Did you know that the kindergartners that start school this September will be the high school graduating Class of 2032? Yes, that’s right! I bet many of you are already thinking about how old you will be that year. However, in 2032, will our schools have prepared them for their careers? Truthfully, we do not even know what those jobs will be. So, for now, let’s concentrate on the behaviors that will help them get to the Kindergarten Graduating Class of 2020.
Behaviors Discovered in Research:
A report by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicates that kids entering kindergarten display a wide range of skills, knowledge, and school-readiness behaviors — some of which give them a big advantage. Through its Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), which tracked students from kindergarten through third grade, the NCES aimed to determine whether some of these behaviors are related to academic performance. They are:
Pays attention well
Persist in completing tasks
Adapt easily to change
Shows eagerness to learn new things
Follow classroom rules
It is true that we don’t know the career path that our little ones will take, However, the above skills will not only help your child in their future career but in everyday life. Enjoy the journey!
The best way for kids to become good readers is to read, read, read! This post includes a variety of resources that will keep them engaged and provides hours of fun. The resources are both free and kid-friendly. They include reading resources for all levels from beginners to advanced readers.
Site includes a variety of resources for many areas. Perfect for preschool, K-2 , special ed and English Language Development. A paid membership is needed for access to all resources but there are many FREE.
Parents often wonder how to help their child with reading. The comprehension question often comes up when they see their child reading the words but are not sure if they understand what they are reading. So, how can you help them when you are not a reading teacher.
The important part is asking questions to start your child thinking about their reading. It’s totally fine to repeat the same or similar questions after each story. It helps your child learn to think about their reading; before they read, while they read and after they read.
Quick Comprehension Questions
Does anything in the story remind you of something that has happened to you?
What questions pops into your head about what you read?
There are some great pictures in the book. Can you tell me about one of them?
Can you summarize what you read? What happened overall in the story?
What were the names of some of the characters? Did you have a favorite character? Why?
What do you think the title of the story (chapter) means?
Can you think of another title of the story? Why would that be a good choice?
Do you think other kids would like this story? Why?
Remember to balance your questions with fun. After all, don’t we all just want to read without interruption sometimes? Think of it this way. Every question is one more and better than none. And every question or discussion is helpful. Enjoy!
Yesterday, while sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, I heard a joke on the radio cracked me up.
Question: “What did the baby corn say to mamma corn?”
Answer: “Where is pop corn?” OK, so it’s a little funny or (corny) but there was lots of traffic!
It reminded me that when I was a K-2 principal I sometimes added a joke to the afternoon announcements. Yes, they were silly but for kids 5-7, just developing a sense of humor, I was a great comedian! For teachers, I was sometimes a welcome laugh (ok maybe a giggle) at the end of the day.
Time to Pull Out the Old Joke Book?
My delay in traffic reminded me that it might be time to share my wealth of “kid jokes” with a couple of my grandkids. In fact, I may have already missed the window on my oldest grandson. My guess, at the ripe old age of 8, I might see some eye-rolling. If not from him, certainly from his dad, my oldest son. But such is the life of a GG!
Academic Benefits of Getting Kids to Love Jokes
If you are looking for something other than “just for the fun of it”, developing a kid’s sense of humor also has academic benefits. Parents and teachers can help develop their child’s sense of humor by explaining why something is funny. This helps them be able to recognize if again. Afterall, a child is not born with a sense of humor. It develops over time. Don’t we all know adults without a sense of humor? Let’s start our kids young!
Great motivator to get kids to read.
Helps build larger vocabularies. Often jokes revolve around understanding different meanings of words. They provide a great opportunity for discussion.
Jokes are short with simplistic vocabulary and sentence structure.
Higher order thinking skills developed –Additional connections are needed for the joke to make sense or be funny.
You Funny GG!
That comment came from my 3-year-old grandchild when I was being silly. When kids are toddlers, it’s the funny faces and silliness that cracks them up. But, when they get to be school age, we GG’s must work a little harder for a laugh!
