ThreeRingsConnections’ March 2019 Newsletter

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

Preparing kids to think is what we do as teachers.

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

March 2019 Archives

March’s Most Popular Posts:

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

My Favorite March Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month

  • Is your child ready for kindergarten
  • Kindergarten Screening- What do they test?
  • Kindergarten Readiness Skills
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

New Teacher: Best Resources

7 Best websites to support new teachers

If you're looking for quick tips, easy-to-implement ideas, and practical advice, here are some great resources for new teachers covering a range of topics.
Resources to help new teachers survive the first year of teaching.

A new teacher will face challenges and pressures during their first few years in teaching. However, there are some great resources online. Take a look at the quick tips, easy-to-implement ideas, and practical advice on the following websites. The resources cover a range of topics to help your first few weeks run smoothly and your first year.

7 Websites to Support New Teachers

Edutopia is a trusted source shining a spotlight on what works in education.  The George Lucas Foundation funds the initiative to provide educational resources for educators and parents. The Resources Toolkit for New Teachers contains an array of articles, videos, and other resources that are chock-full of tips and advice.

Scholastic New Teacher’s Survival Guide is posted in monthly installments to navigate the first year of teaching.  Tips on classroom management, curriculum and working with parents are included.

TeacherVision: New Teacher Resources – Everything a beginning teacher needs for a successful year. In addition, the site contains tips for the first day, classroom-management, and lesson plans. 


TeachersFirst –  A  rich collection of lessons, units, and web resource delivered in a user-friendly format.  Sign up is FREE.

The National Education Association (NEA)Teacher Toolkit offers a collection of blogs, videos, and other resources on a range of subjects.  First time users must register.

Teaching Channel New Teacher Survival Guide – includes various resources to support new teachers related to your first year teaching.

U.S. Department of EducationSurvival Guide for New Teachers is written to give research and information on first-year teaching. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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

Kids: It’s time for a “shower of hearts”

Our hearts are ready and we are ready to "Shower Mom and Dad" with hearts!
Our hearts are ready and we are ready to “Shower Mom and Dad” with hearts!

With Valentine’s Day, just around the corner, it’s time to share your love with mom and dad.  So, you say you don’t have any money or a way to get to the store to get them a present?  Not a problem!  You can give them a great present by making them hearts and all you will need is paper, scissors, tape, and something to write with.  So, let’s use our 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and let’s add an H for How are we going to do our hearts project.

  • Who: Kids (young and old) 
  • What: cut out 14 paper hearts with one reason on each of why you love them
  • When: Every day from February 1st through February 14th
  • Where: You can make them anywhere but you are going to tape them on your parents bedroom door.
  • Why:  This is a nice way that you can show them how much you love them.
  • How: Find someone older (like a GG or GPa) than can help you cut out the hearts and add reasons why you love mom and dad.  They can also help you add tape to each heart. You get to be the “heart hanger” and will hang one heart every morning on your parents’ bedroom door starting on February 1st and ending on February 14th which is Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day your heart can say Happy Valentine’s Day! Shhhh! Try to be quiet so they will be REALLY SURPRISED.  They are going to love it!  

Some ideas of what you can say:

  • Because you love me
  • I love you
  • I love it when we play.
  • I love it when we have snack.
  • I love it when we cook.
  • I love it when you let me play on your phone.
  • I love it when we have dance parties.
  • I love it when we go to the movies.
  • I love it when we go on a picnic
  • I love it when you take me to dance class.
  • I love it when you take me to school.
  • I love it when you pick me up at school.
  • I love it when you come to my school.
  • I love it when we have mommy and me time.
  • I love your hugs.
  • I love your kisses.
  • I love it when we read a book.
  • I love it when we take a walk.
  • I love it when we snuggle.
  • I love it when we play ______________.
  • I love it when you make me dinner.
  • I love having breakfast with you.
  • I love it when you tickle me.
  • I love it when we play together.
  • I love it when we go to the store.
  • I love it when we play outside.
  • I love it when we watch TV.
  • I love it when we watch a movie.
  • I love it when we go to a movie.

Shortcut:  Ask an adult to buy some paper hearts at a Dollar Store.


Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic

Your Child’s Vision Should Be Checked

Your child’s vision should be checked.

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

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

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

When should your child’s vision be tested?

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

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

How important are eye exams to learning?

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

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

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

threeringsconnections a website for teachers and parents.
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other resources to support your child’s vision

Vision for Kids

American Optometric Association

ThreeRingsConnections’ Blog Content January 2019

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

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

January 2019 Archives

January’s Most Popular Posts:

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

My Favorite January Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month

See some posts coming next month
  • Calling 911 Needs to be Taught to Kids
  • Kids: It’s time for a “shower of hearts”
  • Historical Dates and Learning: Feb. & March
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

DIY Recyclable Puzzles for Kids

recyclable puzzle

Recyclable Puzzles: DIY

Recyclable Puzzles are simple, homemade puzzles using recyclables.  They are easy to make, FREE and support recycling.  They have become my favorite arts and crafts activity with my grand kids.   

2 Simple Steps:

  1. Choose a front panel of a cardboard box.  I usually use cereal boxes or snack boxes because  the picture is familiar to the kids but any cardboard box will do. 
  2. Allow your young child to cut the front panel of the box into pieces and then have them put the panel back together.  Once the panel is cut up, store the pieces in a Ziplock bag.

Kids love to play puzzles and there are many benefits:

  1. Fine Motor Skills Development
  2. Shape Recognition and Geometry
  3. Eye hand coordination
  4. Reinforces knowledge of environmental print
  5. Practice Problem solving 
  6. Helps to build patience and attention span. 

Recyclable Puzzles: Tips for Success

  1. Remind kids to put completed puzzles away in Ziplock bag (zipped) when finished before another puzzle is attempted.  
  2. When possible keep a second front panel to use as a model.  When that is not available, be sure to take a photo before the box is cut up. In this way, kids can use the picture stored on our phone if they need help.
  3. Use familiar boxes or pictures.  It is much easier reassemble a puzzle when kids know what it “should” look like. 
  4. Number the back of each puzzle with a marker and circle the last number so you know you have the last piece.  How many times have you worked on a puzzle for a long time and found out at the end that you were missing a piece?   
  5. When allowing older kids to make puzzles for younger siblings or cousins, be sure to explain the importance of cutting up fewer, larger pieces.  Great opportunity to teach them about how we all learn.  It’s best to start with something simple when learning something new.   
  6. Ask kids to “autograph” their puzzle creation.  They will love turning the pieces over to put together their names!  

Recyclable puzzles are convenient to make and tons of fun.  Why not cut up some boxes today? 

Other posts related to this topic:
December 8, 2018    Puzzles the Perfect Present: But For Who?

November 15, 2018  Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Puzzles the Perfect Present: But For Who?

puzzles are great to help kids with problem solvingPuzzles, Puzzles Everywhere….

With the holidays around the corner, I’ve started to wrap the grandkid gifts .  As I unearth them from  secret hiding spots around the house, I see  that I have bought a large selection of puzzles.  As a yearlong Christmas shopper, I have discovered that my quest to find the “the perfect gift for a certain grandkid” has left me with a hodgepodge of gifts with too many for one child and nothing for another! Staring at the collection of gifts I wonder ” which grandchild did I buy this perfect present for”? Good thing puzzles are interchangeable “perfect” gifts!

Truth is, I’m a puzzle lover.  Sudoku, Wheel of Fortune or jigsaw, love them all.  As a result, I have discovered that I am also a serious puzzle buyer!  Looking at my grandkids kids gift collection I have all sizes and topics ranging in size from 2 to 1000 pieces. Yes, only 2 pieces in my homemade environmental puzzle for the 2 year old. Puzzles challenge my thinking and exercise my mind.

When assessing students in school, we focused on their social, emotional and academic growth. Now, when choosing toys for my grandkids I try to think of these same areas.  Ok, I admit it, sometimes it’s a real stretch to justify a Pokemon Mega Powers Collection Card Game. But that’s what GG’s are for! However, there’s no stretching with puzzles.  They’re an idea toy that benefits kids and can be lots of fun.

Let’s see the top 6 benefits for kids playing with puzzles.puzzles are great to help kids with problem solving

  1. Problem solving– Children must think and develop strategies on how to solve a puzzle. This This process involves problem solving, reasoning skills and developing solutions. Whether they choose to fill in a puzzle around the frame or from picture clues, it helps children think in a logical way.
  2. Attention Span and Patience -Most puzzles are not done quickly. An interesting puzzle can hold a child’s attention and keep them engaged for hours. Therefore, the challenge of solving or completing a puzzle will help develop patience.
  3. Social– My granddaughters love doing puzzles with us. Working on a puzzle as a team gives many opportunities for talking. Sharing ideas and joint problem solving will help a child work as a team.  Working on a team effectively is one of the qualities that today’s employers look for.  Never too young to build your resume skillset.
  4. Self-esteem– Who doesn’t love the feeling of satisfaction when you finish a puzzle? That feeling helps build a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Two very important life skills to develop.
  5. Fine Motor Skills Development– Puzzles are a fun way for children to develop and refine their fine motor skills. When engaged in playing with puzzles, children are required to pick up, pinch and grasp pieces turning them around until they fit into the puzzle. Fine motor skills are necessary for handwriting and other important achievements. This trial and error of matching pieces also involves a lot of hand and eye coordination.
  6. Shape Recognition and Geometry– In order to complete puzzles, kids need to recognize and sort pieces. For this reason, many first puzzles are shape recognition puzzles.

A Worthwhile Gift

Let’s be honest, grandkid visits change the dynamics of retirement.  My house becomes noisy, a little messier and a lot more fun.  Puzzles have become my” go to” as a grandkid gift for many reasons.  They are fun educational toys that are reasonably priced and challenge my grandkids minds.  They are also easy to store, can be done without adult help, and somewhat quiet!

threeringsconnections.orgOther posts related to this topic

Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00 – November 6, 2018

Math Problem Solving and Young Children  – November 1, 2018

 

 

ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content November 2018

love teaching quote Margaret Sangster

Hi Friends!

All the postings for  November 2018. One Stop Searching!  Enjoy!

Topic Date Post Title
Archives

Threeringsonnections.org.

10/31/18 ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content Sept./Oct.
Grants/Good Deals

 

11/24/18 Scholastic Warehouse Sales
Student Teaching

 

11/10/18 Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9
Math

 

11/1/18

11/3/18

Math Problem Solving and Young Children

 Math Activities for Young Children for Under $10.00 

Literacy

 

11/27/18

 

11/29/18

11/20/18

11/13/18

11/15/18

 

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2

Encouraging Writing for Kindergartners

Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Good Resources 11/6/18 Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00
Gifted Talented/ Enrichment

 

 11/1/18 2-Minute-Mysteries: November
Teaching (General)

 

11/17/18

11/22/18

Understanding is in the Questioning

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2

early language
Great resource that is easy to use

Early Language?  She said what? Verbs, Prepositions and Adjectives… Oh MY.

As an adult in a child’s life we play a major role in helping them learn new words. When helping a young child develop early language, be sure to include different types of words.  Usually, babies and toddlers learn nouns (people, places and things).  However, once your child reaches about 50 common words they will start to say phrases.  You can help expand their vocabulary by adding verbs (actions) adjectives (descriptions) and prepositions (locations). A grammar review for you in one short sentence!  Adding new categories will help your child combine more words to make sentences.

A Google Search of the term “baby’s first 100 words” located almost 24 million hits so it certainly is a topic of interest. The table below includes lists of words by category that most children include in their first 100 words or so. The list is compiled from several sources. I have also added a column for you to add the additional words that your  child may use.

Tip: Make a copy of the table and highlight the words as you hear them over a time period. You may even want color code them relating them to frequency or clarity.

Good Resource that includes speech and language milestones. How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?

threeringsconnections.orgOther posts related to this topic

Reading to Babies?  Why?

