Knowledge of Resources in Lesson Plans

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

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

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

13 Strategies to Demonstrate Knowledge of Resources

  • Uses varied resources (same content/different reading levels, instructional aides) that match student’s various skills.
  • Makes direct contact with resources or liaisons to determine availability to students to extend and enrich lessons i.e. guest speaker, field trip
  • Uses multidisciplinary resources to enhance learning.
  • Appropriately incorporate the use of the Internet.
  • Uses resources from professional organizations to support learning.
  • Incorporates technology into lessons (media center, computer lab, Instructional Technology (IT) specialist).
  • Uses hands-on resources (technology, science materials, models etc.)
  • Uses multiple approaches to deepen content knowledge.
  • Explores district offerings that enhance content knowledge or pedagogical knowledge.
  • Works with colleagues (lesson study, PLC, books study, team meetings, etc.) to share ideas to deepen professional knowledge.
  • Explores content knowledge through colleges/ universities and professional organizations.
  • Incorporates community resources into lessons and shares resources with colleagues.
  • Suggests resources available to students outside of schools especially over vacations and breaks (libraries, museums, etc.)
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April: Smile With Some Jokes

Jokes Make Us Smile
Jokes Make Us Smile

If ever there was a time that we all need to smile, it certainly is now. When kids learn about jokes they often tell some really “corny” jokes and sometimes you just have to laugh because THEY THINK they are REALLY FUNNY!    A smile or a laugh could do us all some good!

What time is it when the clock strikes 13?
Answer: Time to get a new clock. HINT: Can a clock strike 13?

What musical instrument is found in the bathroom?
Answer: A tuba toothpaste. HINT: What do you use to brush your teeth?

Why can’t Elsa from Frozen have a balloon?
Answer: Because she will “let it go, let it go.” HINT: What is the famous song from the movie “Frozen”?

What did one volcano say to the other?
Answer: I lava you. HINT: Use the word that comes out of the volcano in your answer.

How do you get a squirrel to like you?
Answer: Act like a nut. HINT: What do squirrels eat?

How are false teeth like stars?
Answer: They come out at night. HINT: What do people do with their false teeth when they go to sleep?

What building in your town has the most stories?
Answer The public library. HINT: Stories can be levels or books

What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?
Answer: Finding half a worm. HINT: Something about the worm.

How do we know that the ocean is friendly?
Answer: It waves. HINT: How does the ocean move?

What is a tornado’s favorite game to play?
Answer: Twister. HINT: How does a tornado move?

How do you talk to a giant?
Answer: Use big words. HINT: the size of the giant

What animal is always at a baseball game?
Answer: A bat. HINT: A piece of baseball equipment

What falls in winter but never gets hurt?
Answer: Snow. HINT: A type of weather

Why did the cookie go to the hospital?
Answer: Because he felt crummy. HINT: It’s what cookies look like when cookies get squashed.

What kind of water can’t freeze?
Answer: Hot water. HINT: temperature of water

What kind of tree fits in your hand?
Answer: A palm tree. HINT: part of your hand

What do you call a dinosaur that is sleeping?
Answer: A dino-snore. HINT: What noise do some people make when they sleep?

What do you say to a rabbit on its birthday?
Answer: Hoppy Birthday. HINT: How do rabbits move?

What’s the one thing will you get every year on your birthday, guaranteed?
Answer: A year older. HINT: How you are different between the day of your birthday and the day before your birthday.

Why do candles always go on the top of cakes?
Answer: Because it’s hard to light them from the bottom. HINT:  Where you put the candles

What do cakes and baseball teams have in common?
Answer: They both need a good batter. HINT: same name for a baseball player and part of a cake before baked

What goes up but never comes down?
Answer: Your age. HINT:  Happens on your birthday.

Why are fish so smart? Answer: Because they live in schools. HINT:  What is a group of fish called?

Why did the girl throw her clock out the window? Answer: She wanted to see time fly. HINT: what does a clock do?

Why was Cinderella bad at soccer? Answer: Because she was always running away from the ball. HINT: Something about the soccer “ball”.

Where do cows go on Friday nights? They go to the MOO-vies! HINT: What sound do cows make?

If a seagull flies over the sea, what flies over the bay? Answer: bagel. HINT: Same type of bird over a different type of water.

