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Archive for the ‘Subject Discussion’ Category

Tell an Edible Story

Posted by teacher on October 27, 2015

What You Need:

    Jello
    Cookie sheets (about an inch deep)
    Cookie cutters
    Platters

What You Do:

    Make several batches of different colors of Jello on separate cookie sheets and let cool in the refrigerator.
Have the kids help stir the Jello.

    After gathering all the cookie cutters in your house (feel free to mix Christmas ones with Easter ones,
whatever you have), have the kids choose which ones they want to use for their story.
    Give each child a platter (or a clean plastic place mat) to put his or her Jello shapes onto. Have them press
their chosen cookie cutters into the Jello. After they have collected all the shapes, have them arrange them on their mat or platter.
    Get ready to hear a story! When they’re done, it’s gobble time. Let everyone have a turn and save the leftovers to go at it again on another day.

Find Out Why Leaves Change Color

Posted by teacher on October 1, 2015

What You Need:

  • Leaves
  • small jar (a baby food jar work well)
  • cover for jars or aluminum foil or plastic wrap
  • rubbing alcohol
  • paper coffee filter
  • shallow pan
  • hot tap water
  • plastic knife or spoon

What You Do:

  1. Have your child collect 2-3 large leaves from the same tree type. You and your child should tear or chop the leaves into very small pieces and put them into small jars.
  2. Add enough rubbing alcohol to the jar to cover the leaves. Using a plastic knife or spoon, carefully chop and grind the leaves in the alcohol. SAFETY NOTE: rubbing alcohol can be harmful if mishandled or misused. Use in a well-ventilated area, and avoid contact with skin.
  3. Have your child cover the jar very loosely with a lid, plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the jar carefully into a shallow tray containing 1 inch of hot tap water.
  4. Keep the jar in the water for at least a half-hour, longer if needed, until the alcohol has become colored (the darker the better). Twirl the jar gently about every five minutes. Replace the hot water if it cools off.
  5. Have your child cut a long thin strip of coffee filter paper. Remove the jar from the water and uncovered. Place a strip of filter paper into the jar so that one end is in the alcohol. Bend the other end over the top of the jar and secure it with tape.
  6. The alcohol will travel up the paper, bringing the colors with it. After 30-90 minutes the colors will travel different distances up the paper as the alcohol evaporates. Your child should be able to see different shades of green, and possibly some yellow, orange or red, depending on the type of leaf.

What happened?

Chlorophyll is a green compound that hides the other colored pigments present in leaves. In the autumn chlorophyll breaks down, allowing the other pigments to be seen. The mix of pigments in a leaf may be separated into bands of color by the technique of paper chromatography. Chromatography involves the separation of mixtures into individual components, which you just did using alcohol and energy (heat). Then, by “absorption” and “capillarity,” separation can take place! The paper holds the substances using absorption, while capillarity pulls the substances up the paper at different rates. Pigments are separated on the paper and show up as colored streaks or bands.

Sink or Float: A Science Experiment

Posted by teacher on September 9, 2015

What You Need:

  • Objects for the experiment (small sponge, paper clip, toothpick, marble, plastic spoon, penny, plastic straw, crayon)
  • 2 large pieces of construction paper
  • Newspaper
  • Markers
  • Plastic dishpan
  • Pencil
  • Blank paper
  • Spiral bound notebook
  • Towel

What You Do:

  1. Label one piece of construction paper with the word “Sink” and the other piece with the word “Float.” Gather a bunch of small everyday items, such as the examples listed above, and put them on a table covered with newspaper.
  2. Show your child the objects you’ve collected and tell her that you’re going to conduct an experiment to find out which objects will sink in water and which will float. Make sure she’s clear on what these words mean before you get started, then ask her to predict which of the items will sink and which will float. Hold up each item, one by one, and as your child makes her prediction, place it on the appropriate piece of paper. For example, if she guesses that the penny will float, put it on the construction paper marked Float. Once she has made guesses for all of the items, give her the blank paper and ask her to write each item’s name (or draw its picture if she’s not writing yet), to document her predictions.
  3. Time for testing! Fill the plastic dishpan with water and put one item in at a time. Discuss the result. Then, dry it off and lay it on the appropriate piece of construction paper, either Sink or Float. Once all the items have been tested, give your child the spiral bound notebook and ask her to record the results of her experiment. Wrap the activity up by talking about the results.

