When teaching children about shapes, they need to do various activities to learn the differences between the shapes. Some students may need much repetition, and some may learn them quickly. Adjust the activities according to the student. Here are some activities:
Compare the shapes to objects: “A circle is round like a ball.” “A square is like a window (square shaped).” “A rectangle is like a door.” “A triangle is shaped like pizza or an ice cream cone.”
Have actual shapes for the student to feel. For teaching about a circle, you could use lids, tops to bottles, a ball, a plastic cup (the top and bottom), and any objects you see that have a circle in them. In the picture below, you will even see a round, Spider-Man wipe-off board. For teaching about a square, you could use a square box, a square book, a square cake pan, etc. Count the four sides on all the squares. For teaching about a rectangle, you could use a rectangular shaped box or book, an oblong cake pan, a Kleenex box, a notebook, etc. Count the four sides on all the rectangles, two longs sides and two short sides. For teaching about a triangle, you could use an ice cream cone, a piece of pizza (or a picture of one slice of pizza), a party hat, etc. Count the three sides on all the triangles.
Use simple workbooks like the ones pictured above that have stickers and/or activities. Count the sides on the squares, rectangles, and triangles when working with them.
Having students trace the shapes is an excellent activity.
Have students cut out the shapes. You can draw large shapes for the students to cut out first and then later progress to smaller and smaller shapes.
Following the lesson on The Five Senses, students can compare and group objects. Here are some activities:
Make sure students understand “same” and “different.” Have two objects that are exactly the same and one that is different (such as two math books and an English book, or two identical balls and one that is different, etc.) Show the two objects that are the same and talk about how they are alike. Then show two objects that are different and talk about the ways they are different.
Show two flowers that are not completely alike and talk about the ways they are the same (both are pretty, both smell good, both have stems, both have leaves, etc.) and ways they are different (one is shorter, they are different colors, etc.) Talk about how we use our senses of look, smell, and touch when we’re comparing the flowers.
Explain to students there are different ways to compare things. Have a group of objects such as shells that the students can practice comparing and putting into groups such as big shells/little shells and then white shells/colored shells. Other objects that you could use to compare and group would be different sizes and colors of seeds, various rocks, or different sizes and colors of marbles.
Have students compare their pencils. Remind students there are different ways to compare things. Have students with pencils longer than six inches line up on one side of the room. Have students with pencils shorter than six inches line up on the other side. Another comparison would be to have yellow pencils on one side and colored pencils on the other side. Or pencils with erasers on one side and those without erasers on the other.
As a first grade teacher in the public schools and in doing private tutoring in my home, I found it very rewarding to teach young students, and I know there are others who feel the same way. Aspiring pre-school and elementary teachers can earn a teaching certificate online from a wide array of universities.
One student I tutored at my home knew how to count to ten, but one of the skills we had to work on a lot was how to count objects up to ten. He would often get mixed up after counting five objects, would start counting too fast and miss some objects, or he would start moving backwards and recount objects he had already counted. It took a lot of repetition for him to learn to do this, and so we did various activities. These are some of the activities we did:
Have student put 10 Teddy Grahams or Fish Crackers in a row. Have student count slowly, touching each cookie or cracker as they count it. Count with the student a couple of times if necessary. If successful, they get to eat one cookie. Then count the 9 remaining cookies. If successful, they get to eat one more cookie. Repeat until all cookies have been eaten.
Use simple number workbooks. I was able to find two sticker and activity workbooks for this student that he enjoyed. Some pages involved stickers and some involved coloring.
Line up various objects to count such as blocks, pennies, game pieces, etc. Count how many there are and make a game out of it, such as put six blocks in the bucket, nine pennies in the piggy bank, etc.
Presidents Day(also Presidents’ Day) is known as Washington’s Birthday and is celebrated in February on the third Monday. The reason the celebration of his birthday was moved to the third Monday in 1971 was to simplify the calendar.
Many people celebrate both Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays or all of the presidents’ birthdays on Presidents Day, but it was originally instituted to celebrate George Washington’s birthday alone. However, it is convenient to celebrate more than one president on that day and most people do that.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS ON PRESIDENTS:
So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George. (2001 Caldecott Medal Award Winner) Great for ages 8-12.
