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News to Share

I have taken a new teaching position. I will be working with young threes and threes at a childcare center. So, what does that mean for my blog… well I will still post and provide you activities to do. I will still suggest ways to help your child in pre-K and kindergarten. But, it might not be on a regular basis. Between my job and grad school… and being a mom/wife etc. My days are going to be busy.

Just know if you have thoughts, need suggestions, need ideas/advice… you can email me or message me on Facebook.

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Inspire me!

Ok readers… time for you to help me out. I love sharing ideas for activities, answering questions about how to help our your kiddos. I love being able to share not only the how’s but also the why’s.

Here’s the thing… I need you to inspire my next post! What do you want to know? Is there a topic you would like activities based off? Is there a why does a teacher do that question you have? Is there a how can I help my child’s development question you have?

What would you like to see next?

Reply here on the blog, or on the Facebook post. Jot me an email at mydayinprek@gmail.com.

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Back to School… for me!

This past summer, I gave up my job as a preK teacher. I decided that teaching 4 year olds under the strain of Covid-19 was more than I wanted to take on at that time. I could not wrap my brain around how to teach the way I teach and keep myself, my family, my students and their families safe under the guidelines set forward. I am lucky in that I did not have to work.

Staying home was also beneficial as we decided that my two sons, 7th and 8th graders, would do this year full virtual. While they don’t need me hovering over them, it was nice to be here when things were needed. We chat during their lunch, I run between the printer and wherever they are working, and troubleshoot tech issues. Again, this isn’t the ideal schooling situation, but it is what worked for my family.

Around January, I was feeling not myself. I have my blogs (My Day in PreK and Lori-ize It!), but that wasn’t enough. I had been tutoring, but the family took a break from mid-Nov until the end of Feb so I wasn’t doing that. I was just in a funk. So, my husband and I started talking. I still wasn’t/am not ready to walk back into a classroom… as a teacher. But, maybe it was time to go back as a student?

I have my EdM in Elementary Education. I see myself as a primary teacher (preK, K, 1st grades), but I’ve had many people over the years tell me that I should work with special needs students. I can not think of a year of teaching that I did not have a variety of children with varying ability needs in my room. Over the years, I’ve had students moved into my room to help meet their individual needs.

So…. I am going back to school. My first class starts on Sunday. It is a fully asynchronous online Master of Arts in Special Education program. I take a new class every 8 weeks and will complete my degree in 1.5 years.

What does that mean for my blog… as of now, nothing! My goal is to continue to provide you with learning opportunities to complete with your child(ren). But, just know that there maybe times when I need to step away, as I do already, and focus on other part of my life.

letter work · teaching thoughts · topic · Uncategorized · writing

Penmanship

This week I have been writing about writing. Each day I not only shared a story for you to share with your child, but also talked about what writing looks like in the early childhood years. I mentioned, ok often, that there is a difference between writing and penmanship. I linked you to the phases of writing and explained how to help your child get started. You can see these posts here, here and here.

Ok… I keep telling you that writing is not penmanship, so I guess we need to talk about penmanship. Penmanship is the actual skill of putting letters on paper. It is teaching correct letter formation. Before children can begin to write letters on his/her own, they need to: copy horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, draw a circle, draw horizontal and vertical lines that cross, copy a square and triangle. This on top of being able to hold a pencil correctly are the proper all skill children need to have developed before writing.

Now, does this mean that you don’t show children letters, how to form letters or anything like that before they have mastered these other skills? NOOOOO. We want children to play with letter first. Yes, you read that correctly… play with letters. Provide them magnetic letters, and other letter toys. Make letters with Lego, play dough and other toys. Write letters with markers, pencils, crayons, sidewalk chalk and other writing tools.

One skill that many children struggle with is the fact that letters start at the top. Children are egocentric beings and everything comes from me and goes out. They want the letters to start at the bottom and go away from them. This makes letters very disjointed in their formation. Practice drawing lines on paper, in the air, on the sidewalk and drawing top down.

I could go on and on about the skills a child needs to develop before he/she can master penmanship, but I won’t. Yes, children need to learn to write letters. Yes, if you learn to “properly form letters” they tend to be neater. Yes, it is easier to learn to do something “correctly” the first time and not have to go back and reteach it. Yes, yes, yes… this is why I do teach penmanship in my prek and kindergarten classes. When I teach children letters, letter sounds, etc., we practice how to form the letter. I teach this in conjunction with the skill of letter knowledge not as a separate entity.

This is the letter “a” it say /a/ as in apple, astronaut and alligator. The capital A is written like this “start at the top middle, slant down to the bottom, jump back up to the top, slant the other way down to the bottom, cross in the middle.” The lowercase a is written like this “make a “c”, go up just past the top and then down on the same line”. We do the same for all the letters. I choose to teach the letters in order of writing the lowercase letters. (c, o, a, d, g, q, s, l, i, t, h, b, k, j, p, r, m, n, v, w, y, x, f, e, u, z)

  • c, o, a, d, g, q, s all start in the same place, “start like a c”
  • l, i, t, h, b, k, j, p all start with a straight line down
  • r, m, n all start with a straight line down, but come back up and have a curve
  • v, w, y, x all start with a slant left to right
  • f, e, u, z each have their own path

While many teachers and programs have you teach the upper case letter first, I do not agree with this concept. Gasp! Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, I understand that in a lot of ways capital letters are easier to copy because there are less curved letters, but, if a child is not ready to correctly write curved letters they aren’t ready to correctly write letters. Also, when you read and write text we use a LOT less capital letters. As a kindergarten teacher, my job the first few weeks of school was to typically reteach children how to write their name. Many children come in and say I can write my name and proceed to write “SIMON” and then get upset when you try to teach them to write “Simon”. So… let’s teach it “Simon” to begin with! It might take an extra few steps, days and even weeks of practice, but you don’t have to unlearn something!

So… play with letters. Work on fine motor skills. Talk about how to go from top to bottom. Work on copying letters, shapes, numbers and such. Do not stress… your child will learn to make letters. Put the focus on writing for meaning and the rest will fall into place!

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Happy New Year

Often times we encourage children to write New Year resolutions. But, lets be honest… does this help anyone? Do we follow through? Will kids??

Here is a different direction to think about. Write goals. Have your child think about a long term goal he/she would like to focus on for the year. It could be “In 2021, I want to learn to read.” “In 2021, I want to learn all my sight words.” “In 2021, I want to learn to add” “In 2021, I want to learn to shoot a basketball.” Or whatever goal they have for him/herself. Now, take and have your child take that goal and make a short term goal to achieve steps towards their bigger goal.

Goal setting is a skill that many schools work on with students. So, having your child learn to set goals early helps they get into that groove.

My goal for 2021 is to blog more on here an on my other food blog Lori-ize it! My short term goal is to post a recipe a week on Lori-ize It! My short term goal for this blog is to pick a January topic and get Mon-Thur posts up each week. I am also aiming to do live streams on My Day in Pre-K facebook every other week!

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Blogmas day 6

Three Cats and a Girl tricked me with the title they had on the 6th day of Blogmas… her title is Music or Movie. I jumped right to the thought of which would you give up listening to Christmas music or watching Christmas movies. I was set… I knew my answer! But, nooooo that was not the question. The question is:

It’s actually would you rather star in a hit Christmas single or a popular Christmas movie?

Three Cats and a girl.

Ugh… my original thought was so much easier to answer. Ok. Ok. I’ll play along correctly.

This is tough for me. I love to sing and especially Christmas songs. But, I do like to act and would love to be an extra in a movie. Dang this one is hard. I guess I’ll go with act because I know my voice isn’t as well trained as it would need to be in order for me to sing on the radio… so I’ll sing in my car, in my kitchen and anywhere else music is playing, but I won’t be the voice on the radio.

Which would you pick?

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Blogmas- day 5

The fifth day of Blogmas brought this question for you and me….. (did you head the tune to the 12 days of Christmas while reading that?) from Three Cats and a Girl

Would you rather have gingerbread or candy canes? This is the easiest for me so far… I would very easily give up gingerbread. While I do like a Pepperidge Farms Gingerbread Man from time to time, typically when I teach the Gingerbread Man at school, that is about it for me. I am not a big gingerbread fan. Not the cake, not the cookies, not the smell… yep not for me.

But, I do enjoy candy canes… only the traditional peppermint ones. I love to dunk them in hot chocolate, add them to chocolate cookies, and just eat them as candy canes. While I don’t want a ton of them and wouldn’t want them all year round, I’d much prefer a candy cane to anything gingerbread.

What about you? Your kids?

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Blogmas- Decorations

Here is the 4th Blogmas question from Three Cats and a Girl: Would you rather keep your Christmas decorations up all year or never be able to put them up at all?

Ugh! I don’t like either of these choices. I am one of those people who puts up Christmas in the middle of November. I wait until the middle of the month as my oldest son and husband have November birthdays. I have done this for a while now and love having the holiday decorations and lights abound. But, I don’t think they would mean as much if they were up all the time. I think the joy is bringing them out and thinking about the memories associated with each item. It is the additional light that is so needed in the dark of December.

I don’t think they would have the same meaning if they were always around. We learned from the Grinch that Christmas doesn’t come from the store. That Christmas isn’t about the decorations, presents or other items you buy… Christmas is about feelings. About time and memories with families. I can have that with or without decorations. (and there is nothing that says I can’t put up the other seasonal decorations!)

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Blogmas- Cookies or Hot Chocolate

Three Cats and A Girl’s third Blogmas would you rather is: Would you rather eat only Christmas cookies or drink only hot chocolate?

Ok… so the way this is written sounds like in my life I can only eat cookies OR only drink hot chocolate…. now that is very different than saying would you rather have Christmas cookies or hot chocolate. My answers would be very different given the two ways of reading that. Although with the first way I’m not sure I like either option!

So lets go with would I rather have Christmas cookies or hot chocolate. That answer is easier, but not easy. If you read the other post about Christmas cookies, I said I would give up cookies over Christmas trees. Here I think I’d give up hot chocolate over cookies. While yes, I make cookies all year round and only drink hot chocolate in the winter, there are other warm drinks that I can substitute for hot chocolate… but, what is a substitute for a cookie?

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2nd Day of Christmas– Blogmas

Here is the second would you rather blogmas question… would you rather be one of Santa’s elves or one of the reindeer? Thank you to Three Cats and a Girl for these fun topics.

I have actually done this question in my classes from time to time. It is always interesting to see what the kid think and why! We usually tie this with an elf project where the children create paper elves of themselves and fill out an elf application to apply for a job at the North Pole.

So… ask your child. Which would he/she rather be and elf or a reindeer.

Now if your child picks elf… share How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace. Encourage your child to draw or use construction paper to create him/herself as a elf. Which job would they want?

If your child picks reindeer… share Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight by Jerry Pallota (this is a favorite of mine, and my son Colby). Create a paper bag reindeer or draw a picture of the sleigh flying high in the sky.

So… to answer the question myself, I think I’d rather be an elf. I’m not sure I’d want to fly at warp speed around the world pulling a sleigh. I’d want to help bake treats for Santa and Mrs. Claus or help organize the elves who wrap the gifts.