Monthly Archives: October 2015

Today My Head Exploded.

In Tibetan culture there is a deity named Avalokitesvara who is said to be the embodiment of all consuming compassion. He is sometimes depicted with eleven heads and a thousand arms, which is said to be the result of trying to realize the needs of so many beings suffering. Hearing all the cries his head split into eleven pieces, which was then formed into eleven heads to better understand and hear their needs and a thousand arms were formed in order to reach out in assistance in all directions. Although far from a deity, I think I can understand a little of how Avalokitesvara felt. Because today, my head exploded.

I try to view social media as a pleasant way to share silly things my kids said or moments I’m proud of with friends and family I have far too little time to actually meet with. Sometimes I find interesting articles from points of view I never considered …and then there’s always the cute baby animal pictures, which I believe have greatly enhanced the quality of my life. But then there are times when the amount of vitriol and narrow mindedness is so overwhelming that it permeates my being. That was today.

In just a few moments time I was blasted with the news that a young middle school girl in my town took her own life, who in her moment of desperation saw this as the only solution to the problem of being bullied and miserable at school. Some people’s reactions were of heartbreak and love, but most were focused on revenge and “getting” the bullies-who mind you, are children. Next I see news coverage of a young girl who is forcibly, violently removed from her classroom by a police officer and people’s reactions polarized between revenge on the police officer and revenge on the young girl-who mind you, is a child. Then I see a status blaring the evilness of common core math and why can’t things just be done the way they used to be before we tried to dumb down the content so illegals could understand-illegals, who mind you, are children.

In my classroom our motto was “Focus On The Solution,” a motto I sincerely try to embody in my everyday life. But at that moment I saw no solution. Only a bunch of big people taking their frustrations out on smaller people, because, well, they can. When I thought about how this is just a tiny sampling of a little corner of the world…that there are so many children out there that are being bullied by other children and see no way out, that there are children who are being bullied at home and are usurping their power back from other children at school, that there are people in positions of authority that do not understand basic human development and physiology and punish children for being human, people who are willing to publicly shame and humiliate an entire group of children because they deem their child’s homework too hard or unnecessary, when I saw no possible way that I could stop their tears and comfort them..My head exploded. Or, at least it felt like it.

Trying to have a well thought out conversation on social media is like pouring water into a sieve. No matter what your intention, it’s not gonna go anywhere but out the other end. Instead, I will write all the things I wanted to say, but where it will be well received–to myself! So here is my futile attempt, using the frayed ends of dollar store tape, to piece myself back together.

Children are humans. It may come as a surprise, but they don’t suddenly become people with well formed thoughts and opinions at the magical age of 18, the governmental edict of adulthood. On their very birth day, and my hunch is quite some time before that, they have loud, obvious opinions and preferences. They have points of views and favorite foods. They have feelings and emotions comparable to that of other humans. The difference is, they do not yet have the experience -or physiological development- to handle those feelings and emotions the way adults expect them to. In fact, adults expect way more from small people who have less than two decades of life experience and an underdeveloped brain than they do from other adults. Adults have bad moods, temper tantrums, hissy fits, and inappropriate behavior ALL THE TIME. (See my references above.) My own children can attest to that fact. But put an overstimulated toddler, who has been trying to keep it together–but man they are frustrated because they wanted to put their own shoes on and you rushed them along and they can’t get their fingers to cooperate with the picture in their minds and they didn’t want to be picked up they wanted to walk on their own so they could touch that stuff over there what is that it’s so cool I want to find out wait stop mommy I dont want to sit in the cart and be held down Im trying to figure out my world — in a grocery store and have them react emotionally and you will hear snickers, tsk tsks, and condescending remarks about how that child needs a “whooping.”

A child who is a bully does not need to be bullied. A child who is a bully has BEEN bullied and is trying to get rid of the feelings of powerlessness that are left behind. Anti-bully programs will never work. Why? Because you are ANTI — you are not for them. You are not helping them. You are further taking away their power which is the exact need they are trying to fill. Using catchy slogans and fluffy worksheets to stop bullying behavior is akin to using an already wet cheap paper towel to sop up an oil tanker spill. Are you angry that a young girl felt so desperate that she took her own life? You should be! Now turn that anger towards the cause. The cause is a society that not only embraces and condones childism, it values it. It waves it around as a source of pride. Turn that need for justice around to your own homes. Make sure your children’s points of views, feelings, perspectives, and emotions are heard and given the credence they deserve.

Being in school is hard. (..and I was the teacher!) A classroom is one of the most obvious places where childism exists. We ask them to sit still (even though developmentally that is not only inappropriate but completely counterproductive to the learning process..plus-it’s boring) for hours on end and perform mind numbing tasks filling in blanks on worksheets. We’ve taken away recess, art, P.E., music, and give them crap lunches. Then, when their underdeveloped brains have an emotional reaction-you guessed it! We punish them for being human before they are 18.

The young girl who made national news for not wanting to leave class had recently experienced major life traumas. Within the span of the previous six months, her mother passed away and was placed in the care of her grandmother. Her grandmother then passed away and she was placed in foster care. With strangers. And then people who don’t know her or love her made the decision for her to go to this new school–further away from any remnants of a life she used to know, friends she used to have–any evidence that anyone cared for her. Would an adult have been able to pick themselves up and drag themselves off to school? Would they have then been able to pay attention and focus on worksheets? Would we have had compassion for an adult who was going though such emotional difficulty? Or would we have called the police and forcibly had them removed for not paying attention? What if an adult who had NONE of those life traumas were to go to a classroom and not pay attention…would the police have been called? At most, the professor may have stopped them after class and said, “hey, I notice you weren’t really paying attention.” Maybe if they were a good professor they would have added, “is anything bothering you? Can I help?” If that young girl had been met with empathy and compassion, from anyone in that classroom that day–things probably would have ended much differently. Because in the end that’s all we want, us humans. We want others to recognize our struggle. Even if we are small humans. Even if you deem my struggle small.

I honestly don’t know if there really is a deity out there somewhere with eleven heads and a thousand arms reaching out to help us from all directions. But I do know, that even if there is, a thousand arms isn’t nearly enough to help everyone that needs a hand. So, when I Focus On The Solution for today, I will try to remember to use the two hands I have to reach out with compassion. If we all use our two hands, maybe Avalokitesvara can take a break. It sounds like he’s been having a rough couple of days himself, and could probably use some compassion.

I’m A Dirty Dinosaur-A Multiple Intelligences Book Study

Find Out What Multiple Intelligences Theory Is

And Why We Should Care Here

The book “I’m A Dirty Dinosaur” written by Janeen Brian and Ann James is a

fun, silly story of a dinosaur who loves mud! You can purchase your own copy HERE

Verbal/Linguistic

As with any picture book, repetition is key. Each time you read through with your little one, focus on a different aspect. The first time you may just want to do a “picture walk” – in other words just look at the pictures and talk about what is happening on each page. What does your child think the story is about? What do they think will happen next?

Another read through and you can focus on vocabulary development…for example, “what does the word “snout” mean?” Or rhyming words…such as “snout and about”

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Visual/Spatial

We took a page that peanut especially liked and I made a “vague representation” of the dinosaur illustrated on the page. I just drew my version on construction paper, we cut it out, and she glued it on another piece of construction paper. We then took shaving cream and brown finger paint and mixed them together to create “mud.”

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Here is our finished version!

 

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Musical/Rhythmic

“I’m A Dirty Dinosaur” has a natural tone and rhythm to it. In addition, there are verses that specifically give musical representations. For example, “Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap It Like A Drum” During one of your read throughs, reenact the chorus using musical instruments, whether you have your own or are playing the environment. For example, you could use the table as the drums!

 

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Or—“Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake About The Place! – with maracas!

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Logical/Mathematical

We took some bright toy dinosaurs and decided to get them dirty. I like to use kinetic sand, but a sandbox or real mud pile would be just as fun! After just exploring the dinosaurs and the sand together for some sensory input, we began to sort them by color…

 

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And Create Patterns

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We then rolled a large die and counted the pips.

We then added in the corresponding number of dinosaurs.

