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:
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:
Anchor Chart Diagram
Pre -Test Forms with Answer Cards
Game Sort Mats with Storage Pocket & Game Pieces*
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).
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.
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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A writer uses Figurative Language to include a word or phrase that doesn’t have an everyday, or literal meaning.
S/he uses one or more types of Figurative Language to emphasize:
and/or size of a situation and/or character
outside of its usual, normal place.
Humor and drama can be part of the writer’s purpose and expression.
Usually, Figurative Language tries to explain something that is not real or factual by helping the reader form a visual image.
Writers of novels, short stories, poetry, songs, plays, speeches, news, and, even, informational, nonfiction texts will entertain and engage their readers with one or more of the different types of Figurative Language.
What Are The Different Forms, or Types of Figurative Language ?
Although there are between 10 and 15 types of Figurative Language, your 8 ~ 11 year-old child will be learning seven of them.
As a Third Grader, s/he will be taught to recognize the difference between literal and non-literal language when reading, writing, and speaking.
Of the seven different forms of Figurative Language, usually Similes and Metaphors are introduced as the first of these types to explore. Your child may already be familiar with these 2forms of Figurative Language. S/he can identify them through the content s/he reads and hears in the classroom.
S/he will probably be familiar with the other types through interactive family, friends, and environmental communication. They are: Idioms, Hyperboles, Personification, Alliteration, and Onomatopoeia.
Now, you may be wondering why would a writer want to use Figurative Language.
Are There Advantages to Using Figurative Language ?
Yes ! There are more than a few Benefits for encouraging your budding writer (and speaker) to include Figurative Language in his/her expressions.
Your child hears Figurative Language expressed in music, radio announcements, speeches, commercials, movies, and TV shows. It’s important for him/her to understand what is being said.
Your child engages their creativity and imagination when including Figurative Language during oral and written expression.
As your child transitions from concrete to abstract thinking, Figurative Language can make those complex ideas, concepts, and feelings easier to visualize and, then, understand.
If your child is learning the literal words & phrases of English as another language, practice with Figurative Language will improve his/her literacy & communication skills.
Your child’s understanding of Figurative Language will increase her/his overall comprehension of the content being read.
Not only does reading text with Figurative Language engage a reader, it, also, helps your child visualize, interpret and analyze the setting, character traits, plot, and author’s purpose of the story.
Using Figurative Language when writing presents your child with many opportunities for expressing his/her thoughts in vivid, colorful, unique, and interesting ways.
Your child’s ability to use Figurative Language is a way to effectively change a simple thought into a beautiful, complex image.
So, How Do I Support My Child’s Learning?
Here are a few suggestions for supporting your child’s usage of Figurative Language:
Make sure s/he can define the meanings of each type of Figurative Language.
Use a variety of different forms of Figurative Language when communicating and identify them individually.
Point out examples when reading, watching media, listening to music, information & advertisements as well as writing.
Ask questions about your child’s writing, such as “compared to what, as in, sounds like, looks like, feels like, smells like, etc.
See if your child can differentiate the different kinds of Figurative Language and tell you when it is NOT being used.
Try some interactive activities, too.
How About Some FUN Learning Activities ?
Games and other interactive, hands-on activities with cross-curricular inclusions are effective ways to engage your child’s learning of figurative Language.
See if you and yours enjoy identifying some of the types when doing any of these:
Present a collection of picture books & magazines. Take turns locating and identifying which forms of Figurative Language are being used and what they mean.
During your next walk in Nature or anywhere, have your child describe the surroundings using the five senses with Figurative Language phrasing.
Select different objects around the house and ask your child you use a specific form of Figurative Language when describing them.
Look a a piece of art the next time you visit a museum and both of you use Figurative Language to describe the piece and how it makes you feel.
Create a Figurative Language Image Gallery and play a Match game with the drawings to the form of figurative Language.
Write skits that include Figurative Language and act them out.
Teaching your growing Learners this valuable Literacy element can be a very engaging and valuable asset for encouraging creativity and understanding our Language. I hope you will find some, if not all, of these Units useful.
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If you become a bird and fly away from me, I will be a tree that you come home to. ~ from The Runaway Bunnyby Margaret Wise Brown
I’m sure you’re noticing A LOT of changes in your 8~11 year-old child….oops..I mean, young girl/boy…
In my experience with this age group, I discovered these children to be immersed in what I call “The Golden Age of Learning”.
Their Literacy independence is inspiring them to explore a plethora of adventures in an imaginative and creative way. They are able to locate the answers to SO MANY of the questions they continually ask every day. And are SO VERY delighted to be able to do so!
Their Problem Solving skills as well as Task Completion rate are increasing with accuracy….most of the time.
If you haven’t done so already, dear Reader, NOW is the time to UP YOUR GAME for your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy!!!
Your Upper Elementary Child’s Literacy
I’m sure you’re SO over hearing “I’m NOT a CHILD anymore!” (note the correction in the Intro….), especially when supervision is a must.
Family Time is becoming…..rare, unless, of course, a few of “my friends” can be included…. Just how many extracurricular activities can one person participate in !?!?
I will tell you, though, those clubs, classes and sports will be a GOOD thing in the coming years….Seriously~keep the meter running.
Oh, and Hobbies & Collections are DEFINITELY a MUST for elevating your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy. Here are a few categories:
Visual Arts, like painting, sculpting, drawing
Crafts (several), like scrap-booking, sewing, cooking, etc.
Performing Arts, like acting, singing, dancing, etc.
Musical Instruments, like piano, guitar, trumpet, etc.
Sports: Team & Solo, like soccer, baseball, tennis, track, skating, martial arts, etc.
Camping Excursions, like scouting, nature hikes, etc.
Gardening, like veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers, landscaping, etc.
Building Sets, like Legos, Lincoln logs, etc.
Model Kits, like ships, airplanes, cars, rockets, etc.
Board Games, especially ones that involve mystery & strategy.
Need more ideas ? BLB’s Library has a few Resources for you. Just click on these links:
Not only is your 8~11 year-old digging deep into how things work, they are, also, developing quite a passion for the world beyond their family and surrounding community.
WOW! It’s A Great Big World Out There!
Your child’s interest in reading about exciting adventure, fantasies, and science fiction’s future feeds his/her daydreams. Seeking other places, cultures, and, yes, even worlds influences daily thoughts and ideas.
Having the tools of independent research allows her/him to travel into the far-reaching realms of imagination and creativity.
Don’t be surprised if s/he wants to learn a few more languages along the way….
Language’s listening and talking are taking on a whole new perspective within your 8~11 year-old’s communication skills.
Well, You Won’t Believe What Happened Next….
You may have to “listen in” to conversations between your youngster and her/his friends to hear the substantial amount of new vocabulary being included in the day-to-day dialogues.
And they’re not just everyday words either….
S/he is learning how to say exactly what s/he wants/means to say. Communication, especially between peers, is becoming more and more important.
The phone, if you are permitting one, is a new “appendage”…
You’ll, also, notice a keener sense of humor is emerging. There is, also, an appreciation for solving riddles and a more sophisticated involvement in word play. S/he is very entertained/ing with his/her clever, sly Language skills.
BLB’s Library has a Resource for encouraging your child’s “funny bones”:
So, “Where is all this ‘sophistication’ coming from?” you wonder….
Common Core’s Ongoing Language Expectations
Beginning in Third Grade and continuing throughout each grade level, s/he is expected to “demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking”.
Here’s a general list of the sentence structures s/he is expected to understand, form and utilize with accuracy:
Explain what a noun, verb, adjective and adverb is and how they are used in a sentence
Form sentences with accurate subject-verb agreement
Can form & speak simple, compound & complex sentences
Specifically, there are expectations for forming & using the different parts of speech as well:
regular & irregular plural nouns
regular & irregular verbs
simple verb tenses
comparative & superlative adjectives and adverbs
Many of these expectations are modeled and taught during reading instruction. Remember~ your child’s independent level of Reading is not only contributing to the amount s/he chooses to read, but, also, the escalating amount of fiction and nonfiction texts s/he is experiencing in the classroom.
I Am Reading to Learn
Today a Reader, tomorrow a Leader.~Margaret Fuller
Even though your upper elementary child’s literacy level may enable her/him to read independently, you can continue to ensure her/his comprehension of the text by listening to him/her read aloud and using the following strategies:
Ensure the content is not only appropriate for his/her maturity level, but, also, her/his actual reading level.
Encourage a Pre-Read for background knowledge, vocabulary understanding & interest level.
Confirm the content of fictional reads has a predictable Beginning, Middle & Ending structure with one Main Problem/Conflict.
Make sure the content of nonfictional reads has a predictable & supported Main topic.
Periodically, ask questions about the read and/or have her/him retell what was just read.
If you want to wait until after s/he has finished reading the chapter or slim book, here are some comprehensions questions to ask:
What happened in the Beginning of the story? (listen for Important Details)
Middle? Ending? (again, listen for Important Details to be included during the Retell)
Did the story remind you of anything or anyone? (his/her response should be a “Yes, it made me think about….”)
What is the Setting of the story? (characters, place & time)
What was the Main Problem, or Conflict in the story & how did it get Solved? (several solution attempts may be made before the actual success of one)
Using these comprehension strategies verbally or in a Reading Response Journal will continue to strengthen your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy.
Is your child a “Good” Reader?
“Good” Reader Strategies
Yes, reading for pleasure is VERY important. However, Your Independent Reader needs to read for accuracy so s/he is learning as s/he reads.
Look at the Book Cover & Title
Do a Picture Walk & scan some of the Text
Ask Who did What, When, Where, Why & How.
Ask if the text is making sense & supporting the Main Idea.
Wonder about what you think will happen in the story.
Make some predictions and, then, read to find out how accurate your predictions were.
Think about how some of the Important Details are meaningful to the story.
Use those Details to help you define the Author’s Purpose for telling the story.
Relate the story to your thoughts, feelings and what you know.
Compare/Contrast the story to other stories you’ve read or heard as well as the world around you.
Organize/Sequence the Main Details of the story.
Draw Conclusions about those Important Details.
Once you have finished reading the story, decide what you learned from the text.
Then, decide if what you read was important to you & if you enjoyed reading it.
And, what is your Independent Reader reading?
Your Child’s Reading Interest Levels
You can continue elevating your upper elementary child’s Literacy by making sure s/he has access to a wide ~ and I mean WIDE~ variety of fiction and nonfiction books, magazines, newspapers & how-to project books.
Books about historic, modern, and futuristic adventures with humor, excitement, mystery and the “unexpected” are definitely reads to pique his/her interests.
Here’s a great link with Book Ideas for your Independent, Upper Elementary Reader:
Planning the Family Literacy Circle During Your Pregnancy
Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.~ from Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
WOOHOO!!!! You’re a parent! A mommy! And in less than 9 months your outer body mommy-hands, arms, legs & feet (not to mention your chest) will be filled with a small, soft, beautiful life. That sleeps, eats, yawns, coos, and, well, you know what else the precious little darlin’ does…..
But for now, your little seedling of life is safely tucked away….for the next 36 weeks, giving you time to plan.
When you have some awake-time during these first few months (I, like other moms, was constantly in need of a nap), you’ll probably dream about:
Who your baby will favor in looks? Eye/hair color? Your dimples? Daddy’s cleft chin? Grandma’s curly hair? Grandpa’s long, slender body? Your sister’s smile? Your brother’s freckles? Your cousin’s big feet & hands? Your Great-Aunt’s nose?
What will your baby’s personality be like? Your mom’s love of gardening? Your dad’s love of fishing? Your aunt’s love of books? Your uncle’s love of travel? Daddy’s love of humor? Your love of long walks on the beach?
It’s, also, okay to worry about, well, what pregnant parents worry about. Don’t scare yourself. Take care of the 2 of you with good nutrition, fresh air and lots of laughter, rest & pampering.
You are planning the Family Literacy Circle during your pregnancy.
Begin the Family Literacy Circle with “Dear Baby of Mine……”
Starting a journal during this time will make a wonderful memory gift for you to give your child later in life. Reading some of these entries will answer questions your child will have about when s/he was “growing in your tummy.” Here are some thoughts you may want to include in this keepsake:
names you are considering for your baby and why
a list of your favorite songs, stories, rhymes, books
activities you want to share with your baby
places you want to take your baby
things you are doing to prepare for your baby’s arrival
special traditions your family celebrates, especially birthdays
important lessons you want to teach your baby
little bios of all the people your baby will meet
Your feelings and reflections, especially when spoken out loud to share with your baby, will begin the literacy circle of bonding. Connecting with your little swimmer this way helps you to prepare for your growing family through language-the first MAJOR step in forming the Literacy Family Circle.
BLB Shop may have just the journal you are looking for ~
The Waiting Womb Journal : 36 Gestation Meditations
Dr. John Medina, a brain scientist, stated in his book, Brain Rules For Baby , you should leave your little embryo/fetus alone during the first 4-5 months of your pregnancy. S/he can’t hear you until then, anyway. Of course, not to contradict the experts and/or cause harm to your unborn child, but most mothers (including myself) start chatting with Baby as soon as they find out they are pregnant.
I guess the “disclaimer” here would be…. your baby’s brain is not actually listening/understanding what you’re saying during the first half of your pregnancy.
Dr. Medina does go on to say scientific research has tested and evaluated several activities parents can do to help with their baby’s brain development during pregnancy.
Helping with the Growth & Development of Your Baby’s Brain
Here are Dr. Medina’s “Four Things Proven to Help Baby’s Brain”:
Eat LOTS of fruits & veggies
Make sure your prenatal vitamin has folic acid
Take iron which is necessary for your baby’s proper brain development & normal functioning
Eat foods with omega3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon, cod, haddock & sardines
Disclaimer- scientists don’t know why pregnant women have “random cravings” (I personally had to have ice cream every day after my DAILY intake of Mexican food. I was unable to eat my favorite food- peanut butter because it gave me heartburn, which I had never experienced until pregnancy)
Baby’s Birth Weight
Your baby’s brain size is related to the birth weight of up to 8 pounds (so, a 10-pound baby doesn’t mean a larger brain)
Snacking on the right foods will secure that desired weight (for me – it kept headaches away, which I experienced during pregnancy if I didn’t eat when I /we were hungry….and had never experienced until then. I put away a hefty sum of granola bars, especially during the last trimester).
Look into swimming, dance, stretch, and/or yoga classes especially formatted for pregnancy
Walk as much as you can everyday and breathe deep
Moderate exercise helps during labor
Don’t over do it because you can overheat your baby
Moderate exercise can, also, reduce stress
Some people, as part of their genetics, are more sensitive than others to stressful situations- if that is you- keep it to a minimum
Your stress hormone- cortisol- slips through the placenta & enters your baby’s brain
Avoid too much stress – especially during the 3rd trimester – because it can “profoundly influence your prenatal baby’s development”
I’ve dedicated a section in this blog to “Stress Tamers”
Your First Trimester with Your Baby
Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.~ by Dr. Seuss from The Cat in the Hat
In Kathy Kinsner’s May 16th, 2016 article, “Bonding With Your Baby Before Birth” for the website http://www.zerotothree.org , she tells us your baby’s brain starts to form just three weeks after conception. It continues to develop in many different ways throughout a lifetime.
During the beginnings of your baby’s brain development, it starts storing information – new skills and memories- to keep and use during her/his life.
Infogrades Infographic: “Guide to Pregnancy: Week to Week” lists some helpful data on what is happening to you and your baby during this first trimester:
Grows from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a lime
Develops brain cells at a rate of over 100 per minute
Begins to form major organs
Starts to wriggle inside your womb
Produces pregnancy hormones
Feels your body (and emotions) rapidly changing
Needs to nap because you’re more tired than usual
Needs to eat lots of fruits & veggies
Literacy Plan During Your First Trimester
Although most experts will tell you to leave your little embryo in peace for the first four to five months of your pregnancy, there are several Literacy Planning and Brain Development Support can activities you can do:
Visualize & start to prepare Baby’s room
Write a letter to your newest little family member
Start your daily 2 mile walk & find different, non-strenuous places to explore
Relax & drift into a light nap
Visit the children’s section in your local library & look for books you’ll want to share with your baby
Write down the titles & remember some of your childhood favorites
Call some of the surrounding elementary schools, learning centers and/or churches to see if they’re having a children’s book sale.
Check out this book list in BLB’s Resources to help you plan your Family Literacy Circle’s library:
Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.~Dr. Seuss
Exercise Benefits for Both of Your Brains
Unitypoint.org’s infographic “Get Moving, Baby!” is filled with specifics regarding the effects of exercising during the 3 trimesters of pregnancy. You should always check with your obstetrician before beginning a workout plan even it is listed as specific for “Pregnancy”.
Here are some Exercise Benefits:
helps with your sleep & daily rest
increases your energy levels
improves your mood
eases aches & pains, especially in your back
reduces your risk for pregnancy complications
prepares your body for childbirth
“Walk This Way”
I found this short article in the February 2017 issue of AARP magazine’s section Healthy You (yes, I’m of the age) titled “Walk This Way”. Author Sara Altshul suggests a variety of “motivational” strolls & their benefits:
The Family Time Walk
Talking, laughing, debating, planning, and/or holding hands together while stepping outdoors for a mile or 2 is very healthy for you and yours. It can calm your overactive brain as well as restore your attention span.
