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.

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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

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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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Print is ALL AROUND!

environmental print
Road signs are great examples of environmental print

Three of my granddaughters live 30 minutes away and visit quite often.  Buckled in their car seats, the 4 and 5-year-olds, can do little more than observe the many signs and stores they pass along the route. On a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of places and signs they were able to “read” along the way. After boasting about their Environmental Print awareness and getting quite a few blank faces from my family and friends, I realized I found a future blog topic!

What is Environmental Print?

The term Environmental Print (EP) refers to the signs and logos kids see every day in their world. It is one of the earliest exposures to written language that sends the message that print has meaning. Kids can make connections with some of the images because they may have visited the stores or seen them on TV.  What child doesn’t’ recognize the “golden arches”?

4 Benefits of Environmental Print?

  1. Helps to make connections to the world around them.
  2. Gives kids a “reading experience” before reading print in books.
  3. Builds confidence in young children and gets them excited about reading
  4. Requires no preparation and is FREE! Can’t get much easier than that!

Examples of EP All Around Us: Signs: (Speed Limit, STOP, Slow, Railroad, WALK), labels:(food boxes, bags/ bottles, signs: familiar stores/restaurants, logos for favorite toys.

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5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

 

Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

how to increase reading fluency
Model fluency when reading aloud

Reading fluency is the ability to read with accuracy and expression when reading aloud.  Fluent readers read more quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on comprehension.  Since fluent readers gain more meaning from text, they seem to enjoy reading and therefore may read more often.

Students struggling with fluency sound hesitant when reading aloud. This could be due to struggling with the meaning of text or decoding words. Therefore, addressing fluency difficulties is important in learning to read proficiently.

12 Activities/Strategies to Promote Reading Fluency

  • Give students many opportunities to read different texts at their reading level. This builds confidence along with fluency.
  • Encourage silent reading where students can practice their reading without judgement. However, silent reading alone does not increase fluency with struggling readers. Adult supervision is necessary to assess progress.
  • Remind children of the characteristics of fluency so they understand what it means and how they can improve.
  • Allow children to use a whisper phone so they can hear themselves whisper read. The ability to self-correct is important in learning to read.
  • Model fluent reading when reading aloud to students so they can hear what it sounds like
  • Emphasize to students that fluency focuses on accuracy rather than speed.
  • Let students use a ruler or their finger to follow the words across the page while you read. This strategy helps students stay focused on reading, guides story rhythm and helps teachers identify hearing or vision (tracking) issues.
  • Encourage children to reread passages multiple times to build confidence.
  • Drill sight words to make children more familiar with common words in text.
  • Try different genres and book lengths to motivate students to learn.
  • Experiment with different font and text sizes. Students with visual difficulties may find larger text or text on different colored paper easier to read.
  • Preview new or challenging words prior to introducing a new text.

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5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

 

ThreeRingsConnections Blog Content Sept./Oct.

I was recently talking to a friend  about some of the posts on the blog and realized that it would be good to create a Table of Contents for quick access. Yeats quote So here it is!  All the postings for the September and October in a single post. One Stop Shopping!  Enjoy!

Topic Link
Grants Keats (Ezra Jack) Mini-Grant Opportunity

Trips for students from Target Due: Oct. 1st 

Grants for Trips in Hudson Valley

FREE Pet for Pre-K -Grade 9 Classrooms

Student Teaching Student Teacher Characteristics

Student Teacher Refs: Are VIP

Math Numeracy in Early ChildhoodMath Activities for Young Children for Under $10.00

100 Chart for Math

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

Math Problem Solving and Young Children

Literacy Why? Reading to Babies?

Picture Walks Promotes Reading

5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

Concepts of Print Support For Parents

Library Suggestions for Preschool Classrooms

Reading, Writing and Preschool?  Oh MY!

phonological-and-phonemic-awareness-6 (8)

Early Literacy and Common Core in Preschool: How Do they Fit Together in Our Classrooms?

Books Before Kindergarten: 1000?

Good Resources Early Learning Newsletter: U.S. Dept. of Ed.

Magazines: 2 Free for Educators

Best Reading Resources for Teachers

Video Resources Every Kid Needs A Champion

Change Happens… Now What?

