Thought of the Week 11/10/08

Early Childhood Rubrics

Descriptive scales for organizing and interpreting data gathered from observations of children’s performance on a learning task and/or of children’s developmental status.

Happy Trails

I’m sure you’ve noticed…the weather has been terrific lately! With warmer weather like this (in November) it’s easy to get back outside and PLAY! There are many things to do outside with children: ride bike, soccer, football, hockey, dance, rake leaves, rollerblade, nature walks, scavenger hunts, chalk drawings, etc. It’s important that children have PLENTY of opportunities to be outside with nature. Recently, this website was brought to my attention. I’d like to share it with you to use with your family, childcare, or simply as a resource.

This “club” was recently started by a local mom of two. It’s FREE for parents/providers and children to join. Local events are held at various places throughout the metro each month for families to participate in and connect with nature. There are a few guidelines to follow (as taken from their website) if you want to be a part of the Nature Club-

Guidelines for Happy Trails Family Nature Club Adventurers
* Guardians must stay with their children at all times, and are solely responsible for their well-being.
* Please be respectful of the Earth, and other people.
* Please leave dogs at home.
* Be sure to dress for the weather, and layer clothing.
* It is a good idea to bring a pack with water, and a simple snack.
* While we will be keeping to the designated trails, kids will be encouraged to explore their surroundings. This may mean (with the plant’s permission) picking a couple of leaves, etc., or whatever the child needs to do to connect with nature.
* Attempt to strike a balance between sharing nature experiences with your child, and also leaving them alone to explore on their own.
* You may wish to leave a picnic in your car or backpack, to eat after the event has ended.
* Families are not obligated to stay for the duration of the outing. Feel free to leave early if you need to.

There are 3 events scheduled still for November and 2 for December. Check out their website and begin creating outdoor memories together!!

Sticky Situation

Have you ever wondered what the best way to get gum out of clothing was? I had the opportunity to find out last night.
Let me back up a bit. My 5 year old son was chewing bubble gum and playing on the Wii. He decided to be done with his gum and set it in the chair. Later that evening, my husband sat in the chair. Needless to say, he had gum stuck on his shorts. He tried to get it off, but that just seemed to smear it around. He wasn’t too thrilled.
I had heard of different solutions for this sticky situation: hot vinegar, peanut butter, ice, WD40, etc. I decided to try the ice, as I didn’t want to stain or ruin his shorts with the other ideas. I grabbed a reusable plastic frozen ice ‘bar’ (the kind you’d use in your lunch box). I set that underneath the layer of the shorts where the gum was. I waited about 4 minutes and began picking the gum off. In some areas, to my amazement, it chipped right off! The areas took a little more care and patience. I waited a few more minutes and then, using a butter knife, I gently scraped at the gum. Slowly, it began to come off until there was no gum resido left. The entire process took about 15 minutes with fantastic results!

Ask A Toddler

This post is a more light-hearted post. I’m introducing to you a video posted on YouTube regarding a toddler. It’s pretty comical because the toddler is ‘teaching’ other children how to throw a tantrum. Obviously the child is coached, but it still makes for a hilarious video. She’s pretty accurate too in the process.
In case you have a child that needs a little assistance with throwing tantrums, rest assured, he/she can get the training needed from Ask A Toddler: How to Throw a Tantrum!!!
You can view this adorable video at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=WLKukwm9ODo

Silly Books

I’d like to tell you about a website that’s great for promoting literacy. http://www.sillybooks.net/default.htm is a unique website where children are the authors. Every book on the website is written by children. And every month one story is produced as an animated book, complete with voices, music and sound effects for all to enjoy. There is even a cash prize for the winning stories!
This website has a lot more than just books though. Children can find games, stories, poems, jokes, puzles, etc. Games include memory match, counting, jigsaw puzzles, and numerous other games that stimulate cognitive development. The games are simple, but they’re interactive and educational. There are a couple games for older children as well.
CHILD BONUS- Another nice bonus is that all the words, instructions, jokes, etc. are typed for the child to see. They are highlighted as that particular word is read so the child can follw along.
TEACHER BONUS- Click on Classroom to find resources categorized by age and subject. You’ll find some animated songs that teach. You’ll also find The Dolch high frequency basic sight word list. This list identifies 220 non-noun words that beginning readers should be able to recognize on sight in order to build a solid foundation for reading.

