DayByDayNY: Kindergarten Readiness Calendar

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is an early literacy calendar that features daily activities to foster kindergarten readiness skills.

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is an early literacy calendar that features daily activities to foster kindergarten readiness skills.
Daily Calendar to support Kindergarten Readiness

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is a great resource for young kids. Parents or guardians in ANY state or ANY country will find information to help their children learn. Great resource. Take a look!

DayByDayNY Family Literacy Calendar is an early literacy calendar developed by the New York State Library Association. The calendar features daily activities to foster kindergarten readiness skills. It also contains wellness information and resources to encourage daily reading.

The homepage is updated daily and includes songs, videos, crafts and an eBook that reads the text aloud. The pages can even be set to turn automatically. Parents can download the One More Story app to have it available on their mobile devices too. Daily links also include health and literacy information.  

If families spend a few minutes together a day on these activities your time will be well spent. However, if you still aren’t sure if it’s worth a look check out the DayByDayNY link.

Please share this site with others.  They will Thank you for it!

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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

Books Before Kindergarten: 1000?

Reading to kids is important. Try setting 1000 books before kindergarten and get reading.

Is  reading to young children important to you?  If your answer is YES!, perhaps the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program is a good goal for parents and preschool teachers. 

Research shows that as many as one in five children have trouble learning to read. As a result, reading has been linked to academic success. Unfortunately, formal school does not usually start until ages 5-6.  Therefore, parents and preschool teachers take on the important role of being first teachers to children. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenges parents and preschool teachers to read 1000 books to young children before they enter Kindergarten.

Take a look: https://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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

Academic Intervention Strategies: Reading

Academic Intervention Strategies help all kids learn

Working with teachers for over 30 years, I have learned many strategies to try to help students be successful. Some worked and some did not. Since all students learn differently it is important that teachers build a “strategies toolkit” to be ready for each child who enters their classroom door. 

What Are Academic Intervention Strategies (AIS)?

When a student is having difficulty learning a teacher must try a variety of ways to help them be more successful. As adults we all learn things differently and kids are no different. An advantage of an extensive “strategies toolkit” is that many kids can benefit from the special strategies in day-to-day learning. The Individuals with Disabilities, Education Improvement Act (IDEA) supports interventions and requires teachers to identify strategies implemented and their outcomes prior to special education services being approved.  

Academic Intervention Strategies: Reading Words

  • Ask the school nurse to check vision, hearing and tracking.
  • Ask parents about developmental and family history.
  • Identify the specific skill weaknesses and provide tutoring.
  • Provide interesting easy-reading materials.
  • Reinforce and reteach phonics rules daily.
  • Conference with administrator to share student progress and inquire about additional resources available.
  • Provide daily silent reading opportunities.
  • Provide peer tutor.
  • Reward successes.
  • Provide word bank. Review and reinforce OFTEN.

Academic Intervention Strategies: Reading Comprehension

  • Check student file to see if student is in ESL, AIS, Special Education, has a 504 or is in another specialized program.
  • Check to see if modifications have been assigned.  
  • Teach students to read questions before reading passage.
  • Teach highlighting and underlining.
  • Emphasize major points with voice, print and mannerisms.
  • Read with student.
  • Break up passage into shorter segments.
  • Assign reading at the child’s reading level to build mastery.
  • Ask questions that involve critical thinking.
  • Teach students to ask – wh- questions (who, what, when, where, and why)
  • Let students “shadow read” – read along with a stronger reader.
  • Model reading throughout the day.

Using specific Academic Intervention Strategies can sometimes prevent the need to refer a student for additional support programs or Special Education services. Knowing the best way to reach individual students can make a big difference in a child’s educational career.

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Literacy-Rich Classroom Environments

Literacy-rich classrooms support student learning.

When working with student teachers, I am often asked what things I see in a classroom that makes it a literacy-rich environment. A literacy-rich environment emphasizes the importance of speaking, reading, and writing. It is designed to facilitate language and literacy opportunities. It should surround our students with literacy that expands outside the subject of reading and into all subject areas.

The specific design classroom is dependent on the age of the students.  The following factors can be used as is or modified to meet your student needs. Check them out and see how literacy -rich your classroom is.

Literacy-Rich Classroom Characteristics:

  • Walls that reinforce and grow with students.
  • High engagement literacy activities
  • Heavy focus on application through authentic texts
  • Classroom library with a variety of independent texts
  • Leveled literacy library for small group instruction.
  • Meaningful independent seatwork with a purpose
  • Classroom displays that document learning in progress.
  • Learning resources to support knowledge (word walls, anchor charts)
  • Interdisciplinary viewpoint
  • Literacy centers that reinforce and extend learning.
  • Appropriate homework to apply and practice learning.

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 in the classroom and at home?

Stories and Jokes with Holes

Stories and Jokes with Holes

When you give stories and jokes with holes to your kids you have to teach them to look at them differently.  Teaching them that the nonsense or confusing language they are reading is part of “the trick” will help them to find solutions.

Guide them to look for a word or a phrase that may have more than one meaning.  Check that they understand what the question is asking. Encourage them to reread the story and the question aloud SLOWLY, thinking about each word.  Just knowing that these are “tricky” will help them get in a mindset to figure out the answer.  

Need a little help to get you thinking? Check out the hints listed below.  

Stories and Jokes with Holes Challenges

  1. What has a large mouth but cannot talk?
  2. What 3 syllable word contains all twenty-six letters
  3. What has cities without people, rivers with no water, and forests without trees?
  4. How long would it take someone to cut a log into ten pieces if each cut takes one minute?
  5. Emily bragged about her softball team.  “Three of our ladies hit home runs, and two of those were grand slams.  We won but not a single lady crossed the plate.” How is this possible?
  6. The car salesperson was selling lots of cars last week.  Each day she sold 5 more cars than she did the day before.  How many cars did she sell on the first day? How many cars did she sell at the end of the entire week?
  7. Two teenagers traveled to Tennessee to talk to the governor about voter’s rights.  How many T’s are in that?
  8. What question can you never answer “yes” to?

Answers

  1. A jar
  2. Alphabet
  3. A map
  4. 9 minutes- it only takes 9 cuts. 
  5. All of the players were married.
  6. On the 1st day, she sold 0, 2nd day -5, 3rd day – 10, 4th day 15, 5th day 20, 6th day 25, 7th day 30.  At the end of the first day, she did not sell any cars. Total cars sold in a week was 105.
  7. There are only two T’s in the word THAT.
  8. Are you asleep?

Stories and Jokes with Holes Hints

  1. HINT:  It is an item that can be found in a refrigerator or a cupboard.  
  2. It is a word that many kids learn about in preschool.
  3. HINT: It can help you find your way.
  4. HINT: Try using a chart to solve the problem and include how many pieces are cut each minute.
  5. HINT:  The two words “single lady” is key to the answer.
  6. HINT: Try using a chart to solve the problem and include how many cars are sold each day. 
  7. HINT: Focus only on the question and NOT on the story.
  8. It is something that everyone does every day (usually at nighttime)

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Calendar Dates for June/July

June/July FUN Activities

Just because kids aren’t in school doesn’t mean you don’t celebrate special dates.  Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! 

June Daily Calendar Dates

  • June 3: World Bicycle Day
  • June 5: National Doughnut Day (first Friday)
  • June 8: World Ocean Day
  • June 10: Iced Tea Day
  • June 19: Juneteenth
  • June 20: Summer Solstice/Summer Begins (varies)
  • June 21: Father’s Day (third Sunday)

June Weekly/Monthly Calendar Dates

  • Teacher Thank You Week (first week)
  • National Gardening Week (first week)
  • National Flag Week (usually third week with Flag Day)
  • Dairy Month

July Daily Holidays and Observances

July 4: Independence Day

  • July 4: Independence Day
  • July 18: World Listening Day
  • July 19: National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday)
  • July 23: Gorgeous Grandma Day
  • July 26: National Parents Day (fourth Sunday)
  • July 30: International Day of Friendship

July Weekly/Monthly Holidays and Observances

  • Clean Beaches Week (July 1-7)
  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Make a Difference for Children Month
  • National Picnic Month

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 in the classroom and at home?

Using An Editing Checklist Improves Writing

Using An Editing Checklist Improves Writing

An Editing Checklist is a great tool to help students improve their writing.  By teaching students how to use an editing checklist they will be better able to address their own mistakes while writing. It allows students to revise and edit until it is “just right”.

5 Steps to Use Editing Checklist

  • Tell students the purpose of the checklist.
  • Tell students the best authors use checklists.
  • Provide the checklist at the beginning of the assignment so they can use it through the writing process (pre-writing, rough draft, revising, editing, peer editing, and final copy).  Remind them to go over the checklist prior to the publishing stage.
  • Demonstrate how to use the checklist.
  • Ask students to turn in the checklist with their published list.  This will help them be accountable for the items on the checklist.

Editing Checklist Sample

When I was a K-2 elementary principal we adopted the following checklist to help our students become better writers.  

  1. I have reread my work to make sure it says what I intended to write.
  2. I have checked to make sure my sentences are not too long.  If they are, I have rephrased them.
  3. I have checked to see that I used the correct verb tense.
  4. I have found misspelled words, circled them, and tried spelling them correctly in the margin.
  5. I have checked to see if I used the correct homophone. (there, their, for, four)
  6. I have checked to see if I have used correct punctuation (commas, question marks, periods, quotation marks, apostrophes)
  7. Every sentence begins with an uppercase letter.
  8. I have checked to see that my nouns and verbs agree.
  9. I have indented each new paragraph (new thought per paragraph)
  10. I have used uppercase letters for names of people, places, and proper nouns.

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 in the classroom and at home?

More Effective Special Education Strategies

Effective special education strategies can make a difference.

A new cadre of student teachers start their special education placements this week.  Teaching a classroom of students with a multitude of needs is difficult for the most experienced teacher.  So, for novice teachers, it can be overwhelming. But there are some effective special education strategies that student teachers can add to their toolbox to help meet the needs of their new students. However, since student needs vary widely; flexibility is key.

Check out the list of strategies to try with your students that need support with communication/language, social/emotional growth and physical /motor development. For some kids, the recipe for success may change daily.  Thank you for working so hard to help all kids shine! 

Communication and Language

  • Provide verbal prompts for vocabulary words or responses.
  • Increase complexity of words in language and content.
  • Use letters of alphabet as they come up in real life situations.
  • Allow children to demonstrate understanding in multiple ways (pointing, using visuals, communication boards or devices, own words, pointing.
  • Understand that some children may speak languages other than English (LOTE) and identify and explain patterns of spoken English.

 Social/Emotional Growth

  • Allow calming breaks for focusing (quiet area, place to move, “special helper”)
  • Provide transition sensory support (squeeze ball, sensory items, weighted blankets, seat cushions)
  • Identify and discuss feelings.
  • Support transitions (visual and verbal cues, songs)
  • Consider child’s seating.
  • Model coping feelings
  • Establish one-on-one time for teacher/student meetings.
  • Intervene as needed (resolving conflict, problem solving, making friends)
  • Adjust environment (lighting, noise, materials, soft music, distractions)

Physical/Motor Development

  • Allow extra time.
  • Enhance visual clarity or distinctiveness (special lighting)
  • Ensure accessibility and ease of handling – Talk to Physical and Occupational Therapist for ideas.
  • Provide opportunities for pincer grasp (thumb/forefinger) Gluing, small crayons, picking up small objects.
  • Allow students to explore sensory needs with sensory items (glue, paint, clay, silly putty)

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Special Education Strategies Make a Difference

Special education teaching strategies can make a difference.

A new cadre of student teachers start their special education placements this week.  Teaching a classroom of students with a multitude of needs is difficult for the most experienced teacher.  So, for novice teachers, it can be overwhelming. But there are some effective teaching strategies in special education that student teachers can add to their toolbox to help meet the needs of their new students. However, since student needs vary widely; flexibility is key.

Check out the list of strategies to try with your students that need a different approach to learning, struggle with change or have short attention spans.  For some kids, the recipe for success may change daily.  Thank you for working so hard to help all kids shine!

