is Independent Reading important?

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

Ways to Encourage Independent Reading at Home

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

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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St. Patrick’s Day Resources

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

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

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

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

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

  It’s time to get your “GREEN” on.

  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Decades of research show that the more children read, the better their reading skills. Take a look at 7 Reasons to read Dr. Seuss to your kids.

I have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss as a child. I vividly recall reading the “Green Eggs and Ham”with my aunt and giggling at the silliness.  Sadly, I don’t recall reading many other books as a child, although I’m sure I read them.  Over the years I have met with concerned parents that were unsure if the “nonsense” language in Dr. Seuss books would harm their child’s language development. I understood their concerns and shared with them some reasons why reading Dr. Seuss books with their child can be beneficial. 

Why Read Dr. Seuss Books?

Do I LOVE Dr. Seuss books? No. The truth is there are many books that I have read to kids that I didn’t love. However, there are decades of research that show that the more children read, the better their reading skills. As an educator it is my job to get kids to love books, so they are motivated to read.  I believe that exposing kids to different authors and styles helps them choose their favorites. Dr. Seuss books are just some of the MANY books I read to kids. 

7 Reasons to Read Dr. Seuss

  • Silliness Abounds- Dr. Seuss books capture a child’s attention and make kids laugh. Whether it’s the nonsense language, the unexpected stories or the colorful illustrations, silliness abounds. Many kids enjoy hearing Dr. Seuss stories because they think they are funny. What young child doesn’t enjoy something silly?  Hearing adults reading silliness helps them see that reading is fun!  The books are perfect for those of us that sometimes are too serious.  Reading Dr. Seuss books with a child will give you ticket to “get your silly on”!
  • IllustrationsThe unique and imaginative illustrations help build a child’s vocabulary.  The simple color palette of blue, red, white and black also make the pictures recognizable and easy to understand and remember.
  • Great Read-Aloud Books – Dr. Seuss books sound great when read aloud.  The stories are just made for facial expressions and different voice inflections. You just can’t help doing it when reading one of his stories.
  • Rhyme – Early readers need to understand that words are made up of different sounds and the manipulation of these sounds creates words.   Hearing rhymes helps kids hear similar sounds. The rhymes included in the books is also a great exposure to poetry. 
  • Nonsense Words Are Important – Dr. Seuss books include lots of nonsense words to keep kids engaged in the story. Nonsense words deliberately draw attention to rhyme and helps develop a child’s “phonological awareness”. Phonological awareness is a basis for reading. A child with phonological awareness skills can manipulate sounds or words, or “play” with sounds or words. By engaging in word play, children learn to recognize patterns among words and use this knowledge to read and build words.
  • Sight Words Included – Sight words are words that are used commonly throughout texts we read every day. Dr. Seuss books give children experience in seeing these words in texts and helps them commit them to memory.
  • “Reading” Become Easy – Many of Dr. Seuss’ book use simple words chosen for a beginner reader.  Along with the rhyming and repetition it helps early readers remember the words and become “readers” quite quickly.  This type of “reading” helps build their confidence and motivates a child to read.

What Am I Doing on Dr. Seuss Day?

I’m grabbing my big red and white hat (doesn’t every retired Primary Principal still have one?) and I’m going to read some Dr. Seuss books to my grandkids.   I’m leaving behind any concerns and am going to share my memories of reading Dr. Seuss books when I was a child. I’m sure the thought of me being a child will bring about a chorus of giggles; and that’s OK.   Perhaps the girls will also forget the Dr. Seuss’ rhymes and nonsensical language that we shared together. My hope is that they remember fondly the laughing and the silliness of reading together. Thank you, Dr. Seuss! 

Other Dr. Seuss Resources

Read Across America Day March 1, 2019

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


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

What is Read Across America Day?

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

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

Resources for Read Across America Day

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

Nursery Rhymes Are Good for Kids

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

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

“Little Baby Bum” and Me

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

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

Why do kids need nursery rhymes?

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

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Historical Dates and Learning: March & April

Including Historical Dates in lessons gives relevance to learning.

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!

March

Music in Our Schools Month

March 2                Iditarod begins

March 2 Dr. Seuss Birthday

March 2 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)

April

National Poetry Month

April 1               April Fool’s Day

April 1 April Fool’s Day

April 2    International Children’s Book Day

April 18 Paul Revere’s Famous Ride (1875)

April 19th Passover Begins

April 21st Easter

April 22nd Earth Day

April 23rd William Shakespeare born,  (1854)

April 24th Administrative Professionals/Secretaries Day

April 26th  Arbor Day

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Math Enrichment Problems: Feb. Grades 2-3

Math Enrichment Problems

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

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

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

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

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

Answers:

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

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

Other posts related to this topic

Math Enrichment Problems: Jan. Grades 2-3 

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

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?  December 13, 2018

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

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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

The Science Fair is COMING!

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

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

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

The Science Fair packet comes home

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon: The Science Fair Experiment Continues  

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Your Child’s Vision Should Be Checked

Your child’s vision should be checked.

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

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

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

When should your child’s vision be tested?

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

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

How important are eye exams to learning?

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

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

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

Other resources to support your child’s vision

Vision for Kids

American Optometric Association

ThreeRingsConnections’ Blog Content January 2019

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

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

January 2019 Archives

January’s Most Popular Posts:

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

My Favorite January Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month

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

Kid Songs and “Battle of the Sexes”

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

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

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

What kid songs should I sing?

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

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

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

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

Kids songs are a fabulous learning tool

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

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