Teaching Kids About the Universe

2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-001 2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-002 2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-003

2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-004 2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-005 2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-006

2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-007 2nd-sd-card-really-big-universe-big-book-008

This is a great “big book” (or “board book” as some may call them) that is made by Funfax.  It’s great for teaching different levels:

  • Young children – just talk about the basics
  • ESL students – pictures and visuals are great for teaching them
  • Gifted students – deeper material in the book can be used with them and higher level questions can be presented
  • Science lesson – pick and choose the material in the book you need for your lesson

I’ve had my book for a while, but they are still available through Amazon.

Teaching Kids About Shapes

2nd-sd-card-organic-counting-shapes-2-17-09-006

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.

2nd-sd-card-organic-counting-shapes-2-17-09-007

Teaching Science to ESL & First Grade Students: COMPARING & GROUPING OBJECTS (Same & Different)

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.

Children’s Books to Teach the Color Orange

Here is a good selection of kids’ books that can be used to teach the color orange:

  • An Orange for a Bellybutton by Haruo Fukami
  • An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston
  • Autumn Orange by Christianne C. Jones
  • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
  • Each Orange Has 8 Slices by Paul Giganti  (Reprint)
  • Mystery of the Flying Orange Pumpkin by Steven Kellogg
  • Orange by Nancy Harris
  • Orange Juice by Betsey Chessen and Pamela Chanko
  • Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
  • Orange:  Seeing Orange All Around Us by Sarah L. Schuette and Elena Bodrova
  • Oranges by Inez Snyder
  • Oranges to Orange Juice ( How Things Are Made) by Inez Snyder
  • Otto’s Orange Day by Frank Cammuso Jay Lynch
  • Star in My Orange: Looking for Nature’s Shapes by Dana Meachen Rau
  • The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
  • What Columbus Found:  It Was Orange, It Was Round by Jane Kurtz
  • Why is an Orange Called an Orange? by Cobi Ladner

Teaching Children to Count Objects

2nd-sd-card-organic-counting-shapes-2-17-09-0032

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.

2nd-sd-card-organic-counting-shapes-2-17-09-0043

Fry’s Instant Words List: First 100 Words

The first 10 words below make up about 24% of all written material, according to Dr. Edward Fry.  The first 100 words make up about 50% according to him.

Copy the words on index cards and have students practice them, starting with the first 10 or 20 words.  Then add 10 or 20 more, depending on the child’s level.  The goal is to work on all 100 words.

There are 300 words in Fry’s total list.

First group of 20 words:

  • the, of, and, a , to , in, is, you, that, it
  • he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I

Second group of 20 words:

  • at, be, this, have, from, or, one, had, by, word
  • but, not, what, all, were, we, when, your, can, said

Third group of 20 words:

  • there, use, an, each, which, she, do, how, their, if
  • will, up, other, about, out, many, then, them, these, so

Fourth group of 20 words:

  • some, her, would, make, like, him, into, time, has, look
  • two, more, write, go, see, number, no, way, could, people

Fifth group of 20 words:

  • my, than, first, water, been, call, who, oil, now, find
  • long, down, day, did, get, come, made, may, part, over

Teaching About Presidents Day

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

MORE INFORMATION ON WASHINGTON & LINCOLN:

Teaching About George Washington

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • 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.”

TEACHING UNIT ON GEORGE WASHINGTON:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

  • The Story of George Washington by Patricia A. Pingry.  Great for ages 2-6.
  • George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora.  Great for ages 4-8.
  • George Washington:  Soldier, Hero, President  (DK Series) by Justine Korman and Ron Fontes.  Great for ages 5-8.
  • George Washinton by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.  Great for ages 5-11.
  • George Washington and the General’s Dog (Step Into Reading) by Murphy.  Great for ages 6-8
  • A Picture Book of George Washington by David A. Adler.  Great for ages 7-10.
  • George Washington (History Maker Bios Series) by Candice F. Ransom.  Great for ages 7-10.
  • George Washington by Cheryl Harness.  Great for ages 8-10.
  • George Washington:  A Photographic Story of a Life (DK Series) by Lenny Hort.   Great for ages 9-12.
  • 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.
  • George Washington, Spymaster:  How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen.  Great for ages 10-12.
  • George Washington’s World by Geneviev Foster and Joanna Foster.  Great for ages 12 and up.  Contains world history.

CHILDREN’S DVD’S & VIDEOS:

  • George Washington:  Great Americans for Children Series – DVD by Schlessinger Media
  • Presidents 2-DVD Special – Abraham Lincoln and George Washington by Nest Learning System
  • Presidents Day DVD ( Holidays for Children DVD Series)  by Library Video Company

ACTIVITY:

  • Read George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz.  Make “hoecakes” for the children.

Teaching Science to ESL Students in 6th-8th Grades

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.

Teaching About Volcanoes

2nd-sd-card-organic-foods-banana-splits-volcanoes-0101

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:


MAKE YOUR OWN VOLCANO:

  1. Use a large pan,  9 x 13.   Place an empty 16 ounce bottle in the middle of it with the top off.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.

VOLCANO KITS:

  • Kit:  Volcano Island – Discovery Extreme Light and Sound Rumbling Volcano  by  Poof Slinky
  • Our Amazing Volcanoes / Earth Science Kit by Poof Slinky

by Schylling

CHILDREN’S VIDEOS:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

  • Dk Readers:  Eruption–The Story of Volcanoes (Level 2) by Anita Ganeri
  • National Geographic Readers Volcanoes! by Anne Schreiber
  • The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top:  A Book About Volcanoes by Gail Herman and Bob Ostrom.  Good for PreK-1.  Not your typical Magic School Bus book.
  • Volcanoes by Jacques Durieux and Philippe Bourseiller.Spectacular photos!
  • Volcanoes (All Aboard Science Reader) by Nicholas Nirgiotis.  Go0d for K-2.  Pictures look like clay.
  • Volcanoes (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Franklyn Mansfield Branley and Megan Lloyd.  Good for PreK-2 and older.
  • Volcanoes!  Mountains of Fire (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4) by Eric Arnold.  Good for 4th grade.



 

Valentine’s Day: Origin, Activities & Books for Children

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.

ACTIVITIES:

  • 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.
  • Have children make Valentine Card Pouches (easy to make)

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

  • Arthur’s Valentine by Marc Brown
  • Barney’s Happy Valentines’ Day by Gus davis & June Valentine-Ruppe
  • Bee My Valentine by Miriam Cohen
  • Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day by Norman Bridwell
  • Dinosaur Valentines by Liza Donnelly
  • Disney’s Winnie the Pooh’s Valentine by Bruce Talkington
  • It’s Valentine’s Day! (Blue’s Clues Series)  by Brooke Lindner
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  • Guess Who Loves Blue! by Deborah Reber
  • Heart to Heart by George Shannon
  • Love, Splat by Rob Scotten
  • Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  • Pepper’s Valentine Surprise by Linda Bleck
  • Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Holiday Books Ever Be My Valentine! by Richard Scarry
  • Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat
  • Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
  • Too Many Valentines by Margaret McNamara
  • Valentine Cats by Jean Marzollo
  • Valentine Surprise by Corinne Demas
  • Valentine’s Day by Anne and Lizzy Rockwell   (good for ESL)

CHILDREN’S DVD’S & VIDEOS:

  • Valentine’s Day DVD  ( Holidays for Children DVD Series) by Library Video Company

BOOKS ABOUT THE COLOR RED:

Teaching Science to First Grade & ESL Students: The 5 SENSES

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.

ACTIVITIES:

  • 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.

Example of a Simple Book: I Want to Travel

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.)

Simple Book:  I WANT TO TRAVEL

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-018

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-019

How to Teach Gifted Children in a Regular Classroom

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?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stretch every lesson where possible with Higher Level Thinking Skills.
  • 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.

Teach Kids to Brainstorm

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.

Teaching First Graders How to Write a Sentence

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 heart is 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 heart is 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.

* If your students can write sentences, then you might want to read “How to Teach Kids to Write a Paragraph.”

Children’s Books to Teach About the Color Blue

Here is a good selection of kids’ books that can be used to teach the color blue:

  • And to Name But Just a Few: Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue by Laurie Rosenwald
  • Blue 2: A Pop-up Book for Children by David A. Carter
  • Blue Goes to School (Blue’s Clues Series) by Angela C. Santomero
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
  • Blue Moo by Sandra Boynton
  • Blue’s Best Rainy Day (Blue’s Clues Series) by Deborah Reber
  • Blue’s Big Parade by Justin Spelvin
  • Blue’s Checkup (Blue’s Clues) by Sarah Albee
  • Blue’s Clues Chanukah (Blue’s Clues Series) by Jessica Lissy
  • Blue’s Clues Holiday by Angela C. Santomero
  • Blue’s Fall Day by Lauryn Silverhardt
  • Blue’s Halloween Hide-and-Seek by Michael T. Smith
  • Blue’s Snack Party by Kevin Cardinali
  • Blue’s Thanksgiving Feast (Blue’s Clues Series) by Jessica Lissy
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Colors: Blue by Esther Sarfatti
  • Counting With Blue by Lauryn Silverhardt
  • Good Night, Blue by Angela C. Santomero
  • Guess Who Loves Blue! by Deborah Reber (good for Valentine’s Day)
  • Healthy Snacks With Blue by J-P Chanda
  • In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck
  • It’s Valentine’s Day! (Blue’s Clues Series) by Brooke Lindner
  • Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
  • Old, New, Red, Blue (Step Into Reading – story about race cars) by Lagonegro
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  • Sky the Blue Fairy by Daisy Meadows
  • Thomas and Friends: Blue Train, Green Train by Rev. W. Awdry
  • Welcome to Blue’s Clues! (Blue’s Clues Series) by Angela C. Santomero
  • One For Me, One For You: A Book About Sharing (Blue’s Clues Series) by Sarah Albee

Example of a Simple Book: I Like Trucks and Cars

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.)

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-011

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-012

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-013

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-014

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-015

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-016

Children’s Books to Teach the Color Red

Here is a good selection of kids’ books that can be used to teach the color red:

  • Ann Likes Red by Dorothy Z. Seymour
  • And to Name But Just a Few: Red, Yellow, Green and Blue by Laurie Rosenwald
  • Big, Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Clifford: The Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
  • Colors: Red by Esther Sarfatti
  • Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • Little Red Cowboy Hat by Susan Lowell and Randy Cecil (southwest version of Little Red Riding Hood)
  • Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
  • Little Red Riding Hood by Brothers Grimm
  • Little Red Riding Hood:  A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst
  • Little Red’s Autumn Adventure by Sarah Ferguson
  • My Red Umbrella by Robert Bright
  • Old, New, Red, Blue (Step Into Reading – story about race cars) by Lagonegro
  • One Fish, Two Fish Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  • One Red Dot: A Pop-up Book for Children by David A. Carter
  • Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood by Mike Artell
  • Red by Sarah L. Shuette
  • Red is Best by Kathy Stinson and Robin Baird Lewis
  • Red Lace, Yellow Lace: Learn to Tie Your Shoe! by Mike Casey
  • Red, Stop!  Green, Go! by P. D. Eastman
  • Red Train by Will Grace
  • Red-eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
  • Ruby the Red Fairy by Daisy Meadows
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Bunsen
  • The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven
  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
  • The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
  • The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
  • The Red Lemon by Bob Staake
  • With Love, Little Red Hen by Alma Flor Ada

Children’s Books to Teach the Color Green

Here is a good selection of kids’ books that can be used to teach the color green:

  • And to Name But Just a Few: Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue by Laurie Rosenwald
  • Big Green Pocketbook by Candice F. Ransom
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Colors: Green by Esther Sarfatti
  • Eco Babies Wear Green by Michelle Sinclair Colman
  • Green by Sarah L. Shuette
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • Green Puppy Goes to the Dentist (Blue’s Clues) by J.C. Schwanda
  • Green Says Go by Ed Emberley
  • Green Wilma by Ted Arnold
  • I’m Sorry! (Blue’s Clues – Green Puppy) by Justin Chanda
  • Nature’s Green Umbrella by Gail Gibbons
  • Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch
  • Red,Stop! Green,Go! by P. D. Eastman
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

Example of a Simple Book: Spider-Man

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.

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-0022nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-003

2nd-sd-card-making-simple-books-004

Bloom’s Taxomony – Higher Level Thinking Skills

These six levels start with the simplest and progress to the most complex level of higher level thinking.  As teachers, we need to make sure we cover all six areas.

1.  KNOWLEDGE

  • Recalling of information such as places, dates, and events (who, what, when, where, how)
  • Knowledge of subject matter, main ideas, basic concepts and principles
  • Memorizing

2.  COMPREHENSION

  • Understanding meaning
  • Applying knowledge in a different context
  • Simple comparing and contrasting
  • Making inferences
  • Predicting outcomes
  • Describing in one’s own words
  • Making interpretations
  • Making summarizations

3.  APPLICATION

  • Problem solving
  • Applying what has been learned through exhibits, demonstrations, graphs, charts, etc.
  • Using information, concepts, and methods in different situations
  • Using facts to answer questions such as “How is ___ related to ___?”

4.  ANALYSIS

  • Dividing a whole into its component parts
  • Outlining and diagramming
  • Identifying literary elements and breaking the story down into different parts
  • Distinguishing between inferences and actual facts
  • Analyzing components of an event in history
  • Identifying motives and hidden meanings
  • Separating the components of the scientific process
  • Seeing patterns
  • Teacher asks questions such as “What is the order of steps in ___?”  or “What are the functions of ___?”  or “How does ___ compare/contrast with —?”

5.  SYNTHESIS

  • Using already existing concepts to create new concepts or ideas
  • Creating and designing something new and original.  This could be a short story, poem, music, plan for an experiment, new way of classifying ideas, etc.
  • Combining information from several sources
  • Finding solutions
  • Teacher asks questions such as “How would you create a new ___?”  or “What ideas can you add?”

6.  EVALUATION

  • Comparing ideas
  • Developing opinions and judgments
  • Judging the value of something for a given purpose, based on definite criteria
  • Resolving differences of opinion
  • Making value decisions about issues
  • Teacher asks questions such as “Do you agree?”  or “What do you think is most important?”

States Differ in Teacher Certification

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.

School Project: Hanging Gardens of Babylon

2nd-sd-card-project-on-hanging-gardens-001

2nd-sd-card-project-on-hanging-gardens-0031

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • 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
  • Coat hanger
  • Wire cutter to cut the coat hanger

PROCEDURE:

  • 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.
  • Touch up with paint where necessary.

Examples of Word Webs

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:

Kids’ Books on Abraham Lincoln

Here are some of the children’s books available on Abraham Lincoln:

AGES 2-5:

  • Abe’s Fish:  A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln by Jen Bryant, published Feb. 2009.  For ages 2-5, 40 pp.
  • The Story of Abraham Lincoln by Patricia A. Pingry, published July 2001.  For ages 2-5, 26 pp.
  • Abe Lincoln:  The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters.  For ages 4-8.
  • Our Abe Lincoln by Jim Aylesworth, published Jan. 2009 by Scholastic.  For ages 4-8, 32 pp.

AGES 6-8:

  • Abe Lincoln:  The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters.  For ages 4-8.
  • Our Abe Lincoln by Jim Aylesworth, published Jan. 2009 by Scholastic.  For ages 4-8, 32 pp.
  • Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig by Stephen Krensky, published Jan. 2002.  For ages 6-8, 32 pp.
  • Abe Lincoln’s Hat, Step into Reading Books Series by Martha Brenner, published April 1994.  For ages 6-8, 48 pp.
  • Lincoln and Douglass:  An American Friendship by Nikki Giovanni, published Sept. 2008.  For ages 6-8, 40 pp.
  • Abraham Lincoln (History Maker Bios Series) by Jane A. Schott, published Dec. 2001.  For ages 7-10, 48 pp.

AGES 8-12:

  • Abraham Lincoln (History Maker Bios Series) by Jane A. Schott, published Dec. 2001.  For ages 7-10, 48 pp.
  • Abe Lincoln Goes to Washington:  1837-1865 by Cheryl Harness, published Oct. 2008 (reprint).  For ages 8-12, 48 pp.
  • Abe’s Honest Words, The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport, published Nov. 2008.  For ages 8-12, 48 pp.
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman, published Sept. 1989.  For ages 8-12, 160 pp.
  • Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells, published Jan. 2009.  For ages 8-12, 96 pp.
  • My Brother Abe:  Sally Lincoln’s Story by Harry Mazer, published Jan. 2009.  For ages 8-12, 208 pp.
  • Young Abe Lincoln:  The Frontier Days 1809-1837 by Cheryl Harness, published Sept. 2008 (reprint).  For ages 8-12, 32 pp.

AGES 12 and UP:

  • Abraham Lincoln by David Colbert, published Jan. 2009.  For ages 12+, 160 pp.
  • Abraham Lincoln:  A Photographic Story of a Life by Tanya Lee Stone, published 2005.  For ages 12+, 128 pp.
  • The Wit & Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln:  A Treasury of Quotations, Anecdotes, and Observations by James C. Humes, published 1996.  For ages 12+, 250 pp.

FREE ONLINE BIOGRAPHY:

How to Teach About Abraham Lincoln

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:

  1. His decision to fight kept the country from coming apart.
  2. He had great foreign policy which kept other countries from getting involved in the Civil War.
  3. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves.
  4. He strongly supported the Thirteenth Admendment which ended slavery.
  5. He is known for his honesty,  leadership, and character.
  6. He gave the House Divided Speech.
  7. He gave the Gettysburg Address.
  8. He is quoted even today due to having many famous quotes known world wide.

ACTIVITIES:

  • Make a log cabin out of Lincoln Logs
  • Make a log cabin by gluing Popsicle sticks together

CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

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

Museums Tell Powerful Stories

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.

How to Teach Children About Barack Obama

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 parents at 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:

  • Word Search
  • Crossword Puzzle
  • Word Scramble
  • Study Sheet
  • Work Sheet
  • Color Page
  • 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

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

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Computer paper or any blank, unlined paper
  • Colored markers
  • 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.)
  • Stapler

PROCEDURE:

  • 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.

EXAMPLES OF SIMPLE BOOKS:

How to Teach Young Children Patterns

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:

  • Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, green, red, green, red, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, blue, blue, red, blue, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, red, blue, red, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, blue, green, red, blue, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, green, green, blue, red, green, green, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____

As the child masters each level, have more complicated patterns.

Then add in two dimensions of color and shape:

  • red circle, blue square, red circle, blue square
  • red circle, green square, blue triangle, red circle, green square, blue triangle

As the child progresses, make patterns out of stickers (excellent way to make patterns) and other things besides color and shapes.

Teaching Patterns with Pattern Blocks

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.

Study for SAT Test through Online Video

It will soon be time for many students to take the SAT Test.  Brightstorm has a great online video program that helps students learn in a fun way.  They offer these courses:

  • Geometry
  • Algebra II
  • SAT Writing
  • SAT Math
  • SAT Critical Reading
  • AP  U.S. History
  • AP  U.S. Government
  • U.S. History
  • Writing

I have not personally used their program, but from looking at their website and the introductory videos I think it looks like a great program.

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

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:

Techniques for Teaching ESL Children

These are some good techniques for teaching ESL children:

  • Face the children when you are speaking.
  • Speak clearly at an average to slow rate.  Do not exaggerate your words.  Speak normally.
  • Avoid using idioms or confusing phrases.
  • Explain things in more than one way.
  • Repeat key words, phrases, and ideas.
  • Use comparisons, similes, analogies, and opposites when appropriate.
  • Brainstorm using a white board or chalk board.
  • Build upon the children’s experiences.
  • Use visuals and props as often as possible.
  • Use culturally appropriate materials.
  • Demonstrate whenever you can.
  • Provide a print-rich environment.  Label objects with the name of the object written on an index card.
  • Ask children various kinds of questions to determine understanding.
  • Have the children role play.

Computer Games for Teaching Creative Writing

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!

Science Kits

Science kits are a wonderful way to let students experience hands-on science activities and experiments.  There are many from which to choose.

We had several science kits when our children were growing up that included the following:

  • Smithsonian Mega Science Lab
  • Bill Nye’s Learn About Magnet Power Kit
  • Junior Electricity Lab
  • Microscope Set

These are examples of great science materials to help science come alive for students and make learning fun!

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Texas

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!

Teach Math Concepts Through Educational Video Games

Big Brain Acadamy and Brain Age are two 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:

  • Basic computation
  • Estimation
  • Value of coins
  • Spatial relations
  • Patterns

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

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!

Teaching Children Needing Language Development

During my first years of teaching, I taught language development and used a wonderful language development kit supplied by the school.    Here are some of the main things I used in this class:

  • Puppets! Children will sometimes respond to a puppet when they will not respond to an adult.
  • Songs! Most children will relax and open up to fun songs and learn things effortlessly because they are having fun.
  • Hands-on materials! In teaching shapes, for example, the children can experience what a circle and square feel like.
  • Games! Using simple games is a great way to practice skills that might become too repetitive otherwise.
  • Stories! Simple stories can help to teach concepts.

These are all things that help to make the learning experience fun and rewarding, something that this Early Childhood class looked forward to experiencing.

Personalized Books for Kids

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 for Young Children

Puzzles are great for developing skills in children.  Here are some of the skills that puzzles help them develop:

  • Problem solving
  • Visual memory
  • Fine motor development
  • Spatial relationships
  • Working independently

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.

Educational Trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

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.)

Free Counters for Teaching Math

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 Strategy for Teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) Students: Labeling Objects

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.

Seven Areas of Giftedness

Howard Gardner’s Theory of the Seven Areas of Giftedness are as listed below:

  1. Bodily-Kinesthetic Giftedness has to do with physical intelligence which includes acting, sports, dance, or some type of physical activity.
  2. Interpersonal Giftedness has to do with sensitivity or empathy when interacting with people.  It also can involve discussing ideas.
  3. Verbal-Linguistic Giftedness has to do with language, both spoken and written.   It involves learning foreign languages easily.
  4. Logical-Mathematical Giftedness has to do with performing complex calculations, understanding abstract patterns, logic, reasoning, and scientific thinking.
  5. Intrapersonal Giftedness has to do with a high degree of self-awareness and self-reflection.
  6. Spatial Giftedness has to do with great sense of direction and visual memory, spatial reasoning, and visualizing of things.
  7. Musical Giftedness has to do with a high level of musical ability and rhythm plus a sensitivity to sounds and tones.

According to The Marland Report, there are Six Areas of Giftedness:

  1. General Intellectual Ability has to do with high scores on IQ tests.
  2. Specific Academic Aptitude has to do with scoring at the 97th percentile or higher in at least one subject.
  3. Creative/Productive Thinking has to do with coming up with creative and new ideas.
  4. Leadership Abilities has to do with strong social skills.
  5. Visual/Performing Arts has to do with music, art, drama, etc.
  6. Psychomotor Abilities has to do with exceptional mechanical, spacial, and physical skills.

Educational Trip to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

texas-rangers-museum-7-24-08

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!

How to Teach Phonics Using Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Workbooks

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 to How to Teach Kids!

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.