Thursday, May 26, 2016

YOU'RE IT!!!

If I were in charge of the world summer vacation would begin Memorial Day weekend and school wouldn't start again until after Labor Day. I guess I'm not in charge of the world! Some of you have "tested" and are out the door...some of you still have weeks to go. In or out, here are some variations of traditional games children always enjoy playing.
                                   
Hug Tag
Materials: none
                                   
Directions:  Designate a playing area. One child is “it.” “It” chases other children who must “freeze” when they are tagged. Players hug those who are “frozen” to “unfreeze” them.
     *Stoop Tag – Children stoop down on the ground when they are tagged.
     *Cartoon Tag – Children must name a cartoon show when they are tagged.


     *Shadow Tag – children must freeze when “it” steps on their shadow.
     *Sticky Tag – Children must hold the part of their body that is tagged.

Relays
Relays are a little difficult at first for children under six. But, like anything else, if you practice and play several times they will catch on. I particularly like relays because they require self-regulation and are a team effort.
                                                           
Materials: none

Directions:  Divide the children into teams with five or six players on each. Have the players line up single file behind a line and run one at a time to a designated point and back. The first player tags the second player, who then runs the distance. The first team to have all players run is the winner.
                                     
*Ball Relays– Have the children pass a ball over their heads and under their legs. The last person runs to the front of the line and continues passing over and under. When the first person is in his or her original position, their team wins the game. Relays where children must dribble a ball, kick a ball, or throw a ball into a target can also be played.

*Animal Relays – Let the children walk like crabs (on backs with hands and feet), bears (on all fours), birds (flapping arms), monkeys (scratching sides), or elephants (swinging arms like a trunk.)

*Quick Change – Prepare bags with a shirt, pants, and hat for each team. The first player puts the clothes on, runs to a designated point, takes the clothes off, then runs and gives the clothes to the second person.

*Pig Relays - Move the ball with your nose.

*Movements- Have children hop, jump, skip, gallop, walk backwards, or do other movements.

*Toesie Relay – Have the children take their shoes off, pick up a peanut with their toes, carry it to a basket, and drop it in.

*Potato Relay – Ask the children to carry a potato in a large spoon without dropping it.

*Balloon Relay- Have children run with a balloon to a chair, then sit on the balloon and pop it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WIN/WIN GAME TIME

Here are a few simple games to build summer memories, friendships, and fitness. Games are also a good way to develop the executive function. There's a beginning and an end, and children have to follow the rules and use self-regulation.

Hint!
*Change these games for the level and interest of your children.
*Keep the rules few and simple.
*Play on soft surfaces and keep it SAFE!
*Emphasize cooperation and the joy of playing, rather than competition and scores.
*Encourage children to problem solve and work out their own differences.

Circle Soccer
My students loved this game. It was quick and it didn't require a lot of physical skills.
Materials: playground ball
                                         
Directions: Stand in a circle and hold hands. Place the ball inside the circle. Children try to kick the ball and keep it inside the circle. If the ball goes out of the circle between two people, then both people are out of the game. If a player kicks the ball too high and it goes over someone’s head, then the player who kicked the ball is out of the game. The game continues until there are just one or two players left.

Jump the Creek
This is another game my students always wanted to play.

Materials: 2 jump ropes (or you can make lines in the sand)

Directions: Children get in a line behind each other. Spread the ropes about one foot apart to make the "creek." One at a time children jump over the "creek" and then get at the back of the line. After each child has had a turn, move the ropes farther apart to make the "creek" wider. Children continue jumping over the "creek" as it gets wider and wider. If they don't clear the rope or touch the rope when they jump they are out of the game and become "cheerleaders." The game continues until one person is left.
*Sometimes we pretended there were alligators or crocodiles the creek!

Build the Castle
This game is similar to Jump the Creek, but it's for high jump rather than broad jump.
                                          
Materials: long jump rope

Directions:  Choose two people to hold the rope. The other players form a straight line and take turns jumping over the rope. The rope begins on the ground, but after everyone has had a turn, it is raised a few inches. If a child’s foot touches the rope, he or she is out of the game. Continue raising the rope until there is just one child left who can jump the height.

*A similar game called “school” can be played. When the rope is on the ground it is called “kindergarten.” Each time the rope is raised, it is called “first grade,” “second grade,” and so on.

What’s That Jive?
This game is like Red Rover, but a lot safer.

Materials: none

Directions:  Divide the children into two teams and have them stand in a line facing each other 30 to 40 feet apart. One team calls for a player from the other team with this chant:
        (Child's name), (child’s name)
        What’s that jive?
        Come on over
        And give me five.

The team calling the chant holds their hands out in front of them with their palms up. The child called proceeds down their line giving each player “five” by slapping their palms. If the child who is “it” slaps the palms and then slaps under their palms, that child chases “it” back to his or her original team. If “it” is caught, he or she must return to the opposing team, but if not, the chaser must joint “it’s” team. The game continues with teams taking turns calling players from the opposite side.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

OUTDOOR WILD TIME

While surfing the internet I happened upon this UK website:
kidsgowild.org.
Our site strives to help you as the parent be informed and motivated to get your kids into nature and go wild with fun! Also to teach them to interact and get along with other kids from all ages, not just their own. All for the betterment of their future success, and yours as a parent of course!
                           
I was hooked because I’m so passionate about giving children time to PLAY. PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! Isn’t that what children are suppose to do in childhood?

Several years ago I read Richard Louv’s book LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER. It reminded me that exposure to nature is essential for healthy physical and emotional development in children AND adults. (This book first came out in 2005, but you can imagine the decrease in outdoor time and increase in screen time over the past 11 years!!!!)
                                                   

Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and let children explore in a less controlled environment. Educators, as well as many parents, are concerned about all the time their children spend in front of a screen. But, you can’t always give children a choice. If you say, “Do you want to go outside and go for a walk or play video games on your computer?” You know what the answer will be!

We need to engage children in outdoor activities and create opportunities where they will choose to play and “be wild”! These are some suggestions I adapted from the website that you might want to share with your parents:

Climb a tree

Roll down a really big hill

Build a tent

Hunt for stones

Watch the sun wake up

Go on a nature walk at night

Plant it, grow it, eat it

Discover what’s in a pond

Go to a park

Play in the sand

Run around in the rain

Fly a kite

Hunt for bugs

Go fishing

Cook on a campfire

Look for objects in the clouds

Make a mud pie

Swing on a rope swing
                                       
Just think how giving children 30 minutes of OUTDOOR WILD TIME every day this summer could impact their lives!!!



Monday, May 23, 2016

UP IN THE AIR!

It’s almost summertime and that means the planes will be full of some happy children, some screaming children, some bored children, and some entertained children!  It befuddles me how some parents don't have a clue when it comes to interacting with their children.  This is a blog I wrote several years ago, but you might want to share it with your families.  What a missed opportunity to just hand an electronic device to a child and miss a wonderful conversation and memory!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when you travel with children.  And if you’ll read these tips, I bet your fellow passengers will thank you for being on top of the game!  Take advantage of the one-on-one time with your child by giving them 100% of your attention.  After all, isn’t that what children want most from adults?

Planning Ahead
Several days before the trip start talking about your adventure and give details about what is going to happen.  Have children close their eyes as you describe the trip – checking in at the airport -  going through security -  waiting for your flight to be called – getting on the plane and fastening your seatbelt – taking off – looking out the window – landing – how much fun you’ll have on your vacation, etc.  Explain that there are many other people who will be sharing a small space on the plane and that everyone needs to be respectful and use their best manners and quiet voices.  The pilots and flight attendants are there to keep everybody safe, so you will have to listen carefully to them.
Packing
Let your children pack a bag full of special objects that they want to carry on the plane.  (You’ll have to give some guidelines for this so they don’t try and bring their entire collection of stuffed animals.)  A few books, a tablet and markers, a card game, a bedtime buddy or blanket, and some healthy snacks should do the trick.  You might also suggest a change of clothes, tissues, and bandaids in case of emergencies.
Note!  I did not suggest a computer or IPad.  Parents, you can pack this in your bag and save it for emergencies.  Too often children play with these while waiting for their flights to take off and then they are bored by the time they get up in the air.
                                          
Waiting
After going through security, walk around and look out the windows at the other planes.  Look at all the passengers and guess where they might be going.  Talk about special things that your child hopes to do on the trip.   If the flight is delayed you can play “I Spy,” “Tic Tac Toe,” “Hangman” or another quiet game.  Oh, and don’t forget a last minute stop in the restroom!

Taking Off
When boarding a plane, you’ll find most pilots enthusiastic about meeting children and letting them take a “peek” inside the cockpit.  Can your child find her own seat?  Once seated, encourage your child to explore her space.  (It’s fine to open and shut the window shade a few times, look in the seat pocket, talk about the airsick bag, etc.)   Playing with the flight attendant call button is NOT ALLOWED!  When the boarding door has closed, then everyone must buckle up!
Up in the Air
Once you are in the air, it’s time to open the backpack and read some books, play a game, draw some pictures, or eat a snack.  Too often children have gone through their bag of tricks before they get in the air.   If a beverage is served, show your child how to put down their tray and discuss their selection.  Keep on talking and engaging your child.

O.K.  Now, it’s time to get out the iPad or computer and watch a movie.  Wait until the last possible moment to do this.  This is like the 8th inning stretch on the plane.  (I might also recommend a bag of M & M’s – for emergencies only!)  Before you know it you will hear those magic words, “Please make sure your seatbelt are fastened.  We will be landing shortly.”  

Remember, YOU are the parent and you are directing this event.  With a happy, positive, attitude you’ll have a great flight and the other passengers will as well!  How many opportunities do you have to give your child 100% of your attention?  That may be the best part of your trip! 

Wishing you happy travels!
                                                 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS!

Lucky Penny Day is May 23, but it might add a little "cents" to any day this week.

Penny Hunt
Hide pennies around the classroom for the children to find. (I would hide as many pennies as there are students in the classroom.)  Everyone can find ONE penny. When they find a penny they sit down or help a friend find a penny.
*How old is their penny? Is it older or younger than they are?

Penny Sort
Have the children spread out their pennies. Are they all the same? How are they different? Can they sort the pennies?  Can they sort them another way?

Put Your Face on a Penny
Cut out paper circles (6" works well) and pass them out to your students. What would their face look like if it were on a penny?

Penny Rubbings
Place pennies under a sheet of paper and rub with the side of a crayon. 


Magic Pennies
You'll need a cup and 5 pennies for this game.  Show the children the five pennies.  Have them hide their eyes as you hide a few of the pennies under the cup.  When they open their eyes challenge them to hold up fingers to represent the number of pennies they think are under the cup.  Lift the cup to confirm the correct amount.
*Vary the number of pennies and let the children take turns hiding them under the cup.
                                   
Penny Facts (usmint.gov)
President Lincoln has been on the penny since 1909. “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and the year are on all the coins.
From 1909 to 1958, the Lincoln "wheat" penny was issued.
From 1959 to 2008 the image of the Lincoln Memorial was printed on the coin.
In 2009, four different pennies were issued to represent the four major aspects of Lincoln’s life:
Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816)


Formative Years in Indiana (1816-1830)

                       
Professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861)

                                            
Presidency in Washington, D.C. (1861-1865)
                                                                  


Here's a link so you can learn more:
http://www.usmint.gov/kids/coinnews/circulating/01centCoin.cfm

Saturday, May 21, 2016

LET'S MAKE SOME MUSIC!

O.K., it’s almost the end of the school year and you’re just trying to hang in there. I’ve got two simple holidays you can celebrate this week to keep you going and engage your students.

May 22 is “Buy a Musical Instrument Day,” but I’ve changed it to “Make a Musical Instrument Day.”
                           

Tin Pan Band
Get out the junk box and invite children to create a musical instrument.

Family Project

For homework, ask parents to help their children make a musical instrument from something around the house. Can they find a box or cardboard roller and recycle it?

Classroom Objects
Challenge children to look around the classroom and find something they can use to make music. 

*Two paper plates, cups, craft sticks, pencils, or blocks can be used to tap out a beat or repeat a pattern.

Body Parts
Brainstorm body parts can they “play” to make music. Snap fingers, clap hands, thump fists, stomp feet, and so forth.

Loud and Soft
What child hasn't wanted to be a conductor?  Let them take turns leading their classmates as they play instruments.  Demonstrate when the conductor's arms are open they should play loud, but when the conductor puts her hands close together they should play softly.

Come back tomorrow to learn about "Lucky Penny Day."



Friday, May 20, 2016

I KNOW A SCIENTIST!

And I know some teachers and children who are going to LOVE this packet! Talk about hitting the STREAM target! Carolyn Kisloski and I have been collaborating on this project for weeks. 
                                      
There are 20 fun, hands-on, educational STREAM activities and lesson plans, as well as anchor charts to help teach your students what being a scientist is all about. Included is a link to the I am a Scientist Prezi, perfect for teaching or reviewing lessons. The packet has six Science QR Codes that you can make into a Listening or Read the Room Center. Also included is a download of my song, I Know a Scientist. Take a look at this table of contents:

STREAM Overview……………………………………………4
I am a Scientist Prezi……………………………………………5
QR Codes Covers…………………………….......................7,8
QR Codes: What is a Scientist? Barbara Lehn
What is Science? Samson Ordin…............................9
The Science Song by The Learning Station
The Scientific Method by Have Fun Teaching…………………1 0
How to be an Inventor by Kid President
How to be an Inventor by Raye Lankford…………………………11
I am a Scientist/Scientific Method Anchor Charts…………12-14
I Know a Scientist by Dr. Jean Feldman song lyrics…………15

Activities:
That’s a Good Question…………………………………………16
I Know a Scientist………………………………………………17,18
Science Journals…………………………………………………19
Science Journal Covers………………………………………20-23
Science Experiment Planning Sheets…………………………..24,25
Scientist of the Week……………………………………………26
Rah! Rah! Read at Home!..................................27
Not “Bored” Games………………………………………………28
Data Collectors………………………………………………………29
Put the “A” in STREAM…………………………………………….30, 31
Creative Connections………………………………………………….32
Bring on the Blocks..........................................33
Ramp Races…………………………………………………………34
Catapults………………………………………………………………35
Explore and More at the Fab Lab………………………………………36
Discovery Bottles………………………………………………………37
Shoe Classification…………………………………………………38
Label the Room………………………………………………………39
Imagination Station……………………………………………………40
Pipe Cleaner Parade …………………………………………………41
House of Cards…………………………………………………………42
Science Interactive Writing Charts……………………………..43


Want to see a little sample?
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljZGhpZ0NXVWVmc1k/view?usp=sharing




Ready to order?

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-am-a-Scientist-2554340