The Tree Hugger’s Walk
Nature walks through parks and on forest trails can be healing. Researchers found it improved lung & heart functions. You can always park yourself on a bench or under a tree for a shaded rest.
The Meditation Master’s Walk
You don’t need to be seated on a meditation mat to reap its goodness. Allowing your mind to rest in a quiet, peaceful way has the ability to ease high blood pressure, digestion woes, anxiety, depression & insomnia.
The Socializer’s Walk
Joining a “walk group” with friends and/or other waiting mommies is not only fun, but also, helps keep you and your baby on a healthy track. One study showed group walks can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
The Philosopher’s Walk
Deep thinking during your daily stroll is a great brain booster. It improves your memory and reasoning skills. “Brainstorming” opportunities and solutions to troublesome problems are additional perks to this type of meandering.
For me – a nice, long walk on the beach combines several of these “types” of walks. Must be why everyone always feel so GREAT after one of them!
Onward to Your Second Trimester with Your Baby
How are we doing? I LOVED this part of my pregnancy! Feeling your baby’s first “kick” is magical and powerful! Bonding with your baby with chats, songs & laughter is SO important for your baby’s brain development. By the end of this trimester, your baby has millions of brain cells!
Dr. Medina of Brain Rules and Infogrades Infographic: “Guide to Pregnancy: Week to Week” share some useful data on what is happening to you and your baby during the critical second trimester:
Grows from the size of an avocado to the size of a coconut
Has its own fingerprints
Develops ears & can hear by 20 weeks
Becomes sensitive to smells, temperature & bright light
Responds & prefers your voice
Wriggles, yawns, hiccups & burps
Feels more aches especially in back, ankles & feet
Your belly button might pop out
Has more energy than in the first trimester
Eats lots and lots (Thanksgiving dinner is a fun food fest!)
May crave certain foods
Literacy Plan During Your Second Trimester
Studies have found your voice has a calming effect on your baby because when you speak, his/her heart rate slows down. Daily chats, reads and songs boost your baby’s brain power.
Listening to language is a HUGE Literacy step inviting your baby into the verbal world. Your baby’s brain needs to hear the different tones, pitches, vibrations, accents & basic sounds commonly spoken every day.
Although your voice is the most familiar and soothing to your baby, make sure Daddy, siblings and other loved ones talk, read, and sing with Baby, too. Your baby will connect their voices as a bond of love, comfort, and security.
The Power of Oral Language in Literacy
How do we bring our new, little acrobatic gymnast into the Family Literacy Circle? Communicate with daily oral language.
Chats & Conversations
Baby’s Family: Daddy, brother, sister, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, other loved ones, and pets
Special Occasions: traditions, holidays, celebrations
Your favorites: places, activities, things, memories
Baby’s Name Choices (my baby actually kicked on a specific name when I read the list of choices)
Books, Stories & Songs
Read from your Pregnancy journal
Read some of your favorite childhood books
Read rhyming books you have just for your new baby
Read some of your favorite recipes
Have loved ones read to your baby
Create stories about your adventures
Create family-memory stories
Create stories with invented characters
Sing songs & lullabies
Talk and sing to your baby every day. Find time during the day or in the evening right before you go to sleep to read and/or tell a story to your baby. You will notice her/him physically reacting to your voice(s). S/he might even remember some of the rhyming and rhythmic verses and stories you’ve read while in utero. Babies have been known to remember music as well.
Beware of Stress Producers
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~ from Winnie the Pooh by AAMilne
The word stress was coined over 50 years ago by researcher Hans Selye. a Doctor of Medicine & Chemistry. He was studying the effects of “noxious agents” on people.
Dr. John Medina cites Three Different Types of Toxic Stress in his book, Brain Rules for Baby that will hurt your baby’s brain development:
Too Frequent happens every day and is continuing & unrelenting stress, such as -an overly demanding job, chronic illness, no social support, poverty
Too Severe is a loss of control during traumatic circumstances in one’s life, such as – marital separation, divorce, death of a loved one, especially a spouse. loss of a job, criminal assault
Too Much for You is an overwhelming feeling of despair & depression brought about by unexpected or overpowering events.
Staying in the “Happy-Go-Preggo” World
One of the easiest and most effective things you can do during a stress attack is massage that big, beautiful baby carrier of yours. It decreases excessive baby jumping (I thought my ribs were permanently stretched). Your baby will jump or kick during sudden loud noises. A gentle belly rub will help lessen prenatal complications and lower a premature birth rate.
Here are Seven Simple Stress Busters during pregnancy suggested on the website Sparkle People. Here’s the link:
the lack of sleep (crankiness) due to the discomforting expansion,
the sometime nagging worries (what if…),
the wait (Good Grief! Another MONTH!!!),
the anticipation (I’m SO ready),
the preparation (do we have enough…)…….
NOT trying to stress you out here…… Stress isn’t good for you AND it hurts your baby’s brain development.
20 Stress Tamers
So, here’s a little freebie I created for you to put on the fridge when even your favorite snack doesn’t help. If “OMG! How Am I Going to Get Through This!!!!!” is taking a hold of your usually happy-go-preggo day, read through this list of 20 Stress Tamers. Then, choose one , several or all suggestions to help calm yourself (and your little angel). You can do the list in a sequence, small grouping, or if you’re having a particularly “Enough Already!!!!” day, repeat the entire Tamers list until you’re once again – “happy-go-preggo”.
And remember, as we remind ourselves in the nation of TeacherLand- “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”.
Literally…The Home Stretch (or the Third & FINAL Trimester)
In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. ~ A. Einstein
YIPPEEEEEE! Now for the FUN months!!! Here’s what’s happening to you & your little swimmer, I mean, diver:
Grows from the size of an eggplant to the size of a pineapple
Can smell your perfume
Smiles during calm music & scowls at loud, raucous music
Practices breathing air
Begins its descent into the birth canal at 36 weeks
Can hear & feel Baby’s heartbeat
Can count Baby’s kicks
Can see & feel Baby’s movements
Needs more rest & Stress Tamers (especially foot & back massages)
Needs to practice birth-breathing
I know you’re tired, but walking those 2 miles EVERY DAY is SOOOOOO VERY GOOD and important for you & your baby now.
Literacy Plan During Your Third Trimester
Your baby is responding more and more to you and his/her loved ones’ voices. Continue speaking, reading, (especially rhyming verses) storytelling, singing & humming with your baby. You’ll be resting more these last few months, so make sure you have a stack of Baby’s books, joke books & magazines, as well as your journal, doodle/drawing paper, pens, pencils & colors near by. Although my rib-swinger and I were very found of classical music during this time; my visiting family & friends tried not to fall asleep mid-sentence. But, baby & I were calm, relaxed, and breathing deeply.
YOU GOT THIS!!!!!
Want to share your pregnancy stories? Have some helpful tips & info? I would love to hear them.
Fill out the Contact Me form if you have a question and/or concern, but don’t want to subscribe…..yet.
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This is Part 5 of the Family Literacy Circle’s Five ~ Part Kindergarten Series
Developing & engaging the Writing Skills of your 5-year-old is this post’s focus. This complex set, yes set, of skills has several components, beginning with the growth & development of your child’s fine motor skills. This can take some time, routine, exercise & patience. As a preparation-overview for helping your child with his/her writing skills, check out the sections: “Writing Activities & The Brain” as well as “Pre-Writing Readiness” in my post, Building Your Family Literacy Circle’s Reading & Writing with Your “I AM FOUR!” Just click on the link below:
THE FINALE~ACT FIVE : Encouraging Your Kindergartner’s Writing Skills
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. ~ Kahlil Gibran
Written expression offers an exciting opportunity for your child to see how the worlds of creativity are imagined & invented.
If drawing has been, and continues to be, part of her/his communication, letter formation & words will be easier to approach.
There are many different sensory activities that can encourage this key part of his/her Literacy growth & development.
By the end of Kindergarten, your child’s writing skills should include:
writing upper & lower case letters
writing her/his first & last names in a legible, readable way
using letters & sounds to spell common, frequently-used words in a legible, readable way
using letters & sounds to attempt spelling less common words in a legible, readable way
writing several sentences without a lot of help from an adult
writing responses to topics studied in school, or elsewhere
writing about a book s/he has read
writing about some of his/her life experiences
Did I just hear a large chorus of OMGs?!?
The expectations in Kindergarten are now what YOU were expected to know at the end of First grade…. Read on for the Common Core’s current list of objectives & expectations for Kindergarten…..
The USA’s Common Core Writing Expectations
From 2011 to 2012 many states & territories of the USA reviewed, adopted & began using the K-12 Common Core Standards for Language & Math in their schools. By 2018, 41 of the 50 states were using these Standard Expectations. Some states revised & re-worded the Common Core; some states continued to use their own set of Standards. For more specific information, click on the Common Core link below, or visit your state’s website:
There are lots of FUN activities to share with your child as Fine Motor developmental tools and/or to use as warm-up exercises for pre-writing.
It is important to remember that drawing and writing, though similar, are not the same. Painting, scribbling & drawing are important steps in the growth & development of writing. Scribbles, in particular, are the early attempts of writing words & thoughts.
A child’s eye sees letters as a combination of curved & straight lines as well as shapes. Drawing letters can be a start, but the end result should be automatic when writing letters. Drawing to form an image uses a different part of the brain than writing letters to form words.
BLB’s Resource Library includes a page on locating sites with activities & exercises for developing Fine Motor Skills in children, ages 4~6. There are, also, some sites offering free, downloadable, practice skill sheets for tracing, cutting & letter-writing. Here’s the link:
Your child’s beginning, “purposeful” writing may look like scribbling….It is, but it ISN’T to your child. Just ask. You’ll receive several sentences describing what the “writing” is saying. There may even be some random letters and, or symbols included, but they won’t represent accurate sounds to words.
In the next stage of writing ~ Letter Strings~ your child will chose legible, random letters and write them in the correct progression-left to right. S/he will read the writing back to you from top to bottom. However, the letters s/he has chosen do not correspond with the sounds in the words written.
The final stage before your child is actually connecting letters & sounds into words is when s/he copies the words s/he sees, known as Environmental Print. S/he usually doesn’t know what the words are and they don’t form a sentence.
These important stages, when encouraged and praised, will lead to your child’s ability to construct meaningful words into sentences.
Keep reading for some tips to encourage these important early stages of writing.
Call Those Scribbles ” Writing”
If your child enjoys drawing and attempts to “write” about her/his pictures, take that as a positive sign! Those “scribblings” are meaningful. You can encourage your child to make those “words” say something with an interactive conversation. When given a specific answer, write it down on the picture (with permission, of course).
You can, also, have your child help you write lists and notes. Be sure to take and send them once “written”. Write notes to each other.
Make sure to include fill-able writing forms in your child’s Pretend Play scenarios.
Use colorful sticky-notes to label things around the house. Point and use these words in your interactive writings about events, routines & descriptions.
Your child can tell you sentences to write and, then, have him/her make a drawing to go with the sentences. Make a collection book of these writings to read together. SO FUN!!!
If s/he enjoys tracing letters, numbers & shapes ~ YAY!!! If you see random letters (some from her/his name) included in his/her descriptions ~ WooHoo!! Time to set up a Writing Nook.
Setting Up A Writing Nook for Your Budding Writer
First of all, make sure your child’s writing space includes a hard surface like a lap-desk, clipboard and/or table. Organize some of these materials in containers on a shelf or stacked crates:
Once your young writer knows most of the alphabet with their letter sounds, s/he will using that knowledge to spell words during written composition. Try not to correct too much. Instead, help him/her learn how to use a sight & vocabulary word chart/cards, word family lists, and a simple picture dictionary as well as word-sound stretching.
Using these skills will help your child meet the high expectations that are currently part of your Kindergartner’s Writing Goals for the year: writing fiction & nonfiction stories (the narrative), writing a book review ( the opinion), and writing directions (the informative, or how-to)……
I heard that collective GASP!!!! Believe me, many educators were/are part of that concern…..but that is a whole ‘nother convo-post.
Back to the ” informative” part of this section….
So, YES ~ 3 main types of writing (several varieties are part of the “main types”) with several (usually about five) complete, related sentences on a topic, using minimal adult/teacher intervention are the Common Core Writing expectations by the completion of Kindergarten……
YES…5 Different Pieces of Writing….
The Narrative can be a personal, nonfiction story about an event in your child’s life. Think celebrations, holidays, vacations, younger/older siblings & relatives, friendships, growing experiences, etc. The other piece of story-telling your Kindergartner is expected to compose is a simple fictional piece, complete with a setting, characters, events as well as a problem to be solved.
The Informative can be a How-To, or Instructional sequence describing the way to make or do something. Think how to ride a bike, how to brush one’s teeth, how to make a breakfast cereal bowl, how to build a sheet-tent, etc. The other part of this expectation has to do with sharing learned, nonfictional facts about a subject. Think bears, apple trees, community helpers, parts of a flower, holidays, seasons, etc.
An Opinion is usually written about books being read as a class, by the teacher and/or independently by your emergent reader.
Graphic organizers can help with this process. I created a few as a PDF for you to use. Just click on the link below to download & print:
And as rigorous as this sounds, many 5 (soon to be 6)-year-olds are able to accomplish this. The growth from beginning Kindergarten (think Pre-K) to the end of Kindergarten (think Pre-First) is HUGE and amazing!!!
However, some writers are reluctant, especially at this level….well at any level, really…. As a PUBLISHED author~it’s called a Block….
This Is TOO HARD!!!!!
You can make anything by writing. ~ C.S. Lewis
Several factors can contribute to your child’s reluctance to putting the pencil-to-the-paper:
S/he is not confident with his/her knowledge of what the letters are, how the letters look, and/or how to form the letters on the paper.
S/he is struggling with grasping a writing tool and, then, using it to form the letters on paper.
S/he becomes frustrated when trying to choose what to write about.
Continue practicing the alphabet with fun, hands-on activities. You can find some ideas from a number of websites. BLB’s Resource Library has a page to help with that. Just click on the link below:
If Fine Motor skills are part of your child’s struggle with writing, click on the several links provided in the “Strengthening Those Fine Motor Skills” section of this post.
Remember to show your child the importance of writing throughout the day as you write notes, lists, calendar appointments, etc. Your interactive writing with your child is, also, very instrumental in the actual writing process of literacy.
HEY!!!! I CAN Write Words & Sentences!
Letting your reluctant writer set the pace for her/his learning is one of the keys to putting that pencil (or any writing tool)-to-the-paper. Instead of specific lessons, blend writing into everyday activities & especially during play, like labeling things, making signs, filling out Pretend Play lists & forms.
One of the easiest ways to start the writing process is to begin with a drawing your child has created. Label parts of the picture with post-its, describe what the picture is telling, give the picture a title, and, then, write some simple sentences together.
Another fun way to get the writing “juices” flowing is to use the rhyming activity the Word Families encourage. Use those words as a basis for a song to be performed on the Family Stage in Concert or as a verse to be shared during a Poetry Reading with other family poets.
Need a few Writing Tool Kits to include in your child’s Home Writing Nook?
BLB Shop can help! Just click on the links below to check them out:
Probably one of the most powerful ways to engage your “budding” author is through the Interactive Journal. This personal – written dialogue between you & your child can be quite a surprising way to learn as well as discover thoughts, feelings & knowledge. It is a very successful Literacy tool for writing (and parenting…..).
Need some other ideas, tips and/or suggestions? The post from Creekside Learning lists as for First through Third, but there are some FUN ideas you can use with your Kindergartner. Click on the link to read:
And NOW….The Final Post in FLC’s 5~Part First Grader’s Series….
Enriching the FLC with your First Grader’s Writing Skills has its challenges and rewards…..
Wish you (or someone) could record all those wonderful new ideas & vocabulary words your incredibly bright First Grader is sharing?
Writing them down would take more than a considerable amount of time…
However, encouraging the source of all that growth to write down all those ideas & words shouldn’t be too difficult…Should it ?!?!?
Part FIVE: The Hard-Won Skill of Writing
Teach children what to think and you limit their ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited. ~ Sandra Parks
What favorite story, or stories do you tirelessly read again & again?
Which author do you trust to transform dull, dry facts into fascinating information?
What cookbook(s) and/or manual(s) do you refer to constantly with easy-to-follow directions that always bring great results?
Do you have a favorite editor and/or critic whose opinion you value, even when you don’t share the same view(s) about certain topics ?
You are one of the reasons why writers write !
Not only do writers love to write (on most days), they, also, write to share ideas, important events & teach. They want to share & communicate their experiences, feelings & information. They love to ask questions & solve mysteries or problems.
As a writer, you tell your story as only you can. Whether reflecting, explaining, judging, exploring, learning, interpreting, problem solving, and/or taking a stand, your words are your words are your words…
As a parent & writer, encourage your young scribe to see & use the power of Written Expression for his/her self and/or to share with others. How ~ by modeling with everyday examples.
Soooo…Are You A Writer ?
Does your child see you write ?
Not only do you show your child how writing helps with daily life, it, also, helps to have a variety of the printed words scattered throughout the home: magazines, cookbooks, manuals, newspapers, cartoons, advertisement slicks, comics, posters, dictionaries, and. of course, many different kinds of books.
Is your child writing everyday ? I’m sure s/he is trying to read EVERYTHING in sight….oh yeah….
Yes, Your Child Needs to Write Everyday
Some time during the day , engage your child is some type of writing activity. It can be a Free Write about anything s/he is interested in exploring, feeling good or bad about, and/or asking for more information.
Practice, practice, practice ~ and remember to encourage your writer to slow down, otherwise….
Try to make it a “routine” event. You may want to collect these writings into a box and/or scrapbook :
Give him/her a personal calendar to record special dates, like holidays, celebrations, birthdays, vacations, play-dates, field trips, memories, etc.
Have her/him write Thank-You cards , notes & letters.
BLB Shop has a Writing Literacy Tool~Lists, Labels & Love Notes– to help engage your young writer. Just click on the link below:
Make sure s/he has a “Storybook” spiral for writing those creative tales with different, colorful writing tools.
Add another “Info & Data Collection” notebook with Topic Tabs for research finds & new information.
Here are some other suggestions from a First Grade Teacher @ primaryjunction.net:
Create a Family newspaper to record weekly activities, articles & upcoming events. You may want to include a comic strip, an advice column with some want ads & an advertisement or two.
Enlist your child to help write shopping & to-do lists.
Play word games like Wheel of Fortune & Hangman while waiting in an office.
Make sure to Publish, Display & Share completed stories, posters, reports, etc.
One of the BEST ways I discovered to engage children in writing is with an Interactive Journal. Prepare yourself for some “eye-openers !”
Your Child’s Favorite Writing Activity
Whether you and/or some other family member participates in this very effective writing activity, the results will prove to be insightful, entertaining &, at times, hilarious.
A simple lined or unlined journal provides numerous opportunities for you & your budding author to share feelings, information, reflections, memories, problems and interactive solutions to life’s daily moments.
Usually written before “lights out”, your child will not only tell you about his/her thoughts, but also, ask you some interesting questions. You, then, answer the question(s) while s/he sleeps, respond with some comments & ask some questions of your own ~ which may, or may not, be answered.
This form of writing is a powerful communication tool and will, definitely engage your young writer. Include drawings with a variety of text lettering & messaging for emphasis & amusement.
So, What Are the Writing Expectations for My First Grader ?
At the beginning of First Grade, your Summer-of-Growth Kindergartner can decide (without your prompting) when to read & when to write (even though they occur simultaneously)…
S/he is able to sound out the “big” sounds & write them down when trying to spell words while writing thoughts.
S/he is even trying to use capital letters & punctuation ~ amazing, huh?!?
At the end of First Grade, s/he is probably printing very legibly when expressing thoughts in stories, journals & notes.
S/he will frequently spell familiar words correctly AND begin sentences with capital letters as well as end those sentences with a punctuation mark (most of the time….when s/he remembers to do so…).
How did this happen, you may ask….
Your First grader is writing in the classroom ALL DAY LONG ~ in all subject areas ~ math, science, social studies, health. S/he writes during trips to the Media Center, Art, Music & occasionally in P.E.
Here’s a wonderful example of a classroom Writing Workshop, posted by Chandra, a primary teacher & parent, on her website teachingwithcrayonsandcurls:
AND, if your school district follows the Common Core, here are the Writing & Language expectations for your First Grader. Keep in mind, some of these objectives began in Kindergarten & will continue in the years to come.
The Common Core’s Writing Expectations
Language & Writing, as well as Reading, are heavily linked together within the Common Core’s Expectations & Objectives for First Graders.
“With the guidance & support from adults” s/he will be writing & editing opinion pieces, informative, or explanatory text and sequenced narratives, or stories.
Each form of writing has a specific process for your young writer to follow. S/he is expected to include reasons to support opinions, facts to support informational topics, and sequential details to support stories.
During the writing & editing process, s/he needs to “demonstrate command” of “standard English grammar”. Some of these include:
printing all upper & lowercase letters with accuracy
using common, proper & possessive nouns
using singular & plural nouns with verb agreement
using past, present & future verbs with accuracy
S/he, also, is expected to “demonstrate command” of “standard English capitalization, punctuation & spelling” (at grade level).
Here’s a Parent-friendly version of the Common Core’s ELA guidelines for First Grade. Just click on the link below:
You can help your First Grader’s growth & development with some of these specific Writing Literacy Skills at home.
How Do I Build Some of These Skills at Home ?
These are some of the Writing Skills you can help your child master at home:
You child should be able to read his/her own writing ~ need some handwriting practice sheets? AtoZ is a great website to explore for teacher tools. You can custom-make sheets to match your child’s handwriting needs while writing spelling words & sentences. Just click on the link below:
Hope these ideas help, especially with the FOUR FORMS OF WRITING!!!! Not talking about Lists, Labels, Letters & Love Notes…..
Those 4 Forms of Writing
Regardless of which Form your child is writing, each one should start with a Main Idea, or Topic sentence & end with a Conclusion sentence.
Each Form of writing should have a beginning, middle & an ending.
Informative writing should include 3-5 facts about the Topic. Narrative writing should include at least 3 interesting events within the story. Opinion writing should have 3 or more reasons to support the opinion. How-To writing needs an order of specific steps for someone to follow.
BLB Shop has an easy-to-use, step-by-step Primary Writing Toolkit to help you help your child with these specific Forms of writing. Just click on the link below:
Is your youngster still struggling with her/his Writing Skills? Read on….
YIKES! My Bright Child Hates to Write!!!!!