Ready for Jokes? Let the Laughs Begin
Teaching kids to appreciate jokes is a great opportunity to laugh together as a family. Come on, give some of the jokes below a try. Take some time to be silly with your child and share a laugh (or eye roll). Enjoy!
Q. Why did the cow cross the road?
A. To get to the udder side.
Q. What do you call a cold dog sitting on a bunny?
Many studies have shown that involvement in performing arts boosts performance in all areas of life. The benefits, however, are sometimes hard to pinpoint when looking at a child’s growth. Unfortunately, today’s schools put more emphasis on paper and pencil academic tests, rather than performance skill sets.
In many schools today, performing arts has become an extra, rather than a part of our classrooms. Involvement in performing arts encourages student engagement and learning. It has a positive impact on a child’s social, emotional, and emotional growth.
Teachers need to find more ways to include performance art into classroom lessons. Student performances DO take more classroom time. However, it’s important to remember that learning occurs throughout the journey and not just at the destination.
6 Life Skills Learned Through Performing Arts
Teamwork – Success is dependent on all members of the production to work together.
Confidence – Taking the responsibility to be part of a group ensemble helps to build confidence.
Reading and memory – Learning lines, a piece of music or the skills of stage production requires students to learn relevant information.
Ability to accept criticism – The success of a production depends on a team. Kids learn to accept constructive criticism to help the group be successful.
Creativity – Body language, staging and voice control allows students to interpret a play or piece of music.
Have fun – An organized activity that allows kids to learn skills and share a common interest is fun. Wouldn’t that be great if learning and fun happened all the time?
As educators, I believe it is our role to share the many benefits of performance arts for kids. Please go out and share the news!
Six months down in 2019, how are you doing on those New Years Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s newsletter. All _____June posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. My New Year’s Resolution to get the Threeringsconnections’ newsletter out on a timely, consistent schedule is accomplished: 6 down and 6 more to go! Have a great month!
This is the 2nd part of a yearlong series of great artworks to share with your kids. Each month I share information about 3 great masterpieces to share with your children. My goal of these posts is to create a parent-friendly resource to share great masterpieces with your child. I’ve decided on this monthly series because I totally missed sharing the beauty of art with my own children. Better late than never, I guess.
Each post contains a photo of the artwork, the artist’s name, an interesting fact about the artwork and a link to explore more information. Last month’s post (May, 2019) I shared 3 masterpieces: Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci), The Starry Night (Vincent Van Gogh) and Oriental Poppies (Georgia O’Keeffe). This month, we’ll look at: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell and American Gothic by Grant Wood.
Remember: You don’t have to “know” art. Just sit for a few minutes with your child, share the information listed and together talk about what you see. Enjoy!
The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the most famous works of art in the world. It is a picture of Jesus and his disciples. The painting is a mural (painted on wall) in a rectory in Milan, Italy. It measures 460 X 880 cm. Da Vinci began painting it in 1495 and he finished in in 1498. He worked on other works of art during these three years as well.
The Four Freedoms is
an important concept of the 32nd president of the United States,
Franklin D. Roosevelt. He shared his
vision of the Four Freedoms in the State of the union address in 1941. This was just 11 months before the U.S got
involved in World War II.
Norman Rockwell, an American artist, created a series of four painting illustrating the Four Freedoms. The series included: “The Freedom of Speech”, “The Freedom of Worship”, “The Freedom from Want” and “The Freedom from Fear”
American Gothic is a painting by Grant Wood of a farmer standing next to a woman. Originally, he was only going to paint a farmhouse in Iowa but decided to also paint the type of people he thought would live in the house. It is one of the most familiar images in 20th-century American art.The painting is part of the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In most schools, at the end of each school year, your child completes a final reading assessment and the results are sent home to parents. This information will tell you whether your child is reading at, above or below grade level expectations. The letter or number tells you that your child can read at this level independently (without help from an adult). Once school begins again, your child’s teacher will be teaching skills at the next reading level. Summer reading is important to strengthen your child’s reading ability.