If you know a child between the ages 4-16, encourage them to let their imagination run wild as they author their very own story. The contest rules, as taken from the sillybooks.net website, are below.

Contest Dates: September 1, 2007 through May 31, 2008. Since the contest is already over, you may VOTE on the website for your favorites. Voting ends September 30, 2008.
• Children are invited to write a silly book on any topic, but it must be under 300 words. It may be fiction or non-fiction. Books may be written by individual authors or in collaboration with friends or classmates, but all participants must be 16 years of age or younger.
• SillyBooks will choose a winning entry each month, between September, 2007 and April, 2008 (8 total monthly winners).
• SillyBooks’ visitors will vote on their favorite entries each month. Individuals may visit SillyBooks.net as often as they like to vote on their favorite entries each month.
• A panel of SillyBooks judges will choose the monthly winner from the top three entries each month.
• SillyBooks will pay a $25 cash prize to each monthly winning author.
• SillyBooks will produce each monthly winning book as a Flash animated picture book. Each winning book will be professionally illustrated, recorded by professional actors, and animated by one of our talented group of animators. SillyBooks pays all costs of producing each month’s winning book.
• SillyBooks will post the finished books on the web site (www.sillybooks.net) each month for viewers to read and enjoy.

A Game A Day

Feeling bored? Want to challenge your mind on your lunch break? Maybe you work with schoolagers and need something new and exciting to challenge them. http://www.agameaday.com/ is the website for you.

It’s fun and easy for people age 9-99. There are two different levels (I and II) depending on your age/skill. Once you choose your level, you’ll see a monthly calendar. Each day of the month has a new game to try. You click on the title of the game for that day, and you play! It’s that simple. The directions are given, as well as hints.

I’ve played some of the games and they can actually be quite challenging. My favorites are Winnie the Pooch and Word Search. The games are interactive and do need to be played online; although you might be able to print off the word search.

The goals of this website are extremely educational: To improve student learning in the areas of:

* Concentration and attention span
* Memory skills
* Hand-eye coordination
* Reading skills
* Writing skills
* Vocabulary and numeracy
* Confidence (through relevant feedback)
* Problem solving and critical thinking

Want a job?

I heard a lot of BUZZ this summer about students NOT being able to get a job as easily as in the past. Most of the jobs were entry level positions. It made me curious about the job outlook for our field, in child development. Many positions (teachers) require certain educational backgrounds and/or previous experience. We know the economy has been changing. We all feel the current crunch. Will that affect teachers?
I went to http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos069.htm to find out the current government stats. I was pleased to find out that “employment of school teachers is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2006 and 2016. Full day kindergarten and universal preschool programs, along with projected higher enrollment growth for preschool age children, will create many new jobs for preschool teachers, which are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.”
Did you know that MN is ranked 4th in the nation for top paying states in this occupation?? Good news, huh. If you’re wondering, New Jersey is the top paying state, which was about $3000 higher per year than MN.
It’s a great time to be in this field, and lucky for you, you’re in the right state!

Summer Sign Language @ DCTC

Each summer, DCTC offers a 1 credit course, taught by me, called Sign Language in Early Childhood. It’s a fast-paced, hands-on, fun course teaching students, parents, providers, etc. the ins and outs of using signs with children, regardless of hearing ability. Typically, students learn over 200 signs. The class meets only six nights (twice a week), for three weeks. At the end of the class, students show off their new signing skills by reading and signing a children’s book to the class. Take a peek at some of the pictures!!

Kids’ Wings

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while. With the holidays, come a packed schedule and Jan. brings the beginning of a new semester at DCTC. Now that I’ve settled in once again, I’d like to let you know about a website called Kids’ Wings. “Kids’ Wings was created by educators for educators who care deeply about bringing the best to children.”

You can visit Kids’ Wings at http://suzyred.com/ I have chosen this website because as I explored deeper and deeper into the website, I found it was a wealth of quick resources! On the homepage, you’ll see many different ‘rooms.’ There’s a room for everyone! You can sing in the Music Room, clarify your writing in the Writing Room, multiply your mathematical success in the Math Room, gain inspiration and tools in the Teacher Workroom and there is even a Joke Room! Oh, and of course, the kids’ favorite: the Recess Room (filled with Games).

In the music room, I have to admit, my favorite song is The ING Song. What a great learning tool! Some of the songs even have the actual music to listen too.

Make sure you have time to stop in for Recess and check out…Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena. Wow! School-agers will get a kick out of the Guess My Number Game.

There are MANY links to resources throughout this website! If you’re looking for some added fun, curriculum boost, or just something new…please visit http://suzyred.com/.

The Teacher’s Guide

The next website on the list for sharing to you is http://www.theteachersguide.com/ I chose this website because it is full of resources for lesson plans, thematic units, book activities, and teacher freebies.

There’s a most popular section where you can quickly link to popular (categorized) sites such as Lesson Plans, Thematic Units, Children’s Songs, Book Activities, Teacher Store, and Teacher Created. Or check out the ‘Just for Teachers’ section. You’ll find links for Teaching Supplies, Teacher Organizations, Prof. Development, Job Search, and Teacher Magazines. In need of some FREE STUFF? There is a link for that too.

If you’re looking more for education resources you’ll find links for Class Management, Schools and Violence, Education Psychology, Education Reform, Education Funding, and Dept of Education.

You’ll also see many links to other resources as well. I find it useful that there is a calendar with important dates and also a teacher’s store if you’re looking for items to purchase. This website is created by teachers, for teachers.

I Love That Teaching Idea!

Late one night while working searching the internet, I came across this website. http://www.ilovethatteachingidea.com/index.htm I chose this site for my next blog because it’s filled with practical teacher-created ideas. You, the teacher/provider, are able to search various topics and gain ideas from other teachers. Do you have a tip or favorite lesson plan/idea? If so, you can submit and post your idea too.
Not only can you search curriculum ideas, but also classroom management, character education, and tips for holding class meetings. Do you include service learning within your classroom? There are many suggestions for that too.
A word of caution…do not assume all ideas are developmentally appropriate. Use your own judgment as to what suggestions would be best for your situation. Note: This website is mostly for teachers/providers with children grades K-6.

Craniosynostosis: Our Journey

This post is more personal…but that’s ok since it’s my blog, afterall. When my son was 2 months old, he was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. This is when the infant’s sutures (soft spots) prematurely fuse together. There are different kinds of craniosynostosis and some are more severe than others. Luckily, he had mild sagittal synostosis. The sagittal suture runs from a spot at the front of the head to the back of the skulI. Fusion of the suture results in a long, narrow skull.

Surgery of sagittal craniosynostosis involves removing the suture and widening the skull by opening up the sutures on both sides of the head. My son had surgery 5 days before he turned 3 months old. He was released from the hospital in the afternoon of the third day.

He healed quickly, as children do, and was just fine. Now my son is 5 1/2 years old. We are going in for an appointment to check his cranial structure. Hopefully everything is as it should be!

Below, you’ll see a BEFORE and AFTER picture of the surgery….dramatic results.

Craniosynostosis Update 1

Today, Friday, was supposed to be Carter’s head appointment. They were going to check his cranial structure, but they called…again. “We’ll have to reschedule his appointment. The surgeon will be on vacation,” they told me. The next available appointment isn’t until Nov. 7th. I guess I’m okay with this, as nothing is really going to change in 3 weeks.
However, I have learned a very valuable lesson. As a parent, you are your child’s advocate and always need to be watching out for your child. I thought it was odd that we were never asked back to see the surgeon after surgery. Our pediatric Dr. said that it was her responsibility to check his head and if she felt the need, she’d refer us back to the surgeon. Even though I felt a little uncomfortable with that, I trusted her because after all, she is a Dr.. ‘Maybe I was being paranoid,’ I told myself. I also trusted that if we were supposed to go back to see the surgeon, they would contact us. I was, however, recently informed by a woman at the clinic that they failed to contact us about coming back in and didn’t follow up with us. I have to admit that I am feeling somewhat apprehensive about the appointment, but am praying that everything will be fine.

Thought of the Week 11/3/08


Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale

Thought of the Week 10/27/08

Savant Syndrome

The combination of mental retardation or autism with an unusual talent in mathematical computation or music and in one of the graphic arts.

Thought of the Week 10/20/08


The inability to adopt any point of view other than one’s own.

Thought of the Week 10/13/08


The ability to use and work efficiently with either the right or left hand.

Thought of the Week 10/5/08


Parents, organizations, teachers, or volunteers working on behalf of the rights and interests of others (such as children or people with disabilities).

Thought of the Week 10/1/08

Absorbant Mind

This refers to the ability of the young child to easily grasp ideas unconsciously from his/her environment.