I’m thrilled that you are visiting our site. I feel like I’ve been a teacher since I was about six years old as I was one of those children who spent much of her childhood role-playing and setting up fun classrooms at home for siblings and friends. Now it’s more than 50 years later and here I am trying to connect to families and teachers with a broader reach using the internet – something that didn’t even exist when I was a child. Most of my professional training and experience has been in the fields of Pre-K to Grade 12 Technology & Engineering Education, including Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) Education. I firmly believe in and practice the “learning by doing” approach and I’m elated to have this new opportunity to work with children and families on the Connection Spot team.
- Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education, Illinois State University
- Master of Science in Technology Education, Eastern Illinois University
- Doctorate in Vocational & Technical Education, Virginia Tech
VisitPBS Learning Media to gain access to abundant resources to support your children from preschool through high school. The site is easily searchable by grade level or subject. You will find amazing videos, interactive lessons, and printable activities on every topic imaginable from social-emotional development, school subjects (i.e., English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies), World Languages, and more. Help your children expand their knowledge and motivate them to learn more through these curated resources available through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). (NOTE: This review pertains to the web site as a whole, not individual content posted there.)
VisitPeep and the Big Wide World to learn about this free at-home science program for families of preschool children. This program is produced by WGBH and 9 Story Entertainment in association with TVOntario. It’s high-quality educational programming for your children. Choose the parent link at the top of the page and you’ll have access to helpful videos and activities related to this program. Be sure to watch the 30-second introductory video called, Encouraging Curiosity. This web site is available in English and Spanish.
Description: After listening to a story about kindness, children will talk about the story and then solve a hands-on design problem related to it. Children will use simple at-home materials to create their solution to the problem.
What tools and materials do I need?
Computer & internet connection to listen to read-aloud story
Assorted art and craft supplies (e.g., paper, crayons or markers, glue, tape)
Simple office supplies (e.g., rubber bands, paper clips, stapler)
One piece of whole fruit (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or vegetable (i.e., tomato, cucumber, zucchini) or flower “gift” per child [see design challenge in step 3]
What should I do?
Listen to the read-aloudof the storybook, Be Kind, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill. Children will learn how to show kindness to others by seeing the many ways that it is demonstrated in the story.
Talk about the story. Share examples of how kindness can be shown in your family or community. Help the children recognize how they have shown kindness. Can they think of times when someone didn’t show kindness? How did it make them feel?
Present the children with the following problem. Modify it as desired to better connect to your family, friends, or neighbors. Change the gift item to whatever you have available (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or some flowers or a vegetable from your garden. If the child is capable of making a decision, offer several options and let him/her pick. For example, “What do you think Mrs. Diaz might like better — an apple or a banana or a flower?”
Making gifts for others is a way to show kindness. I know a friend who really likes apples. She is sick. How can we hang an apple on her doorknob to let her know we care about her?
Provide the children with assorted materials to design their solutions. They should creatively design a new product, not simply use an existing object as is (e.g., put the apple in a shopping bag or a flower in a vase). Encourage them to modify the materials they have to make a special gift. Having to think about how to hang it on a doorknob offers a unique engineering challenge that requires some additional problem-solving.
Pose questions as the children solve the problem. Help them to think through the problem and come up with their best working solution. For example:
How can you attach it to the doorknob?
What would make the part stronger?
Is it the right size for the fruit, vegetable, or flower being used as a gift? Is it too big or too small? How can you fix that?
How will she know who put it there?
Deliver the gift to the friend when finished. Try to hang it on his/her doorknob. If it doesn’t work as intended, ask the child to modify the design or consider an alternative place to put it. Discuss how it felt to show kindness to another person.