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Great May Holidays!

April 26, 2010 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 

May holds a wealth of reasons to celebrate, and even more possibilities for educational fun with the kiddoes. It’s National Bike Month and National Photograph Month. It’s Get Caught Reading Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

And if you’re looking for daily holidays, this list should satisfy you! There’s something for everyone sometime in the month of May.

May 1………………..Mother Goose Day

May 1………………..May Day

May 2………………..Brothers and Sisters Day

May 2……………….World Laughter Day

May 3……………….Two Different Colored Socks Day

May 4……………….National Teachers’ Day

May 5……………….Cartoonists’ Day

May 5……………….National Hoagie Day

May 5……………….Oyster Day

May 6……………….Nurses’ Day

May 6……………….National Day of Reason

May 7……………….Child Care Provider Day

May 7……………….Space Day

May 8……………….World Red Cross Day

May 8………………International Migratory Bird Day

May 8………………National Miniature Golf Day

May 9………………Mother’s Day

May 9………………Lost Sock Memorial Day

May 10…………….Clean Up Your Room Day

May 10…………….Windmill Day

May 11……………..Twilight Zone Day

May 12……………..Limerick Day

May 13……………..Frog Jumping Day

May 13………………Leprechaun Day

May 14………………National Chicken Dance Day

May 15………………National Chocolate Chip Day

May 15………………National Pizza Party Day

May 16………………Biographer’s Day

May 16………………Wear Purple for Peace Day

May 17……………..World Telecommunications Day

May 18………………International Museum Day

May 18………………Visit Your Relatives Day

May 19………………Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

May 20………………Be a Millionaire Day

May 21………………..National Waiters and Waitresses Day

May 22……………….International Day for Biological Diversity

May 23……………….Neighbor Day

May 23……………….World Turtle Day

May 23……………….Lucky Penny Day

May 24………………..Morse Code Day

May 25…………………Cookie Monster’s Birthday

May 26………………..National Spelling Bee

May 27………………..Cellophane Tape Day

May 28…………………Sierra Club Day

May 29…………………International Jazz Day

May 30…………………Water a Flower Day

May 30…………………Hug Your Cat Day

May 31…………………..What You Think Upon Grows Day

video experiment

April 6, 2010 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

See if this works.

Watch live streaming video from thelearningnook at livestream.com




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Crazy February Holidays

January 30, 2010 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 

Don’t let the long winter get you down! Try some of these great celebrations in your classroom or with your family:



February is Great American Pie Month and National Grapefruit Month. On a more serious note, it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month. How about Books for Family Fun Month, International Boost Self-Esteem Month, and Library Lovers Month?? And just for grins, it’s also National Bird Feeding Month.



