Posted by ldsA
What can we do about Strep?
It’s a common complaint, “Mom, my throat hurts.”
But how do parents know if it’s simply a virus or something more, like strep throat?
“Group A streptococcus, or strep throat, is the cause of a sore throat in about three out of every 10 children,” says Josephine Dlugopolski-Gach, pediatrician at Loyola University Health System. “The difficult part is that strep doesn’t always present in the same way and some strep carriers are asymptomatic.”
Many schools are seeing outbreaks of strep throat. Some students are even being infected multiple times because “you don’t become immune to this infection so you can get it over and over again,” Dlugopolski-Gach says.
If your child is sick, it is important to keep them at home.
“If they are diagnosed with strep a child needs to be on an antibiotic and without a fever for 24 hours before going back to school,” Dlugopolski-Gach says.
Some common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Fever over 101º F
- Severe sore throat
- Pain when swallowing
- Swollen tonsils and lymph nodes
- White or yellow spots on the back of a bright red throat
Other possible symptoms are:
- Belly pain
- Not feeling hungry
- Body aches
- Red skin rash
It’s unlikely that your child will get all of these symptoms. Dluglopolski-Gach says one good indicator that they may have strep is if they have recently come into contact with someone with strep, but the only way to know for sure is to visit your doctor.
“A simple test in the office is all that is needed to determine if the infection is viral or strep throat,” says Dluglopolski-Gach.
Jackie is the digital content manager at Chicago Parent. She lives in Chicago with her daughter and husband.
Posted by ldsA
By Jessica Kelmon , Leslie Crawford
If learning to read is like building a skyscraper, then kindergarten is the year to construct the most solid reading foundation possible. As part of that foundation, kindergartners will be working on the five pillars of reading: understanding the relationship between sounds and words (phonetics), reading fluently, understanding what they read, expanding vocabulary, and building knowledge.
Here is what your kindergartner will be learning this year to ensure the foundation is in place to become a successful reader and student.
All about the alphabet
Fortunately, kindergartners don’t need to learn how to say the alphabet backwards, like Mary Poppins singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” in reverse. Even so, under the Common Core Standards kindergartners are being asked to master the alphabet far beyond singing the ABCs. They need to develop a deep understanding of what the alphabet does: that it’s the code for so much of the communicating and comprehending they’ll do for the rest of their lives.
This year they’ll be launching into the world of what educators call “decoding,” the double whammy of phonic awareness and word recognition. By the end of the school year, kindergartners are expected to come away with a solid understanding of alphabet basics — not only familiarity with each letter but knowing that these letters come together to make words.
Kindergartners need to recognize all 26 lowercase and uppercase letters — as well as their sounds. Your child also needs to understand the five major vowels’ long sounds (the a in ape, or the e in feet) and short sounds (the a in apple, or the e in elephant). They should be able to identify which letters are different in similar words (e.g. map, lap, tap). They should also know that spoken words represent a sequence of letters.
Right to left, up to down, front to back
It all seems so obvious by the time you’ve learned to read, but to a new reader, some of the most basic reading rules — starting at the top of the page and going downwards, reading from left to right, and page by page — require explicit instructions and explanations.
Kindergartners even need to realize that words are separated by spaces. By the end of the year, students also need to become familiar with parts of a book, such as the front cover, the back cover, and the title page. Under the Common Core, this knowledge of book components gradually increases with each grade.
Word sense and rhymes
Phonological awareness. It sounds important, but what does it really mean? A predictor of later reading ability, phonological awareness is an understanding of what’s referred to as the sound structure of spoken words. While this may sound like pretty dry stuff, it’s actually where a lot of the fun in learning to read comes in. Either consciously or not, grown-ups help new readers master this serious skill with silly word play — be it with Mother Goose rhymes (e.g. Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle…) or Dr. Seuss classics like The Cat in the Hat.
This kind of word play, including tongue twisters, helps a kindergartner understand how words are broken into individual syllables (e.g. Sim-ple Si-mon) and how words with similar endings rhyme (e.g. me, he, she; splat, cat, rat). The more exposure kindergartners get to how syllables and words work together in spoken and written language, the more they’ll build their word knowledge. They’ll be able to ask and answer questions about unknown words, or presto!, figure them out from the context.
By the end of kindergarten, children are expected to read dozens of three-letter words, known in educational vernacular as “CVC” (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. Being able to read these basic, often rhyming, words (e.g. pen/hen, pot/hot, bed/red) will give your kindergartner the confidence to build up reading vocabulary in grades to come.
