Monday, February 29, 2016

Using Pinterest Pictures in the Classroom

Sometimes I would take a picture I'd found on Tumblr or Pinterest, and flash it up on the screen for the children to see.

We'd discuss what they saw in the picture, with me guiding the questions as far into higher order thinking skills as possible.
(Ex: Why would the woman wear a veil and not a hat?
Why is she using a camel to carry her things and not a car?)

I would then have the children write one or two sentences describing what they see in the picture.

Afghan kuchi woman - Pashtun nomads of Afghanistan)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Graphing Idea - Letter V

1. What is your favorite vegetable?
2. What vegetable do you dislike?

1. What is the best thing about volcanoes?
2. Why are volcanoes dangerous?
3. Where can you find volcanoes?

1. Name something that grows on a vine.
2. Where can you find vines?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baby Teeth and Bad Hygiene: What's There to Lose?

My dentist sent this out in his newsletter, and I thought I'd share. During my teaching career, I had numerous children who'd never brushed their teeth in their life.

Don't fall for it, parents! Just because baby teeth are temporary doesn't mean they don't matter. Despite what naysayers and wishful thinkers might have you believe, forgetting to care for primary teeth comes at a steep price for your child.

If you're questioning whether it's worth wrangling your little one into a dental routine now, these facts prove that adopting good habits early on can pay off big time for your child's oral health down the road.

1: Baby teeth help shape your child's speech.

Forming and pronouncing words correctly depends largely on the presence and alignment of baby teeth. Premature loss of any primary teeth can result in speech impediments such as a slur or lisp, and negatively impact both a child's ability to communicate and his or her self-esteem. Depending on the severity of the case, a speech pathologist may be required to help correct the problem(s).

2: Baby teeth facilitate proper chewing and eating.

In addition to efficiently breaking down solid foods, chewing correctly is important for other reasons. Tooth loss and/or alignment issues can cause unnecessary stress to the jaw and result in serious complications over time, and chewing problems can also interfere with the development of key facial muscles. Improper chewing can even contribute to a nutritional imbalance if poor oral health starts impacting food choices.

3: Baby teeth act as a placeholder for permanent teeth.

Permanent teeth will emerge, but how and where has a lot to do with your child's first set of pearly whites. Each primary tooth reserves a spot for a permanent tooth, but the loss of this initial placeholder can cause shifting and result in harmful misalignments. Cosmetic issues aside, misaligned teeth can make brushing and flossing more difficult, result in crowded and/or impacted teeth, and contribute to jaw disorders such as TMJ.

4: Maintaining healthy baby teeth helps to instill effective dental habits.

Teaching the ins and outs of good oral hygiene can have a lifelong impact on your child. Introducing healthy dental habits early on can solidify the importance of preventative dental care, making it easier for him or her to stick with these habits throughout adulthood. This can mean a lifetime of optimal oral health, and significantly reduced chances for costly dental problems.

Dental Tips for Baby Teeth

Brushing and flossing may not be your child's favorite activity, but introducing healthy habits the moment that first tooth appears can make it easier for both parent and child to stick to a routine.
While there is no set timeline for baby teeth to erupt, here are some general guidelines the American Dental Association provides for cleaning and caring for baby teeth:
  • From birth (no teeth present): wipe gums clean with a moistened gauze or cloth
  • Ages 0-3 (teeth present): brush twice daily with a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste*
  • Ages 3-6: brush twice a day, but use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Any age when teeth touch each other: add flossing to your daily routine
Paying a visit to the pediatric dentist before your child's first birthday, and getting regular checkups are also crucial to his or her oral health. Depending on your child's individual situation, certain in-office treatments and/or instructions for at-home care may be recommended.

*Note: Fluoride toothpaste should be expectorated and not swallowed. If you feel your child will swallow the fluoride toothpaste it can be substituted with non-fluoride toothpaste.


Baby Teeth Care: Brushing First Teeth, Teething, Gum Care, and More. (2014, November 6). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from
The Importance of Baby Teeth. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

Monday, February 22, 2016

X is for X-Ray Fish

Sharing this little gem from one of my teacher friends.

Trace outline of hand on black construction paper.
Add Q-tip "bones", a triangle for the skull, and googly eye.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekly Graphing Idea - Letter U

1. Name something you can sit or stand under.
2. Name something you can not stand under.

1. What else can you use an umbrella for, other than keep off rain?
2. How many people can share an umbrella?

1. Name a job where you would wear a uniform.
2. Why do people wear uniforms?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Word Building Relay Race

I gave each table a pad of post-it notes (this was a great way to use those different shaped pads I'd been collecting!)

Each table elected one person to do the writing, and one person to do the running.

I then posted two word families. At "Go!", they would come up with a word for either (or both) word family. Writer would put the word on the sheet, and the runner would go up to the board to place their word.

I would stand at the board to prevent duplicate words. So when the Pink Team got "dog" placed up there first, no other team was allowed put that word there, too.

When the buzzer goes off, the team with the most words wins! (In this case, Green Apple Team was the winner.)

The kids loved it! We'd do it at least once a week, using two different word family prompts.

Click on the photos for larger versions.

Monday, February 15, 2016

How Children Prepare and Eat Their Lunch in Japan

How children prepare and eat their lunch in Japan(shared for educational purpose only)
Posted by Valiant Japanese Language School on Monday, November 16, 2015

Friday, February 12, 2016

Weekly Graphing Idea - Letter T

1. Are you ticklish?
2. Where are you ticklish?

1. Can you touch the tip of your nose with your tongue?
2. Can you fold your tongue?
3. Is your tongue rounded at the end, or pointed?

1. Name something that comes in twos.
2. Think of two ways to eat corn on the cob without touching the cob.
3. What are your favorite two subjects in school?
4. How many different ways can you say "two"?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Time Out for Potty Break!

I was fortunate to have bathrooms in my classroom, but I know some teachers haven't that luxury.

A friend of mine who teaches at another school came up with this ingenious silent signal so that her students could ask for a potty break without interrupting the lesson. All she has to do is give the student a nod, and the child can excuse him/herself. For those children who are very shy about verbally requesting permission to go to the bathroom, (especially in a room full of kids) I think this a quick, efficient, and face-saving use of the well-known Time Out hand gesture.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Study Break: School Sees Positive Difference Giving Kids More Recess

While some schools are packing the day with more classes, a handful are bucking that trend, trying to improve performance by adding more free time.

Reported by NBC News. Click here for the full report if the video does load below.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekly Graphing Idea - Letter S

1. What is your favorite soup?
2. Do you eat your soup with crackers?
3. Why do you like soup?

1. Do you own or have you ridden a skateboard?
2. Why are skateboards fun?

1. Where have you seen a snake?
2. Would you own a snake for a pet? Why or why not?
3. If you saw a snake outside your house, what would you do?