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THE PERFECT GIFT

 
December 1, 2016
 
THE PERFECT GIFT
 
By
 
Linda M. Penn
 
            Are you in search of that perfect gift for your child, your spouse, your friend?  And what if you can’t find it? 
 
            I saw a segment on TV last week about the latest toy craze – hatching eggs.  Apparently stores sell out as soon as they get a new shipment.
 
            I remember well searching for Cabbage Patch dolls for my two daughters one Christmas.  I found a lady who made them – problem solved!  At least temporarily!  After Christmas, stores had bunches of them.  I wonder what my now adult girls ever did with those dolls?
 
            We try so hard to make everything perfect for the holidays but in reality, there is no perfect giftEXCEPT GOD’S GIFT OF JESUS TO US.  Let’s all endeavor to keep that in mind as we rush about this Christmas season.
 
            Let’s try giving more of our TIME instead of giving in to the hustle and bustle activities.  Those relationships we build bring more lasting memories.  I’ve asked my daughters about their favorite memories of our family Christmases when they were little.  They recalled Aunt Freda’s annual Christmas morning breakfasts with Grandma, their aunts, uncles, and cousins, and not those Cabbage Patch dolls!
 
            Hoping you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!
 
            Come back the first week in January.  BLOG TITLE:  “WHAT DID YOU DO AT SCHOOL TODAY?”
 
COPYRIGHT 2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

Linda M. Pennwww.lindampenn.comAnyone witnessed a kid having a temper tantrum at the grocery lately? Anyone been to a Local Farmers’ Market or Arts and Crafts Festival lately?

REMEDY FOR SELF-ESREEM

November 1, 2016
 
REMEDY FOR LOW SELF-ESTEEM
 
By
 
Linda M. Penn
 
 
            “I can’t do that.”  “I’m no good at that.”  “I’ll never pass that test.”  Are these statements you have heard from your children?
 
            We adults have times when we feel insecure, but hopefully, we can deal positively with these anxieties.  So, how can we help the kids to grow and mature with positive thinking about themselves?
 
            I might rock your world when I say this, but here goes:  EVERY KID IS UNIQUE AND SPECIAL, BUT WE DON’T NEED TO TELL THEM THAT TEN TIMES A DAY!  AND, EVERY KID DOESN’T NEED A PARTICIPATION TROPHY.
 
            Give sincere compliments cautiously so the children feel proud of themselves.  Hearing “you’re awesome, you did a great job” when you and the children know they could have done better only leads to low self-esteem.  (Kids are no dummies.  They realize when they are getting undeserving praise.) 
 
            Praising a child’sEFFORTS, rather than RESULTS,builds self-esteem.  Let the kids know you love them unconditionally whether they “make the team or not.”
 
            In my search of “build self-esteem in children,” I found several websites with helpful ideas for parents and teachers.
 
            Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Come back the first week in December for the next Blog:  “THE PERFECT GIFT
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn
 

RESEARCH FOR KIDS!


 
RESEARCH FOR KIDS!  IT’S FUN, NOT A PAIN!
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            First of all – We can’t believe everything we read on the Internet!  Surprise, surprise!  As your children grow and mature in their research skills, please help them by reminding them of this fact.  Researching may require more intense research just to make sure your presumed “facts” are indeed supportable.
 
           
1)    The source for your information needs to be credible – up-to-date, in-depth information from trusted experts.
2)    If the website asks for any personal information, GO TO ANOTHER SITE!
3)    Narrow your search.  Example:  My search for George Washington showed TEN PAGESof WEBSITES, but my search for George Washington at Valley Forge only showed TEN WEBSITES.
 
Research skills are begun in the primary grades with exposure to lots of
non-fiction picture books.  These kinds of books are almost 100% sure to be an enjoyment to kids.
 
            Around the third grade is where the more advanced research skills are begun to be taught.  Some kiddos feel overwhelmed with:  taking notes, weeding out the junk websites, finding what’s the most important info, keywords, copyrights, citations, sharing the info by oral or written presentation, report, letters, etc.  NOT FUN?
 
            My advice is to allow the students to take time to develop research skills before expecting them to go to a computer on their own and develop an intense research project.  This will give the kids confidence in their search techniques and it becomes fun!  AWAY GOES THE FEAR OF RESEARCHING!
 
