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!  

9 Sight Words Games for Kids

Look at Sight WordsWhat Are Sight Words?

The importance of learning sight words is that it will help your child’s reading accuracy and fluency. Sight words are the most common words found in reading.  They appear on almost every page in a book; especially in early reader books.

It is important for beginning readers to practice reading sight words.  They usually don’t follow any phonics rules which means that kids will not be able to “sound them out”.Having this instant or automatic recall of sight words helps early or beginning readers develop into smooth and efficient readers.

The fun part of teaching sight words is that kids can learn the words by playing a variety of games. The more exposures to the words the quicker they will learn them and be able to identify them in books.  All you need is a list of sight words, some dedicated parent/child time to review and some activities to make the learning fun.

9 Sight Word Games for Kids

Fly Swatter Game – Using a blank BINGO card, add some of the sight words.  Give your child a fly swatter (or something similar) and when you read a sight word, have them “swat” the word.  Parent advisory, kids are going to really hit the word, so stand back and try not to laugh! When I taught Kindergarten and first grade, I played a variation of this game where 2 children raced to “swat” the word on the whiteboard. Flying fly swatters!

Roll a Sight Word – Child rolls a die and then finds a word from the master list of sight words with the same number of letters that came up on the die.  Child can write the word on a piece of paper or just say the word. Add some fun to the activity by allowing the child to say the word with some voice changes (yell, whisper) or allow them to do an action (stand up, turn around) while they tell you the word  Be creative and have fun.

Sight Word Writing – Draw the sight word in play dough, sand or salt with a pencil, spoon or a finger. Young children love to “sweep” the word away with a small paintbrush.   Another variation is to write the words on a blackboard with a paintbrush using water.  After writing the words they can be brushed away or will evaporate (a Science lesson too!)

Sight Word Magnet Race – Cut out the sight words and add a paperclip.  Spread the sight words on different surfaces and use a magnet under the surface to move the sight words.  Two people can race to move a sight word across the paper to a finish line.

Memory– Make 2 copies of the sight words, cut them out and choose 10-12 words.  Taking both copies off the word, turn them over and have your child keep turning over cards until a sight word match is made.  This can be done taking turns or the child can do the game by themselves.

Sight Word Jars – Make 1 copy of the sight words and cut them into slips ad put them in a jar or dish.  Choose a word and ask your child to find the word and say the name aloud.

Find the Sight Word -When reading with your child, have them find sight words in the book.  Once they notice the word, they can make a special movement (touch nose, hand up)  Finding sight words in books helps kids see the connection between reading and oral language. I

Sight Word Basketball – Ask your child to read a certain number of sight words (# is your choice). When they read the words then allow then to shoot a basket.  No, you don’t have a real hoop.  Anything that is unusual will do.  Throwing a pair of socks into a laundry basket works great.

Simple Sight Word Bingo – Create sight word BINGO cards by adding sight words to the BINGO card template (DLTK’s Custom Bingo Cards). Print out sight word BINGO cards by using the word list below and the DLTK site and you have free, simple to make cards that can be randomized for multiple cards.    B-I-N-G-O !

Dolch Sight Word List has them all! 

The Dolch Sight word list includes the most common 220 words and 95 nouns encountered in children’s books. The Dolch word list resource below is organized a few different ways: Alphabetically by grade, by frequency by grade, and in some cases by frequency combined. This provides you with several different ways to conduct Dolch word list practice in your classroom or at home. The Dolch Website has many activities to use in your classroom or at home.

Have fun!

Other posts related to this topic

Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

Pre primer (40) Primer (52) First (41)
 a all after
and am again
away are an
big at any
blue ate as
can be ask
come black by
down brown could
find but every
for came fly
funny did from
go do give
help eat going
here four had
I get has
In good him
is have her
it he how
jump into just
little like know
look must let
make new live
me no may
my now of
not on old
one our once
play out open
red please over
run pretty put
said Ran round
see ride some
the saw stop
three say take
to she thank
two so them
up soon then
we that think
where they walk
yellow there were
you this when
too
under
want
was
well
went
what
white
who
will
with
yes

 

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!

DIY Recyclable Puzzles for Kids

recyclable puzzle

Recyclable Puzzles: DIY

Recyclable Puzzles are simple, homemade puzzles using recyclables.  They are easy to make, FREE and support recycling.  They have become my favorite arts and crafts activity with my grand kids.   

