Understanding and Using Common Abbreviations

Are you Understanding and Using Common Abbreviations ?

Before we begin ~ this Post is about Abbreviations NOT Acronyms….

Both Abbreviations and Acronyms are shortened forms of words or phrases.

An Abbreviation is a shortened form of a word ~ usually 2-4 letters ~ used to represent the whole word, such as Dr. for Doctor or tbsp. for tablespoon, while an Acronym contains a set of initial letters from a phrase that usually form another word such as ASAP for As Soon As Possible or LOL for Laugh Out Loud.

Why  Use Abbreviations ?

When talking and/or writing it takes less time to say or write the first initial of each word or an abbreviated form of the full word than to spell out every single word. This makes communication easier and faster. Several every day examples are:

  • Writing down directions to somewhere is easier to when using N, S, E or W on a St., Ln. or Blvd. instead of writing North, South, East or West on a Street, Lane, or Boulevard.
  • Words like tablespoon, teaspoon, Fahrenheit, pounds are hard to fit on a recipe card, so, using tbsp,tsp. F. and lb. will keep the measurements on the 3 X 5″ recipe card.
  • Large group words like Company and Association take up a lot of space on a sign, so using Co. and Assn. can save time and money.

When to Use Abbreviations ?

In writing, abbreviations are especially useful when you need to squeeze a lot of writing into a small space, like:

  • signs
  • posters
  • letters
  • envelopes
  • lists
  • notes
  • texts
  • recipes
  • diagrams
  • measurements
  • directions

You can, also, use abbreviations in place of long or cumbersome phrases to make your sentences easier and quicker to read:

 Without Abbreviations ~Drive North on Highway 357. Take the Green Street exit. Turn right on Maple Lane. Then, continue on Maple Lane until Poplar Boulevard.

With Abbreviations ~ Drive N. on Hwy 357. Take the Green St. exit. Turn rt. on Maple Ln. Then, cont. on Maple Ln. until Poplar Blvd.

So, I created 6 Activity Units for Understanding and Using Common Abbreviations during everyday communications when writing and talking.

Each Activity Unit contains eight similar Components.

Activity  Unit  Components

Here is a list of the Components included in each of the six Abbreviation Activity Units:

  • Construction  Instructions
  • Lesson Plan
  • Anchor  Chart Diagram
  • Pre -Test Forms with Answer Cards
  • Game Sort Mats with Storage Pocket & Game Pieces*
  • Response Sheets
  • Abbreviation  Sentences & Answer Sheet

*Game Pieces include the “long” word and its abbreviation.

Keeping reading for a brief description of each Activity  Unit.


This 37-page Activity Unit includes a general collection of Abbreviations seen in the different subject areas taught in the classroom: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Geography, Science, and Math (Customary & Metric).

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product  access:



This 32-page Activity Unit includes Calendar (months & weekdays) Abbreviations, Time, and an annual, mini,  make-‘n-take Calendar.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product  access:


COMMON ABBREVIATIONS : Mini ~ Scopes  Measurements (Customary & Metric)

This 30-page Activity Unit includes Customary & Metric  Abbreviations for height, weight, distance, volume, and temperature. A Math problem-solving component is part of the Abbreviation Sentences.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product access:


COMMON ABBREVIATIONS : People (Individuals & Special Groups)

This 22-page Activity Unit includes a Abbreviations given to individuals as Common & Special Titles as well as Group Titles.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product access:


COMMON ABBREVIATIONS : Short  Order Kitchen (Customary & Metric)

This 24-page Activity Unit includes Customary & Metric Abbreviations seen in Recipes as well as Food Amounts found in packaging. A Math problem-solving component is part of the Abbreviation Sentences.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product  access:


COMMON ABBREVIATIONS : Travel  Tidbits (Customary & Metric)

This 45-page Activity Unit includes Customary & Metric Abbreviations for In-Town Directions, USA’s 50 States, the 7 Continents, and Global Directions.  A Geography/Map component is part of the Abbreviation Sentences.

Click on the link below for TpT’s Product access:


A Few Last Words

Some of these Activity Units have “cross-over” Abbreviations. For example: Common Titles for Individuals are found in both Classroom Clips and People. Measurements can be found in Classroom Clips, Mini-Scopes, and Short-Order Kitchen. 

However, each specific Activity Unit offers more than a few Abbreviations regarding its Abbreviation subject area. Plus, the Game Sort Mats, Game Pieces, and Abbreviation Sentences are specific to its subject area as well.

Regardless of which Activity Units you decide to purchase for your teaching  purposes, I hope you and yours have fun while learning this valuable Literacy Skill.

