Saturday, July 28, 2012

Go for the Gold during the School Year!

I was thinking today how much parents (and us Aunties) need to encourage our kids to 'Go for the Gold' after the Olympics are over. There are many ways we can do that for all our children. Here are a few....

1) Make a banner with your children that says "Go for the Gold!" and put it over your child's desk or in a prominent location where your child will see it every day. This could be in the dining room, living room, bedroom - or how about on the door you walk out of each day?

Create a Wordle in the colors your want - make a stencil out of them and then stencil them on your wall, a poster board, on the stair risers, on the back door - why not on the dashboard of your car?  

2. Create a chore chart for your kids with little gold medals that kids can tape up as they complete their chores. Encourage your kids to do their chores, homework - everything they do to the best of their ability.

3. Parents find ways to help your children "visualize" the concept they are trying to learn. Are they struggling to understand Story Problems? Start creating "stories" in the car using numbers. 

Use your child's friends names to help your child visualize or picture what's happening. Use items such as pennies, dolls, trucks, dinosaurs, cookies, balloons that your children are familiar with. Example:

“Yesterday, Taylor had 2 keys. He found some more keys and now he has 4. How many keys did he find?”

Encourage your child to use their fingers, m&m's, cheerios, marbles, what ever is handy to help them count and visualize (there's that word again!) the problem. There isn't any need to come up with special manipulatives to do story problems. This helps with children learning to use their imagination, numerical solving, problem solving, addition, subtraction, even beginning algebra skills!

If they have trouble solving the problem in their head - be sure to show them using something from around the house so they can "SEE" how you got the answer. Preschoolers are really good at these kinds of problems - do them in the car, while at the movies and waiting for the show to start, on the bus - anywhere you have a few moments. Don't be afraid to get silly either!
4. File Folder Games are wonderful for Math & Language Skills! As a nanny I used File Folder Games with Alicia constantly. I personally hate all those little "My Little Pony" type games which have no purpose except stuff like looking pretty, fashion, feel good type stuff. Nothing wrong with it - but I'd rather encourage children to use their brains and learn to think. Why not make it a game?

The whole idea of these games is ease - you use a File Folder (use the colored ones - red is math, green is science, yellow is language and so on) and the children practice various skills such as matching, sequencing, beginning spelling & math facts. I even found one for beginning ASL (American Sign Language)!

When I created my file of games I purchased the Carson Dellosa books which had 20 games in it and you cut out each piece, colored it, glued it down, laminated it and put all the little pieces (markers, dice, spinner) in a baggie or envelope to keep it together. Now you can also find the games already set up as a PDF and all you have to do is print it (already colored), cut it out, paste it and laminate (I HIGHLY recommend laminating - it's worth every penny). Teach your children they MUST pick up EVERY piece before they are allowed to get another out. This is absolutely mandatory!!! You will hate yourself if you don't do this from the start! 

(Note: It takes some time to create these - do it after the kids are in bed and while you're watching TV. Some hubbies will even help you. If you have preteens or teenagers who are artistic or creative you might enlist them to help you. Offer to pay them if you must! Storage - I kept mine in one of those square blue portable file boxes. It worked out really well and I kept them all together that way.)

Check out the File Folder Fun website. They have games & file folder activities for all ages from Preschool (about 3/4) to Fifth Grade.


Ultimately, my idea for this post was to encourage you to come up with ways for your children to learn essential skills, to have fun and to have a way for your to teach your children to STRIVE to SUCCEED. You as the parent must give them the tools to EXCEL. You can do it by spending very little - although the File Folder Games should be in every families home and also at school.

Example of Quotes to encourage your kids to "Go For The Gold". Click here for more - put these on your walls on poster boards, stenciled on your teens bedroom walls, on the bathroom walls, etc. Quote them to your children, encourage them to memorize them - and your children will remember them when they are down or need to strive to succeed!

I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end” -Abraham Lincoln

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." -Vince Lombardi 

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. " -John Wooden

"Set your goals high, and don't stop until you get there." -Bo Jackson

"Winners never quit and quitters never win." -Unknown

"The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can't do. -Dennis Waitley

Disclaimer: This post is not part of a partnership between myself and the companies/websites mentioned. No money exchanged hands.

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