Our Country’s Presidents: All You Need to Know About the Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama by Ann Bausum. Great for ages 9-12.
You’re Kidding! Incredible Facts About the Presidents by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. Great for ages 8-12.
Don’t Know Much About the Presidents by Kenneth C. Davis.
CHILDREN’S DVD’S & VIDEOS:
Presidents Day DVD ( Holidays for Children DVD Series) by Library Video Company
Presidents 2-DVD Special – Abraham Lincoln and George Washington by Nest Learning System
George Washington was the first president of the United States.
It is not a fact that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. His biographer, Mason Weems, made this up to illustrate how honest Washington was in dealing with people. It is a fact that Washington was an honest person.
He is known as “The Father of our Country.”
Washington is known for being “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
A good friend of mine taught Science to ESL Students in 6th-8th grades. The students she taught had reached “conversational language” level, not “academic level.” It usually takes two years to be able to communicate in a foreign language, but more to learn in that language. Her students had one year of English instruction beforehand, and English was spoken in her classroom. So she had a difficult task to teach students who were still on a conversational English level and not on an academic level.
Here are some tips from my friend:
Animation is important. At the middle school level, students generally don’t like animation, but these ESL students looked for clues in all areas. Moving arms in directions, changing voice tones for emphasis, etc.
Teacher uses balls with flashlights, etc., to show the concepts of the basics of atoms, astronomy, chemistry, etc.
Use lots of simple visuals and drawings.
This teacher told of this example:
I had a very low English level girl from Mexico paired up with a brand new Vietnamese student with even lower English proficiency. They had to do a lab with measuring, graphing, etc. They were one of the best groups!! They communicated with pointing, moving objects, nods and smiles, and did better together than either could have apart. And they did this totally by signals. It takes cooperation, though, and middle schoolers get embarrassed so easy. They don’t want to appear ‘dumb’ so they act like they don’t want to do things.
This is my opinion:
Labeling was done in the first year of learning English, and I think it would still be good for students with less English profiency in the second and third years. If they already know what the object is and how to read the word, having the label could also reinforce learning how to spell the word.
Most kids are fascinated with volcanoes. When teaching about them, it is important to let kids make a volcano, have good pictures of real volcanoes, and if possible, a video, since most students are not able to take a field trip to actually see one. If you are fortunate to be on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, then you can hike up to the top of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano. We did this, and it was quite impressive. Or you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, which we also did, and you might get to see an actual lava flow. We didn’t get close enough to see a lava flow, but we did walk through the Thurston Lava Tube which was very interesting.
Here is a book we own that has many great pictures of volcanoes:
Use a large pan, 9 x 13. Place an empty 16 ounce bottle in the middle of it with the top off.
Using either papier mache, modeling clay, or salt play dough, make a mountain with vertical ridges around the bottle. Do not cover the top of the bottle. Paint brown and let dry.
Mix 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap and 1 tablespoon baking soda in a cup and carefully pour into the bottle in the middle of the mountain. (If you’re brave, you can add a few drops of red or orange food coloring in with the soap and baking soda.)
Place the pan with the mountain outside. Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the bottle and stand back. Your volcano will erupt!
For ESL students, be sure and label everything.
For Gifted students, ask higher level questions. There is a chemical reaction when the baking soda and vinegar are mixed. It produces a carbon dioxide gas (a chemical reaction) which is the same gas that a real volcano produces.
Kit: Volcano Island – Discovery Extreme Light and Sound Rumbling Volcano by Poof Slinky
Our Amazing Volcanoes / Earth Science Kit by Poof Slinky
Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for many, many years. I remember when I was a child, a relative told me about her childhood when one of her classmates stole her Valentine cards that she was going to pass out. As a child (and now too), I thought that was sad for someone to do that. That happened back in the 1920’s, so that just goes to show how long children have been passing out Valentine’s Day cards at school.
ORIGIN OF VALENTINE’S DAY:
The first recorded mention of Valentine’s Day was by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382 when he wrote about “Volantynys Day.” Later in 1400, a High Court of Love was established in Paris on Valentine’s Day. Modern Valentine’s Day, as we know it, was celebrated in the 1840s, and Valentine cards made from paper lace were mass produced as early as 1847.
Make Valentine’s Day cards for parents or someone special using paper lace doilies and construction paper. Talk about how over one hundred and fifty years ago people made paper lace cards.
Make a Valentine’s Day Zoo. Using all different sizes of heart shaped cut-outs, let the students glue them together to make different animals.
Make or buy heart shaped sugar cookies. Let children decorate their edible Valentine cards.
Have children make up their own Valentine poem and write it on a heart shaped piece of paper.
These ideas are good for all students, including ESL and those with learning disabilities. Teaching science to ESL students involves a lot of hands on activities, visuals, and labeling. Here are some ideas:
The 5 Senses – Use a lot of various things for each sense. Label by putting names of things on index cards:
SEEING – have different objects or pictures to look at such as things of different colors and shapes, etc. An activity would be to group things together that are the same color or the same shape.
FEELING – have objects of different textures to touch such as rough and smooth, hard & soft objects (rock, stick, cotton ball, feather), etc. An activity would be to group all the rough rocks together and all the smooth stones together.
HEARING – have different things that make sound such as musical instruments, small drum, container with popcorn in it so it makes noise when shaken, etc.
SMELLING – have various things to smell such as a cotton ball with perfume, small containers with different spices, cotton ball with vinegar, etc.
TASTING – have different things to taste (something sweet, something salty, something sour)
Concepts to cover: We find out many things by using our senses. Our eyes help us see, our hands help us feel, our mouth helps us taste, our ears help us hear, and our nose helps us smell things. We can tell if things are the same or different by using our senses, and we can group things together that are alike. Many times we will use several of our senses. If we’re looking at flowers, we can look, smell, and touch the flower.
Play “The 5 Questions Game” with various objects from all the five groups. Ask, “Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it?”
Have an assortment of various seeds or dried beans. Have the students sort the seeds/beans in different ways. For example, sort them by colors, then sort by shapes, and then sort by size.
Put some objects in a brown paper bag. Let students feel the objects inside the bag and guess what they are.
Matching Game: Have small pictures of ears, eyes, mouth, hands, and nose. Glue each picture on an index card. Write each of these words on an index card: hear, see, taste, feel, smell. Have student match the pictures with the corresponding word.
Here is an example of a simple book (see explanation) I made with a four year old tutoring student who knew all his letter sounds. He really enjoyed this activity. With this book, we worked on additional skills such as learning the sight word “want.” (This student was reading when he started kindergarten.)
When I taught Gifted and Talented students, they were in a regular classroom (first or second grade). I had a mix of regular students, gifted and talented students, ESL students (sometimes students starting the year speaking no English), and children with learning disabilities or physical handicaps. How is a teacher able to meet the needs of gifted students?
Teacher’s manuals will often have suggestions for gifted students.
Have the gifted students work on projects they can do by themselves.
Just because a student is a gifted student does not mean they are an independent worker or a self-motivator. Pair these students up with a partner who is an independent worker.
Utilize resources. I had one exceptionally bright first grader who would go to the library and do research on topics of his choosing with minimal supervision from the librarian. He would either write about it or illustrate and make a poster about his research.
Encourage students to enter extra activities offered by your district such as Science Fair, History Fair, Invention Convention, Art Contests, etc. One year, I had a gifted second grader (an ESL student) who excelled in art and entered a district contest. He won an award!
Have students work on a class newspaper that they publish once a week or once a month.
A lot of times, you can see where certain students excel in one or more of the Seven Areas of Giftedness. Develop centers or projects for these areas.
Brainstorming stretches the children’s minds. This skill will be useful in something as simple as writing a sentence all the way to creative writing, in reading skills, in math, social studies and science skills, and also in higher level thinking skills. It is used in problem solving and the creation of solutions. Creative people brainstorm. This will be a skill used throughout one’s life.