2 Simple Steps:

  1. Choose a front panel of a cardboard box.  I usually use cereal boxes or snack boxes because  the picture is familiar to the kids but any cardboard box will do. 
  2. Allow your young child to cut the front panel of the box into pieces and then have them put the panel back together.  Once the panel is cut up, store the pieces in a Ziplock bag.

Kids love to play puzzles and there are many benefits:

  1. Fine Motor Skills Development
  2. Shape Recognition and Geometry
  3. Eye hand coordination
  4. Reinforces knowledge of environmental print
  5. Practice Problem solving 
  6. Helps to build patience and attention span. 

Recyclable Puzzles: Tips for Success

  1. Remind kids to put completed puzzles away in Ziplock bag (zipped) when finished before another puzzle is attempted.  
  2. When possible keep a second front panel to use as a model.  When that is not available, be sure to take a photo before the box is cut up. In this way, kids can use the picture stored on our phone if they need help.
  3. Use familiar boxes or pictures.  It is much easier reassemble a puzzle when kids know what it “should” look like. 
  4. Number the back of each puzzle with a marker and circle the last number so you know you have the last piece.  How many times have you worked on a puzzle for a long time and found out at the end that you were missing a piece?   
  5. When allowing older kids to make puzzles for younger siblings or cousins, be sure to explain the importance of cutting up fewer, larger pieces.  Great opportunity to teach them about how we all learn.  It’s best to start with something simple when learning something new.   
  6. Ask kids to “autograph” their puzzle creation.  They will love turning the pieces over to put together their names!  

Recyclable puzzles are convenient to make and tons of fun.  Why not cut up some boxes today? 

Other posts related to this topic:
December 8, 2018    Puzzles the Perfect Present: But For Who?

November 15, 2018  Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

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

Math Enrichment: How To Encourage?

Does Your Child Need Math Enrichment Problems? 

When I was a classroom teacher, I found the first week of December a very busy time.  First quarter Parent Conferences were over, and parents were ready to support their child’s strengths and weaknesses. For those students with high math ability I recruited parents to encourage their child to try the Math Enrichment Fun Center (MEFC).  The center had 12 more advanced math problems.  I found some kids were hesitant to try the center due to fear of failure. Once students finished the 12 problems in the MFC, they were able to bring the problems home to share with their parents.

Math Fun Centers (MEFCs) for Everyone!

Five years later when I became the school’s teacher of the Talented and Gifted program, I made Math Enrichment Centers for all the grade 2 and 3 regular education classrooms. They were made with a large trifold board with 12 library pockets with a problem in each.  The MEFCs became quite popular and teachers loved having the center available.  Each month I replaced the problems with a new set.  Because good resources never get old, I reused the problems again as a K-2 principal when I offered Enrichment Math to second graders!

This month I’m starting a Monthly Math Enrichment post that will include Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3.  Please check out my post on December 15rh titled  Math Enrichment Dec. Grades 2-3 .

4 Reasons Why Math Enrichment Will Benefit Kids

  1. Improves Problem Solving – Enrichment problems can benefit students that excel in classroom math and want to deepen their mathematical understanding. It allows them to explore different strategies to strengthen their problems solving skills.
  2. Reduces Stress– Enrichment problems extend your child’s math skills without the added pressure of grades or comparing themselves with other classmates. Practicing math problems on a child’s own schedule eliminates time pressures and allows kids to enjoy math.
  3. Builds Confidence– Enrichment math problems helps to build confidence by improving a child’s math skills.
  4. Strengthens Critical Thinking – Math enrichment keeps kids thinking.  Math problems should engage a child in reasoning and thinking out of the box.

I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.

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

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

 

Awesome Website Resources: Dec. 2018

Monthly Website Resources from threeringsconnections.orgWebsite Resources?  You bet!

Recently, while working with a group of teachers, I was asked to recommend great website resources to help them meet the needs of their students. I’m starting with the 7 below because they are some of the websites that our teachers used when I was a K-2 and K-5 principal.

So here they are teacher friends and thank you for the great topic for future posts. Be on the lookout for monthly posts that will include 7 (lucky #7) website resources to support students from preschool through Grade 12.