What animal can you always find at a baseball game? Answer: A bat.   HINT: A piece of baseball equipment.

What does every birthday end with? Answer: The letter Y. HINT: Look at the word birthday

I hope one of the jokes brought a smile to your world!

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Early Childhood Great Websites

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

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

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

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

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

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National Zoo Day: April 8th

April 8th is National Zoo Lovers Day
April 8th is National Zoo Lovers Day

April 8th is National Zoo Lovers Day and although COVID-19  has most of us staying home, there are many zoos and aquariums to discover online. I’ve posted about zoos and encouraged webcam watching.  Unfortunately, the animals aren’t always doing something when the kids stop by to view!  So, here’s a few more zoo links that might have animals doing something fun when you “drop by” to see them.

National Zoo Day Facts

  • The first public zoo in the United States was the Central Park Zoo in New York which opened in 1874.
  • The oldest zoo is the Vienna Zoo and was opened in 1765. 
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom has had almost 10 million visitors.

Zoo and Aquarium Live Cams

  • Atlanta Zoo– Along with the panda webcam, the zoo also has a large collection of “At Home” lessons.  Lessons are easy-to-use and include a wide variety of activities for kids of all ages. Check out the Panda Cam
  • Houston Webcams:  Check out the webcams that watch 7 different animals that call the Houston Zoo home. Kids will love seeing chimpanzees, giraffes, flamingos, rhinos, chimps, elephants, gorillas and ants.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium:  Explore the wonders of the ocean through the lens of ten live cams.
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland has a live cam of jellyfish and the Blacktip Reef and Pacific Coral Reef.  I like that they include photos of fish to look for while you are viewing the webcam.

Zoo Trivia

  • A group of deer is called a? Herd
  • How many legs does a spider have?  8
  • Which animal has the highest blood pressure? Giraffe
  • The largest mammal in the world? Blue whale
  • Name the only animal which cannot jump?  Elephant
  • How many heart chambers does a cockroach have?  12
  • Which bird is a universal symbol of peace?  Dove
  • The fingerprints of which animal most resemble a human’s? A koala
  • A mandrill is what kind of animal? A monkey
  • A snail can sleep for how many years?  Three
  • All six legs of an ant are attached to what part of the body?   thorax
  • A group of lions is called a?  Pride
  • Name the slowest animal in the world? Three-toed sloth
  • Dogs only have sweat glands in their? Paws
  • Which animal never sleeps?  Bullfrog
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COVID-19 Organizing Learning

COVID-19 Learning
COVID-19 Learning

COVID-19 learning is our new reality and it has created a new kind of teaching for everyone.  But for parents, who are now taking on this responsibility, the question of where do we start is major.

COVID-19 Learning Tools

  • Keep a log of learning – Learning can occur anywhere, so take a few minutes, to get your child to write down what they’ve worked on. 
  • 24/7 Fieldtrip– Think of the time at home as a 24/7 field trip.  Look at family life as learning opportunities. It doesn’t have to be “worksheet learning”.  Ask your child to alphabetize the pantry or a book collection.  Take those same books and have them make a domino track and get them to fall down. In schools, teachers plan for the entire class.  Look for activities for YOUR CHILD to learn. They don’t have to be teacher-assigned. Use your log to track the learning.
  • Take Breaks – Kids and teachers have down time when they go to other teachers.  So be sure to include them in your schedule.   
  • Set routinesKids may not admit it but they like routine.  They like to know what’s next and with the uncertainty around COVID-19, a routine will be comforting for your child.   Schools revolve around routine.  So do your best to create a routine that works best for YOUR family. Maybe it’s blocks of time, early/late morning or even days of the week that work best.  Make the schedule one that you can ALL live with and CHANGE IT if it’s not working.  
  • Talk, Talk, Talk – Kids learn best when asking and answering questions.  Take cues from them.  And it’s OK if you don’t know all the answers to their questions.  A perfect learning opportunity is researching the answer. This is a great opportunity to build independence, too.
  • Read, Read, Read – Support reading by reading everything possible. Books, cereal boxes and even closed captions to anyone that will listen (dolls, pets, Facetime audiences, siblings). Follow up activities can include writing about what they’ve read or writing letters or sending drawings of their reading adventures. All these activities are literacy based and can be a few words, few sentences or a few paragraphs based on your child’s age.  
  • Project-based learningEngaging kids in a project that they want to do will make teaching SO much easier.  Help them identify a project and watch them be creative.  Two of my granddaughters created a lending library of their books that kept them involved for over 3 hours!

