Creative Thinking Fun for Kids

Creative Thinking Fun for Kids
Creative Thinking Fun for Kids

Creative thinking is the ability to invent and/or create something new.  It is based on looking at things in a new way that hasn’t previously been considered.  Teaching kids to use their creative thinking skills can be done easily using everyday happenings.

As a teacher of Talented and Gifted students, creative and divergent thinking activities were common. Divergent thinking involves looking at things and making new connections. When we encourage divergent thinking, we help to motivate student learning.

A favorite activity I used in the classroom was asking children to generate 100 ideas to melt a snowball. It involved little teacher preparation and fostered kids thinking skills. There ideas were VERY CREATIVE, and some were hilarious. The outcome of the activity was that kids were thinking and communicating their ideas.

Here’s a super easy example that can be replicated with small changes. Show the picture below of the yellow house.  Challenge the kids in your life to name 100 things that are almost the same color. Help kids think of things by thinking about categories such as cars, signs, plants, food, clothing etc.  Don’t be surprised if you start seeing yellow all around you.  Have fun!

The yellow house makes me think of…..
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Math Enrichment Primary: February

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

Math Enrichment activities should teach kids to solve problems using strategies that promote thinking. These activities are perfect for those kids that need math problems that go 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.  Try some of the problems this month to challenge their thinking.

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)

Math Enrichment: Count Them Up

  1. 2 farmers each have 2 barrels. In each barrel are 3 cats who each have 2 kittens. How many legs are there? (HINT: Don’t forget the farmer’s legs)
  2. Connall collected a dozen eggs from 4 chickens.  How many eggs did Connall collect?
  3. Declan collected 5 dozen eggs but on the way to the house he dropped 9 eggs.  How many eggs did he give to his mother?
  4. Old Macdonald had a farm, and on that farm he had 2 cows, 2 pigs, a horse and cat.  How many heads were on the farm?  How many shoulders? How many eyes? (HINT: Don’t forget to include Old Macdonald)
  5. The Smith parents and their 3 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog went for a walk.  How many legs were walking? 
  6. A spider in a box had 100 babies.  How many legs are there in the box? (HINT: Don’t forget Mommy Spider)

Answers:

  1. 30 legs
  2. 48 eggs
  3. 51 eggs
  4. 7 heads, 14 shoulders, 14 eyes
  5. 18 legs
  6. 808 legs
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Historical Dates: March 2020

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

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

Special Events This Month:

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

Historical Dates to Remember

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

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Community Foundation Grants: Hudson Valley

Community Foundation Grants of Hudson Valley Grants applications are available now
Community Foundation of Hudson Valley Grants applications are available now

Teachers of PreK – 12 in Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster Counties (Parochial, Private/Independent, and Public Schools)

3 Foundation Grants Categories

  • Fund for Excellence in Education Grants: Funding opportunities for classroom teachers that fulfill one or both of these criteria:
  1. Support for classroom projects and initiatives which will improve learning opportunities for students. **Grant funding not to be used for field trips or after-school activities.**
  2. Support for the personal and professional enhancement of teachers (not to fulfill Masters program or certification requirements).
  • Writing Grant(s): A grant will be awarded to K-12 teachers for either professional development in the field of teaching writing or for a specific program designed to enhance the writing abilities of students.
  • Verizon STEM Grant(s): Grants will be awarded for STEM related projects, activities and equipment.

Grants Available to Public Schools Only:

  • Marionette/Puppet Grant(s):  A grant will be awarded to a public school teacher for projects which incorporate student and/or teacher-made marionettes and puppets in the curricula.  Preference will be given to multi-cultural or multi-disciplinary projects.  
  • Dutchess County – Dennis Markle Memorial Community​ Service Grant(s):  Community Service Grants will be awarded to Dutchess County public school teachers for projects involving their students in community service.  These community service awards are made from the Dennis Markle Memorial Community Fund which was started by the Dutchess County United Teacher’s Council.  Examples of the type of projects which would be considered for these grants are:  projects involving senior citizens, hospice, day care, disadvantaged populations, community beautification projects, etc.  

Awards: Grants made through this program will not exceed $2,500. 
 
Applications:  
Online grant application. Click here to access the Grants Portal.

Deadline:  
Applications must be submitted by March 15th. Awards will be announced in May. 

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Let’s Get Our Creative Grant Writing Hats On!

World Poetry Day: March 21, 2020

World Poetry Day is March 21st. Why not start a poetry unit?
World Poetry Day is March 21st. Why not start a poetry unit?

World Poetry Day is celebrated each year on March 21st. The special day was started by the United Nations in 1999 as a day to celebrate the greatness of this type of writing. Younger students find the simple rhymes, actions and colorful imagery an opportunity to have FUN. Older students find it a way to learn about topics and/or express their own ideas.  However, there are many other reasons to enjoy poems at home and school.

5 Reasons to Love Poetry

  • Encourages kids to read aloud.
  • Helps students find reading easier because they can predict the beat of the poem.
  • Imagery helps expand student vocabulary.
  • The “non-rules” of free verse allow creativity in word choice. Imagery promotes adjective use.   

2 Favorite Websites

Each website below includes many resources to make poetry teaching easy and FUN! The resources include articles to help you understand how to teach it and many lessons and activities.

  • ReadWriteThink: An amazing resource you can use to help teach your kids about poetry. (It’s an amazing site on all literacy topics) There are many interactive lessons for kids of all ages to help them understand more about poetry and how to write a poem. There are lessons on a wide variety of styles (haikus, shapes, riddles, nursery rhymes).
  • Poetry4Kids is a site created by Kenn Nesbitt, a children’s author.  I like this site because it includes funny poems for kids (and kid-like adults) to read.  You will also find classic children’s poems, games, lessons, and activities.  Be sure to look at the rhyming dictionary and videos.  One stop FREE resources for all your needs.  Fun to explore!  

If you’ve been hesitant to try poetry in your classroom, why not make World Poetry Day the start of a new beginning?  You’re going to love it!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Dr. Seuss Day: March 2, 2020

Dr. Seuss Day is March 2, 2020
Dr. Seuss Day is March 2, 2020

Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day, is a yearly observance in the USA inaugurated by the NEA (National Education Association). It is held on the school day that is nearest to 2 March, Dr Seuss birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American artist, book publisher, animator, poet, a political cartoonist as well as an author. He is best known for authoring over 60 children’s books.

The Read Across America initiative began in 1997 to encourage children to read more and get excited about reading. The holiday mainly focuses on motivating children to read as it improves their performance in school. On this day, hospitals, bookstores, community centers, churches, libraries as well as schools host many events. So, it’s time to grab your Dr. Seuss hat get reading!    

You don’t have a hat, nor Seuss book to read?

Relax, my friend and take the lead

Put your memory cap on and do not worry

The Seuss characters will return to you in a hurry.

OK my Seuss -ish poem was not very good, but you get the idea!  Enjoy Friends!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

Valentine's Day 2020
Valentine’s Day 2020

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

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

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

Forever Young

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

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

Forever young,
Forever young,
May you stay,
Forever

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

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Test-Taking Strategies for Kids

Test-taking strategies can be integrated into all subject areas.
Test-taking strategies can be integrated into all subject areas.

Teaching students test-taking strategies can be controversial.  Up until recently, it was rare that kids were shown how to take or study for a test.  However, research has shown that students will score better on a test when the have test-taking tips to follow.  Therefore, many teachers have started to integrate test-taking strategies into course content. In some schools, it has even been included as a genre study in literacy. 

Whether you agree or disagree with high stakes testing, testing will most likely be part of your students’ lives.   Therefore, whether it’s in a current school setting or a future work setting, testing may be in their future.  Why not add some test-taking strategies?

Top 5 Test-Taking Strategies That Work

  • Pacing: Teach students the importance of pacing themselves so they don’t spend too much time on a single question.  Be sure you review with them how long 10 minutes really is.  We all sometimes lose track of time, so making kids aware of time periods can be beneficial.
  • Point Values Rule:  Point out to students that some questions are weighed more heavily and can influence their grades more heavily.
  • Read Through the Test First:  Give it a “once over”. Teach kids to give the test or a certain section a “once over”.  That means to look over the section of the entire test to get an idea of what’s on it.  Encourage them to answer the questions they are sure of before they go back to complete the rest of the questions.  Remind them that on tests with sections, it is common that students CANNOT go back to finish incomplete sections once they have moved onto another sections.
  • Proofread: Tell students to proofread their test before they turn it into the teacher if time permits.  Reviewing answers can give them the opportunity to change an answer or add details. Very often kids, especially young learners, think the first one to turn in the test does the best.  Rushing sometimes causes careless errors.
  • Outline Key Points:  Teach kids to create a quick outline with key points prior to starting an essay.  This strategy helps keep students on track.  It also helps reduce test anxiety.

The best thing about teaching test-taking strategies is that they can be used throughout a child’s school career and beyond. Reviewing and reinforcing the strategies throughout the year will help cement the strategies into everyday learning.  This will result in less stress when “spring testing” arrives.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Using Gradual Release of Responsibility helps kids learn
Using Gradual Release of Responsibility helps kids learn

Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) came up recently in a discussion with one of my student teachers.  The topic came up during brainstorming ways to meet the Distinguished criteria on the Teacher Evaluation tool. The GRR model of instruction suggests that learning should gradually shift from solely teacher modeling, to joint responsibility between teachers and students, to independent practice and application by the students.

I was introduced to Gradual Release of Responsibility during a Professional Development opportunity in our school. The consultant demonstrated an activity in our classroom, co-taught with us the next day and then observed us use the strategy. Each session ended with self-reflection. This method is successful both in classrooms and in Teacher Professional Development. Simply: “I do, we do, you do it alone.”

Gradual Release of Responsibility Principles:

  • Mistakes are part of the learning process; the more practice, the fewer mistakes.
  • Background knowledge and skills sets differ student by student which means that preparedness for learning also differs.
  • Many students learn best through hands-on learning as opposed to watching or listening to others. 

Although the GRR instructional model was first used in reading comprehension, it is now used in all content areas.  The model helps move classroom instruction from lecture and whole group instruction to a more student-centered classroom that uses collaboration and independent practice.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Smithsonian History Explorer

Smithsonian Explorer is a great teacher resource
Smithsonian Explorer is a great teacher resource

The Smithsonian History Explorer is a web site designed to help K-12 teachers quickly find and use hundreds of standards-based classroom activities, interactive games, and other resources. Resources are from the National Museum of American History and are matched to the National Standards of History. Topics can be searched by resource type, grade level, historical era, and/or cross-curricular connections. Visitors can also choose to browse content using the following categories:

Smithsonian Explorer Links

  • Lessons & Activities are all standards-based and can be printed, emailed, and shared.
  • Interactives & Media features audio, video, and interactive resources, many designed to be used by students independently.
  • Museum Artifacts – Browse collections to use for object-based learning.
  • Books – Teachers or students can search for related books by keyword and filter by era, reading level, and genre. Bilingual editions can be searched as well.
  • Web Links – Additional links to other websites.
  • Themes – The site includes major themes in America history including:
    • A Nation We Build Together
    • American Experiments
    • Protest and Civic Action, the Civil Rights Movement
    • The American Revolution and World Wars
    • Presidential History, Politics and Voting
    • STEM Resources
    • Westward Expansion
    • Immigration
    • Hispanic Heritage Month
    • Teaching with Drama
    • Agriculture History

Exploring the Smithsonian website is definitely worth the time.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Social Studies: Resources for Teaching

ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: January Posts

Happy New Year Friends!

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

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

January Posts

January’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite January Posts

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

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

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

February Prompts to Get Students Writing

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

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

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

February Prompts

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Multiple Intelligences and Learning

Multiple Intelligences and Learning
Multiple Intelligences and Learning

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

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

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

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

Learning Intelligences Simplified

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

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

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Historical Dates: Feb. 2020

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

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:

  • American Heart Month
  • Black History Month
  • National Dental Health Month

Historical Dates to Remember

  • February 2nd                Groundhog Day
  • February 3rd                 Elmo’s Birthday (Sesame Street character)
  • February 8th                 Boy Scouts Day (Founded 1910)
  • February 9th                 Hershey’s Chocolate Founded in 1894
  • February 12th              Abraham Lincoln born, 1809 (16th President)
  • February 14th               Valentine’s Day
  • February 15th               Susan B. Anthony’s 100th Birthday (born 1820)
  • February 17th               President’s Day/Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • February 20th               Love Your Pet Day
  • February 22nd              George Washington born, 1732/World Thinking Day
  • February 25th               Mardi Gras (always 47 days before Easter – also known as Fat Tuesday)
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Motivate Young Learners Easily

Motivate your child today with these simple ideas
Motivate your child today with these simple ideas

Getting kids to want to learn at home or in the classroom can be challenging. For some kids, they just LOVE to learn, and EVERYTHING is a learning experience.  For other kids teaching is TOUGH.  Finding ways to motivate them can some days seem impossible.  So, how can we get them moving?

To start, you are not doing anything wrong.  The bottom line is that a child’s individual personality plays a big part in their willingness to learn. Adding to the difficulty is that young children have short attention spans with many things to distract them. So, catching and KEEPING their attention may some days seem like catching butterflies! Fun but frustrating!

So, for those kids finding WHAT motivates them is key. The topic can make a difference, but so can the LOCATION. Extending learning outside the walls of the classroom can help motivate them to see learning all around them. You are important to help them learn the importance of lifelong learning.

4 Simple Strategies to Motivate

  • Reading, Reading Everywhere: Reading is the foundation of lifelong learning so Fill their life with reading opportunities.  Show them that everyday life includes books, signs, billboards, texts, emails etc. Point out to them that they are readers and learners whenever they look around them.
  • Make Learning Easy: Help kids to read or learn by making it EASIER so they will build confidence. Think of it this way.  When you go on a beach vacation, do you bring a textbook or an enjoyable book?  Most of us bring an easy “beach read”.  (no offense to my textbook blog readers). Let children pick their own books or things to learn by making it EASY. When they get frustrated, go back to EASIER. And when they’re “just not into it”, try another time or another day. Even when reading a “beach read”, you sometimes need a break to apply more suntan lotion or to jump into the water. Learning can occur in 30 seconds.   
  • Sneak in Learning: Learning can be hidden as well. What is the result when you secretly add chopped vegetables to your “anti-vegetable” child’s dinner? If they clean their plates, they’ve eaten their vegetables.  If they don’t, you hide them better next time! The key to success is that they didn’t know about your secret ingredients. Not everything has to be talked about and discussed.  IF your “hidden veggie attack” accomplished a balanced meal without the fuss, “mission accomplished”. Somewhere in the future, the “visible” vegetables may be welcomed by your young child or perhaps your adult children.  
  • Make Learning Fun: Learning can be hidden as well.  Look for fun opportunities for learning to keep kids motivated to learn.  Who doesn’t like a card game of “War”?  So much more fun that a workbook showing how some numbers are greater than others. When you want to teach kids something, think how can I make this fun? Yes, it may take more time, but the extra time solidifies the learning and it can be fun for both you and your child.  

Although it may seem like a battle to get your child motivated to learn, a different approach may make the difference. Once you find some strategies that work, it’s time to sit back and watch your child discover the joy of learning.  Enjoy the journey!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Parent Resources at NYS Parenting.org

NYSparenting.org has many  parent resources to help parents.
NYSparenting.org has many resources to help parents.

This site is a one-stop, digital portal of parent resources on parenting, childcare options, concerns about child development and how to talk and work together with your child’s teacher. The Council on Children and Families (the Council) worked closely with its member agencies to develop the resources. This site was funded by the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five Initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The site was created for New York families but there are great resources included that are helpful for parents and children all over the world.

Parent Resource Areas

For More Information

You can subscribe to the NYSB5 newsletter, text NYSB5 to 22828, or email them at NYSB5@ccf.ny.gov.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Historical Dates: Jan. 2020

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

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

Special Events This Month:

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

Historical Dates to Remember

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

Other posts related to this topic:

Writing Prompts to Encourage Writing

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

Why Writing Prompts?

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

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

Writing Prompts Motivate

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

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

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

January Writing Prompts

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

Happy New Year Writers!

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Newsletter: December 2019

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

Happy New Year Friends! Welcome 2020!

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

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

December 2019

December’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite December Posts

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

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

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