Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The ABCs of Thrifty Teaching Tools: U to Z

Thrifty Teaching Tools with 60+ Kid Network Bloggers
U to Z
This is Part 5 in my series of the ABCs of Thrifty Teaching Tools. Click here for A to E, F to J, K to O and P to T.

U -
Items for Activities, Alphabet Boxes and Blocked Letters: umbrella, upstairs, under, unplug, upcycle, unicorns, utensils, United States. up.

from The Golden Gleam
UPCYCLED Mural from Rainbows within Reach

V –
Items for Activities, Alphabet Boxes and Blocked Letters: Vegetables, vehicles, visual learning, volunteers, volcano, values, vocabulary.

Venn Diagrams are a wonderful way for children to learn sorting by overlaying two hola hoops. Older children can learn the concept of similar/different. A great series of books for diagramming are Laura Numeroff's books. Write the names of the books being compared and contrasted above circles A & B. In the middle, write what is the same or what is different.

      Young children, especially those with special needs, are helped with visual learning tools: 
Rainbows within Reach
W -      Items for Activities, Alphabet Boxes and Blocked Letters: Worms, wheels, winter, witch, windsock, wash, water, watermelon, water balloons, windows, weave, whiteboards, wheat, wish, wish list, writing, wiggle, wigwam, wonder, wander, week, wig, weather, who, what, where, when, why.
What's the Weather Got to Do with It?
Window Writers bought for $.83 at 75% off sale
Frosty Writing Practice
Growing a Jeweled Rose
Why Play with Worms?
  • Children find worms fascinating. Truly, they do. My kindergarten class once won first place in their grade level for an experiment using worms. Sure, some of the girls screamed, giggled, and fretted but then they became engrossed in learning and playing with worms. What was our experiment? What kind of dirt do worms prefer: Texas clay soil, dino dirt from the recycling plant or potting soil? Let me save you from doing the experiment three times and counting the worms (to make it a valid experiment). They prefer dino dirt – nice moist composted dino dirt.
  • Young children learn using their five senses and movement. I’m not recommending they eat a worm – but they would love to watch it and touch it. Do you know worms cannot hear or see? But they are very good at movement and eating our leftovers.
  • Worms help our environment. They are nature’s way of composting naturally. Children would enjoy learning how worms are good for the environment, their habitats, from where to order live wiggling worms, and more about their job as decomposers. They even help with recycling, which helps other critters.
  • Worms are outside – in nature. Playing outside helps prevent obesity, helps children form friendships and helps children get enough vitamin D which is increasingly lacking. It is so much better for children than watching too much television or playing so long at electronic games – where no human interaction or creativity is needed.
  • Worms are interesting: They bring air to the soil by tunneling in the dirt, they are vegetarians, if cut in half – only the part that has the head will live, more than 3,000 species of earthworms exist in the world, they are cold-blooded and made up of 80% water, they live 3-4 years typically but some have lived fifteen years. They are amazing helpful wiggly worms. 
 X -      Items for Activities, Alphabet Boxes and Blocked Letters: X-rays, xyphones,  eXplore, eXperiment, eXplain, eXchange (share materials and resources), eXpedite (ask for volunteer help).
Make a Craft Stick Xylophone
Y -      Items for Activities, Alphabet Boxes and Blocked Letters: Yo-yos, yogurt, yard, yams, yuk, yucky.        Z -      Items for Activities, Alphabet Boxes and Blocked Letters: Zippers, zebra, and zoo. Going to the zoo does cost money, but there are ways to make the experience more educational:
Wildlife Fun 4 Kids
  • Thrifty Teaching Tools: A to E   
  • Thrifty Teaching Tools: F to J 
  • Thrifty Teaching Tools: K to O
  • Thrifty Teaching Tools: P to T
Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Would you like to help your preschooler prepare for kindergarten? Read a mom's dilemmas with a teacher's advice and child development explanations in The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. These bestsellers make great gifts and are also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The eBooks are only $3.99.

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  1. I love doing Venn Diagrams with preschool students. There are so many concepts to be learned.

  2. Thank you Brenna. Love your blog. Thanks for visiting.

  3. This was a great series, Susan! I'll be returning to it often as a great resource for ideas and inspiration. Love that up-cycled mural from Rainbows Within Reach :)

    1. Thank you so much Amie for visiting. Yes, that upcycled mural is amazing.

  4. This is wonderful!! I just found you through the Sunday Showcase and I am so glad I did!! I am homeschooling my 3 1/2 year old daughter and was doing preschool with her, but regular preschool work bores her because she already knows the alphabet, letter and number recognition, letter sounds, colors, shapes and needed more challenge, so I have started her on kindergarten work but still throw in a few preschool activities and lessons that she really enjoyed. She has done much better through her first week doing kindergarten, so I'm hoping that continues. I look forward to reading through your blog and gaining insight and learning to teach her all I can. :) Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Sounds like you are traveling down a great road. We homeschooled our daughter after elementary and it was wonderful for us as a family.

  5. What a great list - just shows great ideas don't have to be expensive!

    Thanks for linking to the Sunday Showcase. I've pinned this to our board.


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