We don’t know how long these uncertain times will last.  But it may be a marathon friends, so pacing is important. Remember to keep in mind that perfection is not required.

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COVID-19 Is Making Educating Kids Tough

Education reforms have often been described as “building the airplane while it’s in the air”.  Yep, I’ve used the phrase, but it can’t be any more accurate that what we are going through right now.  Today, COVID-19 has us building fleets of airplanes to support millions of kids.  

Some districts had created an infrastructure that had teachers ready to go and made remote teaching somewhat seamless for kids and parents.  For other districts, their planes were in various stages of development. However, regardless of the status, teachers, parents and kids have assumed responsibility, took ownership and we are all working collectively towards shared goals.  Yes, this certainly wasn’t planned but we are all going to get through it together.

COVID-19 is our new reality and it has created a new kind of teaching for everyone.  For teachers, they are assigning activities and hoping that kids and parents will work on them and kids will learn.  In education, on-going assessment of material is critical to adjust lessons to support learning. Although lessons may be completed, whether kids learned may not be known for a while.  All of us are working hard and hoping for the best.

Kudos to the millions of parents that have been dealt a major assignment.  They are acting as both teacher and parents and, in many cases, continue their employment from home. Juggling at the finest. 

Next Post: COVID-19 Organizing Learning

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Forever Young

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

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


Forever Young The Tenors

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

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

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

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

Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Bob Dylan March Posts

 March Posts from
March Posts from

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

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

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

March’s Posts

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

March’s Most Popular Posts

My Favorite March Posts

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

2020 Archives

2019 Archives

2018 Archives

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Enrichment Math Primary: March

Math Thinking Skills can be learned by trying math enrichment problems.
Math Thinking Skills can be learned by trying math enrichment 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. If 50 cookies need 5 eggs, how many eggs would you need to make 150 cookies?
  2. If you want to triple a recipe that calls for 9 apples, how many apples would you need?
  3. If a 15-pound chicken will feed 30 people, how many people well a 5-pound chicken feed?
  4. If a recipe that makes 90 cookies calls for 6 cups of oats, how many cups of oats would you use for 30 cookies.
  5. A 10-pound cake uses 3 cups of sugar.  How many cups of sugar would a 5-pound cake use?
  6. If a pound of spaghetti will feed 4 people, how many people will 2 and ½ pounds feed.


  1. 15 eggs
  2. 27 apples
  3. 10 people
  4. 2 cups of oats
  5. 1 and ½ cups of sugar
  6. 10 people
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Puppets: Easy to Make

Puppets are easy to make out of many different materials.
Puppets are easy to make out of many different materials.

There are many advantages of puppet play with kids and they are quick and easy to make.  Your puppets don’t have to be marionettes or ready for Sesame Street.  Kids love dramatic play and we all know how young kids can make “talking characters” out of pretty much all their toys.  So, let’s be good to ourselves and make puppetry easy for us to tackle so we can enjoy those special moments with our kids. No puppet “stage”, no problem.  All you need is something (large or small) for your little puppet master to hide behind that allows their character to be seen.  Then, you are “on with the show”. 

Puppets Everywhere Using Everything

  • Sock puppets – Perfect use for those socks without a match!  Add a face with markers and you are ready to go.  Once again, scraps only add to the creativity.
  • Stick puppets– Add some faces on craft sticks or even an emery board. Craft scraps or googly eyes are a nice addition but not necessary.  
  • Paper bag puppets – Drawing a face to the bottom of the bag and adding some teeth, and a tongue into the folder part and your talking puppet is ready to go.  Draw some clothes on the bottom of the bag and you can make all types of characters. 
  • Mitten puppets – Lost mitten use. Yes, crafts scraps (wool, buttons) can be added but not necessary.
  • Oven mittens – Yes, I’ve had my oven mittens talk with NO ADDITIONAL decorations! No planning just some basic puppet talking with the grandkids.    They now come in different sizes and textures and perfect to make different characters.  They even have small size now which are perfect for little hands.  
  • Paper plate puppets – Paper plates are not just for picnics.  They are perfect to draw a face on and tape them on silverware or large serving utensils.
  • Shadow puppets – No materials, no problem.  Use your hands and fingers to make shadow puppets on a wall.  Hold your hand between a light source and wall and “see” what puppet characters you can make.  