            For more help, search “research skills for children” and lots of websites are shown.
 
            COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER:  “REMEDY FOR LOW SELF-ESTEEM” 
 
BE SAFE!  BE CURIOUS!  BE COURTEOUS!
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn
 

CURIOSITY IN YOUR CHILDREN.



CURIOSITY IN YOUR CHILDREN – DOES IT NEED TO BE CHANNELLED?
BY
Linda M. Penn

    Toddlers are just naturally curious, but how much freedom should they be given?  Do we put a leash on them when we take them to a store, festival, etc.?  Do we let them explore and pull things off shelves and tables?  There must be a happy medium!

    The “freedom” parents are going about their business of shopping while their kids are picking up anything off shelves that looks interesting and then sitting in the floor trying to play with it.  Mom and kids having fun – store clerks, not so much!  The “leash” parents are hanging onto their kids’ hands while they try one-handedly to pick and choose items for their cart. 

    Anyone witnessed a kid having a temper tantrum at the grocery lately?  Anyone been to a Local Farmers’ Market or Arts and Crafts Festival lately?  Did it seem the undisciplined kids and dogs have taken over?  Help!  I just fell over a bassethound!  Oops!  That kiddo just threw a tomato on the floor!  Plop!  Oh dear!  That dog is on a long leash and it looks just like the one that bit me last year!  Ouch!

    Let’s have some order and safety for everyone:

If the intended destination is for adult shopping, maybe a nice someone could watch the kids for an hour or so!
Is the intended destination a place to go for a good reason or is it just to show off the kids and dog?
Plan ahead on safe and appropriate places to take the kids and/or dogs where they will have freedom to explore within set boundaries.  Ex. backyard, park, playground, pumpkin patch, museum with interactive exhibits for children.  Also, try a close up and personal encounter with a water puddle, tree, plant, pebble, shell, blades of grass, flower.  And if you can’t think of anything to say to your little one to make these “common” things seem interesting, think of the five senses.  How does it smell?  Feel?  Do you hear anything?  What would that tomato taste like?  Look at those bumps, do you think it is rotten?
Take the kids to the library to check out the endless supply of curious books.

BE SAFE!  BE CURIOUS!  BE COURTEOUS!

Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn
www.lindampenn.com      lindampenn@gmail.com


COURAGE AND FEAR IN THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR

August 1, 2016
 
COURAGE AND FEAR IN THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            Can you believe it?  It is already here!  Yes, the new school year is upon us!  Are you AND your kids feeling anxious and somewhat fearful?  Time to get that courage and confidence!
 
            Provide your kiddos with courage and confidence to take away the anxiety and fear of a new school year. 
 
1)    Arm them with the appropriate tools – supplies, clothes, shoes.
2)    Tour the school.
3)    Meet teachers, principals, counselors, office staff.
4)    If possible, purchase a T-shirt with the school logo.
5)    Discuss morning, after-school, and nighttime expectations with them.
6)    Begin the bedtime routine at least a week ahead of time.
7)    Discuss lunchtime options – buy or bring?  If bring, compromise on nutritional food choices.
8)    Address any concern of your children in a POSITIVE manner.
9)    Model a GOOD ATTITUDE.  Show your excitement but calmness about the upcoming year.
10) Reinforce to them how proud you are of them.
11) PRAY WITH THEM, PRAY FOR THEIR TEACHERS, BUS DRIVERS, AND ALL SCHOOL STAFF AND THEN TRUST IN THE LORD. 
 
Please see Bible verse Phillipians 4:6.  “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in all your prayers, ask God for what you need, always with a thankful heart.”
 
Have an enjoyable school year!
 
See you back here the first week of September.  Blog title:  “CURIOSITY IN YOUR CHILDREN – DOES IT NEED CHANNELLING?
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn

DISCOVERING CHILDREN'S HIDDEN TALENTS

July 1, 2016

DISCOVERING CHILDREN’S HIDDEN TALENTS
By
Linda M. Penn

    Are you a talent detective?  Use your investigative skills and intuition to become aware of your children’s special talents.  However, are our busy lifestyles hindering the discovery and nurturing of the kids’ creative talents?

    I sure hope you and your kiddos have been able to put aside the tech devices long enough this summer (see my suggestions in June, 2016 Blog “Teacher/Parent Relaxing Activities for Summer Break”) so you could:

Savor the times you sit and just enjoy being together.
Have conversations with the childrens, REAL CONVERSATIONS, NOT TEXTING. 
Leisurely draw, paint, make up stories, work puzzles, and other creative things with the kids.
Enjoy and study the shapes of the clouds, the nighttime skies.
Read for enjoyment – different genres of children’s books, magazines.

These  relaxation activities do not come naturally to us in today’s world, as we
seem to be enticed by all the “noise” of our phones and computers.  (Please check out Kenny Chesney’s latest video entitled “Noise,” particularly what happens at the end.)

So, if we are going to find and nurture our kids’ talents insuring they will develop into productive and creative citizens, we must make a determined effort to unleash the energy and excitement of creativity in our kids.  (Look at the articles in the June 26, 2016 Courier-Journal, pg. 4H, “Creativity: The cornerstone of education,” by Donna Hargens, and “Approaching talent gap to fuel competition,” by Kent Oyler.)

In conclusion, my two biggest suggestions for discovering our kids’ hidden talents are to TALK WITH THEM, NOT AT THEM, AND TO LISTEN TO THEM.  The talent detective in you will unlock those creative ideas for you and your children.  YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT HIDDEN TALENTS WILL BE EXPOSED THROUGH TALKING AND LISTENING TO OUR KIDS!!!!!  Your comments are always welcome!

Come back the first week of August – Blog Title “Courage vs. Fear in the New School Year.”

Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn
www.lindampenn.com
lindampenn@gmail.com

ACTIVITIES FOR SUMMER


 
TEACHER/PARENT RELAXING ACTIVITIES FOR SUMMER BREAK
BY
Linda M. Penn
 
            Congratulations!  You have successfully made it through another school year!
 
            Last summer and the year before, I concentrated in my Blogs on activities for kids.  NOT THIS YEAR!  IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU, TEACHERS AND PARENTS!
 
(If you are interested in summer activities for the kids, search my website for Blogs of June 1, 2015 “It’s Summer Finally,” July 1, 2015 “Freebies,” June 2, 2014 “Summer Activities – Reading and Writing,” and July 1, 2014 “The Value of Kids’ Magazines.)
 
            Here is a list of activities with the adult in mind:
 
1)    Get back in touch with your friends – coffee, brunch, lunch.  IN PERSON, NOT TEXT!)
2)    Summer Book Club with your friends.
3)    Plant something new.
4)    Try new recipes.
5)    Watch for adult activities at the local library.
6)    Visit independent bookstores in your area and take time to actually look for books for yourself.
7)    Movies with friends.
8)    Try a new hobby.
9)    Volunteer at a senior center (nice change of pace from the youngsters)
10)  Catch up on sleep.
11)  Walking, admiring God’s world.
 
MOST OF ALL -
12) AVOID DEPRESSING TV.  USE COMPUTER AND PHONE SPARINGLY.
 
For help with the kiddos, you might try offering to watch a neighbor or friend’s children so they will watch your kids in turn, beg your family for a little R & R, or call in a babysitter!
 
HAVE FUN! 
 
COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY – BLOG TITLE:  “HIDDEN TALENTS”
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn

TIME FILLERS


 
TIME FILLERS FOR SCHOOL DAYS BETWEEN END OF TESTING AND SUMMER BREAK
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            The time between end of accountability tests and summer break was a hard time for me as a teacher – the kids were worn out, as was I.  There tended to be a let-down time and it was difficult to keep up enthusiasm for learning.  Of course, there were lots of interruptions – Ex. school assemblies, award ceremonies, field trips, and Field Day.  If someone got on a child’s nerves during the school year, it was doubled now because of looking forward to getting away from that other child for a couple of months.  The limits were being stretched and student behavior sometimes took a downturn. 
 
            Here are some ideas for you teachers to use during those last days of school.  Please adapt the ideas to your students’ ages and abilities.
 
1)    Count chocolate chips in a Big Cookie slice.
2)    Math bees, Spelling bees, Sight words bees, foreign language bees, geography bees, etc.  (I hope these are not taboo in your school!)  My students always loved them.  I generally had the activities with groups of 2 or 3 students, rather than individuals being on the “hot seat.”
3)    Make smaller words from a large, multi-syllable words.
4)    Bingo games – not just regular bingo, but cards with any subject matter.
5)    Crossword puzzles – can do in groups of 2 or 3 students.
6)    Word searches – can do in groups of 2 or 3 students.
7)    Student begins a silly story and each participant adds a sentence.
8)    Students pass a ball and say rhyming words, capital cities, etc.
9)    Bring in ads and students guess the price.
10) Nature walks, listening walks.
11) Invite parents to share about their jobs or hobbies.
12) Invite local authors to give a reading and share about being an author.
13) Invite local dignitaries (mayor, fire chief, etc.) to share about their jobs.
 
I searched “Time Fillers for Teachers” on the Internet – helpful websites galore!
 
MOST OF ALL – HAVE FUN!!!!
 
Come back the first of June – “SUMMER BREAK RELAXATION ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn

TEST TAKERS - HELP FOR THE FRIGHTENED


 
TEST TAKERS – HELP FOR THE FRIGHTENED
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            The time is arriving – no, not just Spring Break!  It’s getting time for those pesky, time-consuming, end-of-the-year accountability tests.  Was it just three months ago that I wrote about teachers and students and the crunch time for learning being upon them?  (See my Blog dated December 28, 2015 “Crunch Time – The Heat is On!”)
 
            Teachers, you and the kiddos may have about another a month or so to put the finishing touches on test-prep activities.  Parents, you have to get ready too!  Start looking for those test-anxiety symptoms in your children:  excessive sweating, headaches, throwing up, diarrhea, irritability (well…moreso than normal!), and the most famous of all – the stomachache.  So what are you going to do to help your frightened test-takers at home?
 
-       Reinforce the teacher’s efforts to prepare the students.  If you talk negatively about the teacher and testing, the student’s attitude will be flawed.
-       Calmly inquire of your child about any test preparations at school and help the child with any review work that seems necessary.
-       Practice relaxation techniques – deep breaths, counting to 10, closing eyes and focusing on a calm scene, prayer.
-       Reminding your children how proud you are of them and how you know they will try their best on tests.
-       Imparting confidence to the kids – “You have studied and practiced, so you are ready for testing!”
-       Explain it is okay to feel anxious about upcoming tests.  “You have to be brave when that sinking negative feeling comes upon you.  Refocus to something positive.”
-       Avoid any confrontation with the kids on test days - if possible!  If you can hold off with the “it’s time to get that room of yours cleaned up,” or “pick up those dirty towels – NOW,” please do so. 
 
Somehow, teachers and parents, try to keep yourself POSITIVE, so the kids
will be also!
 
 
SEE YOU AGAIN THE FIRST WEEK OF MAY – “FILLING THOSESCHOOL DAYS BETWEEN THE END-of-TESTING AND SUMMER BREAK”
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn

MUSIC AND BEGINING READING

February 29, 2016
 
MUSIC AND BEGINNING READING
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            Do you remember singing “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” as a youngster?  Do you remember tipping over when singing the “Little Teapot?”  Did someone sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” to you?  I have fond memories of these times and when I sang and played records with my own kids.  Well…let’s see, I wonder how many times I sang “Wheels on the Bus?”
 
            No one ever said to me I was learning to read when I sang “Twinkle, Twinkle,” but apparently all these little songs played a part in my progression to being a fluent reader.  I never said to my kids or students that it was time for reading education, so we were going to sing, “Ole McDonald.”  And what about the ABC Song?  I hope you have positive memories of these little songs.
 
            These baby, toddler, and preschool songs and records are very important, in my opinion,to helping little ones learn about patterns, rhyming words, repetitive words and phrases, predicting lyrics, inflection and volume changes in voices, and sounds of letters.  All of these things are used in normal reading instruction.
 
            If you are a parent, grandparent, or teacher of babies, toddlers, or preschoolers,  please don’t ever think you are just filling time when you play music or sing with them.  You are not just trying to present fun activities for them.  You are providing valuable reading instruction.  The kids are learning and they don’t even know it!  How cool is that?
 
            Have fun!  Keep singing!
 
            Come back the first week of April –“HELPING FRIGHTENED TEST-TAKERS.”
 
 
COPYRIGHT 2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN