Category Archives: Blog

Word of the year – Kids

This post is all about choosing one word as a theme for the new year with your kid(s). Last week I chose a word of the year for myself, thinking about the goals I had for 2021 and reflecting upon 2020. I wrote down a list of possible words I thought might work for me based on my goals and ended up settling on the word ‘bloom’.

2020 planted the seeds and 2021 I will make sure those seeds bloom. For example: 2020 I planted a seed of fitness. I had made improvement throughout 2020. But in 2021, I want to bloom into a person who exercises 6/7 days per week. I have a goal to be able to run a 5K.

I visualize a seed with the word ‘fitness’ etched into its shell. This seed was planted in March of 2020 and perhaps grew into a seedling by the end of 2020. I imagine that seedling fully blooming into a beautiful sunflower this year. I will nurture the seed with (duh water) daily movement, cardio 4-6 days per week, stretching, strength training, and yoga. With consistent nurturing the seed will fully bloom. I will meet my goal.

The more I thought of my word of the year, the more I thought of endless possibility. The more I realized how much my daughter (5.5 years old) would benefit from the visual of blooming in 2021. 2020 was hard on her too. She has goals and dreams too.

So we had a conversation that went like this:

Me: “I want to talk to you about something. I decided to choose a word of the year, sort of a theme to guide our new year.”

Izzy: “Oh, I like theme’s”

Me: “Me too. I chose the word ‘bloom’ for my word of the year. Do you know what the word bloom means?”

Izzy: “um…”

Me: “What if I said the word blooming?”

Izzy: “Flowers bloom!”

Me: “Flowers sure do bloom. And they are beautiful. (she nods) In 2020 a lot of different seeds were planted, and we want them to grow and bloom this year in 2021. I was thinking ‘bloom’ could be our families word of the year. What is something you want to bloom into this year?”

Izzy: “I want to bloom into an artist!!”

Me: I wrote her answer down, “Anything else you would like to bloom into?”

Izzy: “Just the artist.”

Me: “Really? I remember you talking about a goal last week about learning to read -“

Izzy: “-Oh yeah. I want to learn to read, so I can read my mermaid books by myself! So I want to bloom into an artist and a mermaid reader.”

Me: I wrote her answers down with a chuckle. “I love your answers. If you think of anything else let me know. For right now I thought maybe we could start to paint a seed growing and blooming into a flower. This will also help you practice being an artist.”

Izzy: “I’ll definitely paint a flower!!”

We then proceeded to paint for 30 minutes. The background of our paintings are completed. Over the next few days we will add layers and details.

Over the next few days – maybe even weeks. I am going to post different activities or conversation starters you can have with your kid(s) about a word of the year.

If you have young kids – choosing a family word of the year is most likely an easier option. But if you have older kids, have them brainstorm and think of their own word. All ages can think about their goals and dreams for the upcoming year. Kids are full of dreams.

Disclaimer: If my daughter had said she wanted to bloom into a mermaid… We would have had a conversation about mermaids and figured out a more realistic goal. On the other end though, don’t limit your kids goals. Am I positive my kiddo will be able to read her mermaid books all by herself a year from now? I really am not sure. BUT if I limited her, we would never know. She made her own goal. She will be motivated unlike ever before to learn to read so she can meet her own goal.

Happy New year

Hello, all. Happy New Year!

What a year we have all had. My family ended up battling COVID-19 within our own household. And honestly, I am still struggling two plus months later. But all that said, business is still booming. I am so incredibly grateful for all of my tutoring clients and their families. They have made the second half of 2020 absolutely amazing. I am so proud of how far The Teacher Mama has come in just a few short months, and I am extremely excited for everything I have planned for 2021!!

Word For The Year 2021

It is starting to become more and more of a common practice to choose one word to represent the tone for the upcoming year. The word is chosen intentionally so the meaning relates to goals for the year. Some examples have been: growth, persistence, boundaries, relationship, creativity, thoughtful, and the list could continue. Below I have shared my write up around the word I chose for 2021. Look for a future post about how to help kids choose a word (or maybe choose one word for the entire family).

Bloom: a beautiful process of becoming

dictionary definition

While the year 2020 was no-doubt challenging, I am choosing to think of those challenges as seeds. These seeds will bloom in 2021, but only if I water and nurture those seeds. My word for 2021 is “bloom”. Bloom as a noun is defined as, “a beautiful process of becoming.” How gorgeous and fitting is that? I will continue to bloom into (become) a better wife, mother, educator, person because of those seeds (challenges) planted in 2020. 

Without those challenges of 2020 I never would have found the courage to quit my 9-5 job and plant the seeds of my very own business, The Teacher Mama tutoring and podcast/blog. I have felt more professionally and spiritually fulfilled, finally starting to glimpse the plan God has for my future. Without everything that happened in 2020 – I honestly don’t know if I ever would have let myself think creatively about choosing a different career path. Teaching is in my blood. Being a teacher is all I worked towards for so long. How could I ever leave that profession? Turns out I stepped into something even bigger. I didn’t leave the teaching profession. I still teach daily. I teach students virtually 1:1 and get to see the AMAZING growth they make each day. I am making a difference, all thanks to the seeds planted during difficult times in early 2020. I chose to find the opportunity in a crappy situation.

View the post below all about “The Distance Learning Opportunity”

Without the challenges I faced in 2020 from getting COVID-19, I will bloom into a person who takes better care of the health and wellbeing of herself and family in 2021 and beyond.

I choose to find the positive in every negative, the possible growth in every setback, the future instead of the past. 

Let’s teach our kids to do the same thing! How powerful would that be to have an entire generation shift their mindset towards growth and positivity rather than blame and self-doubt!? Can you imagine in what kind of world we would live? The advancements, creativity, and opportunities grown out of challenges instead of giving into the challenge. Letting the challenge win.

If you have chosen a word for 2021 – comment below. I would love to know what you picked, and why! I’ll be sharing more about how to do this activity with your kids soon! So stay tuned.

Happy Learning!

1. How high can you count?

There is an opportunity for counting all around us!

Countdowns: to fun events, to the last day of school, the start of a race

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… 0…

Counting: the number of place settings at a table, counting toys, counting halloween candy, counting beats and measures of music, counting paper hearts on windows

1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10..

One of the big ways parents and caregivers tend to use counting is when we count down, giving our kids a chance to make a better choice before being sent to timeout or before a loss of a privilege. It’s no wonder kids have such a negative attitude towards counting.

If anything positive is directly correlated to a negative, the positive will become a negative. Counting (positive) linked with timeouts and loss of privilege (negative) will make counting feel negative.

The Teacher Mama

So what can we do? What can I do?

I have wrestled with these questions for many years. Sometimes I just absolutely need to pull out the “countdown, timeout” card. It just needs to happen. So how do I counteract the negativity around counting so my kids don’t connect counting with timeouts or negative feelings, BUT INSTEAD connect counting to a passing of time and a tool?

When our kids are babies and toddlers we count toes, we count fingers. We count with goofy smiles and tickle our sweet babies pudgy toes.

I don’t suggest we tickle our elementary aged and older’s toes. But we can make counting fun in age appropriate ways.

What number should my child be able to count to?

The following are a minimum. At any point if a child can count higher than what is on the list that is wonderful and helpful! But please don’t stop practicing counting.

  • 2-3 year olds count to and from 3
  • 2-4 year olds count to and from 5
  • 4-5 year olds count to and from 10
  • Kindergarteners count to and from 31
  • 1st graders count to and from 120
  • 2nd graders count within 1000
  • 3rd graders and up masters of counting

So what are those fun ways to practice counting?

Well – let me tell you. There is a lot. There are books to read, video’s to watch, as well as games and activities to get our kids bodies moving. Sidenote: the books below are affiliate links. You can buy the books on amazon and I will receive a small commission when you use the below links to buy the books.

Counting Books

Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews

My kids and past kindergarten classes have loved this book! In fact this book was rarely left alone during our math reading center.

Ten Little Ladybugs

We are on our second copy of this book! My kids absolutely love this book. They love the rhythm and the 3D ladybugs.

Five Little Monkeys

A birth through kindergarten favorite!

How Many Snails

This book counts beyond 20! A good one for kindergarten and above.

Youtube Videos

There are so many good counting video’s out there! I am partial to the counting video’s Jack Hartmann puts out there. He always includes movement!

Jack Hartmann has a many counting video’s on his channel. Check them out! This is a fun one when you can’t go outside or kids need a quick brain break.

Games and Activities

There are so many reasons or opportunities to use counting. Here are some of our favorites!

  • brushing teeth or using mouthwash – I count while they do their job. They bounce each time I say a number
  • Counting how long it takes for them to walk, run, walk backwards, etc from point A to point B
  • While doing a physical activity.
    • “Let’s run in place until we count to 100. Say a number each time your foot touches the ground”
    • jump rope
    • Stretch from side to side
    • jumping jacks
    • push-ups
    • counting how long they can balance on one foot – and then the other.
  • Nursery rhymes that have counting
  • Challenge them to see how high they can count.
  • Tag with a group of kids. When someone is ‘tagged’ they must count to whatever number you decide before joining back in the game.

How do you get your kids excited about counting? What are some of your favorite counting books or activities?

Comment below or visit The Teacher Mama Podcast on Facebook to add your comment on the facebook page

Until next time my friends, Happy Learning!

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