COVID-19 Virtual Museum Tours

Virtual Museum Tours for FREE
Virtual Museum Tours for FREE

With schools closed throughout the world many parents are searching for additional resources that are worthwhile for kids to explore.  One suggestion that I received from a blog follower is to explore the Virtual Museum resources of some of the most famous museums in the world. Your kids can spend countless hours exploring these worldwide resources.  You can visit them all in one day or one or two a day.  Alone or with a partner, kids and parents are bound to see and learn interesting facts about our world.

As we face these uncertain times, we might as well use the time wisely and learn while sheltering in place.  Be safe everyone.

5 Virtual Museum Tours in the United States

  • The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Located in Washington, D.C it is one of the most visited museums in the world.  The online virtual tour brings visitors on a walking tour of its many famous exhibits.  Be sure to check out the Hall of Mammals, Insect Zoo, and Dinosaurs.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met is in New York City and is home to over 2 million works of fine art.  Check out the online collection and virtual tours of some of its most impressive pieces from famous artists. The Met also works with the Google Cultural Institute to make even more artwork (that’s not featured in its own online collection) available for view.
  • NASA offers free virtual tours of the Langley Research Center in Virginia, as well as Ohio’s Glenn Research Center.  While exploring space, you can also download the new app for the  Houston Space Center that provides virtual tours and videos.
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City makes some of its collections and exhibits available online. Be sure to check out the works of Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons, two of my favorites.
  • The National Women’s History Museum is located in Alexandria, Virginia.  The museum includes online exhibits and oral histories that highlight the role of women in the history and culture of the United States.

2 Virtual Museum Tours in Europe

The Louvre is in Paris, France and is one of the world’s largest art museums. Check out the free online tours of the popular exhibits such as Egyptian antiquities and works from Michelangelo.

The Vatican Museums feature an extensive collection of important art and classical sculptures. Be sure to check out the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Beautiful!

Enjoy!  Happy Travels!

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Reading Skills Checklist for Early Readers

Reading Skills Checklist for  Early Readers
Reading Skills Checklist for Early Readers

One thing that I stress when working with my Elementary Student teachers is to remember that observing their students’ reading skills should occur often and throughout the day. Using a checklist of reading skills and behaviors helps a teacher track student reading needs and helps to better plan instruction.

The BIG 10 of Reading Skills

Yes, I am using a March Madness term, but after all it is March!  However, it’s also a good way of remembering 10 BIG areas to track in early reading behaviors.  Some behaviors are basic and usually achieved in the very early grades.  Other skills need to be reviewed and reinforced throughout the reading process since mastery may be dependent on the reading or genre of the reading material. Since student teachers are always preparing for that first teacher job, knowing all 10 areas is always a good idea. Excellent info for teaching interviews as well.

  • Directionality
    • Knows where to start on a page
    • Reads from left to right
    • Reads top to bottom
    • Return sweeps
  • One to One correspondence
    • Matches spoken to written word
    • Rereads to make word match
  • Unknown Words
    • Can locate unknown word using letters and sounds
  • Structure
    • Asks, does it sound right?
    • Asks, does it sound like the way we say it?
    • Rereads for how it sounds
  • Monitoring
    • Recognizes when an error is made but may not know how to fix it.
  • Self-correcting
    • Recognizes when a mistake is made and is able to fix it.
  • Cross-checking
    • Uses picture, meaning, structure and visual clues
    • Rereads and uses more than one source to check information
  • Visual Clues
    • Matches spoken to written word
    • Checks beginning, middle and end
    • Uses sound and chunks to solve unknown words
  • High frequency words
    • Is able to locate words on a word wall for spelling
    • Reads (number) of words from Dolch list
  • Determining meaning
    • Uses pictures
    • Rereads
    • Asking does this make sense
    • Uses background knowledge
    • Uses story
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COVID-19 Learning Activities Reading Newsletter

COVID-19 Learning  Activities for Reading
COVID-19 Learning Activities for Reading

Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? 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 working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog threeringsconnections.org to get you started. This newsletter is focused on  READING activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Reading Resources

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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Understood.org: Resources for Coronavirus

Understood.org: Resources for Coronavirus
Understood.org: Excellent resources for Coronavirus

I don’t usually just post one link that I think is terrific, but understood.org has posted some great information to support learning during the COVID-19 crisis. We certainly need some good information in these difficult times.