Feb. 1………………………Freedom Day
……………………………..Give Kids a Smile Day
……………………………..Robinson Crusoe Day
Feb. 2……………………..Sled Dog Day
Feb. 3……………………..National Girls & Women in Sports Day
…………………………….The Day the Music Died (look it up, youngsters!)
Feb. 4……………………..Quacker Day
…………………………….Thank a Mailman Day
Feb. 5……………………..Wear Red Day
…………………………….National Weatherman’s Day
Feb. 6……………………..MOBIUS Awards Day
…………………………….Lame Duck Day
Feb. 7……………………..Ballet Day
…………………………….Charles Dickens Day
…………………………….Send a Card to a Friend Day
Feb. 8……………………..Kite Flying Day
…………………………….Boy Scout Birthday
Feb. 9……………………..Read in the Bathtub Day
Feb. 10……………………Umbrella Day
Feb. 11……………………National Shut-in Visitation Day
…………………………….Make a Friend Day
…………………………….White T-Shirt Day
Feb. 12……………………Lincoln’s Birthday
…………………………….Safety Pup Day
…………………………….National Plum Pudding Day
Feb. 13……………………Get a Different Name Day
Feb. 14……………………Valentine’s Day
…………………………….Ferris Wheel Day
…………………………….Library Lovers’ Day
…………………………….League of Women Voters Day
…………………………….Race Relations Day
Feb. 15……………………Susan B. Anthony Day
…………………………….National Gum Drop Day
Feb. 16……………………Pancake Day
…………………………….Do a Grouch a Favor Day
Feb. 17……………………World Human Spirit Day
…………………………….Random Acts of Kindness Day
…………………………….Champion Crab Races Day
Feb. 18……………………Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
…………………………….Pluto Day
Feb. 19……………………National Chocolate Mint Day
Feb. 20……………………Clam Chowder Day
…………………………….World Day for Social Justice
…………………………….Love Your Pet Day
…………………………….Northern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day
Feb. 21……………………Card Reading Day
Feb. 22……………………George Washington’s Birthday
…………………………….Walking the Dog Day
…………………………….Be Humble Day
Feb. 23……………………Curling is Cool Day
…………………………….Tennis Day
…………………………….International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
Feb. 24……………………National Tortilla Chip Day
Feb. 25……………………National Chili Day
Feb. 26……………………Levi Strauss Day
…………………………….For Pete’s Sake Day
…………………………….Tell a Fairy Tale Day
…………………………….Carnival Day
Feb. 27……………………International Polar Bear Day
…………………………….No Brainer Day
Feb. 28……………………National Tooth Fairy Day
…………………………….Floral Design Day

What fun!!

Intro to Executive Function

January 11, 2010 · Filed Under Behavior, Parents' Corner, Teachers' Corner, Tutors' Corner · Comment 

When last we left our hero, she was about to attend a workshop on executive function (’way back before the holiday season)…..

Actually, I did attend the workshop, and have been rolling the information around in my brain since then, trying to distill it into manageable bits to share with you. The online workshop I attended was “Who’s Running the Show? Executive Dysfunction and How to Help the Disorganized Child” by Laurie Dietzel. All in all, Dr. Dietzel confirmed many things I’ve been thinking for years, gave me considerably more professional vernacular to use, and contributed many ’soundbytes’ that seem like I can use them to help parents make their advocacy cases for their children, and with school personnel who aren’t quite convinced that this is a real problem for some students.

How familiar does this sound to you? Does your student:

  • finish homework but forget to turn it in?
  • have problems with transitions?
  • make a lot of seemingly ‘careless’ errors that aren’t caught by proofreading?
  • need many more reminders and prompts than most his/her age?
  • have trouble remembering directions, possessions, assignments?
  • demonstrate wildly inconsistent performance on academic tasks, doing A+ work one day and failing work the next on the same type of assignments?

This actually sounds like a number of the students that I work with in my tutoring business, and several more that I know in their personal lives. Dr. Dietzel is convinced that they suffer from what she is calling Executive Dysfunction. That translates to an impaired ability to select, sustain and guide their own behavior within rules and expectations for the setting and their age level. It’s an impairment of the processes that guide, direct and manage cognitive, behavioral and emotional functions. Executive Function, when working properly, is what allows us to set goals, plan, organize, sequence, and note feedback on our behavior. It’s what helps us try different problem-solving strategies and also what stops us from acting on impulsive ideas. It has to do with memory, accomplishing complex tasks, and making judgments.

Does any of this sound like your student? If so, he or she may be having trouble with executive function. Executive Dysfunction is often comorbid with ADHD and similar concerns, but not limited to that population. It can also occur with learning disabled students, but again is not limited to them. It’s not officially a medical problem yet, though this presenter indicated that doctors responsible for naming and creating diagnostic criteria are considering including it in the next reference that is due to come out in a few more years.

So the long and the short is that right this very moment, your child’s school or teacher is quite likely to tell you that no such disorder exists, since it’s not in the reference books. They are likely to tell you that your child is lazy or inattentive, hyperactive, ADHD, or learning disabled. In many districts, they are likely to offer little in the way of tangible help. However, stay tuned! I’m planning to revisit this subject again soon and will share some of the strategies that Dr. Dietzel recommended to help these individuals. There is hope, and there are things you can do at home to minimize and compensate for the problem.

Sign up for this site’s RSS feed or follow me on twitter so you can get in on the latest as soon as it’s posted!!

Crazy January Holidays

January 4, 2010 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 

Welcome to January! January is a busy month. Would you believe that it is National Hobby Month, National Soup Month, Oatmeal Month, and National Braille Literacy Month? It’s also Book Blitz Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Mentoring Month and Rising Star Month. There are a wealth of celebration possibilities in that list! The week of January 10th is Letter Writing Week. It would be a great time to get those thank you notes from the holidays out of the way!

Here are other days to celebrate:

January 1……………..Z Day (Let everyone whose name starts with Z go first!)

January 2…………….Happy Mew Year for Cats Day

January 3…………….Festival of Sleep Day

………………………….J R R Tolkien’s Day

………………………… National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

January 4…………..Trivia Day

January 5……………Bird Day

January 6……………Three Kings Day

January 7……………Old Rock Day

January 8…………….Bubble Bath Day

January 9…………….Positively Penguins Day

January 10……………Peculiar People Day

……………………………National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

January 11……………National Clean Off Your Desk Day

…………………………..Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day

January 12……………Feast of the Fabulous Wild Men Day

…………………………..National Pharmacists Day

January 13……………Rubber Ducky Day

…………………………..Make Your Dream Come True Day

January 14……………National Dress Up Your Pet Day

…………………………..Organize Your Home Day

January 15……………Hat Day

…………………………..Humanitarian Day

January 16…………..Appreciate a Dragon Day

………………………….Nothing Day

………………………….Religious Freedom Day

January 17………….Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day

………………………….Kid Inventors’ Day

January 18…………..Winnie the Pooh Day

…………………………..Thesaurus Day

January 19……………National Popcorn Day

January 20……………National Buttercrunch Day

……………………………Penguin Awareness Day

January 21…………….National Hugging Day

……………………………Squirrel Appreciation Day

January 22…………….National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day

……………………………Celebration of Life Day

January 23…………….Measure Your Feet Day

…………………………….National Handwriting Day

January 24……………..Eskimo Pie Patent Day

……………………………..National Compliment Day

……………………………..Belly Laugh Day

January 25……………..Opposite Day

……………………………..Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

January 26………………Australia Day

………………………………Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement

January 27………………Thomas Crapper Day

………………………………Chocolate Cake Day

……………………………….Holocaust Memorial Day

January 28………………..National Kazoo Day

……………………………….Rattlesnake Round-Up Day

January 29………………..Free Thinkers Day

………………………………..Fun at Work Day

………………………………..National Puzzle Day

………………………………..National Cornchip Day

January 30………………..Inane Answering Message Day

………………………………..Escape Day

January 31…………………National Popcorn Day

………………………………..Child Labor Day

………………………………..Backward Day

………………………………..Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Have a great month!!

Fun on a Snow Day

December 10, 2009 · Filed Under Parents' Corner · Comment 

Well, it’s nine degrees outside with blowing and drifting snow and every school district in our area is shut down. I’m well past the days of little children who need occupied, since mine are in college and the youngest is 17 and likely to sleep until noon, but I KNOW that youngsters get bored on these unexpected days. Here are some great (and not too parent-intensive) activities to suggest:

  • Put on a Play:
    Grab the favorite storybook and challenge the kids to turn it into a play. They’ll need to make props and costumes and if they’re literate enough, write out a script. You can suggest puppets, or dress up this activity by having them stage scenes from their story and photograph them to add voices to later.
  • Create a New Game:
    Sometimes creativity can be a real rush! Give the kids the tools they need to invent a new board game or card game. You can start from scratch or do a mash-up of family favorites. Borrow rules and even game pieces, boards, markers or dice from commercial and familiar games. If it’s fun, don’t forget to write down the rules so you can play again!
  • Try a Video Scavenger Hunt:
    It’s inevitable that the television will get turned on today, but if you can’t beat them, you might as well make it a learning time! Make a list of things to find in the video that you watch, or questions to answer about the content. See who can find the highest number of answers or make up a trivia game to play afterwards.

