Education Moms

Kids love playing with LEGOs, so why not use them to help your kids learn? Here are five LEGO oriented Learning ideas we found on Pinterest.  These were some of our favorite ideas, but there are tons more where these came from. For more ideas check out:

HomeSchoolEncouragement.com – Ideas for learning and the only thing you need are LEGO blocks.

Learning With LEGOS – MIT Videos – MIT explains DNA, molecules, and more with LEGO.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – LEGO encourages STEM oriented learning. Go beyond the basic LEGO blocks with these awesome sets.

 

 

Do you have any favorite ways to use LEGOs to help enhance your kid’s learning experience?

 

 

 

Build Stories with LEGO – This example from Pinterest uses a kid favorite, Good Night Gorilla, but you can build almost any story. Instead of a diorama, try using mini-figures and basic blocks to recreate favorite scenes and stories.

Learning With LEGOS
Retell stories with LEGO scenes

Add and Subtract With LEGO – This is probably one of the easiest and most simple ways to use blocks to learn. While they are at it, maybe they can sort the thousands of blocks all mixed together in that large bin.

LEGOS
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide using LEGOS.

 

LEGO Marble Run – Learn about speed and angles by building a marble run.

Learn with LEGOS
Make a marble run with LEGOS. They don’t even realize how much they are learning.

 

Letters, Counting, and Measuring with LEGO – This LEGO lap book is perfect for Pre-K and Kindergarten learners.  It’s all in one place and simple to use.  The best part is that it is FREE thanks to the amazing mom at Walking by the Way.

LEGO worksheets
LEGO worksheets are a great way to stick with the LEGO oriented theme.

 

Learn Fractions With LEGO – Fractions can be difficult to understand, but use a few LEGO bricks for a visual concept that most people instantly understand. My kids are in 4th and 7th grade and we still pull out LEGO bricks to help understand math concepts.

 

LEGO Learning
LEGOS make learning fractions super easy.

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Teachers work hard to make content relevant to the students.  They like to connect what students are learning in the classroom with what is happening in the real world.  However, one parent says that his son’s teacher crossed the line.

Dad, Scott Radies, said his son’s Social Studies teacher assigned homework that was too biased, especially for middle schoolers.  Teacher, Grace Davis,  in Wisconsin,  created a worksheet for students to respond to a political cartoon.  She asked questions that Radies said were beyond appropriate.

The cartoon was originally printed in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.  Here is the cartoon:

pathwayto

The teacher asked these questions and also the boy’s answers. He made a 100 on the assignment.

  • Who are the men in the picture (What is their job? Look at what they are doing for a hint) Their job is to build/destroy the pathway to citizenship.
  • What are they building? The path to citizenship.
  • What do the symbols on their shirts represent? Republican and Democrat.
  • What is action being done by each man? The Democrat is building; the Republican is destroying.
  • What might this mean to us about immigration and citizenship? That Democrats want immigrants to come in and Republicans don’t.

Radies said he wanted to see if there was equal representation.  “I flipped it over to see if the opposite view was maybe on the other side of the homework assignment, but there’s nothing, just one side of paper.”

“When I saw his answers to the questions, and realized that the teacher gave him five out of five so apparently those answers that he gave were the ones she was looking for because he got them all right … The fact that the way that she structured the questions and then rewarded them with five out of five, I thought ‘Wow, it definitely looks like she wanted a certain answer …’ The whole thing was ridiculous, I thought.”

Honestly, I’m not sure what the dad was so flustered about. If the teacher was consistently taking the Democrats’ side of politics in every assignment that would be reason to panic. Maybe next time she’ll use a cartoon that leans right.

Dad, Radies, said he asked the teacher about the assignment, saying, “Some of the things that my son has been hearing in your class, it doesn’t seem like you’re giving the other view.” She responded to him, “Well, the semesters not over.”

What do you think, biased or just an assignment? 

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When I first saw this question, I thought, duh, schools are further from kids’ homes. More suburban sprawl means schools are more than a few blocks away.

