STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Meteorologist

Today we will continue to discuss the weather. Let’s read the story The Meteorologist in Me by Britteny Shipp. Summer Winter loves the weather. She loves to learn about the weather, watch the weather reports on the news and even dreams of becoming a meteorologist when she grows up. Others around her question her desire to become a meteorologist, but her mom always tells her “you can do anything you put your mind to, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise”.

Let’s take a virtual field trip to learn about some of the tools that a meteorologist uses.

Now let’s watch SciShow Kids Be a Weather Watcher and learn about how you can be a meteorologist too!

Today, pull up your local weather report. I really like weather underground’s features, but there are lots and lots of weather sites and apps to choose from. Set up an opportunity for your child to be the meteorologist for your backyard. Using the information they learn from the weather site, using their powers of observation and whatever weather tools you have around, have your child predict the weather for today.

Today’s activity is full of learning! You obviously get science in the learning about weather. Math if you begin looking at the patterns of weather and the numbers associated with it. Social skills in speaking and from the story standing up for what you believe in, as well as in the dramatic play of pretending to be a meteorologist. Social studies in learning about a career and what is needed for that job. So much learning, while having so much fun!

story · teaching thoughts · topic

Never to late to read

Yesterday was Read Across America Day, this day celebrates children’s literature. Today I wanted to share a story about the wish and will to learn to read. Listen to the story The Oldest Student How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and watch a news clip from WRBC Chattanooga about Mary Walker.

Why share this story you ask? Children at this age are learning to read. They struggle to sound out words and think that it is just something that all adults do, but it’s not. There was a time when this skill was denied many American’s due to the color of their skin.

There was a time when people believed that some could never read or write because they struggled with learning issues. Were blind or deaf. Or too poor.

When we celebrate reading, we need to celebrate the changes that occurred. These changes view reading as a right. We work to educate all to read. We want to instill the love of reading as well as providing the functionality the this skill affords one’s life.

This story is a talking point. It is an opportunity to talk about the past, the present and the future. It is a chance to talk about hard work, dedication and tenacity that Mary Walker showed. It is a chance to learn.

art · story

Hats!

Today is Read Across America Day! March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and today is a day to celebrate how much his literature has helped children develop a love of learning.

I decided to focus on the Cat in the Hat’s hat! First, let’s read the story Who’s Hat is This? by Sharon Katz Cooper. This story shares many hats that are worn for different careers.

Now… let’s draw a hat that is easy to recognize… the Cat in the Hat’s hat! Follow along with Art for Kids Hub as they draw this famous hat! Or, make your own out of paper or markers or whatever creative materials you want! I made mine out of Lego.

Today is a great day to read. The best way to help your child to learn to read… is to read to your child!

family activity · story · teaching thoughts

Laundry Time

Did you know that even laundry time can be a learning opportunity? Have your child help you with the laundry, especially his/her own laundry. First let’s read Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks. Now I’m sure you are not going to wash and hang up some of the crazy things Mrs McNosh washes and hangs up in her story, but it is a jumping off point.

Have your child draw a picture of rhyming things (s)he could hang up with Mrs. McNosh.

Have your child collect the laundry from around the house and help bring it to the washing machine (pushing a full laundry basket is great “heavy work” for young children). They can also help put the clothing into the machines.

When the laundry is done, they can help sort the clothes (put the shirts in this pile, the pants in that pile or put your clothes here and your brother’s there). Matching and rolling socks. Then help them put away their own clothes.

If you have clothes pins, these are great for fine motor practice. Your child can use them to pick up pompoms, beads, or other small items. Clip together pictures that match. Pop bubble wrap or so many other learning opportunities while working those fine motor skills.

Ok… let’s get to the laundry!

story · teaching thoughts

After the Fall

Yesterday I couldn’t decide what to write about, so I didn’t. I didn’t type anything yesterday. Some days life just gets to you more than you realize. I find that the more life is calm, the more I’m excited to sit down and blog. This morning I was reading some of the blogs that I follow and A Teacher’s Reflection, a blog written by a preschool teachers, mentioned the story After the Fall by Dan Santat.

I decided that this story is so important to hear right now. While the story is about Humpy Dumpty and how he copes after his fall, and about moving forward after and accident, we need to think about this in terms of the pandemic. What do we need to do to feel comfortable moving forward? How is your child coping and adapting to the changes that took place with the onset of Covid? How are they dealing with the change over time?

First thing you need to look at is how are YOU the adult dealing with these changes? The way you the adult are adapting and moving forward plays a huge impact on how your child deals with this. Are you talking about how unhappy you are with changes? Are you being positive about the world you are living in? Are you talking to your child about his/her feelings and listening to what they are saying?

As we get closer to having more and more people vaccinated, we need to see that there maybe some hesitation and concern still in children. You can’t see who is vaccinated. You can’t see who is safe. Children struggle to understand when big changes happen and when life begins to open back up again, we may see this struggle again.

How can we as adults help? Talk. Often times adults feel they need to shelter children from change and things that going on in life. We need to talk to children about what is going on. We need to express our concerns and listen to their concerns. We need to keep them in the loop. Using stories is a great way to start this conversation, this is why I shared this story with you today!

story · topic

Jazz!

Today is Mardi Gras which is a holiday that is famous for the celebrations in New Orleans. This first book is about a fictional band that played in New Orleans, but went away. They are trying to imply the time of Hurricane Katrina, but do not speak about it straight out. It talks about the impact that the band and music has on the culture of New Orleans and Bourbon Street. The Bourbon Street Band is Back by Ed Shankman.

The second story is written by Wynton Marsalis, Squeek Rumble, Whomp, Whomp, Whomp shows how you can listen to your world and hear the music. Watch this video as Wynton Marsalis shows how you can take other songs and put them into a jazz feel! If you and your child enjoy this, I encourage you to find his Nursery Rhyme Swing concert at Lincoln Center.

Now it is your turn. Find sounds around your house and see if you can create your own jazz. Can you take a song you know and tweak it to make it more your own.

story · teaching thoughts

You Can Be President Too

Today is President’s Day. It is a day to reflect on the impact of the former Presidents of the United States. But, we don’t have to only think about the former presidents, we can think about the future too! Start by reading the book I Can Be President Too by Yanitzia Canetti.

One of my favorite YouTube channels to share with my classes is Kid President! If you have not checked out his videos, start today. Here is one called Kid President’s 20 Things We Should Say More Often.

Draw a picture of yourself as the president. What would you do as the president? What qualities would make you a good president.

We all need to dream big dreams. We need to focus on the qualities that makes us important. We need to encourage kindness, acceptance and love.

story · topic

Lunar New Year

Typically on Friday’s I write my series Why Do Teachers Do That? But, today I wanted to encourage you to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Did you know that many different cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year? Let’s start by reading Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qui. Here is another YouTube video to explain more about how different cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Think about ways you can incorporate some of these traditions in your home today? I’m all over the idea that there is no cleaning done on the Lunar New Year! Look at some of the foods they enjoy. Maybe choose to create red envelopes and give your child some new money. Help your child create lanterns. Maybe draw or craft a lion or dragon.

family activity · story · teaching thoughts

What is Given From the Heart

I was looking for something different to share. There are so many Valentine books out there for you to share with your kiddos, but I wanted something with more meaning. Something with more depth of love. I stumbled across What is Given From the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack. This is a touching story about compassion, resilience, gratitude and community. James Otis and his Mama have had a rough couple of months. Mama tell James Otis that “Misery loves company” but, as long as they have their health and strength, they are blessed. One Sunday in February they go to church the the Revered tells about the community creating Love Boxes for those in the community who are less fortunate. He tells them about a mother and daughter who lost everything in a fire. Mama says that she and James Otis need to give something to this family. James Otis struggles to find something worth giving, but plays over and over in his head the words he heard “what is given from the heart, reaches the heart”

Ok.. that was a longer recap than I normally give, but this story is very touching and a worthwhile read. We are living in a pandemic. There are so many families who are struggling to get by. There are so many who need a little more. Children love to help people. They do not always understand the struggle of others, but they know that people need help. What can you do to help your child see how (s)he can give from the heart. Look around your community. Is there a food bank you can contribute to? Is there a retirement community that is on lockdown that your child can mail pictures or stories? Is there a children’s hospital that your child can pick out stuffed animals to donate to or draw pictures? Write thank you cards and bake cookies to bring to the police, fire, hospital.

We all need to remember that we are a community. That we need to work together to help our neighbors. That when we give from the heart, we reach the heart!

story · teaching thoughts

The Love Letter

Today we will read the story The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise. In this story, a hedgehog, bunny and squirrel are friends. They enjoy being together, and having their own personality quirks. One day hedgehog finds a letter, but not just any letter, a love letter. This motivates him to act more cheerful, as the love of friendship in this letter perks his mood. Each of the friends finds the letter and the letter helps them each feel loved. Until, they realize that the letter was found by the others. That the letter wasn’t meant for them. See what happens when they learn who wrote the letter and how the author of the letter helps them each see the joy they found.

This is a great opportunity to explore feelings. Often times adults assume that children understand and can read feelings, but it often is not true. Children struggle with understanding their own feelings never mind seeing and understanding the feelings of others. We need to explore feelings with children. Listen and watch The Feeling Song by Miss Molly and then illustrate feelings with your child.

Have your child write/dictate a love letter to a friend or family member. Show how this letter can help another feel good… AND help the person writing it also feel good!