Playful By Design Journey

Hello Education world and welcome to Playful By Design‘s blog. I look forward to sharing ideas with you about fun ways to engage your child in learning. I strongly believe in learning through play and love reading research and studies on the benefits of movement and learning (but there is more of that to come…) Today, I want to share with you a my journey into play-based learning.

I was that child that set up a classroom full of dolls and taught them lessons on reading, math and science. Each doll asked questions and I wrote on that white board like a champ!

Fast forward a few years. (OK more than a few but this imaginative thinker did play with dolls until she was pretty old). I left for college thinking I would begin a children’s fitness franchise. I began with my major being Sports Medicine for I thought that this would give me the base I needed to run a fitness company. However, about a semester in, I realized that I really wanted a more education related degree so I made the fantastic decision to switch over the Special Education. With this switch, so do did my career goals. I haven’t opened a children’s fitness company. (Yet!)

I returned home to teach as an inclusion teacher while I earned my master’s degree in Behavioral Disorders. That is when my belief in play-based learning really started to flourish. I noticed a strong need for children to learn through play. My background in behavior allowed me to look for trends on children’s learning and their need for movement. I try to design all of my lessons around the thought process that children need to move. I have even snuck movement opportunities to many of the worksheets that I have created.

Since then, my love for play-based learning has flourished. I can adapt a board game, come up with a movement or sing a song for about any education standard. It is a blast! I look forward to learning from you and sharing some of my play-based ideas.

I also offer a range of education services, most of which center around executive functioning skills and family involvement.

In a Few Hours

Welcome, friends! I have switched my blog over here and so pleased that I have.

 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Can you believe that we are one week away from Thanksgiving? I cherish this time of year. Next week at this time, I will be at my parent’s home surrounded with friends and family. Mom and I will have been up for hours prepping the food and putting the turkey in the oven. In a few hours, the smell of spices will sweep through the house. In a few hours, football but the joyful chatter will encourage muting the TV to enjoy the laughs with family. In a few hours, we will fry a turkey so that we have plenty of leftovers to share. In a few hours, my husband’s grandparents will walk in the door with their gracious energy and hugs. In a few hours, life will be nearly perfect. Just as it is every year on Thanksgiving. Not because we have the most beautiful table setting or are the best chefs in all the land. But, it will be perfect… to me because there are many ways to define perfect.  To me, perfect is the opportunity to welcome others into your home with a grateful heart and appreciate all of the blessings of the year.

Fall River

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Yes, this post is early, but if you know me, you know I LOVE to celebrate holidays for weeks, not just for one day…)

Holiday Gifts Teachers Really Want

Children, spouses, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, parents, friends…the list of people to purchase gifts for during the holiday season seems endless.  Add to that list your children’s teachers.  What do you get for your children’s teachers?  Unless you’ve been a teacher yourself…or you happen to have teacher friends whose brains you can pick for ideas…it can be a tough feat coming up with gift ideas for those special educators in your children’s lives.  Here’s our list of ideas in all price ranges to aid in your holiday shopping decisions this season:

 

Free:

 

  • Say “Thank you!”  Teachers always appreciate a heartfelt note from parents and students alike.  Take the time to handwrite a thank you letter letting your teacher know how they’ve been a positive influence in your child’s life by acknowledging the changes and growth you’ve witnessed in your child thus far.

 

  • Offer your time…  Offer to help your child’s teacher with classroom preparation such as making copies, cutting out materials at home, helping with an art project, or anything else that your child’s teacher may need assistance in completing.

 

$5-$15:

 

  • Gift Cards…  Not just any gift cards, try to find quick-stop restaurants in the area of your child’s school.  Panera bread, Jimmy Johns/Jersey Mikes, Whole Foods/Fresh Market, or any other quick and local restaurant gift cards might allow your child’s teacher to grab a quick lunch (and free, thanks to you!) during the day.  Also, unless you know for a fact that the teacher indulges in fast food…try to keep it healthy!

 

  • Teacher Supplies…  For public school teachers who have to buy their own supplies, it’s a great help to their wallets if they don’t have to buy the classroom essentials such as post-it notes, Expo markers (if there is a whiteboard in the classroom), Sharpies, pens, etc.  Stock up for them.  A little goes a long way!

 

 

  • Coffee, anyone?  Does your child’s teacher appreciate a good cup of coffee in the morning?  Find out ahead of time what his/her favorite coffee is and offer to bring it for them one morning.  Maybe even throw in a breakfast item for a “sweet” holiday gift just before winter break begins.

 

 

$20-$30:

 

 

  • Personalized Items…  Some of my favorite gifts I’ve gotten as a teacher have been personalized with either my initials or my name on them.  I’ve gotten gifts that have ranged from a scarf with my initial embroidered on it to notepads with my full name printed on them…and I’ve loved them all!  Most of my teacher friends agree…it’s a personal touch that is greatly appreciated.  

 

 

 

  • A Night Out…  Give your favorite teacher a night out!  Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, an excuse to go shopping at the mall with a local mall gift card, a manicure/pedicure/spa treatment, even a free massage at a local day spa.  Teachers rarely have the time or extra funds to treat themselves so give them the perfect excuse!

 

 

 

$35 and Up:

 

  • Give them a combination of any of the above!


Happy holidays and happy shopping!

 

Blog written by Lauren Bronson from Tampa Learning Co.

The Importance of Learning Times Tables

Like learning to their tie shoes, brushing their teeth properly, or getting themselves dressed each day when children are young, it’s just as important for them to learn their multiplication tables as they get older.  There are a number of reasons why learning these facts are beneficial for students.

 

Building Blocks

 

Multiplication is the building block of much more complicated math problems and strategies.  Students who are comfortable with quickly recalling multiplication tables find more success when entering higher levels of mathematics.  Imagine the amount of time it would take for a student to complete a long-division problem on a test if they’re challenged with computing multiplication facts quickly.  Many math teachers do not allow the use of calculators on tests and quizzes, thus leaving the brainwork up to that of the student.  Furthermore, the use of calculators often leads to keying errors.

 

How You Can Help

 

First, be sure your child understands the concept of multiplication before they begin to memorize the facts.  Show your child a 100’s chart so he/she can discover patterns, discuss how multiplication is simply a faster way of adding repeated numbers and sets of objects.

 

Next, demonstrate what memorization of facts looks and sounds like by having your child “quiz” you on any multiplication fact (set parameters before the quiz so that the multiplication facts are within reason…unless you’d like to be computing 5239 X 3293 in your head).  Children will begin to understand that multiplication facts need to be like a reflex.

 

When you begin to look at the facts, get the easy ones out of the way like the 1’s, 10’s, and all reciprocal facts (4X7 and 7X4).  Once they learn the simple rules of these facts, they are left with very few that actually need to be memorized and the task, as a whole, seems less daunting.

 

Finally, start practicing…but make it fun!  There are a number of multiplication fact games that can be found inexpensively on sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers or you can make up your own!  Play Multiplication Fact Tic-Tac-Toe where there is a tic-tac-toe board with multiplication problems and each player must say the answer to the problem before placing a marker on their desired space.

 

Here are some websites that offer free multiplication games:

 


The more practice your child has, the more comfortable he or she will be with recalling the answers.  Make it fun by incorporating games, take breaks when there is frustration, and celebrate successes!  

 

Blog written by Lauren Bronson from Tampa Learning Co.

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