Gifted Talented/ Enrichment Mysteries to support critical thinking

Minute-Mysteries: October   

2-Minute-Mysteries: November

Highly-abled students need attention too!

Teaching (General) Add Effective Questioning to Toolkit

Use Your Words Daniel Tiger

3 Words to Help Expression

Fostering Creativity in Kids

Behaviors (7) Predict School Success?

Special Education Resources Fostering Creativity in Kids

Speech Language Pathologists

Fine Motor Activities for Kids: Less than $10.00

What are Fine Motor Skills and why are they important?

fine motor activities kit for toddlers
DIY Fine Motor Activities Kit for Young Kids for Less than $10.00

Fine motor skills are those that involve using muscles which control the hand, fingers and thumb. With the development of these skills, a child is able to complete important tasks such as feeding oneself, buttoning, zippering and writing.  These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of activities.

So this month I decided to create a GG Fun Kit to to strengthen fine motor skills.  As many of you are aware, the kits are my attempt to create unique Christmas gifts for my grandkids.  My goal is for each kit to support learning, be reasonably priced and full of GG/grandkid FUN!  Last month, I created a Math Kit and this month I’m off to the Dollar Store with a $10.00 bill to find materials to support Fine Motor skills.

Fun Activities to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

Materials Activities
pompoms
  • Sort pompoms in ice cube trays by color
  • Pick up pompoms with tweezers and put in ice cube trays
  • Put pompoms into storage containers
beads
  • String beads using wire
  • Roll post its and put through beads
  • Build structure using beads and post its
wire
  • Use clothespins to hang post its, baggies, rubber bands on wire
  • Wrap wire around ice cube trays
small pencil Write with small pencil on small post its
Post its Use to make connectors between beads
Rubber bands Wrap rubber bands around fingers and practice picking up small items
tweezers Use to pick up small items in kit
tongs Use to pick up small to medium items in kit
Ice cube trays (2)
  • Use trays to sort items by color, number and to make patterns
  • Use the bottom of the tray as a geoboard stretching rubber bands over the shape
  • Stretch rubber bands over the trays
Baggies with zippers
  • Store items
  • Use as a container and take out items using tongs or tweezers
Clear plastic containers
  • Use for storage
  • Put hole in lid and put small items from the kit through the hole using fingers
  • Put items from kit through the hole using tweezer or tongs.
clothespins
  • Use to pick up beads, rubber bands, small pencil, post it.
  • Use to hang items on the wire
Plastic cupcake holder with lid
  • Used to store all items in the kit.
  • Ideally one with a handle is best so it can be carried by children.

Math Activities Kit for Young Children for Under $10.00 

Math Activities in a Kit for Less than $10.00

Math Kit Activities for Young Kids
DIY Math Kit for Young Kids for Less than $10.00

The holidays are a few months away and I’m already struggling to find something to get the grandkids.  I don’t want it to be just another gift.  I want something that they will remember came  from me and of course, BE FUN!

Math Activities Kit made by GG! 

So, this year I decided to make “Fun Kits” that would support learning and of course full of GG/grandkid FUN!  I chose to make it portable to travel back and forth between our homes.  I also wanted to keep the cost under $10 so that teachers, parents and other GG’s could make their own! So, off I went to the Dollar Store, full of optimism and a $10 bill to create the perfect Christmas gift.  The Result My First Fun Kit: Math!

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

100 Chart for Math

Math Problem Solving and Young Children

math problem solving is important for young kids
Kids need to learn to be good problem solvers

Young children are naturally curious and therefore are great at problem solving.  They can also be great math problem solvers with some simple guidance from adults. There are some common strategies that young children can learn to help them solve problems.

