When my son was in preschool, I created this free Kindergarten readiness book for him. I printed it out, bound it into a 3 ring paper folder, and made a copy for each child in his class and the teachers had the kids work on it for a few months before preschool ended. It is …
For the last day of April and National Poetry Month, I am so excited to welcome my guest author, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of poetry picture book Forest Has a Song. She has inspired me, a poetry-phobe to explore poetry with her gentle coaxing so I asked her to please write a post on teaching poetry …
I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.
Simple Skip Counting Songs to Learn Multiplication and Division. Fun free multiplication games to play on the computer.
Tips, Tricks, Do’s and Don’ts to Getting an Athletic Scholarship.
Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.
Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!
I find that The Univ. of Chicago’s Everyday Math needs home supplementation, especially in math facts. She recommends Daily Word Problems and Singapore Math.
How to detect and remove lice and nits. Two effective methods for killing lice: Robi Comb (an electronic zapper comb) and the Olive Oil Treatment. Pragmatic Mom does not recommend lice shampoo because it’s not 100% effective due to lice resistence, and has harmful chemicals.
Reading Lists for 2nd -5th graders of books that deserve a Newbery Award plus Newbery Award winners that are appropriate for elementary school children.
Getting Crafty for Valentine’s Day
My college roommate was talking about her new mother-in-law a few years back, describing her as “crafty.”
“Crafty, in a good way,” I asked? I was thinking sneaking Machiavellian crafty.
“No, not evil crafty. Arts and crafty!”
My brain just does not compute crafty because I am not good at arts and crafts. The thought of homemade Valentines as my kids’ school requires typically fills me with dread because my kids are too old for my old standby: paper lace and pink heart paper cutouts.
Thankfully, this year I have Pinterest and the Kids Blogger Network. I am going to use these resources for homemade Valentines this year. Here are some ideas I’m considering.
Do you make or buy Valentines? Please share your ideas!
The Imagination Tree has lots of heart crafts ideas ideal for making cards for different age recipients. I like her potato print cards for school Valentines and her heart shaped photo holder would be perfect for grandparents. The red and white clay heart ornaments would be another option that would stand out for school Valentines.
Doodles and Jots demonstrates how to make your own heart shaped box instead of buying one. In real life, she’s a product designer. Can’t you tell? My older kids would love to make this! It would be perfect for a teacher gift and she gives a recipe for chocolate pretzels. Now, I just have to save cereal boxes!
Lego YouTube Channel
I just found out that Lego has a new YouTube channel and the first thing I saw was NINJAGO! My son had a Lego Ninjago obsession last year. My husband I welcomed it though it took me a while to figure out what exactly Ninjago was. Ninjago, as it turns out, is many things:
- Ninjago animated TV show series
- Ninjago chapter book series
- Ninjago graphic novel series
- Ninjago lego games
- Ninjago lego kits
- Ninjago branded items. We own the lunch box!
I quickly became an expert in all things Ninjago. We bought the lego kits after he received the first lego Ninjago game for his birthday. I was thrilled that he would play with legos instead of screens. Pretty soon, I was finding and saving little tiny plastic swords that popped up in various odd places. The floor of my car. The kitchen table. In my bed. Read more…
Best Books for Middle School
Seven words fill me with dread, “Mom, I have nothing good to read.” Ironic that our house bulges with books for kids. Everyone room has a bookcase or a pile of books but like the Cobbler’s kids, mine have nothing good to read.
I can usually always find something for my younger two, but my oldest has a good point. We have much less inventory for her. Young Adult is new to me and our shelves lack pre-screened YA books for her.
It’s a new year and that will change. But first, to find good YA books for her. I turned to her amazing English teacher (post parent/teacher conference) and am now consulting StorySnoops, a blog she recommends. I’m collecting book lists from the middle school librarian like this one below. I found Your Next Read on Pinterest. It makes book recommendations similar to the one you type in. I’ve also asked my daughter for book recommendations from her friends.
What do you do to find good books for your middle school kid? Please share!!! Mine likes realistic fiction, and action adventure fantasy. Paranormal is great but it has to be set in modern times. The books I am selecting for her to check out are starred. Read more…
How to Nurture a Child’s Creativity
“Every child is born an artist. The problems begin once we start to grow up.”
