Tag Archives: Child

Summer is a Time for Play…Learning can be FUN too!

During the school year, we reflect on summers past and the next one to come and we remember treasured times of relaxation.  However, sometimes we get so caught up in our scheduling and planning of events, that we forget to just pause, relax and allow our children…and ourselves to play.

If you find upon reflection that you and your family fit into the latter category this summer, I want to encourage you to pause, choose two good books to read and “schedule” some time into you weeks ahead to just “be”…to allow your children to play with some containers and a water hose in the yard, to research finger foods online and allow your children to make dinner for the adults in the house one night…they will have so much fun and you will be amazed at how much they have grown. 🙂

Our team has collected some helpful tips to ensure that summer is indeed a time of relaxing and learning, for you and the child(ren) in your life.

Moms who Think

Moms who Think, is a great site for recipes, diet and nutrition, holiday and celebration ideas and so much more.

Kid Recipes

Easy and Kid-Friendly Recipes from Kraft Foods

Kid-Friendly Recipes

Rachel Ray Everyday …a great family website!

Rachel Ray’s Kid-Friendly Recipes

Martha Stewart and Summer Activities for Kids~We like the summer housekeeping and garden in a jar 🙂

60 Activities for Kids this Summer

Great Schools, Involved Parents, Successful Kids is an amazing website!

Ten Ways to Keep your Child Learning this Summer

Given that we like to promote the good in education, we would like to share the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement‘s recommendation for parent/child involvement this summer:

Every Day…

  • Give your child a hug and say “I love you.” Do not forget to look them in the eye, to ensure that you make that special connection with them.
  • Praise your child. We all like to hear that we are doing a good job…it is o.k. and encouraged to tell your child(ren) often.
  • Talk with your child. Our Unlock the Teacher LLC team encourages you to not only talk with your child, but read the same book they are reading independently, specifically if your child is 7-18.  This will always give you something to talk about with them…a common ground.
  • Read and write with your child for at least 30 minutes every day. Our Unlock the Teacher children keep journals and we write and share about what we are passionate about. (When children are little, pictures in journals versus words are just as good…let your child explain their pictures to you.)
  • With your child, make a dictionary of new words and add to it every day. Studies have shown that the more words we learn, the higher our IQ…make it a family activity to choose a word or few words a week and have some fun at the dinner table uses them 🙂
  • Count with your child. Math is everywhere, in the grocery store on labels, on the road as we drive…make it a fun exercise to play Eye Spy math or numbers with your child.  The more that children can be exposed to numbers in their world and what they are utilized for, the more understanding they will have for math.
  • Share news with your child. Our Unlock the Teacher team believes that if you talk to your children as if they are intelligent, they rise to the occasion; it allows them to broaden their scope…sans any handicap or disability that prevents this from occurring.
  • Listen to music with your child. There are many positive studies on why this is important. Studies have shown, that memory retention and learning is enhanced while studying and listening to classical music.

May your summer, or what is left of it, be a time of renewal and rejuvenation for both you and the child in your life. Learning can indeed be fun and relaxing, it just might take a bit of planning.  We encourage everyone to live in the moment and choose to be the difference in the life of your child.

Please share your tips and favorite websites with us and we will post it here for all of our readers.  Together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

Comments and Ideas Posted by our Readers:

Thank you for the great tips and links, but if I might add another great recipe site it would be; http://www.allrecipes.com on this site you can also share your own wonderful recipe ideas and rate others as well. Kid friendly, vegetarian  and even tips and advice I just love to see the creativity on this site! ~Melanie Osborn

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Filed under Summer Learning Tips

Making Science Fun with Science Competitions that Promote “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking

Science is FUN!

It is almost January, and educators and parents start the “Science Fair” discussion with children and students.  This year, there are some cool science contests out there and Google Science tops my list.

Regardless if Science was your thing or not, if asked, we all could probably pull forward one science fair memory from the recesses of our minds. Volcano eruptions, eye ball blinks, inertia, plant growth with various musical tunes you name it, science fair time can be an exciting time of discovery or a mad dash to finish a deadline imposed by the ominous science teacher.

The Important Role of the Science Teacher
Given the teacher and they way material is presented, science can be fun! The world of science can open many doors for children. Doors to worlds that can increase awareness of saving our planet, living a healthy life, or even saving a life one day, by creating a cancer-saving cure…imagine. Many children in this country have limitations on travel and are limited to specific environments and economic resources. However, science is that one area where it is “cool” to recycle, utilize imagination and create! Memories of utilizing paper towel and toilet roll holders to demonstrate magnetic pull, keeps bubbling up to remind me that in science, the sky is the limit on creativity and ingenuity.

Science Fair Contests

*Google Science Fair 2012

  1. Children must be 13-18 years old
  2. Individual or groups allowed; groups can consist of two or three teams only
  3. Children “Scientists” must create a Google account and submit a Sign-Up form online
  4. Once confirmation is given, plan, execute and cite results, remembering to follow directions given and complete all sections outlined on the Google Section Submission Site
  5. A two minute video or 20 page slide presentation giving an overview of project are required to enter contest…entries are due by April 4th with submission form

This is a great contest that can allow educators to collaborate from various schools to come together with “Science Teams”, churches and or youth groups to utilize science as a way to spark the imagination of our children and enhancing team building while instilling (hopefully) a love of science.

*International Online Science Contest

The International Online Science Contest website has a wealth of resources for teachers and parents. This site offers a variety of science contest that run all year. Students can visit this site to view other science projects and read judging tips to get an overall appreciation for the “Science Fair” process. Parents can visit site to read and download a Parent Guide that provides step-by-step instructions, parent testimonials and defines the roles of parents throughout the “Science Fair” process. This is a one-stop shop for learning all about Science Fairs and a great resource for classroom teachers as well.

Science Buddies

Science Buddies website is an all encompassing site that provides its reader with a list of various science competitions. Competitions are broken down by grade levels, format, eligibility and if teams are allowed. This is a great site for young people who might be interested at ages eight or nine in science and can watch some “advanced” science fair project videos on various projects to plant a seed for the future. For schools who do not have a “gifted” or advanced science program, this might be the site for you.

“Out of the Box” Teaching

A school, with a very creative, “out of the box” science teacher, could utilize the contest found here or at any of the mentioned websites, and take students who demonstrate an aptitude for science to the next level. Teachers who are looking to collaborate or parents who want to take more of an active role in this process can find science community blogs as well at http://www.sciencebuddies.org to glean insight and support throughout the Science Fair process or to even supplement or increase the love of science in the life of a child.

Science Fair Project Ideas

Happy creating and for additional science fair project ideas, check out the following sites to ignite the imagination:

Imagine if we could ignite the imagination, plant a love of learning for science via writing, creating, utilizing music, labs, nature and utilize all the other multiple intelligences, there is nothing we could not accomplish or overcome.

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Science, Science Fair Projects, Sharing the Good, Student or Industry

Recommended Holiday Gifts for Teachers

The time of year is upon us, when we take time out to show the teacher(s) in our lives, just how much we appreciate them and all they do for our children…our future!  During the school year, on average a child spend 7+ hours a day with his/her teacher.  This is 35 hours+ a week.  Once we get our children up, we might have one rushed hour a day before school then maybe (and this is a stretch) we might have three quality hours after school before they go to bed.  That is approximately 4 hours a day we have with our children. This is 20 hours during the week from Monday-Friday.

Given all this, it is clear to see the importance of choosing just the right school (because our children spend a lot of time in them) and appreciating the wonderful teachers who give of their time and talent to help prepare our children for the future.

The following are our recommended gift ideas (NOTE: Many are items I received and appreciated 🙂 over the many years in education.)

  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Sharpie Pens ~All Colors ~Thin, Regular and Poster Tip (a true treasure)
  • A camera donated to the classroom is a gift indeed (*I received this one year and it is a gift that still gives back to education!) Kodak Easy Share is cost effective and reliable.
  • Colored Printing Paper
  • Target Gift Card (most teachers use for classroom anyway)
  • Office Depot Gift Card
  • Visa, Mastercard or Amex Gift Cards…gives educators the choice to shop at teacher stores, online etc.
  • Barnes and Noble Gift Card~ I have not met one teacher in my years in classroom or now working with many, who do not purchase books for their classroom…Given that we sell our academic eBooks at BarnesandNoble.com, we are bias and LOVE this book store!
  • An Electric Pencil Sharpener
  • An Assortment of Purple, Red and Green Pens
  • An Assortment of Yellow High Lighters
  • A Case of Clorox Wipes…no kidding, unless there is a child allergic, teachers LOVE this item…we all want to be germ free!
  • A Case of White Printer Paper
  • A Packet of Assorted Construction Paper

These are just a few items we would recommend here at Unlock the Teacher.  However, we would love to hear your favorite items that you have received.  Please post in our comment section or email us at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com and I will post for all our parents and teachers to read.  Collaboration is what education is all about!

I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Teachers are Planters of Seeds…What Kind of Seeds are you Planting?

What seeds are you planting for our future?

As I sit and review my notes for Unlock the Teacher‘s first professional development session for the 2011/2012 school year, I reflect and wonder, what
words can I provide that might inspire and instill hope for all the amazing teachable moments that will happen in the life of the teachers with whom I will
be speaking to tomorrow. Teaching is SO much more than a job, I honestly believe it is a calling; an urge that a person feels to make a difference, and
is played out in the classroom.

We often think about all the teachable moments that happen throughout the school year for our students, our future. However, I also think
of the amazing teachable moments that occur for the individual teacher. I hope that at this time of year, the teacher is reflecting and writing a curriculum
map for the school year that will be used as a master plan.

The teacher, who starts the school year, is often different from the one who finishes it. Hopefully, this is the case, as a true reflective
practitioner will evolve throughout the year as his/her students will…keeping in mind no two students are alike, no school year should ever mirror another for
a teacher.

In regards to a teacher’s master curriculum plan, this is just a tool that is utilized to create lessons full of discovery for each quarter,
with one scaffolding on the next to ensure that students are maximizing their potential. However, this is just a plan, as all good teachers know, true
“teachable moments” sometimes just happen and must be capitalized on in the moment.

I have chosen the theme of “Teachers are Planters of Seeds” for tomorrow.  I have had the pleasure of working with this staff on curriculum alignment and I am honored to be asked back into their building on their first day back to school before their eager students arrive next week.

I think as teachers, we have the awesome power to create new worlds in our students’ minds, take them to places they might not ever get an opportunity to experience, tell them and show them how to achieve the impossible dream OR we can crush the human spirit with one angry glance or snide comment.
Actually, anyone who plays the role in the life of a child has this same awesome power and it would serve us all well to remember it.  Think about what kind of world we hope to have in the future and remember that it all begins with how we treat our children today, what opportunities we provide, what words of encouragement or destruction did we choose to utilize at the moment of chaos in the classroom, that hectic classroom greeting after driving through rush hour?

 

Children Learn What They Live

By Dorothy Law Nolte

 

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.

If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.

If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love.

If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.

If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.

If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.

If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live!

 

What kind of seeds are you getting ready to plant this school year?

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

 

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Professional Development Workshops for Educators

Fun Activities for Kids~Fun and Many are F-R-E-E

Realizing that summer is quickly flying by, I wanted to research a few more fun activities to pack in, to make memories and get those dendrites firing too 🙂

Here are some GREAT sites I found, that offer some unique and cost-effective suggestions:

Frugal Dad

http://frugaldad.com/2009/05/25/fun-summer-activities-for-kids/

*This might become a favorite…I will read more and share.

Martha Stewart‘s 60 Days of Summer

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/60-summer-activities-for-kids

Daily Finance~ Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/05/20/cheap-summer-activities-for-kids/

Crystal & Co.~80 Inexpensive of FREE Summer Activities for Kids

http://www.crystalandcomp.com/2011/05/80-inexpensive-or-free-summer-activities-for-kids/

**For all of our friends that follow us in London, this is for you 🙂 We did not forget you…

TimeOut London ~Summer Fun Activities for Kids in London

http://www.timeout.com/london/kids/

Moms Who Think~ Summer Activities & Backyard Adventures (I love this!)

http://www.momswhothink.com/kids-crafts/summer-activities-for-kids.html

 

Here are a few sites to get you excited about the last few weeks of summer with your children before they go off to school and another school year races by.  I encourage you to take some time, browse these great sites and  plan at least two events with your kids.  As you read, you will notice that many activities are free and can be explored in your backyard.

We all learn from each other, and not one person holds all the great ideas…collaboratation is the key!

Please share your great ideas so our subscribers and our 50-100+ daily viewers can read and learn too.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Curriculum Resources

“Sweet Relief of Missing Children”

“Sweet Relief of Missing Children” by Sara Braunstein was recommended today on twitter by author Caroline Leavitt.  I am adding it to my January books to read.  Check it out if it looks interesting and get back to me on your thoughts if you finish before me:-)  For an interesting blog written by a friendly author, check out Caroline’s blog @http://carolineleavittville.blogspot.com/

Happy reading!

Be the difference in the life of a child today!

Denise

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Recommended Books to Read, to Learn, to Inspire

Cool Educational Toys

In researching, I have been checking out some educational toys for all ages. In the following suite101 article, are a few sites that have some exceptional learning toys. Check them out and get back with us, we are interested in  your opinions. A favorite site or a favorite learning toy…new or old, we would like to share with everyone, so please leave a comment for us to post.

http://www.suite101.com/content/educational-toys-for-the-holidays-a323656

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Read to A Child Today…Find Out Why it is Important!

Educational websites and apps for parents, caregivers or early childhood teachers…make a difference in the life of a child…READ to them!

www.suite101.com

It is the responsibility of us all to invest in our future. To prosper as a nation, the literacy gap needs to be looked at as just that, an investment.

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Filed under Achievement Gap Blogs