PART ONE – BRAINSTORMING FROM WHAT IS VISIBLE:
The first step in teaching children how to brainstorm is for the teacher to model brainstorming, show them how you yourself brainstorm. Take something they can see such as one of their classmates. Think out loud and write on the board everything about that student. For example:
Her name is Sally.
She’s in first grade.
She has blonde hair.
She has long hair.
She’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
She wears glasses.
She has a big smile.
She has a picture of a dog on her T-shirt.
Another example would be to take a book, preferably a big book so all students can see easily. If I had the book about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, then this is what I would write on the board from what we could see in the picture on the front of the book:
There are three bears.
One bear is really big.
One bear is little.
One bear is in-between size.
The bears are brown.
There is a girl.
She is little.
She has blonde hair.
She is wearing a dress.
Here dress is blue and red.
There is a house.
It has a door and two windows.
There are lots and lots of trees (a forest).
There are flowers beside the house.
After you have modeled for the students, then brainstorm together with the students. After that, have the students practice brainstorming with a partner, then by themselves.
First graders, as you know, come with varying levels of skills. Some students will be clueless on how to even begin writing a sentence. That’s when the teacher needs to brainstorm with those students. Here are some ideas that are good with first graders, ESL students, or students with learning disabilites:
Pick a topic to write about that is of high interest. It’s close to Valentine’s Day, so I will pick Valentine hearts.
Discuss with the students, “Now what do we want to say about hearts?” Let them share their ideas and write them on the board.
Pick one idea that is not a complete sentence such as “pretty and red.”
Explain that a sentence is about someone or something. Ask, “What is it that is ‘pretty and red?’ Our sentence has to tell us.” Hopefully, someone will say “a heart.”
Write the complete sentence on the board: A heartis pretty and red. Underline the two main parts of the sentence and show that the sentence is about “a heart” and “is pretty and red” tells about that heart.
Another student may have said, “a pink heart.” So the teacher would ask, “What about a pink heart? The sentence has to tell us something about this pink heart.” The end result might be: A pink heartis on the table.
Go through the other student ideas and work together to make sentences out of them.
Then give each student a heart-shaped piece of handwriting paper and let them try writing their own sentence.
Some students will be able to sound out words to write their own sentence, and some students will not be able to do that. With those students, you need to work one-on-one:
Ask what their sentence is about.
Start with the first word, sound it out slowly for the student, and go sound by sound while having the student write the sound they hear.
Do this with each word until the sentence is finished.
Soon, when the students feel more competent in writing a sentence, discuss with them the following:
Sentences always start with a capital letter.
Sentences always end with a period or something else. Nearly all their sentences will be telling sentences at this point.
Always praise their work and find something positive to say about it. Make them feel proud and take ownership of their work. Those who are fearful of writing should eventually get to the point where they can write their own sentence.
Here is another example of a simple book I made with a four year old tutoring student using pictures out of the Sunday paper. We worked on color words, sight words, and adding “s” to the end of the word “car” to make it mean “more than one.” He caught on real quick to that. (This student was reading when he started kindergarten.)
Here is another example of a simple book I made with a four year old tutoring student, a big fan of Spider-Man, who knew all his alphabet sounds. We were working on learning to spell the word “man,” so this book reinforced what we were working on and motivated him to want to read. He really enjoyed this activity.
Teacher certification rules differ from state to state. Several states have varying ways for teachers to get their certification, including alternative certification. This type of certification does not involve a traditional bachelor’s degree in education. People receiving this type of certification usually go through an accelerated program, have to pass a state test, and go through a mentoring program. These requirements also vary from state to state.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting teacher certification, there are several online certification programs which have produced many teachers.
Large piece of heavy cardboard or plastic foam for the base
Assortment of cardboard boxes to form the levels of the garden
Heavy-duty tape to tape the boxes together
Modeling clay – white
Acrylic paint – blue & green
Piece of plastic greenery that has many small removable pieces on it
Wire cutter to cut the coat hanger
Make the basic shape of the varying levels with the assorment of boxes that you have.
Tape them together securely with heavy-duty tape
Tape the boxes securely to the base
Cover the entire area of the boxes with white modeling clay
Remove many small pieces of greenery from the large piece. Shorten if necessary. Place in rows in the modeling clay while the clay is still soft, securing with a small mound of clay at the base of each piece of greenery (tree).
Paint the green grass in rows.
Paint the blue waterfall, stream, and pond of water.
Cut the coat hanger to make the irrigation line to take water to the top level. Bend the coat hanger two inches from the end at a 90 angle to make the coat hanger not touch the ground. Do this on both ends of the coat hanger. Secure both ends of the coat hanger to the project with a mound of modeling clay.
Word webs are great to use with kids. I have used them in the regular classroom, with ESL students, and with Gifted & Talented students. Here are some examples of different word webs that you can print. Just click on the highlighted words:
One goal of teaching about Abraham Lincoln should be to “make him come alive,” to help students realize that he was a real person just like they are. Here are some tips on teaching a unit about Lincoln that hopefully will add to the materials you have:
TEACHING ABOUT LINCOLN:
On the Abraham Lincoln Museum site, there is one reproducible page for an Abraham Lincoln Discussion Web that would be great to use in the classroom regardless of visiting the museum. Click on this site for Lincoln and scroll down to page 23. This is a great page for a Discussion Web on Lincoln’s life. I have used Discussion Webs many times, and they are great for students of all ages.
Need a unit on Lincoln? An experienced teacher has a free unit on Abraham Lincoln on her website with printable worksheets and also a biography. These materials are free for teachers and homeschooling parents.
Having an Interest Center in the classroom on Abraham Lincoln would help motivate students to learn about him. The center could contain pictures of the era in which Lincoln lived. Old looking objects could be placed in the center as well as student-level books on Lincoln. Use your imagination and be creative!
Depending on the level of the students, here are some of Lincoln’s accomplishments to discuss with them:
His decision to fight kept the country from coming apart.
He had great foreign policy which kept other countries from getting involved in the Civil War.
He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves.
He strongly supported the Thirteenth Admendment which ended slavery.
He is known for his honesty, leadership, and character.
He gave the House Divided Speech.
He gave the Gettysburg Address.
He is quoted even today due to having many famous quotes known world wide.
Make a log cabin out of Lincoln Logs
Make a log cabin by gluing Popsicle sticks together
Some of your Lincoln books would probably come from the library. Click here to see a list of good kids’ books on Lincoln available on this site.
CHILDREN’S DVD’S & VIDEOS:
Abraham Lincoln: Great Americans for Children Series – DVD by Schlessinger Media
Presidents Day DVD ( Holidays for Children DVD Series) by Library Video Company
Long-term learning for students is one goal of teachers, right? Well, according to the Abraham Lincoln Museum site, museum studies show the following:
The museum experience brings students out of the textbook in an exciting way.
The people in history come alive!
Exposing students to things they can see, hear, and touch greatly increases their long-term learning after being presented with new material in the classroom . Experiencing exhibits and artifacts reinforces what was learned.
The social experience that occurs on a field trip greatly increases the learning that happens in the museum.
The exhibits appeal to the many different learning styles of students, and they also appeal to all ages. (I can testify to that!)
The powerful stories told by the exhibits and artifacts help the students to remember their experience for a long time.
A talented teacher friend of mine has written children’s biographies about several presidents, including Barack Obama, which are available online for teachers and homeschooling parentsat no charge. She also has these printable worksheets on Barack Obama, as well as the other presidents, available online which are also free for teachers:
Online Jigsaw Puzzle
Online Crossword Puzzle
Online Word Scramble
Online Word Search
Online Color Picture
Again, all of her materials are free for teachers and homeschooling parents. If anyone wants to use them for commercial purposes, they need to contact her. Be sure and visit her site. She has a lot of great, free material!
OTHER CHILDREN’S BOOKS:
Barack Obama: Our 44th President by Beatrice Gormley. Great for ages 8-12.
Making simple books to teach skills is so simple and easy. These little books can be used to teach so many skills and used on different levels from pre-reading to independent reader. Most children enjoy making a book on something they are really interested in, and they want to read it. They enjoy gluing on pictures or drawing pictures to illustrate their story.
SKILLS THAT CAN BE TAUGHT BY MAKING SIMPLE BOOKS:
Interest in looking at books because the child is interested in the subject matter
How to hold a book and turn the pages
Learning the parts of a book such as the cover, the title, the author
Learning that the spoken word can be written down and then read over and over again in book form
Learning that we read starting with the top line and read in a left-to-right manner
Learning that the first word in a sentence always starts with a big, capital letter and the sentence ends with a dot/a period (Later you can proceed to question marks and exclamation marks.)
Learning that the pictures on a page go along with the story and can provide clues about the story
Learning that anybody can make a book and put their ideas down on paper
Learning various phonetic skills depending on the words used
Learning sight words
Computer paper or any blank, unlined paper
Pictures from magazines, newspapers, brochures about the zoo or tourist destinations, children’s stickers (whatever interests them such as Batman, Spiderman, Hello Kitty, holiday stickers, etc.)
Brainstorm with the child and decide on the topic for the book.
Make the cover page and write the title and write the child’s name as the author.
If the child is a pre-reader, have them dictate one sentence for each page.
Let the child watch you write the sentence so they visualize the process of writing the spoken word on paper.
Let the child illustrate the sentence either by drawing a picture, gluing on a picture from a magazine or brochure, or choosing stickers for their illustration.
Complete the book, maybe 3-5 pages for a beginner.
When the book is finished, start with the cover and read the title and the author, running your finger under each word as you read.
After you have read the book, encourage the child to read it or read it again with you. Help the child to run their finger under the words as they are being read.
Older children will not require as much guidance when making books. Depending on their skills, help them when necessary.
A very simple, inexpensive way to start out teaching young children patterns would be to have three different colors of caps from gallon milk or water jugs. Have several of each color. If you don’t have the caps, then cut out circles out of colored tagboard. Start with a very simple pattern and then make it progressively harder. Start out demonstrating the whole pattern at first, showing how to duplicate the pattern to make sure the child understands the concept of “pattern.” Then see if the child can duplicate it. For example:
One thing that I purchased years ago was a set of pattern blocks and pattern block design cards. These are great for teaching mathematical patterns. Students not only get to see the patterns, but they get to touch and feel them. They are able, through trial and error, to see how patterns work. My own children got to use them at home while they were growing up, too, and now I am able to use them in private tutoring and in a couple of years hope to use them with our young grandson. It’s worth the investment of $20-$30 to have these materials which not only develop cognitive thinking but are just plain fun to do!
If you don’t have the money to invest in these materials right now, you could make your own set of one-dimensional shapes and simple pattern cards with colored tagboard. Just look online at pattern blocks and pattern block design cards to get ideas.
Austin, the capital of Texas, is home to the fairly new Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The building is impressive on the outside and inside, being three stories tall. It contains interactive exhibits, an IMAX Theater, and a great Cafe for meals and snacks. We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and theater and eating in the Cafe. This is a museum we definitely recommend. They have great resources as well for teachers and home schooling parents. There are links to these resources below:
A computer game by Spinmaker called Alphabet Zoo is great for teaching creative writing at an early age. Years ago, my husband bought this game for our daughter when she was four years old. She soon learned how to write her own stories and illustrate them with the picture maker. She started reading when she was three years old so she already knew most of the alphabet sounds. When trying to spell words for her stories, she would either try to sound out the words and spell them phonetically or she would ask a parent or grandparent, whoever was close by. This was one of her favorite computer games and I guess it instilled a love of writing in her. When she was in high school she went to state UIL competition and placed well in journalism and headline writing. Learning to write creatively was definitely something that was fun for her!
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the museums we have visited. It’s a fairly new museum that is architecturally beautiful. It is very informative and lets visitors see, hear, and experience what life was like back in the early days of cowboys and cowgirls. I definitely recommend this museum.
