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.
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:
eye movement skills
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.
Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Teaching your child how to call 9-1-1.
911, I wondered. Recently I passed our local fire department and saw their notification board with the question “Does your child know how to call 911?” I wondered if my grandkids knew how to use 911 in an emergency? So, just to be sure I put together a post to help parents have the information easily accessible to them. Knowing what to teach your child about 911 is essential to ensure they use it properly and do not call 911 unnecessarily. Teaching children how to use 911 is crucial and could save lives.
When to Call 911
Teach kids that a 911 emergency is when someone needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger. Help your child understand that major things like fires, seriously injured people and intruders in your home are real emergencies and things like a missing toy or a flat bike tire are not.
They should call 911 if:
there’s a fire
someone is unconscious
after an accident, drinking too much, or an overdose of pills or drugs
someone has trouble
breathing, like during an asthma flare-up or seizure
someone is choking
they see a crime
happening, like a break-in, mugging, etc.
there’s a serious car
How to Call 911
Call 9-1-1 if you think you have an emergency and explain the situation to the dispatcher.
Make sure your kids know that the emergency operator that answers the phone will ask them questions about the emergency and it’s OK to share information.
Stress that they should call 9-1-1 AFTER they are in a safe place.
Explain to your child that it is important to stay as calm as possible so they can give information to the 911 dispatcher and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. So the operator can understand all their important information.
Helpful Tips to Teach Your Child 911:
Never say “nine eleven.” There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say “nine-one-one.”
Calling 9-1-1- is very important. Never call it unless it is necessary. Calling 9-1-1 as a joke, might slow down the emergency help from getting to someone who really needs it. They should also know that people who call as a joke can also get into trouble. But if they call 9-1-1 by mistake, don’t hang up. When the dispatcher answers, tell him/her that they made a mistake and that there is no emergency.
Post your address near the phone or in a place everyone has access (i.e. memo board, refrigerator, etc.) and be sure the kids know where it is and how to read it. If you live in an apartment building, make sure your child knows the apartment number and floor you live on.
Once your child knows how to use 9-1-1, practice different scenarios to make them more familiar with the concept without frightening them.
Let’s face it, as grandparents most of us just don’t have the same energy levels we had when our kids were young. So, when the grandkids are coming to visit, I plan an “Energy Defense” strategy. If you’re wondering what that is; it is the 3 Ps: Plan, Plan, and Plan. You love to have them visit and want them to have a good time, but you also want to enjoy the time with them. Out of necessity, I’ve figured out a plan that works for me. I call it my 9-point Energy Defense Strategy. Take a look, maybe some of the ideas can work for you. Good Luck! :
Planning an Energy Defense
Start your list – Make a list of things that you THINK they MAY want to do.
Get ideas from the kids – Before their visit, ask them if they have activities that they want to do so you can get ready. IF they come up with new ideas after they arrive, do them if you can. If not, tell them you’ll add it to the list of things to do the next time they visit.
Over plan – Don’t be surprised to find out that it wasn’t enough. Kids are full of energy and fly through activities.
Gather materials – Prep the materials you need so they are “ready to go”.
Know your Energy level – Pacing yourself will help you get through the day. The trick is to get the grandkids to Think they are choosing everything and not that their choices impact your pacing method.
Label by Energy Levels – Think of activities as if sorting into 3 Energy (E) buckets: active, quiet and solo activities.
Active – activities that you need to be involved in. Either to teach, play or manage.
Quiet – activities they can do with you but do not need active involvement. Playing a game, reading together, talking, watching a show.
Solo —activities are things they can do alone, and your hands-on assistance is not needed. Ex. coloring, drawing, independent play.
Order of activities – In your planning, keep in mind a good balance of your E buckets. Try giving them 2 or 3 choices of possible activities which gives them ownership in the planning.
Mealtime – It never fails that I don’t seem to have the right food in the house for whichever child visits. One child only eats white bread, one only brown, one only eats meat, one only pasta, one only juice that’s watered down and one only water. I try to get it right, but I haven’t yet achieved 100% (not even close) mastery on this objective. It’s a “work in progress”.
