Friday, April 29, 2011

Integrating Culture: Cinco de Mayo

It is a Holiday that we all know of, but the culture behind it oftentimes gets lost. Each year I read this book to my students:

Upon searching, I found it has an english version.
These two are great books for the pictures.

Now for some fun. If you have some extra water bottles, let's make maracas!
1. Dry them out
2. Fill them with rice
3. Hot glue the lid together
4. Shake, shake, shake!

For dinner, have some Mexican rice, enchiladas, and avocados. Don't have time to cook? Don't forget Stouffers has an excellent version. Ole!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Integrating Holidays: May Day

Until I became a educator, I never really considered what May Day was. I now know that it is a Holiday that celebrates the fight for an 8-hour work day. May Day can also mark when Spring Begins, and the way the weather has been going, I am holding my breath for some decent temperature.

A few books to read to the kiddos about this International Holiday.

The next question is, how can you turn this into something crafty and fun?
*Playing Mother May I
*Making paper flowers to give to friends and family
*Draw flowers
*In Hawaii, people celebrate May Day, by calling it Lei Day and giving out Leis. You can go to your local dollar tree and have kids give out leis or make their own.
*I always wondered what I could do with an empty paper roll, and know I know. I can make a "Table Top May Pole" had a wonderful idea, I think I will try this year. Click here: May Pole

One year, I came across "Crazy Daisies." They were on sale for a steal, so I bought about 4 packs. Now, they have a purpose! It is a book about how to make funky flowers. It comes with cut outs, green pipe cleaners, and colored tissue paper. My older girls will love this. Book created by Raymond Miller.

May the creation of flowers bring you warm weather.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Integrating Reading all day: Emergent literacy

Do you want to excite your child about reading? Get them excited when they see letters that are in their name? When they ask to watch TV, you answer, read a book instead, and they are fine and know just which books to read? I know this sounds easy, but surround them with print all day long.

Just like most parents, I thought about buying "Your baby can read," and then I realized, I could do that myself in the re-reading of books, and making flashcards of the words she began to sign as an infant.Saving tons of money. So since infancy, I have added more and more words to those rings. The words she signed first are still on there, but the words she uses the most are on there. Incuding her name.

Everywhere my daughter goes, there is print in her life.

My daughter spelled her name to the family a few months ago. The E and L run together when she is saying it fast, but she spells it nonetheless. I knew her life was print rich when I was cleaning the bathroom and she called to me, "mommy, I spelled my name." When I went to see what she was talking about, tears came to my eyes. She did this on her own. I was so proud of my two year old.

You too, can make a print rich environment. It all starts with a pen and some paper. Look around your home and see where you can place the words on the paper. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Integrating Outdoors: Earth Day

April 22 will mark Earth Day. A favorte website of mine that has some great activities and printable worksheets. DLTK website

A favorite author of mine has a great picture book:

Another great series that uses math and has ideas in the back of the book for parents:

Earth Day is recognized on this day, but it doesn't have to end and begin on this day. We can teach our children to be responsible for their little piece of the world by recycling, planting, and not being wasteful.

In our house, we have two different trash cans and the children know what goes in the regular trash and the GREEN bin. Starting small to raise conscious citizens.
What will your contribution be?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Integrating writing: National Poetry Month

Spring has a lot of reasons to write. The melting of the snow, the budding of trees, new animal babies being born, and the sprouting of flowers.

A new book for young poets that came out March 2011:

For more ideas, books for adults, and a poem a day visit: Poets.orgRemember mom and dad: Poems do not have to rhyme!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Integrating Discipline:Best Behavior Series

My almost perfect child is 2 years old. She is mature for her age--potty trained before age 2, her vocabulary spans words that most 4 year olds have, etc. However, she is still two and well, recently she has been hitting mommy. That has since ended but today for the second time in her life (first time was at 18 months), she bit another kid at daycare.

I went to my trusty series I had actually bought for my first grade class a long time ago and we sat back down to read a new story in the "Best Behavior Series". Let's hope the result is the same as the hitting. She is pretty observant.

So after reading the story while we were eating dinner, I kept pointing out how her mouth was for eating and drinking.

After bath, I finished up the evening long lesson with a letter to her friend. I asked her if she remembered who she bit at daycare. She said yes, told me his name and teacher sent her to time out. I asked her if she wanted to write an "I'm sorry" letter to her friend for tomorrow. She said yes.

Here is a site that you can order board books:
Best Behavior Series

I hope that she uses the MANY words she has instead of bitting or hitting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Integrating Arts and Writing: Paper plate bunny

A tried and true classroom craft can now come to your home- The paper plate Bunny. So simple. So perfect. So easy.

You can add many things to this craft. Instead of wiggly eyes, you can add jelly beans. Sometimes the bunny needs a little bit of hair, why not put the multi-colored Easter grass from the basket? There is always too much in the package anyway. For the whiskers-try licorice candy. Before you know it this piece of art has become edible. What other ideas can you use to turn this into edible art? Then, of course, when the bunny is complete, write a story about your new friend. Don't forget a beginning, middle, and end, whether it be only 3 sentences your child can write, or 10.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Integrating Holidays: Easter

We all love Easter and what comes with it. In the book stores you can find all sorts of books on the topic. Here are a few more to read with the family as you prepare for the Spring time Holiday. A fun lift flap book to find the eggs. Explains all the ins and outs from receving the Easter basket, church, egg hunt, to a picnic A board book for babies:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Integrating Feelings: Dealing with Bullies

Bullies can be scary for children of all ages. They may not know that it is okay to talk with an adult. By reading stories like the following to children, it might create a conversation of a time they were bullied or when a friend is/has been bullied. One thing that I deal with weekly and will not tolerate are bullies. Throughout the year, I have books that I read to my students to remind them how to stand up to bullies and also recognize when bullies are scared themselves of feeling left out. My oldies but goodies: How to handle when a bully frightens you or makes fun of the way you speak.

When a bully makes fun of your size- something you cannot change. When recess is not a fun place to play because one person ruins it for everyone. And a new favorite, when and how to talk with a grown up: Of course, there are picture books and many would think that they are just for primary age children, but they send the message to all ages. For more books and resources about bullies visit, Embracing the Child, which also leads you to wonderful links such as The Ophelia Project and Stop Bullying now.

Even if your child is not being bullied, there is a chance that they might BE the bully. Reading these books might help them reflect on their actions before it is too late.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Integrating Holidays: Rhyming word eggs

Ever wonder what you can do with all of those plastic eggs you buy? Turn a few of them that don't make the Easter Basket into rhyming words for those emergent readers.
1.Pick words with an initial letter that would go with the ending. Use words that your child might be learning in school. Ran Rat Fat Fan Big Pig
2.Put the word families on the same color eggs.
3. I used the larger and smaller eggs. Once the eggs are placed together, have your child put the smaller eggs that goes with the family inside.
FYI-You can clean off the marker with nail polish remover.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Integrating Holidays: April Showers

This month brings a lot of fun themes that can be brought into your home. It is said that "April Showers bring May flowers" and that is especially true with the amount of information you can shower your family as you connect life to books.

So, what does April bring?

National Poetry Month
Autism Awareness Month
National Frog Month
National Garden Month

Just to name a few, for more click on April Special Days
Already, my head is spinning. Frogs, poetry, gardens! The activities are endless.

Let's break April down day to day.
1: April Fool's Day
7: No housework day- A special day to me
9: 1st Public Library was opened (visit your local library)
11: Jackie Robinson
On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson became the 1st african-american in modern major-league baseball.
15: Income Tax Day
18: Passover begins at sunset on April 18 marking end of Jewish slavery in Egypt
22: Earth Day
23: William Shakespears Birthday
24: Easter-Celebration of Christ's resurrection
26: National Pretzel Day
28: Poetry Reading Day and Take our daughter's to work day

Enjoy the month of April!