Your Child’s Vision Should Be Checked

Your child’s vision should be checked.

Your child's vision should be checked
Your child’s vision is important for school success.

How is the child’s vision?  That was a common question to our school’s s Response to Intervention (RTI) Committee, when a struggling student was referred to the committee. Our school nurse, a key contributor to RTI, would give an update to the team on the most recent vision screening.  If necessary, she would re-screen the child to be sure to rule out vision issues as a reason for the child’s classroom difficulties. A student may indeed be struggling in class if they are having vision or hearing issues. Thank you, Miss Peggy and School Nurses, everywhere!

I have a personal connection with school vision screenings.  In the mid 60’s it was a school nurse that discovered that I could not see out of one eye and recommended to my parents to have my vision checked.  I was diagnosed with amblyopia, the most common cause of vision problems in children. Commonly known as “lazy eye”, one eye is weaker that the other because the brain area for one eye didn’t fully develop.  This causes the loss of the eye to see details. If detected early, it is reversible. Unfortunately, in my case, it resulted in permanent vision loss.  My disability has made me hyper-vigilant to be sure young children get eye exams at a young age.

When should your child’s vision be tested?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Your child’s pediatrician should checks your child’s eyes during routine exams and will make a referral if a problem is suspected. School screenings, although valuable. should not be a substitute for an eye exam completed by a doctor.  

How important are eye exams to learning?

Healthy vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn and to reach their academic potential. In order to be successful in school your child needs the following basic visual skills for learning:

  • distance vision
  • near vision
  • eye movement skills
  • focusing skills
  • peripheral awareness
  • eye/hand coordination

At your child’s next routine physical exam, be sure to check with your doctor if a vision problem is suspected.  They may even refer you to an eye doctor that specialized in pediatrics.  Good vision is key to a child’s physical development and success in school.  

Other resources to support your child’s vision

Vision for Kids

American Optometric Association

Calling 911 Needs to be Taught to Kids

Would your child know what to do in an emergency? Teaching your child how to call 9-1-1.

In case of emergency Call 911
Teaching children how to use 9-1-1 is crucial and could save lives.

911, I wondered. Recently I passed our local fire department and saw their notification board with the question “Does your child know how to call 911?” I wondered if my grandkids knew how to use 911 in an emergency? So, just to be sure I put together a post to help parents have the information easily accessible to them. Knowing what to teach your child about 911 is essential to ensure they use it properly and do not call 911 unnecessarily. Teaching children how to use 911 is crucial and could save lives.

When to Call 911

Teach kids that a 911 emergency is when someone needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger. Help your child understand that major things like fires, seriously injured people and intruders in your home are real emergencies and things like a missing toy or a flat bike tire are not.

They should call 911 if:

  • there’s a fire
  • someone is unconscious after an accident, drinking too much, or an overdose of pills or drugs
  • someone has trouble breathing, like during an asthma flare-up or seizure
  • someone is choking
  • they see a crime happening, like a break-in, mugging, etc.
  • there’s a serious car accident

How to Call 911

  • Call 9-1-1 if you think you have an emergency and explain the situation to the dispatcher.
  • Make sure your kids know that the emergency operator that answers the phone will ask them questions about the emergency and it’s OK to share information.
  • Stress that they should call 9-1-1 AFTER they are in a safe place.
  • Explain to your child that it is important to stay as calm as possible so they can give information to the 911 dispatcher and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. So the operator can understand all their important information.

Helpful Tips to Teach Your Child 911:

  • Never say “nine eleven.” There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say “nine-one-one.”
  • Calling 9-1-1- is very important. Never call it unless it is necessary. Calling 9-1-1 as a joke, might slow down the emergency help from getting to someone who really needs it. They should also know that people who call as a joke can also get into trouble. But if they call 9-1-1 by mistake, don’t hang up. When the dispatcher answers, tell him/her that they made a mistake and that there is no emergency.
  • Post your address near the phone or in a place everyone has access (i.e. memo board, refrigerator, etc.) and be sure the kids know where it is and how to read it. If you live in an apartment building, make sure your child knows the apartment number and floor you live on.
  • Once your child knows how to use 9-1-1, practice different scenarios to make them more familiar with the concept without frightening them.

Additional Resources:

Energy Balancing: GG vs. Grandkids Visit

Grandchildren are full of energy.
Grandkids are full of energy

Let’s face it, as grandparents most of us just don’t have the same energy levels we had when our kids were young.  So, when the grandkids are coming to visit, I plan an “Energy Defense” strategy. If you’re wondering what that is; it is the 3 Ps:  Plan, Plan, and Plan. You love to have them visit and want them to have a good time, but you also want to enjoy the time with them.  Out of necessity, I’ve figured out a plan that works for me.  I call it my 9-point Energy Defense Strategy.  Take a look, maybe some of the ideas can work for you.  Good Luck! :    

