April 2012 archive

Great Gift Idea….A Story-telling Bag…DIY!

One teaching tool that I love to have within an arm’s reach is my storytelling bag collection.  I hesitated to use the word “collection” but I looked up synonyms and nothing was cooler than that so I guess I have to admit that I collect storytelling bags.  A storytelling bag is basically a themed bag that includes a book, props for that book, and some teaching tips and ideas (mini-lesson plans) that extend the learning opportunities for that theme.  I love to use props to act out a story because drama really brings the characters to life and children are better able to recall the story from memory.

So many skills can be hit on using story telling bags…. check out some of Louisiana’s ELA grade level expectations for “reading literature and informational text” and “speaking and listening” for ideas.

Here is an example of a story-telling bag (also called a literacy bag),

and here is my effort to create the same story-telling bag for a friend who homeschools on her little one’s birthday 🙂

The llama is from Bolivia, in South America…. so glad my impulse buys came in handy 🙂

I also added teaching tips in the bag. You can do the same by typing the name of the book that you are gifting into a google search followed by “lesson plans” or something similar….OR you can come up with your own!  I may be the mommy teacher but I truly believe in saving time, (money), and reserving energy for my kids so do what is best for YOU.  In fact, if you are a garage-saler, be on the look-out for quality books and props that might correspond to the books and you will save money, and time shopping for the next birthday gift!

Character-Building Book Recommendation “Vlog”

Watch the video below to hear a little bit about why I LOVE this book:
and all the books by these fabulous authors!

Here is an up-close shot of the pages I was discussing in the video:

Chalk It Up

I really love chalk….I love to observe what kids will choose to write/draw, I love to see how kids hold and control a big fat piece of chalk, I love to take a piece of chalk and feel like a kid again myself.

If you are like me, you keep sidewalk chalk in your tote bag for an on-the-go activity accessible when you need it (We go to the park a lot and we spend a lot of time in the courtyard at my mom’s assisted living home). Well, I wanted to suggest some teaching tips to maximize your outdoor play…

1) I start almost every activity with free play for exploration and observation….no prompts, no directions, but I make observations and comments….”Ohh, you drew a line (a squiggle, a swirl, etc.) “I wonder what you are drawing/imagining in your mind” or “What does it look like to you?” “Does it remind you of something?”
2) After about 5 minutes I might ask “Can you show me how you hold the chalk?” “Is that comfortable for you?” Then you might model the proper way to hold it by saying “This is how I hold it because this is the way grown ups hold the tools they write with….I wonder if you are able to hold the chalk this way?” (If this is complicated for your little one or takes the fun out of it, move on! You might say “Well for now, hold the chalk however it feels right and we can learn the way grown ups hold chalk another time.”
3) “What pictures would you like to draw most? I’m imagining a flower in my mind….I wonder if we can draw a flower out of JUST circles”
4) “What can we write? Letters, numbers, words? Which would you like to write? Write a ____ with me”
5) “Can you trace (or write on top of) my writing?

Ideas:
-Draw sets of shapes and teach your little one to draw a line to make matches.
-Draw a hopscotch.
-Draw the alphabet out of order and have your little one hop around trying to step on the letters in order.
-Draw a house out of shapes.
-Draw different types of lines (dashed, zigzag, semi-circles, etc) and have your little one try “copy cat” your writing







Jude traces his name!







Great job Jude!







Sean Patrick freewrites on our brick exterior







Sean Patrick writes on top of mommy's shapes.

What’s In Your App Library? Comment to win an Educational App of Your Choice








As you can see I don’t have many apps in my iphone library but the ones I do have we like and use regularly. Sean Patrick loves the Starfall ABC app and so do I. It is entertaining, engaging, and it has been great for developing his oral vocabulary, phonemic awareness, letter recognition, fluency and more. I like to introduce apps and sit beside Sean Patrick as he plays and learns because I can articulate and reinforce skills that I think are important, but they could also be played independently.

 So, now let me hear from you for a Mommy Teacher Share Moment….
“What Apps are in your iphone/ipad library?”

When 25 or more people “share” on by commenting on this post or on facebook I will pick a winner (at random) to “gift” the Starfall ABC app to, or a coveted app of similar value 🙂

Adorable, DIY, No Sew, Easter Baskets & Liners For Under $10

For the last two years I really wanted to order Pottery Barn Baskets and Liners because I thought they were so cute, but SO expensive…even on sale!  So, I attempted to make my own by going to my friend and neighbor’s house who could teach me how to sew elastic on the end of fabric to attach to a basket.  But, she helped me pull together a GREAT idea instead….all thanks to a MISTAKE my husband made!!!







I saw these super cute, SUPER cheapbaskets on a stand at the PRODUCE market nearby:







And I chose this one for JUST $6!!!!:







I sent my husband to the store to buy pastel blue and pink FABRIC and he came back withBANDANAS because he thought they were “cooler” and only cost $1.79 a piece!!!







So, I brought them to my friends and said “What can I do with a basket + a bandana?”

And this is what she came up with:

1) Place the bandana in the basket with the corner’s lining up AROUND the basket handle.

2) Place something in the basket to weigh the center down.

3) Tie knots around both handles using the corners of the bandana, adjusting as needed after both sides are tied.







4)  Tuck the extra material through the basket handle and hot glue it to the underside of the knot.









 5 ) “PIN IT!” and “share it” if you like it 🙂









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