This short film, produced by City Walk, shares the opinions of experts. They discuss walking to school and why kids today would do well to do it.  “Kids need to walk to school so they learn about active transportation,” says University of Utah professor Elizabeth Joy. “When you have to go two, three, or four blocks, that doesn’t mean you get in the car. You can actually walk.”

Kids who walked to school have a better view of their neighborhood. They don’t just see the inside of a car, but they notice details like special trees, neighbors’ houses, and more.  Do your kids walk to school?

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Inspired by the seasonal harvest and autumn colors, we’ve been creating gorgeous apple print art and turning it into beautiful math games to help my daughter learn to count. Here’s how!

Materials:

  • Brown paper bags (or a card stock)
  • Acrylic paint (fall colors are perfect, but you can use whatever you have on hand or whatever you kids love)
  • Permanent markers
  • Scissors

How To:

  1. Cut apples in half and dip in acrylic paint to make apple prints all over your brown paper bags.
  2. Let the paint dry, then cut out ten of your apples and use markers to write on numbers. That’s it!

Super simple and really fun homemade apple flashcards!

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People often wonder and ask: How can I help my child be a better student? Success at school starts with organization at home!

1. Establish a routine for each session. Maintain a consistent time each afternoon for homework and studying. Focus on more difficult assignments first. After dinner, finish remaining work or review for a test with a family member.

2. Work at your desk in your bedroom regularly. Minimize distractions. Turn off music, television and phone. Once you sit down to work, focus on one assignment at a time. Parents you can check to see if your students need your help, but be careful not to interrupt them!

3. Maintain a well-stocked and clean work space. Have a water bottle sharpened pencils, dictionary, thesaurus and your book bag with you. Only use the computer when needed to avoid distracting temptations such as IM, music and surfing.

4. Hang a bulletin board above your desk for visual reminders. This can include: items to bring to school the next day, difficult to remember vocabulary words or tricky math or science formulas.

5. Manage your papers and books. Use a planner. Write assignments in your planner on the day they are assigned and every day until due. When completing homework, leave your planner open and check off each assignment as you complete it. Use one folder per class as an “inbox/outbox”. Put new assignments in your inbox before you leave that class. At home, when you complete each assignment, put it in the outbox. At school open the correct folder at the beginning of class and hand in assignments that are in your outbox. Keep a binder with all past assignments, quizzes and tests for review. Teachers take most test questions from homework and quizzes. Study these first, and study them well!

Having these things become routine for a student will strengthen their ability to excel and be the best student they can be. College Nannies and Tutors offers customized, one-on-one tutoring for students from Pre-K to college prep. To learn more about how they can help your family, please visit their website at www.collegenannies.com or www.collegetutors.com today.

Image courtesy of photostock /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Day to all of our wonderful educators out there!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 is officially Teacher Appreciation Day. We did an “All Call” to find out what local businesses are doing special deals, promotions and specials for our teachers in the 719 community. Here is the list you helped us compile:

