Tag Archives: teaching tools

Enriching Your Summer with STEAM Learning

summer steamLooking for some ways to keep your kids learning while having a fun time this summer? Check out these ideas to STEAM up your summer!

  1. Periodic Table Battleship. So this is number one on my list for a reason. I think this is SUCH a great idea to get kids learning about their elements! I used a different table in our battleship game that included pictures. So perfect!!
  2. Science Headband Game. This one from Oriental Trading is cheap, but you could easily make your own.
  3. Make Ice Cream (by hand!) This looks like fun for the kids. Surprisingly I am not a fan of ice cream, so this doesn’t appeal to me. But I know my daughter would love it!
  4. Glow in the Dark Party. While this site has a gazillion things you could for a glow in the dark party, I am perfectly content grabbing a container of glow sticks at the dollar store and having my daughter put on a show with them in our dark basement. Fun and super simple! Just make sure to squeeze some science into the activity. If you are feeling especially ambitious teach your kiddo about chemiluminescence.
  5. Make Bird Feeders. There are tons of different ways you could make one (including having your child design and build their own invention). Birds are fascinating- tie in some extra ornithology activities by watching live bird cameras or dissect an owl pellet (GROSS).
  6. Make S’mores using a homemade Solar Oven. Delicious and a good tie-in to emergency preparedness. Not only because of the importance of having a way to cook food during a power outage….but because, let’s face it, in an emergency we will want to eat chocolate.
  7. Make a Straw Rocket (free printable HERE)
  8. Design and Build a Pom Pom drop This looks super easy- you just need paper towel rolls, tape, and pom poms!
  9. Build a homopolar motor dancer. Can I just say this looks AWESOME! I wonder if I could change the dancer into a spinning dragon or dinosaur…
  10. Learn the science behind yeast with a little balloon experiment. And then make bread knowing in your science heart why it rises. 🙂
  11. Apply your knowledge of conductors and insulators with some circuit testing. (I would also check out Snap Circuit boards for kids– they are fun for our entire family!)
  12. Use programming apps such as Hopscotch or Lightbot (our current favorite) to expand your child’s technology learning. And so they can be super cool and learn how to code.
  13. Make a sundial. I think I will enrich this activity with some discussion on the earth’s orbit and how it affects the sun’s position in the sky. And maybe watch some Neil Degrasse Tyson Cosmos movies.
  14. Fizzy Explosion bags. We have done this in the past and had a lot of fun! Just be prepared for your child to want to do this over and over and over….
  15. Make an Inventor’s Box. I think it would be fascinating to open up an old piece of electronics and see what’s inside.
  16. Teach your child binary and have them code their name with beads. Geeky enough?
  17. Make a compass. Then learn about WHY we have North and South poles and the Earth’s magnetic field. And then make a clay model of the Earth’s layers using a metal bead inside the center to show the magnetic core.
  18. Demonstrate the chemical reaction of citric acid and baking soda by making a lemon volcano.
  19. Teach nutrition using sites such as ChooseMyPlate.gov.
  20. Grow a lima bean seed. I especially like the use of a clear CD case to label the different parts of a plant.
  21. Something dinosaurish– not sure yet… but I need to keep my little paleontologist busy!
  22. Download my STEAM summer ideas in my TpT store.

Some of you may be wondering if I am going to be doing all of these activities. The answer of course is NO! I hope to get to many of them (except the owl pellet dissecting). But we just got approved to be foster parents so I know our life is going to drastically change. I can’t wait. 🙂

Happy STEAMing!

Counting & Cardinality: A Common Core Math Series

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This week I will be centering all my posts on MATH- more specifically: counting & cardinality, operations & algebraic thinking, numbers and operations in base 10, measurement and data, and geometry. For those familiar with the Common Core Standards these should look very familiar! With my daughter in kindergarten this year, and with the possibility of me teaching school this fall, I thought it would be good for me to immerse myself in the current math curriculum. In this post I will share with you what I have learned about these different math standards and some activities that you can do at HOME with your kiddos! So let’s get started on our math adventure!

What is Counting & Cardinality? It is the ability to know, write, understand, group, count, and correctly use numbers. This is an important academic foundation for our little ones to completely master.

When should I start teaching my child counting & cardinality? As early as possible! Take every opportunity to use numbers- whether its counting how long it takes for your kiddo to put on their shoes or pointing out numbers in books, signs, and toys… math is everywhere!

What resources are available to help my child learn counting & cardinality? The resources are endless. Here are just a few!

There are some amazing number sense apps available. Native Numbers, Approach to Montessori- Numbers HD, Montessori Numbers, and Intro to Math by Montessorium are just a few of the many that are accessible through android and iTunes.

Literature is always a great tool in helping kids understand math concepts. Click on the pic to get more information about each of these books.

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These are some of our FAVORITE workbooks from Kumon as well as other teacher resources:

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There are also number sense books available for older kids.

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Here are some of the activities that we have done in the past centered around counting & cardinality:

Teach your child numbers with our Number Day Plans and Free Printables. We had a great time learning numbers using a variety of methods- stamping, tracing, writing, and using stickers to show numbers. On my wiki I have a number book cover and number pages 0-30 that you are free to download and use.

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Number Recognition Activities with our Education Cubes. One of the activities in our post include rolling one die and running around the table that many times (this activity is inspired and created for my little runner… remember to center your learning activities around your child’s interests!)

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8 Learning Lessons You Can Use with a Number Scale. I love, love, love our number scale! My Boo (who was a toddler at the time) and I had a great time learning number sense with this fun, hands-on educational tool. One activity mentioned in our post was a “Count With Me” game.  To play you give both you and your tot ten weights. Out loud, count from one to ten together while each of you place a weight on the appropriate side of the scale. This will help your tot to see the numbers while saying them… it’s a pretty simple activity!IMG_2787

Here are some other GREAT educational games from around the web.

Katie from Preschool Inspirations created an interactive calendar with her preschoolers which allow them to become more familiar with number recognition.

Chelsey from Buggy and Buddy shared a wonderful way to have calendar time with her 2 year old! See it is never too early to get our kiddos involved in math!

Buggy and Buddy also has a WONDERFUL post about Finding Number Patterns Using a Hundreds Chart. She has included a free printable that I am going to print as soon as I am done typing this post!

Nadia from Teach Me Mommy posted about Using Playdough to Teach Math. She has some great number recognition activities that are not only educational but fun as well.

Creative Connections for Kids has a great kinesthetic game where you use your body to count. I especially like that this is something you can do anywhere! For those teachers- great educational activity to do with your kids when you are waiting outside during a fire drill. 🙂

Lalymom shares several different ways to work on counting with your kids. I love that her ideas are simple and things you can integrate into your daily activities.

Lemon Lime Adventures has a great post for those who are struggling on how to start teaching math with your kiddos. I especially like her list of math centered questions you can ask your child. Thanks for this resource Dayna!

Debs from Learn With Play at Home had a great idea using paper tubes to teach number recognition and ordering. This activity is geared for kids 2 and up… such a fun education craft! She also posted an idea to teach your kids teen numbers with manipulatives, a super cute bowling game to teach number recognition (great for those active little kids!), making 10 with an egg carton, and 30 Counting Activities to do with Kids. This site is a wonderful resource for counting & cardinality!

Math Story has some number sense songs (as well as other math standards) with videos and lyrics. Great resource for our music/visual learners.

Check out What Do We Do All Day for a Kindergarten Number Matching Game. Great hands on learning activity!

I hope this list is will be a great resource as your are teaching your kids about counting & cardinality. Remember: Math can be fun! And it doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time to teach these fundamental skills.

Happy Teaching!

More “Don’t Be An Angry Bird” Printables

I have finished the newest “Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids” printables. There are some new pages to be added to the original printable book. These are not intended to just be worksheets, but as a tool to discuss anger with your children. There are also new posters in black and white and color that I am adding to our wiki.

