ThreeRingsConnections.org April Posts

 April Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org
April Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org

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

What a month! My 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Today, living through a pandemic, my 2019 goal certainly seems trivial. It was so important to me to get my posts out in a systematic, timely fashion – and I celebrated that my goal was met. In 2020, I deliberated on whether to continue blogging. I thought perhaps my efforts would be better placed spending more time with my college students or grant writing. After much thought, I decided to continue balancing the three efforts. Once again it was an internal struggle that today, a short 4 months later, seems trivial. Today’s health crisis certainly puts everything into perspective. It seems that I hear daily from friends, family members and readers of the many struggles they are facing in this health crisis. I am inspired by their resilience “to make it work”.

Parents have taken the helm to be their child’s teachers and kids are learning. Yes, it may not be the same as in school, but learning is happening. As parents continue their teaching challenge, I’m hoping that my posts can be helpful. I’ve changed the frequency and topics to provide resources and ideas to support parents in their new teaching role.

So, as we move into the month of May I hope that your day-to-day teaching becomes more manageable. Parents are and will always be their child’s #1 Teacher. For the past few months, it’s been 24/7. I hope you enjoy this time with your children and continue to find learning opportunities all around you. Stay safe and be well.

April’s Posts

April’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite April Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?
Check out some topics coming next month
  • Mother’s Day
  • Reading Buddies
  • COVID-19 Activities

Creative Thinking Tools

Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.
Creative thinking tools enable kids to think creatively.

When I was a teacher in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) program I had to administer a creativity test to all 3rd grade students in the district as part of admission into program.  That test, along with achievement and cognitive tests, were equal components in the program admission.

I loved administering the creativity test and so did the kids!  The test asked students to draw a series of pictures using only partial shapes; adding details and identifying what they drew.  Every year, there were always a few students who asked if they could do the test again.  They just knew they could do it better!  This realization showed us that teaching kids to think creatively was not only important for learning but could also be fun. Working with classroom teachers, my partner and I created lessons and programs that allowed students to be creative.

We started by teaching kids the tools needed to be creative thinkers. Creative thinking builds on the concept that a single question can have multiple answers. It doesn’t focus on right or wrong answers but on the importance of giving students the opportunity to express their ideas. This idea was especially liberating for our student with special needs, quiet, anxious and ELL students.  Being allowed to give non-ordinary responses, especially in a group activity, allows ALL students to participate.

How to Teach Creative Thinking

Once the TAG admission tests were completed, we used a similar Creativity activity to show kids the “tricks” or “creative thinking tools” to be creative.  We taught them 5 creative thinking tools; the SAME 5 components of good writing: fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration and evaluation.  

  • Fluency – Being able to think of lots of responses to a single question or response.
  • Flexibility – Being able to shift thinking from one way of thinking to another. 
  • Originality – Trying to come up with answers that are clever and unique.
  • Elaboration – Adding details to a basic idea to make it more interesting and complete.
  • Evaluation –Teaching kids how to weigh alternative ideas.  This was especially important when kids were working on team projects.   

Once the kids understood the basic components of creative thinking the LEARNING really began. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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COVID – 19 Tip: ABC’s of Active Reading

Active Reading starts with the ABCs of questions
Active Reading starts with the ABCs of questions

Many parents are helping their children with schoolwork during the COVID-19 pandemic.  What I’m hearing from them is that they don’t know what to ask their child after he/she has completing the home assignments.  A good strategy to use that if often used in schools is to steer the conversations around the ABC’s of active reading. This method will engage your child through Asking questions, Building vocabulary and Connecting with the world.  This strategy helps to keep both you and your child focused and on track.

Check out the common questions listed below to get your started.  All of them can be adjusted to meet your needs. 

Ask questions

  • What happened in the story?
  • Can you tell the events in order from the beginning to the end?
  • How does the main character feel in the beginning of the story?
  • What does the character do or say to make you think this way?
  • How does the author organize the book and why was it organized this way?

Build Vocabulary

  • Identify the words that were familiar?
  • What part of the text helped you to figure out what the word meant?
  • Besides the words the author uses, what are other words you can use to describe the character’s actions for feelings?
  • Why did you choose these words?

Connect with the world

  • Write about how this problem exists in the real world and how it is solved or is trying to be solved?
  • What is the big problem that is at the heart of this story?
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans

Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans is VIP
Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans is VIP

Demonstrating a Knowledge of Resources is always a discussion in End of Year (EOY) evaluations. This topic now comes up quite often with Student Teachers when I’m evaluating lesson plans. The key word in this area is Demonstrates.  Most teachers use many resources but when they’re asked to list them, they sometimes get stuck.  Usually, with some reminders they can name many and get scored Highly Effective.  Occasionally, however, I found that some teachers did not use a variety of resources.  Sometimes it was a lack of awareness but often they used resources that were familiar and successful. Don’t we all like to use things that make us comfortable? For novice teachers and student teachers it is essential that they are aware of a variety of resources and use them in lesson planning.

Teacher observations/evaluations are supposed to be objective.  But we all know that there is also a degree of subjectivity. So, to make it easier on teachers and administrators in the evaluation process, check out the list below and include some of them in your lesson plans.  A good way to track your progress is to add the list to your plan book and color code the different resources. This simple year-round organizational tool will also help to make your end of the year Accomplishment List just a little bit easier.

13 Strategies to Demonstrate Knowledge of Resources

  • Uses varied resources (same content/different reading levels, instructional aides) that match student’s various skills.
  • Makes direct contact with resources or liaisons to determine availability to students to extend and enrich lessons i.e. guest speaker, field trip
  • Uses multidisciplinary resources to enhance learning.
  • Appropriately incorporate the use of the Internet.
  • Uses resources from professional organizations to support learning.
  • Incorporates technology into lessons (media center, computer lab, Instructional Technology (IT) specialist).
  • Uses hands-on resources (technology, science materials, models etc.)
  • Uses multiple approaches to deepen content knowledge.
  • Explores district offerings that enhance content knowledge or pedagogical knowledge.
  • Works with colleagues (lesson study, PLC, books study, team meetings, etc.) to share ideas to deepen professional knowledge.
  • Explores content knowledge through colleges/ universities and professional organizations.
  • Incorporates community resources into lessons and shares resources with colleagues.
  • Suggests resources available to students outside of schools especially over vacations and breaks (libraries, museums, etc.)
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Early Childhood Great Websites

Great resources for early childhood teachers
Great resources for early childhood teachers

When working with Early Childhood Student Teachers I often hear that they are spending lots of time looking online for resources.  There is SO MUCH OUT THERE, I certainly can see how that happens! My suggestion for them is to start with just 2 “Tried and True” sites and explore them thoroughly.  The two that I suggest are The National Association for the Education of Young Children and Family Education. They are extensive and are updated regularly.

I also suggest that they open a Word Doc and write a few notes about their favorite websites including notes and the dates that you researched it. This helps to organize past research and topic areas. Yes, you can BOOKMARK it too, but you’ll soon learn that many of the site names sound alike! 

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children Expand your knowledge and skills and find classroom activities quickly with these great resources from NAEYC.  Check out the quick list of resources for new and classic resource.
  • Family Education Great articles, activity ideas, internet tips for teachers (including special needs) can be found at this site. Good parenting articles also.

Once you tackle these two, start to explore some of the other resources from earlier posts.   Happy Researching!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Forever Young

Perhaps it’s returning from the store and not being able to find a simple thing like a thermometer to check my temperature. Or, the many hours of extra reflection due to social distancing. Or, the ongoing news stories of the pandemic. All of this along with the fact that my entire family is 700 miles away in or very near the epicenter of the virus, I’m posting on a Tuesday. I’m also embedding a video for the first time. Hope it works.

I’ve been a big fan of the Canadian Tenors for year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Enjoy the 3:43 minutes of calm.

 

Forever Young The Tenors

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

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

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

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

Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Bob Dylan

ThreeRingsConnections.org March Posts

 March Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org
March Posts from ThreeRingsConnections.org

Last year my 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Resolution Success! This year I weighed whether to continue the blog or to spend the majority of my time with a larger writing project. After much deliberation and support from family and blog followers, I’ve decided to continue blogging for another year. So, my 2020 Blog resolution is to continue writing the Threeringsconnections blog AND still getting the newsletter out on time each month. Let the balancing of efforts begin! 3 newsletters down and 9 to go. Other “writing” started, yeah! 

This month was a whirlwind for everyone!  So many unanswered questions and worries have become part of everyday life.  I created my blog 2 years ago to help parents and teachers have resources to support kids.  I never thought my posts would be used to help provide resources for the millions of kids that are being taught at home because of COVID-19.  I hope you will find some resources to help you support your kids during these tough times.  

Be well, my friends and take care of each other. 

March’s Posts

COVID-19 Newsletters: New Posts and Reposts by Subject Area- 2018-present

March’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite March Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Reading Skills Checklist for Early Readers

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

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

The BIG 10 of Reading Skills

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

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

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St. Patrick’s Day Trivia for All

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

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

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

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

10 Easy St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

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

12 Challenging St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

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

Great Resources to Teach About St. Patrick’s Day

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

Have fun! = Bainigí súp as!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Rubrics for Kids and Teachers

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

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

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

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

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

5 Resources

Next Month: Rubrics in Teacher Evaluations

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Historical Dates: March 2020

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

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

Special Events This Month:

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

Historical Dates to Remember

  • March 2  Dr. Seuss born (1904)
  • March 2 Read Across America Day
  • March 3  Alexander Graham Bell born, (1847)
  • March 7 Iditarod Race Begins
  • March 12 Girl Scout Day
  • March 14 Pi Day (3.14)
  • March 17  St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 18  First Walk in Space
  • March 20      First Day of Spring
  • March 21     Children’s Poetry Day
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

Valentine's Day 2020
Valentine’s Day 2020

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

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

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

Forever Young

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

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

Forever young,
Forever young,
May you stay,
Forever

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

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Active Listening Can Be Taught

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

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

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

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

3 Active Listening Activities

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: January Posts

Happy New Year Friends!

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

January posts … maybe not? Last year my 2019 Blog resolution was to be sure that I posted a newsletter on time each month. Resolution Success! This year I weighed whether to continue the blog or to spend the majority of my time with a larger writing project. After much deliberation and support from family and blog followers, I’ve decided to continue blogging for another year. So, my 2020 Blog resolution is to continue writing the Threeringsconnections blog AND still getting the newsletter out on time each month. Let the balancing of efforts begin! 1 newsletter down and 11 to go. Hello 2020!

January Posts

January’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite January Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

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

February Prompts to Get Students Writing

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

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

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

February Prompts

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Multiple Intelligences and Learning

Multiple Intelligences and Learning
Multiple Intelligences and Learning

The topic of Multiple Intelligences (MI) and student learning has been around a long time.  Simply it’s trying to match up the various abilities that students have and the teacher’s instructional approaches.

For me, it wasn’t until I was teaching almost 10 years that I learned of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence (MI) Theory.  Up until then I knew that kids learned differently but once I learned about MI my teaching toolkit exploded with ideas.  Understanding the theory and learning new ways to meet student needs opened my eyes to endless possibilities. These strategies were extremely helpful when I was hired as a Teacher of the Talented and Gifted. Although the students were highly abled, many were limited in their strengths and the MI approach helped them to think about topics differently.

As a student teacher supervisor at the local college I find that teachers are well versed in learning intelligences and styles. Most lessons include differentiation in content, approach and assessment.  This is important as teachers try to balance educational standards and innate abilities of each student. Having a good understanding helps teacher’s options to engage and motivate ALL learners.

Parents are very aware of their child’s natural abilities but may not know the “technical” name for it.  As a teacher and principal, I heard from many parents the areas their children excelled in or the way they learned best. This information was especially helpful when placing children in class placement.  So, when teaching kids at home or in school, or finding the perfect new classroom, why wouldn’t we think about the strengths and learning styles of kids.  Don’t we want them to do their best?  

Learning Intelligences Simplified

  • Word learner – Child expresses himself/herself well and enjoys reading and writing.
  • On-the-move learner – Child is well coordinated and learns best when physically involved in doing things.
  • On-my-own learner – Child prefers to work alone.  Enjoys independent projects and likes to set own goals.
  • Number learner – Child is interested in logical thinking.  Often enjoys puzzles and math.
  • Nature learner – Child likes being outside and often enjoys science.
  • Rhythmic learner – Child enjoys music and rhythm.
  • With-friends learner – Child works best with other students and is often a leader in the class.
  • Construction learner – Child loves drawing and building things.

In addition to learning intelligences we all have a preferred learning style.  In general, the more avenues of input (auditory/hearing), kinesthetic/movement, or visual/sight, the higher the possibility of student learning. Don’t we all learn better when we learn in different ways?   

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Historical Dates: Jan. 2020

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

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

Special Events This Month:

  • National Soup Month
  • National Thank You Month
  • National Eye Health Care Month
  • Universal Letter Writing Week

Historical Dates to Remember

  • January 1st                   Happy New Year/Betsy Ross’ Birthday
  • January 13th                 Poetry Break Day
  • January 15th                 Hat Day (The First Top Hat was worn in 1797)
  • January 17th                 Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday (1706)
  • January 19th                 Popcorn Day
  • January 20th                 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday
  • January 23rd                National Pie Day
  • January 25th                 Chinese New Year (Year of the Rat)
  • January 29th                 National Puzzle Day
  • January 30th                Franking D. Roosevelt born (1882) (23rd President)
  • January 31st                 Backwards Day

Other posts related to this topic:

Writing Prompts to Encourage Writing

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

Why Writing Prompts?

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

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

Writing Prompts Motivate

When creating prompts, think of different ideas that will spur an interest to write.  Giving kids a variety of topics helps them extend their vocabulary and use different language skills.  Kids can find their “voice” through writing poems, songs, jokes or stories.  But don’t limit their choices to “common” types of writing.  Encourage kids to see and find “writing” in the world around them.  Commercials, plays, TV shows, ads, emails and blogs are all opportunities to share their writing.

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

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

January Writing Prompts

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

Happy New Year Writers!

Other posts related to this topic

New Kindness Quotes to Start the New Year

Scientific studies have shown that kindness has a great number of physical and emotional benefits.  Quotes about Kindness give students “the words” to motivate them to be kind. Kindness is best learned by feeling the emotion of caring for someone else and feeling cared for by others.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • The Great Kindness Challenge January 2020
  • Kindness Quotes for Home and School

ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: December 2019

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

Happy New Year Friends! Welcome 2020!

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

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

December 2019

December’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite December Posts

I choose my favorites each month for different reasons. Sometimes it’s timeliness, a hot education topic, student teacher needs or as a family and friends resource. Sometimes, it’s just, BECAUSE. Enjoy!

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

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