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!

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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

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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
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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!

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February Prompts to Get Students Writing

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

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

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

February Prompts

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

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

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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?   

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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

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Writing Prompts to Encourage Writing

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

Why Writing Prompts?

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

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

Writing Prompts Motivate

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

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

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

January Writing Prompts

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

Happy New Year Writers!

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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

Humble and Kind This Season?

Humble and Kind this season for everyone
Humble and Kind this season for everyone

I recently read that a mom started asking her child a different question after school each day.  Instead of the typical “how was your day?”, she asked “ did you help anyone today?” What a different way to show your child what you value! 

It reminded me of the song “Humble and Kind” performed by Tim McGraw and written by Lori McKenna.  This song reminds us of the valuable lessons we were taught as kids. Respecting others, learning from challenges we face and sharing our successes to help others. I believe that this is the foundation for learning that children need to live to be successful in life.  Isn’t that what education should be about?  So, for me when I need a gentle reminder to be “Humble and Kind” I search for the 4-minute musical reminder from Tim McGraw.

You know there’s a light that glows by the front door
Don’t forget the key’s under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be wasted time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
“I love you” ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

In this “season of giving”, I hope you receive many gifts by sharing the lessons of your childhood. After all “it is through giving that we receive”.  

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Most People Are Good

Math Thinking Skills Primary: December

Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems.
Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems

Some students in the Primary Grades need additional math activities that goes beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  This month we’ll look at some problem solving involving counting body parts.  (really, we’re looking at early multiplication which is repeated addition)

Math Thinking Skills:

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)
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Christmas Jokes for Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Scientist of the Month: December 2019

As parents and educators, we know we must teach our kids skills to support scientific thinking. But, how do we encourage kids to explore science? Why not, share stories about Marie Curie? Scientists, like most kids, are curious and want to know answers. The great thing about studying scientists is there are many branches; so there surely is a topic to motivate all kids. Seems like a perfect match! 

Hello Marie Curie! – December 2019

1867-1934

Marie was a scientist who grew up in Poland and went to school at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.  She became very interested in X-rays and did experiments on an element called uranium.  Marie named the term radioactivity.  The two elements that she named were: Polonium after the country where she was born (Poland) and radium because of its strong ray. In 1903 Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. She died in 1934 from overexposure to radiation from her experiments.  Today, there are lots of safety measures to keep people safe from overexposure from x-rays.

Facts about Marie Curie

  • Marie was good friends with Albert Einstein, another famous scientist.
  • The first woman to be a professor of Physics at the Sorbonne
  • Marie’s daughter, Irene, also won a Nobel Prize for her work studying radiation.  
  • The Curie Institute in Paris is a major research facility in cancer research.  It was found by Marie almost 100 years ago (1921).

Source: Ducksters

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Student Teacher References: Are VIP

Student Teacher References are important
Student Teacher References are important

Student Teacher References: Don’t Forget The Principal

You may not be aware but it was the school principal that OK’d your placement in the building.  Yes, your cooperating  teacher is the “rock star” that will help you transfer your book  knowledge into the classroom.  Another one of your supporters is your Student Teaching  Supervisor who will help you bridge college and classroom experiences.  But, it’s the school principal that can be your best ally in being hired as a teacher. Very often, the principal will be one of the 3 people called by a hiring principal for a reference if you are a potential hire.  So, don’t forget, the principal is watching you and thinking about the answers to “the call” for your future success.

Before Your Placement

Accepting student teachers in your building is not an easy decision.  Even the best prepared student teacher can be a liability in a building. There is always a concern about sharing a master teachers’ time when more teaching time is always needed.  A well qualified student teacher can be a great support for students, but not always. To ensure a qualified candidate, I often called the college placement office to be sure that we would be getting top candidates.

During Your Placement

All student teachers should do a quick search on characteristics of great student teachers.  This list should be copied, pasted and committed to memory.  They are all true. 

Student teachers should also remember that there are “no secrets” in schools.  Commit that to memory too.  The principal gets both official and unofficial updates about your progress throughout your placement.  So be sure that updates are positive.  One of the most important things to do in your placement is be sure that the principal sees your contributions.  Don’t wait until the end of your placement to make a lasting impression.

At the End of Your Placement

At the end of your placement, be sure to  leave a note of thanks for the building principal. That simple gesture. along with an updated resume, with specific accomplishments achieved during your placement is beneficial.  That “cheat sheet” will help the principal answer questions if they get a call about you.  Many districts require a minimum number of personal contacts for candidates being considered for employment.  Recommendations letters are helpful but it’s the  personal contact responses that are placed in your hiring packet and submitted for final review.

So, what are the top 5 questions that hiring principals ask  the principal about  student teacher performance?

  1. What are the candidates strengths?
  2. What are the candidates weaknesses?
  3. How did the candidate work with students?
  4. How did the candidate get along  with others in the school?
  5. If you had a position available, would you hire the candidate? Why or why not?

In addition, rating candidates on personal characteristics is common.  (Ex. punctuality, appearance, communication, preparedness, character, involvement in school activities)  Ratings are usually 1-5 and  few scores should be less than 4.  So give your principal the opportunity to sing your praises by sharing a “cheat sheet” of your positive contributions.

Finally, I believe that its my responsibility, as a principal, to only recommend someone that I know is a good to great candidate. So, doesn’t it make sense that I keep an eye out for you?  Combining that along with a “cheat sheet”  just might help you secure a job.

Student Teachers:  Keep an eye out for future postings on creative interview questions along with characteristics of effective student teachers.

Good Luck Folks!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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  • Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9