Planning an Energy Defense

  • Start your list – Make a list of things that you THINK they MAY want to do.
  • Get ideas from the kids – Before their visit, ask them if they have activities that they want to do so you can get ready. IF they come up with new ideas after they arrive, do them if you can.  If not, tell them you’ll add it to the list of things to do the next time they visit.  
  • Over planDon’t be surprised to find out that it wasn’t enough.  Kids are full of energy and fly through activities.
  • Gather materials – Prep the materials you need so they are “ready to go”.
  • Know your Energy levelPacing yourself will help you get through the day. The trick is to get the grandkids to Think they are choosing everything and not that their choices impact your pacing method.
  • Label by Energy Levels – Think of activities as if sorting into 3 Energy (E) buckets: active, quiet and solo activities.
    • Active – activities that you need to be involved in.  Either to teach, play or manage. 
    • Quiet – activities they can do with you but do not need active involvement.  Playing a game, reading together, talking, watching a show. 
    • Solo —activities are things they can do alone, and your hands-on assistance is not needed.  Ex. coloring, drawing, independent play.
  • Order of activities – In your planning, keep in mind a good balance of your E buckets. Try giving them 2 or 3 choices of possible activities which gives them ownership in the planning.    
  • Mealtime – It never fails that I don’t seem to have the right food in the house for whichever child visits. One child only eats white bread, one only brown, one only eats meat, one only pasta, one only juice that’s watered down and one only water.  I try to get it right, but I haven’t yet achieved 100% (not even close) mastery on this objective. It’s a “work in progress”.   
  • Set Morning and 3 o’clock snack times – Setting a “snack time” helps to hold off their hunger until the next meal and decreases the amount of “grazing all day”. Morning snack time can vary but 3 o’clock snack has been set in stone since my kids were small. As a multi-tasking mom, I set a time to have “uninterrupted mommy and kids time”. Now, just the name has changed to “GiGI and grandkids time”. It also serves as a built-in quiet activity to rest up for our next adventure. Oh, how life has changed!   


20 Activities Planned and Unplanned for a 7-hour visit with 3 of my grandkids (sorted by bucket level)  

  • Shared reading of Thomas Edison biography. Child reads a page and I read a page. (Q)
  • Math problems (A)
  • Basketball outside (A)
  • Matchbox cars (independent play) (S)
  • Play Jenga and teach 4-year-old how to play the game. (A)
  • Color (S)
  • Mazes in coloring books (Q)
  • Make a bear using paper plates. (Q)
  • Find videos online of Grizzly bears, brown bears and panthers to watch. (You Tube and zoos have great sites). Be sure to watch videos before child to avoid any unpleasant animal behavior. (Q)
  • Identify the birds at the bird feeder.  Try to identify the bird by researching on the computer. Talk about size of head, beak, coloring, eating. (A)
  • Watch baby polar bear video at the zoo and talk about mammals (Q)
  • I also am a big believer that watching a show, or a singalong show is not a bad thing while kids eat. I consider it to be “lunch or dinner theater”.  I give them 3 GiGi “chosen and approved” options and ask them to choose one.  Sometimes they must take turns being the “remote boss” to get any agreement on a show.  (Q)
  • Hide and seek (A)
  • Independent play with baby dolls. (S)
  • Play musical instruments and put on a show. (A)
  • Create a parachute for an action figure and drop from different heights.  (A)
  • Science Experiment: “How many pennies can fit in an aluminum foil boat before it sinks?” (A)
  • Science Experiment: “How can we get a paperclip to float?”  (A)


“Bucket Overflowing”: System Is Not Perfect

Be prepared that your buckets may overflow and that the kids may not like all your planned activities.  Kids change every day along with their likes and dislikes.  If your planned activities are not a big hit one day, recycle the idea for the next visit.  That also works if you had great success with an idea.  Why invent the wheel? Maybe they’ll ask to do it again their next visit.  

When they leave, it’s time to sit back and think about the great day you had together. Of course, with your feet up.  I love being a GiGi!


Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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ThreeRingsConnections’ Blog Content January 2019

Education is the means of developing our greatest abilities.
Education is the means of developing our greatest abilities.

One month down in 2019- how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? Was one of your resolutions to fit in some professional development for yourself? If so, take a look at January’s archives and catch up on your resolution. All January’s posts are below, as well as, all 72 posts since I started this blog in September 2018. With this second Newsletter post I’ve achieved 2 months of MY resolution to post a monthly newsletter for Threeringsconnections.org.  2 down and 10 more to go! Have a great month!

January 2019 Archives

January’s Most Popular Posts:

3 most viewed by our blog readers. Were they on your favorite list?

My Favorite January Posts:

Take a look at a few posts coming next month

  • Calling 911 Needs to be Taught to Kids
  • Kids: It’s time for a “shower of hearts”
  • Historical Dates and Learning: Feb. & March

Kid Songs and “Battle of the Sexes”

Mrs. Bear wears the winning medal.
Mrs. Bear wears the winning medal.

On a recent vacation, I participated in a “Battle of the Sexes” competition and went head to head against my husband.  Unfortunately, I lost the speed test of pulling tissues from a box. Ladies, it’s all in the wrists; which I learned too late. Please learn from my mistakes.