Germ Science: Why Handwashing Matters

Posted by teacher on September 8, 2015

What You Need:

  • Two or more slices of wheat or dark bread. (White bread takes longer to grow mold because it has so many preservatives in it, unless, of course, it’s homemade!)
  • Zippered sandwich bag for each slice of bread
  • Tongs
  • Permanent marker
  • Plant mister

What You Do:

  1. Set it up. This works best if you and your child set up the experiment after a trip to the playground (or other similarly dirt-laden fun) and before he or she washes hands.
  2. Ask your child to “wipe” off his or her hands to get rid of visible dirt. (Most children believe this is clean enough!)
  3. Help your child use the permanent marker to label two sandwich bags: “Touched” and “Not Touched.”
  4. Let your child use the tongs to remove a slice of bread from the wrapped loaf and place in the sandwich bag marked “Not touched.”
  5. Let your child take another slice of bread and rub his or her hands thoroughly on both sides of the bread. He or she should put this slice into the bag labeled  “Touched.” Before zipping the bag, allow your child to give one to two gentle mists of water into each bag. Zip the bags and tape or place on a shelf, in a closet, or inside a cupboard. Check the bags every few days. Which one grows the most mold first?

What’s Going On? Mold will grow on both slices, but much sooner and more abundantly on the “Touched” slice. Help your child understand that the germs that he or she did not see on the “wiped-off” hands became food for the mold. We certainly wouldn’t want to eat those germs, would we? Best to wash them off before we handle food!

Helping Young Children Cope With Frustration

Posted by teacher on May 26, 2015

One of the best lessons that you can help your young child learn over the years is how to cope with frustration. As they move through school, children will be asked to do increasingly challenging tasks that are at or beyond the limits of their capabilities; they will inevitably encounter frustration, both in academic and social arenas. In fact, the gulf between successful and unsuccessful children will not necessarily arise due to differences in intelligence and skills, but rather due to differences in ability to handle setbacks and persist in the face of frustration.

Preschool children do not have very much experience dealing with frustration, as all of their needs have always been met by their caregivers. They haven’t yet acquired all of the language skills that they need to express themselves verbally, and they also lack the brain development that enables adults to label and regulate emotions and how those emotions are expressed. In order for children to develop both the verbal and social/emotional skills that they need, it’s important that they be encounter situations that involve a small, manageable amount of frustration.

Preschoolers can get easily overwhelmed, and need a lot of assistance in terms of breaking down problems into manageable parts, a key step in handling frustrating situations. Children that do not learn how to deal with frustration early in life may encounter later problems, such as lack of confidence, anxiety, anger, trouble with friends, and difficulty trying new things. If they do not know how to tolerate and cope with frustration, children will always expect others to solve their problems and will give up in the face of the first sign of difficulty.

Keep calm. When you see your child become frustrated, try not to mirror that frustration in your own voice or behaviors. Instead, focus on staying calm and talking your child through the situation in a gentle voice, guiding her to mirror you. Acknowledge that she is frustrated, but stress the importance of continuing to try to do something that she finds difficult.

Set challenges. Look for opportunities to challenge your children. Routinely ask them to do things that are slightly beyond what they have been capable of doing in the past. Do not jump in to help them. If you see them struggling, instead of immediately helping, try to prompt them by offering hints to make the situation easier. If they are really having difficulty and do not seem to be making any progress after a few minutes, break the task down into small steps. If necessary, guide them through or even do the first step for them, and then back off again. Your child should be hearing the following phrase quite often: “Try it yourself first and if you can’t do it, then I’ll help you get started.”

Wait for it. Help your child learn the important skill of delaying gratification. Preschool children do not yet have the brain development or experience to effectively cope when they have to wait for what they want, so you have to give them practice developing this skill. As much as it is practically possible, have them wait for what they want, even if it’s just for a minute or two. Talk to them about how to distract themselves while they are waiting for something.

Encourage independence. Make sure that your child is given many opportunities to play with other children in situations where close adult supervision is not required. Adults should be responsible for ensuring children’s safety, but other than that, try to let children work out problems among themselves. When children play independently, they learn how to deal with frustration in ways other than letting adults solve their problems.

Foster effective communication. Do not teach your child that expressing frustration inappropriately, such as through screaming or hitting, is a good way to get your attention, even if it is negative attention. Ignore these behaviors if they’re not causing serious harm, and give lots of positive attention for times when your child handles a potentially frustrating situation in a healthy manner. Point out specifically what she did effectively.


Rely on routine.
Keep your child’s world as predictable and routine as possible. If children feel confident and secure in general, they will be able to handle minor setbacks and frustrations.

Talk with the teacher. Use your child’s preschool teacher as a resource. Ask for suggestions about how the preschool deals with frustration in children in general, as well as for specific tips about helping your own child. The more that you can be consistent with what the preschool is doing, the easier it will be for your child to internalize the lessons that you are both trying to teach.

Be a role model.

Tips for Dining Out With Kids

Posted by teacher on May 22, 2015

12

Make Reservations

A seemingly never-ending wait to be seated can turn your chipper child into a whining, inconsolable mess. When you call, it’s a good time to mention that you’ll need a high chair or booster seat if available. Many restaurants only have a few of them on hand, so they might agree to hold one for you.

Look for Special Deals

Plenty of restaurants run promotions where kids eat for free or nearly free on designated days and times. Not only does that put a dent in the bill, but it usually means other kids will be present, and you won’t be the only one bringing kids to the party. Always call ahead to verify that the deal is still in effect.

Order à la Carte

Oftentimes, individual items or side dishes are substantial enough to satiate your little foodie. Some restaurants will do half portions too; it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you like to dine out on a regular basis, these choices can add up to significant savings. And smaller meals can be crucial if you teach your kid to always finish what’s on his plate.

Go Early

If you go before a restaurant’s peak hours, you can get in and out with minimal fuss and maximum attention from the kitchen and wait staff. This can also be a cost saver, as some restaurants offer early bird specials and bargain bites during happy hour.

Separate Youngsters

If you’re bringing more than one child, at least in the early stages of dining out, keep them separate, with an adult between them. This reduces chances of your little guests being silly or picking a fight with one another.

Let Your Kid Order

Preschoolers are old enough to do this with a little coaching. This will give your child a sense of independence as well as a vested interest in the food he’s chosen. Plus, he will reap the added benefit of learning how to communicate what he wants in a clear, poised manner.

Raising Honest Kids: 5 Tips

Posted by teacher on May 21, 2015

Children’s main source of knowledge on the topic of honesty is you. No, not your lectures or your punishments. It’s how you embody honesty that really counts.

Praise Honesty

Another way to show that you value honesty is to praise and reward children for telling the truth and acting with integrity. Most important, you need to show your children that you value honesty over winning. You may not realize that you are valuing winning over truthfulness when you overpraise achievements far more than acts of integrity. But if your child tells you the truth about disobeying or about a low test grade, the way that you react will pave the way for your child’s understanding of honesty.

Don’t Overreact

Remind yourself that when children lie, it is not a sign of sociopathy, criminal behavior, or moral ineptitude. Instead, it’s a sign that they’re just trying to get out of trouble, get what they want, or show their independence. All of these desires are normal ones in healthy children — and adults, for that matter. So when your child tells an obvious lie or you find out about his dishonesty, make sure that you stay calm and think about why he did it before responding.

Determine the Motive

Up to age 4 or so, children’s lies cannot really be viewed as true dishonesty. Their falsehoods are instead an attempt to revise the situation. For example, your child may know that grabbing a toy from a sibling was wrong, and therefore deny it. The child isn’t intentionally trying to trick anyone — except for himself — about what actually happened. These early lies are actually signs of maturity.

After age 4 or 5, however, children may lie in order to receive a reward, to avoid punishment, to avoid a parent’s anger, to gain an advantage, or to improve their own self-esteem. They may also lie to protect their own privacy, or that of a friend. Finding this motive can help you to have a sit-down discussion with your child about honesty and its importance.

Give Appropriate Consequences

Giving harsh consequences for lying may not necessarily teach your child anything. Instead, make the punishment fit the crime. For example, if you catch your child copying someone else’s answers on a homework assignment, have your child write to his teacher explaining what he did and why he won’t do it again. If your child lies about having broken a window, help the child make amends for both the broken window and the broken trust caused by the lie.

Although you can’t singlehandedly force your child to tell the truth, you can emphasize to your child the importance of honesty through both your actions and your words.

11 Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday at School

Posted by teacher on May 16, 2015

School birthday celebrations can be fun, academic, and still leave your child beaming with birthday bliss!

1. Build-Your-Own Birthday Treats – In kindergarten and first grade, following a simple recipe helps kids learn sequencing, processes, and following directions.

2. Watch a Birthday Video – Bring in the DVD of your child’s favorite storybook, or a video that connects with what the class is studying.

3. Host a Game Day. Bring in your child’s favorite reading or math game for the class to play. If the game that is best for small groups, plan to share the game during a scheduled math or reading “center time.”

4. Give a Gift. Let your child choose a gift for her class. It could be a book for the library, a word game for center time, or a toy for the pretend play area.

5. Throw a Book Party. Read your child’s favorite book and bring in a related activity or treat.

6. Write a Birthday Story. Bring in a blank book and have the class create a story about your child’s birthday, including themselves as characters. Your child will get a memento of her school year, and the class will enjoy the process of seeing themselves written into a story.

7. Birthday Math. If your child loves math, work with her teacher to incorporate a birthday theme into math. Bring in birthday manipulatives to use in an addition or subtraction lesson (candles to add to a birthday cake, or mini cupcakes to “subtract”).

8. Oh Goody Grab Bags. Instead of cupcakes, pack goody bags with pencils, erasers, and other treats.

9. Collect Autographs. On your child’s birthday, bring in a white t-shirt and fabric paint or markers. Have each child sign the t-shirt with their name and a birthday wish. This can also be done with a white pillowcase or the cover of a notebook.

10. Plan an End-of-Year Birthday Bonanza. If your kid’s birthday is during summer break, connect with other parents of kids who have birthdays during school vacations to plan a celebration during the last week of school. If you’re celebrating summer birthdays, encourage the kids to reflect on their year and make predictions about who they’ll be when they come back in the fall.

11. Throw a Season Mix-Up Party. If your child’s birthday is in summer, bring summer to school in the middle of winter. Plan activities that compare winter and summer, and celebrate with summer activities.

5 Teacher Tips You Can Use at Home

Posted by teacher on May 15, 2015

The best teachers know that all kids are complete individuals. While yours might drive you up the wall, chances are that she has some amazing qualities as well.

Use a Reward Chart

Smart teachers use visual aids to keep kids’ behavior in check. Whether it’s a warning chart, a punch card or a reward chart, kids can easily see their status and use it as a motivational tool to get work done and behave in class.

Give Positive Feedback

You’ve probably heard your child’s teacher gush to you during a parent-teacher conference, but you’re not the only one who gets kudos. Good teachers know that praise is often more effective than punishment when trying to elicit good behavior from a rowdy student, a rule that works well in the home.

Expect Excellence

One way that teachers get the best out of kids? By expecting nothing less. When kids act up, they’re told firmly that a teacher expects better and that’s that. This way, kids learn to govern themselves based on the standard set by the teacher. You can do the same at home by focusing on expectations, rather than disciplining poor behavior after the fact.

Get Involved

Of course teachers are actively involved in their students’ academics—it’s their job. But the best ones know that taking a personal and vested interest in each child means better overall success. Here’s the thing: Of course you’re personally interested in the raising of your child. But how vested are you really? Are you content to sit and surf the web while your child tries to figure out her math homework solo? Or are you side by side, keeping her on task and answering questions? By getting involved in your child’s schoolwork and making yourself available, you’ll know what she’s studying, where she excels, where she struggles and how to help.

Mix Business and Pleasure

The business of raising a child is no joke. But take a tip from smart teachers and make sure that you mix in a little pleasure with all that business. Whether you take a silly break after encouraging your child to have some quiet time, you practice writing by working on some funny jokes or just breaking the routine with an ice cream cone, your child gets the chance to associate good times with some of the more routine stuff

10 Ways to Solve the Bedtime Battle

Posted by teacher on May 14, 2015

Kids’ Sleep Needs. When a child doesn’t get enough shuteye, it can lead to behavior problems, irritability, weakened immune system, moodiness, trouble concentrating, shortened attention span, clumsiness, tantrums, and hyperactivity.

1. Routines Work

Nighttime routines are important, as they give kids a sense of security and let them know what to expect next. Over time, a solid routine can reduce power struggles and make a child more cooperative during bedtime. A good routine is all about rhythm, so don’t be afraid to tweak until you find one that works for your child.

2. Short and Sweet

Naps are an essential part of a preschooler’s day. And if you eliminate them you run the risk of having a cranky kid on your hands. “Young children need daily naps until they reach the age of five.” However, if your youngster is not sleepy when bedtime arrives, shorten his naps by about 30 minutes.

3. Let’s Get Physical

Kids should get one hour of exercise every day (not too close to bedtime). Daily physical activity can help youngsters rest better during the night because it improves their overall health, burns excess energy, relieves stress, and boosts their immune systems.

4. I’m Warning You

Give your child a five minute heads-up before it’s time to get ready for bed. This allows him the opportunity to finish anything he’s doing and mentally prepare to hit the hay. Begin your child’s nighttime routine one hour before his established bedtime so he can have enough time to brush his teeth, bathe, get into his pajamas, and listen to a story.

5. Snack, Please

If dinner is served at 5:00 p.m. and your child’s bedtime is at 9:00 p.m., give him a small snack such as a graham cracker and a glass of milk before he brushes his teeth to keep him from waking up hungry during the night.

6. Just Say “No” to Caffeine

Typically, parents don’t mind giving a child a small sip of tea, hot cocoa, or cola. But products such as these contain caffeine and can cause sleeplessness, so they should be avoided before bedtime.

7. Calm Down

Pre-bedtime activities should be calm and quiet. High energy activities such as sports or dancing, as well as the sensory stimulation of television or loud music immediately before bedtime can interfere with a child’s ability to wind down, which makes it more difficult for him to nod off. Some appropriate nighttime activities include playing with play-dough, blocks, books, and puzzles.

8. Offer Rewards

Children love to be rewarded for their good works. So every night after your preschooler completes all of his bedtime tasks, let him put a sticker on a chart. At week’s end, reward him with something simple such as a new set of stickers or a coloring book.

9. Optimize Bedroom for Sleep

Television sets and video games in your child’s bedroom can distract from the room’s intended purpose—to get a good night’s rest. So keep these items out of your child’s sleeping area. The temperature should be comfortable, and the sound of soothing music or white noise in the background such as the hum of a fan or air purifier can gently lull your child to sleep.

10. Banish Bedtime Monsters

The fear of monsters under the bed is real for many children. And since monsters (in a child’s mind) only lurk in dark places, don’t disregard your youngster’s fears by forcing him to sleep in a pitch-black room.






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