Monday, November 14, 2011

Creative Craft Corraling

Sure, you LOVE your child, and her artwork is PRECIOUS but you don't want it strewn around the house. I've been there. I understand. With my children currently ages 8, 7 and 5 1/2 I "get" it. So when my daughter presented me with yet another masterpiece (she's really into a coloring phase) I decided I had to come up with some creative ways to keep all the papers together. Check out the article I wrote for the retail store "The School Box" on their blog "A Learning Experience" entitled "Creative Ways to Organize Children's Artwork".

Photo from: Phaitoon

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Like LEGO?

Do you like LEGO bricks? (Okay, really who doesn't?) When our family received a postcard in the mail about an upcoming LEGO event we were SOOOOO excited (and yes, we just couldn't hide it).  This coming weekend the LEGO store at Discovery Mills Mall is hosting a master model building event where children can help create a larger-than-life SpongeBob Square Pants.  Check out THIS ARTICLE for more information on this event and more LEGO store offerings.

Here's my son posing w/ a "mini" Bob, the larger one is in the background.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Report Helps

So your child has been assigned a book report for school. Don't freak out about the complexity of a book report, they're as easy as pie, or rather ICE CREAM. 

Check out THIS fun (and short) article for tips on how to remember what to include on a book report — HINT— think of an ice cream cone and you (and your child) won't forget a single thing on the report. And once your child scores an "A" on the report, be sure to reward him or her with a tasty treat, to help remind her what it took to get the grade.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's Your Agenda?

What's your teaching style? Photo by Arvind Balaraman
All teachers have an agenda in their teaching, it's inevitable. There is no such thing as a "neutral curriculum" since everyone has a slant or viewpoint towards subjects.

So what's your agenda, what's your reason for teaching? What's your viewpoint? Visit "Is There Any Such Thing as Neutral Curriculum" for more insights on the subject.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Easy (and Healthy) Lunch Options

Photo from: Felixco, Inc.
This late in the school year and you're bound to either hand your child lunch money, or just toss the most convenient thing in the bag without looking at the nutrition facts.

Don't get me wrong, not all pre-packaged food is bad for your child, but you'll have to do a little investigating to ensure it's meeting your child's nutritional needs. 

For a list of healthy (and convenient) foods to add to your child's lunch, check out THIS ARTICLE.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

About Learning Preferences

I'm a firm believer in students figuring out what their learning preference is. Just as each child is not the same, not each student learns the same way.  Although the learning preference or modality is not a new concept, Neil Fleming has devised a simple system to help people determine their learning preference.

Check out my three-part article series on learning preferences:
No Cookie Cutter Learning: Understanding Learning Preferences, Part 1
No Cookie Cutter Learning: Understanding Learning Preferences, Part 2
No Cookie Cutter Learning: Understanding Learning Preferences, Part 3

For a brief overview on the subject of learning preferences, check out this presentation below. While not everything jives with Fleming's VARK system, you'll at least get an idea of what learning preferences are, and why they are so important.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's Your Function?

As I was trolling around YouTube today I ran across the good ole School House Rock video "Conjunction Junction" and couldn't help but post it here.

In many ways, it relates to the post I made a few days ago, about learning the parts of speech.  And if your children or students aren't aware of the glories of School House Rock, consider exposing them to this great educational series!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Medieval Education

Medieval education was geared toward the classes.
In today's modern thinking we realize that education allows people to rise above their social class, however this was not the case during the medieval era where people stayed in their class, partly due to their lack of education. But was their education "appropriate" (as asked by the assignment in one of my classes)?

Check out THIS ARTICLE for information on the educational system and the types of things different classes learned.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Websites to Help with Math

Does your child struggle with math concepts? Does your child need help understanding something? Are you intimidated with math, or just want another way to help your tech-savvy child learn?  Check out THIS ARTICLE with a list (and description) of some of the coolest and educational math sites out there on the web.

Of course while writing this article I couldn't help but bring in one of the FUN (okay, and corny) PBS shows from when I was a kid- that's right "Square One".  Check out the video above for the song about tessellations which help kids understand what a tessellation is and isn't.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to Learn the Parts of Speech

Little Miss Muffet
Are you a teacher or homschooler needing help teaching your students about the parts of speech?

Use the poem "Little Miss Muffet" and THIS ARTICLE to help you (and your student) the difference between an adjective, adverb, conjunction, noun, pronoun and verb.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How Choosy Christians Choose Curriculum

Photo from: Surachai
More than just a catchy title to this blog posting, choosing a curriculum for your school (or homeschool) is an important deal.

What should Christians look for in a curriculum?

What should Christians stay clear from?