To download these free files, click HERE. You will be redirected to our site’s wiki where you can download any and all anger management for kids files!

sample page from our “Don’t Be An Angry Bird” printable book for kids

I am in AWE with how quickly this idea is spreading. Thanks so much for your sweet comments- I read every one and am so excited that so many of you are able to help your kiddos understand and deal with their anger.

As always- Happy TEACHing!

 

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages (much easier than using the WIKI!)

Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Slingshot, Pigs, Blue Birds, Big Red Bird and Introducing Ice Bird

Ever since I posted my first angry bird/anger management post, I have felt an overwhelming positive response from parents and teachers who needed something to help their kids understand and deal with their anger. I felt SO thankful to know that I am not the only parent out there struggling with this! And I really do appreciate all your comments and emails- they just make my day!

Our anger management system is great- but it felt incomplete. So I would like to introduce you to the slingshot, pigs, blue birds, big red bird, and ice bird (newest bird from Angry Bird Space)… anger management style. I just have to add- these strategies were created to help my daughter understand and deal with her anger- so maybe not all these will apply to your children.

Pigs: They stole the eggs and made the birds angry. What triggers your kiddo’s anger? Is it someone else taking their toys? Being asked to clean their room? Or is it frustration when they can’t complete a task? Maybe its a brother who antagonizes or teases. My daughter’s biggest anger trigger right now is centered around impatience: not getting what she wants when she wants it.
Once our kids are familiar with their anger triggers, you can work with them on creating plans to avoid becoming an angry bird and choosing ahead of time the cool-down strategies they will use. This would make for a FABULOUS role playing experience for family night so everyone can be familiar with each other’s cool-down plans.

 

Slingshot: How will you direct that energy that builds when you’re angry? After your child feels the anger building up inside her, she ultimately is the one who decides her actions. She can catapult herself at her antagonists (aka pigs) or she can redirect that energy into something else: going outside and jumping on the tramp, doing jumping jacks, leaving the classroom and walking to the drinking fountain… for me I catapult my energy into loudly play the piano. Once that energy is released it is much easier to take those big balloon bird breaths. Teaching your child to point their slingshot at something less destructive and harmful will help your child socially cope with their anger.

 

Blue Birds: I had made plans for the blue birds to be something different until I read a comment with a MUCH BETTER idea. Props go to Chanda for coming up with this!! (I just love it when we can help each other be better teachers and parents!!) And if you are Chanda- please email me so I can thank you directly for this idea- I don’t know how to get a hold of you! 
The blue birds teach us that our anger can spread to others in the home or classroom. I can TOTALLY relate to that- when I am grumpy I bring the rest of the family down. And the same goes with our kids- their outward inappropriate expressions of anger can spread and dampen the moods of others. A child gets angry that her younger brother is playing with her toy. She snatches the toy out of his hands, making him mad and hitting his sister. Mother walks in, frustrated with the situation and uses cutting words to her children. Her frustration makes the children feel hurt and more angry.
You can see how that one initial act of anger spread to her brother and mother!
And not only are they dampening the mood of the home, but they are setting an inappropriate example to younger siblings of how to deal with anger.

Big Red Bird: This bird is big, tough, and picks on pigs smaller than him. Don’t be a bully bird. Sometimes a child caught up in anger or looking for attention or lacking self esteem (or whatever makes a person a bully) may think it is OK to take out her frustration on others. It is VERY important to teach our kids that this behavior IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. If your child is being a bully bird, try using these strategies to help her: acknowledge the problem, be a  hands-on parent, decrease violence at home, teach positive behaviors, and seek professional help if needed. These particular strategies are from education.com– check out this informative site for a more detailed explanation.

 

And last, but not least, I would like to introduce you to the Ice Bird- the newest angry bird that you’ll see on Angry Bird Space available March 22. Apparently he will turn things into ice.

Ice Bird: Don’t be an ice bird! Maybe your child’s words aren’t cutting- but her tone of voice and actions are as cold as ice. This is what I consider silent anger- you might not see the tantrums or outward angry expressions, but the big emotion still exists. Whether it stems from feelings of inadequacy (not being the best reader or soccer player) or simply holding a grudge- anger can exist and chill a person’s heart- stopping them from forgiving others including themselves.  And forgiveness is a great way to free yourself from anger, keep a friend, and just be happier.

 

 

Feelings of anger don’t have to be frozen inside. A child should feel comfortable talking with others about how she feels- whether those feelings be good or bad. A child who suppresses her anger because she is not allowed to express it at all can lead to feelings of low self worth and depression. Teach your kids that feeling angry is “normal”. And when she messes up and throws a huge tantrum in the middle of the grocery store- don’t be cold to her. Forgive her.

Love can melt away anger faster than anything else.

Happy Teaching ♥

DIY Light Box and Teaching Ideas

Oh, the wonder and magic of playing with light! I have wanted to make a light box for awhile, and I finally set the goal and got it done. I had no idea that there was SO many different (and educational!) things you could do with light!

Light Box Materials:
Clear plastic under-the-bed Rubbermaid container
2 fluorescent lights

To make the light box, I just turned the Rubbermaid container upside down with the 2 lights inside. It isn’t anything fancy- but it was SO easy!!

Light Box Manipulatives:
Colored accent gems, transparencies (teaching manipulatives I used with an overhead projector), dry erase marker & sheet protector, geometry mirror, microscope slides & magnifying glass

There are tons of different ways to play with a light box. I am going to list some of our ideas- enjoy!

Science:
Pull out your old microscope slides! A light box is a perfect way to view ’em! It’s also a great way to view x-rays.

Looking at a fruit fly with a magnifying glass and our new light box

Math
We made lots of designs with pattern blocks. Boo and I also played and sorted money, made shapes with our geoboard, spun the colored spinner, and created symmetrical patterns with our geometry mirror. With the exception of the mirror, the rest of our math light box manipulatives are old overhead projector teaching materials. And since overhead projectors are on their way out in lots of schools, I bet you could snatch some of these up for a great price.

Geoboard designs and colorful spinners
Geometry mirrors- they are such a fun math manipulative! It’s a great tool for teaching symmetry!
Playing and sorting dollars and coins
Art
We used our pattern blocks to make colors. It was a fast way to show that yellow and blue make green! 
Literacy
I grabbed a dry erase marker and a sheet protector and Boo and I had fun reading words! We played a simple game where a predator was trying to get Boo’s stuffed animal and so we had to read the clues to figure out who he was and what he intended to do if he caught us. 
Reading and writing words
And of course, we did a LOT of free play.

Boo playing with 2 geometry mirrors and accent gems

A big source of light-play inspiration goes to Play at Home Mom– she has some “bright” ideas on her blog! 🙂
I would love to hear about your light play! Now to figure out how to make a “Lite-Brite” with our new box….
Happy Teaching!

Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Free Printables

I have been working on some printables to go with our angry bird/ anger management lesson (read more about it here) and thought I would share them with you all! I am SO thankful for all those that have left comments, sent me emails, and pinned this idea. It means so much to me. I just love it when I can share something that inspires and helps others. In a silly way I feel like a teacher again, with the world as my classroom…. cheesy, I know. But that’s just who I am! 😉
Clicking on the printable book picture will take you to our site’s wiki, where you can download each of the four pages. This is not designed to be a worksheet for a child to fill out on their own. Read the book with your child, and discuss the questions on each of the page. The goal of this book is to help your child UNDERSTAND their anger and learn some appropriate strategies to DEAL with it.

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To download the posters, just click on the picture. For a black and white version, or the download isn’t working, check out our Angry Bird page on our site’s wiki. And make sure you read our original Angry Bird post to learn more about each of the angry birds and their role in helping kids understand and deal with their anger.

I hope these help you deal with your little angry birds at home! Don’t forget to comment and let me know how this is working out for you!
Happy Teaching!

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages (much easier than using the WIKI!)

Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids

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There are two major things that are prominent in our home right now: the Angry Birds game and a 4 year old learning to deal with her frustrations. Maybe it’s all the hours we have spent shooting birds at stinky little pigs, but I started to see a lot of connections between the Angry Bird game and my own little angry “chick”.  The angry faces, the lashing out at others, etc. Her anger was a big emotion for such a small child to control.
So the idea was “hatched”(pun totally intended): use the Angry Birds as a way for teaching anger management to my daughter!
And so far, I LOVE it. My daughter understands the inappropriate ways of expressing anger as well as strategies to help calm her down.

The background of this technique is simple: like most kiddos, my daughter was struggling with a few different inappropriate ways of expressing her anger. To help her understand this better, I assigned a bird to each inappropriate behavior.  Side note: It is important to explain to our kids that feeling angry is completely normal. Don’t discipline your child because they feel angry…just teach them the appropriate ways of dealing with frustration, and clearly define those behaviors that are unacceptable.

Perfect demonstration of those angry eyes!!
Let me give you a more detailed explanation of each bird:

 

The eyebrows say it all… this bird has the meanest glare in town! It is the perfect bird to model inappropriate facial expressions. Although this may seem like such a minor side effect of anger, most parents will understand when I say unruly behavior started with a certain look in a child’s eyes. And if looks could kill, well…let’s just say my sweet, SWEET Boo would be a lethal weapon! 🙂

 

Just like this bird cuts through wood in the game, our mean words can cut through people’s hearts. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is thrown out the window (in my opinion). We should speak to others the way we would want to be spoken to… tone of voice included. Yelling and screaming might not cut through my heart, but it definitely cuts through my ears! 🙂

 

 

 

Keep objects to yourself…throwing toys (or in the bird’s case- bombs) is not an appropriate way of expressing your anger! Not only can your hurt somebody else physically- you are not showing respect to your property.

 

 

 

Sometimes anger can build and build inside of us until we just EXPLODE…just like the bomb bird. It is also known as the kicking, pounding on the floor, wailing, gnashing of teeth behavior that we refer to as a tantrum. Our kids need to learn that when they are angry, it is inappropriae to let their body explode.

 

 

Once I had created these birds, I explained their angry behaviors to my daughter. We talked about better ways to deal with our frustrations (We don’t want to be like an angry bird!) When she gets upset now, she can tell me which angry bird(s) she was acting like- which I like because she can recognize the inappropriate behavior.

Boo learning about the angry birds

Here are some of the APPROPRIATE strategies I taught my daughter to help her deal with anger. Teach your child the different strategies, and let them decide which work best for her.

  • Go to the BIRDS NEST (aka bedroom or quiet place) until our body feels calm.

  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!  Deep breathing will deliver oxygen to our heart, brain, and the rest of our body. It will relax our bodies so we in turn can relax our mood. To illustrate this techinique- have your child take long, deep breaths to fill their lungs up like the orange balloon bird. Then slowly breath our the air, and repeat as needed. We call this the BALLOON BIRD BREATHING.

  • STOP and THINK. Think about the other person’s feelings and the consequences of inappropriately expressing your anger. OK, what 4 year old is going to understand that jargon, right? Have them think of the boomerang bird. Teach your kiddo that their choices will come back and affect them- just like that bird comes back. For example, if your child chooses to say mean things when she is angry, her friend might not want to play with her again. Her choice is coming back to her. Is that what she really wants? Another phrase I hear parents say to an angry child “How would you feel if someone said or did mean things to you?” Children need to understand that there are consequences for their behavior.  I know this is still a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but teach and model as best as you can. You may choose to focus on the BIRDS NEST and BALLOON BIRD BREATHING techniques at first.

What do you do if your little angry bird just isn’t cooling down on their own?
It’s times like this that the mighty Mommy Eagle swoops down, picks up the little angry bird, and puts her in piggy tower for a time out (which is currently against the wall).

Here is a short video of Boo learning about the inappropriate behavior of the angry birds via stuffed animals (baby ibex, baby triceratops, and a baby golden eagle- my kiddo loves her unusual animals!)


So there you have it: anger management for kids, angry bird style.

Just because we love the angry birds game, doesn’t mean we love the angry bird behavior in our little ones!

