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Author Archives: Charla
National Punctuation Day, September 24
Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
National Punctuation Day was founded by Jeff Rubin back in 2004. It brings awareness to this important but sometimes overlooked skill. Knowing how to use correct punctuation is a skill that students need and will use their entire life, but sometimes teaching about it can be a little boring to students. Here are some ideas to help make teaching about punctuation fun:
A Listing of the Most Used Punctuation Marks:
- 13 Punctuation Marks and information about each one
- The Punctuation Relay
- Wynken, Blyken, and Nod Poetry Punctuation Game
- Pin the Punctuation Mark on the Sentence
- Punctuation Rap – view the words
- Punctuation Rap – listen to the rap
- How to Celebrate National Punctuation Day (funny)
- Photos for National Punctuation Day (real signs and posters – examples of bad punctuation)
- Punctuation Playtime Video
Have you Heard About the Frontier Texas Museum?
Frontier Texas in Abilene is a great educational experience. In fact, it has even made the New York Times and they describe it as “kind of like a little Disney World only with cowboys and Indians.” When our family visited there, I thought it would probably be the average historical type of museum but I was mistaken. It’s an impressive museum where one can experience state-of-the-art technology. I won’t tell you too much so you can discover it for yourself if you’re ever fortunate enough to visit there.
Abilene is located in west Texas and has a lot to offer. Not only is it home to Frontier Texas but Abilene is also the Children’s Storybook Capital of America. It was designated by the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas and was later designated in 2019 as the Children’s Storybook Capital of America. This charming west Texas town is off I-20 and is definitely worth visiting!
Techniques for Teaching English as a Second Language
These are some good techniques for teaching ESL children:
- Face the children when you are speaking.
- Speak clearly at an average to slow rate. Do not exaggerate your words. Speak normally.
- Avoid using idioms or confusing phrases.
- Explain things in more than one way.
- Repeat key words, phrases, and ideas.
- Use comparisons, similes, analogies, and opposites when appropriate.
- Brainstorm using a white board or chalk board or if you’re at home then a piece of computer paper works great.
- Build upon the children’s experiences.
- Use visuals and props as often as possible.
- Use culturally appropriate materials.
- Demonstrate whenever you can (act it out).
- Provide a print-rich environment. Label objects with the name of the object written on an index card.
- Ask children questions often to determine understanding.
- Have the children role play.
Khan Academy Nonprofit – Free Online Educational Videos
Here is an awesome resource for teachers and students! Khan Academy, a nonprofit global classroom for anyone in the world who has access to a computer, has a library of thousands of videos online that are free. This provides quality instruction to people all over the world, no matter where they are located. They also offer Teacher Resources as well. Here is an example of some of the topics they cover:
ALGEBRA (many lessons in each of these subtopics):
- Algebra Intro
- Linear Equations
- Rations & Proportions
- Absolute Value
- Exponents and Radicals
- Conic Sections
- Complex Numbers
It’s easy to see by this listing that there are many lessons from which to choose. Here is a partial list of more topics without subtopics listed:
- American Civics
- Arithmetic & Pre-Algebra
- Art History (for many different eras)
- Banking & Money
- Brain Teasers
- Differential Equations
- Healthcare & Medicine
- Computer Science
Khan Academy is a global classroom of students who learn at their own rate and choose what they want to study. Here are reviews and stories of the academy so you can read first hand from teachers and students all over the world.
Teaching Patterns to Young Children
A very simple, inexpensive way to start out teaching young children patterns would be to have three different colors of caps from gallon containers of milk or water. Have several of each color. If you don’t have the caps, then cut squares out of colored cardboard or paper. Start with a very simple pattern and then make it progressively harder. Start out demonstrating the whole pattern at first, showing how to duplicate the pattern to make sure the child understands the concept of “pattern.” Then see if the child can duplicate it. For example:
- Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, green, red, green, red, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, blue, blue, red, blue, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, red, blue, red, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, blue, green, red, blue, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, green, green, blue, red, green, green, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
As the child masters each level, have more complicated patterns.
Then add in two dimensions of color and shape:
- red circle, blue square, red circle, blue square
- red circle, green square, blue triangle, red circle, green square, blue triangle
As the child progresses, make patterns out of stickers (excellent way to make patterns) and other things besides color and shapes. Or you can use game pieces if you have multiple pieces that are the same. You could even use cans of green beans, corn, and tomatoes. Be creative with things around your house.
Joy that is Real
Have you ever noticed that the joy found in this world doesn’t last indefinitely? It can be here today and gone tomorrow. I have definitely experienced this and have found over and over that the only true joy that is never fleeting is the joy found in Jesus. It’s so amazing to me that God gave us the most precious gift of all time by sending his one and only Son to earth in the form of a precious baby, born of a virgin. Truly a miraculous birth! And through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, there is hope for now but not just for now…for all eternity. That is so comforting to me. He died for my sins and took my place. What great love and sacrifice, actually the most wonderful love story ever! His love is never ending and He will never leave me or forsake me. That fills me with great joy when I truly comprehend the meaning of that.