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Early Language Development Common Words

Category Common Words Add your own
Social Function more, please, thank you, hi/hello, bye-bye, again, sorry, uh-oh, yes/uh-huh/okay, no/uh-uh, no thank you
Action (Verbs)

 

eat, drink, run, stop, go, kiss, open, shut, jump, walk, sleep/night-night, wash  close, push, pull, fix, play, want, hug, broke, love, hurt, tickle, give (“gimme”), all gone, all done, dance, help, cry, ride, rock, fall, see, watch, look, sit, stand (up), throw, catch, blow, cry, throw, swing, slide, climb, ride, rock, come (“C’mon”), color/draw
Location (Prepositions)

 

updown, in, out, off, on, here, there (Plus later ones such as around, under, behind, over at/after age 3)
Descriptive (Adjectives/Adverbs)

 

big, little, hot, cold, loud, quiet, yucky, icky, scary, funny, silly, dirty, clean, gentle, wet, soft, fast, slow, color words (red, blue, yellow, green, pink, orange, purple, black, white, brown) and quantity words (all, none, more, some, plus early number words – especially 1, 2, 3)
Early Pronouns

 

me, mine, my, I, you, it (Then toward age 3 the gender pronouns such as he, she, him, her)
Nouns

 

People names– Mama, Dada, Names of family members, GG, Gpa, book and TV character names.

Toys: bubbles, ball, car, boat, train, bat, choo-choo, train, book, bike, truck, baby, plane

Outdoors: sunny, rain, moon, star, dark, tree, flower,

Food: bowl, spoon, plate, chip, cracker, cereal, banana, juice, water, milk, candy, apple, cheese, ice cream, cereal (Cheerios)

Animals: cat, dog, bird, duck, cow, bunny, horse, bear, fish, horse, pig, snake, frog, chicken, lion, elephant, giraffe, monkey, butterfly, bee

Clothes: hat, shirt, sock, shoe, diaper, boat, pants,

Household items: phone, house, bed, light, blanket, bath, chair, brush, towel, soap,

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1

Developing early lanugageWhat parent hasn’t questioned their child’s early language development? We are always looking at other kids to benchmark our child’s growth.  It’s normal and we all do it!  As a principal of a K-2 school, a child’s limited vocabulary seemed to be one of a parents’ biggest worries when entering school.

Research says…..

Studies conducted on the importance of vocabulary development certainly helps to heighten our worries.  Research such as:

  • a child’s vocabulary growth is directly linked to his or her overall school achievement [1]
  • the size of a child’s vocabulary in kindergarten predicts his ability to learn to read [2]

WOW, that’s worrisome! However, I, like many other parents didn’t know about the research when my kids were young, and yet my adult children can talk. Don’t get me wrong, my friends and I all worried about their speech.  We got through it by supporting each other by sharing ideas and using common sense. And yes, there was more than one of us who soon thought their child talked too much!

Early Language Development: Top 3 Strategies 

From talking and singing to playing and reading, there are a variety of ways you can nourish early language development in infants and toddlers. Helping children remember the meanings of words and discover the meaning of new words is an important component in early literacy.

  • Talk, Talk, Talk. Yes, it is important to encourage children’s vocabulary development so that they develop the language and literacy skills necessary to succeed in school. However, through everyday conversations and interactions, children can learn unfamiliar words. Use lots of examples and use different more creative words as they get older. Be sure to repeat the words many times in different situations.  Usually, children will understand the word before they can say it or use it in conversation.
  • The key to support your child’s speech and language development is in building language during every day activities. Verbalize what you are doing and try to engage her in conversation about your activities.   A short walk outside will introduce your child to many new words along the route.  Look for new words through your child’s eyes. A good strategy to introduce words is by finding new words through your child’s eyes.  What does he see, hear, smell or touch along the path? Keep the tasting to lunch or a snack when you get home!
  • Engage your child in conversation rather than a “rapid fire” vocabulary activity. Talk about what you have done, doing and are going to do in the future. Follow their lead and don’t “push conversations” when kids are not interested. Slow down and let their talking begin!

