Update: Teach your Monster to read App is free till Sept 22nd!!!

This is simply the best Phonics instruction app there is from Usbourne , and i make phonics apps!

They usually make it free 2 times a year and this week is that time. They have made it free until September the 22nd and it is normally about 5 dollars. Although not a crazy price if you are a teacher and want to use it in schools with whole classes it can add up quickly. That’s why times like these are really welcome.

I missed the week last year so paid for it from my own pocket i think that highly of it.

If you need to know more about it we have a full review of the app right here with full instructions and how teachers can create classrooms for all their students, monitor progress and improvements and even offer rewards and incentives like letters and certificates.

However in a nutshell it covers all the major phonics sounds in a gentle progression, can be monitored by teachers and parents, and is REALLY engaging for students.

we made a video link here, if liek me you eyes are tired looking at text and zoom all day, this may be better some of the game-play for teach your monster to read.

If it only free for a week, and is unlikely to be free again till March. I would take a look at it right now.

Download from the links below for free!

If you want to know more about it we review the app and features here. Teach your Monster to read. The best Phonics app there is. REVIEW

How to keep your classroom clean!

Keeping a classroom clean is important at the best of times, but now, as children begin to return to school in the midst of a pandemic, it’s even more important. A dirty, badly maintained classroom could be a risk, and it doesn’t exactly create an inspiring learning environment. A well-maintained classroom can aid learning and help it to seem more fun. Here are some top tips to keep your classroom furniture clean.

Pen Marks

Some of the most damage to school & university furniture are pen marks. There are lots of ways that you can remove these kinds of marks with common household items. White vinegar is a common cleaning option, but a cloth dampened with hairspray is an effective choice too. You could also make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste for 15 seconds to the marks, and then wipe it off with a clean cloth. 

Grease Stains

Whether there are greasy marks everywhere from forbidden snacks or little fingers, they can soon get everywhere in a classroom. Greasy stains are easy to remove with water and washing up liquid on a damp cloth. Use a reusable cloth, not paper towels, to reduce the waste your classroom produces. 

Chewing Gum

Removing chewing gum is one of the worst furniture cleaning tasks, but it needs doing in almost all classrooms. The classic method of removing ice from the underside of tables and chairs is to place a sealed bag of ice over the gum for a few minutes to harden it, and then scrape the gum with a tool like a putty knife that won’t damage the furniture. 

You can also dislodge stubborn gum with duct tape. Cover the remains with the tape, and then remove it. 

Maintenance

You should check over your furniture throughout the year to catch any minor damage before it develops into a bigger issue, and to prevent more major damage from occurring. Every few months, check all your furniture and fittings, like screws, and adjust where needed so any problems don’t get worse. 

It’s a good idea to buy lighter furniture when you can, so it is easier to lift. If tables and chairs are easy to lift, they’re less likely to be dragged across the floor when they need to be moved. Dragging can loosen elements and weaken joints, making damage more likely. 

Check that the weight of anything stored on shelves and storage units is well-distributed to help preserve the structural integrity. Heavier items should be placed on the bottom rather than the top. 

It can help to bring in a maintenance policy that lays out how your furniture ought to be cleaned, by whom, and how often. Include how any problems should be reported. This makes sure that your furniture maintenance is kept on top of before any bigger issues arise. 

A clean, well-maintained classroom is better for teachers and students alike and can aid in creating an inspiring, interesting learning environment that will help you teach. 

Five Ways To Make Learning To Read More Fun

adorable blur bookcase books

Great to welcome Cristin Howard to the site to offer some reading tips for us all.

Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase.

Reading is such a valuable skill to have, and because of that, parents and children often feel a lot of pressure revolving around learning to read well.

If we, as parents, can lighten the load and make the process of learning phonics and sight words more enjoyable, then your child may go from dreading reading to jumping with joy when it’s time to practice!

Create A Reading Space

In order to make reading not seem like a burden, kids should have a special place to read that will allow them to feel comfortable and not be distracted by the business of the day or piles of toys.