Just think, Jesus knows what it’s like to be both the Son of God and human like us. He is holy and pure and He never sinned while he was on this earth, but he understands what it’s like to be a man. Satan tempted him but Jesus never gave in and always responded back to Satan with scripture from God’s Word, the Bible. So when Satan tempts me with fear, worry, or despair, I try to respond back with scripture too. I wish I did it all the time but I don’t. But I am getting better at it.
Jesus understands these hard days of the pandemic. He experienced a lot during his 33 years on earth. He’s the source of true joy yesterday, today, and forever! He always has been the source since his birth, and actually has been for those hearing prophecy about his coming and looking forward to it with the greatest of hopes. He definitely is my true joy today without a doubt, and He always will be.
My kids gave me a plaque that I have on my fireplace mantle. It says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.” A plaque could also say don’t worry about losing true joy because it will be there tomorrow.
Book Review: “Carly’s Voice” & Autism Tips
Carly’s Voice: Breaking Though Autism
by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann
I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with children or adults with non-verbal autism and to anyone who would like to have a better understanding. My friend, who has a granddaughter with this type of autism, recommended this book to me. I’m so glad she did! It gives insights into non-verbal autism in a way that a therapist or doctor cannot do, through the “voice” of Carly. The book begins with Carly’s early years, her struggles with her severe autism, and the struggles of her family. But with undying persistence for many years, Carly was finally able to communicate through typing her responses at age ten.
If you read the book, be sure to read “A Conversation with Carly: The Truths and Myths About Autism” at the very end of the book. But don’t read it until you’ve read the whole story so that you have insight into Carly’s personality and character. Through reading the book, the reader gets a better understanding of just how hard it is to overcome the difficulties that accompany autism and also gets a glimpse into the day-to-day life, year-after-year.
Here are some tips that Carly gives, along with my opinions, that are useful to me in the classroom:
- Medications can cause mood changes for no reason. This could result in crying or feeling angry.
- Carly was around nine years old when she was able to “audio filter” all the sounds around her. She took in many sounds at once, some sounds that most people couldn’t hear, some sounds being louder than others. (headphones are helpful for some to do audio filtering in the classroom )
- Make sure kids with autism are around words all the time so they can develop their ability to spell. (label everything you can in the classroom) Work on simple words at first. They just need someone to give them a push and encourage them.
- Even when it may appear they are not paying attention, they usually are. They are looking at things all the time, and they are probably looking out of the corner of their eyes.
- In the very early years, use pictures to help communication.
- It takes a lot of concentration to be able to type words.
- Carly said, “Flapping and humming and rocking does not calm me down(.) it helps me cope with stuff around me.” All the sensory input can be overwhelming to those with autism – sensory overload.
- Some, like Carly, have a photographic memory that allows them to memorize a page of a book in seconds.
- Here’s insight to what it feels like for some like Carly: “…you don’t know what it’s like to be me. You don’t (know) what it feels like when you can’t sit still because your legs feel like they are on fire or it feels like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms. How can you help me when you don’t know?”
- Carly said once, “I act up because I feel so trapped inside myself.”
- “When I look at someone I take over a thousand images of that person’s face in less than a minute. The more I look…the more pictures I take…my brain…gets full. I am no longer able to process…and I am forced to turn away.” (Carly’s experience)
- Many with non-verbal autism have an inner voice but don’t know how to express themselves. Don’t give up on them!
- You can visit Carly on Facebook @ Carly Fleischmann.
Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands
It’s hard to teach kids how to wash their hands correctly. Some want to skip the soap. Some want to just wet their hands and then they’re finished. Having taught school before, I know that some even turn the water on just to make you think they washed their hands, when in fact, they didn’t even get their hands wet!
One thing that really helped to motivate my students to wash correctly were these cute videos. Some would even sing one of the songs while washing their hands.
“Wash My Hands Song” | Teach Children Hand Washing, Toddler Learning Video, Baby Song, Nursery Rhyme
Germ Smart – Wash Your Hands Our students loved this video!
Hand Washing with Soapy the Germinator
Children’s pack Animation – Wash Your Hands (with sign language)
Hand Washing for Kids – Get Rid of Germs Learn How to Wash Your Hands
Germ Smart Kids – How To Wash Your Hands
If your kids are like the ones in my class, they will pick out one or two of the songs that they really like and that will stick with them. Demonstrate to your kids how to wash hands properly while singing part of a song.
Here’s how to wash hands thoroughly. Wet hands and apply soap. Hands need to be washed for at least 15-20 seconds. Rub hands together to clean the top of the hands and in between fingers. Rub palms together to clean the other side and in between fingers again. Rub finger tips on palms of hand, alternating hands. Then cup your fingers around your thumb to clean, then alternate to the other hand. Rinse well and dry on a towel.
This is such an important skill for our children to learn. Try to make it fun. Watch the videos, sing songs while washing hands, and maybe have an incentive chart. The chart doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can use a calendar that you already have or you can print a free one online. You can also draw your own. The main thing is to have a square for each day. If they do a good job of washing their hands that day then they can get a sticker to put on their chart. Or you can draw a smiley face or something they can relate to on the daily square. Decide on a reward for a certain number of stickers/happy faces.
Make sure the reward is something they like and remember:
- Make it fun.
- Keep it positive.
Set a good example by washing your hands properly. Use your imagination and you might come up with some other fun activities and incentives to add to these. The old saying is true, practice makes perfect. It may take a lot of practice with some but it’s worth the patience it may take. Stay healthy, everyone!!
Can’t Tolerate Acid in Coffee?
Can’t tolerate the acid in coffee anymore? That’s my predicament! I still love the smell of coffee, though. I was thrilled when I was introduced to this tea that tastes like coffee. It really does! So grab your favorite mug (pictured are two of my favorite mugs, one from Ruidoso and one from my grandchildren) and give it a try, even if you still drink coffee sometimes. Hope you like it as much as I do!
Coconut Flour Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
I’ve been cooking so much since this Pandemic started. Does that sound familiar? I’ve heard that from other people too. I haven’t baked this much in ages either. I decided though, after the first month, that I needed to focus on healthy treats and sweets.
The internet is a great source of recipes. And after having over-ripe bananas several times, I decided to bake banana bread. I’ve heard from other people that they’ve been baking a lot of banana bread too. I wanted something gluten-free, though, because gluten can cause an inflammatory response. I know it does with me if I eat very much.
In my search for a good gluten free recipe, I came across one using coconut flour. I tried it and thought it was delicious. However, when I counted up the fat grams in the loaf, I thought WOW! That’s a lot of fat no matter how healthy the fat. So I tweaked the recipe and substituted 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce for 1/2 cup of the fat. It worked fine!
I kept tweaking the recipe. I wanted to increase the protein in it so it would be a complete breakfast in one large slice of banana bread. It already had three eggs but I upped it to four large eggs which made 24 grams of protein. I also added a scoop of organic whey protein powder, which added 20 grams of protein, plus a tablespoon of almond milk to add more moisture. The almond butter added protein as well.
So here’s my recipe. It’s gluten-free, high protein, lower fat, no added sugar if you don’t count the chocolate chips (ha ha), and has a good amount of fiber which makes it filling. You mix it up in one pan which is awesome for easy clean up. You don’t need a mixer. This is SO easy!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I line my loaf pan with parchment paper or you can grease the pan if you prefer. Put the bananas in a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the wet ingredients and mix together. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps. Add the dry ingredients and mix well but do not overmix. Then last, add the chocolate chips, saving some to put on top after you put the batter in the pan and smooth it out. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!
- 1 cup minimum of mashed ripe bananas (or two small-medium bananas)
- 4 large eggs (I use organic, pasture raised)
- 1/3 cup almond butter (original recipe called for 1/2)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I keep the single serving, lunchbox sizes on hand. One of those is 1/2 cup applesauce. Perfect! Again, I use organic.)
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (I use organic. You can use butter if you don’t have coconut oil. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of this oil and no applesauce.)
- 1 tablespoon Almond Milk (Leave this out if you don’t add whey protein powder to this recipe. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla (Make sure you buy 100% vanilla. It’s so worth it! I don’t wash the measuring spoon until later that day because I keep smelling the vanilla scent left on the spoon. So relaxing!)
- 1/2 Coconut Flour (I use organic)
- 1 scoop of Whey Protein Powder (Optional. I use organic – mine has a very light vanilla flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Store in an airtight container. It will last four days on the counter (unless eaten sooner than that).
Enjoy! ~ Charla
Finding Peace in Troubled Times
I cried this morning during my prayer time. I cried yesterday morning, too. This morning, the enormity of all the people suffering in the world right now was overwhelming to me. Yesterday, I read an article about a dad opening an empty refrigerator trying to find food for his hungry 11 year old. It made me think what if that was either of my grandsons who are around that age. There are way too many hungry people right now because of job loss. And there are other stories out there that bring tears to my eyes as well. It’s just. too. much.
I don’t have answers. I don’t know why. But I do know we live in a broken world. I know there are things in the heavenly realms we know nothing about. (If you’re not familiar with the Bible, there’s a book called Ephesians that has six chapters. The sixth chapter talks about the spiritual world.)
So, what do I do in all this mess? These are things that have helped me a lot:
- Take one day at a time! (the Bible talks about doing that)
- Count my blessings! Don’t take anything for granted! (the Bible talks about this)
- Look for ways every week that I can help others! (the Bible talks about this)
- Trust God and give him all my worries, problems, fears, concerns! (God tells me in the Bible over and over again to trust Him and not to fear. He’s never let me down!)
- Trust that God is in the midst of all that’s going on, working and helping in ways that I don’t know about.
I do better some days than others, but overall, I’m doing so much better than the first few weeks of the pandemic. Faith over fear is what I tell myself.
I found a song on YouTube recently that I love. It’s one of the things that helps calm my soul if I’m feeling anxiety start to creep up. The name of the song is simple. Here’s the link for “Peace.” I feel peaceful every time after I listen to it.
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