So, what can parents do to support their child’s reading growth over the long summer? The summer reading goal for parents is to help their child NOT lose ground on their child’s reading level. Research has consistently shown that readers, particularly struggling readers, lose ground over the summer. The summer learning loss is particularly greater between students from low -socioeconomic and high-socioeconomic families. A quick and easy way to maintain your child’s reading level is the ABC/123 strategy.
ABC/123 Every Day
The ABC/123 Strategy involves spending less than 5 minutes a day and ask your child 6 simple questions about what they read during their 10-minute reading each day. Using the acronym Ask, Build, Connect (ABC) parents have a quick, fun way to support your child’s reading growth.
2 Easy Steps
Ask your child 1,2, or 3 questions in each of the 3 categories (A, B, or C) listed below for a total of 6 questions daily. Feel free to ask all 6 questions in the same category, if your child is engaged in discussion. However, it is important not to eliminate the categories since each category is important for kids to think about when reading.
Ask questions – Questioning is at the heart of comprehension. Children benefit from questions that help them focus their reading and clarify more clearly what they are reading. Ask questions about details, plot, characters, opinions. The main idea is to get them to remember or find details in their reading.
Build Vocabulary – Vocabulary is key to reading comprehension. As children learn to read more unfamiliar texts, they must learn the meaning of new words that are not part of their oral vocabulary. Ask them to tell you words they found that were new to them. Talk about their meaning and other words that could have been used instead of the author’s choice.
Connect with the World – Helping your child make connections with what they read helps them “think” about their reading. Ask them questions on how the story interested them or how it was like another book they read. Encourage them to also think about how the book may connect to the world. Older children will create many connections and will be more specific on details.
As parents and educators, we know we must teach our kids skills to support scientific thinking. But, how do we encourage kids to explore science? Why not, share stories about a scientist? Scientists, like most kids, are curious and want to know answers. The great thing about studying scientists is there are many branches; so there surely is a topic to motivate all kids. Seems like a perfect match!
June Scientist of the Month: Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was born in 1847 and died in 1922. He was known as a scientist that was a great inventor. He is best known for inventing the first telephone.
Scientists use the scientific method to learn about the world. Leaning about scientists can show kids how they used the scientific method to learn about their world. More importantly it may spark their imaginations to become “Everyday Scientists” and possibly a famous scientist one day.
Quotes Made Famous By Mr. Bell
” Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you. [First intelligible words spoken over the telephone“. “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open“. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”.
Perhaps it’s the arrival of grandchild #8. Or, our potential move to another state? Maybe it’s the nonstop bombardment of news reports on deplorable behavior by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Whatever it is, I have been thinking lately of how difficult it is raising kids in today’s world.
Balancing “life” seems very difficult in 2019. When I had 3 kids under 5, very often my goal was to get through the day with the least amount of disruption. Today, it seems that parents have another layer of responsibility to try to “do everything perfectly”. Perhaps it’s the ease of access to information to find articles on every possible topic on “the very best way to bring up the perfect child”. Or, the ongoing sharing of people’s opinions (sometimes unsolicited) on their parenting skills. Parenting is not easy. It never has been, and it will never be easy. But I think today’s parents are facing more challenges and higher expectations than the past. I believe they feel a day to day challenge to be perfect parents. But what is perfect?
As a parent, I was far from perfect. However, each of my adult children are good people. They are hard-working, loving and well adjusted. They have also learned to surround themselves with friends and loved ones that support them to be the best they can be. I hope what they learned from our imperfections is that even though we were imperfect, they were cared for, loved and we tried like heck to be good parents. That is what’s really important as parents.
Threeringsconnections.org goal is:
My goal in establishing threeringsconnections.com, is to write simple posts to help parents and teachers support kids at home and the classroom.Each post can be quickly Read, Tried or Dismissed (RTD). Each post is written from my own experiences as an educator for 30+ years in education and as a parent. In either role, I am far from an expert. However, aren’t we all trying to do the best we can everyday raising kids to be the best they can be?
Summer vacation is here and how do we encourage kids to keep learning? The quickest and easiest way is to pick up some math or reading workbooks and assign pages for them to complete. Although that may be tempting, finding some activities to get kids thinking and learning is effective to strengthen kids creativity.
Why Creative Activities?
Creative children believe the world is full of possibilities. They look at obstacles as challenges to find another way to the end. This type of thinking is a valuable learning experience. It makes kids confident active learners.
Here’s a list of 5 activities that can be easily adjusted and repeated to get you started. Be creative by making changes to fit your child’s age level, interests and your time schedule.
Creativity at Home and Traveling
Stock a dress up box with clothes and costumes. (Scarves, hats, belts, material) Adding accessories that go with a career like magnifying glass, helmets, stethoscope also are great. Don’t miss out on After-Halloween sales!
Pantry Shopping- Allow your kids to fill a grocery bags with items (remove breakables for little ones). They can pretend to be grocery shopping, having a meal or use them to build towers or mazes. Endless possibilities!
Build blanket forts. After the fun of boiling it, why not give the structure a name? A castle, a mall, grocery store, the ideas are endless.
Start simple drawings together that you can finish or color. Allow your child to start drawings for you.
In a restaurant, play with small items from your purse or table items. Items such as sugar, salt packets, straws, paper clips and coins can help to keep kids occupied while waiting for your order.
Plan activities during your car ride on a schedule. At mile markers or time, take a new activity out of your travel bag. Include items like inexpensive books, toys, games etc. Be strategic to give our a “GREAT” activity at times in the journey when you NEED it the most. For older kids, they can pack their “travel bag” prior to the trip. The trick is to schedule taking out a new item. Without a schedule, kids will use all the activities in the first hour and your trip is bound to be much less enjoyable. Building some suspense may make even the smallest activity a little more enjoyable. Happy Travels!
Developing a child’s creativity is lots of fun for both you and your child. Enjoy the journey!
Welcome to the 7th 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
Draw a picture
Guess and Check
Use a table or list
Find a pattern
Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)
Problem Solving – Here we go!
October has 31 days. The 15th of the month is on a Wednesday. Which of the following days of the week will appear 5 times this month? a. Friday b. Saturday c. Sunday d. Monday e. Tuesday
Marie only has 3 cents and 5 cents stamps. If she needs 10 cent postage, she can use two 5 cent stamps. If she needs 11 cents postage, she can use two 3 cents stamps and one 5 cent stamp. What postage between 5 cents and 20 cents can she not make?
Some numbers on a digital clock read the same backwards as they do forwards. For example: 5:06, 12:21, 11/11. How many students are there that do that on a digital clock from 1P.M. to 2 P.M? (Numbers or words that are read the same backwards as forwards are called palindromes.
Fifty-one bags of sugar had to be put into bags. Some are 4-pound bags, and some are 5-pound bags. The least number of full bags necessary to hold all 51 pounds of sugar is?
There are 9 equal stacks of books. One class takes 4 stacks and another class takes 5 stacks. The class that has 4 stacks has 28 books altogether. How many books does the other class have altogether?
Nicole has a clock that chimes. At a quarter past the hour it chimes once. At half-past the hour it chimes twice. At three-fourths past the hour it chimes three times and at each new hour it chimes that number of times. How many chimes will Nicole hear from five minutes to three until five minutes after 4?
IF 15 + A = 21, how much is 15 – A?
(a) Friday Because the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th will be on a Wednesday. There will be 5 Fridays that month (the 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st).
(7 cents) She can make 8 cents, 9 cents and 10 cents. Once she can make three in a ow, the next 3 amounts (11 cents, 12 cents, 13 cents) are made by adding a 3-cent stamp. She can make any amount of postage greater than 7 cents.
To get to the least number of bags you use as many 4-pound bags as possible up to 51. (12 X 4 = 48) and one 3-pound bag to get to a total of 51. Answer: Least number of bags is 13 (12 +1)
There are 9 equal stacks of books. One class takes 4 stacks and another class takes 5 stacks. The class that has 4 stacks has 28 books altogether. How many books does the other class have altogether?