Quick, fun and easy ways to keep those kids in your lives busy. Enjoy!

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  • Puppets Are Good for Kids

Virtual Field Trip Activities: COVID-19

COVID-19 Virturip al Field Trip Activities
COVID-19 Virtual Field Trip Activities

Years ago, when school funding was tight and field trips were a luxury, our district started doing virtual field trips to different locations.  Going on a virtual field trip allowed us to explore destinations both near and far. Prior to our trip we received background information and during the fieldtrip the students had packets to complete to keep on task. At most locations, we also had a director “show” us around the museum and answer students’ questions. Kids loved it and even though the technology connections were sometimes “iffy”, teachers enjoyed the activities too.  

For those trips to happen we had to partner teach with a Technology Teacher. Today, I spent 2 hours exploring China and California with simple clicks. With the COVID -19 pandemic parents are searching for great activities to explore.  But, with so many places out there to explore easily, where should you go?

Top 3 Destinations for a Virtual Field Trip   

  • San Diego Zoo: I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo, but I didn’t see half the things that you can explore on a virtual field trip. Students can learn animal facts, play games and activities and explore exhibits in real time.  Be sure to check out the live cams. Sometimes you can see live births!
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium – The virtual tour allows students to go on a deep-sea adventure through exhibit webcams that allow student to watch sea creatures in real times.    The classroom resource page has fact sheets, activities and games to play.
  • The Great Wall of China: This site is a new favorite of mine. At first glance, the site looks like a Travel ad but take a closer look. The panoramic tour at one of the oldest and most historically significant wonders of the world is very cool!  

Next Virtual Field trip location will be to see some dolphins. Stay tuned! Happy Travels!

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COVID-19 Virtual Museum Tours

Virtual Museum Tours for FREE
Virtual Museum Tours for FREE

With schools closed throughout the world many parents are searching for additional resources that are worthwhile for kids to explore.  One suggestion that I received from a blog follower is to explore the Virtual Museum resources of some of the most famous museums in the world. Your kids can spend countless hours exploring these worldwide resources.  You can visit them all in one day or one or two a day.  Alone or with a partner, kids and parents are bound to see and learn interesting facts about our world.

As we face these uncertain times, we might as well use the time wisely and learn while sheltering in place.  Be safe everyone.

5 Virtual Museum Tours in the United States

  • The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Located in Washington, D.C it is one of the most visited museums in the world.  The online virtual tour brings visitors on a walking tour of its many famous exhibits.  Be sure to check out the Hall of Mammals, Insect Zoo, and Dinosaurs.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met is in New York City and is home to over 2 million works of fine art.  Check out the online collection and virtual tours of some of its most impressive pieces from famous artists. The Met also works with the Google Cultural Institute to make even more artwork (that’s not featured in its own online collection) available for view.
  • NASA offers free virtual tours of the Langley Research Center in Virginia, as well as Ohio’s Glenn Research Center.  While exploring space, you can also download the new app for the  Houston Space Center that provides virtual tours and videos.
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City makes some of its collections and exhibits available online. Be sure to check out the works of Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons, two of my favorites.
  • The National Women’s History Museum is located in Alexandria, Virginia.  The museum includes online exhibits and oral histories that highlight the role of women in the history and culture of the United States.

2 Virtual Museum Tours in Europe

The Louvre is in Paris, France and is one of the world’s largest art museums. Check out the free online tours of the popular exhibits such as Egyptian antiquities and works from Michelangelo.

The Vatican Museums feature an extensive collection of important art and classical sculptures. Be sure to check out the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Beautiful!

Enjoy!  Happy Travels!

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Reading Skills Checklist for Early Readers

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

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

The BIG 10 of Reading Skills

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

  • Directionality
    • Knows where to start on a page
    • Reads from left to right
    • Reads top to bottom
    • Return sweeps
  • One to One correspondence
    • Matches spoken to written word
    • Rereads to make word match
  • Unknown Words
    • Can locate unknown word using letters and sounds
  • Structure
    • Asks, does it sound right?
    • Asks, does it sound like the way we say it?
    • Rereads for how it sounds
  • Monitoring
    • Recognizes when an error is made but may not know how to fix it.
  • Self-correcting
    • Recognizes when a mistake is made and is able to fix it.
  • Cross-checking
    • Uses picture, meaning, structure and visual clues
    • Rereads and uses more than one source to check information
  • Visual Clues
    • Matches spoken to written word
    • Checks beginning, middle and end
    • Uses sound and chunks to solve unknown words
  • High frequency words
    • Is able to locate words on a word wall for spelling
    • Reads (number) of words from Dolch list
  • Determining meaning
    • Uses pictures
    • Rereads
    • Asking does this make sense
    • Uses background knowledge
    • Uses story
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COVID-19 Learning Activities Reading Newsletter

COVID-19 Learning  Activities for Reading
COVID-19 Learning Activities for Reading

Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? However, here we are with schools closed and millions of kids home. Parents are stepping up to “homeschool” their children and are using home packets and online resources. For many this is unfamiliar territory and an added element to their already full plates.

Many parents are scouring the internet to find school activities to support schoolwork or looking for additional activities. To help shorten your search I’m working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog to get you started. This newsletter is focused on  READING activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Reading Resources

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

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Other posts related to this topic: Resources for Coronavirus Resources for Coronavirus Excellent resources for Coronavirus

I don’t usually just post one link that I think is terrific, but has posted some great information to support learning during the COVID-19 crisis. We certainly need some good information in these difficult times.

The website is a website that I’ve used for years to support the needs of students that learn and think differently. However, I think there postings on Coronavirus are very well done and certainly continue to fit their mission of helping us to learn and think differently. I’ve added some links below, however, there are additional links on the site. I think it’s certainly worth a look by my blog followers.

Coronavirus: Latest Updates and Tips

Hope you find the information helpful. I am working on reposting learning activities and new activities to support learning. Keep checking

Stay well Friends!


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St. Patrick’s Day Trivia for All

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

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

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

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

10 Easy St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

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

12 Challenging St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

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

Great Resources to Teach About St. Patrick’s Day

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

Have fun! = Bainigí súp as!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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COVID-19 Learning Activities Math Newsletter

  COVID-19 learning activities
COVID-19 Learning Activities


Who would think that I would ever be posting a COVID-19 Learning activities newsletter? However, here we are with schools closed and millions of kids home. Parents are stepping up to “homeschool” their children and are using home packets and online resources. For many this is unfamiliar territory and an added element to their already full plates.

Many parents are scouring the internet to find school activities to support schoolwork or looking for additional activities. To help shorten your search I’m working on some mid-month newsletters of some past posts from my blog to get you started. This newsletter is focused on Math activities. Keep checking back for additional posts.

Math Resources

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Rubrics for Kids and Teachers

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

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

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

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

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

5 Resources

Next Month: Rubrics in Teacher Evaluations

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Puppets Are Good for Kids

Puppets are good for kids
Puppets are good for kids

Yesterday I finished helping a kindergarten teacher friend of mine write a grant for some puppets for her classroom.  Writing the grant was easy because, I just LOVE puppets.  I remember vividly watching “Lambchop” on TV many, many years ago.  Happy memories.  These days I am reliving my past playing with puppets and connecting with my grandkids.  Laughing and having fun just like it should be in retirement.

Why Use Puppets with Your Child?

There are many benefits in using puppets with kids.  Puppets provide a developmentally appropriate way to build vocabulary, creativity, and imagination.  Acting out scenes, telling stores, practicing new words, and talking about emotions all tend to be easier behind a puppet. 