Check out THIS ARTICLE complete with some videos snippets of David Barton on the foundation of US Education.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Benjamin Franklin on Education

I've always been interested in the life of Benjamin Franklin.  The guy just seemed so unique!  And while I was disappointed to learn that the Disney cartoon I watched about Franklin and a mouse as a child was pure fiction (sigh!) I still enjoyed considering how he came up with all his inventions and theories.

So when I had a choice of class assignments on Franklin, I jumped at the activity.  Check out THIS ARTICLE for a brief explanation of what Franklin thought of the formal educational system in the early United States.

Although never a president, Franklin earned his way onto a bill.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

All About Relational Aggression

Parents and teachers alike should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of relational aggression and bullying.  Recognizing the difference between harmless teasing and cyberbullying is important, and could actually save a child's life.

Check out THIS ARTICLE for information on the subject, and view the other related articles at the bottom for more information on what relational aggression is, and how to report or prevent it from harming your child.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Set up a Recycling Center

Encourage your family (or even your classroom of students) to recycle more by setting up a recycling center for easier sorting and convenience.

Instead of dumping everything into one container, set up a complete shelving with baskets or bins for each type of recyclable.

Check out the article DIY Recycling Center for great tips, ideas, and even products you can integrate into your own center.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Creative Parenting- Turning ho-hum outings into traditions

When creating the article "How to Turn Outings into Traditions" I couldn't help but think of the great musical "Fiddler on the Roof".  Even though this article has nothing to do with the song, or the movie for this matter, I couldn't resist adding it to the blog.

But if you're interested in how to change everyday outings into fun traditions for the family check out THIS ARTICLE for more information, tips and ideas on parenting.  For more info on the resource I used for the article, check out Creating Family Traditions: Making Memories in Festive Seasons (Let's Make a Memory Series).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Science Project on Hand Washing

Is hand washing really as important as the Centers for Disease Control (and moms) tell us? Consider conducting a fun science experiment (instructions HERE) with information on how germs spread, and why washing your hand thoroughly is so important.

Be sure to click the link to the left for supplies you'll need for the experiment, such as glo-germ and a black light that shows how much "germs" on your hands before and after washing. This experiment makes a great science fair project, and also works as a great teaching activity for science class.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Bulletin Boards

Ready Letters Playful Font Yellow 4" Uppercase/Lowercase Combo PackTeachers decorate the classroom with bulletin boards to make the learning environment more colorful and intellectually stimulating.

Learn how to size the titles for your bulletin board, and learn placement options with the help from this ehow article: How to Put Titles on a Bulletin Board.

Look for bulletin board letters HERE, HERE or HERE on

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Teaching Your Child to Read

Teaching your child to read can be the most fun (and frustrating) parts of parenting.  Some children pick it up easier while others struggle to form the sounds and blends into words.

Help your child learn to read easier, but employing the techniques found the article titled How to Teach Your Child to Read Easily or check out my other Hubs for reading helps and tricks, useful for parents, homeschoolers and teachers alike.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Classroom Craft- Visualize Votives

Looking for a fun and functional craft for the kids in your class?  Consider decorating votive candle holders with a variety of decorating supplies. For example, while you can paint the glass votives, you can also apply things such as stickers or spooky googly eyes.

Check out THIS ARTICLE for steps and suggestions on how to make several varieties of votives.

Keep in mind that glass votives aren't an appropriate craft for young children, as the glass may break on the child's way home.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gearing Up for School

photo from: photostock
It's school time again! Although some schools in the country have already started up again, others won't start until after Labor Day.

Regardless of when school starts, routines help things run smoother inside the home and at school. Help your child start the school year out on the right foot by setting up plans and routines. Check out the article How to Get Your Child Ready for the Coming School Year.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Relational Aggression Information

Do you know what relational aggression is? Although you may not have heard the term "relational aggression" you may have heard the nickname for it, or at least the movie named after the unfortunate phenomenon. "Mean Girls" describes a mentality where people treat others badly by name calling and bullying, so much so that it torments the victim.  Although it is most common in girls, and often occurs anonymously over the internet and chat rooms, it is a real problem and shouldn't be written off as normal school-yard teasing.  Just ask the parents of Megan Meir about the seriousness of the issue.

Can you spot the signs and symptoms of relational aggression?  Check out my series on the subject on HubPages you'll find titles such as:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homeschooling Bible Materials

photo from: graur razvan ionut

Having kids in a (free) public school expensive enough, but when you make the choice to homeschool your children the expenses of school materials can pile up quickly.

Check out THIS ARTICLE for a list of websites that offer a variety of FREE Christiasn materials (think printables, coloring pages an audio stores) to help defer the costs.

