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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weather Bear by Carla

Carla Shane from the blog Playful Learning Brooklyn recently contacted me with a great weather bear she made for her classroom. Carla has been teaching for six years, three of those with preschool special ed. She says she loves to make materials for her class by herself.

Carla's weather bear was recently highlighted on Classroom DIY! All the instructions to make this great weather bear are there.

I think it is a great idea in that you can personalized what the bear can wear for the seasons, you can change the color of the outfits to fit the colors you may be doing, you can make something corresponding to letters or numbers you may be working on. By creating your own materials it makes it so much easier to incorporate your lessons with the everyday activities.

Thanks so much Carla for the great idea and good luck to you.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guest Post: Avoid the Back to School Cold

[IMAGE LICENSE: Creative Commons - see image link above]

Back to school time means packing lunches, keeping track of homework, bus rides, and – almost inevitably – colds. Putting that many small children (who are still learning about hygiene, germs, and how illnesses are passed from one person to another) in a confined space almost assuredly means someone’s going to get the sniffles.

While you can’t guarantee your little one won’t come home with someone else’s illness, there are some things you can do to minimize the chance of it happening:

Work on hand washing together
Perhaps the most common way for a child to contract an illness is to rub their eyes or their nose after the germs that cause the cold are on their hands. Studies show that only about half of middle school and high school students wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Of those, only about a third of girls and 8% of boys used soap. Work with your child on getting in the habit of washing his hands every time he uses the restroom, as well as both before and after meals.

Get the flu shot
Prevention truly is the best medicine. Make sure your children are up to date on their scheduled vaccines, and talk to your child’s doctor about getting the seasonal flu vaccine. The CDC recommends that everyone over six months old receive the flu vaccine. While the flu vaccine doesn’t protect from all the many strains of the flu out there, it does protect against the ones that are thought to spread most rapidly each year.

Use hand sanitizer
While washing is ideal, it’s not always practical or possible. Check with your school’s policy, of course, but if it’s permissible send some sanitizing gel with your child to school. Many schools today also provide hand sanitizer, as well. Show your child how to use the hand sanitizer effectively: it should be rubbed all over the hands and fingers until it is dry, or for about 30 seconds.

Educate your child about germs
You don’t want to scare your child or turn her into a germophobe, but you can talk with your child about how colds spread. Let her know that, if she sees another child coughing or sneezing, they should give them some room. Your child, likewise, should cover her face when she sneezes or coughs. Ideally, she will cough or sneeze into a tissue, dispose of the tissue after, and then wash her hands.

Send school supplies with your child
Provide your child with his own pencil box. Check it regularly to make sure that it’s stocked with everything he’s going to need to get through the school day, such as pencils, erasers, crayons, colored pencils, rulers, and more. You might decide to include mechanical pencils, which will allow your child to avoid one of the most germ-infested places in a school classroom: the pencil sharpener.

Talk with your child about sharing personal items
While you don’t want to turn your child into someone who doesn’t share, you should talk about what is OK and what’s not OK to share while at school. Sharing personal items like lip gloss, make-up, creams, lotions, and more can all lead to skin infections like MRSA. Watch out for earphones, towels in the locker room, jerseys for sports, and other sporting equipment like football helmets or baseball gloves, too.

Know where germs like to hang out
The places in a school where germs like to hang out aren’t always the most obvious. Water fountains and cafeteria trays are among the most common spots for germs, while restroom toilet seats may be less likely to harbor cold-causing germs. Talk to school officials about the cleanliness of drinking fountains and lunch trays. If the school allows it, send a water bottle to school with your child each day, so as to avoid the water fountain altogether.

Give the teacher some anti-germ supplies
Schools are often financially stretched, and teachers may or may not have access to the resources they need to provide a healthy and germ-free classroom. Consider donating items like hand soap, sanitizer, and tissues. Paper cups for water or other items might be useful, as well; talk to your child’s teacher about what might be most appropriate and needed.

can’t avoid colds altogether. When children get together in the concentration they do at school, germs are inevitably going to make it past the barriers you create. Follow these steps to minimize the damage.

-- BIO

Dorothy Wheaton, PA-C, is the lead clinical provider for Careworks Health Clinics, an organization that offers multiple urgent care centers and walk-in healthcare clinics in the Northeast United States.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

My Favorite Things: Book Review

A while back I was contacted and asked to review a book written by author Shauna Sohl. I thank her for her patience with me. I have had the book for a bit, I just haven't been able to get the review done.

Shauna Sohl has written a book called, "My Favorite Things." Shauna is an early childhood educator and mother of three. She enjoys writing for children and reading to children. Shauna had help creating this book, her daughter. The illustrations in the book all have been done by her daughter and they are BEAUTIFUL. The illustrations are very appropriate for a child and makes one want to look at each page.

I can tell you that I will definitely be using this book during the school year. Our first theme is a ME theme and this book fits right in with, what else, our favorite things. We actually make a page in our Me Books about our favorite things.

I was excited to learn that this book is actually a flip book. The book is separated into two parts: my favorite things from a girl's perspective, and my favorite things from a boy's perspective. The writing is basic and simple and very easy for children to understand and be engaged in. I think they can even help read with you after a couple of times.

I feel this book would be a welcome addition to any school or family's library. It portrays so many wonderful aspects of being a child.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

School's Here? Already?

Hi everyone. Just checking in because, well, school is just around the corner! Yesterday was set up day at our school. I went in around 8 and didn't get home until about 2:30--I WAS EXHAUSTED! I also overwhelmed myself with the amount of work I still have to do.

I have actually been working quite a bit at home for about the last 2-3 weeks. Being the director there were parent letters to get out, class lists to compile and get to teachers, tuition to start collecting and take care of, etc. Then on top of that I have been doing things for my classes. I will have a total of three classes this year, that's a lot of children. I have been making name tags, name shapes, coat markers, leader markers, compiling my plans, getting crafts and skill activities together, etc. I thought I was doing pretty well.

Then, I went to work yesterday and realized I still needed to take care of a million things. (I do such a good job of stressing myself out.)

As many of you know, I have been posting on this blog since 2008. Most all of my ideas I have shared with you. Luckily for me we have a new Pre-K teacher this year that I am working with and she has wonderful ideas. So, occasionally I will have new things to offer you. There may not be as many posts as in previous years, but when I find something new and fun I will be sure to let you know.

I wish all those teachers and parents out there a wonderful new school year full of fun and exciting learning.

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