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5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

National Thoughtfulness Day

Grade Levels: PreK through  Primary  Grades

Age Levels: 

  • PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)

National Thoughtfulness Day

August 28th is National Thoughtfulness Day and we thought this would be a perfect day to share with our readers as our kids head back to school.  Teaching kids to be thoughtful towards others is an important social skill, but there are other benefits as well.  For example, when we show thoughtfulness, it boosts our mood (consequently increasing happiness and decreasing depression), it can increase our feelings of self-worth, and it can strengthen our connections with others.  While some of our compassion may be innate, it is important that we model thoughtfulness and give children opportunities to practice thoughtful acts.  Below are some ideas for being thoughtful towards others as well as some books we recommend about thoughtfulness.

Acts of Thoughtfulness:

1.       Write a note to someone letting them know why you appreciate them. 

2.       Draw pictures or cards and drop them off for residents at a local nursing home.

3.       Make Thursdays “Thoughtful Thursdays” to set up a weekly practice of thoughtfulness.

4.       Make small handmade gifts for neighbors and leave them as a surprise at their door (my daughters used to love picking flowers and making a bouquet for our elderly neighbors).

5.       Compliment five people in one day.

6.       Read Megan Sheakoski’s list of 100 Acts of Kindness for Kids on her blog Coffee Cups and Crayons for lots of other great ideas.

Books: 

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

One of my favorite books about being thoughtful towards others is Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson.  I love this book as it shows a child’s missed opportunity to be thoughtful to another student in her class.  The ending really makes us think about how our actions can influence others.  The book is best for children in elementary school.

Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes

Another great book about a thoughtful act of a stranger is Lost and Found Cat, a true story about a family fleeing Iraq with their beloved cat.  This book is also best for children in elementary school.

Here is a Random House Kids interview with the author Amy and her story of finding Kunkush the cat.

Kindness is My Superpower by Alecia Ortego

Kindness is My Superpower is a book about being thoughtful that is geared towards younger children (Preschool-Elementary age).  The book presents kindness examples in a fun rhyming format. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” Margaret Mead

Let’s go out and teach our children to change the world!

Tags: 

  • Reading
  • Parent-led activity
  • Difficult conversations (The Lost and Found Cat book is about a refugee family fleeing their country)

Developer:

Karena Rush

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 08/25/2021 

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Teaching Your Child About Black History

For too long, Black History has been ignored and erased. While studying this important topic shouldn’t be contained to just one month, it does provide us with the opportunity to teach ourselves and our children about the many accomplishments and contributions that African Americans have made. Below are some valuable resources to assist you.  There are too many to review in just one day so we recommend exploring them throughout this month and beyond. 

To learn more about how Carter G. Woodson, also known as the “Father of Black History,” and the founder of  Black History Week (which later was expanded to Black History Month), see This Is How February Became Black History Month.

While Carter Woodson is one important figure, there are many more to explore.  PBS for Kids assures us that it’s never too early to begin Celebrating Black Leaders especially with young children.  Videos about Black leaders can be a great way to introduce these historical figures.  Nefertiti Autsin of PBS also gives suggestions for Teaching Children About Black History by providing a list of books celebrating Black culture and offering suggestions for exploring Black history through art

Black Artist: Jacob Lawrence 

Sangine Corrielus, for Parade Magazine, describes How To Talk To Your Kids About Black History Month—And 25 Ways To Honor It. Specifically, she shares several resources such as a list of activities that you can do with your kids including: 1) visiting a museum (For Virtual Options See: Can’t Travel? These Places Are Bringing Black History to You), 2) writing letters to a favorite historical person (See: Famous African Americans and Important Black Women in American History), or 3) creating an “I have a dream” mobile that depicts what the world would be like without racism, to name a few.  She also shares a great website for the Conscious Kid, an organization that aims to promote healthy racial identity development for children and youth.

Amanda Williams suggests that you Celebrate Black History Month by Educating Your Kids & Yourself. Williams provides several steps to accomplish this by: 1) explaining why Black History is important, 2) reading up on diversity, 3) watching history together, 4) inviting kids to listen to inspiring Black musical artists, 5) teaching kids about Black icons, and 6) exploring additional sites such as: 

The National Museum of African American History & Culture

National Archives

The 1619 Project

African American Museum in Philadelphia

Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum

11 surprising Black History Facts to Teach your Kids

Elizabeth Cecil @ Pixabay

Whether you are celebrating your own heritage or not, it is important for you and your family to have a better understanding of our shared history. In summary, African American history is American history. To learn more, you don’t have to do it all, just start small, and pick an activity or idea that you and your child will enjoy most. 

Tags: 

  • Current events
  • Difficult conversations
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Social studies

Grade Levels: Pre-K through High School

Age Levels: Choose from this list. Delete those that do NOT apply. 

  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 02/17/2021

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Recognizing a Leader 

MLK’s day of recognition was this week. It was made a holiday in 1983 under President Reagan to recognize his leadership during the civil rights movement and honor his life since his assassination in 1968. It is important for children to learn about MLK and his life. This video, titled: The Man Who Changed America  by Scholastic News, described him, his life, and his work (Note: This film is particularly aimed at Grades 3-5).

Martin Luther King , Jr. was a Baptist Minister and social justice advocate. Yet, according to Millner writing for Scholastic News, Kids are Missing a Crucial Piece of History related to MLK. It is important as PBS author, Lindsey Pruett-Hornbaker, shares that we focus on Honoring the True Meaning of Martin Luther King Day.

How to Discuss Hopes and Dreams

His famous words “I have a dream” are reiterated in many schools at this time of year. However, do we talk about them at home? How can we address this pertinent subject with our children? What can we do to recognize the surmountable importance of these words and help the words resonate with them? 

This recognition matters more today than ever before, as we see the ongoing struggle for racial equality.  Murphy  outlines several things you can do with children to celebrate this great man in her blog titled: How to Explain Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to Kids Including:

  1. Read a Book (See: PBS for Parents: Books for Martin Luther King Day )
  2. Watch a Film (e.g.,  MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech)
  3. Discuss Hopes and Dreams (See below)
  4. Volunteer (See: Americorps MLK Day )
  5. Do an Art Project (See: Creative Child: Ten Martin Luther King Day Crafts and Fifteen MLK Art Projects Kids Can Do)
  6. Attend an Event in Person or Virtually (See:  The King Center: King Holiday)

As you consider all the ideas discussed here, we hope you can take some time this week to reflect on your own hopes and dreams for a brighter future. 

Grade Levels: K-12 

Age Levels: 

  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Tags: 

  • Art, Current Events, Difficult Conversations, Problem-Solving, Race, Racism, Writing

Developer:

Lauren McNeely and Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 01/18/2021

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Birth-36 months (infant/toddler) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Talking with kids about violence in the Capitol

The attack on Washington, DC has challenged families once again to consider how to discuss a difficult topic with their children. There are many resources and articles out there that can help. 

Key Takeaways from the National Education Association’s article titled Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol include: 

  1. Violence at the U.S. Capitol is an attack on our country and on our democratic institutions.
  2. Most children are aware of more than we realize. 
  3. Continuing that discussion is critically important in this moment.

Caroline Norr, Editor for Common Sense Media, outlines Explaining the News to Our Kids and recommends that you consider the child’s age as a key to how to discuss current events with your child. She also suggests:

  • assure kids that they are safe
  • limit news intake
  • remember your own actions and responses
  • consider taking some positive action to help (if possible)
  • talk, talk, talk with your kids about the situation
  • check-in with your kids, asking questions and listening
  • let kids express themselves

Dr. Neha Chaudhary, double board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, provides Ten Tips for Talking with Kids About the Attack on the U.S. Capitol, including: 1) give your child space to talk, 2) limit media exposure based on the age of your child,3) reassure them they are safe, 4) be transparent and honest, 5) talk about bad actions not bad people, 6) highlight the helpers, 7) name your feelings, 8) keep you own feelings in check, 9) teach healthy coping skills, and 10) use this as a springboard for other tough conversations. 

Dr. Karen Aronian, former New York City teacher, discusses several useful ideas and shares helpful resources in her video titled: How to Talk with Kids About the Assault on the Capitol. Citing reputable sources, some of her suggestions include:

  1. Partner with the schools and teachers.
  2. Help children name their feelings.
  3. Discuss what civil discourse means and model it.
  4. Model what we are going to do to bring it forward.
  5. Be careful with language and actions in the home.
  6. Drawings are a great way for children to process what they are going through.
  7. Don’t make assumptions about what kids know. Ask them broad questions to help you learn what they do know (Child Mind Institute).
  8. Make time to talk, review safety procedures, and maintain a normal routine (National Association for School Psychologists).
  9. Listen and check-in.
  10. Don’t deliver too much information. 
  11. Limit media-don’t have television and radio constantly on play.
  12. Monitor, filter sources and think about what you are sharing with them.
  13. Deliver factual information.
  14. Check-in with kids on a regular basis.

These are but a few of the useful resources out there and one thing we can recommend is to trust yourself and your child to get through this difficult time together. We will work hard to continue to support you and your family, too.

Developer

Beth Powers

Tags

Current Events, Difficult Conversations, Social-Emotional Learning

Ages

Birth – 36 months (Infant-Toddler)

3-5 years (Preschool)

5-6 years (Kindergarten)

6-8 years (Primary)

9-11 years (Elementary)

11-14 years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 01/13/2021