Not a parent of homeschooling children, don't worry. A lot of these materials can be used in the traditional classroom or as activities in church or Sunday School as well.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Writing Story Helps

photo from: Teerapun

Does your child buckle with fear at the sight of a blank page of paper? (Believe it or not, the creative side of assignments freaks me out! I just want someone to tell me exactly what they want, so I can empathize.) 

Instead of encouraging a melt-down, help your child write the best paper he can, by reminding him of five important things in writing papers—indenting paragraphs, using sensory words, story flow and sequence, and using "color" words". 

Check out THIS ARTICLE for five tips on how to remember the elements of a good paper (hint, use your hands) as well as a few resources on writing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Help Your Child Read Two-Vowel Words

Does your child need help learning to read two-vowel words? Check out this cute video from the PBS Kids show, "Between the Lions" for an explanation of the the two-vowel rule. Be sure to explain though that the two vowels don't always have to be next to each other too though in order to make the "long" sound.

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Bus Safety

Does your child know what it takes to be safe before, during and after he rides the school bus? Does your child understand that safety is an important issue when riding— and waiting for — the bus?

Check out THIS ARTICLE from HubPages and view the video below for more information on what your child can do to stay safe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to School Made Easy

Laptop Lunch B620-Purple Bento Set 2.0 with Outer Container, 5 Inner Containers, and AccessoriesI've recently started contributing to "A Learning Experience"  - the blog for the fabulous teaching/school supply store "The School Box."

Check out my first writing piece for their site, "Back to School, Easing the Transition for Everyone" which includes tips for how to make those first few weeks of school easier for everyone — you, and kids included.  

And don't forget to check out the video below, for helpful hints as to what does and doesn't constitute a healthy sandwich, and how you can create a healthy school lunch.

Friday, July 29, 2011

What I Think of Saxon Phonics

It's no secret around here that I prefer the A Beka Book curriculum to other Christian and homeschooling materials, particularly because of the phonics and reading system that they base their language arts courses around. But in the spirit of fairness I decided to write about a different reading system today. 

Check out the article "What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Saxon Phonics" for more information on the system.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal

Have you heard about the Atlanta Public School cheating scandal, where teachers were systematically changing students answers to create higher test scores? How can parents expect students to not lie or cheat when the people who instruct them daily in the classroom don't adhere to the same principles?
Check out THIS ARTICLE for information on the subject, and why such practices compromise leadership and ethics.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Does Every Child Deserve a Trophy?

Photo from Ambro
I recently read an article in Family Circle magazine and almost stood up clapping at the writer's response.

Read my response to Karin Fuller's June 2011 essay "All Is Not Fair" by clicking HERE and view the original digital version of the article by clicking HERE.

Check out books on parenting tips from the great (and wise) Dr. James Dobson and the Focus on the Family. For more specific issues, check out Bringing Up Boys and Bringing Up Girls.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Language Arts and Inchworms?

I know some teachers create some themed units that are out-of-this-world crazy, but a was once challenged to combine the language arts classroom and inchworms.

At first I thought there was no way I cold use the creepy crawly worms into language arts, but after much consideration (and research) I came up with a splendid article HERE on just that subject.  If you're looking for other fun ways to add life to your language arts classroom check out the Amazon store (through the link to the left) for books and resources.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Multiplying & Dividing for Measurements

Do your kids struggle multiplying and dividing measurements such as inches and feet? Do you sometimes know how to convert the numbers properly too? Why not check out THIS ARTICLE for tips on how to get your numbers straight.Why not consider adding these items to your library/ classroom: Math-terpieces, Board Dudes Dry Erase Activity Book - Letters, Numbers, Shapes & Games (Juvenile) (11050UA-4), Sizing Up Measurement: Activities for Grades 3-5 Classrooms or Learning Resources LER1207 Learning Resources 5-Piece Gallon Measurement Set, Grades 1+.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making Two-Step Equations

If your math students are struggling understanding what "X" or "Y" mean in an equation, help them learn about the values in context by making a word problem. Check out the info in THIS ARTICLE for tips on how to give a value to the variable and how make your own equation.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Benefits of Preschool

Don't let your child's preschool be a glorified baby sitter. Not only are the professionals way overqualified for such labels, but your preschooler is capable of so much learning.

Since you've likely noticed the brilliance in your own child, ensure that your child's preschool uses the day's time wisely. Sure, play time is important for youngsters as well, but your child should come home each day having learned something. Check out THIS ARTICLE for information on preschool curriculum activities.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Too Much Poop

Is it just me, or are ALL the PBS Kids shows talking about "poop" too much?

In the past week (or so) I've seen a Dinosaur Train show on poop as well as a Fetch with Ruff Ruffman about poop too.  Then to top it off, a recent Family Fun magazine I got in the mail had the word "poopologist" on the back, and don't you know the kids saw it.  I mean, come on people! I know the stuff is "interesting" but dedicating shows to the subject matter is a little weird in my opinion. Now my kids are walking around the house talking way too frequently about poop. Oh well, maybe it will wear off in a few days!

Even though I'm a bit miffed by the show's concepts, I gotta love THAT they're teaching important science concepts!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Types of Science Projects

The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You! (Everything Kids Series)Sure, you know there are differences in science projects, but do you really know the difference? Check out THIS ARTICLE for information on the different types (I'll give you a clue: hands-on, research & record, observation, construction and demonstration). Read the article above for info on how to implement these types of projects into your classroom.

For more information on how to integrate cool science project into your classroom, check out the book pictured to the right Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book or the book with a project for every day of the year- 365 Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials.

The Robins are Gone!

Well, the Robins have left their nest and haven't come back. The kids enjoyed watching the birds get fluffier and larger every day. Amazingly we never heard them cheep, and they didn't make a mess beneath the tree.

A few days ago we saw the last bird flop out of the tree and neither Mrs. Robin nor the babies have returned. The nest did somewhat fall over in the wind and we've been able to see the inner workings of the nest, which even my husband admitted was "cool."

With my kids' new-found knowledge (and love) of birds I'm planning on checking out the book The Robins In Your Backyard or Backyard Birds so the kids can enjoy learning the names of the other birds we see in the front yard. Thankfully the loss of the birds has been tempered by the frequent visits of bunny rabbits in the yard!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teaching Kids About the Plant Life Cycle

Although school might be out for most people right now, you can still use the summer garden to help teach your kids about the plant life cycle. Try growing beans in a cup, or plant some partially grown plants — like tomato plants — in your garden to show your kids the circle of life, er plant life. Check out THIS ARTICLE on how homeschoolers, non-schoolers, parents or teachers can teach kids about plants.

Consider starting your own herb garden, just buying a few potted plants to encourage the little scientist to get interested in plants. Use the summer months to let them journal about how the growing plants change. Check out the book "Get Growing" by Louis Walker for into integrating even more plant projects!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Map Skills & Our Trip to the Zoo

Few things are as fun as a family trip to the zoo. Although just observing the animals, and telling your child where they are from might educational enough, take the time to incorporate basic life skills with your children by handing them a map of the zoo.

Map skills may be seen as passé, what with GPS devices in cars and on cell phones; but basic map skills-knowing which way is north or south, and learning how to recognize landmarks- will help children throughout their entire life.

Take, for example, a recent trip my family of took to the Atlanta Zoo. My children were very excited to see the panda bears, (see the Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam here ) thanks in part to an episode of “Curious George”, that they wanted to see the pandas straight away.  The problem was that the pandas were nowhere near the entrance. Sure, we could have asked one of the friendly staffers how to find the pandas, but it was just as simple — and fun — to read the map and find our way around the zoo.

Try teaching your children about reading maps with these simple steps in mind:

Step 1- Teach your children how to hold the map correctly.
Although maps are traditionally held with North being held upwards, maps of locations such as zoos should be held with the way you are traveling pointed upwards. Introduce directional terms to your children such as “north, south, east, west” and “right and left” or “before and after.”

Step 2- Recognize important symbols.
Some common locations such as bathrooms, first aid stations and eating areas are fairly universal symbols and frequently pictured in blue and white. Teach your children about other symbols on maps, such as trails or roads, grassy areas, and bodies of water such as streams of pools.  Make sure to point out safe places to meet up if you were to become separated. 

Step 3- Find your location on a map.
Teach children to look for landmarks that will help them determine where they are. It’s simple to find where you are when you start using the map at the beginning of your zoo trip, just look for the place labeled “entrance.” But if you find a map half way, or decided to start using it later you’ll need to be able to identify landmarks to know where you are. Show your children how can find your location by noting that you are to the “right of the zebras and left of the lions” or just “south of the kangaroo exhibit.”

Step 4-Don’t forget to have fun!
Although larger city maps may have a legend or scale to show you how far distances are, zoo maps aren’t always drawn to scale. Have children estimate how many penguin waddles or kangaroo hops it will take to reach the next exhibit. And of course, let your children waddle, hop, and skip to their heart’s content.

On our outing to the zoo each of my three children asked to hold their own map, and (like the avid explorers that they are) they held on to the maps dutifully on the entire trip. Throughout the day I heard them telling me and each other things such as “gorillas are just ahead” or to “look to the left and you’ll see the tortoise.”

Yes, the zoo may be fun in and of itself, but teaching my children an important life skill is just as exciting to me.