    Heading to a Conference

    December 7, 2009 · Filed Under Parents' Corner, Teachers' Corner, Tutors' Corner · Comment 

    I’m actually pretty excited this week-on Friday, I’m going to a teleconference about Executive Function and how to help children with these types of issues. It’s really applicable to my work with tutoring and with consulting for parents who have students with special needs.


    The presenter is Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D. I don’t know much about her, but her website was very well done. She’s a neuropsychiatrist from the east coast, and specializes in working with children having these sorts of difficulties.



    We’re off on the right foot already-I was sent a packet of information and handouts related to the class first thing this morning. I’ll let you all know what happens after the end of the week, and hopefully will have some new insights to share with you.

    Three Quick Christmas Crafts

    December 6, 2009 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 
    • Canning Jar Lid Ornaments

      You need old cards, canning jar lids and rings, scissors, a pencil, hot glue, yarn and optional lace or rick-rack. Trace the canning jar lid on the card of your choice and cut out the picture. You’ll need two per ornament. Hot glue the pictures to both sides of the flat lid, then glue the lid into the ring. Add lace or rick-rack on the outside of the ring if you wish, and put a loop of yarn at the top as a hanger!

    • Magazine Tree

      Get an old copy of Reader’s Digest or similarly sized magazine. Fold each page (one at a time!) so the top corner meets the binding. Fold the bottom corner so the bottom of the page meets the top edge that has been folded down. Once you get the whole magazine folded, use a few paper clips or staples to hold the covers together and spread the pages out around in a tree shape. Spray paint green if you wish, and glue on some small decorations.

    • Edible Christmas Tree
      Get pointy ice cream cones, green icing, small plates, butter knives, and candy decorations. Spread green icing on the outside of the cone, then use the candy decorations to stick to the icing. Serve upside down (pointy end up) on the plate. Enjoy!
    • December Holiday Fun

      November 27, 2009 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 

      December is a great month to share strange holidays with your kids or students-help distract them from that long, long wait until Christmas at the end of the month!  Or, if your family or group does not celebrate Christmas, put some other types of fun into the month to help kids avoid feeling left out of this busy season.

      Being a huge fan of literacy, it would be remiss for me not to mention that December is Read a New Book Month.  I challenge everyone to jump right in and read something they’ve never read before.  Even if you (or your children or students) are avid readers, try reading something totally off the wall that is far outside of your usual fair.

      December is also Write a Friend Month.  This would be a great time to encourage children to become penpals with distant relatives or to check out some of the reputable national penpal matching programs.

      Here are some daily remembrances, as well.  As always, they are being linked to educational activity ideas, so watch for new and exciting games and other ideas throughout the month.

      December 1…………………National Pie Day

      December 2………………..National Fritters Day

      December 3………………..National Roof Over Your Head Day

      December 4………………..Santa’s List Day

      December 5……………….Bathtub Party Day

      December 6………………..Mitten Tree Day

      ………………..St. Nicholas Day

      December 7……………….National Cotton Candy Day

      ………………..Letter-Writing Day

      December 8……………….National Brownie Day

      December 9……………….National Pastry Day

      ………………..Christmas Card Day

      December 10……………..Human Rights Day

      December 11……………..National Noodle-Ring Day

      December 12…………….National Ding-A-Ling Day

      ……………..Poinsettia Day

      December 13……………..Ice Cream Day

      December 14………………

      December 15………………National Lemon Cupcake Day

      December 16……………..National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

      December 17……………..National Maple Syrup Day

      …………….Underdog Day

      December 18……………..Bake Cookies Day

      December 19……………..Oatmeal Muffin Day

      December 20……………..Games Day

      December 21………………Forefathers’ Day

      ………………Look at the Bright Side Day

      ……………….National Flashlight Day

      December 22……………..National Date Nut-Bread Day

      December 23…………….Roots Day

      December 24……………..National Egg Nog Day

      December 25…………….National Pumpkin Day

      December 26…………….Boxing Day

      …………….Whiners’ Day

      December 27……………National Fruitcake Day

      December 28……………..National Chocolate Day

      ………………Card Players’ Day

      December 29……………..

      December 30…………….Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute

      December 31…………….Make Up Your Mind Day

      March Holidays!

      February 22, 2009 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 

      Get ready for some holiday action this month!  There are some great days coming….

      March is Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Math and Engineering Month.  It’s a mouthful, but it’s a great cause.

      It’s also National Nutrition Month, Optimism Month and Women’s History Month.

      Week-long celebrations include:

      National Words Matter Week (March 1-7)

      World Folktales and Fables Week (March 1-7)

      Newspaper in Education Week (March 2-6)

      Yo-yo and Skills Toys Week (March 13-22)

      Act Happy Week (March 16-22)

      National Spring Fever Week (March 16-22)

      And here are the daily celebration ideas~

      March 1…………………………………….Pig Day

                  …………………………………….Peanut Butter Day

      March 2……………………………………Old Stuff Day

                  ……………………………………Fun Facts about Names Day

      March 3…………………………………..National Anthem Day

                  ……………………………………Unique Names Day

      March 4…………………………………..March Forth and Do Something Day

                  …………………………………..National Grammar Day

                  …………………………………..Learn What Your Name Means Day

      March 5………………………………….Nametag Day

      March 6………………………………….Middle Name Pride Day

                   …………………………………Sherlock Holmes Day

      March 7…………………………………Geneology Day

      March 8…………………………………Girls Write Now

                  ………………………………….Ground Water Awareness Day

      March 9………………………………….Barbie Day

      March 10………………………………..Festival of Life in the Cracks Day

                    ………………………………..Mario Day

                    ………………………………..Salvation Army Day

      March 11……………………………….Johnny Appleseed Day

      March 12……………………………….Alfred Hitchcock Day

      March 13……………………………….Jewel Day

      March 14………………………………International Ask a Question Day

                    ………………………………National Potato Chip Day

                    ………………………………Pi Day

      March 15………………………………Buzzards’ Day

                    ……………………………….Peeps Day

      March 16………………………………Lips Appreciation Day

      March 17……………………………..St. Patrick’s Day

                    ………………………………Submarine Day

      March 18………………………………Supreme Sacrifice Day

      March 19………………………………Poultry Day

                     ……………………………..Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

      March 20……………………………..National Agriculture Day

      March 21……………………………..Fragrance Day

                    ………………………………Corn Dog Day

                    ………………………………Memory Day

                    ………………………………International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

      March 22……………………………..International Goof-Off Day

                    ………………………………International Day of the Seal

                    ………………………………World Water Day

                    ………………………………Spring Fairy Fun Day

      March 23……………………………..National Chip and Dip Day

                    ……………………………..National Puppy Day

                    ……………………………..World Meteorological Day

      March 24……………………………..National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

      March 25……………………………..Pecan Day

                    ……………………………..Waffle Day

      March 26…………………………….Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

                    …………………………….Spinach Festival Day

      March 27……………………………Education and Sharing Day

      March 28……………………………Something on a Stick Day

      March 29……………………………Festival of Smoke and Mirrors Day

      March 30……………………………Pencil Day

                    …………………………….I Am In Control Day

      March 31……………………………Bunsen Burner Day

      As always, check back often to see links to activity and lesson ideas for specific days.

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