How are you? I hope you are all well. This week, I would like to tell you about a lesson that I learned the hard way. The more organized you are the better your class will go.
There was one year when I was teaching that I wasn’t as organized or prepared as I should have been at the beginning of the school year. I don’t remember the circumstances, but the beginning of the school year crept up on me and I wasn’t prepared. Can anyone relate?
I mean, I had the bare minimum done, but I wasn’t as organized as usual. It started to show in the behavior of my students. Have you ever been a substitute teacher and had the students kind of know that you don’t know the regular routine and aren’t really on top of things, so they took advantage of you and acted up more than they would for their regular teacher? If you haven’t experienced it before, you probably have heard about such an experience. Or, maybe you can remember back when you were a student and your class did that to a substitute teacher. Anyway, that is sort of how it felt for me, even as a regular teacher that year.
At first, I wondered if I had just gotten a “tough” class that year. However, that wasn’t it. It was my lack of organization. I hadn’t taken time to set boundaries and expectations or to practice them. I hadn’t taken time to create expectations or routines for what to do if one finishes work ahead of others. There were no file folder games or anything other than books to do quietly when work was finished. And, I always seemed to be finishing my lesson plans and activities for the day or week at the very last minute. Does any of this sound familiar?
One day, soon after this hectic and chaotic year began, I realized how unprepared I was and almost “started over” with the class. We sat down and had a chat. I explained that we needed to do things differently. I discussed rules and expectations. We practiced those rules and expectations. I also created file folder games and other things that students could do if their work was finished early. We practiced those and learned how to do them independently and in small groups. I rearranged how I did things and added an incentive system. We also learned to encourage each other more.
With these new things in place, it ended up being one of my most favorite teaching years. I hope if you are having a tough year (besides the craziness of the pandemic), you can learn from my experience.
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful you are here. I would like to hear about your difficult years and how you got through them. Please, leave me a comment or contact me. Let others learn from your experience as well. If you find value in the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with friends and family. Also, if you haven’t already, please consider signing up to receive the Education Blog and other education content in your inbox. Thank you.
Writing Prompt 4 by DUO Inspirations
How are you? How good are you at spinning tales? Today is another writing prompt day. Since Christmas is this week, I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas prompt. What do you think?
So, here is your assignment, if you wish to take it:
Choose a Christmas song or hymn and become part of it. Pretend that you are living or acting in a play having to do with that song. I don’t mean that you are actually acting a play out that has a song, like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer or Silent Night, but that you are actually at the north pole or in Bethlehem and you are part of the things that are mentioned in the songs. Yes, you can add or subtract, or even change parts of the story in the songs, as long as it is noticeably based upon that song.
Have fun with the writing prompt. I wish you well. And, with that, I will wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May you be blessed!
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it. Feel free to comment or contact me, if you choose to take me up on the prompt or for any reason. I would enjoy hearing how you enjoyed it. If you have any requests or ideas for Education Blog topics or for educational resources, feel free to contact me for that as well. Thank you so much.
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How are you? I don’t know about you, but I find word searches both fun and educational. They are great for this time of year when students are looking forward to Christmas and winter break. I have written about my thoughts on the educational value of word searches in the past. You can read it here.
The last time, I wrote about a summertime word search. This time, I thought I would provide you with a Christmas word search based upon the birth of Jesus as written in the gospels. This is my gift to you. Feel free to download it and use it as many times as you would like.
As you solve it and find the words, I hope you and your students think about each word and its significance to our Christmas story. Grow in love for our Lord and Savior, as well as the peace and joy of His birth.
We often talk about the “reason for the season”, but do we actually know it and live it? Using something as simple and enjoyable as a word search can introduce a conversation as to our “reason for the season”. As you introduce the word search, you can ask your students to think about why these particular words were chosen for the word search.
The gospels of Matthew and Luke tell about the birth of Jesus. You could even read the stories of Jesus’ birth in one or both of the gospels. Maybe compare and contrast the two. There are quite a few things you can combine with a word search to create an enjoyable and comprehensive lesson.
I have heard of people dismissing the significance and educational value of word searches. However, I still believe that they are great resources. It may be how they are used and what kind of word searches you use.
Mine, for example, don’t have any backwards or diagonal words. I don’t want to encourage or misrepresent a word. I sometimes give false starts to words to promote concentration and attention to the spelling of a word all the way through.
Yes. I know this content may not be considered appropriate for public schools. However, I know there are many Christian schools, Sunday schools, and homeschools who may enjoy it. Whoever uses it, I hope you find it both enjoyable and inspiring. Enjoy not even the word search itself, but the content and message behind it as well.
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Do you enjoy word searches? Do you find them valuable educational tools? Do your students like them? Please, comment below or contact me.
Know that DUO Inspirations makes and sells educational materials of all sorts. You can check them out here. If you are interested in requesting a particular word search or any educational resource, please contact me. I am open to requests. I would like to help you teach and learn.
If you find value in the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with your friends and family. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up below to receive the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other education content in your inbox.
I will soon be changing DUO Inspirations' site a bit. If you would like to explore the site now, to get a before and after feel for it, please feel free to do so. Also, any questions, ideas, and suggestions are welcomed as I ponder the renewal of the site. Please, comment or contact me. Thank you.
Stuff the Stocking with Ss Things
How are you? I want to tell you about an activity that I used to do with my kindergarten students about this time of year. One of the popular traditions of this time of year is hanging a stocking in hopes that it will be filled with treats.
So, I created an activity where students could draw or write items that started with the letter “S” inside of a drawn stocking. It is a fun little activity that students enjoyed.
It was really nice when this lesson came as I was teaching the letter “Ss” or when we were starting to write words based on the sounds we knew. Everyone enjoyed the “Stuff the Stocking with Ss Things” activity.
First, we reviewed the letter “Ss” as a group and went over the sound that the letter made. We brainstormed a few words verbally that started with the letter “Ss”.
Then, I handed out the “Stuff the Stocking with Ss Things” activity page. It is a page with a simple stocking drawn on it.
Here is an image of a stocking just for you to use for the activity. Feel free to download it and use it with your class. It is my gift to you.
As a student handed out the stocking activity, I told students to work in pencil first. After their work was checked, they would be allowed to use crayons or colored pencils to color their picture.
I walked around as they worked. Each worked at his or her own pace and ability. I asked each student what he or she was drawing or writing. For the students with the lower abilities, I wrote the word for the object next to his or her drawing or word. Some students only portrayed the things we brainstormed as a class. However, for the students who could do more, I encouraged them to do more. I encouraged them to come up with their own items starting with the letter “Ss”.
After students were finished drawing and writing, we came together in a circle as a class. I asked each student to share something he or she drew or wrote that started with the letter “Ss”.
Now, it is your turn.
Thank you for being here. I enjoy hearing your thoughts. Please, let me know some of the activities you do this time of year or some that you do to teach or assess the letter "Ss". Did you know that DUO Inspirations creates and sells educational products? Check them out. If you don't see what you need or want, feel free to request something. You can comment below or contact me.
If you find value in what I share, please share with friends and family. Also, if you haven't already, consider signing up to receive the Education Blog and other education content in your inbox. Thank you again.
How are you today? Today’s Education Blog by DUO Inspirations is about patterns, specifically in teaching patterns. We see patterns every day. Some we like and appreciate and some we don’t. Some patterns are simple and some are complex. Some patterns are man-made and some patterns are God-made.
Noticing, identifying, and appreciating patterns are all important skills in life. They will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of things around us. The ability to find and understand patterns often helps us to learn faster or appreciate more.
So, how do we teach patterns? Often we start by helping students understand a simple A-B pattern. The pattern could literally be A, B, A, B, A, B…. and on and on. It could also be any alternating pattern. The A-B pattern could be a number pattern, such as 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2…and on and on. It could be a color pattern, such as blue, red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, red…and on and on. It could be a sound pattern, such as snap, clang, snap, clang, snap, clang…and on and on. It can be a movement pattern, such as clap, jump, clap, jump, clap, jump, and so on.
Some may think that patterns are monotonous, boring, or even frustrating. However, it doesn’t have to be so. Teaching and learning patterns can be a very exciting experience. It is all in the presentation and in the attitude.
It may be tempting to just give students a piece of paper with patterns on it and ask the students to finish the patterns. This may be helpful at times, but it isn’t the only exercise in teaching or learning patterns. Paper pattern activities are most helpful in practicing and assessing pattern recognition skills.
Ask the students to come up with a pattern for others to complete. Choose some patterns that students can act out. Choose patterns that might sound like a tongue twister, especially if they are said quickly. Maybe have the pattern being a speaking pattern and let the words be slippery slippers. (This gets even more exciting when the pattern gets more complex than A-B.)
Once students learn to recognize and identify and A-B pattern, maybe go on to other patterns such as an A-A-B pattern, and A-B-B pattern, or an A-B-C pattern.
While we are on the subject of teaching and assessing pattern recognition, I want to tell you about the "Introductory Pattern Pack". The “Introductory Pattern Pack” includes three simple fill in the squares to complete the pattern activities as well as a blank template, so you can make your own patterns. Use the “Introductory Pattern Pack” to assess whether students understand pattern recognition. Pattern recognition activities such as in the “Introductory Pattern Pack” not only assess pattern recognition understanding, but also encourage early problem solving skills.
To browse DUO Inspirations' selection of Educational Resources, click here.
Now, it is your turn.
I appreciate you being here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Do you teach pattern recognition? Are you looking for educational resources? How can DUO Inspirations help you in your educational journey? Please, comment your thoughts, ideas, questions, and suggestions below or feel free to contact me. Thank you. Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up below to get the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other education content sent directly to your inbox.
Education Blog by DUO Inspirations Introduces Clarinda Cloud as a Teaching Tool
How are you today? I hope you are well. Mental health is important to knowledge and learning. Often a student finds it difficult to learn if he or she is troubled or has some sort of emotional or learning obstacle. It is sometimes for people, especially children, to explain how or what they feel and why they are finding things difficult. This often leads to frustration or even giving up on things. This is one of the premises of writing one of my children’s books, “Clarinda Cloud".
Yes. For all those who didn’t know, I am not only a life-long learner and educator, I am also a children’s book author and illustrator. “Clarinda Cloud” is known as my “signature” character. It is the first book that I both wrote and illustrated.
“Clarinda Cloud” is a concept book that teaches not only color identification, but also emotion identification. Not only that, but because of it’s repetitive text and whimsical illustrations, it is a great early reader to help children in learning to read.
Clarinda Cloud, the title character, changes colors as her feelings change. For example, one page says, “When Clarinda Cloud feels angry, she turns red.” That same page depicts a red Clarinda Cloud with an angry face.
After each “feeling page” there is a page that states, “When she shares her feelings, she always feels better. Do you share your feelings?” This is meant to encourage children to share their feelings and not keep them bottled up or act out inappropriately.
I have a nice little story for you concerning the book, “Clarinda Cloud", I was substituting in a local elementary school once, filling in for the school guidance counselor. As I was reading the lesson plans, I was blessed to see the name “Clarinda Cloud". I had always hoped that “Clarinda Cloud” would be used as part of a lesson or as part of counseling for children, but this is the first day I found out that it was used for such. It was a blessing for sure!
The lesson plans featuring “Clarinda Cloud” was for a first grade class. However, it could have been just as effective for a preschool, kindergarten, or possibly even a second grade class.
I enjoyed reading “Clarinda Cloud” to the class. By the end of the book, the students were “reading” it with me. Well, they weren’t really reading it. They remembered the repetitive text and would say it with me.
When I did, I said, "There is a picture of the author on the back. Do you want to see?" They did. So, I turned it around and they noticed that it was a picture of me. They were excited. The children and I both enjoyed the lesson that day.
P.S. - - I also wrote and illustrated the “Clarinda Cloud Activity Book”. It has all the same colors and emotions as “Clarinda Cloud”. It can be used in conjunction with “Clarinda Cloud” or separately. You can check them both out on my Amazon author page. (Signed copies can be purchased directly from me, by contacting me, as supplies last.)
Now, it is your turn.
Do you use “Clarinda Cloud” to teach color recognition, emotion recognition, or early reading skills? Have you read “Clarinda Cloud” to your children? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts. Please, comment below or contact me. Thank you.
Writing Prompt 3 by DUO Inspirations
How are you today? I have been trying to provide a writing prompt about once a week. I think they are a great way to get your thoughts started, especially if you don’t have writing topic ideas already.
Since it is November and getting close to Thanksgiving, I thought it would be a great time to have a Thanksgiving Day writing prompt. I could give the “old standard” asking you to write about your favorite Thanksgiving Day and you are more than welcome to do that. However, this time, I thought it would be nice to research a little about how other people celebrate Thanksgiving.
Learning about other people and trying to find similarities is a great way to make new friends and facilitate acceptance as well as understanding. I also find it interesting to learn about other people and get to know them.
So, this week’s writing prompt is:
Choose someone or a group of people and research how they celebrate Thanksgiving. Some examples might be friends, classmates, acquaintances, or people from other cultures. You can research on the internet, in books, or by interviewing people. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Then, write a bit about the other person or people celebrate Thanksgiving and a little about how you celebrate Thanksgiving. Compare and contrast the two and write at least one thing you like about both.
This can be as little as two or three paragraphs or as long as you would like. Thanksgiving is usually rich in smells, tastes, sights, and feelings. Something Thanksgiving celebrations are also big on rituals, customs, or traditions. It has so many things about which to write. Include as much of it as you would like.
Now, it is your turn.
I hope you enjoy this writing prompt and learn something different. If you use it, please feel free to let me know. You can comment below or contact me. Please, feel free to contact me about anything whether asking a question, requesting a product, giving feedback, or anything in between.
If you find value in what I write, please share it with your friends and family. Also, if you haven’t, please consider signing up to receive the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other educational content in your inbox. Thank you.
DUO Inspirations Discusses the Importance of Homework Planning and Organization
How are you today? I hope you are well. Today, I would like to talk about homework planning and organization. I don’t know how it was for you, but I had a separate little notebook that I wrote assignments in back in the day. It was helpful, but didn’t do enough. It wasn’t big enough to see the whole picture and I wasn’t always good about looking back to see if I had any big projects due or anything like that. How did you write down assignments? How do your students write down assignments today? Do they write down assignments?
Organization and planning are important skills that students will use not only in school, but also for the rest of their lives in all that they do. Yet, they are skills that are often overlooked. Do you teach your students homework planning and organization?
DUO Inspirations created a “Homework Planning Packet” that is meant to encourage organization and planning, as well as the completion of homework. It comes with a “Homework Planning Chart” page where students can write down class, date, assignment, due (date), materials, and progress. It also comes with a “Homework Project Planner” page that can be used to plan bigger projects. The latter entails class, project name, date given, date due, materials needed, and steps with a place to check off the steps as they are completed.
The “Homework Planning Packet” can be used in many ways. Print enough pages as necessary to use for the entire school year. Use the “Homework Planning Chart” day-by-day or class-by-class. If you want to save paper, print only a few of each, laminate them, and fill them out with dry erase pens.
Teachers can use the pages of the “Homework Planning Packet” to teach a class on organization and planning. Discuss the importance of planning and organization with students, and then walk them through the steps. This is particularly helpful when planning bigger projects. Teach students to break bigger projects down into manageable steps and work on them gradually instead of leaving everything for the last minute.
You can check out the “Homework Planning Packet” here. It will be a helpful resource for you and your students.
Now, it is your turn.
I look forward to your feedback and input. What are your thoughts? Please, comment below. If you have an idea or suggestion, please feel free to let me know. If you don't want to comment below, you can contact me directly.
If you find value in what I write, please share it with friends and family. I really appreciate it. Also, if you haven't already, sign up to get the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other education content to your inbox.
How are you? Last week, I gave a shout out to educators. I know from experience that teachers put in more time, energy, and care into teaching their students than most people know. This week, I am giving a shout out to parents and particularly homeschooling parents. Many parents also put a great deal of time, energy, and care into educating their children. Some of them aren’t schooled or experienced in teaching. Yet, love and circumstance prevails. So, this week, I give a great big shout out to parents and particularly homeschooling parents! You are doing great! Keep up the great work! I homeschooled for a while and value what you are doing!
I know that many people don’t understand homeschoolers or why they choose to homeschool. However, parents choose to homeschool for many reasons. Some parents choose to homeschool so their child will get more attention and experience educational things that a public or private school can’t provide. Other parents may choose to homeschool because of their schedule, their child’s abilities or needs, for the joy of it, or for religious reasons.
Some people don’t take homeschoolers seriously. Those who don’t homeschool may think that homeschoolers just stay home, skip school, and fool around all day. Yet that isn’t the case. (Yes, I am not so naïve that I don’t think there are some who do similar in the name of homeschooling. However, that is not usually the case.)
Even if you don’t see a book, paper and pencil, or a computer anywhere in sight, doesn’t mean that homeschoolers aren’t teaching and learning. Often homeschoolers do hands on activities, take nature walks, go to museums, or even have assignments in shopping and other daily living skills. Yes, they learn most of the same skills as students in the public and private schools learn, yet most go above and beyond those skills.
People may hear that homeschoolers don’t spend as much time during the day on schoolwork. Sometimes, that is not always true, because often a homeschooler is learning no matter what he or she is doing. Although, in all reality, it may be true for many days, because it just isn’t necessary. Things take longer to teach in a school setting, because you have many students for which to plan, to address, to quiet down, and to transition from one activity to another, and for which to care. When, you are trying to teach one, two, or even a few children, it doesn’t take nearly as long.
When I homeschooled, there weren’t nearly as many resources as there are today for homeschoolers. Today, there are online schools, online homeschooling groups, and local homeschooling groups, as well as educational materials, local classes, and other activities marketed with homeschoolers in mind. DUO Inspirations even creates and sells educational resources and welcomes homeschoolers getting in touch to request specific materials to meet their needs.
So, if you meet a homeschooler, instead of looking disdainfully and questioning what he or she may be doing, give an encouraging word. Ask if there is anything he or she may need?
It isn’t just homeschooling parents that I want to commend. All parents who care about and put effort in encouraging a good education for his or her child should be commended. Knowledge opens so many doors and is key to obtaining many things in life, sometimes in life itself. All who encourage it and help their children learn in anyway possible is to be commended. So, today, DUO Inspirations gives a great big shout out to homeschoolers and all parents who encourage and help their children learn. Yay you! Keep it up!
Now, it is your turn.
Are you a homeschooler? Are you a parent? Are you an educator? No matter who you are, I am interested in your thoughts. Please, leave a comment below.
If you are finding value in what I write, please share it with friends and family. Also, if you haven't already, you may consider signing up to receive the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other educational content in your inbox. If you have any requests, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.
How are you this week? I thought I would take a moment to give a special shout out to our teachers. Teachers often wear many hats and often go above and beyond in teaching and raising our children. Many of us don’t take the time to appreciate just how much many teachers do.
There may be a mistaken notion that teachers merely work during the school day. However, that is not so. When I was teaching, I worked many hours above and beyond the school day. I planned lessons, corrected papers, created activities and displays, shopped for classroom supplies, attended meetings and professional development classes, as well as thought and prayed about my students. I also bought things like snacks, stickers, and other little rewards for the students.
Most teachers are not just there for a job, but are there because they enjoy teaching and like making a difference in the lives of their students. Teaching is often a rewarding vocation, but often a thankless job as well.
We thank our veterans for their service, as well we should. Service members spend countless hours sacrificing time away from family and friends to keep us safe and free. Yet, we under appreciate our teachers. Teachers, although often they do not put their life on the line, do spend countless hours teaching, caring, and raising our children into knowledgeable citizens. Often times, teachers spend more waking hours with our children than even parents are able to do. This is huge! This time, guidance, and care for our children deserves respect and appreciation as well.
So, today, DUO Inspirations gives a big shout out to teachers. I appreciate what you do. I have taught and know the time and care that goes into teaching, not only while you are in the classroom with students, but in the prep work, learning, and other times as well.
I am not in the classroom anymore, however, I am committed, through DUO Inspirations, to create educational resources that make it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn. Just tell me what I can do. If I can pray about it or create it, if I can help, I will. Teachers, I am here for you. I appreciate all you do for your students. Thank you.
So, if you see a teacher, tell him or her that you appreciate their work. If you are a teacher, know that I appreciate you. I know that teachers spend valuable time with our children. For that, you will always be appreciated in my mind. Thank you.
Now, it is your turn.
Tell me how you feel. I would like to hear your views. Also, if you are a teacher, please let me know if you need anything. What resources or activities would be helpful for you? Feel free to contact me. Thank you.
If you find value in what I write, feel free to share it with friends and family. Also, please consider signing up to receive the Education Blog by DUO Inspirations and other educational content in your inbox. Thank you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.