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Back to School Traditions

It is almost back to school time!  And this year it is more important than ever to maintain traditions and get your children excited about the year.  Do you have traditions that you do to prepare for the school year?  I would love to hear about yours!
In our home, we have a few that I want to share with you!
School Clothes ShoppingI can remember going to the City Center with my mom every year right before school started.  I looked forward to picking out new outfits for my first days of school.  I have carried on this tradition with my children.  Of course this year, our shopping trips have looked a little different (thanks to a pandemic).  My husband and I taken turns shopping with each of our children individually.  We did this so we could manage the masks and the social distancing easier.  Honestly, I think the children loved the one-on-one attention. 
First Day PagesI have been doing these since my 7th grader started preschool.  I make a quick template on my computer and have my childre…

Authentic Name Writing Activities

Let's experiment.  Grab a piece of paper and write your name 5 times.We could even get REAL creative and ask you to "rainbow write your name" (use a different color of pen each time.  Fun?  Okay.  Now I want you to do this every day for a week.  Still fun?  Imagine if you are 4-years-old and I ask you to do this every day, before you can go play. I think you would start to despise this. What is the point of this activity?  To practice writing your name, right?  Is there a better way?  I think so!
Give children authentic opportunities to write their name!Authentic opportunities means that they are writing their name for a purpose.  You can still do this often, but the reason changes.  You can have children (either in your home or classroom) write their name only for more than just the sake of writing their name.
Artwork When you provide lots of materials and opportunities for children to write and draw, they will natural begin to make marks and letters.  You can see more abou…

Instead of Worksheets...Do THIS to Learn Letters!

You know how I feel about worksheets and workbooks, right?You might have been surprised to find out that I bought a handful while I was at the Dollar Tree the other day.  Some of you thought maybe I lost my mind and bought glitter.  But I assure you, I dislike workbooks even more!
It might have been the only purchase from Dollar Tree that I thought I might regret :)
So WHY did I buy them?I am actually very excited to show you that you do NOT need them!  You can use some of the other treasures I bought from the Dollar Tree to play and learn with letters!
What is wrong with the workbook?
Workbooks/worksheets are close-ended.  This means that there is only one right answer.  For young children (preschool and kindergarten) we should be promoting thought and exploration.  As soon as we tell a child that they are wrong, their motivation is stifled.  Just imagine for a moment, the scenario below: (I am the one who filled this out, I couldn't bring myself to subject my children ;) ) Parent: Wr…

Q & A Session: Conflict Resolution and Time Out

Did you catch the replay of the first ever Q&A Facebook Live Session?  You can check it out above.
Some highlights from today's discussion:
When should you step in when conflict arises? In the video I talk about moving closer to the children, creating proximity.  This gives you, as the adult, a first row seat to what is going on.  Is everyone safe?  What actually is happening?  By getting close, we are able to see both sides of the conflict while making sure that everyone is okay.  
Then, you need to wait and see what solutions the children develop.  Remember that sometimes their solutions do not make sense to the adults in the room :) If both children are in agreement, the solution is a success!
Why is the brain important in regards to behavior? I demonstrate the hand model of the brain developed by Dr. Siegel. This model will help us facilitate young children's behavior development as they move from flight/fight responses to more sophisticated behaviors. 

What are my thoughts o…

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift

Are you still looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift? I have an idea for you!  Send your kids on a "scavenger hunt" for the answers to the follow questions about grandma...or even yourself :) :
1. Find something that is her favorite color.
2. Find way to show me how tall she is.
3. Show me something she loves to eat.
4. How old is she?  Find that many items to count.
5. Show me something she is really good at.
6. Show me something she does NOT like.
7. What cartoon or book character remind you the most of her? This scavenger hunt works well for smaller children because they are concrete thinkers.  You can take photos of the children with the items they find and compile it into a photo album. 

Or you can do what I did.  I used the iMovie app on my iPhone to create a quick video. You are welcome to insert the photos below into your own movie for your mother :)

This project is developmentally appropriate and it also has our children stop and think about the loved one :) 

Here …

Using an ABC Chart to Track Behaviors

You have heard me say that I LOVE talking about behavior.   This week on our Facebook Live, we talked about the benefit of tracking behaviors using an ABC chart. You can see that video here
All behaviors that we engage in have a FUNCTION.  This means that everything we do has a way of accomplishing SOMETHING.  The same is true for challenging behaviors.  Children engage in challenging behaviors in order to accomplish SOMETHING.  This SOMETHING is the FUNCTION of behavior.  When we document behavior using an ABC chart, it gives us clues to figure out the FUNCTION of the behavior.  
You can get a copy of the chart here.  This is a Google document, you will click "make a copy" and then you will be able to type right in.  If this doesn't work, you can use this form below: 
Let me show you how you will use this form.  I suggest using one form for each day.
1. Write the time the behavior incident occurred. This will be important for finding patterns.  For example, you will …