  1. Chipotle – buy one get one free for teachers who bring their staff id’s.
  2. Panera Bread – Teachers get a free bagel. Must have staff ID.
  3. Chick-fil-A – Colorado Springs Chick-fil-A locations (N Carefree, N Academy and Garden of the Gods) are offering FREE Breakfast entree to all Teachers (and School Staff with ID) EVERY DAY this week! May 6-11, 6am-10:30am show your ID and receive Free Breakfast entree. Any day, Every day. Thank you Teachers!!
  4. New York and Company – All nurses and teachers receive 30% off in stores from May 2-8, 2013. Customers must show valid ID for themselves or a spouse at any New York & Company store. Valid forms of ID include but not limited to a business card, an ID badge, pay stub, or any identification that shows this person is a teacher or nurse. Only one certificate, coupon or discount per purchase (pre-tax). Some restrictions apply.
  5. Ann Taylor Loft – Register as an Ann Taylor Loft teacher to receive 15% off your full-price purchase in-store, everyday! Offer must be presented at time of purchase and you must show a valid Teacher ID. Offer not valid on already reduced styles . Taxes, shipping and handling fees, purchases of gift cards, charges for gift boxes and payment of a LOFT or Ann Taylor account are excluded from the discount.
  6. Apple Store – Apple offers special education pricing on Apple computers, software and select third party products to college students, parents buying for a college student, or teachers, homeschool teachers, administrators and staff of all grade levels. Students who have been accepted to college are also eligible.
  7. Barnes & Noble – All year-round, save 20% off the publisher’s list price on all purchases for classroom use, get up to 25% off the publisher’s list price during Educator Appreciation Days, and receive valuable email offers and information on special Educator events.
  8. Hancock Fabrics – Teachers & PEAH (Parents Educating at Home) receive a 10% discount when they present their Red Apple Card. This discount cannot be combined with any other discount cards programs or used to purchase gift cards. You can obtain a Red Apple card at any Hancock Fabrics store. To obtain a card you must present a copy of your most recent paystub from the school or PEAH members must present documentation from the state for teaching status or your PEAH card. The cards must be signed by the teacher. This discount is only available in stores, it is not available at HancockFabrics.com.
  9. J. Crew – All teachers receive 15% off any in-store purchase with a valid school ID. This applies to full-price items only.
  10. Michael’s – All teachers receive 15% off their in-store purchase with valid school ID. Some exclusions apply – please see store associate for details.
  11. Office Depot – Teachers receive 10% back on ink, toner, and paper and 15% instant discount on copy and print services. Plus, if you sign up for their program, you’ll be alerted when they offer a Star Teacher Appreciation Event in June – a day of instant discounts, exclusive offers, and free breakfast.
  12. Staples – Penny Deals: Staples for Teacher Rewards cardholders can get these items for a penny, through May 11th: Ticonderoga Asst. Erasers, Bic Roundstic Pens, 8pack, Sharpie Markers, 2pack, and Staples School Glue. Only 1cent, limit 5 per item, after $5 purchase.

Be sure to comment below if you know of any other deals we haven’t included! Thank you for all you do teachers and educators!

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    Thanks to our friends at Family Focus Blog for this excellent college financial information!

    There is no doubt that college can be an expensive, but important, investment in your child’s future. Here are a few ways to help you financially prepare for your child’s higher education before you’re faced with a monstrous tuition bill that can turn into debt all too quickly.

    Tips For Preparing For College Financially:

    Start Saving Early. Unfortunately, many parents wait until high school to start thinking about saving for their child’s college education. The reality is, the sooner, the better. There are many programs like the Gerber Life College Plan that help parents save for college from the moment their child is born. Even if you can’t contribute a lot to a savings account for college, anything is better than nothing, and over time, small monthly deposits can add up.

    Encourage Academic Success. How well your child performs academically in school may determine how much financial help they will receive for college through scholarships and grants. If students are taught the importance of succeeding scholastically from an early age, their chances of receiving financial aid for good grades in high school is more likely.

    Become Familiar with the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an online application that should be filled out annually by students, beginning in their senior year of high school, to determine their financial aid eligibility, including the Pell Grant, federal student loans and Federal Work Study. You can use the “FAFSA4caster” to help plan how much aid your child might receive and what your family might be responsible for paying.

    Tax Credits. As of 2012, there are two tax credits available to help reduce the costs associated with college by lowering your income tax.

    • The American Opportunity Tax Credit offers up to a $2,500 tax credit for qualified education expenses paid for each eligible student, up to four years.
    • The Lifetime Learning Credit offers up to $2,000 a year as a tax credit for each eligible student for tuition, fees or supplies that need to be purchased through the school, for an unlimited number of years.

    529 Plan. There are two tax-advantaged 529 savings plans for future college costs: a prepaid tuition plan and a college savings plan.

    • Prepaid tuition plans allow you to purchase credits at participating colleges and universities for future tuition. Most prepaid tuition plans are restricted by state and have residency requirements. They cover tuition and occasionally room and board as well.
    • College savings plans allow the account holder to choose among several investment options, in which the college savings plan invests on behalf of the account holder. It covers tuition, room and board, other fees and required supplies such as computers and books.

    Student Loans. Loans should only be used as a last resort, but they are there to lend you some temporary relief. Just remember, that a loan must be paid back, and some may include interest rates that you will also be responsible for. There are a lot of different types of loans available for students ,and filing the FAFSA annually will help you secure some loans that your student is eligible for. The most important thing to know is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan.

    • Subsidized loans are based on financial need, and no interest is charged while the borrower is enrolled in school and during the grace or deferment period.
    • Unsubsidized is not based on financial need, and interest is charged right away.

    Student Loan Interest Deduction. You can take a tax deduction for the interest paid on any student loan used to pay for higher education expenses for your child, yourself or your spouse. The maximum deduction is $2,500 a year.

    According to the Federal Reserve Board of New York, there are approximately 37 million student loan borrowers with outstanding student loans today. Although it is best to start planning and saving for your child’s higher education early, it is never too late to start preparing. Take advantage of the financial help that is available to you, and start enjoying your child’s academic success rather than worrying about the associated financial responsibilities.

    Scarlet Paolicchi is a wife, mother of 2, and a Nashville blogger. She founded Family Focus Blog where she blogs about parenting, green tips, and giveaways!

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    If you haven’t read the story of Mrs. Piggglewiggle with your children, it is definitely worth a read. She finds delightful solutions to common childhood behaviors in a very humorous set of stories about children in a small mid-1930s American town. Children everywhere love Mrs. Pigglewiggle because they see themselves in the story and can laugh about their issues. One character develops quite an attitude with her mother and repeatedly tells her, “I’ll do it because I want to, not because you asked me to!” This is the classic strong willed child.

    In her book, You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Cynthia Ulrich Tobias delves into the inner workings of the strong willed child. She was a strong willed child and had one of her own. Her book has a great survey to see if your child is truly strong willed and provides strategies for bringing out their best.

    Here are some signs from her survey that you may have a strong willed child:
    “Almost never accepts words like “impossible” or phrases like “it can’t be done.”
    “Can move with lightning speed from being a warm, loving presence to being a cold, immovable force.”
    “May argue the point into the ground, sometimes just to see how far into the ground the point will go.”
    “Considers rules to be more like guidelines (“As long as I’m abiding by the ‘spirit of the law’ why are you being so picky?”).

    If you answered yes to most of these questions, you might like to look at the rest of the questions on the survey. Identifying the cause of “stubborn” or “defiant” behaviors can help you find ways to deal with them. Understanding the thought process behind your child’s stubborn behaviors can go a long way toward changing his/her behaviors. Tobias breaks things down into easy to understand sections which give parents real hope of helping their families stop power struggles in the home.

    In my own home, there are two parents who were strong willed children (one quiet but resistant and the other wild and resistant) one strong wild and resistant daughter who tries to rule the house and one generally easy-going daughter.
    As parents, we have realized that we are the “snake charmers” trying to convince the cobra to do what we want. Ideally, our “cobra” thinks it is her idea or in her best interest to do what has been asked. It really all comes down to working around their control issues to trick them into thinking they have control over what they do or do not do. Tobias also talks about creating positive loving relationships with positive activities to foster your strong willed child’s desire to remain an integral part of the family and maintain close ties. Her tips are helping us create a much more harmonious home life.

    Check out Mrs. Pigglewiggle as a fun diversion for your family and a way to approach your children’s behaviors (Teeny-Tiny Bite Takers, Doesn’t Like to Share, etc.) with humor. Take some time to read Tobias’ book and many others out there on the strong willed child.

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    It’s President’s Day Weekend! What does that mean around here? A day off from school and work, perhaps, and a chance for the whole family to relax and reflect on the importance of America’s presidents. What? You mean your family doesn’t sit around on President’s Day debating which president played the largest role in American history? I’m shocked! Just kidding. Neither do we, but it is fun to work in a little history to help kids understand WHY they get the day off of school. Here are some ideas to help you make the day a little more interesting.