The website Understood.org is a website that I’ve used for years to support the needs of students that learn and think differently. However, I think there postings on Coronavirus are very well done and certainly continue to fit their mission of helping us to learn and think differently. I’ve added some links below, however, there are additional links on the site. I think it’s certainly worth a look by my blog followers.

Coronavirus: Latest Updates and Tips

Hope you find the information helpful. I am working on reposting learning activities and new activities to support learning. Keep checking threeringsconnections.org

Stay well Friends!

Donna

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St. Patrick’s Day Trivia for All

St. Patrick's Day Trivia for All
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia for All

Growing up, St. Patrick’s Day for my family was not one day a year. We were Irish all year. It was who we were and what we did. Irish Music on the radio every Sunday afternoon and Irish Step Dance lessons were a way of life.  When my dad referred to “the holiday” we all knew he was talking about St. Patrick’s Day.

As a teacher and principal, I found the wearing of green clothing, gold coins and leprechaun traps to be a great day of fun for the entire school community. Now, as a grandparent, I want my grandkids to join in the fun but a “wee bit of Irish info” is a good thing too. 

For my trivia team friends, check out the answers below.  Maybe we’ll see some questions about “the holiday” this week.

10 Easy St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

  1. St. Patrick is the patron saint of what country? Ireland
  2. What animal did St. Patrick drive out of Ireland? Snakes
  3. What’s the color you usually associate with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day? Green
  4. What is the good luck symbol associated with St. Patrick’s Day? Four leaf clover
  5. What are the small, mischievous spirits called? Leprechauns
  6. What does the shamrock symbolize? The Holy Trinity
  7. Something you kiss to get the “gift of the gab”? Blarney Stone
  8. Which of these meals is often eaten in America on St. Patrick’s Day? corned beef and cabbage
  9. What you might find after it rains if you’re luck? Pot of Gold
  10. What does Chicago dye to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day?  River

12 Challenging St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

  1. What was the first official color of St. Patrick’s Day? Sky Blue
  2. What color is the flag of Ireland? white, orange, and green.
  3. What do the colors of the Irish flag represent? Orange is for the protestants, the green for the Catholics and the white represents the hope for peace between Catholics and Protestants
  4. Where did the first St. Patrick’s Day parade take place? New York City in 1762
  5. What symbol appears on Irish coins? Harp
  6. What didn’t flow on St. Paddy’s Day for most of the 20th century? Beer
  7. What is the color named Ireland’s nickname? Emerald – The Emerald Isle
  8. What do you get if you don’t wear green on St. Paddy’s Day? A pinch
  9. Which American St. Patrick’s Day tradition began as an accident? dyeing rivers green
  10. What will kissing the Blarney Stone bring you? eloquence
  11. What is the Hibernian Society? A charitable group that helps Irish Immigrants
  12. What country was St. Patrick born in? England

Great Resources to Teach About St. Patrick’s Day

  • TeacherVision:  Always a great site and a “go to” for me to find great resources.  Check out the collection of resources that are easy to use for St. Patrick’s Day
  • PBS LearningMedia:  Great site for classroom resources.  Check out the collection of resources to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  

Have fun! = Bainigí súp as!

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COVID-19 Learning Activities Math Newsletter

  COVID-19 learning activities
COVID-19 Learning Activities

COVID-19 LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? 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 working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog threeringsconnections.org to get you started. This newsletter is focused on Math activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Math Resources

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Rubrics for Kids and Teachers

Rubrics help kids understand what constitutes mastery of a skill.
Rubrics help kids understand what constitutes mastery of a skill.