However, I did make it to the finals where the challenge was a race to sing songs without repeating a song already performed in the round. So, while the guys were thinking of current songs, I channeled my inner Kindegarten teacher and broke into kid songs! Isn’t it amazing how you can remember all the words to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, but you can’t remember where you put your keys? Who won?  Sorry guys, but you can’t go wrong with singing kids songs!

What kid songs should I sing?

This event reminded me that when my first grandchild was born, my son told me he didn’t know any songs to sing to the baby.  I reminded him of the nursey rhymes, Christmas songs, Irish songs and kid songs we sang together when he was little. Armed with a musical repertoire, he was ready in case a song or two was needed to soothe his son.

Here’s a quick A to Z list of kid songs

If you too need to have a few kids songs on hand, here’s a quick A to Z list of songs to jog your memory. You will see some “author creativity” in songs that start with G, Q, U, V, X, Y and Z since there were not many choices. (or maybe ones that I could remember!) Don’t afraid to be creative when you are stuck!  Include your child’s name or something they like to do and your kids will love it!  

  • ABC Song
  • BINGO
  • Clap Hands, Clap Hands
  • Do Re Mi
  • Eeensy Weensy Spider
  • Five Little…. (monkeys, ducks)
  • GG and Gpa (sing to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”)
      GG and Gpa are so much fun
      Playing and dancing
      Until the day is done
      Singing, laughing loving me
      We’re as happy as can be
  • Happy Birthday
  • If Your Happy and You Know It 
  • Jack and Jill
  • Koala Bear Turn Around
  • London Bridge is Falling Down
  • Mary Had A Little Lamb
  • Nick, Nack, Paddy, Whack (This Old Man)
  • Old McDonald Had A Farm
  • Pop Goes the Weasel
  • Q is for Quiet Please (sing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)
      Quiet Please, Quiet Please
      Kids are in the school
      Singing, learning, having fun
      And Learning the Golden Rule
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Skip to My Lou
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
    • U is for Unicorns (sing to the tune of” Old McDonald”)
        Unicorns are so much fun
        Oh yes, they are.
        And in the air they fly around
        Oh yes, they do!
        they have a long horn,
        they have 4 legs
      pretty colors
        and a shiny mane
        Unicorns are so much fun
        Oh yes, they are!
  • V is for Violin (sing to the tune “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
    Play, play, play a tune,
      on your violin.
      Meg is doing a really good job.
      Play it once again.
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • X is for X-ray (sing to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
      X-ray starts with letter X,
      Letter X, Letter X.
      X-ray starts with letter X,
    X, X, X, X!
  • Yo Yo’s Are Fun (sing to the tune of “Row, Row, Your Boat”)
      Yo Yo’s are lot of fun
      Won’t you play with me
      Wrap the string
      Drop it down
      Pull it up again.
  • Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da!

Kids songs are a fabulous learning tool

Be prepared because we all know that little kids love repetition.  When you have heard “Five Little Ducks” or “Let it Go” for the hundredth time; try to remember that repetition encourages the use of words and memorization and that’s a good thing! Happy Singing!

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Special Education Websites

Special education websites to help support student learning.
Special education websites to help support student learning.

The changes in Special Education has created a need for teachers and parents to find resources to help kids be successful. Although I have separated the websites into Teacher Resources and Parent Resources, many resources can be valuable to both groups.  

Websites for Teachers

  • What Works Clearinghouse (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/)
    Research on all areas of education to help teachers make evidence-based decisions.
  • The Teacher’s Guide (http://www.theteachersguide.com)
    Resources include lesson plans and printouts. Be sure to check out the Virtual Fieldtrips under the Interactive tab. .   
  • LD OnLine (http://www.ldonline.orgh) Many resources available in all areas to help students with special needs.
  • E-Ready Special Education Information (http://www.pta.org/advocacy/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3713) Information on specific disabilities. Also, check out the glossary of terms.
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America (https://ldaamerica.org/educators/) General information, practical solutions and a comprehensive network of resources.
  • NICHCY (http://nichcy.org/schools-administrators) Easy-to-read information on IDEA. Research-based information on effective practices, programs and services are included.
  • Do2Learn (http://www.do2learn.com/) This website includes many student activities along with a great teacher toolbox of resources.
  • SERGE (Special Education Resources for General Education) – Excellent site for general classroom educators to support students with disabilities in their classrooms.
  • Child Development Center   (https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/) Researched, practical classroom accommodations are included. which will help in preparing RTI and IEP plans.

Websites for Parents 

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Train Rides, Taxis and Mr. Uber: Oh MY!

All aboard for train rides to Grand Central Station and back home.
All aboard for Grand Central Station!

Commuters coordinate their travel to the minute, to maximize efficiency. If you are traveling to NYC from Dutchess County, you certainly don’t want to make the 2-hour train rides any longer!  However, if you are a 4 and 5-year-old going to your 1st NYC show, you wake up 3 hours before the train departs and are ready to go 30 minutes later.