Cowboys and cowgirls are part of our national history, an important part in teaching Texas history. What better way to make that history come alive than to plan an educational trip as part of a vacation. That’s something that our family has done on many occasions and has greatly enjoyed!
Big Brain Acadamy and Brain Age aretwo of the best video games out there that can teach or strengthen several cognitive skills including math concepts. Here are some of the math skills children (and adults) can learn through these games:
Value of coins
These games cover many different cognitive areas. If you are not familiar with them, I highly recommend them. They are good brain stretchers! We own both games, and they are great for young and old alike.
Leap Frog learning products are great products for teaching reading, math, and other skills. From what I have seen and read, they are exceptionally good products. Someone I know said that her child loved the music in Leap Frog Math Circus and didn’t even realize that she was learning because she was having so much fun. And that is a big key to teaching children, making it fun!
What could be more exciting to a child than to read a story where they were the main character. That would definitely peak their interest in reading if it needed to be. There are companies that offer personalized books for children in a variety of topics. A book could be chosen that would best match the child’s interests. That would be fun to read and create interest in reading at the same time.
Puzzles are great for developing skills in children. Here are some of the skills that puzzles help them develop:
Fine motor development
Our grandson was 16 months old this past Christmas, and we gave him several puzzles which he really likes. W gave him four Non-Toxic Foam Puzzle Books which have one large puzzle piece on each page of the book. Very simple. He has several puzzles that his parents have bought him also, and he enjoys trying to put these simple puzzles together at his young age and is learning several skills.
Springfield, Illinois, is the home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a great educational travel destination. Our whole family, grandma included, took this educational trip together, and we all loved it. This state-of-the-art museum is truly fascinating, makes history come alive, and reveals Lincoln’s life in an unforgettable way. Be sure to allow plenty of time to tour the entire museum! (There are other things to do in Springfield, too, such as touring the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Dana-Thomas House which is amazing. Also, the old “Route 66” goes through Springfield and there are all sorts of relic eating places and memorabilia.)
Having the “teacher packrat syndrome” of saving anything and everything that could be used for teaching, I have a lot of caps from gallon water bottles. They come in different colors such as red, blue, and purple. These are great for counting, teaching patterns, for teaching beginning addition and subtraction, for teaching multiplication and division, for fractions, etc. Anything that you buy a lot of, whether it’s water bottles or Coke bottles, you can save the bottle caps for teaching math.
One important strategy when teaching ESL students is to have a “print rich” environment. In other words, label everything you can. Index cards and colored markers are a great way to do this. Here are some examples of things to label: chair, table, desk, door, window, chalkboard, bookcase, flag, trash can, TV, etc. The more you can label, the better.
What better way to make history come alive than to travel to learn at a place like the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas. Our family visited the museum on our vacation and really enjoyed it. The museum gave the history of the Texas Rangers along with artifacts, and it also memorialized 30 Texas Rangers who served with great distinction. The movie about the history of the Rangers made it even more real. It is truly a museum worth visiting!
Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Workbooks have been one of the best, inexpensive ways that I have taught phonics through the years. As you can probably guess, I am a strong believer in phonics.
Being the #1 choice for teaching phonics for over 40 years, these workbooks are easy to use. Over 50 million children have learned to read with the help of these phonics workbooks.
When I was teaching first grade in an ESL (English as a Second Language) school, new reading curriculum was adopted one year that utilized the “Whole Language” approach to teaching reading. The other first grade teachers and I quickly realized that this approach was not working for our ESL students or for students with learning disabilities. Children who learned to read effortlessly would learn no matter what approach was used, but most of our students needed the structure and stability of a good phonics program. We told our principal and the PTA president our beliefs, and the PTA purchased a Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Workbook for each child in first grade. They did this faithfully every year, and we were able to teach our students how to read by supplementing the Whole Language approach with phonics.
Welcome! I plan to share experiences, tips and techniques that I have gathered in my 19 years of teaching in the public school system and in 30+ years of teaching children’s Bible classes. I have also done private tutoring throughout the years and have tutored approximately 50 students.
By sharing my experiences, I hope you can find something helpful to use in your teaching experience.