Puppet Activity Ideas

  • Help your child identify each character by giving them an identity.  Have them give their new friend a name, a voice, place to live, or a favorite book.  Everything to make them a “real person”. Best thing is that the next day, their puppet can be someone else with a new story to tell.  
  • Build their vocabulary by helping them describe their puppet.  Their personality, their clothes, their homes are all opportunities to learn and use both day to day vocabulary and advanced vocabulary.  How often do you hear a 3-year-old tell you that something is hilarious?  Challenge yourself to give your child enough information about a puppy being funny that they will start to use the word hilarious.  Use it with puppets and in everyday activities and step back (and smile) when you hear it from your child.
  • Use the puppets to act out a scene.  An everyday routine or a creative adventure.
  • Use your puppets to talk to each other. Communicating through question and answering is everyday life.  Modeling talking and listening will help your child’s communication skills.
  • Encourage your child to act out a story they know or a story they’ve made up.   
  • Help your child navigate difficult social situations playing with puppets.  Perhaps it’s a problem with a friend that says inappropriate words.  Help your child through puppet play to know what to do and what to say when it happens.  Give them the words to help the understand and speak up to solve the problem. Giving their puppet the correct language will teach your child problem solving skills.
  • Kids can be brave when they are behind a puppet.  Puppets can share problems and joys and be listened to by caring and loving people.  They can be a great lens into your child’s life.

Puppets can become a part everyday play.  They give us a chance to talk together, laugh together and share quality time.  I hope you enjoy this wonderful “hand to hand” activity.

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Trivia Questions for Kids & Adults: March

Trivia questions can help your  memory.
Trivia questions can help your memory.

On some days my memory is great and I can remember words to songs that I heard 40 years ago. On other days, I can’t remember where I put my keys!   I’ve heard people say, “misery loves company” but for me it’s more that “forgetful people love company”.  It gives us something to laugh about.

My forgetfulness is especially evident at our weekly trivia nights at a local restaurant.  Believe it or not, my forgetfulness has led me once or twice to study the color of flags before our matches. Yep, I’m competitive. Whether we win or lost it’s always a fun night.  Great friends and lots of fun!  

Trivia questions can be fun for kids too!  Look at the questions below and try them out on the kids (or adults) in your life.  The range of questions vary in difficulty from the easy to the not-so-easy.   After all, why should adults get all the challenge and fun.  Grandkids…. Hope you are ready for some quizzing fun! 

For my Wizard teammates, I’ve highlighted in yellow those questions that I remember being asked. However, I don’t remember if we answered them correctly.  Oh, my memory!

Trivia Questions for March

  1. Great Whites and Hammerheads are what type of animals? sharks
  2. According to legend, who led a gang of merry outlaws in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, England? Robin Hood
  3. How many legs does a spider have?  8
  4. What is the name of the pirate in Peter Pan? Captain Hook
  5. He’s “smarter than the average bear”, but what’s the name of the most famous resident of Jellystone Park? Yogi Bear
  6. How many rings make up the symbol of the Olympic Games? The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the center: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colors are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
  7. According to the Dr. Seuss book, who stole Christmas? The Grinch
  8. In which continent is the country of Egypt found? Africa
  9. What is a brontosaurus? Dinosaur
  10. Scooby Doo and his friends travel around in which vehicle? The Mystery Machine
  11. What is the name of Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend? Eeyore
  12. How many grams are there in a kilogram? 1000
  13. By what name are the young of frogs and toads known? Tadpoles
  14. By what title were the leaders of ancient Egypt known? pharaoh
  15. Which famous nurse was known as “The Lady of The Lamp” during the Crimean War? Florence Nightingale
  16. What’s the name of the town where The Flintstones live? Bedrock
  17. What’s the colored part of the human eye called? iris
  18. Q. How many holes are there on a golf course? 18
  19. Which country is home to the kangaroo? Australia
  20. The giant panda’s diet is almost entirely made up of which plant? bamboo
  21. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what is Charlie’s surname? Bucket
  22. Which planet is closest to our sun? Mercury
  23. Which famous ocean liner sank on her first voyage in 1912? Titanic
  24. What is the name of Shrek’s wife? Princess Fiona
  25. How many lungs do humans normally have? two
  26. What is a group of lions called? Pride
  27. Is the planet Jupiter larger or smaller than the Earth? larger
  28. Which is the fastest land animal? Cheetah
  29. What color are emeralds? green
  30. Which animal is the tallest in the world? giraffe
  31. If you suffer from arachnophobia, which animal are you scared of? Spiders

If you enjoyed these trivia questions, be sure to check out next month’s questions and answers on MOVIE TRIVIA

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