I am an educator, musician, wife and mommy. After teaching pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and college level classes, I became a curriculum specialist for McGraw-Hill and I traveled the country training educators and supporting schools. After becoming a mother I resigned from my job but McGraw-Hill asked me to come back as a per diem consultant. My dream job is being mommy to the miracle baby, Lillian Clare. When I'm not attending mommy and me classes or planning play dates, you will find me playing the clarinet in the Saint Louis Wind Symphony and the Northwinds Concert Band.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today was an EGGciting day filled with math and science. The weather was beautiful so there was also a lot of time spent outside in our backyard.
The Estimation Jar- A wonderful suggestion from my daughter’s teacher and something I used to do when I taught kindergarten. Put a select number of the same item in a jar and have your child estimate how many items are inside. My daughter wrote her estimation on a chart, opened up the jar and counted the items and then recorded the answer. She was only one off! This is a great activity to build on estimation, counting and number writing and we are making the estimation jar part of our daily routine.
Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones– One of my favorite science books for young children is Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Keller. The book introduces readers to the wide variety of oviparous (egg laying) animals in the world. We watched an episode of Reading Rainbow on YouTube that highlighted the book. CLICK HERE to watch. We also read the book The Egg, a Scholastic Discovery Book. Oviparous or NOT Oviparous Game– I created a game out of a worksheet and plastic eggs. I used this Oviparous Animal Sort I found for free and cut out the animals, putting a circle around the oviparous animals to make them look like they were inside an egg. Then I took plastic eggs and wrote a different animal on each egg, placing the corresponding animal inside. Some eggs contained an oviparous and some were mammals. My daughter took an egg from the basket and had to tell if it was oviparous or a mammal and then she opened up the egg to check her answer. The whale was the only animal that tricked her. She thought it was oviparous but a whale is a mammal and has its babies born alive and well. Egg Shake, What Is the Sound- I filled plastic eggs with various things I found around the house (rice, macaroni, pennies flour, jelly beans, goldfish crackers, cotton balls) and my daughter shook each egg, making a guess as to what was inside. I made a chart that showed the possibilities. After she made her predications she opened up the eggs to check them. Egg Patterning– Another EGGcellent suggestion for her teacher was egg patterning. I traced Easter egg shapes on index cards and colored the tops and bottoms to match eggs I had on hand. Separate the eggs and match them to the mixed up egg drawings. After my daughter completed my mixed up eggs, I gave her some blank egg patterns on index cards and she created patterns for me to solve.Jesus Time– Our early childhood director put together some valuable Holy Week resources. We watched a video about Jesus washing his disciples feet. CLICK HERE to view. Then we sang along to “What a Mighty God We Serve!’ CLICK HERE to view the song. We also used our Holy Week retelling cards to review the events that led up to Easter morning.
Good Night Moon– Before bed we viewed and talked about the full “Pink Moon” in the sky tonight.While it did not actually appear pink, it was the closest, biggest and brightest Full Moon of the year! A reading of Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. “Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere.”
We suffered a manic Monday with Daddy going back to work after being furloughed for two weeks and my daughter and I missing having him at home. To cure the Monday blues we spent a lot of time playing outside and on our daily walk my daughter told me she was ready for all of this to be over. She wants to go back to school, she wants to get a forever hug from her best friend and she wants to celebrate Easter the way we do every year…by going to church and gathering with grandparents for an annual Easter brunch and egg hunt. All I could do was give her a comforting hug and say, “Me too baby, me too.”
Koo Koo Kanga Roo– If you like to dance you have to check these guys out! Described as the Beastie Boys meet Sesame Street, this dynamic dance duo is the perfect cure for a manic Monday! Our favorite dance songs are Cat Party and Double Scoop. You can find all of their videos on YouTube and their music streaming on Spotify. Chickens- Scholastic Learn From Home has proven to be my favorite on line resource during the isolation. Today we did the module on Roosters, Hens and Chicks. After that we used construction paper and markers to create a chick hatching out of an egg. Eggs– After hard boiling eggs we turned them into Easter eggs by decorating them with the Egg Mazing egg decorator. Purchased at a huge discount after Easter last year we found the Egg Mazing to be an easy, fun and non messy way to decorate eggs. My daughter has difficulty using a pincer grasp when holding a writing tool but to my delight the Egg Mazing forced her to hold the marker with a pincer grasp! She was having so much fun she didn’t even realize it and until her teacher pointed it out neither did I! We practiced patterning by creating AB, ABC and ABCD patterns on our eggs. We will decorate plastic eggs with the Egg Mazing tomorrow. Egg and Chicken Books– My daughter enjoyed the book Daisy Comes Home about a chicken that goes on an unexpected adventure down the river. Written by Jan Brett you can CLICK HERE to read the book. Before bed we read The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown (author of Goodnight Moon.) We read from the actual book that belonged to me when I was a little girl. I smile at the memory of my mother reading it to me when I was around my daughter’s age. CLICK HERE to have the book read to you.
The way we worshiped this Palm Sunday was different from anything we have ever experienced. But COVID 19 didn’t stop us from worshiping. It didn’t stop my church family from having a palm processional (a drive by parade where our pastors attached palms to our vehicles with a magnet). In fact, there were so many cars piling into the sanctuary parking lot that it created a traffic jam for others passing by! It didn’t stop the little children from waving palms. (many crafted by their little hands out of paper) With horns honking and shouts of “Hosanna,” COVID 19 didn’t stop us from praising our King!
CLICK HERE to view our Palm Sunday worship service.
Although we continued to worship and wave our paper palms, Palm Sunday just didn’t feel quite right. Please read this article Palm Sunday: It doesn’t feel right… by Joyfully Dancing Daughter, our former DCE (director of children’s education). Her words helped me wrap my mind around the thought of experiencing Holy Week in isolation.
Holy Week Coloring Pack- In preparing for Holy Week I found this coloring pack that visually details the events that lead to Jesus’s resurrection. CLICK HERE for a free download.
Early Childhood Holy Week Chapel Service– My daughter’s preschool has shared some excellent resources. Click on this link Sealing the Tomb to download the early childhood chapel service my daughter will virtually participate in with her classmates this week.
Palm Sunday Story– CLICK HERE to view a short online Palm Sunday story.
We Have a King Who Rides on a Donkey– My daughter loves this song! CLICK HERE to sing along!
As a reading consultant and literacy lover, who is also passionate about music, I find myself choosing activities that build upon my strengths. So during this time of isolation I have been pushing myself to present activities that are outside of my comfort zone. Like her daddy, my daughter enjoys STEM activities so I have been incorporating more science and mathinto our days. My daughterneeds to strengthen her core muscles and generally dislikes any activity that challenges her in this area so to avoid confrontation I haven’t pushed her in this area. Continue to allow your child to chose activities “free choice” but try to introduce some of the things that challenge both of you. Incorporate rewards for trying something new, a little bribery during these stressful times won’t hurt! You’ve got this momma,try to do your best and don’t give up! And don’t forget to reward yourself at the end of the day!
Number Pad– Use paper plates to make a big number pad on the wall. My daughter enjoyed practicing family phone numbers. Children use large body movement when they press on the plates and learn to identify numbers at the same time! Cosmic Kids Yoga– My daughter’s teacher has the kiddos do Cosmic Kids Yoga at school and I have been trying to get my daughter to do Cosmic Kids Yoga for months. Today was the day that she finally completed an entire Cosmic Kids Yoga session! We did one about a cat but there are many fantastic sessions to choose from. Frozen Yoga and the Wizard of Oz Yoga are two popular ones. Through a story or song Cosmic Kids Yoga builds strength, increases blood flow, improves concentration and helps with anxiety (just to name a few of the benefits.) While doing yoga, kids work to use a range of muscles, find their body working in symmetry andthisimproves their body coordination and encourages motor development.Marble Painting- We do marble painting a lot (it is one of our favorite activities). Get a shallow box (a shirt box works perfectly), paper, paint and marbles. Place the paper in the box and after coating marbles in different color paints drop them in the box and gently move the box from side to side. Make sure you practice moving the marble inside the box without paint first to set proper technique. No two masterpieces are ever alike! We painted on cross shapes but you could use any shape or canvas. (eggs, shamrocks, flowers, hearts) You can also paint with other items that roll (a toy car or small ball). The results look like miniature Jackson Pollock paintings. Click Here to watch a child friendly video about Jackson Pollock. Pollock is one of my favorite artists so that’s probably why I love hanging these marble paintings in my home.