The BIG 5 Problem Solving Strategies for Young Kids

  1. Guess and Check– This is one of the simplest strategies to solve problems. It allows students to respond and then check to see if their guess was right. Although easy, kids sometimes think it’s a game and guess any answer.  Since guesses can be done without much thinking, you can support their guessing by asking them if it is the best guess.  Encourage them to think about their guesses and ask do you think that’s the best guess?
  2. Act it Out– Have kids pretend they are actors and perform the information in the problem. Ex. John went to the store and bought 3 apples. Mary also bought 3 apples.  How many apples did they have all together? In this example John pretends to walk to a store to buy 3 apples. Mary does the same and then they put their apples together to solve the problem.
  3. Use Manipulatives– Using items to represent numbers can help kids make a problem concrete. Manipulatives can be anything that can be easily moved. (counters, dice, money, beans, chips, fingers, money, paper clips) Be creative!
  4. Draw– Drawing pictures gives students the opportunity to create their own manipulatives. This is a perfect strategy to use when there are no manipulatives nearby.  Drawing helps to keep kids focused on the problem and it also creates a visual representation of the problem.  This can be used to show their thinking.
  5. Think It Through– Encourage kids to be thinkers. Teach them to think (remember) things they already know.  Prompt them with questions and hints on ways to solve the The following questions can be used to guide their mathematical thinking: What did you do to get the answer?What did you do to get the answer?
  • Can you show me how you figured that out?
  • What happened in the problem?
  • Why do you think that is the correct answer?
  • Where do you think you should start?
  • Do you think that will work?
  • What did you do to get the answer?

Enjoy the Math Journey!

Children’s ability to solve problems will improve with experience and practice.  Parents can engage their children in math by pointing out math concepts that surround them every day. Guide them to see the patterns, shapes and numbers in their world.  Engage them in cooking, card playing, puzzles and different types of board games. Enjoy your math journey together.

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

100 Chart for Math

2-Minute-Mysteries: November

2 minute mysteries to support critical thinking
This month’s 2 minute mysteries help support critical thinking for young kids

2-Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story.

  1. Chris was enjoying a bowl of chili at a restaurant in Montreal.  Looking into the bowl, he saw a fly.  He informed the waiter and asked for a new bowl of chili.  When the waiter brought him the new bowl, he tasted it and accused the waiter of bringing him back the same bowl.  Why did he think that?
  2. Uncle Bug’s baseball bat company sells baseball bats for $25.00 each. This month there is a sale 2 baseball bats for $36.00. He said he makes the same profit either way but that it is a good sale.   How much profit must he make on each bat when he sells them at the regular price of $25.00.
  3. Kelly is walking down the street dressed in black.  There are no lights on anywhere and no moon.  A car without its lights on comes down the street and avoids hitting her?  How did that happen?
  4. You walk into a room with only one match.  You must light a lantern, a stove, the pilot light on the water heater and a fire in a fire place.  What do you light first?

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Mysteries to support critical thinking

Minute-Mysteries: October   

Answer Clues:

  1. What else did Chris know about the soup?
  2. Use the problem solving strategy of making a table.  Be sure to include examples of buying the bats at the full price.
  3. When is the story happening?
  4. What 5 items do you know you have in the room?

 

Answers:  (Well you asked for the answers, here they are!)

  1. Before Chris found the fly, he had put salt on his chili.  When the chili returned, it was bland.
  2. The profit on each bat must be $14.00.  Since he makes no extra profit on the second bat, he must be selling it at cost.  With the price of each bat $25.00 the cost is $11.00 with $14.00 profit.  Selling 2 bats at $36.00 means that the total cost of 2 bats is $22.00 leaving $14.00 as the total profit.
  3. Kelly is walking down the street during the day.
  4. The first thing you have to light is the match.

Concepts of Print Support For Parents

Concepts of Print is important when reading to your child
When reading to your child be sure to include Concepts of Print. This is important to help kids learn to read.

As a teacher and principal, I have shared the importance of reading to  children many times with parents. In our parent surveys, the overwhelming response was that parents read to their children on a regular basis.  However, our kindergarten students did not perform well on the “Concepts of Print” (COP) assessment administered each Fall.  The assessment, created by Marie Clay (1993), includes items to assess a child’s knowledge of both print and written language skills. Knowing how these skills work together helps support learning to read and write. Most of our students understood that a book told a story (that print had meaning), but few had much knowledge of “how print works”.

So what should we do about Concepts of Print? 

As a staff, we decided to share the COP assessment finding with parents at the Kindergarten Orientation in May. We showed parents how to read a story to their child and how they could informally add a few COP skills to their reading routine. We explained that by showing their kids the parts of the book, letter/writing concepts and how to read a book during their daily reading with their child, they could help support their child’s reading progress.  The results were amazing!  The new Kindergarten students scored 50% higher than the three previous years of the fall COP administration. That was only 3 months after sharing the information with parents!