The anticipation of a “bubble show” would be obvious but adding in their first train ride raised the enthusiasm to a fever pitch.   My daughter packed their backpack for the long haul that included bagels, donuts, juice pouches, yogurt covered raisins, candy, ring pops and 2 coffees for GG and GPa.  We were prepared, just in case there were no food/snack stores in NYC.

Train rides and princesses

As the train traveled south to the city, the girls marveled at things that probably go unnoticed by the daily commuter. First boat sightings were greeted with delight but soon became common place. Seeing a quarry, a train breezing past them, and a train on the western shore of the Hudson all generated a myriad of questions and conversations. The castle on Bannerman Island of course brought up the “obligatory” daily conversation about a princess. No, I don’t think one lives there but yes, I don’t know for sure!

Hopping in a taxi at Grand Central to get to the theater brought out questions of “why” we had to hop into the taxi and why couldn’t we just walk? Just get in the taxi and yes, if you want to hop you can! After the show, we called an Uber rather than hailing a taxi to be sure we did not miss the next train.  I was surprised that “hailing a taxi” did not lead to a discussion on the weather, nor did the idea of “catching a train”.

No Carseats on Train Rides?

Our trip included train rides, a taxi ride and an Uber ride.  Their excitement was boundless since each mode of transportation came without car seats.  When you are 4 and 5 years old, this is a big deal!  Their energy was “puppy-like” like a puppy without a leash. If they had tails, they would have been wagging! A formal apology goes out to my daughter since she will be dealing with the “why” car seats are the law but not on a train, taxi or Uber. I’m sure she will have curbed their “car seat free” enthusiasm by the time we see them next.  An advantage of being a GG.

Tall buildings. lots of people, and taxis was a new experience for the girls. For their city-living cousins (8, 4 and 2) NYC was home and managed it without a blink. The girls followed their experienced cousins up and down escalators maneuvering through the crowds with confidence with their “city cousins” always in sight.  Not to be followers the entire trip, they were the “big cousins” to their 2-year-old New Jersey cousin who loved holding their hands and being one of the girls. Looking at them I imagined them 20 years older going to NYC for a “girls’ day”. This is the stuff that makes a GG smile. 

Return Trip to Poughkeepsie

The train ride home was much different.  They lamented on the long ride and why Poughkeepsie was the very last stop and questioned our choice of hometowns! On each of the last 5 stops they wanted to get off with the other riders.  After explaining that our car was at the Poughkeepsie station, the youngest one suggested that we just call Uber again and he could bring us to our car. Another explanation of Uber as a service. and not our driver’s name ensued.  

Giggles set in around Tarrytown, possibly a result of boredom and/or the Mike and Ike candy!  They also discovered their dislike for Sweet Tarts and that they indeed were not sweet.  A discussion of renaming them Sour Tarts and writing the company was discussed and dismissed.  Instead they chose to just eat them and make “sour faces” which brought on a serious case of the “giggles”.

Still stalling for time as the train made its way to Poughkeepsie, we talked about other types of transportation that might be faster than the train to get us up and down to the city. How surprised was GPa to learn from the girls that our next trip to NYC we were going by helicopter or a submarine and that it was GiGi’s idea.  That’s not what I said!  An explanation of a “bucket list” ensued and now we have helicopters and submarines in our buckets. I also convinced them to add a plane or a boat ride to their bucket lists, since they certainly were more probable.    

When the train arrived at 3:50pm at the Poughkeepsie station we transferred them to their mom and dad and waved good bye.  As we headed home, we let out a collective sigh of exhaustion. We had lots of fun with all the grandkids but for this GG and GPa, it was time for a nap.   

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Math Enrichment Problems: January 2019

Math is Fun
January Math Enrichment Problems

Welcome to the 2nd month of threeringsconnections.orgMonthly Math Enrichment Problems post, Each month I 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.

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

  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)

Problem Solving – Here we go! 

  1. On a baseball team, Chris, Jerry and Matt each played one of three positions of pitcher, catcher and second baseman, though not necessarily in that order. The second baseman, playing his first season with the team, had the lowest salary.  Chris, who along with Jerry had played two seasons with this team, earned more than the pitcher.  Who was the pitcher?
  2. Declan wants to swim 20 yards out into the ocean. He swims out 5 yards in 4 seconds but then in one second a wave pushes him back 2 yards. If this cycle continues, how long will it take Declan to get 20 yards out for the first time, even if only for an instant?
  3. A group of 63 students went to the museum. Some students took the bus, the rest went by car. If 41 students took the bus and 3 students rode in each car, then how many cars were needed?
  4. Lowyn likes to celebrate her birthday for a whole week. On the first day she eats one cookie.  On the second day she eats 2 cookies. This continues on until the seventh day when she eats 7 cookies. How many cookies did Lowyn eat that week?
  5. Doug spent $44 This is twice as much as Kelly and Marian spent together.  Kelly spent $9.  How much did Marian spend?
  6. 61 + 12 = __ – 7   Find the number that belongs on the line.
  7. If 40 – 6 = Q, how much is 45 + Q

ANSWERS:

  1. Matt is the pitcher.  Neither Chris nor Jerry played second base (it wasn’t their first season).  Matt played second base. Chris earned more than the pitcher so he’s not the pitcher, Matt is.
  2. The answer is 29.  Every 5 seconds he gains 3 yards. After 25 seconds he is 15 yards out. In 4 more seconds he will be 20 yards out for the first time (even if only for an instant).
  3. The answer is 8.  63-41=22.  If 3 students traveled in each car, there were 8 cars.   7 cars had 3 students for 21 total and an 8th car was needed for the 22nd student.
  4. The answer is 28.  1+2+3+4+5+6+7=28
  5. The answer is $13.  Half of $44 is $22.  Since Kelly spent $9, then Marian had to spend $13 to equal $22.
  6. 80 goes on the line.      61 + 12 = 73   and 80 – 7 = 73
  7. Q = 79.

Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems 

threeringsconnections.org

Other posts related to this topic

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

Historical Dates and Learning: Feb & March

For kids in school, knowing historical dates helps them relate to history and builds their general knowledge. Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed  by their teachers historical knowledge!

February

American Heart, Black History, and National Dental Health Months

February 2           Groundhog Day

February 5           Chinese New Year- Year of the Boar

February 11         Thomas Edison born (1847)

February 12         Abraham Lincoln born 1809 (16th president)

February 14         Valentine’s Day

February 15         Susan B. Anthony born 1820

February 16         Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 18         President’s Day

February 22         George Washington’s Birthday

February 27         International Polar Bear Day

March

Music in Our Schools Month

March 2                Iditarod begins

Dr. Seuss Birthday

Read Across America

March 5                Mardi Gras begins

March 10              Daylight Savings Time begins

March 14               Scientist Albert Einstein born (1879)

March 17              St. Patrick’s Day

March 20               First Day of Spring

March 29                Coca Cola invented (1886)

Mary Poppins (1964) Returns to Meet the Grandkids

Mary Poppins was the first movie that I saw in a movie theater.  To a 5-year-old, Mary Poppins was the happy, singing, magical figure dancing on a giant theater screen. Along with movie popcorn, I vividly remember holding my dad’s hand walking home from the movie that afternoon.  What a memory!

Who is Mary Poppins and why is she returning?

So, when I saw that Mary Poppins Returns was being filmed, I wondered how I was going to adjust to a new Mary Poppins.  After all, could anyone be as “Practically Perfect” as Julie Andrews?  In my eyes, probably not, but for my 4 and 5-year-old granddaughters they were excited to go to another Saturday matinee.  For me, it could be a life changer.

As we talked about going to see the new movie, I shared with them my love for the original and how much their mommy loved the movie when she was little. I was thrilled when they asked to see the “old” Mary Poppins movie. Now, what die-hard Mary Poppins fan would not have their own copy of the movie on CD?  So, that afternoon, my husband and I sat down with the girls to introduce them to “Mary and Bert”. 

So much fun through a child’s eyes

The 2+ hours had many surprises for us all.  The fact that both my husband and I could sing some of the songs “practically” perfect was a surprise to us and shocked the girls.  Their eyes darted between the screen and us, watching and laughing that we sang along and even added some dialogue. My husband’s demonstration of jumping into an imaginary chalk sidewalk picture brought on a case of the giggles for us all! Little kids see such fun in little things!

Mary Poppins magical presence and adventures through the streets of London, horse races on carousel horses and tea parties on the ceiling added to the countless “how did she do that?” questions throughout the movie. It was interesting to see the girls question the unrealistic things in the movie but not question when fish talk underwater in their favorite cartoons. Perhaps they know cartoons are fake  but people who look real in movies, even though they are doing magical things, makes them question reality? Not sure, but I loved seeing their amazement.    

Did they really understand Mary Poppins?

Did they get the Mary Poppins message to reach for their dreams or to look past what they see on the outside to see the good in all of us? I would say no.  Did they enjoy 2+ hours of fun with their grandparents? Absolutely! That afternoon we did not experience the magic at 17 Cherry Hill Lane but there was magic in our house when our granddaughters met Mary Poppins.

Could Mary Poppins Returns be as good as the original movie?

Did we go to see Mary Poppins Returns? This past Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I took the 2 girls to see Mary Poppins Returns. It took a few minutes for the girls to realize that there were different people playing the roles and lots of whispering to explain the differences between the movies. But, we all loved the new movie (yes, even me!).  It was fun, made us smile and an experience I will never forget. 

However, the best outcome was hearing the girls singing in the back of the car, Let’s Go Fly A Kite from Mary Poppins (1964) on our ride home.  Sorry Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, you both were great, but sometimes the original movie is simply more than “Practically Perfect”!

Toddler DIY Activities Kit

Toddler DIY Activities Kit


Time to create a Toddler DIY Activities Kit because …. there is a baby on the way! 

When our new granddaughter arrives next month she will be our 8th grand child with the oldest grandchild being only 8 years old. Yes, we have a busy house when they all visit!  Upon her arrival, she will be welcomed by her very excited 2 year old sister.  Although my daughter- in -law has done a great job preparing Little Miss L for her new sister; I’m sure there will be times when an extra set of hands will be helpful.  So how can I lend a helping hand when I live 2 hours away? 


Toddler Activities for Less Than $10.00


So this month I decided to create a GG Fun Kit to provide fun, quiet activities that Miss L can play with independently. Hopefully, the activities will keep Miss L busy and give my daughter- in- law a few minutes to take care of the new baby or enjoy a well-deserved cup of tea. As in my previous learning kits, my goal is to make them reasonably priced, easy to duplicate,  and filled with fun activities  to keep kids engaged. Usually, my kits are created to be done with your child. However, the focus this month is to find materials and activities that Miss L can do alone.  So with $10 in hand, I’m off to the Dollar Store.    

Busy Toddler Activity Kit

Materials Activities
pompoms                  Sort pompoms in ice cube trays by color
Pick up pompoms with tongs and put in ice cube tray. Put pompoms into containers, baggies
Crayons and color-ing sheets Individual coloring sheets ((5) are folded in kit. Let
child color one coloring sheet at a time
Hour glass timer Watch how the sand can do back and forth. Can be used to remind children to complete a task.  
small pencil Write with small pencil on small post its
Pipe cleaners Twist to make jewelry
Twist to connect
A pack of picture cards (any) Sort pictures by color, picture, back or front of the cardLine up the cards in a straight line.Toss the cards in the lid of the container
Different types of paper: post its, different colors, sizes Encourage them to draw pictures for different peopleHang artworks throughout the house  
tongs Use to pick up small to medium items in kit
Ice cube trays Use tray to sort items by color, number and to make patterns
Baggies with zippers Store items.
Use as a container and take out items using tongs or tweezers
Clear plastic containers Use for storage
Put hole in lid and put small items from the kit through the hole using fingers.
Put items from kit through the hole using tongs.
clothespins Use to pick up pompoms, pencils, paper.     
Plastic cupcake holder with lid Used to store all items in the kit.  Ideally one with ahandle is best so it can be carried by children.

Enjoy some quiet time and a cup of tea! 

Other posts related to this topic:


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


October 20, 2018 Fostering Creativity in Kids   

Healthquest Taconic IPA Science Education Grants

ELIGIBILITY – All public, private, and parochial secondary teachers (Grades 7-12) in all New York State licensed and certified schools in Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counties.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES – Online grant application. Click here to access the Grants Portal.

Applications available online January 1st
Applications must be submitted by March 15th 

EVALUATION AND SELECTION PROCESS – All applications will be reviewed by the Healthquest Taconic IPA Committee of the Community Foundations.  

Funding priority will be given to requests that are well-written, for equipment that is durable and will serve a large number of students.  Requests that include information relative to how the lessons using the equipment will positievely impact students, spur their interest in science related careers and provide a strong educational foundation for college level curriculum will receive special considertaion. Requests that note equipment sharing accross schools within the same district are also encouraged. 

AWARD AMOUNTS – Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $500 – $1,000.

COOPERATIVE VENTURES – Applications/requests in excess of the $1,000 limit will be considered for cooperative ventures across different fields/disciplines that affect a large number of students.

NOTIFICATION – Applicants will be notified in May. 

FINAL REPORT – An online report accounting for expenditure of grant funds must be submitted to the Community Foundations no later than June 30th of the year following the award.  This report should also include information on how the equipment purchased enhanced learning opportunities in the classroom laboratory.  Unused funds must be returned to the Foundation.

OWNERSHIP OF EQUIPMENT – Equipment purchased with grant funds is deemed to be the property of the school.

Winning grant descriptions can be found here.

SPONSORED BY:
http://www.taconicipa.com                            

ThreeRingsConnections’ January 2019 Newsletter

Teachers change the world everyday

Yes, December was a busy month.  But, honestly isn’t every month busy?  So, for those of you that may have missed a post or two, (or three), here is a complete list of all December’s posts.  You can also access all 61 of my posts, by looking at the Sept./Oct and November links.   

December 2018 Archives

December’s Most Popular Posts:

I thought readers might find it interesting to see the 3 most viewed posts each month. Here’s a round-up of December’s most popular posts:

My Favorite December Posts:

Here are the 3 posts from December that I think are the best and most helpful. ( not in order of preference).

Have a great month!

Fund for Excellence in Education Teacher Grants

It’s Posted- Let’s Get Our Creative Hats On!

 

Eligibility:  
Classroom Teachers of Pre-K – 12 in Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster Counties (Parochial, Private/Independent, and Public Schools)
 
Funding Focus: 
Fund for Excellence in Education Grants offer Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster County classroom teachers funding opportunities to support special classroom projects or professional development for teachers. Grants awarded will have a direct benefit to classroom learning and support achievement of educational outcomes. 

**Grant funding not to be used for field trips or after-school activities.**
 
Grants Available to Public, Parochial and Private/Independent Schools:

General Grants:  Teachers may apply for grants that fulfill one or both of these criteria:
1) Support for classroom projects and initiatives which will improve learning opportunities for students
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 teh 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.  Average awards range from $1,000-$1,500.
 
Applications:  
Online grant application. Click here to access the Grants Portal.

Deadlines:  
Applications must be submitted by March 15th. Awards are announced in May. 

Contact Cristin McPeake, Director of Programs at (845) 452-3077 or grants@communityfoundationshv.org.

Review Process:
All applications will be reviewed by the Fund for Excellence in Education Committee of the Community Foundations. All recommendations are reviewed, approved or declined by the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundations.               

Double Rainbow New Year

Double Ranibow

In Eastern cultures, a double rainbow is considered a sign of good luck. To leprechaun believers, they know that the leprechauns left his pot of gold for those that believe. Lastly, In the Bible (Genesis 9) a rainbow is part of Noah’s story in which God promises never to create another destructive global flood. Overall, a double rainbow is pretty special!   T

For my science friends…because I know you want to know how this happens.  Here’s the scientific info on double rainbows in 10 easy (sort of) steps:

  1. In a single rainbow, sunlight spreads into a spectrum of colors from red to violet. But in a double rainbow, the colors are inverted, with red appearing on the inside and violet on the outside.
  2. All rainbows require the presence of the sun and rain in order to form. The sun must be to the viewer’s back and the rain must be falling ahead of the viewer.
  3. As sunshine breaks through the clouds and beams towards the raindrops, some of the light encounters the raindrops and bends – this process is called refraction.
  4. When the light refracts, the process causes the sunlight to separate into different wavelengths. These different wavelengths correspond to different colors: red and orange correspond to longer wavelengths, while blue and purple correspond to shorter wavelengths. 
  5. The refracted lightwaves then bounce – or reflect – off of the circular edge of the raindrop, and then they refract again as they exit the raindrop and travel through the air.
  6. Because raindrops are relatively round when the sunlight refracts through them, the visual result is a spherical arc that soars all across the sky.

Double Rainbow- How Did that Happen?

  1. The first and brighter rainbow is called the primary rainbow. This rainbow is created by the process described above,and only requires the light to reflect off the raindrop once before refracting out of the raindrop. 
  2. The second and more faint rainbow is called the secondary rainbow. It occurs when refracted light does not escape the raindrop afterbeing reflected the first time. Instead, the refracted light reflects off the raindrop’s surface a second time as well, producing a secondary rainbow with its colors reversed compared to the primary rainbow
  3. Fewer light rays are available to undergo the additional refraction process, so the resulting secondary rainbow appears less vivid.


To all my blog friends:
I wish for you a Double Rainbow 2019 filled with luck, fortune and                              sunny days!                             

                                                                                   Donna G.



Calendar Picture Books DIY

An easy way to build a child’s vocabulary is to create a Calendar Picture Book. Every December I seem to get lots of different types of calendars. Some of them are quite beautiful but how many calendars does one person need? Looking for something to do with the calendars, I started making Calendar Picture Books for my grand kids.  They are easy to make, FREE (love that word) and kids love them. 

Did you know that typically, a child needs to hear a new word 4 to 12 times before it is added to their vocabulary? So, don’t worry about talking too much to your child; that’s exactly what they need to hear. Through everyday conversations, your child’s vocabulary will grow. Adding pictures. like in this project or reading to your child, helps your child make connections with words and supports their language development.

2 Easy Steps:

  1. Insert the pages in a binder.  Be sure to add writing materials in the back pocket for words, drawings or scribbles.  Better to be prepared if your child wants to write something!
  2. Take the photos from the calendar and put them back to back in plastic page protectors.  My grand kids love the animal photos


3 Ways to Start Conversations: (adapt based on child’s age)

  1. Find the picture: This activity helps kids look through the pictures in the book to find something specific. Ex. Can you find the picture of the white kitty wearing a hat?
  2. Comment Starters– When looking at the photos together you can comment on a photo and try to get your child to comment.  Ex. I love the picture of that dog. Which one is your favorite? Reaffirm your child’s comments.  This does 2 things: acknowledges that you listened and adds to the 4-12 repetition count.
  3. Ask questions about the pictures.  One way to think about asking your child questions about the pictures is to remember the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where,Why) Ex. Looking at a picture of a dog, you can ask any W question to start a conversation.  

A bonus of Calendar Picture Books is that it supports recycling.  So, why not take the opportunity to teach your child about Reduce, Reuse and Recycle? Another great conversation topic awaits!  

A Thanksgiving Turkey for Christmas!


I planned to spend the day before Thanksgiving with my 5-year-old                granddaughter making a Thanksgiving Turkey craft. When she arrived that morning she immediately asked about the crafts and I realized I had forgotten to go to the craft store.  Well, this certainly was going to stretch our creativity.