    Get Crafty. There are tons of wonderful crafts around the web and on Pinterest to do on this fun day off. Here are a few we found that are super fun: President’s Day Puppet Fingers, the ever popular Craft Stick White House, make your own Presidential Timelines, or this fun (deceptively educational) 4-in-a-row Board Game.

    Share a legend. Presidential history is boring, but presidential legends are fascinating. Share the story of George Washington’s Cherry Tree, the humble beginnings of Abraham Lincoln, or read a poem about Theodore Roosevelt’s teddy bears.

    Catch a flick. It’s a great day to watch a movie that makes you proud to be an American. Try one of these or feel free to add your own favorites in the comments:

    • “Independence Day”
    • “Lincoln” – still in theatres
    • “Rocky III”
    • “Miracle”
    • “Apollo 13”
    • “American Legends”
    • “Yankee Doodle Dandee”
    • “Victory”
    • “The Right Stuff”
    • “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”
    • “The Patriot”
    • “Schoolhouse Rock: America”

    Do you have a fun project/craft/story that you will share this President’s Day? Comment below to tell us what you will be doing.

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    Sometimes it seems like kids enjoy science about as much as they do vegetables. Yet, parents know that an enthusiasm for science can lead to better grades in school and an exciting, useful career in the future. Through science, kids learn to ask questions, to try experiments and to let their curiosity lead them in unexpected directions. Encouraging an interest in science is easier than you think. After all, subjects of scientific curiosity are all around us.

    Ideas For Getting Kids To Enjoy Science:

    1. Visit a Local Science Museum
    Most relatively large cities have a science museum, zoo, aquarium, planetarium, children’s museum or other institution. Even the local history museum can be a valuable resource. At the science museum, kids get to try hands- on experiments and interact with fun exhibits. At zoos and aquariums, they encounter hundreds of diverse species that can help to develop a child’s curiosity. The history museum may be a useful tool for discovering the science of geology and the preservation of artifacts. The possibilities for scientific discoveries at museums are practically endless.

    2. Get a Kid’s Science Kit
    Every zoo, museum and aquarium has a gift shop, and not every item in stock is a stuffed animal or a t-shirt. Found among the more mundane souvenirs are scientific experiments and learning kits designed to help foster a child’s curiosity about science. These hands-on activities are exactly what kids love best. They might build a volcano or rocket. They might get a microscope that is like those found at school and student microscopes have a multitude of uses. Whether they are studying a leaf or a strand of hair, using a microscope can be an amazing experience for a child.

    3. Help Kids Explore Outdoors And Talk Science
    Take a hike on a trail to get kids exploring the outdoors. Take pictures of trees, plants, animals and insects. Bring a field guide or later, look up the photograph subjects in books and online to discover their species and learn more facts about them.

    4. Join a Kid’s Group
    Whether it’s the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H or another organization, involved kids enjoy plenty of opportunities to explore the world around them. Check with your local nature center or school and see if there are any science clubs or outdoors groups for kids.

    5. Take The Kids On A Trip To The Library
    A community library is a tremendous resource of scientific knowledge. Plenty of books about science that are written for kids are available in one convenient spot. Supplement the books with a little exploration on the Internet. For instance, reading a book about marsupials can be augmented by watching online videos of animals in the wild.]

    This blog was highlighted on the Family Focus Blog and was a guest post by Hayley, who is an amateur scientist, author and blogger residing in Portland Oregon.

    I have to say that as a biology major, this subject is dear to my heart. I love science! I find it fascinating! My kids love science too. Cartoons like The Wild Kratts from PBS are great for inspiring an interest while they are young. My kids love science kits! Who wouldn’t have fun making slime, changing liquid colors through reactions, and making volcanoes? Remember, your enthusiasm is catching! Have you tried any science experiments that you kids just loved?