Vary Approach to Learning

  • Simplify and repeat directions as needed.
  • Sequence learning tasks from simple to complex.
  • Add visual supports and cues (charts, pictures, color coding)
  • Give repeated opportunities to practice skills.
  • Provide immediate, positive, descriptive feedback.
  • Use manipulative and sensory materials that are developmentally appropriate.
  • Offer choices so children can follow interests and strengths.
  • Use concrete material or examples.
  • Be sensitive to schedule changes: time for transitions, reminders of schedule changes, order of activities, length of activities.
  • Provide time to process learning.

Managing Change

  • Develop easy-to-use monitoring tools that are needs-based.
  • Design teaching aids and lessons that are flexible.
  • Add creativity to lessons and homework.
  • Develop lesson plans that can be modified to fit each student.
  • Develop a set of resources and interventions that work.

Short Attention Spans

  • Establish consistent everyday routines.
  • Share ideas with parents to help with homework.
  • Open dialogue with parents to share “what works and doesn’t” at home and school.
  • Set clear expectations for all students.
  • Break assignments into smaller pieces.
  • Add routine breaks into work time to create shorter periods.
  • Use visual and auditory reminders to transition from one activity to another.
  • Develop a reward system for desired behaviors: completing work, class participation, good behavior.

Coming Soon: Strategies: Communication and Language, Social/ Emotional and Physical/Motor Development.

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Mystery Puzzles Make You Think

Mystery puzzles gets kids asking questions

I first gave the 3 mystery puzzles below to my students in the Talented and Gifted program over 20 years ago. Prior to sharing the mysteries with the class, I had to review and review them again to make sure that I REALLY understood them.

The students tried all different ways of figuring out the answers. They talked it out, they drew pictures, they labeled their pictures and they asked questions. Finally, I shared the answers (thankfully, I had an answer key). But the answers did not come easy to most of us and we still had some non-believers in the group.

These are great activities for group work or challenge problems. They certainly will get people thinking.  Have fun friends!

Mystery Puzzles

  1. Soup for All – GG made a big pot of chicken soup and wanted to share it with her neighbors. She filled 3 flowered bowls and gave them to her neighbors– a family of two fathers and two sons.  They all loved the soup!  How could 3 bowls of soup be divided equally and fairly between two fathers and two sons?
  2. Floating Family – Mom and Dad and two kids must cross a lake.  They find a 2-person kayak, but it is not big enough for them all to go over at the same time.  Luckily both kids are good rowers but how can the whole family get across the river? How many times does the kayak cross the lake? (HINT:  Might find it easier to label the kids Kid #1 and Kid #2 to avoid confusion)
  3. The Wolf, the Goat, and the Cabbage – You are traveling through the woods with a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage.  The wolf wants to eat the goat and the goat wants to eat the cabbage and you must keep everyone apart to prevent a disaster.  You come to a river and find a small boat that you can only fit 1 other person. You must get everyone across the river, but you cannot leave the wolf alone with the goat, nor the goat alone with the cabbage.  What is your plan? How many times did you have to cross the river to be successful?

Mystery Story Answers

  1. The neighbors were a grandfather, son, and grandson, so they each got a bowl of soup.
  2. The two kids row across. Kid #1 stays on the other side of the lake alone and Kid #2 brings the kayak back. Kid #2 and mom cross back over the lake.  Mom stays behind and Kid #2 goes back to get dad.  Dad and Kid #2 go back across the lake. Answer: they kayak crosses the lake 5 times.
  3. Take the goat across, go back; and take the wolf across. Then take the goat back with you.  Take just the cabbage back with you and leave it with the wolf.  Go back alone and bring back the goat. It took 7 trips across the river, but the goat was never alone with the wolf or the cabbage.

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Environmental Print Activities

Environmental Print Activities help kids learn to read

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about teaching my granddaughters Environmental Print. Environmental Print is the name given to the print that appears in signs, labels, and logos you see in everyday life. Learning to “read” Environmental Print is an important step in learning to read print. This type of learning helps young children build confidence and transition into the world of reading more easily.

Today, while driving in the car I started pointing out Environmental Print to another granddaughter. Although our trip was filled with signs and logos that she undoubtedly was aware of, it did not engage her interest. Her only focus was when she was going to get to my house.  So, “reading around our town” we will attempt on another day and try some of the ideas listed below. 

11 Environmental Print Activities

  • Grocery Ads – Ask children to read the print in grocery store ads to make a shopping list.
  • Add Real boxes/Labels to Play – Encourage your child to play with real empty boxes and labels.
  • Create a Menu Book – Using any type of notebook or paper create a menu of items your child recognizes by gluing fronts of boxes or labels. Into the menu book.  At mealtime ask your child to choose from the menu to choose what they want to eat.
  • Shopping Helper – Kids can bring their Environmental Print book to the store and try to locate the items on the shelves.
  • Shop your Pantry – Ask your child to get items from your pantry using the brand name or a type of food.  Be sure to show when where the words are on the boxes to help them “read” the words.
  • Cooking in the Kitchen – Using their Environmental Print book they can collect items needed to prepare their meal.
  • Create Environmental Print Book – Print out or cut out logos, box tops, names of stores, school items that are familiar to your child.  If you are printing the items, be sure to use large print and proper coloring.
  • Shopping Photos – Allow kids to take pictures using your phone of items in the store they like.  They can then review the photos and name the products.
  • Road signs – Print out copies of road signs and place around house or an outside space.  Ask kids to pretend they are driving and obey the traffic signs.  A great way to make them “SLOW DOWN” on a busy day!
  • Puzzle Boxes – Cut up the front of boxes (ex. cereal) to make a puzzle and ask kids to put them together. Start with 2 pieces and work up to more pieces depending on the child’s age and skill level.
  • Match Game – Make 2 copies of the word or label and ask kids to find 2 of the same thing.  Variations can be a card game or a memory game.

With a little bit of effort and creativity we can create opportunities for kids to see print and learn to read it.  Sharing Environmental Print with our kids is just one more way we can show how important reading and writing are for life. Happy Reading!

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Stories with Holes Challenge

Stories with Holes make kids ask good questions

Kids love to try to figure out “Stories with Holes”. Sometimes referred to as “one minute mysteries” or “red herring stories, they were one of the favorite activities for my students when I was teaching in the Talented and Gifted programThe stories contain 1 or more “red herrings” which are facts that are “not as they seem”.  Asking questions about facts in the story leads to the evidence needed to solve the mystery.

Take a look at the following stories I found while cleaning out old files. After our 4-6th graders got stumped a few times, they learned to ask the “right” questions. They enjoyed solving the mysteries in group setting and LOVED the competition. To get you started, I underlined the word in the first 2 examples to give you a hint to the solution. No hint for the last 3 stories.  You are on your own. Have fun!

Stories with Holes

  1. If a plane lands on the border of the US and Canada, where are the survivors buried?
  2. An airplane landed in the middle of a school playground. Children were playing all over the playground when it landed but no one got hurt.  How come?
  3. There was a tornado in Oklahoma.  The power went out and the woman went to her basement for cover.  As she was carrying the candles down the old, creaky, wooden stairs, she tripped, and the candles dropped on the stairs.  Why didn’t the stairs catch fire?
  4. Two identical twins (biologically and physically identical) go into a restaurant and each order a cup of coffee.  The contents of the cup are identical. Each twin drinks the coffee and finishes it.  One twin lives and one twin dies.  Why?
  5. A man is in the desert.  In the distance he sees a refreshment stand.  He walks in and says to the attendant, “Please, please, a glass of water.”  The attendant takes out a gun and fires three shots in the air.  The man said, “Thank you,” and left satisfied.  Why did he leave satisfied?

Answers

  1. Survivors are NOT buried.
  2. It was a paper airplane.
  3. The candles were not lit.
  4. The twins are identical twins NOT TO EACH OTHER but to two other people.
  5. The man was satisfied because he had hiccups and the gunshot scared them away.  He was not thirsty.

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 in the classroom and at home?

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April Dates for Classroom Fun

April Dates for Classroom Fun

April dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms. Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

These special days don’t have to be only celebrated at home.  Knowing the days can extend to homes and family activities too.  Aren’t we all looking for ways to make learning at fun everywhere?  After a year of being in the midst of a pandemic aren’t we all ready for some FUN?  

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! If you are ready for even more fun, check out the websites below that list additional holidays and celebrations.  Along with basic information you will find classroom resources and lesson ideas.  ALL FREE!

April Dates: Daily Celebrations

April 1: April Fools’ Day

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, International Children’s Book Day (first Thursday)

April 4: National School Librarian Day

April 11: National Pet Day

April 15: World Art Day

April 16: Wear Pajamas to Work Day

April 20: Volunteer Recognition Day

April 22 Earth Day, Administrative Professionals Day (Wednesday of last full week)

April 23: Take Your Daughter and Son to Work Day (fourth Thursday)

April 24: National Arbor Day (last Friday)

April Weekly Observances

Laugh at Work Week (first week)

National Library Week (April 19-25)

National Volunteer Week (third week)

April Monthly Observances

Autism Awareness Month

National Garden Month

National Poetry Month

FREE Celebration Resources

The Teacher’s Corner

Education World

Calendar at a Glance- National Day Calendar

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Reading Websites (FREE) for Kids

Reading websites keep kids reading

Who does not like the word FREE?  I am always looking for new FREE reading websites for parents and teachers and I have found a few more to share with you. With so many kids learning at home, many parents are looking for additional learning activities for their kids. The sites below are ideal for review, reinforcement and FUN! These websites are not only FREE they are also kid and parent friendly.

5 New Reading Websites

Oxford Owl – After registering for a FREE account as a parent or a teacher you have access to over 250 children’s audio books. The free eBook library has been created to help children aged 3-11 develop their reading skills.

ABCya! – Children can listen to short stories read alound to them as they follow allong with the highlighted text.  There are a variety of educational games that are categorized by grade levels too   Resources focus on grades K through 5. There is a premium service available for a cost but there are many FREE resources available.

Storynory – A great collection of classic, fairytales and original stories.  Students can follow text while the story is read to them. Some of the stories are also translated into different languages.  Great resource for ENL students.

Storyline Online – I love this site.  Developed by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation the site features actors and actresses reading some of their favorite children’s books.  Each story comes with a free Activity Guide and can be viewed on Vimeo, YouTube or SchoolTube.

Read to Me – Similar to Storyline Online, Read to Me features popular children’s books being read by famous performers.  There are activity guides with hands-on ideas, discussion questions, and lesson plans that can easily be adapted for classrooms. The site has been updated to include the Read to Me International Workshop Recordings and Materials. 

Encore Mention

  • Starfall – I have listed this one before, but it is certainly worth an encore mention.  It is used quite often in schools and homes. A premium service is also offered but there are many early reader stories available for FREE. The site is highly engaging and is a favorite of young readers. Activities are available from PreK through Grade 3.

Great resources that allow kids to access pages on their own. 

Happy Reading!

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 in the classroom and at home?

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St. Patrick’s Day Jokes to Make You Smile

St. Patrick’s Day Jokes to Make You Smile

St. Patrick’s Day jokes can make us all laugh! But, there is nothing like it when a child realizes the value of jokes and riddles.  For little ones, after they hear someone tell a joke and watch people laugh, they start “silly joke telling”. Those are the jokes that make no sense, and they wait for you to laugh. Of course, we do, and we will try once again, to explain all about jokes!  For older kids, we enjoy it when we see the look in their eyes, when they “get” the inferences in the jokes. Or the roll of their eyes when they realize you just told them a silly joke!

Jokes are a great way to bond with your kids or grandkids or just to add a little silliness into our lives.  Check out some of the St. Patrick’s Day jokes I dug up from my Principal Files.

After the last year of COVID-19, don’t we all need a few laughs?

St. Patrick’s Day Jokes

  1. What happens when a leprechaun falls into a river?
  2. What’s a leprechaun’s favorite cereal?
  3. What do they call the Irish jig at McDonald’s?
  4. Why do leprechauns recycle?
  5. What does it mean if you find a horseshoe in Ireland?
  6. What did the leprechaun say when the video game ended?
  7. Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day?
  8. What type of bow cannot be tied?
  9. When does a leprechaun cross the road?
  10. How is a best friend like a 4-leaf clover?
  11. They are both hard to find and lucky to have.

And the punchline is…..

  1. He gets wet!
  2. Lucky Charms
  3. A Shamrock Shake
  4. They like to go green!
  5. A horse lost its shoe.
  6. Game clover!
  7. Because they are already wearing green
  8. They like to go green!
  9. A rain-bow
  10. When the light turns green
  11. They are both hard to find and lucky to have.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Friends!

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Dr. Seuss Day 2021 is March 2nd

Dr. Seuss Day: March 2, 2021

Dr. Seuss Day 2021 is also known as Read Across America Day. It is a yearly observance in the USA inaugurated by the NEA (National Education Association) that 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!    

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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 in the classroom and at home?

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Vocabulary Strategies to Help Kids Read

Teaching Vocabulary Helps Kids Read

Vocabulary is one of five core components of reading instruction that are essential to successfully teach children how to read. Vocabulary knowledge is important because it encompasses all the words, we must know to access our background knowledge, express our ideas, and communicate effectively, and learn about new concepts. Since students’ word knowledge is linked strongly to academic success it makes sense for teachers to implement effective strategies to strengthen student vocabulary.  

6 Easy Vocabulary Strategies

Vocabulary Drawings -Vocabulary drawings link a rhyming word with a visual in the form of a student drawing.  Ex. house/mouse.  A student can draw a picture of a house with a mouse on it.

Pre and Post Concept Checks – If your lesson is heavy on vocabulary, this strategy is easy to prepare and works great.

  • Ahead of time, pull out the terms that are most important.
  • Have students rate their understanding of the terms using a rating scale. (know it well, not sure, no idea)
  • By checking the answers by collecting the assignment or circulating through the room, you can adapt lesson accordingly.
  • After the lesson, have students re-rate their understanding by writing an explanation or drawing a picture.

Frontload Difficult Vocabulary -Present the words prior to the lesson and ask students to brainstorm various meanings.  If need be, simply give them the meaning. This is especially successful for students with limited background knowledge and/or ENL students.

Classifying and Categorizing -Classifying and categorizing vocabulary words are important skills for comprehension and application.  One variation is to sort terms with meanings. Another is to give students all the terms and ask them to create categories for groups they created.

Interactive Word Wall -As students learn new vocabulary words, add them to a Word Wall. The Word Wall can then be used to connect learning, using a magnetized board with magnets on the back of the vocabulary words allows for easy movement. See some of the examples below:

  • Choose a word and ask students to use it in a sentence.
  • Choose a word and ask student to name a rhyming word.
  • Find the word that begins with the letter D.
  • Give a definition and have students choose which word you describe.
  • Find all the words that begin with a letter.
  • Find all the words with 3 letters.
  • Ask them to alphabetize a small group of words.

Word Hunt -Prior to reading a passage, ask partnered students to preview the pages and identify any vocabulary words that may be confusing.  This engages them in discussion and teams them to find out the new meanings. 

Expanding a child’s vocabulary helps increase their background knowledge and helps them express their ideas more effectively.

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 in the classroom and at home?

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March Dates for Classroom Fun

March dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms.

March dates are sure to bring lots of fun to classrooms. Calendar dates can help to make days special and opportunities to learn. Special days and observances can be everything from silly to serious and everything in between.

These special days don’t have to be only celebrated at home.  Knowing the days can extend to homes and family activities too.  Aren’t we all looking for ways to make learning at fun everywhere?  After a year of being in the midst of a pandemic aren’t we all ready for some FUN?  

I know I have NOT included every celebration in the list below.  But the list below should get you started with some “hours of fun!”  ENJOY! If you are ready for even more fun, check out the websites below that list additional holidays and celebrations.  Along with basic information you will find classroom resources and lesson ideas.  ALL FREE!

March Dates: Daily Celebrations

March 2: Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, National Read Across America Day

March 4: World Book Day

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 11: Johnny Appleseed Day

March 12: Plant a Flower Day

March 14: National Pi Day, Learn About Butterflies Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 20: First Day of Spring, International Day of Happiness

March 21: World Poetry Day

March Weekly Observances

National Bubble Week (March 14-20)

Act Happy Week (starts on the third Monday)

March Monthly Observances

Women’s History Month

National Nutrition Month

FREE Celebration Resources

The Teacher’s Corner

Education World

Calendar at a Glance- National Day Calendar

 

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

NYSED Resources for Remote Teaching

New York State Education Department has many resources for support remote teaching

New York State Education Department has many resources to support teachers in the classroom.  The problem that I have always had was trying to find them on the site. Although it is a New York site the following links can be used for Remote Teaching in all schools. These resources are also helpful for student teachers who are tackling the world of student teaching that may include a variation of remote teaching.  Check out the sites below.    

Remote Learning Sites

Professional Learning for Teaching Online, SETDA – From the State Ed Tech Directors Association, free resources for educators and administrators to better understand how to teach online.

Tips for Distance Learning with LearningMedia  – In this one-hour virtual learning seminar, PBS master trainers and educators share tips and techniques to support engaging, effective distance learning. Educators of children of all ages are introduced to virtual learning technologies, tools, and hacks to set up a digital classroom with confidence.                              

Learning Keeps Going- Resources for Teachers and Leaders – Resources for, the COVID-19 Education Coalition, a diverse group of education organizations brought together by the ISTE/EdSurge team to curate, create and deliver high-quality tools, resources and support for educators and parents as they keep the learning going during extended school closures.

OpenSciEd (Grades 6-8)

  • Science materials are open educational resources (OER) and are free for anyone to use, share, redistribute, adapt, transform, and build upon for any purpose.
  • A scope and sequence is also available aligned to science standards, as well as other resources.
  • Note: Users register and agree to terms of use science units and unit maps

University of Rochester-Life Sciences Learning Resources for Teachers (Middle School/High School)

These free resources provide a wide variety of ready-to-use lessons that have been field tested with teachers and students from throughout the US with funding from the National Institutes of Health.  The lesson collections include topics in Neuroscience, Cancer Biology, Environmental Health, Kidney Crisis, Stem Cells and many more.  Animations are also available.

Coming Soon: More Remote Resources

  • Professional Learning and Support Resources
  • Instructional Planning Resources Resources
  • Supporting ELLS with Remote Teaching Resources
  • Social Emotional Learning 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 in the classroom and at home?

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Think Aloud Checklist Teaches Kids to THINK

Using a Think Aloud Checklist will help you focus your instruction

Think alouds are one of the best instructional practices to improve student comprehension.  By allowing students to listen to YOU think, they will be able to understand their own thinking.  But, sometimes, you lose track of the number of times you use, or don’t use each strategy.  The Think Aloud Checklist below will help you track and target each strategy.

Think Aloud Checklist

Strategy Think Aloud

Tally Mark for Each Time Strategy Used 

            Cue Words

Predicting

 
  • I predict… 
  • In the next part I think…  I think this is…

Questioning

 
  • Why did…   What did…  
  • How did…  
  • Where was… 
  • Should there…

Visualizing

 
  • I see…  
  • I picture…

Personal Response

 
  • I feel…
  • My favorite part…
  • I liked/disliked…

Clarifying

 
  • I got confused when…
  • I’m not sure of…
  • I didn’t expect…

Summarizing

 
  • I think this is mainly about…
  • The most important idea is…

Reflecting

 
  • I think I’ll… next time. Maybe I’ll need to… next time.
  • I realized that…
  • I wonder if…

Making Connections

  • Text-to-Self
  • Text-to-Text 
  • Text-to-World
 
  • This is like…
  • This reminds me of…
  • This is similar to…
  • If it were me…

Print out the chart above and put in your plan book to track your Think aloud usage.  You will be surprised how many times throughout the day you model for you students good thinking.

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 in the classroom and at home?

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