Take a look at December’s TOP Website Resources

  1. Education Northwest for Writing- Even if you don’t use the 6+1 traits of writing, this site offers great resources that can be adapted to your needs. Included in the site are lesson plans, writing prompts and rubrics to support language arts. Be sure to look at the samples to practice scoring and see how other teachers score the same piece.  This will be helpful when preparing for state testing. (ELA)
  2. Read, Write, Think – The site provides high quality resources in language arts instruction. Every lesson has been aligned to both the IRA/NCTE Standards for ELA and also to individual state standards. (ELA)
  3.  National Library of Virtual Manipulatives – Find activities for every area of math from preschool through high school. (Math)
  4. Smithsonian Education -The Learning Lab offers thousands of  resources for educators, including lesson plans, virtual tours of their latest exhibits, and the opportunity to connect with experts in the field.  Be sure to check out the virtual field trips.  It’s not a real field trip but it’s the next best thing. (General)
  5. SMART Exchange for Interactive Whiteboard -Take a look at the SMART Exchange before creating any lessons for your interactive whiteboard from scratch. This site has existing lessons and ideas submitted by teachers. (General Tech)
  6. Annenberg Learner– The Annenberg Foundation provides many professional development series on demand for FREE. The foundations’ goal is to encourage more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge about teaching. Annenberg Learner resources can be accessed for free. (Professional Development)
  7. Utah Education Network (UETN) – Don’t be fooled this site is not just for Utah! The UETN connects all Utah school districts, schools and higher education institution to create a site with quality education resources that can be used in any classroom. (Multi-subject)

Hope you find them helpful! Enjoy!

Other posts related to this topic

Best Reading Resources for Teachers October 3, 2018

 

Puzzles the Perfect Present: But For Who?

puzzles are great to help kids with problem solvingPuzzles, Puzzles Everywhere….

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

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

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

Let’s see the top 6 benefits for kids playing with puzzles.puzzles are great to help kids with problem solving

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

A Worthwhile Gift

Let’s be honest, grandkid visits change the dynamics of retirement.  My house becomes noisy, a little messier and a lot more fun.  Puzzles have become my” go to” as a grandkid gift for many reasons.  They are fun educational toys that are reasonably priced and challenge my grandkids minds.  They are also easy to store, can be done without adult help, and somewhat quiet!

Other posts related to this topic

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

Math Problem Solving and Young Children  – November 1, 2018

 

 

School Administrator-Retirement- Blogger?

Yeats quote on educationHow did that happen? An F in retirement, really?  How about a D?  

My nephews lovingly have given me a grade of F in retirement.  They are right.  I have not retired to their ideal retirement vision of book reading on an island!  I took early retirement to spend more time with my family. However,  I knew the day I walked out the door that I wasn’t finished with education, but I didn’t know what it was going to be.

I’ll tell you though that blogging wasn’t even on the list!. But 2 months ago, I decided to use blogging as a way to answer some of the questions that people ask me. It has been a challenge to learn a whole new area and I have a whole lot more to learn.  However, I’m up and running and learning every day.  My kind of retirement!

Folks, I’m the patient and I’m supposed to have the questions……

Education is on people’s minds.  This was very apparent at my first medical appointment after retiring when the receptionist asked me why we had so many snow days, the nurse asked me about Common Core and the Doctor wanted to know my opinion on the new math Regents.  People have questions about education. That’s a good thing!  They want to be involved, they want to understand and perhaps with information they will be more accepting of the many changes that have occurred in the past few years. My blogging has become the way to respond to questions and share any information that I use in school presentations.  My thinking…. why keep it a secret?

Thank you, Simon & Garfunkel

On a recent road trip, I was singing to the song  “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel.  As I sang the line “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” it occurred to me that this was exactly what I wanted my followers to do with my blog. I post 3 times a week and hope that it can be helpful to my readers, however not every post is for everyone.  So, please disregard and come back to read the blog another day.  La, la,la, la,la, (still singing).

Over the past 2 months of blogging I have learned that a good blogger, should have a narrow topic to recruit more followers. That makes a lot of sense; but it doesn’t work well for me right now. With 7 grandkids, teachers in my consult schools, fellow grant writers, colleagues, and friends our followers are quite diverse.  Together we share a smorgasbord of entrees at our education buffet. I hope you will join us!

Enrichment in Class? Is Your Child Being Challenged?

classroom enrichment is importantDoes Your Child Receive Enrichment in Class?  

The answer may be NO.  It’s hard for teachers to find the time to meet the  needs of all students in their classroom. One group of students that sometimes gets overlooked are the highly-abled.  I was a teacher of Talented and Gifted students and was assigned to both pull out classes and to team teach with  K-3  classroom teachers to differentiate instruction.  Along with a lack of time, teachers also lacked appropriate materials and training in differentiated instruction.   School administrators need to budget for resources to help our teachers do their job.

Parents- you have the power to make the change! 

Parents are sometimes hesitant to question a teacher about their child’s strengths for fear of being considered “pushy” . However, when I ask parents if they would be hesitant to talk to their child’s teacher if their child was struggling in class; the answer is always no.  So here’s a “nice” way of asking the question to your child’s teacher; “how are you meeting my child’s needs in the classroom”? 

Teachers,if you are addressing the needs of the high ability students in your classroom you will have no problem answering that question.  Good for you and Thank You!  If not, I can’t provide materials or time to help you but you may find the websites below helpful.

Awesome Enrichment Website Resources 

Early in my teaching career and later as a principal, I used resources from some of the websites below either with students or in Teacher Workshops.  I currently use a couple of the sites with my own grandchildren. Many of the sites also have research information on highly-abled students that can help you advocate for your child to both teachers and administrators.  A well-informed parent is the best resource to get appropriate programming for their child.

  1. ProProfs Brain Games    https://www.proprofs.com/games/all/         Extensive choice of activities to support in-depth learning.  Site includes: logic games, puzzles, Sudoku, word games and brain teasers.
  2. Odyssey of the Mind (OM)    http://www.odysseyofthemind.com                  OM is a world-wide competition the website has great resources to foster creative thinking in your classroom.  Be sure to look at the Practice Problems along with the Spontaneous activities.  I used to coach an OM team and found the website had a variety of ideas to foster creative thinking in my classroom. Be sure to look at the practice problems and the Spontaneous activities. These activities would be excellent for all the students in your classrooms.
  3. Quiz Hub   https://www.quizhub.com/                                                                     Great variety of quizzes for kids to take on a variety of subjects.  The annual membership is $1 per child for schools up to 300 students.  Worth considering, even with the cost.
  4. KB Connected   http://www.kbkonnectedkids.com/                                             This was new to me but I love this site. Great resource to help teachers find appropriate activities for their students to tackle.  Lots of interactive and challenging activities.
  5. PBS Kids     http: pbskids.org/                                                                        Specifically, good for young kids with connections to PBS TV programs.  Yes, there is some marketing, but there are great activities for all grade levels. Regular classroom teachers will rate this a Gold Rated website.
  6. Know It All            http://knowitall.org                                                                Although some activities are particular to South Carolina, there are many other games and activities on the site for other states.

The websites above can also be helpful as home activities.  Keeping it fun for kids will encourage them to keep learning.

Mysteries to support critical thinking –  September 19, 2018

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

Minute-Mysteries –  October  October 1, 2018

ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content November 2018

love teaching quote Margaret Sangster

Hi Friends!

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

Topic Date Post Title
Archives

Threeringsonnections.org.

10/31/18 ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content Sept./Oct.
Grants/Good Deals

 

11/24/18 Scholastic Warehouse Sales
Student Teaching

 

11/10/18 Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9
Math

 

11/1/18

11/3/18

Math Problem Solving and Young Children

 Math Activities for Young Children for Under $10.00 

Literacy

 

11/27/18

 

11/29/18

11/20/18

11/13/18

11/15/18

 

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2

Encouraging Writing for Kindergartners

Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

Good Resources 11/6/18 Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00
Gifted Talented/ Enrichment

 

 11/1/18 2-Minute-Mysteries: November
Teaching (General)

 

11/17/18

11/22/18

Understanding is in the Questioning

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 2

early language
Great resource that is easy to use

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

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

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

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

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

Other posts related to this topic

Reading to Babies?  Why?

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Early Language Development Common Words

Category Common Words Add your own
Social Function more, please, thank you, hi/hello, bye-bye, again, sorry, uh-oh, yes/uh-huh/okay, no/uh-uh, no thank you
Action (Verbs)

 

eat, drink, run, stop, go, kiss, open, shut, jump, walk, sleep/night-night, wash  close, push, pull, fix, play, want, hug, broke, love, hurt, tickle, give (“gimme”), all gone, all done, dance, help, cry, ride, rock, fall, see, watch, look, sit, stand (up), throw, catch, blow, cry, throw, swing, slide, climb, ride, rock, come (“C’mon”), color/draw
Location (Prepositions)

 

updown, in, out, off, on, here, there (Plus later ones such as around, under, behind, over at/after age 3)
Descriptive (Adjectives/Adverbs)

 

big, little, hot, cold, loud, quiet, yucky, icky, scary, funny, silly, dirty, clean, gentle, wet, soft, fast, slow, color words (red, blue, yellow, green, pink, orange, purple, black, white, brown) and quantity words (all, none, more, some, plus early number words – especially 1, 2, 3)
Early Pronouns

 

me, mine, my, I, you, it (Then toward age 3 the gender pronouns such as he, she, him, her)
Nouns

 

People names– Mama, Dada, Names of family members, GG, Gpa, book and TV character names.

Toys: bubbles, ball, car, boat, train, bat, choo-choo, train, book, bike, truck, baby, plane

Outdoors: sunny, rain, moon, star, dark, tree, flower,

Food: bowl, spoon, plate, chip, cracker, cereal, banana, juice, water, milk, candy, apple, cheese, ice cream, cereal (Cheerios)

Animals: cat, dog, bird, duck, cow, bunny, horse, bear, fish, horse, pig, snake, frog, chicken, lion, elephant, giraffe, monkey, butterfly, bee

Clothes: hat, shirt, sock, shoe, diaper, boat, pants,

Household items: phone, house, bed, light, blanket, bath, chair, brush, towel, soap,

Early Language Development in Kids: Part 1

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

Research says…..

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

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

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

Early Language Development: Top 3 Strategies 

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

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

Three more early language development activities

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

Reading books helps expand vocabulary 

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

Final Thoughts:

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

References

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

Other posts related to this topic

Reading to Babies?  Why?

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Scholastic Warehouse Sales

Scholastic Warehouse Sales

http://registration.scholasticbookfairs.com/events/warehouse/

               Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Danbury Ct. is December 5-15 .

Go to website and check for the SALE near you!

 My local friends our closest location is Danbury, Ct.  Approximately 40 minutes from Fishkill area.

This holiday – for a limited time only – you can buy one, get one free on hundreds of books, gifts, schools supplies – and even Build-a-Box!* Refresh your school, home, and classroom libraries, and stock up on gifts for everyone.

Exclusively for librarians, teachers, district/school employees and volunteers, Book Fair chairpeople, and homeschool teachers.

For every item you buy, choose an item of equal or lesser value for FREE

  • Shop from a large assortment of already reduced items
  • No limits on how many items you can buy
  • Build-a-Box is included with the BOGO offer (at participating locations)*
  • Perfect way to maximize purchase orders, grants, and Title 1 funds

Coupon is $10.00 off a purchase of $100.00. OR $25.00 off a purchase of $100.00 using Scholastic Dollars

2018 Holiday Warehouse Sale (see details) Dec. 5-15th

DANBURY, CT

Weekday Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Closed Sundays

This is a Build-a-Box event. As many books as you can fit in a box for less than $25.00.

Other posts related to this topic

Receptive Language Toddlers: Simon Says

Simon Says: Receptive Language and Toddlersplaying Simon Says helps toddlers' receptive language development

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

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

Why Simon Says and Receptive Language?

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

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

Receptive Language and Following Directions

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming Soon!  Blog Topics:

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

Other posts related to this topic

Speech language

 

Encouraging Writing for Kindergartners

encourage writing at an early age
Encourage writing at an early age.

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

Encouraging Writing: Where Do We Start? 

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

Encouraging Writing: Before Writing Starts:  

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

Encouraging Writing During Writing: 

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

Encouraging Writing After Writing: 

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

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

Other posts related to this topic

Reading, Writing and Preschool?  Oh MY!

 

Understanding is in the Questioning

Understanding is in the Questioning

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

Blooms Taxonomy

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

REMEMBER (Level 1) Knowledge recognizing and recalling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Vanderbilt University: Center for Teaching

You may also find helpful 

Add Effective Questioning to Toolkit

Highly-abled students need attention too!