A rubric is a set of guidelines for measuring progress towards a standard or objective.  Using one helps students and teachers share the same understanding of how progress will be measured and what constitutes mastery of that skill or goal.  Unlike letter grades, rubrics allow you to measure a child’s progress by identifying skills mastered and which ones need additional work. They can be written as a number, a checklist, or a narrative.

Rubrics can be developed by individual teachers, school or districts but the most powerful ones are developed WITH students.  Children sometimes have a tough time understanding what a “good job” means in a classroom. Often, it’s said without clarity and sometimes it looks different for different kids. Also “good job” can vary from teacher to teacher or time of the day. So, as teachers, we have to be sure that we are using language that kids understand and that understand the skills they have to achieve.  Once rubric language is taught to kids, teachers have to consistently use them to improve student learning.  

I used to explain to students the reason for using rubrics by using this example. When your parent tells you to clean your room, you do it, they check it and they think you did not do a good job. Kids immediately saw the need for a rubric.  They had experienced the difference between “mom’s clean and kid clean”.

Rubrics give details into a rating and can be created for all kinds of things!  What’s important is that kids and adults need to understand what they need to do at each level so they understand how they are doing.    

5 Resources

Next Month: Rubrics in Teacher Evaluations

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Puppets Are Good for Kids

Puppets are good for kids
Puppets are good for kids

Yesterday I finished helping a kindergarten teacher friend of mine write a grant for some puppets for her classroom.  Writing the grant was easy because, I just LOVE puppets.  I remember vividly watching “Lambchop” on TV many, many years ago.  Happy memories.  These days I am reliving my past playing with puppets and connecting with my grandkids.  Laughing and having fun just like it should be in retirement.

Why Use Puppets with Your Child?

There are many benefits in using puppets with kids.  Puppets provide a developmentally appropriate way to build vocabulary, creativity, and imagination.  Acting out scenes, telling stores, practicing new words, and talking about emotions all tend to be easier behind a puppet. 

Puppet Activity Ideas

  • Help your child identify each character by giving them an identity.  Have them give their new friend a name, a voice, place to live, or a favorite book.  Everything to make them a “real person”. Best thing is that the next day, their puppet can be someone else with a new story to tell.  
  • Build their vocabulary by helping them describe their puppet.  Their personality, their clothes, their homes are all opportunities to learn and use both day to day vocabulary and advanced vocabulary.  How often do you hear a 3-year-old tell you that something is hilarious?  Challenge yourself to give your child enough information about a puppy being funny that they will start to use the word hilarious.  Use it with puppets and in everyday activities and step back (and smile) when you hear it from your child.
  • Use the puppets to act out a scene.  An everyday routine or a creative adventure.
  • Use your puppets to talk to each other. Communicating through question and answering is everyday life.  Modeling talking and listening will help your child’s communication skills.
  • Encourage your child to act out a story they know or a story they’ve made up.   
  • Help your child navigate difficult social situations playing with puppets.  Perhaps it’s a problem with a friend that says inappropriate words.  Help your child through puppet play to know what to do and what to say when it happens.  Give them the words to help the understand and speak up to solve the problem. Giving their puppet the correct language will teach your child problem solving skills.
  • Kids can be brave when they are behind a puppet.  Puppets can share problems and joys and be listened to by caring and loving people.  They can be a great lens into your child’s life.

Puppets can become a part everyday play.  They give us a chance to talk together, laugh together and share quality time.  I hope you enjoy this wonderful “hand to hand” activity.

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Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults: March

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

On some days my memory is great and I can remember words to songs that I heard 40 years ago. On other days, I can’t remember where I put my keys!   I’ve heard people say, “misery loves company” but for me it’s more that “forgetful people love company”.  It gives us something to laugh about.

My forgetfulness is especially evident at our weekly trivia nights at a local restaurant.  Believe it or not, my forgetfulness has led me once or twice to study the color of flags before our matches. Yep, I’m competitive. Whether we win or lost it’s always a fun night.  Great friends and lots of fun!  

Trivia questions can be fun for kids too!  Look at the questions below and try them out on the kids (or adults) in your life.  The range of questions vary in difficulty from the easy to the not-so-easy.   After all, why should adults get all the challenge and fun.  Grandkids…. Hope you are ready for some quizzing 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!

Trivia Questions for March

  1. Great Whites and Hammerheads are what type of animals? sharks
  2. According to legend, who led a gang of merry outlaws in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, England? Robin Hood
  3. How many legs does a spider have?  8
  4. What is the name of the pirate in Peter Pan? Captain Hook
  5. He’s “smarter than the average bear”, but what’s the name of the most famous resident of Jellystone Park? Yogi Bear
  6. How many rings make up the symbol of the Olympic Games? The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the center: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colors are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
  7. According to the Dr. Seuss book, who stole Christmas? The Grinch
  8. In which continent is the country of Egypt found? Africa
  9. What is a brontosaurus? Dinosaur
  10. Scooby Doo and his friends travel around in which vehicle? The Mystery Machine
  11. What is the name of Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend? Eeyore
  12. How many grams are there in a kilogram? 1000
  13. By what name are the young of frogs and toads known? Tadpoles
  14. By what title were the leaders of ancient Egypt known? pharaoh
  15. Which famous nurse was known as “The Lady of The Lamp” during the Crimean War? Florence Nightingale
  16. What’s the name of the town where The Flintstones live? Bedrock
  17. What’s the colored part of the human eye called? iris
  18. Q. How many holes are there on a golf course? 18
  19. Which country is home to the kangaroo? Australia
  20. The giant panda’s diet is almost entirely made up of which plant? bamboo
  21. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what is Charlie’s surname? Bucket
  22. Which planet is closest to our sun? Mercury
  23. Which famous ocean liner sank on her first voyage in 1912? Titanic
  24. What is the name of Shrek’s wife? Princess Fiona
  25. How many lungs do humans normally have? two
  26. What is a group of lions called? Pride
  27. Is the planet Jupiter larger or smaller than the Earth? larger
  28. Which is the fastest land animal? Cheetah
  29. What color are emeralds? green
  30. Which animal is the tallest in the world? giraffe
  31. If you suffer from arachnophobia, which animal are you scared of? Spiders

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

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KidCitizen: Great History Resource

KidCitizen uses resources from the Library of Congress
KidCitizen uses resources from the Library of Congress

The KidCitizen site introduces kids in grades K-5 to engage with history using primary sources. Episodes are highly interactive and include demonstrations that keep kids engaged in content while having fun. Each episode builds on students’ prior experiences to make the content meaningful.  The photographs included in each episode are from the Library of Congress, which helps develop students’ visual literacy.

The KidCitizen resource is part of the Congress, Civic Participation, and Primary Sources Project.  It is also part of the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program, which is part of the Library of Congress’s premier educational outreach program for teachers.  TPS provides professional development for teachers focused on enhancing their ability to embed digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress into inquiry-based instruction that builds students literacy, critical thinking skills and content knowledge.

KidCitizen episodes run on PCs, Macs, Chromebooks and iOS and Android mobile devices. This site is worth some time to explore.

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ThreeRingsConnections.org Newsletter: February Posts

February Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org
February Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org

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

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! 2 newsletters down and 10 to go. As for other “writing”… woohoo! 2 grants written. Awards in May. Fingers crossed! Batting 500%

February Posts

February’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite February 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!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • KidCitizen: Great History Resource
  • March Prompts to Get Students Writing
  • Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

March Prompts to Get Students Writing

March prompts to get students writing
March prompts to get students writing

Writing gives children an opportunity to share their ideas and express their creativity.  But writing is not easy and many new writers struggle when faced with a blank page.  Writers, both novice and experienced, need encouragement but they also can benefit from getting some ideas (prompts) to get them started. 

Giving your kids a variety of topics to help them extend their vocabulary and language skills.  Kids can find their “voice” through writing poems, songs, jokes or stories.  But don’t limit their choices to “common” types of writing.  Encourage them to see and find “writing” in the world around them.  Commercials, plays, TV shows, ads, emails and blogs are all opportunities to share their writing.

March prompts

  • Green Tale: St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.  Green is a popular color in March.  Write down a list of 20 things that are green.  Write a story that includes 5 of the green things.
  • Magic Words:  Harry Potter isn’t the only one with magic words.  Write a story in which you are a wizard or princess and when you say three magic words something amazing happens. 
  • New Sport:  It’s a cold, snowy day outside and perhaps you can’t think of something to do.  Invent a new sport that you could play outside.  Write down your idea and how to play the game. Share your idea with someone else.  They may have some ideas to include in your game also. 
  • Did I hear that?  Adding something strange to a normal situation can start a story.  You’re sitting at the breakfast table one morning and you hear your cereal say something to you. Tell a story of what your cereal said to you.
  • Once upon a time:  There are many books, movies and TV shows that tell stories about characters.  Choose your favorite character and write a story about how that character came over to your house for a sleepover.  Did anything unusual happen? 

Check out my monthly post of writing prompt ideas to help inspire our new authors. Let’s make 2020 the Year of the Writer! Enjoy!

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Creative Thinking Fun for Kids

Creative Thinking Fun for Kids
Creative Thinking Fun for Kids

Creative thinking is the ability to invent and/or create something new.  It is based on looking at things in a new way that hasn’t previously been considered.  Teaching kids to use their creative thinking skills can be done easily using everyday happenings.

As a teacher of Talented and Gifted students, creative and divergent thinking activities were common. Divergent thinking involves looking at things and making new connections. When we encourage divergent thinking, we help to motivate student learning.

A favorite activity I used in the classroom was asking children to generate 100 ideas to melt a snowball. It involved little teacher preparation and fostered kids thinking skills. There ideas were VERY CREATIVE, and some were hilarious. The outcome of the activity was that kids were thinking and communicating their ideas.

Here’s a super easy example that can be replicated with small changes. Show the picture below of the yellow house.  Challenge the kids in your life to name 100 things that are almost the same color. Help kids think of things by thinking about categories such as cars, signs, plants, food, clothing etc.  Don’t be surprised if you start seeing yellow all around you.  Have fun!

The yellow house makes me think of…..
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Math Enrichment Primary: February

Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems
Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving 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: Count Them Up

  1. 2 farmers each have 2 barrels. In each barrel are 3 cats who each have 2 kittens. How many legs are there? (HINT: Don’t forget the farmer’s legs)
  2. Connall collected a dozen eggs from 4 chickens.  How many eggs did Connall collect?
  3. Declan collected 5 dozen eggs but on the way to the house he dropped 9 eggs.  How many eggs did he give to his mother?
  4. Old Macdonald had a farm, and on that farm he had 2 cows, 2 pigs, a horse and cat.  How many heads were on the farm?  How many shoulders? How many eyes? (HINT: Don’t forget to include Old Macdonald)
  5. The Smith parents and their 3 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog went for a walk.  How many legs were walking? 
  6. A spider in a box had 100 babies.  How many legs are there in the box? (HINT: Don’t forget Mommy Spider)

Answers:

  1. 30 legs
  2. 48 eggs
  3. 51 eggs
  4. 7 heads, 14 shoulders, 14 eyes
  5. 18 legs
  6. 808 legs
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Historical Dates: March 2020

 Start the month knowing some historical dates in March
Start the month knowing some historical dates in March

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. The dates can be used in many classroom activities. These activities can help build relevance into everyday lessons. Knowing these dates will certainly impress your students!

Special Events This Month:

  • Music in Our Schools Month (MIOS)
  • National Nutrition Month

Historical Dates to Remember

  • March 2  Dr. Seuss born (1904)
  • March 2 Read Across America Day
  • March 3  Alexander Graham Bell born, (1847)
  • March 7 Iditarod Race Begins
  • March 12 Girl Scout Day
  • March 14 Pi Day (3.14)
  • March 17  St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 18  First Walk in Space
  • March 20      First Day of Spring
  • March 21     Children’s Poetry Day
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Community Foundation Grants: Hudson Valley

Community Foundation Grants of Hudson Valley Grants applications are available now
Community Foundation of Hudson Valley Grants applications are available now

Teachers of PreK – 12 in Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster Counties (Parochial, Private/Independent, and Public Schools)

3 Foundation Grants Categories

  • Fund for Excellence in Education Grants: Funding opportunities for classroom teachers that fulfill one or both of these criteria:
  1. Support for classroom projects and initiatives which will improve learning opportunities for students. **Grant funding not to be used for field trips or after-school activities.**
  2. Support for the personal and professional enhancement of teachers (not to fulfill Masters program or certification requirements).
  • Writing Grant(s): A grant will be awarded to K-12 teachers for either professional development in the field of teaching writing or for a specific program designed to enhance the writing abilities of students.
  • Verizon STEM Grant(s): Grants will be awarded for STEM related projects, activities and equipment.

Grants Available to Public Schools Only:

  • Marionette/Puppet Grant(s):  A grant will be awarded to a public school teacher for projects which incorporate student and/or teacher-made marionettes and puppets in the curricula.  Preference will be given to multi-cultural or multi-disciplinary projects.  
  • Dutchess County – Dennis Markle Memorial Community​ Service Grant(s):  Community Service Grants will be awarded to Dutchess County public school teachers for projects involving their students in community service.  These community service awards are made from the Dennis Markle Memorial Community Fund which was started by the Dutchess County United Teacher’s Council.  Examples of the type of projects which would be considered for these grants are:  projects involving senior citizens, hospice, day care, disadvantaged populations, community beautification projects, etc.  

Awards: Grants made through this program will not exceed $2,500. 
 
Applications:  
Online grant application. Click here to access the Grants Portal.

Deadline:  
Applications must be submitted by March 15th. Awards will be announced in May. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Let’s Get Our Creative Grant Writing Hats On!

World Poetry Day: March 21, 2020

World Poetry Day is March 21st. Why not start a poetry unit?
World Poetry Day is March 21st. Why not start a poetry unit?

World Poetry Day is celebrated each year on March 21st. The special day was started by the United Nations in 1999 as a day to celebrate the greatness of this type of writing. Younger students find the simple rhymes, actions and colorful imagery an opportunity to have FUN. Older students find it a way to learn about topics and/or express their own ideas.  However, there are many other reasons to enjoy poems at home and school.

5 Reasons to Love Poetry

  • Encourages kids to read aloud.
  • Helps students find reading easier because they can predict the beat of the poem.
  • Imagery helps expand student vocabulary.
  • The “non-rules” of free verse allow creativity in word choice. Imagery promotes adjective use.   

2 Favorite Websites

Each website below includes many resources to make poetry teaching easy and FUN! The resources include articles to help you understand how to teach it and many lessons and activities.

  • ReadWriteThink: An amazing resource you can use to help teach your kids about poetry. (It’s an amazing site on all literacy topics) There are many interactive lessons for kids of all ages to help them understand more about poetry and how to write a poem. There are lessons on a wide variety of styles (haikus, shapes, riddles, nursery rhymes).
  • Poetry4Kids is a site created by Kenn Nesbitt, a children’s author.  I like this site because it includes funny poems for kids (and kid-like adults) to read.  You will also find classic children’s poems, games, lessons, and activities.  Be sure to look at the rhyming dictionary and videos.  One stop FREE resources for all your needs.  Fun to explore!  