What requires creativity? Art? Music? How about science and math? Does career satisfaction and success require creativity? The research indicates all the above.
But I argue that we should be nurturing our child’s creativity at home because it’s not being taught in school. No, it’s not the budget cut backs in the arts either. That hurts, to be sure, but the issue is that we simply don’t teach “the opportunity to find and bring to life that which motivates [kids] intrinsically.”
Creativity Threatened Specifically in 3rd through 5th Grade
Actually, Lehrer noted, the problems begin in a very specific time frame: the years covering third, fourth, and fifth grade. It’s during this period, he says, that many kids “conclude that they are not creative, and this is in large part because they start to realize that that their drawing is not quite as pretty as they would like, that they can put the brush in the wrong place, that their short stories don’t live up to their expectations—so they become self-conscious and self-aware, and then they shut themselves down.”
Parents’ and teachers’ task, he said, is to help kids learn how to “productively daydream.” Read more…
Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Winners of 2013
Congrats to all the authors, illustrators, publishers, friends and family who helped in the creation of all these wonderful books! Which books have you and your kids read and which ones do you recommend? Please share!
p.s. Compare predictions here.
p.p.s. If you are upset — What? Wonder didn’t win anything?!! — that a book you love didn’t win, Nerdy Book Club has a great post on Top 10 Things You May Not Know about the Newbery Award by Monica Edinger. Read it if you are upset. It is guaranteed to make you feel better!
2013 Newbery Medal Winner
John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Read more…
College Majors that Lead to High Paying Jobs
My brother-in-law sent me this link of the Worst and Best College Majors according to Kiplingers. It’s based on data from Payscale.com and Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Kiplingers looked for majors whose graduates—both recent grads (within the past five years) and those well into their careers—face a brutal combination of low compensation and high unemployment.
I’ve been in the staffing industry for years and have hired lots of college graduates in a variety of entry level positions. So here’s my take on this survey:
- A College Degree is the new High School Diploma. And it’s caveat …
- A Master’s Degree is the new College Degree.
- A degree in one these Top 10 Worst Degrees from a Top 10 Best College will mean a job for most graduates.
- How well you do in college counts.
- An Internship experience will pave the way for a real job. It’s worth it to work for free.
- You are your own product. How you market yourself counts for a lot.
- A poor Social Media footprint can cost you a job offer as can bad credit. Read more…
Get Kids Reading with 7 Easy and Fun Ideas
If your New Year’s resolution is to get your kids reading more (mine is for myself too!), then I’ve assembled some free, easy and fun out-of-the-box ideas to get kids reading whether they are new to independent reading or reluctant readers.
I also like that these ideas are hands on and unexpected. A full body experience. It’s meant to make kids sit up and take notice. And then hopefully, this giddy feeling will become associated with reading and reading will be associated with a pleasant experience. How about you? Please share your ideas of how you get your kids reading! Thank you!
1) Hold a BOOK TASTING in the library! Book speed dating for the younger set.
I found this idea on Pinterest from the Barrow Media Center. Get a group of kids together and hold a “book tasting.” Select a books to be sampled and provide a menu sheet and pens or pencils. Each kid reads each book for 2-3 minutes and marks the menu sheet of each book with happy face, prozac face, or frowny face. It’s a fun way to have kids try out new genres of books.
Another idea to figure out what books to supply is to ask each child for 2 or 3 of their favorite books and draw from those. Then, at the end of the book tasting, kids who chose a book that was recommended by a friend can get encouragement to read their book choice. I always find that peer-to-peer recommendations are the most persuasive! Read more…
Spiritual Picture Books for Kids
We don’t go to church so we are studying world religions using picture books. Demi has several wonderful picture books on this topic so when I was offered a book that she illustrated, I jumped at the chance. And then, by coincidence, Alexis York Lumbard’s husband emailed me. It’s such a small world but we live in the same town! Kismet? Karma? Fate? Who knows!
How do you expose your children to world religions? Please share!