Thursday, January 31, 2008

The importance of creativity for our children

This is long, but it is sooooo powerful!

It will really make you stop and think about the way we teach our children, and how important creativity least, it made me stop and think.

I hope you'll take 15 minutes to watch it.



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The connection between counting and reading

Pointing and counting.

I learned an interesting thing when Analisa was in kindergarten.....there is a direct correlation between math and reading.

I wish I could tell you the exact terminology (and perhaps if there is a teacher reading this, you can fill me in!), but Analisa's kindergarten teacher explained to me at a teacher conference that Analisa was struggling with what I think she called one-on-one correlation.

In other words, if you were to place 10 pennies down on the table, and ask Analisa to point to them one at a time as she counted them, she would come up with 12 pennies, or 13 pennies, or any other number. Her counting was not in time with her pointing. She was saying the words 1-2-3-4-5 in the correct order.... and she was pointing to the pennies; however, the timing was off. She would be saying the number 3 while her finger was in the air between pennies, or the number 5 while her finger was in the air between pennies.

I thought she was just uncoordinated, but her kindergarten teacher explained to me that this ability to count and point is a basic building block in learning to read. Amazing!!

She stressed that it was VERY important that we practice this basic skill.

Analisa is now in 3rd grade, and has officially been tested and found to be "learning disabled" in both math and reading. I don't know if we didn't practice enough, or if this is just a skill that Analisa was unable to grasp.

In any event, I'm taking the information I learned from Analisa's kindergarten teacher and hoping to help 3-year old Luke become proficient at this important skill. When we read our books every day, I always ask him questions about the pictures he sees. Now that he's grasping the concept of "how many?" I ask him on many of the pages that we read "How many _______ do you see?" and then we POINT and COUNT the butterflies, or the chickens, or the apples, or whatever.

I hope this will help him later as he learns to the meantime, it's just another way to make our reading time more interactive, so it's something we both enjoy anyway!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We love personalized books!

Shortly before Christmas, Luke was the fortunate recipient of a personalized book from Aardvark Adventure Stories ( This isn't your typical personalized book, where your child's name is scattered throughout the story; this is a custom-designed story book featuring your child!
I first selected a story line from the many available at the website. Since 3-year old Luke is currently torn between being a race car driver or being a baseball player when he grows up, it was a difficult choice, but we decided on Zoom Zoom Zoom! (subtitled even!!! "Let's Go Zooming with Luke John Pallardy").
In this sturdy, hardback, brightly colored book (that even includes a front page bio), Luke is personally involved in a variety of adventures involving race cars, cranes, boats, helicopters, spaceships, trains, submarines, and more!
The book is LONG! (over 30 pages!) and I think my favorite part is that I was able to submit several of my favorite photos, and the creative geniuses at Aardvark incorporated the various photos and facial expressions into the story in a way that makes them look like Luke was there for a photo shoot for this exact story!
I wish I'd received it earlier so I could have told everyone I know about it in time for Christmas shopping, but with Valentines Day and Easter approaching, this is definitely a fantastic gift idea that any child will love and cherish (and it's such superb quality, I can imagine Luke keeping this book forever, and even reading it to HIS child some day....).
You'll want to bookmark this site!
A custom sweatshirt featuring your child's artwork is the perfect Valentine's Day Gift for Grandma!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

L is for "Luke"

Now that the holidays are over, Luke and I are busy working on letter recognition. Naturally, we chose to start with the letter "L."

As we read books every day before nap time for the past few days, every time I see a capital "L" in a book, I point it out to Luke, and then say, "L is for Luke! and L is for Lisa!"

We were at the grocery store today, and saw lots of Ls on labels and signs (lemons and lettuce and lemonade).

While I don't think Luke quite yet understands the sound of L, he's learning what L looks like.

Our plan is to take one letter at a time, beginning with the first sound of the names of all our family members --- with 5 siblings, that will take up quite a bit of the alphabet, and keep us busy for quite a few weeks!

Are your kids CRAZY for Webkinz? Check out my line of "I love Webkinz" t-shirts for kids at You send me a photo of your child's favorite Webkinz, and I'll put it on a t-shirt or sweatshirt for you!