IF 28 books means each stack has 7 books (4 X 7). Then 5 stacks would also have 7 books each for a total of 35 books.
(13) She hears the following # of chimes: 3:00(3), 3:15(1),3:30 (2),3:45 (3) 4:00(4)
(9) A must be 6 so that 15 +A (6) = 21. SO, 15 – 6 = (9)
Don’t forget to check in NEXT MONTH for more Enrichment Problems
It’s funny the things you think of at big moments in your life. I remember very clearly what I was thinking my first day as a K-5 principal when I went out to meet the children. As they enthusiastically came off the buses, I’m sure none of them knew that their new principal was thinking “ready or not, here they come”. They arrived and although I questioned myself many times over that year, I finally came to terms with my readiness.
For years, future kindergarten parents have questioned whether their child “would be, is, or was” ready for kindergarten. The typical flightiness of 5-year olds, gives some parents cause for sleepless nights.
Parents often try to get a head start on academics with their preschooler. However, if you ask a group of kindergarten teachers what skills are the best predictors of success in kindergarten, the answer may surprise you. Although I had taught Kindergarten, it was when I became the principal of a K-2 school that I REALLY saw these behaviors ring true.
Kindergarten Behaviors to be “Ready to Learn” (alphabetical order)
adapts easily to change
follows classroom rules
persists in completing tasks
shows eagerness to learn
Kids, like adults, are imperfect. So when looking at your future kindergarten students, think “big picture” when looking at the traits. Think how your child does overall with those characteristics. If you see an area, that they need additional support, try to find opportunities to practice these skills at home over the next few months.
As a kindergarten teacher, various readiness levels are a “given” in a classroom. Sharing your concerns and working together with your child’s teacher will help support your child’s success.
The Center for Disease Control has created an outstanding resource of family-friendly materials to support a child’s development. The Learn the Signs Act Early program gives developmental milestones as well as tips to help your child learn and grow. It also has a free app, the Milestone Tracker, to help parents track the information in a fun and easy way.
The Learn the signs app includes the following features:
Interactive milestone checklists for children ages 2 months through 5 years, illustrated with photos and videos
Tips and activities to help children learn and grow
Information on when to act early and talk with a doctor about developmental delays
A personalized milestone summary that can be easily shared with doctors and other care providers
Reminders for appointments and developmental screenings
The National Center on Improving Literacy has released a great eLearning resource on Phonological Awareness. The Ask & Answer: Phonological Awareness will help families and educators learn about this important skill. The document can be reviewed as presentation or downloaded as a Word document to be read easily.
The Question and Answer document describes key literacy terms in reading instruction. Additionally, it shares ways parents can help their child’s literacy development at home. Educators may find this tool useful to review key literacy terms and teaching practices.
Phonological Awareness in 7 questions:
What is phonological awareness (PA)?
Why is PA important?
How does PA typically develop?
How should PA be taught?
What should instruction look like for children with, or at risk for, literacy related disabilities or dyslexia?
Five months down in 2019- how are you doing on those New Year’s Resolutions? If you are still working on catching up on professional development, take a look at this month’s posts. All 13 May posts are below, as well as ALL the posts since I started the blog in September 2018. Still posting a Threeringsconnections’ newsletter, so I’m still keeping my New Year’s resolution: 5 down and 7 more to go! Have a great month!
With summer around the corner and kids out of school, I’ve started to think of summer plans with my grandkids. As a GG I try to do things with my grandkids that I didn’t do with my own children. Although my kids and I did many things when they were young, there were so many other things that I just didn’t get to. One area that I neglected was sharing with them the beauty of art. Although my kids had weekly art classes in school, it certainly wasn’t enough to truly educate kids about art. Kids (and adults) should have at least a basic knowledge of famous works and artists.
By now I hope my adult children can identify famous artists and masterpieces because now they have our own “little gang of 8” to teach. So, for all the GG’s and parents out that want to help your child recognize some great masterpieces, here’s a few to get you started. We’ll start with 3 in this post but be on the lookout for additional posts on this topic. For each masterpiece you will find a photo, the author, an overview and a link for additional kid resources. You don’t have to “know” art. Just sit for a few minutes with your child, share the information listed and together talk about what you see. Enjoy!
3 Easy Ways to Share Art with Kids
Get children to love art by showing them pictures that they might find interesting and asking them questions about what they see.
Read to them kid-friendly biographies and give them a chance to create art using similar techniques.
Give them a chance to create their own art using similar techniques as renowned artists.
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It was created by a famous Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci. It was painted sometimes between 1503 and 1519. The painting is worth $782 million. It is in the Louvre Museum of Paris in France. People always wonder what she is smiling about.
Starry Night was painted by the Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh. It is one of his most famous works. The sky looks like rolling waves with stars all around. It was painted in 1889. It is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Oriental Poppies was painted by the American artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. It was painted in 1928 and it was her most famous work. Her oil paintings were of very large flowers with many details on very large canvases. The painting is in the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.
Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember all the men and women who died fighting for our country. These men and women dedicated their lives so we can be a free nation. As an Americans I salute your courage, your honor, and most of all, your sacrifice.
The New York State Education Department’s Summer Reading at New York Libraries program is once again partnering with myON in 2019 to bring digital books to young readers via unlimited access to the myON by Renaissance digital library! The goal is to keep children reading and learning through the summer by providing them with access to an abundance of reading material, to help prevent summer slide and the loss of reading skills.
Students and their families can easily access the myON digital library from May 1 through September 30 with one simple statewide login. A mobile app is also available allowing up to 20 books to be downloaded and read while traveling or away from home. The myON library has a collection of over 6,000 fiction and nonfiction ebooks geared toward children from birth to 12th grade, with recorded audio, text highlighting, and an embedded dictionary all included.
Libraries are a great resource for learning all year round, but especially in the summer. Your local library has a wide variety of book selections (ebooks, audio and hardcover) for adults and kids. “A Universe of Stories” is the 2019 slogan and the theme is space and science, so check out activities being planned by your local library.
In the next 3 months (May – July), there are 3 holidays that we will celebrate to honor our country. In each of these holidays, the American Flag will be proudly displayed. Memorial Day May 28th, Flag Day- June 14th and July 4th are national holidays in the U.S. that celebrate the people and events that have made our country great. What better time of year than to explain some of the history behind our America’s flag. The facts below are also great for my Trivia Team friends!
Holidays That Celebrate America
Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember all the men and women who died fighting for our country. These men and women dedicated their lives so we can be a free nation. Memorial Day is celebrated the last Monday of May each year.
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th each year. The flag was adopted in 1777 but it wasn’t until 1949 that congress established a day to celebrate the flag.
The 4th of July in the United States is also known as Independence Day. It is a federal holiday to celebrate July 4th, 1776, the day that the U.S. declared independence from Britain. On this day the Declaration of Independence was also adopted. Some people celebrate the 4th of July by going to parades, picnics, parties or watching fireworks.
A flag is a symbol that is used to represent a group of people. Flags are made of cloth.
The American Flag symbolizes a passed history. It gives Americans a feeling of pride and unity bringing together its many states as one.
Betsy Ross is the woman who is believed to have made our nation’s first flag. It has not been confirmed but she was a friend of George Washington and she was a seamstress, so historians think it was probably her.
The first United States flag became official in 1777.
The flag has various nicknames including “Old Glory”, “Stars and Stripes” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
The colors of the US flag are
symbolic: bravery (red), purity (white) and loyalty (blue).
There are 7 red stripes and 6 white
Originally there were 13 stars and
stripes that represented the 13 colonies that declared independence from Great
Britain. The first 13 colonies, (alphabetically): Connecticut, Delaware,
Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North
Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia
Currently the flag has 50 stars; 1
for each state. President Eisenhower
ordered the current flag in 1960: after Hawaii became the last state added in