Preparing for Palm Sunday- This Sunday is Palm Sunday, one of my daughter’s favorite days on the church calendar. She loves parading down the aisle at church waving her palm branch for all to see. But this year she won’t be able to do that. Click Here to view a video from our senior pastor, Pastor Rouland and Gary the puppet, speaking to the children about celebrating Palm Sunday at home. Gary recommends drawing a Palm on paper. Click Here to view a video from my parents church for additional ways to make palms with your children. We are going to make some palms this afternoon. Make some palms with us and post them in the comments or on the Noteworthy Mommy Facebook or Instagram page. We can’t wait to see them!
Although the day was filled with exploration andfun for my daughter, this Noteworthy Mommy felt a bit down. As more districts make the decisionto bring the school year to a close I know it’s just a matter of time before our localschoolsmake the announcement.I’m melancholy over the lack of closure and the inability tosay a proper goodbye to friends who will be leaving us and going to the public schoolnext year. I know we are not in this alone.
The Shape of Things– After we watched my daughter’s teacher read the book The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds, I got out some attribute blocks and my daughter and I made houses. It was a good review of basic shapes and colors and a chance to problem solve and use some creativity. ￼￼Indoor Scavenger Hunt– Per her teachers suggestion we did an indoor scavenger hunt where we searched for things that began with L, the first letter in my daughter’s name. This was a great way to work on initial sounds and we will defiantly do it again with another letter. ￼
Backyard Scavenger Hunt– The weather was beautiful today so we spent a majority of the afternoon outside reading books and taking a long scooter ride. We also participated in a backyard scavenger hunt. We followed the one listed here but you could easily make up your own. My daughter and I enjoyed working together to find the items on this list. With clipboard in hand she checked a box next to each item after it was found. We documented the Hunt by taking pictures but you could draw a picture of each item as well. ￼
Weekly Lenten Church Service- Yesterday was such a busy day we didn’t have time togo to church. This afternoon my daughter and I sat down and worshiped together.The familiarsongsalong with scripture brought some much needed comfort on this day. CLICK HEREto watchour Lutheran worship service. Pizza and a Family Meeting– We ended our day by making our own pizzas for dinner. My daughter designed a face on one and used pepperoni for eyes! After dinner we had a Talley Family Zoom meeting with my in-laws and sister in-law.
My daughter just wasn’t feeling it today so I didn’t push her. She really needed a day of free play and rest so that is exactly what we did!
Play Dough- – Is there anything better than a giant batch of fresh play dough? My daughter enjoyed helping me make homemade play dough. As I stated in an earlier post, the best play dough recipes are the ones that require heat. I used my tried and true preschool play dough recipe, shared with me by a former teaching partner twenty-five years ago!! (How can I be that old?) Play dough making is filled with countless learning opportunities… math, measuring, science (color mixing) and following directions. My daughter requested purple play dough and we added a vanilla scent. Don’t forget to add a color and a scent. Some people add glitter for extra fun! Once your play dough is ready, use cookie cutters, scissors and straws as play dough tools. We made pretend cookies and constructed numbers. (roll the play dough into long skinny snakes and then construct numbers)Painting– People have posted some beautiful stained glass window creations on line. We used paint dobbers designed for windows and painted stained glass crosses on several of our interior windows. My daughter really enjoyed painting and said, “Now when we have church at home our house will look like church too!”
The Power of Play– Young children learn the best through play and they need to engage in imaginative play often so they can learn and grow not only academically but socially and emotionally. My daughter uses a sweet high pitched voice when she creates dialogue for her action figures or stuffed animals. Our home was filled with the sweet sound of play and through this play my daughter was learning to navigate her new reality, After she played with her toys for a awhile she was happier and better equipped to face the rest of the day.
Birthday Parade– A preschool friend turned five today and we participated in her birthday parade. A birthday parade was exactly what we needed to raise our spirits and we ended the day on a happy note! We used the paint dobbers made for windows to decorate the windows in daddy’s truck. Then we made a sign and added some balloons. During the parade my daughter and I jumped in the bed of the truck and held our signs for the birthday girl to see. We also made a special birthday card for the birthday girl.
We didn’t accomplish as much today as I had originally planned and that’s OK. Some days will be like that. As we navigate eLearning and isolation the biggest lessons often come in the unplanned.
Encouraging Play and CleanUp– We began our day cleaning up. With spending all of our time at home our house was getting out of control! So I put on some music and mommy, daddy and our reluctant little one began putting away toys, dishes and art supplies. My daughter loves to play and in doing so she creates scenes that she does not want to destroy by putting the pieces back in place. The latest project was a well designed Doggy Daycare swimming pool complete with a deck for cats to sit on so they don’t get wet. The other project was the bear den we constructed the day before. As she ran around the house, screaming that we were ruining her life by cleaning up, I was reminded that play is a child’s work. I also recalled the “Work in Progress” signs I often see in her classroom. That gave me the idea of compromising and telling my daughter she can keep one “Work in Progress” out per day but the rest will have to be put away. Satisfied with our new agreement it was decided the bear den would be dismantled while the swimming pool would stay open.
Maps– A mom friend suggested we read Me by Joan Sweeney. I know we had the book upstairs (working for a textbook company has its benefits) so I pulled it out and daddy read it to our little one. Click Here to read a digital copy of the book. Then the two of them set out to draw a map of our house. But our little one had other ideas. She wanted to draw a map of her Doggy Daycare so that’s exactly what we did! Gratitude Journal– Per her teacher’s suggestion we began a Gratitude Journal. Her first entry was a picture of mommy and daddy and her beloved blanket! She knows how to write mommy and daddy on her own and I helped her write the word blanket. We will add a new page to the journal everyday.
Generosity– Perhaps the best part of our day was delivering a weekly care package to Maw Maw and Paw Paw and to their neighbor. While practicing social distancing we were able to see our loved ones and model an example of generosity for our impressionable little one. Without a complicated lesson plan or an on line resource, children are learning. By watching the adults in their life, by listening to the sounds in their environment and by being actively engaged in activity, children are learning. Through play and imagination, children are learning!
Teachers across the country are putting in countless hours creating, compiling and sharing eLearning plans with their students. Many are learning too as they quickly navigate new digital tools. I want to thank the teachers, especially my daughter’s preschool teacher (Mrs. Stanglein), who arranged for us to pick up materials for a class project and began leading her class in a virtual daily circle time. Seeing her teacher and friends everyday, even if it’s not face to face, is helping my daughter feel connected to her classroom community.
Bear Hunt– Our neighborhood held a “Bear Hunt” today, actually, itwas yesterday but I thought it was today…Epic Mom Fail! We enjoyed putting stuffed bears outfor our neighbors to hunt.
Bear Books–Before we set out for a bear hunt through our neighborhood (a few bears were still out)we completed the Scholastic Learn At Home module on bears. Still my favorite online resource we read Bear Snores On for our fiction selection and then read and a non-fiction book about bears. We watched a video of a mother bear teaching her cubs how to fish for Salomon in Alaska and learned how to be safe from bears while camping. Other bear books we enjoyed were: Goldilocksand the Three Bears (which we acted out with stuffed animals), Going on a Bear Huntand Berlioz the Bear. My daughter enjoyed making a bear den out of a blanket and chairs and that captivated her creative play for hours.
Color Songs– When I was a kindergarten teacher I loved singing the Color Songs by Frog Street Press with my class. These catchy songs have captivated my daughter as well. I just discovered individuals have posted the original songs on YouTube and added animation. Back in the day, before Smart Boards and YouTube, I wrote the lyrics on chart paper so the children could follow along while we sang. I discovered that Kindergarten Works has compiled all of the videos and color word resources in one place. Click Here for this valuableresource and happy singing!
Big Universe– Exciting news! McGraw Hill’s partner Big Universe is offering FREE access to more than 17,000 eBooks!! BigU is a digital platform of K-12 books! An ever-growing library of over 17K authentic texts. Searchable by grade, topic, language, and reading level. GO TO: www.biguniverse.com to register. Enjoy my friends!
This is a photo from our weekend. Taken right before sunset it epitomizes the innocence of childhood, a care free little girl simply experiencing joy in her journey. The photo was taken as we walked (she ran) around the pond in our backyard. Earlier our neighborhood rang with dogs barking, children laughing and lawn mowers humming with the sounds of spring. In this scene people had retreated inside to start their evening routines and our soundtrack came from song birds proudly singing a tune and allowing us to listen in. The grass we walked upon, once dull and brown in color, had awoken to a luscious green. The smell of pollen from flowering trees was in the air giving us another reminder of rebirth. Spring is not in quarantine and neither is God. He created this beautiful day and He is with us on good days and in trying times. Love embraced me as I gazed at our house (shown here in the distance), knowing we would return home to a nutritious meal prepared lovingly by my husband. The wind began to blow indicating a spring storm was on the horizon. But when I looked up at the sky there was hope among the darkness. God was sending a visual reminder as rays of sunlight were peeking through a mass of clouds, reassuring me that we will all get through this.
Today was FUN FRIDAY but before I explain the fun activities l wanted to share some age appropriate explanations about COVID-19. We had a virtual meeting with our Parents As Teacher home educator the other day and she sent us files of two age appropriate books to help young children better understand what is happening. One explains, in a child friendly way, what Contraviris is and the other offers young children support on why they are having school with their teachers from home. Click on the links below to read on line or print them out and make them into a book to read with your child.
Jelly Bean Math– My daughter really enjoyed doing math with jelly beans! We each got a baggie of jelly beans and used the free templates created by Simply Kinder on line to sort the jelly beans by color. Then we used the tally mark sheet and made tally marks next to each color indicating how many of each color we had. Our last step was creating a bar graph showing how many jelly beans of each color we had in our bag. We practiced math vocabulary by commenting on which color we had more or less of and which colors were equal. Since my daughter struggles with writing numbers I had her write the total number of each color on the sorting page. This was a great exercise in sorting, counting, comparing numbers, number recognition and number writing and the best part was eating the jelly beans at the end!
Holes in the Jelly Beans?– We cut out our jelly bean shapes and punched holes in the jelly beans by using a hole punch to punch the correct number of holes on each jelly bean. Then we strung them together and made a necklace. My daughter needs to work on hand strength and this activity suggested by her teacher really challenged her. JanBrett– One of my favorite authors is Jan Brett so I pulled out all of my Jan Brett books and shared them with my daughter. We had read some of the books previously but some were new to her. After I took the picture I discovered even more Jan Brett books in my daughters closet! Her intricate illustrations are simply captivating and the fact that she loves animals and incorporates animals from around the world in her stories is one of the reasons why she is one of my favorite authors. Her creative spin on classic fairy tales is another reason why I love her so! In 1994 I had the privilege of meeting Jan Brett and her husband Joe (a double base player for the Boston Pops) at an early childhood conference in southern Illinois. This was decades before smart phones so I don’t think I got a picture of our meeting but she did sign and date one of my favorite books, Berlioz the Bear. My daughter’s favorite book is Comet’s Nine Lives and we adore the Gingerbread Baby books and of course her most famous book, The Mitten. A family friend presented us with a copy of The Easter Egg a few years ago and my daughter has been requesting it be read every night now that we are nearing Easter. We went to Jan Brett’s website where we played games, watched a video of Jan reading one of her newest books (Cozy, a delightful story of a helpful musk ox from Alaska) and printed out some coloring pages of Hegie the Hedgehog. We also wrote her a letter and are anxiously anticipating a response. Backyard Animal Discovery– My daughter’s teacher shared the brilliant idea of watching for animals (in our backyard and on our daily walks) and graphing how many of each animal we found. We watched for ducks, cardinals, sparrows, robins, rabbits and squirrels and after printing out pictures of each animal my daughter helped me create a chart that we hung on the wall. We enjoyed looking out the window to see if another duck took a swim in the pond or if we could spot a robin on our daily walks around the neighborhood. My daughter loved adding tally marks on our graph and sharing the final count with her teacher. The activity was such a hit we are going to do it again next week!
Spreading SONshineProject– Yesterday was virtual sunglasses day at school and it reminded me to spread SONshine. So spread some SONshine this weekend by calling a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in awhile, mailing a letter or sending a text of encouragement to someone or posting an encouraging bible verse on social media. #spreadingSONshine project