## Math Enrichment Problems: Dec. Grades 2-3

Monthly Math Enrichment

Welcome to the first month of threeringsconnections.org  Monthly 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:

1. Draw a picture
2. Guess and Check
3. Use a table or list
4. Find a pattern
5. Logical reasoning
6. Working backwards (try a simpler version first)

## Math Enrichment Problems – Here we go!

1. 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?
2. 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?
3. 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.
4. Abby bought as many 24-cent hair ribbons as she could with her \$5.  How much change did Abby receive.
5. Matt has 35 quarters in his collection.  If he puts 7 quarters in each row, how many rows of quarters will he have?
6. Chris is Kelly’s brother.  Chris has one brother.  Kelly has twice as many sisters as brothers.  How many children are in the family?
7. 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

1. Teagan is now 10 and in 5 years she will be 15 years old.
2. Half of \$18 is \$9.00. Meghan spent \$4.  Lowyn spent \$9 – \$4 = \$5.00
3. 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.
4. She bought 20 ribbons 20 X .\$24 – \$4.80.  \$5.00-\$4.80 = \$.20.
5. 35-7= 28-7 = 21-7 =14-7 =7-7 =0  there will be 5 rows 0f 7 quarters.
6. 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.
7. 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!

Math Enrichment Problems: Dec. Grades 2-3    December 15, 2018

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?  December 13, 2018

Enrichment in Class? Is Your Child Being Challenged?  December 4, 2018

Highly-abled students need attention too!  September 17, 2018

## Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?

Does Your Child Need Math Enrichment Problems?

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

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Builds Confidence– Enrichment math problems helps to build confidence by improving a child’s math skills.
4. 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.

Enrichment in Class? Is Your Child Being Challenged?    December 4, 2018

Highly-abled students need attention too!   September 17, 2018

## Awesome Website Resources: Dec. 2018

Website Resources?  You bet!

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

1. 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)
2. 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)
3.  National Library of Virtual Manipulatives – Find activities for every area of math from preschool through high school. (Math)
4. 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)
5. 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)
6. 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)
7. 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

# Puzzles, Puzzles Everywhere….

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

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

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

## Let’s see the top 6 benefits for kids playing with puzzles.

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

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!

Other posts related to this topic

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

Math Problem Solving and Young Children  – November 1, 2018

## Enrichment in Class? Is Your Child Being Challenged?

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.

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.

Mysteries to support critical thinking –  September 19, 2018

Highly-abled students need attention too! – September 12, 2018

Minute-Mysteries –  October  October 1, 2018

## ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content November 2018

Hi Friends!

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

 Topic Date Post Title Archives Threeringsonnections.org. 10/31/18 ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content Sept./Oct. Grants/Good Deals 11/24/18 Scholastic Warehouse Sales Student Teaching 11/10/18 Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9 Math 11/1/18 11/3/18 Math Problem Solving and Young Children Literacy 11/27/18   11/29/18 11/20/18 11/13/18 11/15/18 Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1 Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2 Encouraging Writing for Kindergartners Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase Environmental Print is ALL AROUND! Good Resources 11/6/18 Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than \$10.00 Gifted Talented/ Enrichment 11/1/18 2-Minute-Mysteries: November Teaching (General) 11/17/18 11/22/18 Understanding is in the Questioning Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

## Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

# Early Language Development Common Words

 Category Common Words Add your own Social Function more, please, thank you, hi/hello, bye-bye, again, sorry, uh-oh, yes/uh-huh/okay, no/uh-uh, no thank you Action (Verbs) eat, drink, run, stop, go, kiss, open, shut, jump, walk, sleep/night-night, wash  close, push, pull, fix, play, want, hug, broke, love, hurt, tickle, give (“gimme”), all gone, all done, dance, help, cry, ride, rock, fall, see, watch, look, sit, stand (up), throw, catch, blow, cry, throw, swing, slide, climb, ride, rock, come (“C’mon”), color/draw Location (Prepositions) up, down, in, out, off, on, here, there (Plus later ones such as around, under, behind, over at/after age 3) Descriptive (Adjectives/Adverbs) big, little, hot, cold, loud, quiet, yucky, icky, scary, funny, silly, dirty, clean, gentle, wet, soft, fast, slow, color words (red, blue, yellow, green, pink, orange, purple, black, white, brown) and quantity words (all, none, more, some, plus early number words – especially 1, 2, 3) Early Pronouns me, mine, my, I, you, it (Then toward age 3 the gender pronouns such as he, she, him, her) Nouns People names– Mama, Dada, Names of family members, GG, Gpa, book and TV character names. Toys: bubbles, ball, car, boat, train, bat, choo-choo, train, book, bike, truck, baby, plane Outdoors: sunny, rain, moon, star, dark, tree, flower, Food: bowl, spoon, plate, chip, cracker, cereal, banana, juice, water, milk, candy, apple, cheese, ice cream, cereal (Cheerios) Animals: cat, dog, bird, duck, cow, bunny, horse, bear, fish, horse, pig, snake, frog, chicken, lion, elephant, giraffe, monkey, butterfly, bee Clothes: hat, shirt, sock, shoe, diaper, boat, pants, Household items: phone, house, bed, light, blanket, bath, chair, brush, towel, soap,

## Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1

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

Research says…..

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

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

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

# Early Language Development: Top 3 Strategies

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

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

## Three more early language development activities

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

### Reading books helps expand vocabulary

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

### Final Thoughts:

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

References

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

Other posts related to this topic

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

# Simon Says: Receptive Language and Toddlers

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

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

## Why Simon Says and Receptive Language?

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

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

### Receptive Language and Following Directions

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming Soon!  Blog Topics:

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

Other posts related to this topic

Speech language

## Encouraging Writing for Kindergartners

Our Kindergarten student has no school today.  What shall we do?  She’s reading above grade level; but have we written any stories lately?  Nope! Encouraging writing, here we go!  Today we will be authors!

# Encouraging Writing: Where Do We Start?

Young children love to write because it makes them feel like a grown up.  Encourage their writing at very early stages of development even before they understand letters, words or sentences.  Adults play a very important role in all stages of a child’s writing development.

## Encouraging Writing: Before Writing Starts:

1. Encourage writing by modeling your own writing by “thinking aloud” when you are making a list of things to do or a shopping list. Show your child how you use writing throughout your day.
2. Try to find a reason for your child to write at least once every day. Suggest ideas to write about such as: a note to a friend or family member, an addition to a list, labeling a drawing, copying a word, copying from a book, adding to a list of things to do, writing a word to evaluate a book, labeling or adding details to a story illustrations, dictate to them something they can write down.
3. Encourage them to role-play familiar jobs that involve writing. (e.g. restaurant, store, doctor, library, pharmacy).
4. Provide a variety of writing materials to use that include different types of paper and markers (paper, pencils, crayons, chalk, easel, post its, index cards, scraps of paper, markers). Along with traditional materials, allow them to be creative by writing on napkins, paper bags, sidewalk, driveway, old mail or cards; whatever and wherever they think would make writing fun! (with limits of course). Tip: Make it portable by storing in a zip lock bag.  Ready to go when they are!

### Encouraging Writing During Writing:

1. Let children create picture books by stapling 4 or 5 pieces of paper together. Once they start drawing and writing words you can guide them to creating a 5 page story. Cover page, what happened first, then what happened, then what happened and what happened at the end.  Beginning authors can use “the End” on the last page to complete the story.  Writing is a process that takes time.  Be patient and rejoice for each page.
2. Be available to answer questions that they may have or provide additional materials to support their writing.
3. Let children invent their spelling. By eliminating the stress of spelling everything correctly while writing, children will learn how to express their thoughts in writing. Writing phonetically, (the way it sounds) will help build their confidence as writers and help them be better able to read their writing back to you. Don’t worry, they will begin to ask you how to spell using conventional spelling when they are ready.

### Encouraging Writing After Writing:

1. Ask children to read to you their writing. After they finish reading, congratulate them and take the opportunity to repeat their accomplishments.  Suggest one or two ideas they may want to try next time.  Allow them the opportunity to make additions if THEY want to during the reading.  RESIST the temptation to make MANY suggestions.
2. Celebrate their accomplishments by giving them opportunities to share their writing with others.
3. This sharing time can easily become a teaching time by asking questions about their writing. Questioning will help them expand their thinking for future writing. Encourage their writing by asking questions such as:
• “Emily, why did you decide to put Abby in the story with you?”
• “Lowyn, I see that you put your animals in a park? What other animals might you see in the park?”
• “Teagan, I like how you drew a blue dress on the little girl. A good color choice.  I like blue dresses too.  Do you have other colors that you like?”
• “Meghan, how did you come up with the idea for your book?”
• “Declan, why did you decide to add that detail to your picture?”
• “Connall, I noticed you reading your story, while you were writing. Can you tell me why you were doing that?”

Finally, young children love to write. Keep reminding yourself that writing is a process that takes time. Sit back and ENJOY your new author’s journey!

Other posts related to this topic

Reading, Writing and Preschool?  Oh MY!

# Understanding is in the Questioning

Good questioning is asking the right questions that will help you know whether your child understands a new concept. The trick is to find ways that allow children to apply their new knowledge.  The bottom line is to ask the right questions.

Good questioning should be in every teacher and parent toolbox. For deeper understanding questions children should be asked questions that shows they can apply their knowledge. Often  children can recall information but are not able to explain their answers. Using question stems based on Blooms’s taxonomy helps strengthen children’s thinking skills.

## REMEMBER (Level 1) Knowledge recognizing and recalling

• What do you remember about _____?
• When did ___?
• Where is ___?
• Why did ___?
• How would you define_____?
• Who were ___?
• Which one ___?

### UNDERSTAND (Level 2) Showing comprehension by stating the new information in own words.

• How can you describe ___?
• What would happen if ___?
• What is the main idea?
• How would you express _____?
• What can you infer from _____?
• How would you compare/contrast ___?
• What did you observe ___?

### APPLY (Level 3) Showing how the new information can be applied to solve a problem

• What other way could you choose to ___?
• How would you demonstrate ____?
• Why does _____ happen?
• What actions would you take to solve ___?
• How would you change ____?
• What examples can you find that ___?
• How would you modify ____?

### ANALYZE (Level 4) Breaking down an idea into parts to show relationships among the parts.

• Discuss the pros and cons of ___?
• What explanation do you have for ___?
• What can you infer_____?
• What ideas support/validate ___?
• How would you explain _____?
• Why do you think ___?
• What is the problem with ___?
##### EVALUATE (Level 5) Making informed judgments about ideas based on information learned.
• Can you state the most important idea of  ___?
• What criteria would you use to assess _____?
• State your opinion of  ___?
• Data? Did you use data to evaluate _____?
• How could you verify _____?
• Looking at information, how did you use it to prioritize _____?
• Rank the importance of ___?
##### CREATE (Level 6) Information is synthesized or brought together to build relationships for new situations.
• Create a song that explains ___?
• Thoughts on how you would revise _____?
• What would happen if ___?
• Can you devise a way to ___?
• What could you invent? ___?
• How would you create a plan to ___?
• What alternative would you suggest for ___?
• How would you explain the reason ___?

Highly-abled students need attention too!

## Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Three of my granddaughters live 30 minutes away and visit quite often.  Buckled in their car seats, the 4 and 5-year-olds, can do little more than observe the many signs and stores they pass along the route. On a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of places and signs they were able to “read” along the way. After boasting about their Environmental Print awareness and getting quite a few blank faces from my family and friends, I realized I found a future blog topic!

# What is Environmental Print?

The term Environmental Print (EP) refers to the signs and logos kids see every day in their world. It is one of the earliest exposures to written language that sends the message that print has meaning. Kids can make connections with some of the images because they may have visited the stores or seen them on TV.  What child doesn’t’ recognize the “golden arches”?

## 4 Benefits of Environmental Print?

1. Helps to make connections to the world around them.
3. Builds confidence in young children and gets them excited about reading
4. Requires no preparation and is FREE! Can’t get much easier than that!

Examples of EP All Around Us: Signs: (Speed Limit, STOP, Slow, Railroad, WALK), labels:(food boxes, bags/ bottles, signs: familiar stores/restaurants, logos for favorite toys.

Other posts related to this topic

5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

## Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

Reading fluency is the ability to read with accuracy and expression when reading aloud.  Fluent readers read more quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on comprehension.  Since fluent readers gain more meaning from text, they seem to enjoy reading and therefore may read more often.

Students struggling with fluency sound hesitant when reading aloud. This could be due to struggling with the meaning of text or decoding words. Therefore, addressing fluency difficulties is important in learning to read proficiently.

# 12 Activities/Strategies to Promote Reading Fluency

• Give students many opportunities to read different texts at their reading level. This builds confidence along with fluency.
• Encourage silent reading where students can practice their reading without judgement. However, silent reading alone does not increase fluency with struggling readers. Adult supervision is necessary to assess progress.
• Remind children of the characteristics of fluency so they understand what it means and how they can improve.
• Allow children to use a whisper phone so they can hear themselves whisper read. The ability to self-correct is important in learning to read.
• Model fluent reading when reading aloud to students so they can hear what it sounds like
• Emphasize to students that fluency focuses on accuracy rather than speed.
• Let students use a ruler or their finger to follow the words across the page while you read. This strategy helps students stay focused on reading, guides story rhythm and helps teachers identify hearing or vision (tracking) issues.
• Encourage children to reread passages multiple times to build confidence.
• Drill sight words to make children more familiar with common words in text.
• Try different genres and book lengths to motivate students to learn.
• Experiment with different font and text sizes. Students with visual difficulties may find larger text or text on different colored paper easier to read.
• Preview new or challenging words prior to introducing a new text.

Other posts related to this topic

5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

# What are Fine Motor Skills and why are they important?

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

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

## Fun Activities to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

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

# Math Activities in a Kit for Less than \$10.00

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

## Math Activities Kit made by GG!

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

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

100 Chart for Math

## Math Problem Solving and Young Children

Young children are naturally curious and therefore are great at problem solving.  They can also be great math problem solvers with some simple guidance from adults. There are some common strategies that young children can learn to help them solve problems.

# The BIG 5 Problem Solving Strategies for Young Kids

1. Guess and Check– This is one of the simplest strategies to solve problems. It allows students to respond and then check to see if their guess was right. Although easy, kids sometimes think it’s a game and guess any answer.  Since guesses can be done without much thinking, you can support their guessing by asking them if it is the best guess.  Encourage them to think about their guesses and ask do you think that’s the best guess?
2. Act it Out– Have kids pretend they are actors and perform the information in the problem. Ex. John went to the store and bought 3 apples. Mary also bought 3 apples.  How many apples did they have all together? In this example John pretends to walk to a store to buy 3 apples. Mary does the same and then they put their apples together to solve the problem.
3. Use Manipulatives– Using items to represent numbers can help kids make a problem concrete. Manipulatives can be anything that can be easily moved. (counters, dice, money, beans, chips, fingers, money, paper clips) Be creative!
4. Draw– Drawing pictures gives students the opportunity to create their own manipulatives. This is a perfect strategy to use when there are no manipulatives nearby.  Drawing helps to keep kids focused on the problem and it also creates a visual representation of the problem.  This can be used to show their thinking.
5. Think It Through– Encourage kids to be thinkers. Teach them to think (remember) things they already know.  Prompt them with questions and hints on ways to solve the The following questions can be used to guide their mathematical thinking: What did you do to get the answer?What did you do to get the answer?
• Can you show me how you figured that out?
• What happened in the problem?
• Why do you think that is the correct answer?
• Where do you think you should start?
• Do you think that will work?
• What did you do to get the answer?

## Enjoy the Math Journey!

Children’s ability to solve problems will improve with experience and practice.  Parents can engage their children in math by pointing out math concepts that surround them every day. Guide them to see the patterns, shapes and numbers in their world.  Engage them in cooking, card playing, puzzles and different types of board games. Enjoy your math journey together.

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

100 Chart for Math

## 2-Minute-Mysteries: November

2-Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story.

1. Chris was enjoying a bowl of chili at a restaurant in Montreal.  Looking into the bowl, he saw a fly.  He informed the waiter and asked for a new bowl of chili.  When the waiter brought him the new bowl, he tasted it and accused the waiter of bringing him back the same bowl.  Why did he think that?
2. Uncle Bug’s baseball bat company sells baseball bats for \$25.00 each. This month there is a sale 2 baseball bats for \$36.00. He said he makes the same profit either way but that it is a good sale.   How much profit must he make on each bat when he sells them at the regular price of \$25.00.
3. Kelly is walking down the street dressed in black.  There are no lights on anywhere and no moon.  A car without its lights on comes down the street and avoids hitting her?  How did that happen?
4. You walk into a room with only one match.  You must light a lantern, a stove, the pilot light on the water heater and a fire in a fire place.  What do you light first?

Other posts related to this topic

Mysteries to support critical thinking

Minute-Mysteries: October

1. What else did Chris know about the soup?
2. Use the problem solving strategy of making a table.  Be sure to include examples of buying the bats at the full price.
3. When is the story happening?
4. What 5 items do you know you have in the room?

1. Before Chris found the fly, he had put salt on his chili.  When the chili returned, it was bland.
2. The profit on each bat must be \$14.00.  Since he makes no extra profit on the second bat, he must be selling it at cost.  With the price of each bat \$25.00 the cost is \$11.00 with \$14.00 profit.  Selling 2 bats at \$36.00 means that the total cost of 2 bats is \$22.00 leaving \$14.00 as the total profit.
3. Kelly is walking down the street during the day.
4. The first thing you have to light is the match.

## Concepts of Print Support For Parents

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

# So what should we do about Concepts of Print?

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

What did we learn about our Concepts of Print trial?

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

Point to the Following Parts of the Book

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

Show How to Read a Book

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

Words and Writing  in Books: Basics

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

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

Other posts related to this topic

## FREE Books for Adults and Kids

• Overdrive is a database of books that allows you to borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration.
• Tumblebooks is a collection of audiobooks and ebooks for kids. Books are leveled and the site also includes activities. Once you register using your library card, you will be given access information.

## 100 Chart for Math

Recently I was driving home with my granddaughter, who just started kindergarten.  To help distract her on our long ride, I thought it would be fun to count to 100 and see how long it would be before we saw our house. When we got into the 50s she informed me she wasn’t very good at the higher numbers.  Ah, a challenge for GG!

So, for her next visit I downloaded a 100 chart to help her develop an  understanding of numbers.  A hundred chart is an easy way to do fun math without lots of preparation.  A 100 chart can easily be found online.  I was ready for an exciting game of 100 chart BINGO.

Let the game begin!

After about 10 numbers, I realized her focus was more on the purple butterfly tokens we were using to cover the numbers rather than the numbers themselves.  A good early childhood teachers knows to keep a lesson focused, short and fun. That day Miss M did not think my 100s chart game was any of the three. So, the hundred (100) chart game will wait for another day.

Kindergarten Concepts to Review Using a 100s Chart

• Number identification
• Number order
• One to one correspondence(be sure to point to each number)
• Patterns
• Practice counting forwards
• Practice counting backwards

### Examples of 100s Chart Games

• Find the number
• Count off the days
• Numbers are symbols for amounts
• Ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.)
• Roll a die(1) or dice(2) and move that number of boxes on the chart.

Remember the fun is in the journey.  Enjoy the moment !

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”