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Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks

In the USA, this week is the week to prepare for Thanksgiving. While this year Thanksgiving might look a bit different, it is still important to celebrate and to teach children about giving thanks. Let’s read the story Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes.

In this story, the children think of all the things they are thankful for… so let’s do the same! Have your child draw and write about the things (s)he is thankful for this year. Discuss how even when things are different and difficult we can still ways to see good in life.

8 Inspiring Quotes From Mister Rogers For Thanksgiving | Pb
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Next step…

We are more than half way through November…. time to look forward. But, I need your help. Do you want me to focus on December holidays or something else? Should I just skip December all together and come back in January?

Have you ever watched any of the live streams of Facebook? I stopped for November but need to know if you want these to reappear now that the weather will be turning colder.

Do you want it to stay focused on the bigger themes or go back to more academic specific focused?

What are your thoughts??

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Time off

Since many families are in the process of going back to school, in one mode or another. I am going to take a few weeks off to regroup.

I will be back August 31st with a new format, AND some addition features. Thank you for joining me in this journey. I look forward to starting a new year of pre-K activities for your children.

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Math review– sorting

Sorting is often one of the first math skills taught in an early childhood classroom, and it is often forgotten after it is taught. Sorting is the concept of grouping similar items. The challenge is that often times teachers say “sort these bears by color.” “sort these blocks by shape” “sort these toys by type.” What is wrong with this? The teacher is doing most of the thinking. There is no need for a child to explain or discuss their thought process because they don’t have to really think.

What we need to do is have children explore sorting on their own and then ask questions. Can you explain how you sorted these items? Why does this piece go in this group? Where will this piece go? Can you sort them a different way? By allowing children to make their own judgement on how the items need to be sorted, AND asking probing questions we get children thinking mathematically.

Kindergarten Kindergarten: Sorting by Attributes

Provide your child will a bin of items. They can be all the same type with various attributes such as a bin of Lego blocks that are different color, size, thickness etc, wooden blocks, marbles, or other items that are considered the “same”. Or they can be totally different items such as a lost parts bin (don’t you have one of these? a collection of where does this go things), items found in nature, or the bottom of your child’s toy box. Here the thing… it doesn’t matter what you use as long as your child can start to find connections between the items.

When children start sorting they are creating rules. This goes here because… This can’t go here because…

Rule one as the adult… do not assume you understand their sorting rules… ASK! We need to get children talking about math. They need to express their thinking and explain their logic. Remember there is no wrong way to sort as long as he/she can explain their thinking!

Math terms to use:

  • sorting– grouping items by attribute
  • classify– arrange in groups
  • attribute– a characteristic of something
  • groups– items that work together
  • same
  • different
  • alike
  • some
  • all
  • and more!
items to sort
possible sorting
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Xx?

Ok… today has been busy and I didn’t get a blog post done this morning. I guess I need a bit more time to think… Xx? This is such a hard letter to teach. We teach the sound you hear at the end of fox and box (said /ks/). But, when we teach children sounds we typically focus on words that start with that sound… yep nothing starts with the correct sound of Xx.

I am not skipping this letter, but will think about it some more and post tomorrow. Not sure if we will do a word that ends in Xx or go with X-ray? Why does the English language have to be so hard?

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Short break

Now that we have finished half of the alphabet, I am going to take a week off. This will give everyone a chance to catch up, review, and/or take a break yourself.

Looking for the letter of the day activities? click here

Looking for phonemic awareness activities? click here

Looking for some math activities? click here

Looking for STEAM? click here

When I come back, we will work through the second half of the alphabet. Any thoughts? Suggestions for topics to go with a certain letter? Something you enjoyed and want more of? Topics you’d like me to write about? Something else you feel you need to help your child get ready for kindergarten? Reply here or drop me an email at lorimommyto2@gmail.com or lfpryc@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

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Blog format change– for a bit anyway

Yesterday, I posted the suggestion of picking a letter a day and working through it in fun ways including snacks. If you follow my blog for a while, you have might have read my thoughts on the alphabet in this post.

I decided that reviewing letter recognition, writing, letter sounds and beginning sounds would be a good thing to do this summer. So starting tomorrow, we will work through the 26 letters of the alphabet.

Each day I will share how to talk your child through forming the capital and lowercase letters, how to pronounce the sound correctly and a few activities do complete each day.

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The end is here

Friday night we had an end of the year parade for the students at my school. This is it. No more… the end is here for this school year. While I loved seeing everyone one last time, it felt strange.

Typically I get to this point in the year and I feel complete. I am not a weepy teacher who doesn’t want her class to leave. I typically get to this point with pride and know that my students are ready. Together we have grown and learned. I know that I have guided them and provided the stepping stones towards future learning. I typically feel that I have done my job and they are ready. Bring on the summer and then my new crew.

This year feels strange. While I do feel that my class this year is more than ready for kindergarten, I feel that I had more to give. There was more for us to do together that will never be done. I know that many of the families follow my blog and have continued to work on the skills I present here. But, there are many that are not. I’m glad that I found this medium and utilized it to help those families, from my class and those who found my blog in other ways.

A few of the families handed me gifts and cards at the parade on Friday. When I brought them home and read the cards I realized… I did my job. These kids are ready and the families see it. Here are three comments that were made that hit home with me…

One mom, who follows this blog, my i/g account and even sends me e-mails with pictures, questions, comments, concerns and updates (which I love!) said thanked me for everything that I have done over the year. She stated that I have helped her whole family see and value education and the love of education. But the comment that meant the most was she said I helped her son “S” become the best “S” he could be. That is a big piece of what I see my job to be. I want each child to see the best version of him/herself. I want to help them mold not only the educational side, but the emotional, interpersonal and so “whole” of themselves. The academic is just a piece of becoming a whole.

Another mom, thanked me for my direction here on the blog, actually said the blog was a lifesaver at during this crazy time. But, again this is not the comment that stuck with me. She told me that I helped instill a love of learning in her son. This is my job! This is what I do. This is why I teach. Whenever I talk about why I teach and what I teach I always say my goal is to teach children to love to learn. I want them to see the joy in the “ahhh haaaa” moments of life. I want them to see that they learn not just when we teach math, reading science etc,… but they learn when they interact with another child. They learn when they play. They learn when they experiment. They learn whenever they open up their minds and realize there is new out there.

The last comment wasn’t given to me in a card, but in a message on dojo. She thanked me for helping her children this year. She told me she knew they would be ready for kindergarten and that I was the reason. Again, she thanked me for the activities I provided here on my blog as well as those in the classroom

So while I didn’t get to finish out the year the way I expected, I did a lot to help these children get ready for kindergarten. I truly believe that I also helped their parents see their children in a different light. They now see that they too can help their child see the love of learning. That there are ways to learn without directly sitting down and making them do paperwork. That you can learn so much in every day living and life.

So… is this the end? For my class yes… but not for this blog. I will continue to blog through the summer. I will provide learning opportunities that make learning fun and accessible for you and your children. If you have any thoughts/suggestions/requests for topics to work on, send me a message. If your child likes or really does NOT like a certain activity let me know. Do not hesitate to ask questions.

I am a teacher…a facilitator of learning… I am here for you. Together we can help your child grow, learn and move forward.

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Blog Direction and Spring

I have been doing a bit of thinking about the flow or set up of this blog. I have decided to put a bit more form and structure to the blog which will allow you to see where we are going each week.

So this is my thinking: Each week I will focus on a specific topic (for my student’s families, this will match the topic I use in the lessons on dojo). I will use this topic as the direction for the daily activities.

Daily activity schedule:

  • Sunday- introduce new topic and suggest stories
  • Monday- math activity
  • Tuesday- topic/theme based activity
  • Wednesday- work work/writing
  • Thursday- phonemic awareness
  • Friday- fun activity
  • Saturday- family activity

I encourage you to read books based on the topic daily. Children enjoy listening to and learning from both fiction (make believe, made up, untrue… these are terms we use when describing what a fiction story is to children) and informational text (a book/story that teaches you information).

Many authors are doing read alouds at this time, youtube search read alouds, storyline online, and many other locations can be found for on-line read alouds.

Image result for hello spring

Spring is our theme for this week. Here are some read alouds for you

How Do You Know It’s Spring? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_fIEWViJyE (informational text)

The Thing About Spring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkc78nhsDoQ (fiction story)

Welcome Back Spring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aof4SeemEwE (sing along book)

Spring is Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aof4SeemEwE (fiction story)

Happy Equinox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSs8K_HQSZ4 (scishow kids lesson on Earth’s rotations and why we have equinox)

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Where do I start?

I know that many families are overwhelmed with the school closures. I have had parents in my class message me…. what do I do? How can I help my child? How will I help multiple children of various ages? How long will this last? Will my child still be ready for kindergarten? And much more.

This is a time of lots of questions and very few answers, but I hope that my site will help provide some realistic, open ended learning opportunities that can be done with items you already have at home.

My goal is that each day I will post 1-3 connected learning opportunities for you to use with your child at home. They also could be used in a classroom or homeschooling setting.

I will share photos, explanations and even the learning that is behind the activity. But, I want your help, your input. Are you looking for something specific? Need to modify to challenge or make it easier? Have no clue what I’m talking about… whatever your question, comment or concern… share your thoughts with me. This is the way I can make this blog work better for everyone who is joining me on this journey.

Oh and if you want… you can also follow me on instagram at @mydayinpre_k

Tune in later today for my first activities!