 

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To increase complexity, I modeled for her the different combinations of number sentences that could create her matching number. For example, 3 green dinosaurs and 1 yellow dinosaur, 2 green dinosaurs and 2 yellow dinosaurs, 1 green dinosaur and 3 yellow dinosaurs, or all 4 yellow dinosaurs, etc.

 

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Bodily/Kinesthetic

For fine motor/tactile learners we took the toy dinosaurs and acted out the phrases from the book with our leftover shaving cream “mud.” For example, when the book says “I’m a dirty dinosaur with a dirty snout” we smeared mud all over his nose. Once we reached the end of the book and our dinosaurs were sufficiently dirty…

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we gave them a good bath!

 

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For gross motor learners, we acted out the scenes from the story using our whole bodies. For example, when you get to the part that says “Stamp, Stamp, Stamp, Stamp, Stamp About the Street!” you would stomp all around the living room!  An alternative activity would be to continue with the shaving cream mud into the bathtub and have them smear the mud on their own bodies before giving themselves a good wash. Here is our whole body version of “Shake, Shake, Shaking it!”

 

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Intrapersonal

Intrapersonal learners need time for reflection and introspection. Make sure to provide your little one with a comfy place for independent exploration.

 

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Interpersonal

Interpersonal learners need to process their information with a buddy. They may need to verbalize their thinking – or – they just need someone to share in their experience!

 

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Like these ideas? Check out www.rainbootsandrocketships.com for more!


 

Rainbootsandrockeships.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This is a for-profit site that I put together in 12 minute increments while my toddler is busy eating a snack. Teachers don’t make diddly and I’d like to retire someday. Please consider purchasing any supplies you would order anyway through one of the Amazon links located throughout my posts!

Usborne Publishing Ltd. has no connection with these pages and does not sponsor or support their content.

 

Five Little Pumpkins: A Multiple Intelligences Book Study

What is the Multiple Intelligence Theory and Why Do We Care?

Find Out Here

 

The Five Little Pumpkins by Tiger Tales and Ben Mantle is a padded hard cover book with bright    engaging graphics that keep little people’s attention and is a perfect way to introduce a Multiple Intelligences book study.

title

 

Verbal/Linguistic:

While reading the book, make sure to stop and “picture walk” through each page. Discuss what is happening in the pictures, the colors of objects, use rich, descriptive phrases such as, “oh! I see there are some fuzzy spiders dangling down from their sticky webs all around the pumpkins! How many spiders are there? Let’s count them together! What colors are those spiders? Have you ever seen spiders like that in real life before? Where?” Emphasize rhyming words and the patterns found within the text.

Make sure to engage their own reflections about the story–“How would you feel if you were those pumpkins? How do you think they are feeling? Which pumpkin is your favorite? Why?”

 

reading

Mathematical/Logical:

I bought five miniature plastic treat pumpkins that we used to “narrate” the actions in the story. When the first pumpkin is talking in the story, we brought out one pumpkin, then two, etc. In this way, she is able to concretely assimilate what the concept of “five” looks and feels like. When the story was over, we used the pumpkins as containers to practice sorting pom poms by color, which is another foundational math concept. For added fine motor practice, use tongs instead of fingers to do the sorting.

 

sorting

Visual/Spatial:

After doing a thorough picture walk, we picked out a page that she liked best. We then replicated the illustrations using art materials. We decided to use craft sticks, pipe cleaners, orange foam squares, and construction paper:

 

sitting on a gate

Musical/Rhythmic:

Many children’s books have a natural rhythm to them, making it easier to pick up a “beat.” You can accentuate this by emphasizing end rhyme words. In addition, you can say the words to Five Little Pumpkins to the tune of “Five Little Monkeys” which they are probably already familiar with. We turned our pumpkins upside down and used them like drums while we were reading the text as well.

 

 drums again

 

Another way to extend the musical experimentation is to fill the pumpkins up with water in decreasing amounts. Fill the first pumpkin up to the top, the second just a little less, and so on until the fifth pumpkin barely has any in it at all. For extra sensory experience add food coloring so it is easier to see the depth. Then bang on each pumpkin with craft sticks, forks, etc to hear the different tones created.

 

music

Bodily/Kinesthetic:

There are two types of body learners: those that need to use their gross motor skills (whole bodies) to process information and those that use their fine motor skills (tactile sensation) to process information. Some kids need both!

To engage whole body learning, encourage your child to use their bodies to “act out” the actions from the story. For example, when the pumpkins are sitting on the gate, ask them to pretend they are also sitting on a gate. (That might be tricky…they’ll need lots of balance..whoa!!) As the pumpkins roll down the hill, maybe they could so a few forward tucks?

roll

 

Playing a game of “Hide and Feely” is a super way to encourage the visual processing centers within the brain. In effect, you are helping them make the connections to build images in their “mind’s eye.” This is extremely critical in the process of reading comprehension. To play “Hide and Feely” you will need to hide objects, preferably with different textures, inside the pumpkins. Then, without looking, ask your child to place their hands inside the pumpkins to see if they can figure out what the objects are. As they do this they are taking mental snapshots between they way things feel and the ways things look. Some ideas for hiding are: cotton balls, rocks, dried beans, a small favorite toy, pretend flowers, or play dough.

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Intrapersonal:

Intrapersonal learners need time alone for self reflection in order to process information. Make sure your little one has a special comfy place to curl up with their favorite books.

 

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Interpersonal:

Interpersonal learners need to socialize and bounce ideas off of others to process information efficiently. If they are interpersonal AND verbal learners they may need a buddy to talk to about their book. Just sitting with and asking questions about what happened, what they liked, what do they think will happen next, etc. is exactly what they need. Otherwise, just sharing a book with a friend is perfect:

 

friends too

Like these ideas? Visit www.rainbootsandrocketships.com for more!


Rainbootsandrockeships.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This is a for-profit site that I put together in 12 minute increments while my toddler is busy eating a snack. Teachers don’t make diddly and I’d like to retire someday. Please consider purchasing any supplies you would order anyway through one of the Amazon links located throughout my posts!

 

 

 

A Sensory Fall

Fall is one of my favorite sensory themes to explore!

Pumpkins, apples, cinnamon, crunchy leaves? What’s not to love?!

Take a look at some brain boosting (and fun!) activities for you to enjoy with your little ones:

For More Information on WHY Sensory Activities are Important, Click HERE

    

                  Exploring Textures:

texture smooth bumpy                                                      

 

 

                                 Bumpy or Smooth? 

                    

                 Take a Sensory Walk…

                                             What do you hear?      What do you smell?

walk 2 loot walk

 

 

 

What do you feel? Is it bumpy? poky? sticky?

 

 

                                     

                                Squash Painting…

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         Apple Cinnamon Playdough!

                               For instructions click HERE:

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Acorn Jingle Bells

Thread some acorn jingle bells with pipe cleaners and let the jamboree begin!

 

acorn jingle bracelet

 

Fall Rain Stick

For instructions click HERE

 

 

Fall Sensory Bin

This sensory bin contains the following:

mixed dried red and pinto beans, decorative gourds, plastic pumpkins and leaves, white mini pumpkin, dried Indian corn, acorns,

yellow pom poms, whole cinnamon sticks, and fabric fall leaves. We also added an ice cream scoop and two smaller buckets

for fine motor skills and sorting practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looking for Halloween sensory ideas?

                Look No More!…

 

                                              Glow In The Dark Bath Time….

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Add some blue and red food coloring to the bath water….and some glow in the dark spiders for a spooky clean good time!

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                           Halloween Gooey Gunk

For instructions click HERE

 

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Halloween Sensory Bin

This sensory bin contains the following:

green, black, and purple pipe cleaners in multiple textures, glow in the dark spiders, orange foam blocks, orange and green containers with black measuring spoons, large rubber bat, large fuzzy tarantula, orange, purple, black and green pom poms in multiple sizes, green and purple velcro curlers, black foam curlers, chunky orange building blocks, and Halloween themed rubber erasers. These are all stored in a six gallon black container with orange Halloween lights surrounding the outside.

halloween bin

Like these ideas? Visit www.rainbootsandrocketships.com for more!


Rainbootsandrockeships.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This is a for-profit site that I put together in 12 minute increments while my toddler is busy eating a snack. Teachers don’t make diddly and I’d like to retire someday. Please consider purchasing any supplies you would order anyway through one of the Amazon links located throughout my posts!

 

Fall Rainstick

Sound is an experience that is often overlooked in a sensory diet.

Fix that now with a Fall themed Rainstick!

 

Materials needed:

paper towel tube (mailing tubes work much better, but aren’t free!), construction paper, markers, popcorn,

assorted fall nuts, glue (or hot glue gun), scissors, aluminum foil

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              Decorate your construction paper – we just used markers, but you could get fancy and paint, add stickers, or tassles!

            If you are using a paper towel tube instead of a mailing tube, you will need to make end caps. You can do this by either

          tracing a slightly larger circle (We used foam sheets.) and gluing them into the ends. You will need hot glue to make it stay.

           Or…if you dont mind a potential mess, you can roll up a very tight ball of aluminum foil and insert those into the ends.

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Once you’ve glued your decorated construction paper around your tube and placed ONE of you end caps, you’re ready to fill it up!

We used an assortment of popcorn kernels, walnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds frequently found in fall displays at the grocery store.

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                                                                                Add another end cap and you’re ready to Rock N Roll!

rainstick

Want to extend the fun? Order your copy of The Nutty Nut Chase!

nutty nut chase

Like these ideas? Check out www.rainbootsandrocketships.com for more!


Rainbootsandrockeships.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This is a for-profit site that I put together in 12 minute increments while my toddler is busy eating a snack. Teachers don’t make diddly and I’d like to retire someday. Please consider purchasing any supplies you would order anyway through one of the Amazon links located throughout my posts!

 

 

Applesauce Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

 

 

Nothing says Fall like the smell of Apples and Cinnamon in the air!

 The following recipe (and many other really awesome sensory recipes) can be found in The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions by John E. Thomas and Danita Pagel

 

        All you need is:

       1/2 cup of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of applesauce, some cookie cutters, a straw and a big baggie

applesauce

 

Pour the applesauce and cinnamon into the baggie and mix it up!

 

applesauce 2 Applesauce 3 applesauce 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll your dough and cut designs using your cookie cutters

 

applesauce 6 applesauce 5 ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Air Dry, Add a Ribbon, And Smell the Apple Cinnamony Goodness!

 

Have some leftover dough? Add some water to a pot and simmer…Voila! A House full of Fall Smells!

 

Like this idea? Visit www.rainbootsandrocketships.com for more fun!


Rainbootsandrockeships.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This is a for-profit site that I put together in 12 minute increments while my toddler is busy eating a snack. Teachers don’t make diddly and I’d like to retire someday. Please consider purchasing any supplies you would order anyway through one of the Amazon links located throughout my posts!

 

The Other Side of the Looking Glass

There was a moment when your eyes first locked –
Hospital walls became rocket ships and hurled you off
to the other side of the night sky.
Tiny whimpers of confusion, cries of the homesick, became
Heralded hymns singing to the heavens of time and space and butterscotch.
The painfully overwhelming smell of soft white, blue, and pink wraps
showed you what the divine face of God looked like before you forgot.
Through this gaze you saw the wonder of dizzying Starbursts hinting
at the Other Side of the Looking Glass. So many Possibilities.

Time passes and our focus distends. We warp our Lens of Truth and
Trade it for mundane lies.
Wipe away candy kissed smudges from those wearied and sleepless portholes. And

Hold tight to your playdough handprints, your sassy walks, and gilded tutus.
Lock your gaze and see those heavens on the other side
of the constellation known as spilled Cheerios.
Hear the symphony playing sweet notes – a vibration tuned to the frequency of your being
Playing the song of the grocery store meltdown. Its chorus says
“This world is so big and I am lost mama. I don’t know if I can carry this weight anymore.”

Hold tight to your messes, your backtalk, your “I dont want tos.”
They give you the map to that which is outside yourself. To your true self.
Hold tight to the hand that leads you back to the walls within the Rocketship
And lock your gaze in Wonder.

daddy