A love for teaching young children

Supporting parents in the educating of their child

Saturday, February 26, 2011

science topic: creating outdoor nature/natural activity areas

If you haven't heard about Nature Explore Classrooms yet, keep reading! Nature Explore classroom certification should be a goal for daycares, preschools, and elementary schools. Doesn't matter if your location is urban, suburban, or rural.

To receive certification your facility must show three things: family involvement, staff development (a staffer has attended a N.E. workshop and shares to concepts, goals, and values with co-workers), and a designed well outdoor area.

Learn more by visiting the websites of the two collaborating organizations: http://www.arborday.org/ and http://www.dimensionsfoundation.org/.

How did I learn about Nature Explore? My husband and I have been donation members of Arbor Day Foundation on and off about 15 years and for the past 2 years or so I have read Nature Explore feature articles in their bi-monthly newsletter.

In this day and age when technology gadgets and hectic life styles are even dominating the lives of young children, we educators need to give youngsters the experential acquaitance with nature that many of us enjoyed with our parents, grandparents, and extended family members as children.

As a young child growing up along both sides of the Illinois/Indiana state line, I loved taking walks in the wood and discovering mushrooms, turtles, birds, insects, worms and beetles under old logs, etc. There were also times of squatting along the Wabash River and picking up pebbles while watching the water flow by. Other times enjoyed were of sitting in the yard picking dandelions or laying back and looking for shapes in the clouds. Ah! the good ole days!

Monday, February 21, 2011

article indicates indirect instructional help to science and social studies

I'm trying to find articles that encourage increasing or at least giving equitable science instructional time at the elementary level. Since No Child Left Behind was enacted, there are many articles that indicate science is disappearing from the elementary classrooms.

However, there is a little ray of hope. Read this article of Philip M. Katz's titled, "Research Round Up: Field Trips Down, Ignorance Holding Steady, Museum Visits Booming."


article recommendation about lefties

An interesting article that give you some history about medical theories on left-handedness as of 10 years ago was written September 8, 2000 by Jeanie Lerche Davis for WebMD Health News. The title of her article is: "Does Being a Lefty Affect Health, Creativity--and Sexuality?"

On the right side of my blog page I have a link to the website. Use the site's search engine to access this archived article.

Quick topic: handedness for lefties (aka southpaws)

To understand handedness in lefties, the first thing to identify in a child regarding writing style is how the child uses his/hers hand--does he/she hook or twist the hand around a pencil or crayon or does he/she hold or grip similarily to a rightie (just with opposite hand position)?

If the child hooks the hand around, that forces the writing tool and consequently their pensmanship in a very very slanted to the right side of the paper looking style.

If the child holds with the pincer-grip or something similar, their penmanship style may lean to the left some depending on the wrist location/rotation with the paper surface. However, the overall production of their writing (printing or cursive) can be held to grading evaluation standards similarily to right-handers once the basics of letter and number formations have been introduced to the child.

For lefties that hook their hand for writing, grading evaluation standards will have to be adjusted. Teachers and parents will need to realize that recognizable letters, numbers, or words needs to be the focus. Working with a "hooked hand writer" will have challenges. Make sure the child is not gripping the writing tool excessively. If the child complains that writing is too painful, check to see how tightly they are gripping/holding. The amount of applied pressure can also be quickly assessed by seeing if the paper surface is tearing/ripping frequently and also by how heavy or thick the pencil lead or crayon wax looks on the paper.

Parents can model writing examples and gripping examples if they sit opposite to their child creating a mirror-kind of reflection. If you have a relative that is left-handed, they also can help model hand-gripping and examples of letter/number formation for the leftie child.

Parents and teachers can also check how a left-handed child holds other items that are included in fine motor skill development: different size puzzle pieces, puzzle or wooden stamps that have a small knob or handle on top, picking up beads, holding food utensils, holding and using scissors, toy tools, and similar household items.