One S.M.A.R.T. Teacher Stephanie Umberger, from La Crosse, knows it doesn't have to take a lot of time or energy to create a fun theme in her S.M.A.R.T. program. The students in her 4K program love when she changes up the course by adding two or three themed items. This month, she has shapes in one Slap/Creep Track and hearts in a repeating color pattern in the other. While fun for her students, we think this is great way to increase the number of inputs of the shape!
Grandparents (& Aunties and Uncles!) love getting homemade Valentine’s and children love making them. Here are some fun S.M.A.R.T. Fine Motor ideas for you to try with your child at home. Utilizing your child’s fine motor muscles by requiring him/her to isolate his/her pointer finger and thumb strengthening these muscles which help with handwriting, buttoning, and zipping.
Mosiac Hearts have your child rip scraps of paper into small pieces, then glue them onto a page on which you have drawn a heart.
Pipe Cleaner Hearts have your child string several beads onto a pipe cleaner. Connect the two ends of the pipe cleaner together and twist to secure. Finally, bend the pipe cleaner into a heart shape. You can use Valentine colors if you like, but we love other variations too!
Happy Hearts have your child gather odds and ends from your craft area (feathers, beads, sequence, etc). Cut hearts out of construction paper or use foam hearts from the craft store. Using school glue, have you child adhere the items making a face onto the hearts.
S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K CORE Guide pages 42-43
S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide pages 61
We only have eyes for you! Or perhaps your students will when you add this fun vision tracker to your S.M.A.R.T. routine this February.
Download our heart maze template and print it onto card stock. Next, you can create a track by:
Once done (and dry in the case of glue) add a small ball or marble. Your students will track the ball as it rolls through the maze. Doing so will help to mature their vision system which will impact their reading skills. Who wouldn’t love that?
The Inspired Treehouse inspired us we hope you feel inspired too!
Heart Maze Vision Tracker (PDF)
S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K MORE Guide pages 64-65
S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide pages 149-150
First, think outside the box. Try allowing your child to lie on the floor while doing their homework. This position requires less focus and concentration of the balance system while also helping to provide information about where their body is in space. You may find this eliminates half of the battle.
Need to practice spelling words? How about jumping or hopping them out? Write a word on a personal-sized whiteboard and have your child jump up and down while saying each letter (one jump per letter). You could use this same approach with learning math facts. Research shows combining movement while learning increases the speed at which children learn!
Finally, consider alternate times of the day to accomplish the work. School days are packed with loads of learning. So, while sitting down right after school may seem to you like the best time to “get it done and over with”, your child’s brain may need to rest first. Some families even wait until the next morning before school to complete assignments.
Welcome back from winter break! We know getting back into the swing of things after the break can be a challenge. For some students the dramatic change in structure from being at home for a week or two and then back to school is difficult. It may appear as if they have forgotten everything you’ve taught in the first trimester of school and you may feel like you are back to square one.
Stay low, push off with your foot, and reach out with your arms. When I see a good gator I'm going to ring a bell.” Or “When you go to the Creep Track today, be sure to look at your hand as you slap the card gently. Say what you see as you slap it and go slowly. Slow is good on the Creep Track.”
You may even want to reteach these activities, just as you did at the beginning of the year. Have them sit down in an area. Go over each activity one at a time. Model for them the correct procedure and then have a student model the procedure. Finally, have everyone do the activity and be sure to give specific and positive feedback as the children do the activities. We know taking the time to refresh, review, and reteach will also help you and your students reinvest in the benefits of the S.M.A.R.T. Program.
S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K CORE Guide pages 33-34, 40-41, 47-49, and 50-53
S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide pages 36-37, 51-53, 66-68, and 69-71
Sneezing, sniffling, and coughing – sound familiar? Cold and flu season is upon us and the best way to stop the spread of these pesky germs is to wash your hands.
"It’s too cold to go outside." Most educators dread hearing the announcement regarding indoor recess but One S.M.A.R.T. Teacher, Karla, from Isanti uses her creativity to conquer the cold! When the weather won’t cooperate she brings her students upstairs and lets them Alligator Crawl under the pews. We think this is quite clever for a number of reasons! Alligator Crawling under the pews provides a physical boundary to keep them low, encourages them not to use their elbows, and allows them to get some purposeful stimulation on an otherwise sedentary day. Doing S.M.A.R.T. in a different space also helps keep her course fresh and interesting during the winter. Karla tells us her students at Heavenly Sunshine Preschool really enjoy doing large motor movements, especially in a space they would otherwise not be allowed to crawl around!
Post in the comments section the clever ways your students do S.M.A.R.T. activities!
We found one S.M.A.R.T. School in Eau Claire, WI! Prairie Ridge Early Learning School adds a visual above their vision trackers to help remind students to cover 1 eye, to cover the other eye, and then to trace using both eyes. We love this clever idea! Download a printable version below.
This free set of holiday trackers is our gift to you, enjoy! You will find we’ve used just three colors so your students will:
At the beginning and end of each line, add in academics to support the learning happening in your room. Examples: A connecting to a, 54 connecting to 50+4, etc.
Holiday treats abound this time of year and we have something sweet for you too! December’s Time Saving Tip is a candy cane template you can use as a Learning Ladder!
S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K MORE Guide pages 108-109
S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide pages 246-247 (note: you can use content beyond numbers)
Candy Cane Learning Ladder (PDF)