Today I have two very important things to share with you…a fabulous parent-teacher resource AND my Halloweensie Contest entry. (What is Halloweensie you ask? Please scroll to the second part of this post to find out.)
As a parent and educator, I’m always looking for ways to help kids develop a sense of self-worth. Honestly, this is one of the most critical tasks we have. Kids who respect themselves will also respect others. And when every child respects others, bullying in the schoolyards and playgrounds will disappear.
So when I found out that a friend of mine, author and long-time educator Barbara Gruener, had written a book called, “What’s Under Your Cape: Superheroes of the Character Kind” – I knew I had to tell everyone about it.
Right away in the introduction, I found a golden nugget – “Children aren’t born with good character – it develops over time. But they are hard-wired to learn, and their capacity for character is unlimited.”
Wait a minute…you mean we have to TEACH our kids things like respect and empathy and perseverance and unconditional love? You bet your sweet patootie we do. I’ll let you in on a little secret. As a new parent, even though I had been a kindergarten teacher for many years, I don’t think i truly understood that. I knew I needed to be a good role model and set rules and be consistent. But I didn’t realize that we need to teach this stuff…I kind of thought it would come naturally.
Fortunately, I guess I learned pretty quickly – but I sure wish that Barbara’s book had been around then – it would have given me concrete examples of projects to do and tools to use.
Parents have first crack at helping children build character, as well as teachers, daycare providers and other childcare facilitators. According to Barbara, “We must teach the values that we want woven into the DNA of our students’ lives through direct instruction, indirect modeling and daily reinforcement.” And this holds true for parents as well.
And what are those values? Barbara makes it easy to remember – as her book title implies, this is all about the SUPERHEROES our children can become – and her chapters (and the values) follow the letters that make up that word. A few of them are: Service, Unconditional Love, Perseverance, Empathy and Respect.
But when can educators, busy with curriculum requirements, and parents, busy with all of their responsibilities, do this? Barbara suggests that you ‘seize teachable moments throughout the day to infuse character development opportunities into your daily content.”
The book is filled with practical strategies for successfully helping children develop their superhero powers of character, using song and dance and laughter, role playing and journaling and art, school and community and global projects. Here’s an example: a student mentioned that she had taken up knitting and was really enjoying it. This blossomed into a knit-for-service project that the entire school became involved with. To date, the children have knitted and donated over 2000 caps for newborns in need. This project gained the notice of Save the Children who asked Barbara’s group to join the Caps for the Capital campaign. One of the students personally delivered some of the caps to the White House. When children become involved in activities that enable them to reach out and help others, their own characters grow by leaps and bounds!
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to help children build character. What’s under YOUR superhero’s cape?
To find out more about Barbara and her book, please visit her incredible blog, The Corner on Character.
And now, for another treat…it’s time for HALLOWEENSIE!!!!!
Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill, there will be many superheroes revealed over the next few days…writing superheroes, that is.
Every year, Susanna hosts several holiday writing contests. Halloweensie starts TODAY!
The rules are as follows: Write a children’s story of 100 words or less, include the words ‘broomstick’, ‘pumpkin’ and ‘creak’, post the story on your blog between Monday, October 27th and Friday, October 31st and then link it up OR copy and paste it into Susanna’s Monday, October 27th post. After the contest closes, Susanna and her judges will read all the stories and choose some as finalists. And then the VOTING starts and everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorite.
There are PRIZES GALORE and it is great fun to hop around to the other blogs to read these fantastic stories.
I’ve participated for a couple of years…here is my entry for this year. I hope you enjoy it!
A NIGHT OF FRIENDSHIP FOR MISS WITCH – Word Count: 98
Miss Witch had many things.
Big black hat
But no one to play with.
She stirred her pot.
POOF! A furry spider appeared and scurried off.
She waved her wand.
PLUNK! A coffin materialized. The cover creaked open.
A bony skeleton jumped out and rattled down the road.
She stuck her hand into her hat -
and pulled out a…
Miss Witch zipped over Persnickety’s Pumpkin Patch.
She zoomed through Wildebeest Woods.
She zig-zagged over Cinnabar City.
Down below, she spied little witches and princesses and superheroes Trick-or-Treating.
Here I come, friends!
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY LITTLE STORY – DON’T FORGET TO VISIT SUSANNA’S BLOG AND READ ALL OF THE WONDERFUL HALLOWEENSIE ENTRIES: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-4th-annual-halloweensie-writing.html
DID YOU KNOW THAT PIBOIDMO STARTED…YESTERDAY? IT’S TRUE THAT THE OFFICIAL START DATE IS NOVEMBER 1ST…BUT THERE IS A WHOLE WEEK OF PRE-PIBO POSTS – I KNOW MY WRITERLY FRIENDS DON’T WANT TO MISS ANY. IF YOU ARE ASKING – WHAT IS PIBOIDMO – PLEASE GO TO TARA LAZAR’S BLOG AND GET ALL THE DETAILS. 30+ DAYS OF INCREDIBLY INSPIRING POSTS AND AWESOME PRIZES – ALL FOR FREE! http://taralazar.com/2014/10/25/piboidmo-2014-registration-sign-up-here/
Today is Friday! And that means it’s time for a picture book review.
If you live or work with young children, there is a word that you probably hear very often. That word is…NO.
Written by Tracey Corderoy
Illustrated by Tim Warnes
Publisher: Little Tiger Press (2013)
Stubborness, self-control, socialization
“Otto was adorable. Everybody said so. Then Otto learned a brand-new word.”
“A new favorite word and a feeling of being in control lead a young rhino into several unsatisfying situations. Otto has expanded his vocabulary and learns to say “no” emphatically. He tries his new word out at home and at school. Though Otto lives in a loving household and attends a pleasant preschool, his parents and his teacher, a pink flamingo, are shocked by the toddler’s sudden negative attitude and stubbornness. Feeling powerful soon leads to Otto being excluded from many potentially enjoyable situations because he uses his new word indiscriminately. After a less than satisfying day at school, and with a hug and sympathy from his father, the youngster understands it is better to use that word sparingly.”
Why I like this book:
- Simple read-aloud
- Brightly colored illustrations with lots of action
- EVERY child and parent will be able to relate to this story
How a parent can use this book:
- Great read-aloud
- Talk about how ‘no’ is an important that should be used at certain times – when should we say no – when should we say yes
- Role-play with your child using the situations in the book – let your child think of other situations
Make a Rhino Face Mask
You will need: Construction paper, paper plate, scissors, markers, glue.
- You can go to http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/rhinoscraftsideasactivitieskids.html and print out the template of the rhino mask.
- Or you can use a paper plate and cut out the eyes, nostrils, ears and horn from construction paper and glue them on the plate.
- If you want it to be a mask, you can cut out the center of the eyes.
If you are looking for more great picture book suggestions, hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where you will find a bunch more hand-picked picture book reviews with activities for you and your child. If you are a mom, teacher or librarian, please check out Susanna’s amazing Perfect Picture Book page with over 1000 categorized picture book reviews and activities.
I hope you will be back on MONDAY for a SPECIAL HALLOWEEN POST!
I’ll be sharing my entry for Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie Contest (yes, there is still time for you to write a children’s story of 100 words or less) and I’ll also be posting a book review of Barbara Gruener’s What’s Under Your Cape, a marvelous resource for parents and teachers!
Today is Friday. TGIF for people who work during the week. And PPBF for those who love picture books. And National Diversity Awareness Month for EVERYONE!
The special book I’m featuring today is one that belongs on every diversity children’s book list. Through my parenting blog, I connected with the talented lady who wrote the song that the book is based on, Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. She travels all over the world, sharing beautiful music with children. Daria graciously agreed to answer a few questions about the importance of music in the lives of children.
Hello Daria! Thank you so much for stopping by. I know music is such an important part of your life.
Do you play an instrument?
Yes! I’ve been playing guitar and dulcimer since I was a little girl. When I was young I was part of the Bucks County Folk Music Society and the older folks there were really kind to young learners. That was where I learned a lot about folk music from lots of different cultures and began playing the dulcimer.
When did you realize that music was the path you wanted to follow?
I was a young child in the 60’s and loved protest music because it gave a voice to many issues I felt strongly about, such as working for peace and caring for the Earth. I discovered that writing a song was a way to be heard, to speak out and yet it was a positive, non-confrontational way to change hearts and minds. That was when I knew I wanted to make music as my life’s path!
Why do you use music with kids?
Although music in most modern cultures is mainly about entertainment, it is so much more in other cultures. I love using music as a way to listen, a way to teach and a way to encourage kids to understand the power of cooperation. When children are playing together – for instance on a pow-wow drum- they can hear and even feel how something special happens when everyone works together toward a goal! It’s a great life lesson!
How can parents and teachers encourage a love of music in children?
That’s simple! First of all they can relax and enjoy music with them. Share what they know and love with their kids. They can sing simple songs to them and if they feel shy about that, they can still tap or clap along as their child sings a song they love. They can share music from their culture of origin. Plus they can visit a library and discover new cd’s with their child or ask their librarian about “kid-friendly” concerts or music programs that are available in their community.
Is music a universal language?
Yes! Music IS a universal language. People may disagree over politics, geography and other important concerns but once we begin singing, dancing, cooking, eating or celebrating together, then the differences disappear. Music can touch hearts where mere words cannot – and that is a beautiful thing!
If you have never visited Daria’s website, please do go there…it is one of the BEST multicultural sites around…you will be in for a treat: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php.
AND GUESS WHAT? WHEN YOU GET THERE YOU CAN ENTER A RAFFLECOPTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF THIS PRECIOUS BOOK!
BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW WORLD
Book created by Suzee Ramirez and Lynne Raspet
Original lyrics by Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou
Publisher: Two Poppies (an imprint of Multicultural Kids, Inc. 2014)
Themes: Diversity, children
“Today I woke up to see…a beautiful rainbow world.
Won’t you dream along with me…a beautiful rainbow world.”
This is a photographic journey around the globe that shows us the beauty of children everywhere.
Why I like this book:
- Simple read-aloud or sing along text
- Incredible collection of photographs of children around the world
How a parent can use this book: Read the rest of this entry