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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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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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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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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1000 Books Before Kindergarten: YES!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten
1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Reading 1000 Books to a child before Kindergarten? We’ve all heard about the importance of reading to young children. But, 1000 before kindergarten? It sounds like a lot, but if you read just one book a day that’s a little less than 3 years. Or, reading just 2 books a week, is another way to get to a 1000 by the time your child is 5. It certainly is possible if you start to keep track.

So, why is it important? Research shows that as many as one in five children have trouble learning to read and reading has been linked to academic success. With formal schooling not usually starting until ages 5-6, exposing your child to reading before kindergarten makes a lot of sense.

This gives the role of teacher for the first years of a child’s life to parents, caregivers, and preschool teachers. These are the people that spend countless hours with our kids, so recruit them into the counting process. Join the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge and give your child a good head start in learning.

So, maybe you don’t read 1000 books, but you get the idea. The more books you read to your child before kindergarten the better it is for your child.

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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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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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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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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

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!

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Smithsonian History Explorer

Smithsonian Explorer is a great teacher resource
Smithsonian Explorer is a great teacher resource

The Smithsonian History Explorer is a web site designed to help K-12 teachers quickly find and use hundreds of standards-based classroom activities, interactive games, and other resources. Resources are from the National Museum of American History and are matched to the National Standards of History. Topics can be searched by resource type, grade level, historical era, and/or cross-curricular connections. Visitors can also choose to browse content using the following categories:

Smithsonian Explorer Links

  • Lessons & Activities are all standards-based and can be printed, emailed, and shared.
  • Interactives & Media features audio, video, and interactive resources, many designed to be used by students independently.
  • Museum Artifacts – Browse collections to use for object-based learning.
  • Books – Teachers or students can search for related books by keyword and filter by era, reading level, and genre. Bilingual editions can be searched as well.
  • Web Links – Additional links to other websites.
  • Themes – The site includes major themes in America history including:
    • A Nation We Build Together
    • American Experiments
    • Protest and Civic Action, the Civil Rights Movement
    • The American Revolution and World Wars
    • Presidential History, Politics and Voting
    • STEM Resources
    • Westward Expansion
    • Immigration
    • Hispanic Heritage Month
    • Teaching with Drama
    • Agriculture History

Exploring the Smithsonian website is definitely worth the time.

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Social Studies: Resources for Teaching

ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: January Posts

Happy New Year Friends!

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

January posts … maybe not? 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! 1 newsletter down and 11 to go. Hello 2020!

January Posts

January’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite January 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!

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Check out some topics coming next month
  • Buddy Reading
  • February Writing Prompts
  • Gradual Release of Responsibility

February Prompts to Get Students Writing

February prompts to encourage student writing
February prompts to encourage student 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.

February Prompts

  • Magical Garden:  Gardens grow many foods for us to eat.  But what if you had a magical garden?  What magical things grow in your garden?
  • Valentine’s Day:  Valentine’s Day is this month.  Have you given a compliment to anyone to make them feel good?  If not, it’s not too late.  Write down a compliment for 5 different people that you see often.  IF you decide to share it with them you might see some big smiles.
  • Soup of the Day: When it’s cold outside, don’t you just love a bowl of soup? How about a soup made with your favorite foods?  Write down your recipe with 15 different foods to make your “Soup of the Day”.  Do you think it will taste great?
  • Fortune Cookie: Fortune Cookies have small pieces of paper included inside with a message.  Sometimes it’s a prediction, a lucky number or some advice.  Write down 5 messages that you would like to find inside YOUR fortune cookie.  Then write down 5 messages that you would like to find inside a family member’s fortune cookie. 
  • Talk to me: How many times do you find yourself asking (and sometimes answering) your pet questions?  Are you hungry, do you want to go out, how’s my boy today?  Write down five answers to 5 different questionos you might ask your pet. Perhaps your pet will answer like a comedian or maybe he/she is having a bad day. Be creative!

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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Writing Prompts to Encourage Writing

Writing prompts can help kids get writing.
Writing prompts can help kids get writing.

Why Writing Prompts?

There is something special when your child starts to be a writer.  Writing gives children an opportunity to share their ideas and express their creativity.  While writing kids get to use their pre-reading and writing skills in a way that is relevant to them.   Writing prompts can help. 

But writing is not easy and many new writers struggle when faced with a blank page.  Writers, both novice and experienced, need lots of encouragement to be successful. But they also can benefit from getting some ideas (prompts) to get them started.  Think of it as that “slight push” you give your child when they first learn to ride a 2-wheeler.

Writing Prompts Motivate

When creating prompts, think of different ideas that will spur an interest to write.  Giving kids a variety of topics helps them extend their vocabulary and use different 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 kids 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.

Today’s technology can capture the attention of a wide range of audiences making it easier than ever to reach people on the other side of the world. I would never have dreamed 30 years ago that my thoughts on education would be seen worldwide!  I am so honored to have so many blog readers.  It’s the comments and ideas that I get from my readers, students, colleagues and parents that help me choose my posts. Thank YOU for helping so many kids learn.

Let’s use 2020 to develop some writers. Check out the new prompts that will be posted each month throughout the year to inspire our new authors.

January Writing Prompts

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR: Try creating a HAPPY NEW YEAR acrostic. Choose words or phrases that relate to your wishes for 2020.  The H, for example could be “Hope I’ll learn how to dance this year.”
  • Say Something Nice in 2020:  Everyone likes to hear a compliment.  Choose 5 people in your life and write down a compliment and give it to them.  You’re sure to get a smile.
  • Soup of the Day: Create a recipe for your favorite “unusual soup”.  Perhaps one that makes you silly, old or talking another language!  Write the 10-15 ingredients that make your soup special.
  • Winter Clothes: The winter season brings cold weather to many parts of the U.S. Dream up some new clothing ideas you would like to invent for your new winter clothes.  Be creative.  Maybe some skis attached to your flip flops?
  • Fortune Cookies: Fortune cookies have a piece of paper inside with a message.  Write 5 messages that you would like to find in a fortune cookie.

Happy New Year Writers!

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: December 2019

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

Happy New Year Friends! Welcome 2020!

Yeah! I achieved my 2019 Blog resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter posted each month on time! I wasn’t sure if I could do it. However, the many followers and comments that I received throughout the year, motivated me to GET IT DONE! Let’s go 2020!

I hope you have a year filled with your hopes and dreams!

December 2019

December’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite December 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!

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

  • Gradual Release of Responsibility
  • Kindness Quotes to Start the New Year
  • Math Thinking Skills Primary
  • Math Thinking Skills Grades 4-5

Christmas Jokes for Kids

Christmas jokes to make you laugh!
Christmas jokes to make you laugh!

Why not add some Christmas jokes to your Christmas celebration this year?

As I sit watching the first snowfall of the year, I’m reminded of the snow days that my kids and I would enjoy together. Yes, there was some shoveling with hot chocolate afterwards, but we also played games, hung out in our pajamas and enjoyed the SNOWDAY!

With Thanksgiving behind us we look forward to Christmas a short 24 days away. Why not use some holiday time to teach your kids some Christmas/winter jokes? Joke telling helps kids learn new vocabulary, strengthens comprehension and helps communication skills. Best of all, the holidays are a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Why not take some time to be silly this Christmas season and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll)?  Merry Christmas!

Q. What Christmas song do wild animals sing at Christmas? Answer: Jungle Bells

Q. What happens if you eat Christmas decorations?
Answer: You get tinselitus

Q. What do you call Santa when he stops moving?
Answer: Santa Pause

Q. What comes at the end of Christmas Day?
Answer: The letter “Y!”

Q. What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Answer: Snowflakes. (or Frosted Flakes!)

Q. What does an elf study in school?
Answer: The elfabet.

Q. What do you get if you mix a vampire with a snowman?
Answer: Frostbite!

Q. What does Santa suffer from whenever he gets stuck in a chimney?
Answer: Santa Claustrophobia

Q. How do sheep wish each other happy holidays?
Answer:  Merry Christmas to ewe.

Q. What does Mrs. Claus say when there are clouds in the sky?
Answer: It looks like rain, deer.

Q, What do you call a greedy elf?
Answer: Elfish!

Q. Why wouldn’t the Christmas tree stand up?
Answer: It had no legs.

Q. What kind of ball doesn’t bounce?
Answer: A snowball.

Q. What did one snowman say another snowman?
Answer: You’re cool.

Q. What is every parent’s favorite Christmas carol? Answer: Silent Night.

Q, What do you get when Santa plays detective?
Answer: Santa clues! 

Q. What falls but never gets hurt?
Answer: Snow.

Q. What do you call a shark that delivers toys at Christmas?
Answer: “Santa Jaws!”

Q. Where do snowmen keep their money?
Answer: In a snow bank.

Q. What do snowmen like to do on the weekend?
Answer: Chill out.

Q. What does Jack Frost like best about school?
Answer: Snow and tell.

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Murray.
Adult: Murray who?
Kid: Murray Christmas, one and all!

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Pizza.
Adult: Pizza, who?
Kid: Pizza on earth, good will toward men!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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