## Searching for "counting book graph"

Today’s math skill is going to incorporate number sense, by counting and writing the numeral that represents the group of objects, in a mommy/daddy teacher-made graph.  Whew! That was a mouthful, but this it is because this activity is packed with opportunities for extensions and repetition.

YOU are going to look through a counting book (or other family favorite book with pictures) and then fill in the first two columns of a graph with the animal/object names and images for your little one to search through the book to find and count.   My example is below from the book “Count!”, but you can free-hand the image….it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Your goal is to give your little one a researching task that causes them to find, count, and write the information into the correct spaces on the graph.  You will be there, by their side, helping with this task.  Your little one doesn’t have to sound out the number word in order to write it….he/she can use their book resource to write the numbers and spell the number words.

This is a great counting book extension to give your little one an independent activity to do and to learn from.

Jessica and I are both Momprenuers that juggle both the lifestyles of stay-at-home moms and working moms.  My art and design business, Kidspired Creations, went on an exciting and unexpected journey this summer that has, to say the least, made it especially hard to find time to blog (my deepest apologies).  But let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on and about how we have been giving back to an amazing organization called St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – perhaps you’ve heard of it?

This is Bennett.  His story has touched thousands of lives and counting!  In December 2013, the Coleman family began an unexpected journey as Bennett, just 17 months old at the time, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.  He was admitted to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for treatment where he and his family spent the last few months of his life here on earth. On april 28, 2014, the cancer died and Bennett began his new life, healed, happy and free of pain in heaven.  The staff, nurses, doctors, patients and families at St. Jude are incredible and held the hands of the Coleman family all the way…

Being close friends with the Colemans, my business partner, Brooke, and I shared updates about Bennett with our kids.  They learned all about St. Jude, cancer research and treatment, and the wonderful care that the organization provides families free of charge!

Brooke’s son Cooper, age 4, decided that he wanted to raise money for Baby Bennett.  He said, “I love God.  I love to paint.  And I love Bennett.”  He asked his mom to help him sell some paintings so he could donate the money to St. Jude.  Brooke started a Facebook page, Cooper Paints, to document Cooper’s donation efforts and art endeavors…

…and this got Brooke and I thinking… thinking about how much our kids enjoy painting… and how beautiful each creation is… and how more kids would probably like to do what Cooper is doing… and who can resist a beautiful piece of artwork made with love from a child?

Photo Credit: Kelsey Ann Photography

And thus, Blue Balloon was born – named for the blue balloons that family, friends and prayer warriors have released to celebrate Bennett’s life. Here, child artists can donate paintings to sell and the proceeds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Bennett Coleman.

Cooper and his friends have created true KIDspired art!  Each 8″x10″ piece was hand-painted with love and is available for purchase HERE for \$15.

This summer, Blue Balloon has been blessed by our community here in Lafayette, Louisiana. We were given space to host a Paint and Donate station at the Mommy & Me Expo in June where nearly 60 kids donated their time and talents to make and sell artwork for St. Jude!

We then were invited to sell those paintings at Applause for a Cause, a play, also benefiting St. Jude, and the organizers of the Baby & Kidz Expo donated booth space for us to sell paintings at their super successful event as well.

Our wonderful donors, volunteers, artists and vendor events!

Many businesses around the area donated materials and services for Blue Balloon to participate in these events!  Many thanks to Office Depot and Lowe’s of New Iberia and Michael’s Arts and Crafts and Super-1 Foods of Lafayette for donating art and cleanup supplies.  Also, to Kidz 337 Magazine for donating ad and article space and Kelsey Ann Photography for providing professional promotional pictures!

We surpassed our goal!

With the help of these businesses and events, our high school volunteers, child artists ages 1 to 16 years old, and including the auctioned artwork that raised \$200 at Bennett’s Bash in Lafayette, Blue Balloon has raised over \$1300 for St. Jude!  More than \$300 over our original goal!

So, now we have a new goal!

We are hoping to raise \$1500 by August 15, 2014!  For just \$15 you can purchase a painting and help us meet our new goal!  Your entire \$15 will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help toward research, treatment and care for patients and families as they battle this horrible disease.  St. Jude operates solely on donations and at no cost to the families so they can focus 100% on their loved ones.

Please visit our Storenvy shop to view the Blue Balloon collection and purchase a painting for just \$15!

Photo credit: Kelsey Ann Photography

To read all about Bennett and the Coleman family, you can follow them on Facebook and #pray4babybennett.  If you would like to make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, please visit http://www.stjude.org.

Photo credit: Kelsey Ann Photography

Kidspired Creations and The Mommy Teacher remains inspired by the next generation of artists who give back!  If your child would like to donate artwork, please e-mail me at casey@kidspiredcreations.com or Brooke at brooke@kidspiredcreations.com!

In memory of our buddy Bennett, Little Blessed One…

“Blessed is the man who trusts int he Lord, whose confidence is in Him.”  Jeremiah 17:7

Last Mother’s Day, my kids gave me a great planter for us to start a home garden!

My husband works at a factory and they frequently get shipments of equipment that come in these long crates that are perfect for starting a garden (especially because they are free).  Keep your eyes peeled for wooden crates and pallets and you can get free planters as well!

This year we have a few more!

Now, this is a little intimidating for me because I do NOT have a green thumb… but my husband is a little bit better at watering…and my kids are REALLY good at watering… a little too good as they sometimes over water.

So many early childhood teachers will grow plants in the classroom for kids to learn the parts of the plant, how to care for a plant, and what plants need to grow: soil, water, sun.  Here are a few activities for you to do at home to teach your kids about growing plants if you have or plan on starting your own garden at home.

1.  Journal:  Have your kids document plant growth.

• Pre-schoolers – model drawing sketches of what your plants look like each week and then give them a crayon for them to do the same (may not look like much, but they will at least think they are drawing a plant).  Introduce vocabulary such as plant, green, grow, sun, soil
• Pre-K – have them add words to their drawings (even if their words are just a mix up of letters – write what they are trying to spell underneath).  Vocabulary:  the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant
• Kinder – write a sentence or two describing the plant.  Vocabulary and discussion:  the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant, why plants are important
• 1st grade and above – a paragraph (minimum) documenting any changes they may see, how long they watered, what time of the day they watered, etc.  Vocabulary and Discussion:  the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant, describe why plants are important, how they reproduce, nutrition and the benefits of eating home grown foods

2.  Predict:  Have your kids predict what is going to happen throughout the summer with their plants, use your journal from above to help document, then calculate results by a certain date at the end of the summer.

• Calendar Math:  Using a summer calendar, mark the day you plant your plants.  Have your kids each choose a different date in which they predict they can start picking their ripe produce.
• Measuring:  Using a ruler, guess the size of the produce and how tall the plants will become by the end of the summer.  Have them draw this out on poster paper to compare at the end of the summer.
• Counting:  Predict the amount of produce each type of plant will produce.
• Science – Weather:  predict the number of rainy days versus sunny days
• Comparison:  predict what type of plant will produce the biggest/smallest, most/least amount, greenest, etc. produce

3.  Experiment:  Get several seedlings that are the same type and are all similar in size.  Experiment with different amounts of sunlight or soil type or watering schedule (choose one) to see what is the optimal amount for that particular plant.  Plant several seedlings in each of the different conditions to get the best average outcome.  And, go back to the first activity:  journal 🙂

4.  Create a Cookbook:  As your plants are growing, decide as a family what you are going to use your plants for and create a family cookbook together!  Take pictures of your growing plants to include in the “ingredients” section of each recipe.

BONUS:  Include a raw versus cooked taste test of each fruit/vegetable to include that 5th sense that we often don’t get to use in a classroom.

5.  Dissect the Plants:

• Science:  learn about the different plant parts including the parts you don’t see… inside the stem, the roots, inside the fruit and flowers.  When you are finished, use the roots, stem, leaves, flowers to make art on a poster board.
• Math:  Compare/Contrast the different types of plants:  length, leaf shape, fruit, root length and thickness and number of roots
• Art:  Create leaf prints by placing a piece of paper on top of the leaves and using the edge of a crayon to etch the shape of the leaf.  Draw the type of produce next to each leaf.

BONUS:  One of my friends started a private Facebook group for some of her friends who wanted to start a home garden.  On it we are sharing pictures and knowledge with each other and when the produce is ripe, we will be having garden picking parties!  It is nice to see what everyone else is growing (and these ladies know way more than I do about gardening so it’s helpful too)!  I encourage you to start a similar group for your friends with green (or slightly unripened) thumbs.

It is so wonderful seeing how excited my kids are to watch our plants grow!  Right now, we just have bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, but we hope to fill our other planters soon!

Leyson and I tore a paper plate in half to draw our measurements of the peppers (paper plates are sturdier than sheets of paper thus easier to measure the peppers on).  We used a marker to draw a line on each side of the paper and later use a ruler to measure from line to line.  We numbered our peppers 1, 2 and 3.  Measure them week by week so you can see how much they grow in one week.

Every time I see dominos I think about my friend’s set of HUGE dominoes that she stored in a math bucket; she always seemed to find a use for them.

For us, as adults, when we play a dice game or domino game we don’t have to count the number of dots to find out how many spaces to move or what number of dots is a match.   This is mainly because we have stored the group of dots in our minds with a number that it represents.  And by knowing that, we can use this strategy to take shortcuts to counting, to compare sets of numbers, and much more.

So, it is important for children to become familiar with dominos and cards that have groups of dots that are consistent with number amounts because children can begin to understand number sets spatially after lots of practice.  Children need the same repetition when it comes to seeing groups of objects representing a number.  But, for the first several times using number set cards or toys, children will need to count them to learn why a number represents that many dots on the game piece.

A way to help children begin to wrap their minds around this subject is by seeing how a domino is made and by MAKING one on their own.

I used small blank index cards and stickers that I already have in my house.  Maybe you have cardstock and stamps or hole reinforcements.  Whatever you find to use, you will model how to make a domino FIRST by arranging the stickers and then allow your little one to make one in the same way you arranged the stickers.  I model my arrangements after dominoes because it makes it easier for consistency.

Excuse the photography, but here is a set I made with a 3 year old little friend of mine 🙂

Math Beginnings

My Secret Math Weapon