Activities

November 24, 2009

It is the time of year when many children sit down to write an important letter addressed to the North Pole. Other children pen thank you notes and party invitations during this busy time of the year. Some say letter writing is a lost art, but it doesn't have to be!

An Introduction to Letter Writing covers...

August 26, 2009

This writing sample comes from a 5 year old boy in my neighborhood, who happily wrote a big long message one afternoon. "Wow, Nelson! What did you write?" Mom asked. Nelson looked at it, scrunched his nose, and said, "I dunno. Something about a butterfly, I think."

What this sample tells me:

This is a child who knows some letters! The sample contains just...

August 5, 2009

Recently I was looking for a birthday gift for a soon-to-be five year old girl. As I wandered into the toy department of a well known chain store, I was struck by the number of toys that included some kind of electronic noise or light — a gimmick to grab attention.

I heard guitars without strings, came across talking dolls (fuzzy and not), and even digital cameras for the very young....

May 26, 2009

I don't know a single teacher who stops thinking and learning over the summer. Whether we're teaching summer school, doing curriculum development, taking summer classes or observing flowers and insects at the pool, there's a small piece of a teacher's brain associated with sharing information with kids that doesn't shut off (OK, there are no fMRI's to support that statement,...

March 16, 2009

Years ago I was in a first grade classroom introducing new words to a small group. The word we were examining was "ditch."

I remember a little boy, Paul, recognized the word and was eager to share. I also remember the ooohs of the other kids when Paul replaced the "d" sound for a "b." (We wound up sounding out the word and coming up with a synonym for a trench, by the way...

December 16, 2008

Was it really a year ago that I wrote this post about feeling frenzied and guilty about the lack of quality reading and writing time at our house? Because it's happening again! And once again I realize that my girls ARE engaged in reading and writing. It just looks different this time of year.

Here what we're doing,...

November 25, 2008

Every year our paper goes into a preschool to ask the kids their expert advice on how to cook a turkey. I couldn't resist sharing a few of their answers. As a teacher, I'd feel compelled to put these into a class "cookbook," and as a parent, I'd hang the page in the kitchen!

Here are some of their recipes:

Maya: Put in salt and tomatoes and strawberries and ice cream.

...

June 24, 2008

I've written twice before about reading logs: back in August 2007 with "Reading logs, reading blahs" and then again in April 2008 with "Should reading with parents count?"

Those two posts have sparked lots of comments, all of which carried valid...

June 11, 2008

On the last day of school, Anna came home with a stamped envelope from her kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Z had offered to be pen pals over the summer with kids from her class. By 4:00 that day (the last day of school, after getting home at 3:00), Anna had written her first pen pal letter.

"What are your plans for the summer? I plan to go to the pool. What do you like to do? It will be a...

March 11, 2008

A question came to me via the Ask the Expert service that Reading Rockets provides. With the teacher's permission, I'm including it here to get your opinion.

Question: We were recently told by an administrator that research shows that crossword puzzles and word search...

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"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller