Partners In Learning Blog Team

Partners In Learning Blog Team
Blog Team

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Make a Keepsake Christmas ornament before putting those decorations away!

STOP! Don't put those Christmas ornaments away just yet!

You can easily create a unique Christmas keepsake with your ornaments.


If you already have any solid colored or glass ball ornaments, all you need now is paint and your child. If you don't have any ornaments that will work, you're in luck because most retail stores are having after-Christmas sales on decorations right now.

I did this project with my CBRS children this year. While my original idea was to make beautiful snowmen out of their handprints, it ended up looking more like blobs of paint. But, all of the parents loved the handmade ornaments, so it really didn't matter what it ended up looking like.

If your child has high-sensitivity to messy stuff on their hands, encourage them to just paint on the ornament. You can allow it to dry and then write their name and the year on it as well. You can also try doing footprints with children less willing to use their hand OR for babies (feet are much cuter anyway, right?)

Wouldn't this make a wonderful family weekend activity before having to put your holiday decorations away and returning to normal live? And you'll have a family memory and keepsake for Christmases to come!

Katie Zink, Infant-Toddler Family Specialist

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sensory, Sensory, Sensory!

I have blogged about Sensory activities before (maybe because I love them!), but I wanted to share with you my newest sensory toy!

After months of searching for the perfect one, I found a durable play tunnel at a consignment shop for ONLY $8!

I used the tunnel this week as part of our activity plan for my CBRS children and they loved it!

Some of the children were shy at first, but all of them eventually went through the tunnel.

For the children who were hesitant, I used favorite toys, such as balls or cars to slowly coax them into going further into the tunnel. We used many vocabulary terms, such as "in/out," "tunnel," "dark," and we identified the colors of the tunnel. Even children as young as 1 1/2 enjoyed the tunnel!

Other ideas for sensory activities include sensory boxes, which I have talked about before and will again soon!

Sensory bottles are great for visual identification of objects.

These types of toys are wonderful for children on the Autism spectrum because it often provides them with a sense of calm from being in a small space. A child that I see for CBRS who is on the Autism spectrum had a blast going in and out of the tunnel on his own. However, this child does not enjoy sensory boxes. Each child with sensitivities to "weird" stuff is different, not only children with Autism.

Katie Zink, Infant-Toddler Family Specialist

Sunday, November 17, 2013

An easy way to teach engineering at home or in the classroom

The new buzz word in education is STEM.  STEM stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math".   Parents and even most educators are afraid of the word and how to truly implement it.  I must admit that I have struggled with the engineering piece of STEM.  However, the other night while surfing the internet, I found an article with pictures about making an inventors box for your child, and it came to me; this is what the engineering part  of STEM should look like.

As a mother of five children and four of them being boys, this was a regular practice in our home.  Our children were always taking things apart to see how it worked.  I must admit that there were times that I wanted to scream because of the small nuts, bolts, and screws laying around.  Then I began to wonder how many parents allow this today.  Is this why the writer of the article talked about putting together inventor boxes?

Don't get me wrong, it is a great idea, especially if you are not currently allowing your child to do this and an even better idea if you are a classroom teacher.  For some parents, this is just a natural part of their children growing up, but for those who it is not; here's an idea for you!

Blessings, Norma Honeycutt, Director

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Don't toss out those pumpkins just yet!

Still have pumpkins lying around after Halloween? Here are some ideas for how to put them to use before tossing them out.

Create a simple bowling game for your children. You don't have to use toilet paper rolls, bottles or other household objects will work just fine.

Gather some paint. Let the pumpkin be the canvas while your child is the artist.

If you are feeling extra brave, let your child smash the pumpkins. If your child is younger, go ahead and smash the pumpkin before allowing them to explore the guts inside. Take this time to teach your child about seeds and how we grow plants and foods.

Have fun!

Katie Zink, Infant-Toddler Family Specialist

Friday, November 1, 2013

IPads in the Classroom

IPads in the Classroom

I pads in classroom can be a wonderful thing. It is a great way to frame a 21st century learning classroom. You can almost find any type of app for any lesson you are doing. The children LOVE working on the I pad and learn so much from it! It helps with fine motor skills along cognitive learning.
ipad in class
In this picture my co teacher is showing the letter G on the ipad, signing the letter G along what showing them things that start with the letter G. This is helping children with all different learning styles.

ipad 2
Ipads also help special needs children with fine motor skills along with all types of finger moving and brain games.
They also help children feel proud and themselves when doing something right and helps them fix it if they are wrong.
pump 4
Here Mrs. Kelly is showing the children a story on pumpkins, while playing with pumpkin pie play doh.
team work 1
Ipad fun is great for learning skills like taking turns, sharing, teamwork and learning to wait.
To sum it all up, technology in the classroom increases motivation and self esteem, technical skills, more collabortion with peers and increases the use of outside resources.
Some other great websites to use in the classroom are as followed:
1) Word World
This is a fun website were “words come alive”. Children can build their own words and everything on the site is build with a word.
The site has a place for teachers to go for actives that they can do in the classroom like Uppercase-Lowercase Matching Game, Find the Ant and Looking for Pieces of Pie.
2) NeoK12
This website helps children see the real world via videos, lesson, games and puzzles.
Teachers can use this site to pull activity from and show the children the world in a different light.
3) Between The Lions
This is a great website for children to learn about reading, it has games, video clips, and stories.
Teachers can take the stories and or clips and do finger plays, and play out the stories with the class.
4) Coolmath-Games is great for learning shapes/colors, skills, strategy, memory and logic.
Teachers can pull games from this website and interact them in the classroom along with asking questions when the children are playing these games.
5) Hooda Math
This is a website that makes math fun with games and season ideas to use.
Teacher can brings these games to live with sitting up the games in the room.

Amanda Marshall