BE HOMEWORK READY WITH THIS KIT

Posted by monica.gallagher | Uncategorized | Posted on August 28th, 2011

I received very positive feedback from last week’s post, so here is another “how to” idea. Enjoy!

BE HOMEWORK READY WITH THIS KIT! (adapted by M. Gallagher from  SIMPLEk-12Blogs)

Homework can be a teacher’s best friend and a parent’s worst nightmare. Homework should be a way to reinforce and practice what is being learned at school, not a daily chore that no one enjoys. We all have those nights when homework is not first on the priority list, but is an important part of learning and the school routine. Homework is upon us. Do you have all the tools your child will need handy? Here’s a way to avoid the last minute scramble by creating this useful Homework Tool Kit for your home.

This kit is designed to help with elementary-level homework. By putting it together with your kids and keeping  it in a convenient place, you’ll signify the importance of learning at home. You can keep it in a shoebox or a gallon-sized plastic bag.

CONTENTS:
• Sharpened pencils, and a box of crayons
• Counters, which can be anything you have multiples of in the house to support counting, adding, subtracting, and multiplying. Buttons, toothpicks, cubes, dried beans, popsicle sticks or uncooked pasta (penne, ziti, bowtie), can all be good counters.
• Dice
• A bag of change with a variety of coins
• Flashcards, you can buy them, or it’s easy to make some out of index cards
• Notebook
• Glue sticks and scissors
• A deck of playing cards

A cookie sheet is also handy to keep with your tool kit. It makes a great magnet board for adding and subtracting or for practicing problem solving. You can use your refrigerator magnets or make your own.

PLEASE NOTE: This was one of my first blogs almost two years ago. I would like to give full credit to the blog where this was found:        SimpleK-12Blogs. The original blogger intended this kit for math homework, but I thought it could be applicable for any kind.

Now you have the tools ready for almost any homework challenge! Don’t forget to establish a routine of when and where to complete homework, too. My biggest professional struggle this year is also being a parent of a Kindergarten student–I have always been ‘just’ a teacher. I am adjusting and trying to enjoy this duel role, but homework can be a struggle. I put this kit together back when I first read the article, and it has become very handy! Since Evan was in preschool, we have added some glitter, liquid glue, a couple of packs of flashcards and a variety of crayons and the large size pencils. I will have our kit at school this week for “South Safari” if anyone would like to see it. I hope you will share your ideas for successful homework!

How to Talk to Your Child About School

Posted by monica.gallagher | Uncategorized | Posted on August 21st, 2011

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend, they always seem to be so fast!

Something a little different this week:

How to Talk to Your Child about School

Sound Familiar??

Mom or Dad: “How was your day?”
Child: “Good.”
Mom or Dad: “What did you do today?”
Child: “Nothing.”

Are you looking for more than one-word answers from your kids about their school day? Here are seven ways to find out what they’re really up to…

1) Ask specific questions.
Asking questions that only require a one-word answer will often times produce just that. You can encourage your child to give something more by asking “situation-specific” questions, such as:

* “What did you do in math today?”
* “Who did you play with on the playground?”
* “Tell me the best story your teacher read today.”

2) Start a “names I know” list.
Have your child start a list at the beginning of the school year called “Names I Know” or “My Class.” Keep it on the refrigerator. Ask specific questions about the kids on the list. Young children can have trouble keeping track of names, and your child might want to talk to you about someone whose name they can’t remember. Keeping an on-going list serves as a memory jogger for your child and a conversation starter for you.

3) Give your child time to unwind.
Think about your own after-work needs. Just like you, kids need time to decompress after a long day at school. Try not to jump right in with questions about school the moment your kids are dismissed. Give your child time to get home, unwind, and sit with a snack. You might even want to wait until dinner; that just might be the amount of transition time they need.

4) Hone your child’s conversation skills.
Helping your child practice the art of conversation will serve them well. Show them that a good conversation begins with eye contact, appropriate body language, and a warm greeting. Conversations are give and take; listening is just as important as sharing!

5) Share some of your day.
By sharing how your day went, you’re modeling for your child the kind of information that you’d like to hear from them: “This is what I did today that I felt really good about; This is what I did today that was a little bit hard, but I did it anyway.” These statements naturally lead to questions that you can ask your child: “What was one thing that you did today that was hard (or fun) for you?”

6) Play a conversation game.
Children at this age have rich imaginations and love stories. Try turning school conversations into stories. Begin by saying, “Today, I went to school and sat down right next to _________.” Let your child fill in the blank. “First, we opened up our backpacks and I took out my folder and looked inside and saw ______________.” Continue until you get to the end of the day, or until you’re satisfied that you’ve heard more than your child would normally volunteer.

7) Get the facts straight.
From time to time you’ll hear information that may concern you about your child’s day at school. Don’t ponder the details — ask the teacher! It could be that you and your child’s teacher is using different terminology, and your child is confused by your questions. On the other hand, if your child complains about being teased or picked on, repeats a complaint with regularity, or complains of frequent trips to the nurse, there may be a problem; Asking the teacher is the best way to find out.

(Adapted from an article by The American School Counselor Association)

Unit 1 Week 2

Posted by monica.gallagher | Uncategorized | Posted on August 14th, 2011

Room 104 completed another great week! Routines and procedures are becoming solid and we are beginning to work together very well. Highlights from last week include writing time outside and getting our marble jar filled for compliments.

STUDIES THIS WEEK:

READING-  Unit 1.2  Pig in a Wig  is our hardback story for the week.  Hardback stories will be homework every Tuesday and Wednesday.

SPELLING– “short i” words. This and all lists for each unit can be found on the SEE Homepage http://see.edmonson.k12.ky.us/spelling_lists.html   Spelling homework will be on Thursday and to study for the tests we have on Friday.

WRITING- We begin our study of Personal Narratives. If something significant happens at home (loose a tooth, get a new pet, go somewhere fun, etc…) remind your child “that would be great to write about tomorrow at school!” This will help them have authentic things to write about it.

MATH-Chapter 1- “Addition Concepts” continues.

SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES- We begin a unit on plants in Science. This week we focus on rules and good citizenship for Social Studies.

First Week was GREAT!

Posted by monica.gallagher | Uncategorized | Posted on August 6th, 2011

Room 104 began a new school year this week and it went great! We added two more students, which brings us to 24 total. I would also like to welcome Ms. Joyce Vincent and Ms. Danita Elmore to our room. Ms. Joyce will be working with two of our students and Mrs. Elmore will work with all First Grade Classrooms. We are looking forward to having the extra hands and help in our room. I would also, again, like to express my thanks for all the wonderful supplies we received. We have everything we need, except for snacks. We eat lunch at 11:00 and have snack/recess everyday at 9:30 and 1:15. If students do not have a snack, they get really hungry by 11:00. Some parents have sent snacks for their own children, but some parents don’t. I like to have something for every child. If the weather does not allow us to go out, which it was too hot one day last week, we have snack in the hallway. If students don’t bring a snack they are left out. Here are some good ideas: packs of Oreos or any cookies, boxes of crackers, small packages of chips, fruit roll-ups or fruits snacks, bags of pretzels, boxes of graham crackers or Little Debbies, etc..

STUDIES THIS WEEK:

READING- Look for small, reading group book in folder every Monday and the reading log which should be initialed every night after homework is completed.  Unit 1.1  Sam, Come Back!  is our first hard book story of the year.  Hardback stories will be homework every Tuesday and Wednesday.

SPELLING– short a words. This and all lists for each unit can be found on the SEE Homepage http://see.edmonson.k12.ky.us/spelling_lists.html   Spelling homework will be on Thursday and to study for the tests we have on Friday.

WRITING- is completed everyday in our room. For now, we are learning the procedures and process of writing in our Writer’s Notebooks. If something significant happens at home (loose a tooth, get a new pet, go somewhere fun, etc…) remind your child “that would be great to write about tomorrow at school!” This will help them have authentic things to write about it.

MATH-Chapter 1- “Addition Concepts” We have a new math series called GO Math! and I am very excited to begin this study.

SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES- We begin a unit on plants in Science. This week we focus on rules and good citizenship for Social Studies.

This is an exciting time in education in our country and state as we have been charged with implementing new National Standards in English/Language Arts and Math. What this means for our teachers and students is hard work as we try to teach and learn at a higher level. For parents, you will see a focus on what students are learning and whether or not they have learned it. Each week on the newsletter you will now see “I CAN” statements. This will tell you what the week’s focus will be and see if your child has achieved it by week’s end. I look forward to sharing more information about this as the year progresses.