Three more early language development activities

  • Sing and say nursery rhymes with toddlers. Be animated with your voice and actions when singing and saying nursery rhymes.  Children will love the actions and it will help them repeat and remember some new words. Prepare yourself  to read stories and nursery rhymes many times and perform multiple encores of songs.
  • Although you may not completely understand everything your toddler says, smile and nod to encourage her to continue talking. Try repeating what he/she says and add some more words for clarification or details.
  • Make games out of picture flash cards to reinforce words. Play hide and seek, find the cat card, turn over the apple, what animal barks. Be silly and have fun!

Reading books helps expand vocabulary 

  • After reading the book, incorporate more open-ended questions into your conversations. This moves your child from naming things/characters in the book to thinking and talking about the story. Ex. why do you think the color of the house is blue??
  • When reading books be descriptive about the language in the book. Discuss the color of the grass or the size of the giraffe.  Although you may read the book multiple times, your conversations can be different.
  • While you are reading, encourage your child to repeat a word for phrase from the book. Sprinkle in “what” questions and add more words.

Final Thoughts:

Expanding your toddler’s vocabulary is all about exposure and fun. Parents are their child’s first teacher and play a major role in helping their child develop language skills.  Start small by setting a simple goal to “language it up” at least one time each day. The bottom line is that by talking, reading, singing and playing with your child, you will see significant growth in their language development.  Sit back and enjoy the journey.

References

  1. Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2010). ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. The Hanen Centre: Toronto.
  2. Rowe, M. (2012). A Longitudinal Investigation of the Role of Quantity and Quality of Child-Directed Speech in Vocabulary Development. Child Development: 83(5), 1762-1774.

threeringsconnections.orgOther posts related to this topic

Reading to Babies?  Why?

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Simon Says: Receptive Language and Toddlersplaying Simon Says helps toddlers' receptive language development

It’s Thanksgiving and the Grandkids Are Coming!  Yeah, now how to keep them occupied?

This year for the first time, I’m going to try to recruit the older ones to lead the younger ones to play a language game. (this is what happens when you retire too early). What game is the easiest to tackle?  Eliminating the 6 month old, I’m going to get the older grands (ages 8, 5, almost 5 and 4)  to teach the two 2-year-olds how to play “Simon Says”.  An opportunity to strengthen everyone’s receptive language skills.

Why Simon Says and Receptive Language?

Since language development hits a critical period from 18 months to 3 years, it’s a perfect opportunity to give our 2’s some quality time to practice following directions under the guidance of their 4 older cousins.  A toddler’s ability to understand the meaning of words and follow directions grows at an amazing pace.  Coupling that with older cousins taking on the role of teachers, this could be an amazing opportunity. I’ll be posting an update, both positives and negatives after Thanksgiving!

Language development is linked closely with following directions. Success in following directions will be a way that we will be able to evaluate our 2-year-olds receptive language development or understanding skills. Generally, a 2 year old’s understanding vocabulary is much bigger than their expressive vocabulary (their talking language.  Each of these 2-year-olds understands hundreds of words thanks to their talkative parents and siblings.  It is generally easier to know if a child’s expressive language is progressing because they are talking! It’s more difficult to know if a child is showing appropriate receptive language (understanding) development.

Receptive Language and Following Directions

In general, toddlers should be able to follow directions of increasing length and complexity showing they are understanding more vocabulary words and concepts. Our game will start with one-step directions since they are the easiest and will help teach the 2’s how the game “Simon (Dec, Con, Meg or Em) Says” is played! (eg., touch your nose, pick up the ball, hold my hand). The directions will increase to 2-3 steps as long as the 2-year olds are engaged and still having fun.  Knowing my grandkids, the game will certainly continue after the 2’s lose interest with the 4 older ones challenging each other with more complex questions.  Who knows, maybe my adult kids will challenge one of their siblings or a spouse to a round of Simon Says! We are a competitive bunch!   I love when the kids come back home!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming Soon!  threeringsconnections.orgBlog Topics:

  • Receptive Language Milestones,
  • Expressive language Milestones,
  • Vocabulary Development in Toddlers

threeringsconnections.orgOther posts related to this topic

Speech language

 

ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content Sept./Oct.

I was recently talking to a friend  about some of the posts on the blog and realized that it would be good to create a Table of Contents for quick access. Yeats quote So here it is!  All the postings for the September and October in a single post. One Stop Shopping!  Enjoy!

Topic Link
Grants Keats (Ezra Jack) Mini-Grant Opportunity

Trips for students from Target Due: Oct. 1st 

Grants for Trips in Hudson Valley

FREE Pet for Pre-K -Grade 9 Classrooms

Student Teaching Student Teacher Characteristics

Student Teacher Refs: Are VIP

Math Numeracy in Early ChildhoodMath Activities for Young Children for Under $10.00

100 Chart for Math

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

Math Problem Solving and Young Children

Literacy Why? Reading to Babies?

Picture Walks Promotes Reading

5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

Concepts of Print Support For Parents

Library Suggestions for Preschool Classrooms

Reading, Writing and Preschool?  Oh MY!

phonological-and-phonemic-awareness-6 (8)

Early Literacy and Common Core in Preschool: How Do they Fit Together in Our Classrooms?

Books Before Kindergarten: 1000?

Good Resources Early Learning Newsletter: U.S. Dept. of Ed.

Magazines: 2 Free for Educators

Best Reading Resources for Teachers

Video Resources Every Kid Needs A Champion

Change Happens… Now What?

Gifted Talented/ Enrichment Mysteries to support critical thinking

Minute-Mysteries: October   

2-Minute-Mysteries: November

Highly-abled students need attention too!

Teaching (General) Add Effective Questioning to Toolkit

Use Your Words Daniel Tiger

3 Words to Help Expression

Fostering Creativity in Kids

Behaviors (7) Predict School Success?

Special Education Resources Fostering Creativity in Kids

Speech Language Pathologists

Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00

What are Fine Motor Skills and why are they important?

fine motor activities kit for toddlers
DIY Fine Motor Activities Kit for Young Kids for Less than $10.00

Fine motor skills are those that involve using muscles which control the hand, fingers and thumb. With the development of these skills, a child is able to complete important tasks such as feeding oneself, buttoning, zippering and writing.  These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of activities.

So this month I decided to create a GG Fun Kit to to strengthen fine motor skills.  As many of you are aware, the kits are my attempt to create unique Christmas gifts for my grandkids.  My goal is for each kit to support learning, be reasonably priced and full of GG/grandkid FUN!  Last month, I created a Math Kit and this month I’m off to the Dollar Store with a $10.00 bill to find materials to support Fine Motor skills.

Fun Activities to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

Materials Activities
pompoms
  • Sort pompoms in ice cube trays by color
  • Pick up pompoms with tweezers and put in ice cube trays
  • Put pompoms into storage containers
beads
  • String beads using wire
  • Roll post its and put through beads
  • Build structure using beads and post its
wire
  • Use clothespins to hang post its, baggies, rubber bands on wire
  • Wrap wire around ice cube trays
small pencil Write with small pencil on small post its
Post its Use to make connectors between beads
Rubber bands Wrap rubber bands around fingers and practice picking up small items
tweezers Use to pick up small items in kit
tongs Use to pick up small to medium items in kit
Ice cube trays (2)
  • Use trays to sort items by color, number and to make patterns
  • Use the bottom of the tray as a geoboard stretching rubber bands over the shape
  • Stretch rubber bands over the trays
Baggies with zippers
  • Store items
  • Use as a container and take out items using tongs or tweezers
Clear plastic containers
  • Use for storage
  • Put hole in lid and put small items from the kit through the hole using fingers
  • Put items from kit through the hole using tweezer or tongs.
clothespins
  • Use to pick up beads, rubber bands, small pencil, post it.
  • Use to hang items on the wire
Plastic cupcake holder with lid
  • Used to store all items in the kit.
  • Ideally one with a handle is best so it can be carried by children.

Math Activities Kit for Young Children for Under $10.00 

Math Activities in a Kit for Less than $10.00

Math Kit Activities for Young Kids
DIY Math Kit for Young Kids for Less than $10.00

The holidays are a few months away and I’m already struggling to find something to get the grandkids.  I don’t want it to be just another gift.  I want something that they will remember came  from me and of course, BE FUN!

Math Activities Kit made by GG! 

So, this year I decided to make “Fun Kits” that would support learning and of course full of GG/grandkid FUN!  I chose to make it portable to travel back and forth between our homes.  I also wanted to keep the cost under $10 so that teachers, parents and other GG’s could make their own! So, off I went to the Dollar Store, full of optimism and a $10 bill to create the perfect Christmas gift.  The Result My First Fun Kit: Math!

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

100 Chart for Math

Concepts of Print Support For Parents

Concepts of Print is important when reading to your child
When reading to your child be sure to include Concepts of Print. This is important to help kids learn to read.

As a teacher and principal, I have shared the importance of reading to  children many times with parents. In our parent surveys, the overwhelming response was that parents read to their children on a regular basis.  However, our kindergarten students did not perform well on the “Concepts of Print” (COP) assessment administered each Fall.  The assessment, created by Marie Clay (1993), includes items to assess a child’s knowledge of both print and written language skills. Knowing how these skills work together helps support learning to read and write. Most of our students understood that a book told a story (that print had meaning), but few had much knowledge of “how print works”.

So what should we do about Concepts of Print? 

As a staff, we decided to share the COP assessment finding with parents at the Kindergarten Orientation in May. We showed parents how to read a story to their child and how they could informally add a few COP skills to their reading routine. We explained that by showing their kids the parts of the book, letter/writing concepts and how to read a book during their daily reading with their child, they could help support their child’s reading progress.  The results were amazing!  The new Kindergarten students scored 50% higher than the three previous years of the fall COP administration. That was only 3 months after sharing the information with parents!

What did we learn about our Concepts of Print trial?

Our results reminded us of two important concepts about parents, kids, and reading.  First, parents are their child’s first teacher; so, let’s show them ways to help be successful. Secondly, kids are like sponges, absorbing information from the world around them.  Why do we wait to teach COP skills until Kindergarten?

Parent Pointers: Concepts of Print and Reading to Your Child

Point to the Following Parts of the Book

  • Front and back of the book.
  • Binding.
  • Top and bottom of a picture.
  • Title Page.
  • Author’s Name (define that the author writes the book).
  • Illustrator’s name (define that the illustrator draws the pictures).

Show How to Read a Book

  • A sentence is read from left to right.
  • Pages are read from left to right.
  • Point to each word while you read.
  • Read pages from left to right.
  • A story has a beginning and end.

Words and Writing  in Books: Basics

  • A capital letter is at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Words and sentences have capital letters and lower case letters.
  • Point out 1 word in a sentence, Point out 2 words.
  • Point out that a word is made up of a group of letters.
  • A comma explains to the reader  that it tells the reader to pause or slowdown.
  • There are punctuation marks at the end of a sentences (period, question mark, exclamation mark) Explain that the marks tell the reader how to read.

Research: Clay, M. M. (1993). An observation survey of early literacy achievement. Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912.

Other posts related to this topic

Why? Reading to Babies?

Picture Walks Promotes Reading

Speech Language Pathologists

As a building principal for many years, I had the pleasure of working with National Hearing Month many classroom teachers and special area teachers.  There was not a day that went by that I didn’t learn something from one of them!  One group of teachers that I found to be an amazing source of information was the Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). Our SLPs were exceptionally helpful in our school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) process.  As part of our RTI process, they worked to find different ways to include language interventions to strengthen student skills.  Collaborating with classroom teachers they were able to explain a child’s limitations based on testing and suggested interventions.  Partnering with parents they explained test scores, program   recommendations and shared progress reports.

Thank you, Holly and Connie!

The 2 sites below are good resources to support teachers, parents and caregivers looking for information on any speech concerns.  Both are active sites with the Main Page having multiple links and search engines to ask specific questions.

Helpful Links

American Speech Language Hearing Association

National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDC)