Teachers Pay Teachers!

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I now have a shop on Teachers Pay Teachers- I have some free resources posted as well as some for sale.

Take a look!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Education-Is-Not-Preparation-For-Life-Education-Is-Life-Itself-John-Dewey

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Fun and Easy Learning Activities for ANYWHERE! (seriously!)

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Here are some quick and fun (educational) activities that can be done anywhere. By making learning fun in your child’s every day environment, they learn to see learning as a daily, lifelong process that can occur anywhere. They also learn that learning is fun!

In the Car

Finish the Alphabet! Look for the letters in alphabetic order on signs, license plates, billboards, etc. The first one to Z wins.

License Plate Alphabet! Look for the letters in alphabetic order using only license plates. This gets very tricky, so is best with slightly older children who can handle waiting for their needed letter to come along. *hint* vanity plates are a gold mine in this game.

Counting! Set a goal for how many specific objects you want to find. Example: First one to count 20 cows wins! First one to count 10 red cars wins!

Pattern Hunt! Look for patterns in the cars on the highway. Example: Honda, Ford, Honda, Ford or grey, grey, blue, grey, grey, blue or female driver, male driver, female driver, male driver. The options are endless!

At the Grocery Store

Big, Bigger, Biggest! Check out the fish section or the baking goods area. Look for a big, bigger and biggest fish, bag of flour, bag of sugar, etc.

Which is more? Talk about how much things cost. Point out the prices in the produce section. Which is more? Apples or pears? Oranges or lemons?

How many words can you read? Grocery stores are full of reading opportunities. Encourage your child to look for words they recognize and can read. Keep count of how many words they read and encourage them to beat their score the next time they go to the grocery store with you.

Try out one or two of these activities the next time you are driving with your child or have to take them grocery shopping with you. Be amazed by how much they know and want to show you! Trust me, you’ll see the gains.

Christmas Wish-List by Age

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Here is a short list of recommended Christmas presents for children by age. These are toys or games that encourage children to use their imaginations, to play actively and in general support their learning at their given age.

Age 0-2 years

At this age, children are learning rapidly and constantly updating what they know about the world through their sensory experiences (especially through vision, sound and through their mouths). This, and teething, is why your baby is constantly putting things in their mouth.

Many of the toys you remember from your childhood are actually wonderful, developmentally appropriate toys that promote learning. Remember those stacking rings with the pole? Babies learn about different sizes, ordering by size and stacking through playing with this activity. (http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80021008/) The ball with the different shape cut-outs and matching pieces? Again, learning about sizes, shapes, fine motor skills, colour.  (http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/80163229/ or http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=11756885)

Dolls and stuffed animals are also great. There are some great boy and girl dolls out there now, in case Daddy is a little nervous about giving his son a doll. (http://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/madame_alexander/stinky_kids_12_inch_doll.cfm)

The Musical Inchworm by Lamaze (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/toys/Musical-Inchworm/796714271071-item.html?ikwsec=Toys) has a variety of textures and sounds for your baby to explore.

Other ideas to consider:

-building blocks (http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=4175734)

-balls, wagons, push-tricycles and other toys that promote muscle development (http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=11636488)

-pretend play (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/toys/Toolbox-Fill-and-Spill/000772030380-item.html?ikwsec=Toys or http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/50183870/)

-simple, repetitive board books (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Brown-Bear–Friends-Board-Book-Gift-Set/9780805082739-item.html?ref=item_page:richrel)

-simple puzzles (http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=11726663)

Preschool Years

Children continue to learn through sensory experiences, but they also begin to learn through social experiences at this age. Make-believe play is essential at this age. Toys that encourage children to use their imaginations or that offer more than one possible use are beneficial to problem-solving and creativity.

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

-imaginative play: (http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/categories/series/11674/)

-craft materials: (http://www.crayola.com/products/list.cfm?categories=PAINT,Finger%20Paint)

-stories with predictable phrasing, rhyme, repetition (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/If-You-Give-Dog-Donut-Laura-J-Numeroff/9780060266837-item.html?ref=by-shop%3akid%3akids-age-category-preschoolers%3aIndigokid-Gift-Guide-Preschoolers%3a13)

-board games (http://www.mastermindtoys.com/Candy-Land.aspx)

-Play d’oh

-Dolls, cars, trucks, dinosaurs, etc.

-dress-up materials (http://teachers.scholarschoice.ca/products/Dramatic-Play-491/Dress-Up-2592/)

-puppets (http://teachers.scholarschoice.ca/products/Dramatic-Play-491/Puppets-2720/)

-building blocks (http://teachers.scholarschoice.ca/products/Early-Childhood-Resources-1736/Block-Play-485/Foam-Building-Blocks-Set-152-pieces-Wood-Grain-p45521/pstart1/)

Early School Years (Grades 1-3)

Kids at this age like reading from familiar series, such as the Rainbow Fairies, Scaredy Squirrel, Geronimo Stilton and Robert Munsch books. It is harder to satisfy children at this age with just any toy because peer pressure sets in and they inevitably want the “cool toy”. Try to balance out the “cool” toy fad items with some suggestions from below. Kids at this age are love to create, are very social and have interests that are a bit more set in their ways i.e. sports, science, crafts, dress-up. Social skills are an important area of development at this age, which can be easily reinforced at home through board games and story time. Remember the basic principle while looking for a toy: can be used in a variety of ways and encourages development.

-board games (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/toys/Cranium-Family-Edition/653569387664-item.html?ikwid=cranium&ikwsec=Toys)

-puzzles (http://toys.scholarschoice.ca/products/Puzzles-Games-2055/7-Years-Old-558/Create-Your-Own-Floor-Puzzle-p47511/pstart1/)

-crafts (http://www.mastermindtoys.com/Alex-All-Duct-Out.aspx)

-building (http://www.rokenbok.com/estore/construction or http://www.mastermindtoys.com/LEGO-Castle-Kings-Carriage-Ambush.aspx)

-dolls (http://www.mastermindtoys.com/Melrose-Dollhouse-with-Furniture.aspx)

-books

Junior Grades (4-6)

These children are much more particular about what they want, so I’m only going to list a few series of books that I recommend.

-Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan (ties in nicely to gr.5 social studies content about Ancient Civilizations)

-Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan (also ties in to gr.5 social studies content about Ancient Civilizations

-Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

-Adventures of Tintin by Herge

-Roald Dahl

-Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I also suggest anything non-fiction that currently has your child’s attention. Popular topics for this age range: robotics, animals, environment, space, castles, myths and legends

 

 

It’s the School’s Job!

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More and more teachers are encountering parents who believe that it is the school’s sole responsibility to educate their child. While they are correct that it is the school’s job to provide much of their education, they are wrong to believe that they have no part in their child’s learning. Quite the opposite, in fact. Parents are their child’s first and most important educator.

Parents don’t have to send their children to school until they are 6 years old. Parents teach their children how to talk, how to listen, how to behave and what to believe about the world. Parents contribute to a child’s moral development and influence their values so heavily that even in adult-hood we still can recall value-related messages from our parents. Children bring all this information with them before they come to school. Without the direct teaching of their parents, children would not know how to communicate or how to behave. Studies of children who have been severely neglected or abandoned show that these kids have difficulty ever learning how to talk or behave appropriately in social situations. Without the teaching of their parents, these kids missed out and were never able to make up for their deficits.

Just like learning to speak and learning how to behave, parents have a key role in the more formal aspects of their child’s education. Did you know that there are certain developmental milestones that have an expiration date? This means that there are some skills that have to be mastered by a certain age, or they will never be fully mastered. An example of this is reading. If children are not confident readers by the end of grade three, it is very likely they will never be confident or strong readers.

Did you also know that there are many skills that children need to develop BEFORE they can learn to read. There are a variety of great resources available online to help parents:

– http://edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/parentGuideLit.pdf

– http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/reader/index.html

– http://www.readingrockets.org/

Some easy activities to do with your children:

– go to your early years centre

(http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/oeyc/locations/index.aspx)

– go to your public library for story time and take out some books

– read a story to your child every night before bed

– point out letters and common words when you are out (ex. Stop, Walk, your town’s name, favourite foods in the grocery store)

– play rhyming games with silly and nonsense words

There are many more resources available online with suggestions to help you as a parent give your child the best head start possible. Use them, give your kid your best effort to help them be as successful as possible.

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”