by Anna

Thank You Notes

March 28, 2015 in Teaching by Anna

It seems that thank you notes are a thing of the past for most people.

They might argue that they cost too much.

Some might say they just aren’t necessary.

Others see them as a waste of resources…as in “they’ll just wind up in the trash anyway.”

I beg to differ.

I am glad that thusfar in my life, sending a personal thank you note to anyone that has given me anything, whether it be a gift, money, second-hand items, time, hospitality (like watching my children without payment or hosting a family weekend away), or an unexpected treat of one kind or another, has not been a burden of any kind on me or my family.

Teaching Children to say Thank You from Learn Like A Mom! http://learnlikeamom.com/thank-you-notes/ Teaching our children to say thank you is the only way to make sure that this custom doesn't disappear! Find out how to make this happen in your family! #thankyou #thankyounotes #ece #custom #socialstudies

Bring Back Thank You Notes!

First, let’s remind ourselves of what a thank you note is.

A thank you note is a small gesture to show gratitude for someone else’s efforts.

It’s a way to simply acknowledge that someone’s work, thoughtfulness, or act of kindness and love has not gone unnoticed.

It allows the giver to know that the recipient received the items.

It is a way to communicate, on a very basic level that seems all but lost these days.

Do they cost too much?

I don’t think so.

Yes, the cost of stamps has increased dramatically over the years and it’s likely that the note and envelope either get recycled or tossed, but rarely is the cost or time invested with a thank you note more than the cost or time involved with the initial act.

And, sometimes, it may be worth even more.

Are they necessary?

I think so.

Saying “thank you” is not something that we should let disappear in our culture.

The only way to insure that this doesn’t happen, is by teaching our children to say thank you, not only in custom, but also through the act of writing a paper thank you note.

I remember when writing letters was the main way I “spoke” to friends I had met at summer camp that lived on the opposite side of the city or my cousins in another state.

Technology has changed that form of communication into something quicker, cheaper, and a bit more impersonal.

If you embrace technology more than the act of writing a personal note, call and say thank you or text a quick message, or even step that up a bit and attach a picture of the gift being used or a video of your children saying thank you.

I ask you to pause and think:

How nice is it to get real mail amidst the junk that hits your mailbox?

How excited do children get about creating and writing valentines to other kids in their class?

The joy of “snail mail” is still alive! Why not attach it with the importance of thanking people for their efforts and thoughts of you!

If you still don’t want to invest the time or money it takes to write thank you notes, consider sending fewer notes for more occasions. I tend to group my birthday and all of our Christmas thank you’s together. Or I combine both boys’ birthdays, my husband’s birthday, and Easter together.

I want my children to grow up thanking others. I look for ways to incorporate writing and communication into our daily lives. Thank you notes are a perfect place for these goals to come together!

In the example above, you can see that they aren’t even writing words yet, but I can have them tell me what to write, creating the language experience. They can add pictures and stickers or stamps!

Here, my oldest practiced his self portrait and extended it into drawing his brother as well.

You could also do something simple like these footprint cards!

When is the last time you wrote a thank you note?

by Anna

Creating Self Portraits

March 17, 2015 in Teaching by Anna

Creating a self portrait is not your typical selfie!

When I taught in the traditional classroom, creating self portraits was something I had students do whether they were four or nine. In fact, I’d have them draw one on the first day of school and one toward the end of the year and to see the change over time was always so interesting.

At least once during the year, likely toward the beginning, I would center a lesson around self portraits.

In younger classes, there would be more than one.

Creating a self portrait teaches students to be aware of themselves. Where is her head in relation to her body? Where are her feet in relation to her legs?

It also teaches children spatial awareness. Where should he begin…with his feet or with his head? Where on the paper should his head be placed? How far down should his arms go? How can his whole body fit on a single piece of paper?

Creating Self Portraits from Learn Like A Mom! http://learnlikeamom.com/creating-self-portraits/ Self portraits help children learn spatial awareness and self awareness. This is a simple lesson plan for young children. #ece #selfportraits #selfawareness #spatialawareness #finemotorskills #learnlikeamom

A Lesson on Creating Self Portraits

Whether you are in a classroom, or teaching a child at home, here is a simple lesson on creating self portraits geared toward young children, anywhere from age 2 through age 6. Keep in mind that their final product will show various levels of writing development, depending on what stage of writing they are in. (Basically, a two-year-old’s drawing should look very different than that of a five-year-old.)

The teacher will need to model how to draw a self portrait.

Gather the children around an easel or board and clip a paper to it.

Narrate the process as you walk through the steps.

“I am going to draw a picture of myself. I am going to start with my head.”

Use your hands to show your actual head on yourself so students are aware of what you talking about. The visuals also help English Language Learners (if you’re teaching in an English speaking classroom.) and build vocabulary for all students.

“What shape is my head?”

“I think it is like an oval or a circle. Let’s see…where should I place my head on this paper? Should it go down here? (Point to the bottom half of the paper.) Should it go over here? (Point to the side.) Or should it go up here? (Pointing toward the top.)”

Then talk about how close to the top of the page your head should be placed. Do you want to leave room for a hat or hair?

Draw the head shape.

“What do I have on the side of my head?” (Ears…Point to your ears. Draw your ears.)

“What do I have on top of my head?” (Hair…Point to your hair.) “What color should I use?” (Draw your hair.)

“What is on the center of my face?” (Nose…Point to your nose. Draw a nose.)

“How many eyes do I have?” (Two) “Where would they go? One would go here and the other would go here.” (Draw the eyes.) “What color are my eyes? Did you know some people have blue eyes and some have brown? Others have green! Isn’t it neat to see all the differences that surround us? Now, what is right above my eyes? (Eyebrows) What are on my eyes?” (Eyelashes)

“What is below my nose?” (Mouth) “What sort of feeling should I show on my picture? Do I want to be sad (frown), happy (smile), or maybe excited (open your smile) or scared (widen your eyes and make an O with your mouth)? I think I want to be happy on my picture.” (Draw the mouth.)

“OK, I think I have most of the details for my head and face. Now, do I draw my stomach next? (No.) Should I draw my legs? (No.) What’s this? (Point to your neck.) That’s right…it’s my throat and neck! What comes after my neck? (Slide your hands down your neck and out to your shoulders.) My neck comes down from my head and then my shoulders come out.”

Taking time to point out what happens from the head down to the shoulders helps children visualize that the body has dimensions. We are not stick figures. As you draw the neck going out to the shoulders, do one line at a time and then point out on yourself the side of the neck that you just drew.

“What happens at my shoulders? What are these? (Draw attention to your arms.) Okay, I need to draw my arms. How far should I go down? Do my arms touch the floor? Should I go down to the bottom of my paper? (No.) OK, I’ll stop here.”

“What are these?” (Point to your armpits.)

Pointing out your armpits can lead into a discussion on how your arms are separate from the trunk of your body. Draw the arms with a space between them and the main portion of the body, stopping at the waist.

“What is on the ends of my arms?” (Hands)

“How many fingers does one hand have?” (Five)

“Let me see if I can draw my hands.” (Draw both hands.)

“Now, let’s look at my paper. It looks like we have gone half way down the sheet with half of our body. That’s good because we have left space for our legs and feet! Let’s draw those now!” (Continue side lines past hips and down outside part of legs.)

Stand up.

“What do you notice about my legs?” (Wait for replies)

“How many do I have?” (Two) “That’s right…I have two legs. I want to make sure that I draw two legs on my picture.” (Draw the inseam portion of the legs.)

“Now, what is at the bottom of my legs?” (Feet) “I think I’m going to draw them in shoes.” (Draw feet.)

“Wow! Look at that! We worked our way from my head all the way down to my feet, using our paper wisely! We started toward the top and then…”(Walk them through all of the steps as review.)

At this point it is an option to add a background. Do you want to be at the beach or standing in the grass? Where is the sun? Where would the grass go, etc.?

“Now it’s your turn to draw a self portrait! Remember where we started and go from there. Remember to think of your own body as you draw!”

Then students have independent practice making their self-portaits and the teacher can monitor and assist as needed.

Below you can see my example (See, you don’t have to be an artist!), Big Brother’s portrait (He grew tired of detail by the time he reached his hips.) and Little Brother’s portrait. This shows a great example of the writing stages that I mentioned.

Creating Self Portraits from Learn Like A Mom! http://learnlikeamom.com/creating-self-portraits/ Self portraits help children learn spatial awareness and self awareness. This is a simple lesson plan for young children. #ece #selfportraits #selfawareness #spatialawareness #finemotorskills #learnlikeamom

When’s the last time you drew a self portrait?

by Anna

Kidecals Review

February 11, 2015 in Reviews by Anna

If you’re anything like me, there are days when you can’t remember where your keys or sunglasses are and you’re just thankful you didn’t misplace the dog!

I normally keep things in their place…even if it is in a pile with a bunch of other stuff I’ll have to sift through to find it. However, there are times when items get lost. And…they might not be at home!

This is where Kidecals comes in! In exchange for this review, I was given $30 in product, but as always my opinions are my own! Read on for the outcome of my testing and for a 15% OFF code!

Kidecals

Bottom line…Kidecals holds up to its motto: Delightfully Versatile and Crazy Durable!

I tested the kidecals in three ways.

I put one decal on the fabric side of a toiletry bag. I am constantly getting into and out of this bag and putting it in larger bags. I wanted to see if the kidecal would get roughed up a bit or tear off. It has handled my daily use, along with a five week trip and a large move!

Kidecals Day 1 and 107

I put another kidecal on the more cloth-like fabric of my wallet, that I am constantly retrieving from my purse, handling, or slipping back into my purse. Again, I wanted to test how secure these little stickers would be once placed and put through the test. They have held up from contant shuffle over a long period of time. There is no fading of information and the sticker still holds tight!

kidecal Day1 and 107 wallet

Finally, I put a third kidecal on a child’s plastic sippy cup. Here I obviously wanted to see what constant handling and dishwashing would do with the kidecal. Now, by the looks of the picture, it didn’t hold up as well. Well, don’t judge it soley by the picture. I was going to write this review about 3-4 weeks after sticking the kidecals on these items, but as you know…I was having trouble balancing everything going on last year.

Kidecals Day1 and 22

So, at just after three weeks, I set a timer and told my four-year-old to try and get the sticker off of the sippy cup. In less than five minutes, it was off! He did ask for a screwdriver and my mom and I sat there and watched. He used the screwdriver just to lift one end of the sticker and then he started working his way under it. If he didn’t have that, I don’t know that it would have budged. And…If I didn’t tell him to mess with it, it would likely still be strong today. It lasted weeks of repeatedly being used and placed in the dishwasher. It is good to know, however, that if I grow tired of them…they can come off!

I highly recommend Kidecals for your labeling needs. They have quite the variety for all sorts of purposes. I went with a simple family logo so we could use them for just about anything around here, and added our phone number in case an item went missing away from home. (I edited that out of the pictures.)

Kidecals 2

You can label jars, supplies, shoes, even your keyboard! You can purchase wall decals! You can sort by gender, size, age, and personalize what you’d like!

Kidecals offers FREE SHIPPING on any order, no matter the price or size! They are also giving Learn Like A Mom readers 15% OFF on any order with the code ilovelabels.

What do you like labeling?