Choose a corner of a quiet room and repurpose it to be the reading space. Hang a curtain to the side or behind where you will be sitting to give it an atmosphere of being a separate room in the house. Spruce it up with a comfortable area rug to sit on with pillows propped up to lean against.

Bring Books To Life

Reading aloud to your kids is the first stepping stone to their enjoyment of reading. Before you sit down with your children to practice reading, read them a few of their favorite books. Make each sentence meaningful with facial expressions. Amplify your voice when the pages are exciting and whisper when there are mysterious characters involved.

By bringing the book to life with your intonations, your children will see how much fun you’re having and will feel inspired to copy you. Another way to keep reading in a positive light is to have your kids grab dress-up clothes and act out the story as you read it. Let them repeat speaking sentences when it’s their character’s turn to talk.

Most importantly, keep reading out loud to your children even after they learn to read. By giving them a daily example of how much fun reading can be, It will encourage them to enjoy reading for themselves.

Incorporate Reading Resources

Sometimes kids need a little extra push to achieve their reading goals, and there is no shame in that! If you feel that you are unable to give your child all the help they need, utilizing reading resources will allow you to assume the role of support instead of teacher, which depending on your child’s learning style, may benefit both of you.

Learning the phonetic sounds is the first stepping stone to reading successfully. If you are looking for trusted resources to help your child master these concepts, adding Online games, Children Learning Reading, or Hooked On Phonics to your teaching arsenal is a great way to enhance your child’s reading practice. They will love the games, flashcards, and activities included with these learning materials.

Consider Your Child’s Interests

If you feel like your child is dragging their feet when it comes to reading, and it’s not because they are having trouble with the words, then it may be worth your time to stock up on books that have topics related to things your child is passionate about! If your son is all about space, dinosaurs and animals, then reading books about apple trees or about runaway dogs may cause him to drag his feet.

Let your child experience joy while reading by letting them engage in books that make them excited to read! Yes, your child and read through the books you want them to, but when they are young, learning to read well is the goal. So if parents can make that happen with topics they love, it will be well worth it.

Leave Words Around The House

If you find that your child enjoys reading more when they don’t “have” to, then start leaving words around the house so they can practice without noticing! Write a word with a bar of soap on the bathroom mirror, use ketchup on their plates at lunchtime to make a few short words, or make sugar cookies together and use icing to write some simple words you know they will recognize.

See if your child notices the words on their own and tries to read them without prompting. If they aren’t taking the hint, act surprised to see the words and make a game out of it!

Your Role As The Parent

Be your child’s greatest cheerleader! For many kids reading is extremely stressful, and if you can take some effort to change your child’s view of reading from a chore to a fun activity, then they will begin to see the beauty of reading stories.

Encouragement is everything! Bake cookies to snack on between books and phonics activities, and most of all, give out hugs and whoops-and-hollers when you see even the tiniest bit of improvement.

Check out more on Smart Parent Advice

As parts of the world open up…

,..and schools are still closed or just starting what passes for summer holidays this year, lets take a look at some of the things we should be taking with us. If we are some of the lucky few who manage to get away this summer, be that home or away! It been a while since i have written a travel article for the blog, because we haven’t been away for the last 7 months, but then how many of us have!

Family vacations are a great time to sit back, relax and enjoy the simple things in life. However, a poorly-planned family holiday can be a huge letdown and before we know it, we might end up feeling homesick and eager for the vacation to end. Holidays should be a time of relaxation and even celebration. Part of that comes down to how well you manage to plan ahead, and packing is one of the most important aspects of a well-planned vacation.

So in this post, we’ll be taking a look at how you can pack for a vacation with the family to ensure you’ll have a blast.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/JsuBKjHGDMM (CC0)

Separate everyday items into smaller bags

When it comes to packing for a holiday, there are probably a bunch of items that you’re going to need on a daily basis such as your phone, wallet, sunscreen, medication, sunglasses and so on. When it comes to these everyday items, keep them in a separate small bag that can be flung over your shoulder, or a pouch that you can attach to your belt. This makes it easier to organize your everyday items and ensures that you always have the things you need for an outing. It also helps you gauge how much space you’re going to need for a day bag.

Every family member should have a little pouch for the things they use on a regular basis. We suggest getting your kids one that can attach to their belt or clothes, or one that can go over their shoulder. Just remember that liquids should be taken out so you don’t get stopped when you go through security at the airport!

You should also consider storing important documents in these smaller bags since they’ll likely be at your side for most of the trip. This can include passports, travel documents, visas, medical records, insurance information and even a copy of your tickets. If you’re travelling with children, then you may want to hold onto their important documents as well.

For electronics, consider a pencil case

Pencil cases are excellent little storage pouches for electronics and cables. If you’re bringing a smartphone and a bunch of charging cables for the whole family, using a pencil case is a smart and simple way to keep a hold of all your cables without them getting lost or creating a huge mess in your bags. Cheap pencil cases can be had for next to nothing, and you can even use ziplock bags if you have them laying around.

Consider the temperature at your destination

It’s also important to look at what the temperature will be like. When it’s summer, you’d be smart to bring some skincare essentials to keep your skin protected from UV rays. You’ll also want to protect your eyes, so see here for some ideas on which sunglasses to buy. Ideally, they need to be able to protect you and your family from UV rays while also being comfortable and sturdy. A cheap pair of sunglasses might not have strong UV protection and are only used for fashion purposes.

On the other hand, if your destination is cold then you may want to bring a couple of extra layers. This comes at the cost of less space in your suitcase and bags, so you should try to fit efficient pieces of clothing in to save space. For instance, base layers and thermal clothes can keep you warm without taking up much space in your luggage, and a simple scarf can help keep the cold away from your neck.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/GelAjCYjqCo (CC0)

Emergency items

If you have the space, you should always consider adding a couple of emergency items to your bags. This can include emergency toiletries, extra medication, a first aid kit and even some emergency contact cards that you can give to your children in the event something happens. Nobody wants to think about the consequences of having an accident on holiday, but having emergency items will give you that extra peace of mind to ensure a safe and fun family holiday. Of course with the current virus situation (if you are reading this is Summer 2020) then in, or at least next to that first aid kit make sure you have a good number of face masks for you all as well as hand wash as well. We are going to have to be more careful as we travel now for obvious reasons.

It’s also important that you know how to use those items instead of just keeping them around. Make sure that any medicine you take is suitable for both you and your family, and ensure you bring extras for any necessary medication that you and your family need to take.

Consider making it an educational holiday

Holidays can actually be both fun and interesting, especially if you’re bringing kids. A great source of ideas for places to visit is actually looking at locations that your kids are learning about in their classes. For instance, if they’ve developed an interest for landmarks around the world, or even specific kinds of animals, then planning a trip around an educational experience can actually be a lot of fun.

So in order to pack for this, you’ll need to bring a couple of study essentials. This will mainly include writing instruments such as pens and pencils, notebooks where your kids can record their thoughts and experiences, and perhaps even an instant camera so they can scrapbook the things they learn. You may also want to consider bringing a laptop to make certain tasks easier, such as putting together a lesson plan or schedule, or looking up information related to the study subject.

While online learning might be an extremely convenient way to study things around the world, there’s nothing quite like seeing and experiencing it first hand. It’s a great way to learn about new cultures and get a better view of the world.

Schools are closed, and its looking like they might remain so for a good while yet. It is certainly worth considering keeping developing minds busy while all of us teachers try to work out how to at least start the coming school year online!

Hopefully, this article has given you some helpful packing advice for a safe and fun family vacation. While it’s not the most difficult thing in the world, you shouldn’t underestimate the likelihood that you forget something important while packing for your holiday. It’s always best to be safe, so consider writing up a list and add to it as your holiday date approaches.