If you’ve been hesitant to try poetry in your classroom, why not make World Poetry Day the start of a new beginning?  You’re going to love it!

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Dr. Seuss Day: March 2, 2020

Dr. Seuss Day is March 2, 2020
Dr. Seuss Day is March 2, 2020

Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day, is a yearly observance in the USA inaugurated by the NEA (National Education Association). It is held on the school day that is nearest to 2 March, Dr Seuss birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American artist, book publisher, animator, poet, a political cartoonist as well as an author. He is best known for authoring over 60 children’s books.

The Read Across America initiative began in 1997 to encourage children to read more and get excited about reading. The holiday mainly focuses on motivating children to read as it improves their performance in school. On this day, hospitals, bookstores, community centers, churches, libraries as well as schools host many events. So, it’s time to grab your Dr. Seuss hat get reading!    

You don’t have a hat, nor Seuss book to read?

Relax, my friend and take the lead

Put your memory cap on and do not worry

The Seuss characters will return to you in a hurry.

OK my Seuss -ish poem was not very good, but you get the idea!  Enjoy Friends!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

Valentine's Day 2020
Valentine’s Day 2020

Valentine’s Day is a “BIG DAY” in classrooms across the country. Valentine’s cards, parties and dressing in red, it’s a day to celebrate LOVE.   

For those without a classroom party to attend, it’s a day of thinking about the ones you love in your life. Last week while trying out some new speakers, I heard a rendition of a song that has always been one of my favorites.  It was a song I always included in our Kindergarten Graduation ceremony to remind the guests of the wishes for our young graduates.  The rendition i heard was performed by the Canadian Tenors.  It had little accompaniment with lyrics that I never heard. 

On this Valentine’s Day I share the lyrics as my wish for all my family and friends, both young and “not so young” for every day of the year. May we all be “Forever Young”.  

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others, let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the sky, climb on every rung
And may you stay, forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth and see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong
May you stay, forever young.

Forever young,
Forever young,
May you stay,
Forever

May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation, with no winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful, your song always be sung
And may you stay, forever young.

Forever young,
Forever young,
May you stay,
Forever young,

And may you stay, May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes always come true
And may you stay, forever young

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Active Listening Can Be Taught

Active listening can be taught to kids.
Active listening can be taught to kids.

As a teacher and a principal, I was often asked by parents what they can do to prepare their child for school.  People were always surprised that I didn’t answer with pre-reading and/or math skills.  My answer was always active listening. REALLY LISTENING.  I laugh when I think about that now because even today, I say (or think about) saying “are you listening to me”?

Much of a child’s school day is spent speaking and listening. Schools and states recognize the importance of listening and speaking and include these components in most testing. A child with good listening and speaking skills will have increased comprehension and communication skills.

Your child can develop the skill of being an active listener.  Active listening means that a child uses what he hears and acts on what was said.  Listening activities strengthen the entire communication process and are necessary for daily living.  The activities below can be done often, anywhere and with little preparation.

3 Active Listening Activities

  • Following Directions – Create simple following direction activities involving things in your home or classroom. (Stand up, sit down, touch your head, turn around, count to 10 etc.) This activity involves listening and doing.  After saying a sequence of activities, the child is challenged to try to do the activities in the correct order.  Younger kids and “newbies to following directions” can start with 1 and 2 step directions and proceed to more difficult or longer sequences.
  • Blind Directions – Have kids sit back to back, to listen to directions from a partner to draw a picture of a simple 6-line design. When the directions are completed, the students can compare how close the new drawing was to the original.
  • Puppet Talk – Some kids find it difficult to speak in front of others, Playacting provides lots of opportunities for speaking and listening in a relaxed atmosphere. Puppets are one way to help ease public speaking.  It also encourages creative dialogue as the puppets (talk) to each other

By working with your child on these activities you can give him academic and social advantages in the future.  All the while having a good time. Enjoy!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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