There are several reasons why your young creative child may be reluctant to write. Hand strength, or the lack of it, could be the cause. Tuning up those Fine Motor Skills can help. Try weaving baskets, forming pottery, working wood, playing a musical instrument, building models, and creating jewelry . BLB Library has a Resource listing several websites with LOTS of other ideas:
And once you feel your young author has sharpened her/his pencils, but needs to SEE images before writing about them, BLB Shop has a great Story Starter Tool for doing just that. Just click on the link below:
Can you tell I like to write ?!?!? I hope you have found some useful information regarding this extremely important Literacy Skill. Yes, it is complex and, sometimes, frustrating ~ even for those of us who love to write. But it a VERY necessary component of life!
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Upgrading The Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader
If your soon-to-be Second Grader’s vocabulary & reading skills have progressed over the summer, pat yourself on the back because those daily reading sessions have worked. Even s/he is surprised (YAY for the Family Literacy Circle !).
Now……How are those Writing Skills coming along ?
Unless your child LOVES to write…..prepare for a Super-Sized learning curve with Super-Sized expectations in your Second Grader’s Writing Workshop.
Got your Family Literacy Circle Writing Center ready?
Here are some suggestions for your young author’s Writing Space:
Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Writing Skills
Your Second Grade Writer
Sometime this summer, inventory the following Writing & Spelling Skills with your soon-to-be Second Grader:
Writes last name with accuracy
Writes messages using phrases & sentences
Writes simple stories with a beginning, middle & ending
Recognizes & uses print conventions when writing: end punctuation, grammar, nouns/verbs
Spells common grade-level words with accuracy
Locates known & unknown words in a picture dictionary
Recognizes & uses phonetic rules to spell unknown words
Understands & identifies the differences between a noun & a verb
Can write a simple, complete sentence
Understands compound words
Identifies some prefixes & suffixes
Identifies regular & some irregular plurals
Understands the meanings of synonyms & antonyms
Yeah! And there will be MORE to learn in the Writing Arena throughout the year….
Oh ! A quick word or two about Handwriting…..
The Labors of Legible Handwriting
Picking up a paper using those fine motors skills is easy compared to the complex set of muscles (brain included) needed to write thoughts, grasping a #2 pencil onto that piece of paper in a clear, readable way.
Those skills ~ still growing and developing~ can be “nurtured” in several ways. Seemingly, “mindless” practice is one of them, but they are part of your Second Grader’s Writing Skills.
Click on this link to access a Resource on Fine Motor Skills from BLB’s Library :
Engaging your child to draw pictures of the words s/he is reading can be a stepping stone into the Writing Process. S/he may decide the story should be written differently and will “edit” the text (YAY!) in a creative way.
Using Dialogue clouds in those character pictures is definitely writing. Think comic books and cartoon strips.
Here are some book title ideas in this little freebie~ Read, Write and Draw Books :
Engaging your child in the fun and creative process of story telling is a very productive way to inspire writing. However, your Second Grader’s Writing Skills will include learning and mastering many other writing elements this year
Second Grade Writing Expectations & Objectives
If your campus follows the Common Core, there are two major components of the Writing Process: Language, or Standard English Conventions, and the actual Writing Purposes.
Here’s a General Overview, listing the Second Grader’s Writing Skills Expectations for Language Usage & Composition:
I’ll get into a little (haha) more detail on these 2 HUGE topics, beginning with Standard English, or Grammar.
Good Grief, Grammar !!!
No one is perfect ~ that’s why pencils have erasers. ~ Wolfgang Riebe
Informal speech, also known as slang, colloquialisms, street talk, jargon, lingo and, even, dialect, can make learning “proper”, or Standard English confusing. Heard in peer groups, media and read in “literature”, expecting your child to use good grammar while speaking can be frustrating.
And in writing….oh my…..
Here are a few of my Freebie Helpers with a BLB’s Shop Product:
I, also, created a 100+ page Grammar Handbook that includes lots of activities for learning & practicing Good Grammar with a Sentence Builder component, using Adjectives & Adverbs. You can preview it in my TpT Shop. Here’s the product link:
And, although Vocabulary is listed as more of a Reading Skill, I’d like to chat a little (again, haha) about it’s significant role in writing ~ choosing the exact words to express exactly what you want to say.
Here’s What I Want to Say…..
Although reading plays a large role in Vocabulary Acquisition, knowing which words you want to use in your writing, how to find them, and how to spell them correctly definitely takes some practice. It is a skill good writers learn through lots of repetition and review.
Using a Picture Dictionary is more appropriate for Second graders than teaching the actual Dictionary skills. Even my Third Graders found learning how to use a dictionary challenging. Again, practice, practice, practice.
Click on the link below for ideas and games to help teach your Second Grader how to use a dictionary:
Yes, ALL of this in a Written Expression or Ten….yes, at least 10 by the end of Second Grade…..
The Storyteller Becomes The Author
Write the kind of story you would like to read. ~ Meg Cabot
Your youngster has been inventing & writing stories since Kindergarten. This year those stories will be following certain guidelines to meet Expectations. Her/his editing skills, as well as, paragraph construction play heavily into meeting those expectations.
Believe it or not, within the first few weeks of school, your Second Grader’s Writing Skills will help him/her produce more complex and interesting stories, opinions and reports.
Does s/he keep a journal or diary at home ?
S/he will probably be excited about an upcoming Research Project (aren’t you?). YAY! It’s Our Family Tree Project !!!
And, yes, there’s more….
The Second Grade Writing Experience
There are more than a few writing assignments s/he will be given during Second Grade. Here’s a list of Written Expressions (with some helpful Resource links ) your child will be composing this year:
The 5~Sentence Paragraph Formula ~ topic sentence, 3+ topic-supporting sentences, and a conclusion sentence, which re-states the beginning topic sentence