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Gratitude for Kids

Gratitude Attitude Website Campaign Banner –  Male hands  cradling female cupped hands on a wide warm dark multicolored background with a GRATITUDE word cloud

Leah Zabari

Cold weather creeps up, leaves begin to change, and pumpkin everything enters the stores. This is my favorite time of year when I get to decorate with pumpkins, cornstalks, and hay bales and when holidays like Sukkot and Thanksgiving leave my heart full of gratitude for friends and family. The Fall season always reminds me that all too often during the year I forget to stop, take a breath, and give thanks. As a parent and teacher, it’s my goal to model gratefulness in my daily life and teach my children how to express their gratitude throughout the year- not just remembering to do so around the holidays. Here are some ways I incorporated thankful spirits and grateful hearts in my classroom (and in my home):

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Birdwatching with Children

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By Angel Avery-Wright

One of my closest friends bought me a bird feeder for Christmas. I thought she was crazy. I do not watch birds, let alone feed them. It took me years to finally put it up. Something amazing happened. I discovered I have over 20 species of birds living in my neighborhood. I had no idea.

I now have 9 feeders between my porch and my back yard. I have three different species of woodpeckers visiting my feeders. I see cardinals and blue jays (easy to spot) but also grey catbirds, grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice and so many others. Some birds I see every day. Some I only see once a season. I had a hummingbird last year but only my husband got to see it.

I have seen baby woodpeckers being fed by their mother at my feeder. I have heard baby starlings yelling at their mom for more food. Nuthatches are the only bird that hang upside down when they eat. They are fascinating to watch.

Things to know and share:

  1. Not all birds migrate. Many of the birds local to the Lehigh Valley stay all year long. Titmice, chickadees, Juncos, Cardinals are just a few of the birds that stay. Robins, hummingbirds, and orioles migrate. Robins are one of the first signs of spring. And often people will say that the birds have returned. (Be careful, many birds never left).
  2. Where to start. Get a field guide that represents the birds in your area to use for identification. This way you will have an idea of what birds you may be able to attract. House finches and house sparrows are easy to find and look similar at first glance, but their markings are different.
  3. Where to see birds: Start with the backyard, playground, even city sidewalks, whatever is closest and available to observe birds.
  4. How to attract birds: Did you know that robins eat many other foods besides worms? Dried mealy worms are a good source of protein for birds in the winter. Different birds are attracted to different kinds of foods and some to different colors. Hibiscus plants are great for attracting hummingbirds and orange peels will attract orioles. Catbirds and woodpeckers love jelly. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, and many other types of seeds will bring different birds.
  5. Keep in mind that if you put up a feeder, the type of feeder as well as what is in it, will determine which birds will visit. So, if you are looking to attract a specific bird, investigate what type of feeders first. Finches like small perches and cardinals prefer black sunflower seeds.
  6. Bird feeding is a commitment. Feeders need to be kept clean and filled. Birds will regularly return to feeders that are kept full. If it is empty too long, they will look elsewhere.

Activities:

  • Clear plastic feeders that can be hung on the outside of windows will attract birds and make it very easy for children to observe.
  • Scavenger hunts give children the opportunity to listen to bird sounds, look for birds, and look for signs of birds such as nests, eggs, feathers, etc. Birds can be found anywhere and everywhere. Large birds such as herons and egrets will be near small streams. Hawks, vultures, and other raptors can be seen flying. These birds like to fly when it’s warmest.
  • Binoculars are a great way to search for and observe birds, but they are not easy for young children to use. I even found a wild turkey in my backyard and hawk hunting for small birds. You just never know what will show up.

Below are some additional resources for bird watching with children:
Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding
Birding with Children
Birdwatching With Children
Get to Know Birds

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ECERS-3ECERS-RFCCERS-RITERS-RK-3 CLASSPre-K CLASS

Living a Lefty Life

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By Kelli Harris 

I am left-handed and according to my parents, I almost failed Kindergarten because of it. As a four-year-old in half day morning Kindergarten back in the mid 70’s, I was given those dreaded green handled scissors and I could not cut with them. (I still can’t to this day.) Apparently at my parent-teacher conference that year, the teacher explained that I was inept in cutting. My parents were confused as I could cut just fine at home. At home, I didn’t have special scissors. My parents were both right-handed and I cut with their scissors. Luckily, for me, I was re-tested, allowed to use the “regular” scissors, and passed Kindergarten. These days, left-handedness is more widely accepted, but still rare. Read more.

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Happy Mud Day

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By Jada Avery

 

Handprints, sculptures, target practice, roads, and even kitchens; it is incredible just how many things one can create using mud. After reading one of NAEYC’s Teaching Young Children magazines, I became obsessed with the idea of mud play. I even learned that there is a National Mud Day on June 29th!

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ECERS-3ECERS-RK-3 CLASSPre-K CLASSSACERS-UToddler CLASS

Conversation is a Two-way Street

arrow on road

Michelle Long

Living with a teenager I sometimes forgot what a real conversation was like. I would ask, “How was your day?” I got, “Good.” I asked, “What are your plans?” I got, “I dunno.” I asked, “Will you help me with…?” I got, “Whatever.” All of my years of training and experience had taught me to ask the who, what, when, where, how, and why questions to get longer more complex answers. I used to have wonderful, in-depth, creative, imaginative conversations; however, I was not prepared for the hiatus that would occur during the teenage years. It takes two people to have a conversation. Although two people may be present and talking, a conversation does not occur unless there is a back and forth exchange in which information and ideas are shared.

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Spring Delicious Nutritious Snacks for Kids

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Regina Wright

Plan Do Review: Spring has Sprung and during the springtime we like to enhance our ways of keeping children hydrated. Below are a few quick nutritious delicious snacks that can also include educational opportunities to talk about math concepts, shapes and colors, textures as well as familiar springtime themes like rainbows, insects and the weather.

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ECERS-3ECERS-RFCCERS-RK-3 CLASSPre-K CLASS

Happy Earth Day!

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Kelli Harris

What exactly is Earth Day? The first Earth Day occurred in 1970, after a U.S. Senator saw the impact of an oil spill in California. Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd and this year marks the 50th Anniversary. It is about raising awareness of the importance of protecting our planet and taking action to do so, focusing on promoting clean living and healthy habitats for people and animals. Each year, more than a billion people observe Earth Day.

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Making Trail Mix with Children

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Megan Pittsinger

Are you tired of the rainy, snowy, freezing days that are keeping us in? Are you wondering what kind of fun activities you can do inside to keep the children busy and interested? Why not try a fun trail mix recipe that will not only provide a delicious snack when you are finished, but will also teach the children about nutrition, simple food preparation, math, and working with a team!

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