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December Project-Based Learning: Sharing Through the Season

Every classroom teacher knows how crazy the classroom can be from Halloween to winter break. There are fun community activities, holidays, and a lot of excitement! I learned instead of trying to fight against the hype, to channel the excitement into projects! 
This time of year the necessary elementary classroom routines become dull and have a harder time keeping student interest. So what better time to introduce project-based learning!
I feel strongly about learning about the culture and traditions of others. In my classroom, over the years I have learned traditions celebrated in holidays I was familiar with and traditions from holidays I was not aware of previously. This project was created to provide a way for students to share their personal family traditions during this exciting time being all-inclusive and without making religious statements. 

Project Objective: The students will each select and read a picture book to the class asking questions as they read. After the reading stude…

Pencil Grips for Kids

Children's fine or small motor skills develop at a different rate, like any skill. As a generalization, boys fine motor skills tend to strengthen later than girls. We have all noticed children struggling with holding a pencil, coloring, cutting, and especially with handwriting. 

Here is a diagram of pencil holds and ages children move through the stages. But what happens when a five or six year old is still in the digital grasp stage? How do you help a child that is not comfortable trying a tripod grasp? 

Pencil Grip Holders can really help guide a child into the correct grasp but it is not an end all be all for every child. To truly build that fine motor skill children need to strengthen the muscles in their hands. The best way to strengthen the hand muscles is to give children time to PLAY with their hands!  Building with LEGOS
Play with Play-doh
Explore in Sensory Boxes
Providing opportunities for children to use their hands will strengthen the muscles in their hands. Providing playt…

Back at it!

Stay tuned, we are back to blogging and sharing activities to do with your children at home or within the classroom. Life gets in the way but finally, with the request of followers, I have decided to get back to blogging and sharing.  My boys are older and have different academic needs. I have started working again and am loving being in the field again but I have quickly learned that I need to be overly organized at home. This is my closet. It is where I keep my teaching materials and office supplies. 

More to come...


Alphabet Puzzle- ABC Practice

This is our Alphabet Puzzle. It is a great puzzle for practice with the alphabet because it shows a community and community members that work. This sparks interest and discussion while putting it together. Joey is not interested in doing activities that he thinks are learning activities. So he is able to have fun and practice motor skills while still learning identifying the letters of the alphabet.  Now I helped Joey find the next letter by singing the ABCs. I was also able to help him find letters by telling him what the picture looked like. Ie: M is a mailman look for the mailman, now look at the letter at the top, that is an M. There it is complete. Joey would not be able to do this alone but was more than willing to do it with me! Eventually he will be able to do it alone!

Counting Shells- 5 year old

I gave Jacob a bag of shells to count. He said it would take a year to count all 7 billion shells in the bag. I told him he could organize the shells to help him. He decided to organize the shells by the look of the shell. I let him do it and just said, "that is one way to do it." He quickly lost count and started over numerous times before telling me he could not do it wil us in the room, we were too distracting. I suggested he organize them in another way to count. He couldn't possible think of any other ways to organize the shells and was getting frustrated so I stepped in. I suggested we put them all together again. He did not like that idea so we kept them in 3 piles. I suggested we do one pile at a time and put them in small groups of 10. Explaining it would be easy to count by 10s. (He does know how to count by 10s. He liked this and put all 3 piles of shells into groups of ten by himself. He ran into a problem when we did not have for a pile of ten. I suggested we…

Color Practice- 22 months old

I gave Jack our color buckets again. (Target dollar station) and some sponge fish. We stuck to 4 colors this time. I modeled how to match the color to the box then placed them in the box saying the color. He did it with a little guidance then quickly lost interest and carried around the boxes to play. He used the fish to dump and refill the boxes. Sometimes he would put them in the coordinating boxes other times he would not. The whole activity lasted about 5 minutes.