What did we learn about our Concepts of Print trial?

Our results reminded us of two important concepts about parents, kids, and reading.  First, parents are their child’s first teacher; so, let’s show them ways to help be successful. Secondly, kids are like sponges, absorbing information from the world around them.  Why do we wait to teach COP skills until Kindergarten?

Parent Pointers: Concepts of Print and Reading to Your Child

Point to the Following Parts of the Book

  • Front and back of the book.
  • Binding.
  • Top and bottom of a picture.
  • Title Page.
  • Author’s Name (define that the author writes the book).
  • Illustrator’s name (define that the illustrator draws the pictures).

Show How to Read a Book

  • A sentence is read from left to right.
  • Pages are read from left to right.
  • Point to each word while you read.
  • Read pages from left to right.
  • A story has a beginning and end.

Words and Writing  in Books: Basics

  • A capital letter is at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Words and sentences have capital letters and lower case letters.
  • Point out 1 word in a sentence, Point out 2 words.
  • Point out that a word is made up of a group of letters.
  • A comma explains to the reader  that it tells the reader to pause or slowdown.
  • There are punctuation marks at the end of a sentences (period, question mark, exclamation mark) Explain that the marks tell the reader how to read.

Research: Clay, M. M. (1993). An observation survey of early literacy achievement. Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912.

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Why? Reading to Babies?

https://threeringsconnections.org/why-read-and-babies/

FREE Books for Adults and Kids

 

child reading on tablet Please share the resources below to give someone the “Gift of Reading”.
• Overdrive is a database of books that allows you to borrow up to 10 ebooks or audiobooks from your local library. Just use your library card for your one time registration.
• Tumblebooks is a collection of audiobooks and ebooks for kids. Books are leveled and the site also includes activities. Once you register using your library card, you will be given access information.
Happy Free Reading! woman reading

100 Chart for Math

100 chart helps kids understand math
Familiarity with a 100 Chart is important in helping a child understand math.

Recently I was driving home with my granddaughter, who just started kindergarten.  To help distract her on our long ride, I thought it would be fun to count to 100 and see how long it would be before we saw our house. When we got into the 50s she informed me she wasn’t very good at the higher numbers.  Ah, a challenge for GG!

So, for her next visit I downloaded a 100 chart to help her develop an  understanding of numbers.  A hundred chart is an easy way to do fun math without lots of preparation.  A 100 chart can easily be found online.  I was ready for an exciting game of 100 chart BINGO.

Let the game begin!

After about 10 numbers, I realized her focus was more on the purple butterfly tokens we were using to cover the numbers rather than the numbers themselves.  A good early childhood teachers knows to keep a lesson focused, short and fun. That day Miss M did not think my 100s chart game was any of the three. So, the hundred (100) chart game will wait for another day.

Kindergarten Concepts to Review Using a 100s Chart

  • Number identification
  • Number order
  • One to one correspondence(be sure to point to each number)
  • Patterns
  • Practice counting forwards
  • Practice counting backwards

Examples of 100s Chart Games

  • Find the number
  • Count off the days
  • Numbers are symbols for amounts
  • Ordinal numbers (first, second, third etc.)
  • Roll a die(1) or dice(2) and move that number of boxes on the chart.

Remember the fun is in the journey.  Enjoy the moment !

Other posts related to this topic

Numeracy in Early Childhood

“Math Walks”: Time to “Walk the Talk”

Fostering Creativity in Kids

Fostering Creativity in Kids and Love Doing it!

When I was a teacher of the talented and gifted we administered the Torrance Tests of Divergent Thinking as one of the admission tests. Points were given if kids expanded some basic squiggles into creative drawings.  Kids loved the test and always wanted to do it over. IF they did take the test again, they probably would have done better.  Why?  Because after the test I had shown them how they scored Therefore, they learned how to score better the next time.

Talented and Gifted Admission: A Good Idea?

A Torrance retest would be a perfect example of learning, but could I use the results to test creativity? I’m not sure.  The example showed that creativity is a skill can be developed. So, what about the kids who scored high on the original test?  Was that inborn talent or had they had opportunities to develop their creativity prior to testing?  Perhaps they had experiences that gave them the confidence to try different challenges where there was no right or wrong answers.

Bottom line is that parents can foster creativity in their kids.  Fostering a child’s creativity through art and music is a common idea.  However, creativity and problem solving can be seen in all areas.

10 Ways to Promote Creativity in Children

  • Give kids lots of unstructured playtime to let their imaginations be unlimited.
  • Provide resources to let them explore. (Ex. paper, pencils, boxes, old clothes for dress up, straws, newspapers, blocks, Legos) Let them look around and find things to use.
  • Give them flexibility to make choices and think of solutions.
  • Help them learn words associated with creativity by asking questions. Ex. What would happen if? What could you do with that?  Any ideas that might be possibilities? Let’s think of possible solutions.
  • Applaud their creativity! Remembering that there is no right or wrong.  Allowing kids to express themselves with acknowledgement helps to build confidence to try new things.
  • Allow them to make rules to a game. They’ll experience whether they work or not. When they don’t let them change them again.  Problem solving at its best
  • The focus of creative activities should be on process: generating (vs. evaluating) new ideas.
  • Remind them it’s ok to make mistakes. You don’t want them to be afraid of failure. Adults make mistakes too!
  • Encourage divergent (different) thinking. I used to challenge all my first-grade classes to find 100 ways to melt a snowball. It was a struggle, but they always did it.  Wow, those kids were creative!
  • Show kids creative ideas. In other words, something that will trigger “out of the box thinking”.

The photo attached to this post was taken by my husband on a golf outing.  He thought it was unique and knew I would share it with some of my grandkids. But he didn’t know that I would use it as the focus photo of a post on creativity!  Who would ever thinking of carving and painting  a scene on a tree?  So, maybe, you won’t paint on the next tree you see, but I bet you’ll think of this photo the next time you see an entwined tree trunk.  Now, you’re being creative.

Thanks to Griffon Ramsey, for the creative inspiration from “Bad Day on the SS Normandie” (2017)

Reading to Babies? How?

One of the groups that I  volunteer with is the Poughkeepsie branch of  the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  One of our recent projects was to create a brochure about the importance of reading to babies. I’m happy to announce that the finished product, in both Spanish and English, is now available throughout Dutchess County in libraries and pediatrician offices.  Thank you to the graphic designer, the translator and the Poughkeepsie Library System for all their efforts to complete the project.  The information below is included in the brochure.  Enjoy!

Reading Milestones: 

While every child develops at his/her own rate, these are general guidelines.

Birth to 3 months

  • Looks at the pictures but might noy want to touch the books
  • Prefers a book with high-contrast colors and patterned designs

4-6 months

  • Explores books by putting them in their mouth
  • May coo or babble at you when you read

6-12 months

  • Pays with books like toys
  • Can help turn the pages
  • Babbles at pictures

12-18 months

  • Holds or carries books
  • Looks at books independently
  • Uses index finger to point at the illustrations

18-24 months

  • Says some of the words and phrases in familiar books.
  • Wants to have a story read over and over.
  • Pretends to read and mimics adult reading behaviors.

Reading to Babies –  You Are Your Baby’s First Teacher

  • Nursery rhymes are short and fun to read with babies. Additional rhymes are easily found online.
  • Keep it short. Infants have short attention spans so read for 10-15 minutes, once or twice e a day.
  • Sing to your baby, songs of your childhood. Be creative. Take well-known tunes and put in your own words to match your activity.
  • Talk to you baby to help build social skills.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Reading the same story over and over helps your baby learn what he/she should laugh and get excited by the changes in your voice.

When Choosing Books for Your Baby

  • Look for books that include things to touch and flaps to lift
  • Search for boos that include illustrations of photos of other babies
  • Choose books that YOU like since you will most likely be reading them over and over.
  • For the youngest babies, look for simple pictures in black and white.
  • Try sturdy board books when babies start to grab the books
  • Read books with rhythm, rhyme, and repetition.
  • Visit your local library. You’ll find many great books and programs.
  • Enjoy these special moments with your child!

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Why? Reading to Babies?

Reading to Babies? Why?

One of the groups that I  volunteer with is the Poughkeepsie branch of  the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  One of our recent projects was to create a brochure about the importance of reading to babies. I’m happy to announce that the finished product, in both Spanish and English, is now available throughout Dutchess County in libraries and pediatrician offices.  Thank you to the graphic designer, the translator and the Poughkeepsie Library System for all their efforts to complete the project.  The information below is included in the brochure.  Enjoy!

Reading to Young Children

Reading aloud to children from an early age is the best way to raise a child who enjoys reading and does well in school. Therefore, why not start with reading to babies!

Why Reading to Babies is Important

  • Your baby’s brain triples in size by age 3. The brain develops as your baby interacts with the world and learns new things.
  • Reading aloud exposes babies to the sounds of human speech and lays a foundation for learning to read.
  • By age two, children know between 300-500 words. Children who are spoken to and read frequently have larger vocabularies and develop into better readers. Therefore, let the talk begin!
  • Communication with your baby helps to make sense of the environment. Whether its smiling, laughing or talking, your baby is starting to realize the value of communication
  • As your baby’s first teacher, you can help nurture a language-rich environment.

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https://threeringsconnections.org/why-read-and-babies/

Student Teacher Characteristics

Becoming an Effective Student Teachers Is Up to You! student teacher success

Recently I received an email from a former student teacher asking for advice on her upcoming student teaching placement.  She was so excited to embark on this new adventure and wanted to do a good job. Her excitement and willingness to learn was evident in the note, both great characteristics to have when starting student teaching. We met the next day for coffee and I ran through a somewhat shortened list of observable characteristics of effective student teachers. Our conversation motivated me to put together a more cohesive, organized list to help other student teachers. The list has no hierarchy of importance since I believe they are ALL important to a successful student teaching experience.

5 Most Common Characteristics of Effective Student Teachers in the Classroom

  1. Ask questions. Time is a precious commodity in a classroom so be prepared to ask questions when a moment arises. Prepare your questions ahead of time and be sure to write down the answers. Remember  you have a lot to learn and only a short time to student teach. Your Cooperating Teacher (CT) will understand if you are full of questions!
  2. Be prepared.  Better yet, over prepared and be ready to CHANGE. If anything is constant in school, it is CHANGE.  Student performance, schedule changes, assemblies you name it, there will be changes.  Even if flexibility has not been easy in the past, it is a necessity in the teaching world. The best solution is to have a back-up plan and  be ready to think on your feet.
  3. Help without being asked. Offer to be helpful when you see something that can be done. Your CT has probably been running solo for a long time and may forget to ask you for help. There is always a list of things to get done in a classroom. Your CT may be aware of them but have ranked them low on the priority list. If you find yourself with nothing to do, look around and seize the opportunity.  Of course, check with your CT first. Helping in this way can make a big difference in strengthening the relationship with your CT.
  4. Take notes and photos. There is so much to see and learn in a school. You may be unsure of what is important and useful, so take it all in now.  When reviewing later, tag items for future use.  A general rule of thumb is to NOT photograph students. Talk to your CT about school policy on this issue.
  5. Show Their JOY! Let’s face it, everyone knows if a teacher enjoys their job. Be enthusiastic and don’t forget to smile.  Don’t hide the JOY!

5 More Characteristics That Didn’t Make the Top 5 BUT Are Important Too! 

  1. Visit other classrooms. Each teacher is different, and you will learn something new in every classroom. It is best to work with your CT to arrange visitations. Some teachers may be hesitant to open their doors for a variety of reasons. It is important that the teacher you are visiting is  comfortable with your observing.
  2. Share knowledge. Student teachers very often have been exposed to recent research that may be helpful to your CT. Don’t be shy to share a recent article, or new technology that you may have learned.  Student teachers can be an excellent source of professional development in a school.  Collaboration is a major focus in schools today.
  3. Discuss needs. It’s best to discuss with your CT the areas that you think you may need additional support. Outlining them early in your placement will help your CT plan opportunities for your placement.
  4. Welcome input. Accepting that student teaching is a learning experience will make feedback easier. Welcoming feedback as an opportunity for growth which will better prepare you for future formal observations.
  5. They are “Worker Bees”. Worker Bees Live in Schools.  As a lifelong member of the hive, I know it would be be hard to find a great teacher that wasn’t busy, busy, busy.  Show your CT that you are willing to do extra work outside the scheduled day.

Prior to the Big Day!

  • Clean up social media – We all use it and therefore anyone can see it. Be sure to clean up any social media items that may appear to be unprofessional in nature.  When in doubt on an item, check with your CT.
  • Dress appropriately. In other words, dress professionally. Always consider yourself on a long-term job interview and always look your best.  Your wardrobe does not have to be fashionable or expensive to be professional.  It doesn’t matter how the teachers around you dress, they’re employed!
  • Punctuality is Important. Your great planning will go unnoticed if you are not punctual. Rushing around can be interpreted as unprepared.  Plan to arrive each day 15 -30 minutes early. Talk with your CT on the expectations of  your schedule.
  • Silence the phone. We all know that our phones are our lifeline to the world. However, they should  NOT  be part of student teaching. My best advice is to manage your phone at a time that you are NOT with students.  Being present with your students is much more than just being in the classroom.  Send your students the message that being with them is important and you’re not going to be interrupted by your phone.

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5 Parts of Reading: Completes the Puzzle

So good news.  If you are reading this blog, you have been taught to read.  5 parts of reading However, how did you learn to read?  What are the main parts when teaching reading? I’ll give you a hint… there are 5 parts of reading.

I asked that question to a few non-teaching friends recently.  They all responded comprehension, and with some additional prodding, they added vocabulary. Both are correct!  Now, what are the other 3? For anyone helping kids learn to read it is important to know that it takes all 5 ingredients working together for kids to become successful readers. Adding to comprehension and vocabulary are fluency and phonological  and phonemic awareness.  Often, students that have difficulty with reading comprehension have difficulty in 1 or more of the other reading components.

Comprehension is what most people think reading is. It is creating a meaning out of a group of individual words.  Reading comprehension is the most complex aspect of reading.  It includes the other 4 components and requires the reader to think about what they are reading and make connections with their personal knowledge.

Vocabulary is needed for kids to read books.  As they become stronger readers, they will tackle more difficult readings with new vocabulary words.  When reading with a child ask them to try to figure out a new word by the context clues (hints) in the text.  They can look at other words in the sentence, the main idea of the story, or the pictures in the story to provide hints to identify the new word.  Like vocabulary, reading comprehension skills develop and improve over time through practice.

Fluency is a reader’s ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. It is important for reading comprehension because it frees up working memory in the brain to spend time comprehending what they are reading. Reading books slightly below your child’s reading level will help build confidence and therefore, increase fluency.

Phonemic Awareness is recognizing parts of words. To see that a word has a beginning, middle and end and makes a new word if you add an ending such as /s/.  Phonemic awareness is also blending the parts of words together to make a full word. For example: /h/ and /at/ to form hat.  Phonemic awareness also recognizes specific sounds and location in a word.  For example: knowing what the first sound in the word “ball”.

Phonological awareness is the connection between sounds and letter symbols.  These sound/symbol connections create words. Children need to understand the connection between the individual sounds that each letter makes and how putting the letters together to create a word to understand. Nursery rhymes are great resources to help develop both phonological and phonemic awareness skills.

Top 5 things for parents to do to help their child read

  1. Read with your child daily.
  2. Reread books to expose kids to same words to build fluency.
  3. Ask questions about the story or illustrations.
  4. Use different vocabulary words in conversations with your child (age dependent)
  5. Read different types of text.  (Ex.   magazine, menu, cereal box)

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Speech Language Pathologists

As a building principal for many years, I had the pleasure of working with National Hearing Month many classroom teachers and special area teachers.  There was not a day that went by that I didn’t learn something from one of them!  One group of teachers that I found to be an amazing source of information was the Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). Our SLPs were exceptionally helpful in our school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) process.  As part of our RTI process, they worked to find different ways to include language interventions to strengthen student skills.  Collaborating with classroom teachers they were able to explain a child’s limitations based on testing and suggested interventions.  Partnering with parents they explained test scores, program   recommendations and shared progress reports.

Thank you, Holly and Connie!

The 2 sites below are good resources to support teachers, parents and caregivers looking for information on any speech concerns.  Both are active sites with the Main Page having multiple links and search engines to ask specific questions.

Helpful Links

American Speech Language Hearing Association

National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDC)