Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Integrating Authors: Old Lady

We all love the "There was an Old Lady." She swallows everything. For the Holidays, she swallows a bell.

You can then have your kids draw each item from the book. The next day, see how many they can put in order before re-reading the story again.

There have been sites that even create the Old Lady. The belly is a plastic bag and you can have her "swallow" all of the items.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Integrating Holidays: Advent

Many Christians around the world celebrate Advent. It begins December the First. I have not been able to update the blog weekly like I have wanted to , but wanted to begin this Christmas Season with some ideas and websites your family can go to for writing, crafting, and reading ideas.

Disney has many links and countdown calendars you can create and enjoy.

Countdown Calendar


Advent Calendar

My favorite one that I will be working on for next year:
Persnalized Advent Calendar

I really like the activities in the calendar.

Here is an idea I am using in my home this year. I took a shoe holder and will be using the pockets for the readings, candy, and activities. It is not what I want it to look like yet, but it is only December first. I am just proud I had it ready to go.

We just got done with our first activity: Make an ornament and give it to a neighbor.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Integrating History: National American Indian Heritage Month

I will do my best to give a quick overview of this month, recommend a few books and then supply some yummy, easy recipes.

Check out this website for places close by you where you can take your children to.
National Park Service.
There are places from Alaska, to New York, to Wisconsin, all the way down to Florida.

The following is Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
"What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994."
For more information, you can go to the government site: National Indain Heritage Month

Here is a book for the family in time for the Holidays:

Here is a novel for the young adult and the parents to enjoy:

Many children do not know about the Code Talkers during World War Two, so this will lead to a very interseting discussion.

After talking and exploring this wonderful Heritage, try out your skills in the kitchen.
Title: Acorn Bread
Categories: Native amer, Breads
Yield: 1 Loaf

1 c Acorn meal
1 c Flour
2 T Baking powder
1/2 ts Salt
3 T Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
1 c Milk
3 T Oil

Sift together, acorn meal, white flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In
separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, and oil. Combine dry ingredients
and liquid ingredients. Stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Pour
into a greased pan and bake at 400F. for 30 minutes

Title: Indian Pudding
Categories: Bakery, Desserts, Vegan
Yield: 4 servings

2 c Water
1 c Cornmeal
3/4 c Liquid sweetener
1/4 c Vegetable oil
1 ts Salt
1 lb Silken tofu
1 ts Ginger
1 1/2 ts Vanilla
1/2 ts Cinnamon (optional)

Cook water and cornmeal in pot for 20-25 minutes, stirring

Add remaining ingredients and mix in blender until smooth.

Bake in an oiled dish for 1 hour at 350F in preheated oven. Serve hot.

John Paino & Lisa Messinger, “The Tofu Book”. Posted by Karen

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Integrating Seasons: The Leaf Man

Have you been on several hikes collecting many leaves? Not sure what to do with them? The old, put them under a piece of paper and rub them is out. The easy, let's put them between two pieces of wax paper and iron them is well done.

How about turning those leaves, twigs, and acorns into artwork?

Now, mind you, this was created by an almost 3 year old, so you can use the book to help stretch the older kids imagination.

Also, here is a link about the book, author, with an activity and sticker sheets, that could help you create your own animasls, places, and people.

Leaf Man:

And of course, the book:

At the end, your child can write about the adventure of their leaf creation. Happy Fall!! About two weeks left before the snow moves in.... if it hasn't already!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Integrating Culture: Hispanic Heritage Month

It has come and gone, but the information is just as important: Hispanic Heritage Month. From Sept. 15th-Oct. 15th, there is a time for schools to educate students about the people of this culture. Even though the official "month" has gone, you too can extend what hopefully was talked about in schools in your own home.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Integrating Feelings: Llama llama

These books are so cute. I love the way they rhyme. The illustrations are great. The author, Anna Dewdney does a good job with the stories. It explains just how little ones feel as they begin school, want to leave the store, or need to go to bed. What I love about these books is that the Little Llama grows up in each book. You can read them in order and have your little one explore that.

All ages can read and enjoy the books, but the activities and website are geared toward children ages 2-9.

They are just easy reads. I bet your older children could write their own Llama llama book. You should challenge them to try.
Teacher vision.com has great ideas for teachers and parents to use to get their children thinking.

For Comprehension it is suggested that:
• Ask your readers to make predictions about the text. They should focus on the characters’ feelings, events in the plot, and problem/
solution situations.
• Readers can become involved in the story by visualizing the scenes that take place throughout the book. Ask students to draw their
own versions of the story action before seeing the real illustrations.

Values & Decision Making
Explain the concepts of values and personalities to your students. Ask students to think about things they personally value: their families,
friends, toys, etc. Get to know Llama Llama by reading Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Llama Mad at Mama, Llama Llama Misses
Mama, and Llama Llama Holiday Drama out loud to your class.
• Little Llama grows older with each book. Read the books in order and discuss how he changes.
• Use the text and pictures in each book to find examples of Llama’s values and personality traits.
• As a class, make a list of Llama’s favorite things and words that describe his personality.
Do the same for Mama Llama. Compare and contrast your lists. How are your students similar
to and diff erent from little Llama?
• What does he learn at the end of each story?

For more information, see the website above.

You can also visit the cutest website ever: Llama Llama Homepage

There is even an APP for that!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Integrating Seasons: Cycles-Apples

In September, apples are the ripest. It is also the best time to visit Apple Farms, make pies, sauce, cider.....don't you just love this time of year?

Once your done reading these books, you know what you can do, right? Make some of the items together as a family and then eat them. Don't forget the cinnamon!

For a writing activity, have your kids write a poem about apples. Whatever you do, enjoy Fall!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Integrating History: Patriot Day

This year will be the 10th Anniversary of 9-11. It is hard to think it has been that long. Many adults can remember the exact place they were when this historic moment that changed Americans lives occured. For many of our children, however, they were not born or cannot remember the events. Older students I talked to remember it as the "day that the planes crashed into the big buildings."

We all know this day marks the start of a very long war and lives were changed. As parents, we need to know how to appropriately educate our children without them thinking it is a Holiday.

Here are a few websites you can go to for resources:
9/11 Anniversary Websites

Memorial Website

Most importantly, we need to talk with our children about the recent death of Osama Bin Laden, and how we should never be happy when someone dies, but we are relieved that the main culprit for starting the attacks was taken care of. We can talk about the meaning of justice, grief, and forgiveness.

This day is not a day to focus on the evil that occurred, point fingers, or stereotype. It is a day to focus on the survivors, deaths, and how people's lives have changed. It is a day of compassion and education.

The Discovery channel has had an interesting series:
Rebuilding Ground Zero
They will have one more episode on Sunday, 9-11.

After all of this education, you can have your children of all ages do a reflective writing piece:
Ages 0-5- they can draw a flag, flower, or something pretty for the children survivors.
Ages 6-8- can write a letter to the children with an illustration
Ages 9-13- can write a letter, note, or question to children that lost a loved one.
Ages 14-above - Can write a speech on what a survivor stands for or anything related to what they learned.

Remember to have them brainstorm these ideas before they just dive into writing.

In my town, I visit a Healing Field every year. There is something moving, beautiful, and reflective about the amount of flags in one area. You can go to the Healing Field website to see about Flag Displays in your area.

Finally, here are some books you can use to guide your way through the discussion. With it being so soon, I think there will be a waiting list at your local library, but since this is a part of our American History, you can always come back to the stories.

Here is another link for more books:
Apples for teacher

May you all take this time to refocus, be grateful, and recognize all of the heroes that played a part in this historic day. Thank you Patriots of 9-11.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Integrating Holidays: Labor Day

We all associate Labor Day with the ending of summer. The end of BBQ's, picnics, warm weather, and freedom from school. For many Americans, it marks the start of football season. How are parents, can we really explain to our children why we celebrate Labor Day?

Many teachers tie this to their community unit to get small children to understand workers and how they help the community. This can be extended at home so that children undersand that all the things workers do, sometimes they just need a day of rest and to be honored.

For the older children, there are books that can tie the day to a definition.

Plan on being in the car for a while? Here are some short stories you can print for the car ride camping or to grandma's house:
Short Stories: Apples for the teacher

Also, to give some hands on time to connect the stories, students can make a collage of workers on paper. Enchanted learning has a great craft for that.

However you celebrate this long weekend, make sure your child understands why they are having it. Give the name meaning and enjoy your day off. Thank you for all of your hard work!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Integrating Reading: Fun reads ages 8-12

No matter how old you get, there is nothing better than a good picture book. Here are a few more authors you will fall in love with.

In 1932, James Banning was the first African American to complete a 21 day transcontinental flight.

This book of poems blows my mind. I love them and you will see this again during poetry month. The poems read both up and down, with a different meaning each direction.

Twelve-year old "brother" helps his grandparents keep the family ranch in Oregon when his brothers are away and his father is deployed to Iraq. Such an honest book.

Can chicken pox burst the ninth-grade football team's dream of winning the state championship?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Integrating Math: Avoid the summer slump

Reading is the focus of many summer programs in libraries, schools, and other news media. Let's not forget about math that is equally important. We don't want students to loose those multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, and other mathematic skills other than counting.

"Suggestions for students entering sixth grade, for example, include playing card games, finding the best buy at the grocery store, and calculating the tip at a restaurant. Even a long car ride can provide fodder for math games; just think of all those numbers on license plates" (Article, Summer of 4 + 2, July 31, 2011|By Lisa Kocian, Boston Globe Staff).

Here are some books to get the children out of that slump.

Of course, I tried to involve the snacks the children are eating this summer so you can combine snack time with math time. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Integrating Phonics: Now I know my ABC's

In just a few weeks, school will begin. Some children are beginning school for the first time. One thing that teachers love for Kindergarten students to understand is the alphabet. Even though children need to recognize the letters of the alphabet for first and second grade reading achievement, children do not need to know all of the letters in any particular order before they begin learning to read or write.
Dorothy Strickland in "Teaching Phonics Today: Word Study Strategies Through the Grades," states, “The best practice is to help children identify letters and numbers in an enjoyable way as they acquire the broader concepts about print and books they will need as a foundation for literacy:
-Focus on letters that have special meaning for children, such as the letters in their own names.
-Teach the alphabet song
-Read alphabet books on a regular basis and make them available for children to look at on their own.
-Make simple picture dictionaries available.
-Help children make an individual alphabet book.

For older children struggling readers, the same general phonics principals apply for teaching older grades. Application is key. You have to model and do things that are age appropriate. When students learn bad reading habits by the 4th grade, modeling is important to reteach.

Of course, if you google ABC books, you get 9,000,000, but here are a few of my favorite.
This is a wonderful transfer to begin to look for letters in the world around you.
What kindergartener, first, or second grader doesn't know the song that goes with this story? I am sure that your child has or will come home with a tree and the letters of his/her name on the side.
Another great transfer to find items that begin with a certain letter each day.
As you focus on a letter of the day, why not eat a fruit or vegetable that begins with that letter?
She has become one of my favorite baby authors. (From The Going to bed board book).

Many of these authors are getting smart and making them into board books as well as regular books. My 2 1/2 year old reads from both. I teach her early on how to handle and treat books. Don't be afraid to start buying paper back books for your toddlers. Read those to them and put them in a magazine holder up high and keep the board books for their "reading time" alone.

Reference: IRA-www.reading.org