How You Can Add Rigor to Elementary Gardening Projects

clock March 23, 2015 11:00 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Gardening can provide a variety of engaging learning experiences, but have you considered how you can encourage critical thinking and help students have a deeper understanding of the concepts you’re trying to teach them with gardening projects? Here are a few tips you can use to make gardening projects more rigorous for your elementary students: Have your students record their observations in a science journal. Graph a variety of measurements, such as temperature, plant growth, water coll... [More]

Manipulative Ideas for Sand and Water Tables

clock March 20, 2015 09:00 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Children love to experiment with sand and water, which is why the sand and water center is often one of the most popular areas in a classroom or center. If you’re looking for ways to create new sand and water experiences for the children in your care, we have some great ideas! Based on a list featured in Judy Fujawa’s (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Early Childhood Education, here are some manipulatives you can place in a sand and water table to create fun sensory experien... [More]

Dig Deeper into Differentiation: Three Tips from a Literacy Consultant

clock March 19, 2015 02:30 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Guest Post by Janine Bracco Cox “They are not growing, and I’ve tried everything!” As a literacy specialist and instructional coach, I’ve heard this from many passionate educators who are trying to figure out why their differentiation strategies simply aren’t working as well as they’d like or need. Here are three tips for effective differentiated instruction from recent classroom experiences: 1) Ask Yourself Key Questions About Students’ Needs I recently... [More]

Six Spectacular Spring Crafts for Preschoolers

clock March 18, 2015 10:00 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Friday, March 20th marks the beginning of spring this year, and we can’t wait for it to officially arrive! We’re sure you and your preschoolers are also anxious for spring to start, which is why we’ve come up with this list of six spectacular crafts to help preschoolers welcome spring! 1. B is for Butterfly Based on an activity in The Budding Chef, this edible craft is a great way to get preschoolers excited for spring! Ingredients: bananas, peanut butter (or another type of sp... [More]

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Pi Day Celebration!

clock March 13, 2015 08:45 by author Kaplan Early Learning
There’s a special reason to celebrate Pi Day this year—it falls on 3/14/15. For those of us not mathematically inclined, that date represents pi’s first five digits (3.1415). Even more digits of pi are represented on that date at 9:26:53 (3.141592653). Pi Day only falls on 3/14/15 once each century, making this year’s celebration truly unique for the majority of the population. Officially recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, Pi Day has been growing in ... [More]

Five Fun Ways to Teach Children About Nutrition

clock March 12, 2015 12:45 by author Kaplan Early Learning
March is National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is Bite Into A Health Lifestyle. Teaching children about nutrition and helping them learn how to make healthy nutrition choices is a great way to prevent childhood obesity and help children stay healthy as they grow up. Here are five fun ways you can teach the children in your care about nutrition: 1. Play The Veggie Game Adapted from an activity featured in The Budding Chef, The Veggie Game is a great way to teach preschoolers about veg... [More]

What to Include in Your School Readiness Action Plan

clock March 10, 2015 10:45 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Guest Post by Kaila Weingarten, MS Ed When I first attended a training and heard about having a school readiness action plan, I asked the presenter, “What would I include in that?” He couldn’t enumerate exactly what to put in. So over the next few weeks, I did my research and compiled a list. This became a wonderful loose-leaf resource to have. I used it to train new employees, to inform key policyholders on school readiness, and of course, to brag during our federal reviews. L... [More]

Five Dr. Seuss Quotes Teachers Can Live By

clock March 2, 2015 10:00 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Happy 111th Birthday, Dr. Seuss! A renowned writer and illustrator, Dr. Seuss loved to create books that inspired people and sparked their imaginations. Whether it’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Green Eggs and Ham, or another Seuss title, Dr. Seuss’ creative rhymes and illustrations continue to resonate with people of all ages. In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, here are five Dr. Seuss quotes you can live by as a teacher: 1. “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.... [More]

10 Multicultural Holidays & Celebrations You Can Celebrate in the Classroom

clock February 27, 2015 10:30 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Celebrating holidays and special events can be a controversial topic in the classroom. Some parents (and educators) may wonder if it’s a waste of time or if the related activities are meaningful and/or educational for children. Be sure you talk with parents and students about the national and multicultural holidays and celebrations they would like to celebrate so that all parties have been able to share their opinion and are in agreement. Choosing the holidays you want to celebrate beforeh... [More]

Tips for Making Smart Professional Development Investments

clock February 25, 2015 10:30 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Do you dread attending professional development trainings or taking online training courses? Professional development is an important part of being a successful and effective educator, but professional development for educators in the United States has a variety of issues and shortcomings. Ninety percent of teachers in the United States have participated in some type of professional development opportunity, but many of those teachers believe that most of the training they receive is not useful o... [More]

Summer Learning Loss – Remediation vs. Skill Maintenance

clock February 24, 2015 10:30 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Guest Post by Donna Lasinski I created the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program because the effects of summer learning loss were apparent. I saw first-hand how students worked hard all year only to lose learned skills over the summer. I am thrilled to see that, as of late, summer learning loss has gained greater amounts of attention both in the school systems as well as in the press. Unfortunately, much of the discussion around summer learning loss and its negative effects on students fails to d... [More]

Interactive Read-Alouds in the Classroom

clock February 19, 2015 10:00 by author Kaplan Early Learning
“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. The benefits are greatest when the child is an active participant.” (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson) What is an interactive read-aloud? An interactive read-aloud is a literacy event whereby children actively engage in listening and talking about the text throughout the duration of the read-aloud. In contrast to the traditional read-aloud whe... [More]

Chinese New Year Activities for Preschoolers

clock February 17, 2015 09:30 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Celebrating the Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year) is a great way to teach preschoolers about diversity and introduce them to another culture. Starting on February 19th, this year’s Chinese New Year welcomes the Year of the Goat (or sheep or ram if you prefer). Be sure to check out Asia for Educators by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and the Chinese New Year landing page on the History Channel’s website for a variety of... [More]

Tips on Teaching Children About Dental Health

clock February 12, 2015 10:45 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Tooth decay is the most widespread chronic children’s disease in America. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, it affects more than 42% of children 2-11 years old, and almost 23% of the children in that age group have untreated tooth decay. The importance of oral health is often an overlooked issue, especially in the classroom, which is why taking the time to discuss dental care with the children in your classroom is essential to their overall health. In... [More]

Celebrating Presidents’ Day in the Classroom

clock February 10, 2015 10:45 by author Kaplan Early Learning
Presidents’ Day celebrates the lives of American presidents and recognizes their work for the American people. The holiday was established in 1885 in honor of President George Washington and was originally celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday (January 22) before the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved it to the third Monday of February (History Channel). Even though it is now widely known as Presidents’ Day, it is important to note that the holiday is still officially n... [More]