Every Now and then

Every now and then I have moments that make me awe struck by my children. This is one of them. I tease the husband that he breaks more stuff than all 3 of our little monsters combined.
Well, I got coasters and matching place mats. I love the theme! Anyhow my husband accidentally knocks one and it breaks. I had no clue this happened because I was at work and usually I am not told. Things just go missing and I am left clueless wondering what happened to it. Well I come home go to bed and the next morning while I’m making breakfast my 7 year old son brings me a coaster. I smile and say thanks not realizing why he was bringing me this. He smiles and says ” you like that I fixed it.”  I look again and realized that the corner was glued.


The fixed coaster

My 7 year old son fixed what Daddy broke. I was completely filled with that pride that overwhelms me sometimes when I look at my children.  It brings tears to my eyes and the biggest smile to my face.


My 7 year old son.


Monster Chalk : Homemade Scented Edible Chalk

Homemade chalk with my Monsters. I was looking to do something inexpensive, at home and with items I have on hand. My Husband had my Jeep as his was in the shop for a few days, so no park or beach for us. I found this idea here: http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/07/scented-edible-sidewalk-chalk-paint.html.

I liked the idea, as my oldest son will eat everything, yet nothing. This blog uses the eyeball method for the edible chalk. So I wrote the amounts I used down.
½ cup water
½ cup cornstarch

ingredients for chalk

It was not easy to stir. It was hard. I had to put elbow grease into it. My middle son helped, too! He mentioned he has muscles. My son picked the Kool-Aid flavor Sharkleberry fin. It was the scent and color, which was pink. I realized from the beginning I wanted to have a physical chalk not a drizzle paint like they used in the blog. So I pulled out my Jell-o molds, I found my Monsters University one.

We poured our batter into the molds. It was enough to fill 5; however, I have 6 so we didn’t want to leave a monster out. We made another batch using Green Apple Kool-Aid this time. It filled the mold, and we pulled out my Easter Jell-O mold to take the rest of the batter.

monster molds for chalk
They had to sit to harden and this took time, but I am not sure how long because I did not time it.
The results were awesome. The chalk itself is fragile and easily broken, but my children had fun, and even invited and shared with the neighborhood children. The smell was more fragrant while it was being used and yes some of the children even tried to eat it, just because it was there. Even the dog tasted the chalk!
dog & chalk

Fear Factors for Reading Comprehension

Genres influence readers! Genres influence text! It is one of those fear factors that impact readers. Children in preschool understand that a classic fairytale is written differently than a textbook. These differences help impact reading comprehension and influence the reader. Most readers switch easily from one genre to another because they have learned to distinguish the different genres and how to decode the text from each genre. This is something taught through learning.
How a text is written influences readability. Readability is the ease that a text has, it too is a fear factor. Reading materials are scored by features in the text that determine the readability levels. If the readability level is too low for a reader it doesn’t create a challenge and doesn’t help the reader, however, if the reading levels are too high it will create frustration for the reader. It is a fine line for readability levels and children. It is something taken seriously because we want our children to succeed.
Coherence or the clarity of the text influences a child’s reading, thus making it a fear factor. This impacts a reader not only in readability, but in frustration. If a child cannot connect and see how the text is related it creates frustration. If it is not clear on the connection the child will not be able to comprehend the meaning behind the text. So it is important that the text is coherent for the reader.
The way the writer organizes and emphasizes the text is a big impacting fear factor. The organization will help with the child’s comprehension or lack of comprehension depending on the coherence of the text and the readability.
Text complexity is the biggest fear factor of all. It is a way to understand text structures, genres, readability, and coherence all in one for a child. In that the author or writer organizes the text for the genre that they are writing. Allowing for a style to emerge creating a pattern, making the coherence of the text. The reader or child will be taught to use clues to help with the understanding of the text. Clues vary by text, but include: pictures, subtitles, headings, captions, bulletins even.
All these fear factors come together to create a cohesive reader, who has developed the comprehension to succeed in school and life.
Tompkins, G. (2011). Literacy in the early grades. (Third ed.). Boston: Pearson.

School uses different language

School language and home language and friend language how can a child understand all these different ways to talk and comprehend. It soon becomes automatic with practice but children must learn academic or school language through the importance of syntax, semantics, pragmatics, vocabulary, and text structures. These build the foundation that leads the way for children to automatically change how they talk and respond to different people.
Phonology according to Literacy in the Early Grades is “the sound system of language”. Which means children are learning to hear and listen to how words are put together to develop understanding. Syntax is the grammar part of oral language. Children are learning to put sentences together with the structure of oral language they hear. So these two-word together in the oral language for children to understand what the sounds they are hearing and the parts to pause and stop.
Semantics focus on vocabulary. While pragmatic focus on culture use of the words. So together they focus on what someone is saying. Every culture is different and it is within our culture that we understand the many different meanings of words based upon how they are spoken.
Academic and social language are not the same. Children playing on the playground talk with their friends in a different way than they talk to teachers and parents. My children for instance are taught to say “yes/no sir/ma’am” which is not something they use when talking with their friends. This is a good use of semantics and pragmatic for children because slang comes into play when talking with friends that are not typically present in a classroom. It is also true that children don’ typically say words they use in science on the playground. How often do you hear a child say “I have a hypothesis that if we play this way…” So social and academic differ very much, but both are useful and needed in a child’s oral development.
In school children learn what is referred to as academic language and they use this when writing because they are taught to write in school proper. When children are writing academically they use what is often domain specific vocabulary which is not something most children will use in the social setting, with friends. So it is important that they learn the domain specific vocabulary so they can comprehend and understand academic. When a teacher uses the word combustible the child will need to understand she is referring to an explosion. Math and Science are two subjects that are very domain specific in vocabulary for students.
A child also needs to understand text structure when it refers to academic because a text book is not the same as a reading book. These books are structured differently because they want to convey different ideas and information. It is important that not only do students learn the difference between different text structures but they also learn to comprehend the differences so that what they are reading is understood and remembered.

Reading, Writing, Speaking ALL-IN-ONE

Oral Language is everywhere. It starts before we are even born and doesn’t end until we die. So understanding what is orally said is important. In our classroom we use the components of oral language to develop a clearer understanding of oral language. In our classroom one thing we use to help develop oral language comprehension is synonyms for common words to help learn and understand new words to have a better comprehension of our language. Instead of using the word clap we may substitute it with applause.
Oral language is all around us. Hearing develops from 16 weeks in the womb, so oral language is extremely important. It happens without any formal instruction. We constantly speak to our newborns to tell them their name. They eventually over time learn their name because they comprehended what they were told orally. A person’s comprehension is only as good as their understanding of the language.
Writing is an important skill that children have to learn to master. The best way to master this skill is with practice, so how does writing help with oral language? Each few weeks we will switch how we will write and develop oral language. When we are studying poems each child will write their own poems and present them to the class to help improve their writing skills and their oral language development. When studying drama (like Shakespeare) each child will create a play and with friends perform their play. These are two of the writing activities I will be using to help enhance their writing and oral language development.

Housework or bust

House work constitutes as a necessary evil. The only way to describe it for me. I love my kids, my husband, my pets, and my house, but by golly all that it entails to keep my house and yard looking good is not pleasure for me. Which brings me to a hobby of mine, I enjoy making things from scratch. Trying things old school. I also feel that my children are old enough to help with household chores and I don’t want that many chemicals around them. So, I have embarked on this journey of finding ways to make cleaning easier, cheaper, and fun. Therefore, over the next few weeks my blogs will be about trying homemade cleaning products and time saving tips. All of which I will try and will be honest as to whether or not they worked my household. If they were cheaper on our budget and if they save time. Now just because something works for my household does not mean it will for every household and vice versa.
Accordingly, let me introduce my household. There is me of course, Danielle. I am the lucky mother of 3 two legged babies, 3 furry cats, 2 furry dogs and I have the best wife gig around. I am a recent grad in the field of Journalism, but not much experience, as of yet. I am starting school again this fall to finish up another degree and hopefully start a good, active and very chaotic career.
My right hand is my very supportive, very wonderful, husband Richard. Without whom I could not do anything. We have had our ups and downs, but after 9 years of marriage we’re still holding strong with no end in sight. He was in the Navy for years and after much discussion and debate we decided to go civilian and stay in one area.
One of the reasons we decided to go civilian is our oldest son Robert, who is 8 years old and has Autism. Robert is non-verbal and not potty trained. We have good days and bad days. He is our shining star and every day is new and interesting. We journey each day together.
Our middle son is Ryan, who is 6 years old. He is a boy and boys will be boys is the best way to describe him. He is finishing up 1st grade. He plays sports does dance and loves being social which he gets from his father not me.
Princess Aubrielle is our youngest and she is 3. She is helpful and sweet, but she can be just like her brothers. Don’t get her wrong she is the sweetest little girl you will meet.
Now those are our 2 legged babies. We have 3 cats that know who feed them. They snuggle and love us. They teach my children responsibility and love, because they switch who they sleep with every night. Sallie our oldest is the mother of our other 2 kitties, OJ and R2. Aubrielle and Daddy feed them every night and they come with just a simple call for food. They are indoor/outdoor cats as we have a doggie door so keeping them in was going to be impossible for our household, as our kids go in and out the doggie door when we are not looking.
Lastly, but not lastly is our dogs. We have 2 dogs. Jessie or black lab mix and Rebel or yorkie mix. Both love their walks. Aubrielle and Ryan walk Rebel, thou Ryan prefers Jessie and a good race. Jessie is almost 7 years old as she and Ryan were born the same month and year. Rebel is almost 5.
So to sum up that is my family. The busy, huge household is part of my joy in life. I love that there is always something happening. So I know household isn’t my strong suite but hearts are so I do what I do.

Cinderella at Saenger

Hundreds of children filled the seats in the Saenger Theater to see “Cinderella”. For some it was their first time seeing a play. Mortimer the mouse and narrator interacted with the audience calling on them to play a version of “if you’re happy and you know it” before he told them of his version of “Cinderella”. It was such a simple and effective way to settle down these excited little ones.
The actors continued to engage their audience throughout the performance. Spotlights shone different colors and the disco ball spun all around keeping the attention of the young audience throughout the play.
“Awww,” was the sound heard when Cinderella entered the ball.
Cinderella lost her shoe at the ball and Prince Frederick swore every young lady should try on the shoe so he could find his love. Prince Frederick came into the audience for all the young ladies to try on the glass slipper.
Cinderella showed hurtful emotions when she spoke to Mortimer about falling in love and wondering why her Fairy Godmother would do such a thing to her. This was a twist not in Disney’s retelling of “Cinderella.”
Prince Frederick wanted to leave, however Mortimer involved the audience to help him persuade him to wait. The wait was worth it, soon Cinderella entered. Then Mortimer had the audience guess the ending.
After the show ending, the actors came out to meet and greet their young audience.

One of the stepsister greeting her audience and Prince Frederick

One of the stepsister greeting her audience and Prince Frederick