Set Morning and 3 o’clock snack times – Setting a “snack time” helps to hold off their hunger until the next meal and decreases the amount of “grazing all day”. Morning snack time can vary but 3 o’clock snack has been set in stone since my kids were small. As a multi-tasking mom, I set a time to have “uninterrupted mommy and kids time”. Now, just the name has changed to “GiGI and grandkids time”. It also serves as a built-in quiet activity to rest up for our next adventure. Oh, how life has changed!
20 Activities Planned and Unplanned for a 7-hour visit with 3 of my grandkids (sorted by bucket level)
Shared reading of Thomas Edison biography. Child reads a page and I read a page. (Q)
Math problems (A)
Basketball outside (A)
Matchbox cars (independent play) (S)
Play Jenga and teach 4-year-old how to play the game. (A)
Mazes in coloring books (Q)
Make a bear using paper plates. (Q)
Find videos online of Grizzly bears, brown bears and panthers to watch. (You Tube and zoos have great sites). Be sure to watch videos before child to avoid any unpleasant animal behavior. (Q)
Identify the birds at the bird feeder. Try to identify the bird by researching on the computer. Talk about size of head, beak, coloring, eating. (A)
Watch baby polar bear video at the zoo and talk about mammals (Q)
I also am a big believer that watching a show, or a singalong show is not a bad thing while kids eat. I consider it to be “lunch or dinner theater”. I give them 3 GiGi “chosen and approved” options and ask them to choose one. Sometimes they must take turns being the “remote boss” to get any agreement on a show. (Q)
Hide and seek (A)
Independent play with baby dolls. (S)
Play musical instruments and put on a show. (A)
Create a parachute for an action figure and drop from different heights. (A)
Science Experiment: “How many pennies can fit in an aluminum foil boat before it sinks?” (A)
Science Experiment: “How can we get a paperclip to float?” (A)
“Bucket Overflowing”: System Is Not Perfect
Be prepared that your buckets may overflow and that the kids may not like all your planned activities. Kids change every day along with their likes and dislikes. If your planned activities are not a big hit one day, recycle the idea for the next visit. That also works if you had great success with an idea. Why invent the wheel? Maybe they’ll ask to do it again their next visit.
When they leave, it’s time to sit back and think about the great day you had together. Of course, with your feet up. I love being a GiGi!
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!
On a recent vacation, I participated in a “Battle of the Sexes” competition and went head to head against my husband. Unfortunately, I lost the speed test of pulling tissues from a box. Ladies, it’s all in the wrists; which I learned too late. Please learn from my mistakes.
However, I did make it to the finals where the challenge was a race to sing songs without repeating a song already performed in the round. So, while the guys were thinking of current songs, I channeled my inner Kindegarten teacher and broke into kid songs! Isn’t it amazing how you can remember all the words to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, but you can’t remember where you put your keys? Who won? Sorry guys, but you can’t go wrong with singing kids songs!
What kid songs should I sing?
This event reminded me that when my first grandchild was born, my son told me he didn’t know any songs to sing to the baby. I reminded him of the nursey rhymes, Christmas songs, Irish songs and kid songs we sang together when he was little. Armed with a musical repertoire, he was ready in case a song or two was needed to soothe his son.
Here’s a quick A to Z list of kid songs
If you too need to have a few kids songs on hand, here’s a quick A to Z list of songs to jog your memory. You will see some “author creativity” in songs that start with G, Q, U, V, X, Y and Z since there were not many choices. (or maybe ones that I could remember!) Don’t afraid to be creative when you are stuck! Include your child’s name or something they like to do and your kids will love it!
Clap Hands, Clap Hands
Do Re Mi
Eeensy Weensy Spider
Five Little…. (monkeys, ducks)
GG and Gpa (sing to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”) GG and Gpa are so much fun Playing and dancing Until the day is done Singing, laughing loving me We’re as happy as can be
If Your Happy and You Know It
Jack and Jill
Koala Bear Turn Around
London Bridge is Falling Down
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Nick, Nack, Paddy, Whack (This Old Man)
Old McDonald Had A Farm
Pop Goes the Weasel
Q is for Quiet Please (sing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”) Quiet Please, Quiet Please Kids are in the school Singing, learning, having fun And Learning the Golden Rule
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Skip to My Lou
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
U is for Unicorns (sing to the tune of” Old McDonald”) Unicorns are so much fun Oh yes, they are. And in the air they fly around Oh yes, they do! they have a long horn, they have 4 legs pretty colors and a shiny mane Unicorns are so much fun Oh yes, they are!
V is for Violin (sing to the tune “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”) Play, play, play a tune, on your violin. Meg is doing a really good job. Play it once again.
Wheels on the Bus
X is for X-ray (sing to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) X-ray starts with letter X, Letter X, Letter X. X-ray starts with letter X, X, X, X, X!
Yo Yo’s Are Fun (sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Your Boat”) Yo Yo’s are lot of fun Won’t you play with me Wrap the string Drop it down Pull it up again.
Kids songs are a fabulous learning tool
Be prepared because we all know that little kids love repetition. When you have heard “Five Little Ducks” or “Let it Go” for the hundredth time; try to remember that repetition encourages the use of words and memorization and that’s a good thing! Happy Singing!
Commuters coordinate their travel to the minute, to maximize efficiency. If you are traveling to NYC from Dutchess County, you certainly don’t want to make the 2-hour train rides any longer! However, if you are a 4 and 5-year-old going to your 1st NYC show, you wake up 3 hours before the train departs and are ready to go 30 minutes later.
The anticipation of a “bubble show” would be obvious but adding in their first train ride raised the enthusiasm to a fever pitch. My daughter packed their backpack for the long haul that included bagels, donuts, juice pouches, yogurt covered raisins, candy, ring pops and 2 coffees for GG and GPa. We were prepared, just in case there were no food/snack stores in NYC.
Train rides and princesses
As the train traveled south to the city, the girls marveled at things that probably go unnoticed by the daily commuter. First boat sightings were greeted with delight but soon became common place. Seeing a quarry, a train breezing past them, and a train on the western shore of the Hudson all generated a myriad of questions and conversations. The castle on Bannerman Island of course brought up the “obligatory” daily conversation about a princess. No, I don’t think one lives there but yes, I don’t know for sure!
Hopping in a taxi at Grand Central to get to the theater brought out questions of “why” we had to hop into the taxi and why couldn’t we just walk? Just get in the taxi and yes, if you want to hop you can! After the show, we called an Uber rather than hailing a taxi to be sure we did not miss the next train. I was surprised that “hailing a taxi” did not lead to a discussion on the weather, nor did the idea of “catching a train”.
No Carseats on Train Rides?
Our trip included train rides, a taxi ride and an Uber ride. Their excitement was boundless since each mode of transportation came without car seats. When you are 4 and 5 years old, this is a big deal! Their energy was “puppy-like” like a puppy without a leash. If they had tails, they would have been wagging! A formal apology goes out to my daughter since she will be dealing with the “why” car seats are the law but not on a train, taxi or Uber. I’m sure she will have curbed their “car seat free” enthusiasm by the time we see them next. An advantage of being a GG.
Tall buildings. lots of people, and taxis was a new experience for the girls. For their city-living cousins (8, 4 and 2) NYC was home and managed it without a blink. The girls followed their experienced cousins up and down escalators maneuvering through the crowds with confidence with their “city cousins” always in sight. Not to be followers the entire trip, they were the “big cousins” to their 2-year-old New Jersey cousin who loved holding their hands and being one of the girls. Looking at them I imagined them 20 years older going to NYC for a “girls’ day”. This is the stuff that makes a GG smile.
Return Trip to Poughkeepsie
The train ride home was much different. They lamented on the long ride and why Poughkeepsie was the very last stop and questioned our choice of hometowns! On each of the last 5 stops they wanted to get off with the other riders. After explaining that our car was at the Poughkeepsie station, the youngest one suggested that we just call Uber again and he could bring us to our car. Another explanation of Uber as a service. and not our driver’s name ensued.
Giggles set in around Tarrytown, possibly a result of boredom and/or the Mike and Ike candy! They also discovered their dislike for Sweet Tarts and that they indeed were not sweet. A discussion of renaming them Sour Tarts and writing the company was discussed and dismissed. Instead they chose to just eat them and make “sour faces” which brought on a serious case of the “giggles”.
Still stalling for time as the train made its way to Poughkeepsie, we talked about other types of transportation that might be faster than the train to get us up and down to the city. How surprised was GPa to learn from the girls that our next trip to NYC we were going by helicopter or a submarine and that it was GiGi’s idea. That’s not what I said! An explanation of a “bucket list” ensued and now we have helicopters and submarines in our buckets. I also convinced them to add a plane or a boat ride to their bucket lists, since they certainly were more probable.
When the train arrived at 3:50pm at the Poughkeepsie station we transferred them to their mom and dad and waved good bye. As we headed home, we let out a collective sigh of exhaustion. We had lots of fun with all the grandkids but for this GG and GPa, it was time for a nap.
For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed by their teachers historical knowledge!
American Heart, Black History, and National Dental Health Months
February 2 Groundhog
February 5 Chinese
New Year- Year of the Boar
February 11 Thomas
Edison born (1847)
February 12 Abraham
Lincoln born 1809 (16th president)
Mary Poppins was the first movie that I saw in a movie theater. To a 5-year-old, Mary Poppins was the happy, singing, magical figure dancing on a giant theater screen. Along with movie popcorn, I vividly remember holding my dad’s hand walking home from the movie that afternoon. What a memory!
Who is Mary Poppins and why is she returning?
So, when I saw that Mary Poppins Returns was being filmed, I wondered how I was going to adjust to a new Mary Poppins. After all, could anyone be as “Practically Perfect” as Julie Andrews? In my eyes, probably not, but for my 4 and 5-year-old granddaughters they were excited to go to another Saturday matinee. For me, it could be a life changer.
As we talked about going to see the new movie, I shared with them my love for the original and how much their mommy loved the movie when she was little. I was thrilled when they asked to see the “old” Mary Poppins movie. Now, what die-hard Mary Poppins fan would not have their own copy of the movie on CD? So, that afternoon, my husband and I sat down with the girls to introduce them to “Mary and Bert”.
So much fun through a child’s eyes
The 2+ hours had many surprises for us all. The fact that both my husband and I could sing some of the songs “practically” perfect was a surprise to us and shocked the girls. Their eyes darted between the screen and us, watching and laughing that we sang along and even added some dialogue. My husband’s demonstration of jumping into an imaginary chalk sidewalk picture brought on a case of the giggles for us all! Little kids see such fun in little things!
Mary Poppins magical presence and adventures through the streets of London, horse races on carousel horses and tea parties on the ceiling added to the countless “how did she do that?” questions throughout the movie. It was interesting to see the girls question the unrealistic things in the movie but not question when fish talk underwater in their favorite cartoons. Perhaps they know cartoons are fake but people who look real in movies, even though they are doing magical things, makes them question reality? Not sure, but I loved seeing their amazement.
Did they really understand Mary Poppins?
Did they get the Mary Poppins message to reach for their dreams or to look past what they see on the outside to see the good in all of us? I would say no. Did they enjoy 2+ hours of fun with their grandparents? Absolutely! That afternoon we did not experience the magic at 17 Cherry Hill Lane but there was magic in our house when our granddaughters met Mary Poppins.
Could Mary Poppins Returns be as good as the original movie?
Did we go to see Mary Poppins Returns? This past Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I took the 2 girls to see Mary Poppins Returns. It took a few minutes for the girls to realize that there were different people playing the roles and lots of whispering to explain the differences between the movies. But, we all loved the new movie (yes, even me!). It was fun, made us smile and an experience I will never forget.
However, the best outcome was hearing the girls singing in the back of the car, Let’s Go Fly A Kite from Mary Poppins (1964) on our ride home. Sorry Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, you both were great, but sometimes the original movie is simply more than “Practically Perfect”!
Time to create a Toddler DIY Activities Kit because …. there is a baby on the way!
When our new granddaughter arrives next month she will be our 8th grand child with the oldest grandchild being only 8 years old. Yes, we have a busy house when they all visit! Upon her arrival, she will be welcomed by her very excited 2 year old sister. Although my daughter- in -law has done a great job preparing Little Miss L for her new sister; I’m sure there will be times when an extra set of hands will be helpful. So how can I lend a helping hand when I live 2 hours away?
Toddler Activities for Less Than $10.00
So this month I decided to create a GG Fun Kit to provide fun, quiet activities that Miss L can play with independently. Hopefully, the activities will keep Miss L busy and give my daughter- in- law a few minutes to take care of the new baby or enjoy a well-deserved cup of tea. As in my previous learning kits, my goal is to make them reasonably priced, easy to duplicate, and filled with fun activities to keep kids engaged. Usually, my kits are created to be done with your child. However, the focus this month is to find materials and activities that Miss L can do alone. So with $10 in hand, I’m off to the Dollar Store.
Busy Toddler Activity Kit
Sort pompoms in ice cube trays by color Pick up pompoms with tongs and put in ice cube tray. Put pompoms into containers, baggies
Crayons and color-ing sheets
Individual coloring sheets ((5) are folded in kit. Let child color one coloring sheet at a time
Hour glass timer
Watch how the sand can do back and forth. Can be used to remind children to complete a task.
Write with small pencil on small post its
Twist to make jewelry Twist to connect
A pack of picture cards (any)
Sort pictures by color, picture, back or front of the
cardLine up the cards in a straight line.Toss the cards in the lid of the container
Different types of paper: post its, different colors, sizes
Encourage them to draw pictures for different peopleHang artworks throughout the house
Use to pick up small to medium items in kit
Ice cube trays
Use tray to sort items by color, number and to make patterns
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 tongs.
Use to pick up pompoms, pencils, paper.
Plastic cupcake holder with lid
Used to store all items in the kit. Ideally one with ahandle is best so it can be carried by children.
In Eastern cultures, a double rainbow is considered a sign of good luck. To leprechaun believers, they know that the leprechauns left his pot of gold for those that believe. Lastly, In the Bible (Genesis 9) a rainbow is part of Noah’s story in which God promises never to create another destructive global flood. Overall, a double rainbow is pretty special! T
For my science friends…because I know you want to know how this happens. Here’s the scientific info on double rainbows in 10 easy (sort of) steps:
In a single rainbow, sunlight spreads into a spectrum of colors from red to violet. But in a double rainbow, the colors are inverted, with red appearing on the inside and violet on the outside.
All rainbows require the presence of the sun and rain in order to form. The sun must be to the viewer’s back and the rain must be falling ahead of the viewer.
As sunshine breaks through the clouds and beams towards the raindrops, some of the light encounters the raindrops and bends – this process is called refraction.
When the light refracts, the process causes the sunlight to separate into different wavelengths. These different wavelengths correspond to different colors: red and orange correspond to longer wavelengths, while blue and purple correspond to shorter wavelengths.
The refracted lightwaves then bounce – or reflect – off of the circular edge of the raindrop, and then they refract again as they exit the raindrop and travel through the air.
Because raindrops are relatively round when the sunlight refracts through them, the visual result is a spherical arc that soars all across the sky.
Double Rainbow- How Did that Happen?
The first and brighter rainbow is called the primary rainbow. This rainbow is created by the process described above,and only requires the light to reflect off the raindrop once before refracting out of the raindrop.
The second and more faint rainbow is called the secondary rainbow. It occurs when refracted light does not escape the raindrop afterbeing reflected the first time. Instead, the refracted light reflects off the raindrop’s surface a second time as well, producing a secondary rainbow with its colors reversed compared to the primary rainbow.
Fewer light rays are available to undergo the additional refraction process, so the resulting secondary rainbow appears less vivid.
To all my blog friends: I wish for you a Double Rainbow 2019 filled with luck, fortune and sunny days!
The importance of learning sight words is that it will help your child’s reading accuracy and fluency. Sight words are the most common words found in reading. They appear on almost every page in a book; especially in early reader books.
It is important for beginning readers to practice reading sight words. They usually don’t follow any phonics rules which means that kids will not be able to “sound them out”.Having this instant or automatic recall of sight words helps early or beginning readers develop into smooth and efficient readers.
The fun part of teaching sight words is that kids can learn the words by playing a variety of games. The more exposures to the words the quicker they will learn them and be able to identify them in books. All you need is a list of sight words, some dedicated parent/child time to review and some activities to make the learning fun.
9 Sight Word Games for Kids
Fly Swatter Game – Using a blank BINGO card, add some of the sight words. Give your child a fly swatter (or something similar) and when you read a sight word, have them “swat” the word. Parent advisory, kids are going to really hit the word, so stand back and try not to laugh! When I taught Kindergarten and first grade, I played a variation of this game where 2 children raced to “swat” the word on the whiteboard. Flying fly swatters!
Roll a Sight Word – Child rolls a die and then finds a word from the master list of sight words with the same number of letters that came up on the die. Child can write the word on a piece of paper or just say the word. Add some fun to the activity by allowing the child to say the word with some voice changes (yell, whisper) or allow them to do an action (stand up, turn around) while they tell you the word Be creative and have fun.
Sight Word Writing – Draw the sight word in play dough, sand or salt with a pencil, spoon or a finger. Young children love to “sweep” the word away with a small paintbrush. Another variation is to write the words on a blackboard with a paintbrush using water. After writing the words they can be brushed away or will evaporate (a Science lesson too!)
Sight Word Magnet Race – Cut out the sight words and add a paperclip. Spread the sight words on different surfaces and use a magnet under the surface to move the sight words. Two people can race to move a sight word across the paper to a finish line.
Memory– Make 2 copies of the sight words, cut them out and choose 10-12 words. Taking both copies off the word, turn them over and have your child keep turning over cards until a sight word match is made. This can be done taking turns or the child can do the game by themselves.
Sight Word Jars – Make 1 copy of the sight words and cut them into slips ad put them in a jar or dish. Choose a word and ask your child to find the word and say the name aloud.
Find the Sight Word -When reading with your child, have them find sight words in the book. Once they notice the word, they can make a special movement (touch nose, hand up) Finding sight words in books helps kids see the connection between reading and oral language. I
Sight Word Basketball – Ask your child to read a certain number of sight words (# is your choice). When they read the words then allow then to shoot a basket. No, you don’t have a real hoop. Anything that is unusual will do. Throwing a pair of socks into a laundry basket works great.
Simple Sight Word Bingo – Create sight word BINGO cards by adding sight words to the BINGO card template (DLTK’s Custom Bingo Cards). Print out sight word BINGO cards by using the word list below and the DLTK site and you have free, simple to make cards that can be randomized for multiple cards. B-I-N-G-O !
Dolch Sight Word List has them all!
The Dolch Sight word list includes the most common 220 words and 95 nouns encountered in children’s books. The Dolch word list resource below is organized a few different ways: Alphabetically by grade, by frequency by grade, and in some cases by frequency combined. This provides you with several different ways to conduct Dolch word list practice in your classroom or at home. The Dolch Website has many activities to use in your classroom or at home.
I planned to spend the day before Thanksgiving with my 5-year-old granddaughter making a Thanksgiving Turkey craft. When she arrived that morning she immediately asked about the crafts and I realized I had forgotten to go to the craft store. Well, this certainly was going to stretch our creativity.
After looking through boxes of decorations, she decided that a straw pumpkin and some Easter eggs would be perfect to make a turkey. Honestly, I had my doubts, but back we went to the kitchen to make a turkey!
Good News: Well, she did it. Her basic idea was to make the pumpkin the turkey body and to somehow use the colorful eggs for the feathers. Adding some paper plates, glue and some color, our turkey “Lila” was created.
Bad News: On the way home in the car, “Lila” the turkey got squashed and needed to be repaired. She was devastated.
Good News: Miss M brought the broken “Lila” back to our house and we glued her back together again. Miss M asked me to bring “Lila” to Thanksgiving dinner, so she wouldn’t get squashed again in her car. Great faith in GG!
Bad News: On the way out the door to Thanksgiving dinner, I left “Lila” on the kitchen table. Once again Miss M was devastated. Uggh! So much for trusting me.
So, after all that work, “Lila the Turkey” never made it to Thanksgiving.
Good News: Wanting everyone to meet “Lila”, Miss M decided to add some Christmas decorations to her. An additional plus to her plan was that since Christmas was at my house, we were pretty sure Lila would make it to the holiday table.
Good News: While others were singing about a “Partridge in a Pear Tree”; at our house we were singing about a “Turkey on our Christmas table”!
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:
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.
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:
Fine Motor Skills Development
Shape Recognition and Geometry
Eye hand coordination
Reinforces knowledge of environmental print
Practice Problem solving
Helps to build patience and attention span.
Recyclable Puzzles: Tips for Success
Remind kids to put completed puzzles away in Ziplock bag (zipped) when finished before another puzzle is attempted.
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.
Use familiar boxes or pictures. It is much easier reassemble a puzzle when kids know what it “should” look like.
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?
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.
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?
Welcome to the first month of threeringsconnections.orgMonthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I will post some Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3. I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.
Which Strategies Will You Use?
When solving math problems try one of the 6 common strategies listed below:
Draw a picture
Guess and Check
Use a table or list
Find a pattern
Working backwards (try a simpler version first)
Math Enrichment Problems – Here we go!
Teagan’s brother is now 8 years old, two years ago she was old as he is now. How old will Teagan be in 5 years?
Declan spent 18.00 on baseball cards. This is twice as much as Meghan and Lowyn spent together. Meghan spent $4.00. How much did Lowyn spend?
Marian, Cole, Kelly and Donna were invited to a party. Marian did not arrive last. Kelly arrived after Cole but before Donna. Kelly did not arrive right after Cole. Of the 4 of them Marian was the ____ to arrive.
Abby bought as many 24-cent hair ribbons as she could with her $5. How much change did Abby receive.
Matt has 35 quarters in his collection. If he puts 7 quarters in each row, how many rows of quarters will he have?
Chris is Kelly’s brother. Chris has one brother. Kelly has twice as many sisters as brothers. How many children are in the family?
Connall eats breakfast at 6am and lunch at noon. When it is ____ it is twice as much time until lunch as it has been since breakfast. a) 7am b) 10am c) 8am d) 5pm
Math Enrichment Problems- Answers:
Teagan is now 10 and in 5 years she will be 15 years old.
Half of $18 is $9.00. Meghan spent $4. Lowyn spent $9 – $4 = $5.00
2nd. Kelly had to be 2nd or 3rd (after Cole but before Donna),. Since Kelly did not arrive right after Cole, Cole arrived first, Kelly 3rd and Donna last. That leaves Marian to arrive 2nd.
She bought 20 ribbons 20 X .$24 – $4.80. $5.00-$4.80 = $.20.
35-7= 28-7 = 21-7 =14-7 =7-7 =0 there will be 5 rows 0f 7 quarters.
If Chris has one brother than Kelly has tow brothers. Since she has twice as many sisters as brothers. Kelly has 4 sisters. In the family there is a total of 7 children. The seven children are Kelly’s 2 brothers + her 4 sisters + Kelly.
c) 8am is 4 hours from noon and 2 hours from 8am
Try some of the problems today with your child. Once solved, create for them a similar problem by changing the numbers. This gives them an opportunity to try the problem again to reinforce their new skills. This strategy helps them solve the problem easier each time which will build their math confidence. Enjoy!
When I was a classroom teacher, I found the first week of December a very busy time. First quarter Parent Conferences were over, and parents were ready to support their child’s strengths and weaknesses. For those students with high math ability I recruited parents to encourage their child to try the Math Enrichment Fun Center (MEFC). The center had 12 more advanced math problems. I found some kids were hesitant to try the center due to fear of failure. Once students finished the 12 problems in the MFC, they were able to bring the problems home to share with their parents.
Math Fun Centers (MEFCs) for Everyone!
Five years later when I became the school’s teacher of the Talented and Gifted program, I made Math Enrichment Centers for all the grade 2 and 3 regular education classrooms. They were made with a large trifold board with 12 library pockets with a problem in each. The MEFCs became quite popular and teachers loved having the center available. Each month I replaced the problems with a new set. Because good resources never get old, I reused the problems again as a K-2 principal when I offered Enrichment Math to second graders!
This month I’m starting a Monthly Math Enrichment post that will include Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3. Please check out my post on December 15rh titled Math Enrichment Dec. Grades 2-3 .
4 Reasons Why Math Enrichment Will Benefit Kids
Improves Problem Solving – Enrichment problems can benefit students that excel in classroom math and want to deepen their mathematical understanding. It allows them to explore different strategies to strengthen their problems solving skills.
Reduces Stress– Enrichment problems extend your child’s math skills without the added pressure of grades or comparing themselves with other classmates. Practicing math problems on a child’s own schedule eliminates time pressures and allows kids to enjoy math.
Builds Confidence– Enrichment math problems helps to build confidence by improving a child’s math skills.
Strengthens Critical Thinking – Math enrichment keeps kids thinking. Math problems should engage a child in reasoning and thinking out of the box.
I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.
Recently, while working with a group of teachers, I was asked to recommend great website resources to help them meet the needs of their students. I’m starting with the 7 below because they are some of the websites that our teachers used when I was a K-2 and K-5 principal.
So here they are teacher friends and thank you for the great topic for future posts. Be on the lookout for monthly posts that will include 7 (lucky #7) website resources to support students from preschool through Grade 12.
Take a look at December’s TOP Website Resources
Education Northwest for Writing- Even if you don’t use the 6+1 traits of writing, this site offers great resources that can be adapted to your needs. Included in the site are lesson plans, writing prompts and rubrics to support language arts. Be sure to look at the samples to practice scoring and see how other teachers score the same piece. This will be helpful when preparing for state testing. (ELA)
Read, Write, Think – The site provides high quality resources in language arts instruction. Every lesson has been aligned to both the IRA/NCTE Standards for ELA and also to individual state standards. (ELA)
Smithsonian Education -The Learning Lab offers thousands of resources for educators, including lesson plans, virtual tours of their latest exhibits, and the opportunity to connect with experts in the field. Be sure to check out the virtual field trips. It’s not a real field trip but it’s the next best thing. (General)
SMART Exchange for Interactive Whiteboard -Take a look at the SMART Exchange before creating any lessons for your interactive whiteboard from scratch. This site has existing lessons and ideas submitted by teachers. (General Tech)
Annenberg Learner– The Annenberg Foundation provides many professional development series on demand for FREE. The foundations’ goal is to encourage more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge about teaching. Annenberg Learner resources can be accessed for free. (Professional Development)
Utah Education Network (UETN) – Don’t be fooled this site is not just for Utah! The UETN connects all Utah school districts, schools and higher education institution to create a site with quality education resources that can be used in any classroom. (Multi-subject)
Hope you find them helpful! Enjoy!
Other posts related to this topic
Best Reading Resources for Teachers October 3, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The answer may be NO. It’s hard for teachers to find the time to meet the needs of all students in their classroom. One group of students that sometimes gets overlooked are the highly-abled. I was a teacher of Talented and Gifted students and was assigned to both pull out classes and to team teach with K-3 classroom teachers to differentiate instruction. Along with a lack of time, teachers also lacked appropriate materials and training in differentiated instruction. School administrators need to budget for resources to help our teachers do their job.
Parents- you have the power to make the change!
Parents are sometimes hesitant to question a teacher about their child’s strengths for fear of being considered “pushy” . However, when I ask parents if they would be hesitant to talk to their child’s teacher if their child was struggling in class; the answer is always no. So here’s a “nice” way of asking the question to your child’s teacher; “how are you meeting my child’s needs in the classroom”?
Teachers,if you are addressing the needs of the high ability students in your classroom you will have no problem answering that question. Good for you and Thank You! If not, I can’t provide materials or time to help you but you may find the websites below helpful.
Awesome Enrichment Website Resources
Early in my teaching career and later as a principal, I used resources from some of the websites below either with students or in Teacher Workshops. I currently use a couple of the sites with my own grandchildren. Many of the sites also have research information on highly-abled students that can help you advocate for your child to both teachers and administrators. A well-informed parent is the best resource to get appropriate programming for their child.
ProProfs Brain Games https://www.proprofs.com/games/all/ Extensive choice of activities to support in-depth learning. Site includes: logic games, puzzles, Sudoku, word games and brain teasers.
Odyssey of the Mind (OM) http://www.odysseyofthemind.com OM is a world-wide competition the website has great resources to foster creative thinking in your classroom. Be sure to look at the Practice Problems along with the Spontaneous activities. I used to coach an OM team and found the website had a variety of ideas to foster creative thinking in my classroom. Be sure to look at the practice problems and the Spontaneous activities. These activities would be excellent for all the students in your classrooms.
Quiz Hub https://www.quizhub.com/ Great variety of quizzes for kids to take on a variety of subjects. The annual membership is $1 per child for schools up to 300 students. Worth considering, even with the cost.
KB Connected http://www.kbkonnectedkids.com/ This was new to me but I love this site. Great resource to help teachers find appropriate activities for their students to tackle. Lots of interactive and challenging activities.
PBS Kids http: pbskids.org/ Specifically, good for young kids with connections to PBS TV programs. Yes, there is some marketing, but there are great activities for all grade levels. Regular classroom teachers will rate this a Gold Rated website.
Know It All http://knowitall.org Although some activities are particular to South Carolina, there are many other games and activities on the site for other states.
The websites above can also be helpful as home activities. Keeping it fun for kids will encourage them to keep learning.