After looking through boxes of decorations, she decided that a straw pumpkin and some Easter eggs would be perfect to make a turkey. Honestly, I had my doubts, but back we went to the kitchen to make a turkey!

Good News: Well, she did it.  Her basic idea was to make the pumpkin the turkey body and to somehow use the colorful eggs for the feathers. Adding some paper plates, glue and some color, our turkey “Lila” was created.   

Bad News: On the way home in the car, “Lila” the turkey got squashed and needed to be repaired.  She was devastated.

Good News: Miss M brought the broken “Lila” back to our house and we glued her back together again. Miss M asked me to bring “Lila” to Thanksgiving dinner, so she wouldn’t get squashed again in her car.  Great faith in GG!

Bad News: On the way out the door to Thanksgiving dinner, I left “Lila” on the kitchen table. Once again Miss M was devastated. Uggh! So much for trusting me.

So, after all that work, “Lila the Turkey” never made it to Thanksgiving.   

Good News: Wanting everyone to meet “Lila”, Miss M decided to add some Christmas decorations to her.  An additional plus to her plan was that since Christmas was at my house, we were pretty sure Lila would make it to the holiday table.   

Good News:  While others were singing about a “Partridge in a Pear Tree”; at our house we were singing about a “Turkey on our Christmas table”! 

Merry Christmas!  

Other posts related to this topic:
October 20, 2018       Fostering Creativity in Kids

I Spy Sensory Bags

I Spy Sensory Bags are a great way for kids to expand their sense of touch, creativity, and adventure, and they are so easy to make!

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While shopping in a craft store in October I saw a display that had a Christmas I Spy Sensory Jar.  I loved the idea but was unsure how easy it would be to create for the grand kids.  I bought 1 container and some Christmas small items and made a great jar 2 months later. It was so easy to assemble I decided to go back to the dollar store to get 5 additional containers, so each grand kid would have their own.  You guessed it!  Four dollar stores later and not a jar in sight, I decided to improvise and try resealable gallon bags.

Grand kids loved finding the items in their bags and even switched with their cousins to find their I Spy List.  However, I still love the look of the Christmas containers. Note to self: Buy the Christmas containers before the week before Christmas!   

To make the Christmas sensory bag, you will need:

To make the Christmas Sensory Bag you will need:

  1. Gallon size resealable bag
  2. Rice (other options: oatmeal, potato flakes, beans, coconut)
  3. A collection of small Christmas trinkets.

3 Easy Steps to make a Sensory Bag

  1. Fill the bag about 2/3 filled with rice and add the Christmas trinkets.
  2. Zip the bag and add packing tape over the top so it can’t be opened.
  3.  Print out labels with the words “I Spy with my little eye” and a list of the items included in the bag.  I made each grandchild a bag that included a collection of Christmas trinkets along with a magnetized letter of the first letter of their name. (Ex. E for Emily). I just used letters from an A to Z magnetic alphabet set.  My choice of including a magnetized letter was so they could move the magnet inside the bag by moving a magnet on the outside of the bag.  They loved it! Tip: Save some time and take a photo of the items and tape it on the bag.
  4. Fill the bag about 2/3 filled with rice and add the Christmas trinkets.
  5. Zip the bag and add packing tape over the top so it can’t be opened.  
  6. Print out labels with the words “I Spy with my little eye” and a list of the items included in the bag.  I made each grandchild a bag that included a collection of Christmas trinkets along with a magnetized letter of the first letter of their name. (Ex. E for Emily). I just used letters from an A to Z magnetic alphabet set.  My choice of including a magnetized letter was so they could move the magnet inside the bag by moving a magnet on the outside of the bag.  They loved it!

A Sensory Bag can easily be made with other items. Try it with sight words, letters, numbers, shapes, rhyming words, photos, Let your imagination soar!

Historical Dates and Learning

I admit it.  When I was both a teacher and a principal, there were some historical dates that came and went; and I totally missed them.  For kids in school, knowing those dates on the calendar provide opportunities to learn about history and helps to build their  general knowledge.  Knowing these dates can help teachers engage students in conversations and students may even be impressed  by their teachers historical knowledge!

Personally, I hope knowing some of these dates will help my trivia team score some points at our weekly competition!  Go Wizards! 

(December 2018 and January 2019)

Dec.2-Dec 10          Hanukkah

December 10          Emily Dickinson’s Birthday (1830)

December 10          Human Rights Day

December 15          Bill of Rights Day (1791)

December 16          Boston Tea Party Anniversary (1773)

December 17          Anniversary of the Wright Brothers Flight (1903)

December 21          First Day of Winter

December 25          Christmas

December 25          Clara Barton’s Birthday

Dec. 26-Jan. 1         Kwanzaa

Happy 2019!

January 1               New Year’s Day

January 1               Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary (1863)

January 1-3            Japanese New Year Festivities

January 7               Orthodox Christmas Day

January 20             World Religion Day

January 21             Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Observance (1929)

January 23              First Native American US Senator (1907)

January 28              Christa McAuliffe Day

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

Math Enrichment Problems- Answers:

  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