Happy Teaching!

 

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages (much easier than using the WIKI!)

How To Get Ready for Halloween Night using Little People

I am back! Trusty old laptop is back from the cord accident and just waiting on my imac’s new hard drive to be finished and we will be 100% back to blogging!
Like many of you, I grew up playing with Little People. I spent hours and hours playing with them and now I am enjoying sharing this experience with my daughter! Of course a teacher can’t just play without sneaking in a lesson or two! Using Little People (or other dolls, stuffed animals, etc) you can teach your little one a lot about life skills! We have discussed sharing (when there is only one car, then the two people have to take turns), sleeping in a big girl bed vs sleeping with mommy and daddy (we are struggling w/Boo waking up @ night and wanting to come sleep w/us so I pulled out the Little People and we did some role playing!) Other ideas we haven’t done YET are the steps in going to the potty, what to do after you are finished eating at the table, taking care of pets, … the list could go on forever!

Here is a video clip of our most recent life skills lesson…. practicing trick or treating! (it’s an important part of one’s life, right?) Enjoy!

Happy “TOY” Teaching!

Wednesday’s Website: Oriental Trading

I thought I would mix things up today and post 20 great teaching tools that are found at Oriental Trading. I first learned about this company as a teacher and continue to receive their catalogs. There are TONS of great crafts for kids that you can buy in bulk, as well as party supplies, art tools, gym equipment- even party gear! I studied my latest catalog to come up with 20 teaching tools under $20 from Oriental Trading.

  1. Ribbon sticks– great for creative dancing and movement!
  2. Geometric Bean Bag Toss Game– fun game to help learn basic shapes
  3. Super Sturdy Parachute– great for teaching teamwork and cooperation! You can imagine the fun the little ones will have running underneath it!!
  4. Beginner’s Scissors– set of 12 scissors that boasts of being able to only cut paper- not hair!
  5. 6 Children’s Colorful Canvas Aprons– bright colored aprons
  6. Perfect for Paint! Palettes– holds up to 6 colors in muffin tin style trays
  7. 10 Jumbo Keep it Clean Cups– spill proof design to hold paint in cups
  8. Sticker Scenes and Giant Sticker Scenes– scenes with repositionable stickers. These take me back to the colorform days! The smaller ones would be great to stick into a quiet kit.
  9. Look It’s Me! Magnets or Keychains– you can design one for every member of your family and hang on the fridge or attach to your keys!
  10. I lb. of Great Big Buttons– these extra large buttons come in 8 colors and shapes.
  11. 72 Totally Terrific Tipped Yarn Laces– these would be great for stringing beads or for lacing cards.
  12. 6 Plastic Cool Craft Trays– I have seen these as Tot trays on Totally Tots and they are perfect for keeping activities neat and organized!
  13. Fabulous Foam Wall of Stars– there are 24 bright star shaped frames that could be used to portray family, friends, or your tot from 1 month to 24 months! Of course this would be perfect for a classroom, too!
  14. 260 Fabulous Foam Self-Adhesive Jumbo Letters– These big letters are perfect for little hands!
  15. 6 Super Durable Dressing Boards– teach your tot to snap, tie, button, buckle, zip, and lace with these durable dressing boards!
  16. Stack it High! Pegs and Peg Boards– foam boards and plastic pegs great for stacking!
  17. Wooden Magnetic Labyrinth– There is one of these at our local children’s museum that my daughter likes to play with! This is good for hand eye coordination activity!
  18. Jumbo 3-minute Timer– can be used for games as well as giving your child a visual aid for transitional times (ie. in 3 minutes we are going to clean up)
  19. Dilly Dot Markers– these dot markers are designed for small hands and come in either neon or bright colors.
  20. 6 Rainbow Clipboards– Can be used for different subjects, family members have a specific color for family night activities, or when going on color hunts. I am a big organizational tool fanatic and so this is something I would love!

There you have it! 20 teaching tools under $20 from Oriental Trading. There is SO much more- especially if you teach school (a lot of the supplies come in bulk).

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