Monthly Archives: October 2009

Sneaking More Math Into Your Kindergartners Life

Young children start out liking math and somewhere along the way the interest begins to fade. There are many things you can do at home to stimulate a love for math.

  • Read books with an underlying math theme

Literature for preschoolers/kindergartners that have a math theme

Mathematics and Children’s Literature

  • Counting a set number of items, then rearrange them and count again
  • Puzzles, rubrics cubes or anything that requires your child to rotate, move and fit objects together will develop spatial reasoning
  • Games:  board games with dice help children with addition and subtraction
  • Interlocking cubes, building blocks, kits for making objects are good for developing spatial reasoning
  • Patterns: look for patterns wherever you go, nature is full of them

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Fifteen Minute Reading Activities (by the National PTA)

Make 15 minutes go a long way. Try these quick reading activities (compiled by the National PTA) with your younger kids.

1. License to read. On car trips, make it a game to point out and read license plates, billboards, and interesting road signs.

2. Better than TV. Swap evening TV for a good action story or tale of adventure.

3. Look and listen. Too tired to read aloud? Listen to a book on tape and turn the book’s pages with your children. You’ll still be reading with them!

4. Labels, labels, labels. Label things in your children’s room as they learn to name them. Have fun while they learn that written words are connected to everyday things.

5. Pack a snack, pack a book. Going someplace where there might be a long wait? Bring along a snack and a bag of favorite books.

6. Recipe for reading. The next time you cook with your children, read the recipe with them. Step-by-step instructions, ingredients, and measurements are all part of words in print!

7. Shop and read. Notice and read signs and labels in the supermarket. Back home, putting away groceries is another great time for reading labels.

8. Your long-distance lap. Away on a business trip? Take a few books with you, call home, and have your child curl up by the phone for a good night story.

9. A reading pocket. Slip fun things to read into your pocket to bring home: a comic strip from the paper, a greeting card, or even a fortune cookie from lunch. Create a special, shared moment your child can look forward to every day.

10. A little longer? When your child asks to stay up a little longer, say yes and make it a 15-minute family reading opportunity.

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Kindergarten Math In Every Day Life

I came across these simple tips for encouraging math talk and math activities in your every day conversations with your Kindergarten child.

Talking to Your Kindergartner and about Math

by Vito Perrone

  • Cut out cardboard squares, triangles, and circles (five of each, at least two to three inches in size). Make a game of putting the shapes that are the same together. This is an exercise in classification. Does your child recognize the difference in the shapes? Does he or she know what the shapes are called? If not, ask again at a later time.
  • Put your cardboard shapes into a pattern: for example, line up a circle, square, triangle, circle, square, and triangle. Ask your child to put the other pieces together in the same pattern. This is another classification activity.
  • Put out five buttons and ask your child, “How many buttons are there?” Take two away and ask, “How many are there now?” You could add to this as a way of determining how your child’s understanding of numbers is developing.
  • Another way of seeing how well your child understands numbers is to play board games that call for markers to be moved forward and backward so many spaces — for example, “Now you can move four spaces forward.”
  • Ask your child to help you measure something in the house — a rectangular table, a room, a bookshelf. The process will demonstrate your child’s beginning measurement skills.
  • With counters (buttons, game pieces, or the like) at hand, ask what two plus two equals, what two minus two equals, what two minus one equals, whether five is greater than four or less than four.
  • Telling time is an important skill. Occasionally ask your child, “Can you see what time it is?” (Do not expect a precise reading unless from a digital clock.)
  • While cooking or baking, ask your child to put in some of what the recipe calls for: three tablespoons of sugar, two cups of flour, and the like. This is a good way to see your child put math to use.
  • There are many opportunities for counting during everyday activities. While cooking you could ask, “Can you count out six potatoes?” Or ask, “Can you put ten cookies on the plate for dessert?”
  • Read the house numbers as you go around the block.

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Timing Is Everything At A Parent Teacher Conference

Most Kindergarten teachers and most Kindergarten parents are getting ready to meet at their first, or only Parent Teacher Conference.  The one thing that teachers want parents to know is: BE ON TIME for your conference and be considerate of your appointment and LEAVE ON TIME. We know that there is nothing that parents like more to talk about than their own children.  We love your children too, but time is precious at a parent teacher conference.  Tomorrow I have 22 scheduled 20 minute conferences.  When you do the math you realize that I will be talking for 440 straight minutes which will be more than a little exhausting.(followed by 30 more on Monday and Tuesday!)  If you see that there is no parent after you, that doesn’t mean that you get a 40 minute conference while the teacher waits for the next set of parents.  It means that the teacher planned a break to use the restroom, or get a glass of water so PLEASE be considerate and stick STRICTLY to your allotted time. Stay on topic about THIS child, teachers do not want to hear your compare THIS child to all of your other children.  This conference is about THIS Kindergarten child and no other! Your Kindergarten teacher has planned to share lots of your child’s work with you as well as results from standardized testing.  PLEASE do not stand the teacher up, we WANT to talk about your child and share his/her strengths and make goals together for the next quarter.  20 minutes go by fast, but if you are on time, together we can discuss more than you can imagine about your child.  See you at the Parent Teacher Conference.

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Sentence Starters for Beginning Readers Part 2

Yesterday I talked about making short patterned books for the early reader and writer.  For more detailed information, please read yesterday’s blog and remember that only 1 sentence starter should be used per book.  The same sentence starter should be used on every page of the book.  Today I will give you part 2 of the list of Sentence Starters for these books.  These are just some of the repetitive patterns most frequently used for beginning readers.

Can you…..?

Can you see a…..?

Can you see the…..?

Can you see my…..?

Here is a …..

Here is my…..

This is a…..

This is the…..

This is my…..

I like a…..

I like the…..

I like my…..

I like to go to…..

Look at the…..

Look at me in the…..

Look up at the…..

Come to the…..

Go to the…..

We can…..

We are…..

We like…..

It is a…

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Sentence Starters for Kindergarten Writers and Beginning Readers

Your Kindergarten child is just about finishing the first quarter of school. Soon you will be headed to a parent teacher conference to hear about your child’s strengths and to discuss goals for the second quarter. One popular second quarter goal is to encourage more writing from our Kindergartners. How to do that? Easy. I am sure that you have noticed that your child has a longer attention span since the beginning of school and that your child is interested in more things. The way I like to introduce simple writing and simple reading simultaneously is with short patterned books. They are easy to MAKE, yes MAKE, no money involved and your child will love them.

Materials that you need:

• 2 sheets of copy paper

• Stickers of something that your child likes (i.e., a page of scrapbooking stickers full of items, like transportation, or princesses that your child likes)

• Pencil


• Fold the two sheets of paper in half, staple together to make a small book

• Place a sticker on each page

• Pick ONE sentence starter from the list below and write the same sentence starter on every page.

• Your child will finish the sentence by writing the name of what is in the picture.

• Now you have a book.


I see a…

I see the…

I see my…

I can see a…

I can see the…

I am a…

Here is the…

More sentence starters coming tomorrow.


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Can Your Kindergartner Swing on A Swing?

I take my Kindergartners out for recess every day of the week except on Mondays.  We have a very fancy playground for the children to climb on, crawl through, slide down, or swing on.  The children are great climbers, crawlers, jumpers and sliders but when it comes to swinging that where their gross motor skills are weak. Kindergartners often need help getting up on the swing and getting started but that is where the help should stop.  5 and 6 year olds should be able to ‘pump’ all alone and be able to keep themselves moving with the back and forth motion of their legs and body.  Every year I have children whose parents are so proud that they are reading, perhaps even reading on a first grade level! Wow! This doesn’t impress me, it just means that this child has made progress in one area of child development and I am looking for the development of the whole child.  Many of these same young readers have never been on a swing before arriving in Kindergarten and are usually frightened of the movement of the swing and most definitely do not know how to pump to sustain their back and forth movement.  Some of these children have been drilled in school work while their peers have been outside developing the entire body by working on large motor activities, not just academics.  Parents, can your child swing on a swing without your assistance? If not, why not?  Now is the time for learning this skill which I can tell you people continue to enjoy right on into adulthood.  Just come by my school yard around 5:00PM every night when children are on the playground with their parents and who will you see on the swings?  Guess!


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