All year long, kindergartners are working on what’s known as “decoding” skills — deciphering the meanings of words and phrases within the context of what they’re reading. And when your child asks you to read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! over and over (and over) again? Take heart! Your clever kindergartner is practicing decoding without even knowing it! (To get your child hooked on another book, here are some other read aloud favorites.)
This year, student are being asked to figure out new meanings for familiar words (e.g. that duckis a bird, but that to duck means something different). Kindergartners are also becoming familiar with common inflections and affixes (small parts of words added to a root word, such as -s, re-, un-, -ed, pre-, -ful, -less) as clues to the meaning of new words. So by knowing, say,color, they can figure out how to read and understand colors and colorful.
Finally, with the help of adults, kindergartners are learning to make connections between words and their nuances, so they can sort them into categories (e.g. shapes and colors) and figure out antonyms, a fancy way of saying opposites (e.g. open/close, hot/cold). This year, they’ll even be deciphering shades of meaning between words. Tip: Have your child act out similar words. What does it look like to march, strut, walk, and stroll? What does it look like to cry, sob, and howl?
Mastering sight words
According to the Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists, about half of all reading texts are made up of the same 100 words! Here’s something even more remarkable about these wonder words: most kindergartners will know all of them by the end of the year. To that end, many kindergarten teachers will send their students home with lists of these common sight words (e.g. at, be, of,and, to). Often, these sight words can’t be easily sounded out or illustrated with a text, so through repetition students learn to recognize and spell these oft-used words. Tip: Word lists are perfect for the refrigerator, where you can playfully quiz your kindergartner before dinnertime.
For kindergartners, along with the simpler words like he, she, for, in, and that, they’ll learn tougher ones like down, about, only, and another. When it comes to sight words, memorization is key, since using phonics or decoding skills don’t often work for these short, common, but often oddly spelled words. (How does one sound out “the” anyway?)
Exploring fiction and nonfiction
While reading with your child, start asking: is this real or imaginary? A priority under the Common Core Standards is to make sure children — even kindergartners — get equally comfortable reading fiction and nonfiction. This doesn’t mean kindergarten classics like Where the Wild Things Are and Curious George are being shelved, just that your child should encounter nonfiction, too.
According to the Common Core, the goal is for kindergartners to split their time between stories and information (think dinosaurs, trees, and starfish) while learning the differences between the two types of text. By the end of kindergarten, your child should be able to recognize stories and poems, and find the name of a book’s author and illustrator with the understanding that the author wrote the words and the illustrator drew the pictures — whether the book is a true story or a truly wonderful tale.
Building a knowledge bank
We read to spark our imaginations, to experience new adventures, to learn about the world. All are synonymous with reading to gain knowledge. Common Core emphasizes the idea that being a good reader is more than reading the text in front of them; even kindergartners need grow their understanding of the world by integrating new information into what they already know. Think of it as your kindergartner opening a knowledge bank account and filling it with accumulated information.
Key skills that will help your kindergartner build knowledge include being able to retell familiar stories; identify characters, setting, and major events in a story; compare and contrast characters and events in different stories; describe how two people, events, ideas, or facts are connected; talk about the similarities and differences between two books on the same topic; and engage in group reading activities by listening and asking and answering questions.
What does this sound like? It’s your 5-year-old explaining that Harold in Harold and the Purple Crayon had an amazing adventure because of what he imagined. It’s your T-rex lover understanding dinosaurs were real, but now don’t exist. The key is getting kindergartners understanding and thinking about the big ideas they learn when they read — and taking that information with them as they grow.
Show me the evidence!
“Read like a detective, write like an investigative reporter” is how David Coleman, one of the principal architects of the Common Core, explains the emphasis on evidence. In kindergarten, this really just means finding — and literally pointing to — answers to questions. To answer “How did The Man with the Yellow Hat first spot Curious George?”, your child could show evidence by flipping through the pages and finding the words — or the picture of the scene. (Tip: “Reading” pictures is a great sign of your kindergartner’s reading progress).
Your child’s teacher will emphasize evidence in different ways this year, but the main skills are:
• Asking and answering questions about details in books and showing exactly where those answers show up in the text or illustrations;
• Being able to discern a book’s main point and using the text or images to show how the author makes this point;
• Connect a book’s illustrations to the exact words they illustrate.
Want to make this kinder-friendly (and fun)? Dress up like a detective (or spy!) when yo and your child are searching for evidence.
Article by www.greatschools.org.
Posted by ldsA
Today we feature a post from guest bloggers Hedy N. Chang, director of Attendance Counts, and Louise Wiener, president of the Leadership and Learning in Families.
One of the biggest myths affecting the education of young children is the mistaken belief that kindergarten or pre-school is just an add-on – that it doesn’t really matter that much if children skip a bunch of days or arrive perpetually late. But, poor attendance and tardiness are real issues even for young children and can hamper their ability to learn.
A 2008 report, Present, Engaged & Accounted For, released by the National Center for Children in Poverty, has borne out what many of us already saw as common sense, namely that children don’t learn if they’re not in school. This starts early: Too many absences in kindergarten pull down achievement in first grade; for low-income students who don’t have the resources to make up for time on task, the effects of these early absences appear to be long lasting.
Nationwide, nearly one in 10 kindergarten students misses a month of school through a combination of excused and unexcused absences every year, according to research in the 2008 report.
Data on tardiness is more limited but equally startling in terms of habit development. A nationwide survey of Head Start programs indicates that in half of the classrooms, three to six children arrive late every week (there’s a maximum of 18 per classroom). This is true across programs of all sizes in all types of communities: urban, suburban and rural. This tardiness also has an adverse impact on the educational experience. It is a problem, for example, when a child arrives 30 or 60 minutes after the circle activities have begun. The child misses out on the activities designed to build connections to other children and transition into the classroom. In addition, the late arrival can disrupt the flow of the classroom activities for other children.
Schools and parents together need to encourage the kinds of routines that get children to school on time, every day, ready to learn. A key step is to convey to parents the importance of early education and to use this first experience with formal education to help develop the habits of on-time attendance.
Schools and community agencies need to build partnerships to reach out to these families and connect them to the resources that will help them build some stability—and routine—in their own lives. Anyone who’s raised a child knows that creating and sticking to routines can be difficult. It’s all the more challenging for families who lack reliable transportation, move frequently or live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.
Together we need to consider how parents, schools, and community organizations can build and support practices in early childhood programs that help families develop the beliefs, skills and strategies to support regular school attendance. This means thinking about resources that are tailored to different stages of the early childhood years. For example:
a. What do these practices look like for infants and toddlers?
b. What do they look like for preschoolers?
c. What do they look like for transition into kindergarten programs?
Early education programs help children gain the foundational skills they need to do well in school and in life. They also assist parents in learning how they can support their children’s on-going academic success. Working together to ensure children acquire the habit of on-time attendance is a doable and achievable goal that helps ensure all children have a chance to learn and achieve especially among our most vulnerable families.
Posted by ldsA
This week is a very special one for anyone that is a teacher and a parent of a school aged child. This week is officially National Teacher Appreciation Week.
We often forget just how important our children’s teacher are.
Teachers, especially those that teach our youngest children from Preschool through Kindergarten are often our child’s first exposure to a school experience and how they perceive learning.
Our Teachers know that every day that they spend with a child is an opportunity to share their love of learning and exploration with their students. They take great pride in knowing that they have the opportunity to create a warm and nurturing environment for the children in their classes and that hopefully they will be the teacher remembered as someone who instilled the love of learning in them.
Deanna and I cannot say thank you enough for everything our amazing teachers do every day and how much we appreciate them. Below is a letter from George Lucas that was published this week in his educational newsletter. We believe it really says it all and worth a quick read.
Why Teachers Matter
A Letter From George Lucas
When I was growing up, I didn’t enjoy school very much. I liked English class, and shop. (Those were the days when we had shop . . .) But when it came to math and science, I didn’t do that well. The truth is, I barely made it through high school.
Today, our educational system looks much different than it did when I was a student. Especially in recent years. Kids today grow up immersed in a world of digital technology. Digital technology can do so many amazing things for the learning process, but it can’t be human.
When you really think back about your best teachers, they were the ones who connected with you. They might have been classroom teachers, after-school coaches, parents or principals. They patted you on the back, knew your name and made jokes with you. They were human beings offering encouragement and building confidence, saying things like, “I know you can do this. Come on.”
And this is one way in which the world hasn’t changed: teaching is still the most important job.
To me, there is nothing more exciting, fulfilling and wonderful than watching a kid finally grasp a concept, then take the information and use it in the real world. Teachers make this happen. Teachers motivate. Teachers synthesize information to help students understand. Teachers listen, coach and mentor.
On behalf of the rest of the staff at The George Lucas Educational Foundation, thank you, teachers!