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With the help of Writers Republic, I have self-published the first story book of the I AM A CHILD trilogy! It’s Hot Off The Press: FEETSPEAK!

I wrote these three stories several years ago with a muse on my shoulder guiding me with ideas, verbiage, imagery, and, significantly, a common thread ~ the resilience of children faced with tragic circumstances.

The kindness and care of loved ones, the understanding and flexibility of community as well as  the beauty and solace of nature contributed to the healing process of each character.

Before I tell you how each of these three elements play a part in the story of  FEETSPEAK, I want to share with you why I wrote these stories.

Why I Wrote These Stories

Thirty years teaching Early Childhood and Elementary school children from all over the world on at-risk campuses confirms my belief in the uniqueness of each child.

Many of these children suffered life-altering tragedies from loss, displacement, hunger, and neglect. Their ability to overcome these challenges with their resilience continually astounded me, as a child who grew up in a comfortable, middle-class environment.

They inspired me to create the stories in the I AM A CHILD Trilogy.

So,  briefly, this is what the story of FEETSPEAK  shares with you, Readers….


All children are born into an ancestral heritage, rich with tragedy, joy, and a touch of magic.

No two stories are alike, yet encouraging an appreciation for cultural diversity, creative problem solving, and ecological respect as well as protecting the timely development of the contemporary child are daily challenges faced by parents and educators.

In FEETSPEAK, a young child, traumatically mute after her parents are killed during a rainstorm, communicates by selecting different shoes to wear.

Living near a pond and its creatures on the Midwest Plains with her maternal grandmother provides Cinnamon with comfort and understanding.

However, when an engaging French family with a young girl her age moves into the house down the road, Cinnamon must learn other ways to share her thoughts and express her feelings with her new friends.

Soon to enter First Grade, will she be ready to participate and learn in this totally new environment?

You may now be wondering ~ how do those three elements: loved ones, community, and nature influence the healing process of a traumatized child? Please note my stories are just that ~ stories of fiction. Of course they are idealized, but in my experience, these three factors in people’s lives can be extremely influential and effective.

The Loved Ones of FEETSPEAK

My young heroine shares her story surrounded by her loving family. She lives with her grandmother. She frequently visits her uncles and aunt.

Her close neighbors become constant friends and company. Their kindness, acceptance, and care provide the six-year-old child with new experiences to help her explore other  places outside the quiet world she has escaped into.

Some of these “other places” are very new and, somewhat, uncomfortable to her, but her family and friends, as well as the community members she encounters help her overcome her reluctance to engage.

An Understanding Community of FEETSPEAK

When a variety of life’s circumstances enter and disrupt Cinnamon’s routine existence with her family and friends, she slowly begins to understand the necessity of living outside her sheltered world. She even begins to enjoy the diversity of the experiences.

Meeting new community members like doctors, teachers, shopkeepers, and entertainers, among others, open up different vistas for communication. She is definitely intrigued,  although hesitant. The community continues to engage with her in spite of her uncertainty.

And, perhaps, the most powerful of all the environmental elements is the constancy of Nature.

The Constancy of Nature in FEETSPEAK

I spent many hours ~ I LOVED it!~ researching the flora and fauna of the several environs described in the story,  FEETSPEAK,  as I did in the other two stories of the I AM A CHILD Trilogy.

Most of the story takes place during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall with one Wintry exception. The majority of the setting takes place on the Plains of the USA’s Midwest and special care was given to a little pond near the small wheat farm Cinnamon lives on with her Grandmother.

A respectful graciousness is shared by all the characters in the story for the beauty and gifts Nature gives.

Country living is shown to be bountiful, yet challenging. A willingness to work and respect the land is threaded throughout the story of FEETSPEAK.

A brief exploration of the USA’s  Blue Ridge Mountains and the maple woods of its Northeast are, also, part of the scenery.

Part of my publishing package with Writers Republic includes a whimsical, engaging website, which gives me opportunities to Blog about FEETSPEAK and include many Book Study activities.

My Author’s Website

This website is extremely easy to navigate. The Navigation Bar includes an animated Home Page ( it’s delightful ! ), an About the Author (ME!) link, an About the Book link with a summary and buttons to click for places to purchase and view book pages, my Blog link, and a Contact Me link for all your questions, comments, concerns, and requests.

FEETSPEAK is available in hardback, paperback, and digitally.

Here’s the link:   http://eashields.com/

I’ve already posted several Blogs (surprise!) and there’s LOTS more to come. Read on….


As an educator, one of my VERY FAVORITE teaching opportunities involved a Book Study. Teased by my teammates for going on and on with activity after activity focused on ONE class-read novel, I just handed them the FAT Unit I created that went on and on into the wonders of a well-written novel.

“The possibilities,” I’d remark with a grin, “are ENDLESS!”

And it is with the same enthusiasm, I have created and developed MANY activities for you and yours to explore and choose while reading FEETSPEAK.

Some, not all, of course, of the Book Study activities include:

  • learning new Vocabulary Words
  • analyzing Comprehension Elements
  • using Graphic Organizers
  • investigating Characters and their Traits
  • exploring the Power of Colorful Descriptors
  • transferring Verbal Imagery into Drawings
  • writing Letters
  • cooking up a Recipe or five…
  • discovering Nature

Believe me ~ there’s MORE!!

 The Blogs I have published so far:



Most activities will be a digital download.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this Info~Blog for Hot Off The Press: FEETSPEAK! as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It’s  my latest (and, maybe, my greatest) “endeavor” !

I hope you will visit me @: http://eashields.com/.

Tell me what you think on my Author’s website Contact Me link.

  Questions ? Comments ? Shares ?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!




Enriching the FLC with Your First Grader’s Inquiry Skills

Welcome to Part Three of The FLC First Grader’s Series

Your 6-year-old is asking MORE questions than s/he usually does.

And even though s/he LOVES rules and boundaries in his/her expanding world, those very important inquiries are giving you clues to the puzzles being solved in her/his broadening brain.

Your First Grader’s  Inquiry Skills are growing. They are becoming an important part of his/her brain development and academic success.

A “How-To……” book of instructions for everything in life right now would be just fine with her/him!

PART THREE :  Inquiry Skills

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question. ~ Eugene Ionesco

There is a philosophy that an answer can be found within the context of its question…..or at least its beginning is….

Your First Grader comes home with many new & wonderful ideas to share. S/he LOVES explaining how explorations became discoveries.

And, THEN, “what if…..?” Oh, the imagination of the inquiring mind!!!!

This state of inquiry, however, is not satisfied with thinking about things.

Your 6-year-old and his/her longer attention span  likes to learn & problem solve by doing: experimenting, planning, building, collecting, and, maybe even , performing magic tricks just to solve what “appears” to be unsolvable.

You can promote these Critical Thinking questions. BLB’s Library has several ideas for you to use in an interactive resource:


Within that page are 2 downloadable PDFs:

 A Short List of CT Questions

Questions for Brain Food Menu

You Can, Also: 

  • provide storage boxes for her/his special collections of rocks, seeds, shells, leaves
  • Add nonfiction books to the library about animals, plants, sun, moon & stars, seasons, weather, holidays & celebrations, world cultures, community helpers, inventors & inventions, machines & transportation
  • Take field trips to history & science museums, work places & factories, other neighborhoods
  • encourage his/her growing awareness of time & days of the week by including him/her in planning daily events

S/he probably has lots of Giant Ideas (where DO they come from) with lots of Important Questions (how DOES s/he think up all of them)…….

  Encouraging The Critical Thinking Process of Inquiry

Do you remember the KWL (What do you Know, What do you Wonder about,  & What have you Learned) your teachers may have used during your classroom  discussions?

Check out this How-To use  a K-W-L Chart site:


Although it can be time-consuming, I found a KWL chart to be  a very valuable exploration & discovery tool. Used interactively, it provided me, and my students, with knowledge already in place~no wasted time on redundancy~ and ownership of what was to be learned ~ with a few prompted questions, ideas, & vocabulary clues from me. 

When Do We Use A KWL ?

You can use this tool with your child in a variety of scenarios:

  • to enrich & reinforce a variety of science, social studies & geography topics being taught in school
  • to increase reading comprehension elements in  fiction & nonfiction reads at home and for school
  • to use as a home-management builder in a number of arenas: chores, safety, nutrition, clothing/weather, etc.

SO~I’ve created something a little different that includes a Resource section in this discovery chat titled KQRL. Here’s a downloadable 8.5×11″ PDF template you can print, laminate & re-use during you & yours’ Inquiry Investigations:  KQRL Template

Wondering what science, social studies & geography concepts your First Grader will be learning in the classroom?

Your child’s school district can provide you with a list of objectives & expectations. Ask her/his teacher for assistance and explanations.

Science Explorations in First Grade

Using My 5 Senses-KellySikkema
Using My 5 Senses-KellySikkema

Your child will engage his/her 5 Senses to observe, ask questions,  and, then, record   what s/he is learning.  Entering data on graphs (pictographs & bar graphs), hand-drawings as well as written words are products used to show what s/he understands.

This is a  “general” list of science concepts your child may (or may not) be learning throughout his/her year in First Grade:

Physical Science

  • Forces in Motion: push & pull, balance, magnetism, electricity
  • Changes in States of Matter (solid, liquid & gas)
  • Properties of Liquids
  • Sound Production & Travel
  • Properties of Air

Earth Science

  • The Universe: day & night sky, moon, stars, sun
  • Weather: seasons, temperature measurement
  • Properties & Uses of Earth Materials: soil, rocks, minerals, water

Life Science

  • Human Body Systems & Nutrition
  • Ecosystems: habitats, survival needs, protection/ecology
  • Life Cycles: plants, animals
  • Diversity & Variations: plants, animals

Your Home~Grown Science Lab

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. ~ Mary Lou Cook

PBSParents offers some very useful  suggestions on how to explore science concepts with your child in everyday scenarios. And just for you, I created a table -YIPEE- to help with that!

Home~Grown Science Explorations & Discoveries

Backyard/Front Lawn
Nature Trail
Forces in Motion: trikes, bikes, scooter, wagon; playground equipment
Matter: solids, liquids, gases
Sound:different machines in the air/on the ground
Properties of Air: balloons, paper airplanes, Frisbee, kites, leaves
Light/Dark: day & night sky elements, moon phases, shadows, shade, self-reflection in water
Weather: clouds, temperature, precipitation
Materials:different rocks, soil varieties, waters(lake, pond, brook, river, mud puddles)
Different Plant & Animal Ecosystems
Stages of growth in plants & animals
In the Car
On the Bus/Train
Forces in Motion: Push / Pull
Sound: Machines at work
Travel: Speed
Light/Dark: self-reflection in window, vision adjustments to sight, building sights, day vs night sky visibility in different environments
Weather: cloud formations in open sky, visibility during precipitation at different speeds
Materials: landforms, bodies of water
Different Plant & Animal Ecosystems: city/country, desert/plains/forest/seaside
In the Kitchen
At the Market
Forces in Motion: push/pull of different utensils, float/sink of different food elements
Matter: changing states from solid to liquid to gas
Liquid Properties: changes with heat, cold, mixtures
Properties of Air: forces of air when applied to different foods, like meringues
Weather: on foods' stability, spoilage, growth in the garden
Materials: how rocks, soil, water affect foods
Human Body: nutrition, food groups, menu/recipe combinations, extra foods
Plant & Animal Ecosystems: growth, food sources, omnivores/herbivores/carnivores
Life Cycles: plants from seed, growth/harvest, preparation

I don’t know about you, but, there are questions children ask that defy an explanation…..So, instead of trying to give reason that might not be understandable or accurate, a more “scientific” approach will probably satisfy those questions. Wonder, inquire & investigate along with your child, encouraging him/her to explain why s/he thinks the way s/he does. Yes~answer a question with another question.

Ready to Set Up A Home~Grown Science Lab ?

Your Primary  learner LOVES to investigate his/her Inquiries!

I’ve created 4 of them for you & yours, addressing several of the objectives found in the Physical, Earth, Life & Ecology Sciences. Each contain several investigations with sequential activities for observations, predictions, explorations, experiments & discoveries appropriate for children, ages 5-8.  You can visit these “Labs” in BLB’s Shop by clicking on the links below:





Whew!!!! Have FUN!!!

But wait…..there’s more!

Your First grader will, also, be learning about the diverse cultures & countries of the world. Using the Inquiry approach to these studies is a great interactive way to engage her/his learning.

Navigating the World Through Investigations

World Traveler-TeddyKelley
World Traveler – TeddyKelley

I found Social Studies & Geography an easy way to integrate reading & writing. Not only are they inter-related, they are incredibly relevant & engaging for most children. Who doesn’t want to explore his/her home country, ancestral roots, holiday traditions, and, then, navigate the way there?!

Here’s a general, sequential inquiry map several fellow teachers & I used in our classrooms before the curriculum timeline rules changed. It’s a thematic approach that blended & covered all required objectives, including some  Math, Health & Science expectations. We began at the beginning~the Home.

Family & Home

  • Where do you live: apartment, house, duplex, trailer, shelter?
  • Can you draw a map of the inside of your home?
  • Who is part of your family at home?
  • What are the needs of most families?
  • How do families meet those needs?
  • Are chores & shared responsibilities part of your family?


  • What other buildings are in your neighborhood?
  • How is an apartment complex like a neighborhood?
  • Do your friends and/or relatives live nearby?
  • Is there a park or playscape in your neighborhood?
  • Are these other places in your neighborhood: school, gas station, restaurants, markets?
  • Can you draw a map of your neighborhood, using a few symbols & a compass rose for directions?

The Communities in A Town or City


  • What is a community?
  • How are neighborhoods & communities the same? Different?
  • Do you know where these buildings are in your community: retail shops, restaurants, fire & police stations, schools, churches, hospitals, clinics/offices, athletic fields, cinemas?
  • Who are the community helpers in these places?
  • How do you know ( uniforms, special jobs)?
  • When do you need these community helpers?
  • How do some of them keep communities safe?
  • What are “goods” and “services”?
  • Which community helpers provide services? Goods?


  • What is the difference between a town & a city?
  • Do you know how many people live in our town/city?
  • How many of these places have you visited: concert hall, opera house, theater, museum, historical sites, sports arena, transportation hubs ~ bus terminal, train station, airport?
  • How did you travel to those places?
  • Where can you find a major waterway in our town/city? What is its name?
  • Have you ever traveled to a different town or city?
  • Was it in our state or a different state?
  • Can you locate our town/city on this map?

Widening the Scope

A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils. ~ Ever Garrison


  • What is the name of the state we live in?
  • Is a state larger or smaller than a city?
  • Are there only towns & cities in our state?
  • Do you know the names of some other towns or cities in our state?
  • Do you know the names of any other states?
  • Have you ever traveled to any other state?
  • What did you see/do there?
  • Where is it on this map?
  • How did you travel there?
  • Can you locate our state on this map?
  • What are those other names a part of on the map?
  • What is famous about our state?


  • These states are all part of a what?
  • What is a country?
  • Do you know the names of any other countries?
  • What is the name of our country?
  • Why is our country called “The United States of America”?

Click on the link below to download, copy & print a PFD I created for celebrating USA Symbols, Citizenship & National Holidays:

USA Mini Lessons

To Global Awareness


  • What do you see on this globe?
  • How are the lands separated from each other?
  • What is a continent?
  • Can you find the country of the United States?
  • What is the name of its continent?
  • What large bodies of water border the United States?
  • Where are the other continents?
  • How many do you think there are?


  • Can you think of other languages & customs?
  • Have you seen people who dress differently than you & your family?
  • Have ever eaten food from another country (Mexican, German, Chinese, Indian)?
  • Why do you think people from all over the world come to the USA?
  • Do you know what a folk tale is?
  • How do different cultures celebrate holidays?
  • Can you tell where this (these) piece (s) of art were created?
  • Where do you think this music was created?
  • Have you ever seen this kind of dancing?

YES! All this and MORE in a year of First Grade!!!!!

OMG!!! What Can I Do to Help Me Help My Child!?

In A Garden of Resources-JoelFotos
In A Garden of Resources – JoelFotos

First of all, if you are receiving a weekly newsletter from your child’s teacher, you will know what is being taught & how long it will be taught.

Ask the teacher and/or media center facilitator for content recommendations.

Your local library can help you locate books, CDs & DVDs to add to the lessons.

Visit science & history museums, planetariums, aquariums & botanical gardens, especially ones with guides,  kid-friendly exhibits & hands-on explorations.

You can, also, visit BLB’s Resource Library for a list of authors, books & websites to add to your collections. Here’s the link:


There is another, more in-depth way to encourage your child’s Inquiry Skills. It’s a technique called UbD.

Big Ideas & Essential Questions

An idea is “big” if it helps us make sense of lots of confusing experience and seemingly isolated facts. It’s like the picture that connects the dots or a simple rule of thumb in a complex field. ~ Grant Wiggins

Another Question-Elijah'sSong
Another Question-Elijah’sSong

Your child’s classroom teacher may, also, (or maybe not) be using a learning technique called UbD~Understanding by Design ~ especially during science, geography & social studies units, which are, then,  coordinated thematically with fiction & nonfiction reads. Projects & knowledge are student-driven through exploration & discovery guided by questions the students have formed regarding the subject.

The “Essential Questions” will usually help define the “Big Idea”, which is usually a general, or abstract statement.

When forming the Questions, keep these insights in mind:

  • They have no right or wrong answers
  • They promote inquiry to help learn the Big Idea.
  • They encourage critical thinking, curiosity & real life problem solving.

Basically~ What do you see? What do you think about what you see? What do you wonder about when you see it? How & where can you find out more?

 Need more info and tips on how to provide your child with  inquiry-based explorations? George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia is a great site to visit. Just click on the link below:



Your First grader’s wonder is nutrition for his/her brain. encourage, promote & nurture those curious questions with exploratory & discovery investigations.

  Questions? Concerns? Shares?

Just fill in the Contact Me form below. You will NOT be subscribing. 

Otherwise, fill in the BLB Exclusive form as a FREE subscriber!