Archive for August, 2008

Aug 28 2008

Difference is an Artist’s Game

Click Here to see this AMAZING Story – about a sister and a brother and the art of life:

9 responses so far

Aug 27 2008

With Love, Roland

At the beginning of August, I featured a young author and artist, Keenan Dietiker who was making a difference in his world and in the world around him.

Today, I want to talk to you, from my heart, about Roland Ibanda from Uganda.  He is being featured for September on D.B. Pacini’s A Starry Night Productions website, which you can find here.

In August, 2008, D. B. Pacini verified Roland’s school, medical, and church records. He received excellent recommendations from his references. They all say he is a fine young man living in hard circumstances.  Roland’s dream is to someday come to America and attend college.

At the tender age of eight Roland began working numerous jobs to help support his disabled mother and siblings. His mother had sustained extensive injuries from an attack by robbers. In spite of his enormous responsibilities, Roland was a successful student. He completed secondary school and qualified for advanced level high school education in Uganda. Students in Uganda must pay for their high school education. Roland helped pay his tuition by working at the high school doing maintenance cleaning.

Roland recently emailed me, and I’d like to share a little of his email with you:

Thanks so much for all your concern, efforts and the endless love you have towards me and my family, I greatly appreciate you and I always wish you for the best together with your family.  I am still searching for a family, organization, company or an individual to invite me to the States make sales of my Art and Stories & later join College to further my studies but the process is still so hard so please keep me in prayers.

Here is a beautiful piece of Roland’s artwork:

For More information about Roland, his art and writing, please visit

Let’s Get Ready to Help Roland realize his dream of coming to America to attend college – and to be able to grow his art and writing — through love.

418 responses so far

Aug 20 2008

Many Thanks to Those who Helped with the Spanish & English “Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten!” Book

I feel so special, to have so many people who are willing to give me a hand, an ear, their time and sometimes their undying loyalty in the wee hours of the night, to get a project such as we’ve recently undertaken, publishing an Spanish & English version of the award-winning Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! book published and printed.

I’m sure my college Spanish teacher will be amazed, because, ummm, I had such a challenging time in grasping the concepts of the language.  But, the key to success for me with this project was to hire a translator!

This book would not be possible without the amazing helps from Joyce Babel-Worth, my incredible illustrator and layout expert; Dori Schmitz from Dori Schmitz Creative Design; Sin Fronteras (Without Borders); Languages by Nancy LLC and Hayley Vandenbush and all the fabulous teachers who helped with amazing input!!!

Spanish & English Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten!

As a side note, my girls think it’s hilarious that I have devoted so much time to putting this book together, considering the fact that we do not speak Spanish in our home.  Just goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a way — and when one mom sets out to set the educational world on fire, she’s going to do it in her native language, and continue to help others through their own languages!

One response so far

Aug 19 2008

ANNOUNCING the Spanish & English “Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten!”

Spanish & English

BRAND NEW!!!  Spanish & English “Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten!”
Click Here to Order Your Copy Today!

330 responses so far

Aug 15 2008

Getting Parents Involved In School

Listed below are suggestions how to encourage and motivate parents to become more involved in school:

  • Ask your child’s teacher how you can help.
  • Offer to read to your child’s classroom.
  • Sign up for field trips.
  • Offer to bake snacks or volunteer to help for school parties:  Halloween, Christmas, Valentine, the 100th Day of School, Easter, Last Day of School, etc.
  • Volunteer to work the lunchroom.
  • Volunteer to be a playground monitor.
  • Join the Parent-Teach Association/Organization (PTA/PTO).
  • Volunteer to write grants and raise money for your school.
  • Ask if you can do work from home: trace projects; make copies; color posters; etc.
  • Make it a point to know everyone’s name in your child’s class.  If you know their name, they are less likely to be a bully to your child.
  • Ask your child about their day and be prepared to actively listen.
  • Make unloading the backpack and going through his/her folder a team effort to keep you all on top of daily activities.
  • Make sure your child completes all homework and if you have questions, write a note together to the teacher and place it back in the folder.
  • Attend school board meetings.
  • Network among the parents of other children in your child’s class.  If you become friends with the parents, it is easier for your child to develop long and lasting relationships too.
  • Ask if your teacher is in need of extra supplies (i.e. cleaning supplies) for upcoming projects.
  • Encourage your child to read by turning off the television and having mandatory reading time for the entire family.
  • Make sure your child is getting 10-12 hours of sleep each night.
    • Make sure your child is eating a nutritious breakfast to start the day.
  • Make sure your child understands that healthier choices at school mean more energy for play.
  • Ask what you can do.
  • Mingle and get to know other teachers or sit in a class to observe other teachers to help you and your child determine the teacher you would like your child to have for the next year.
  • Ask if you can dress up as the Mad Scientist to help promote the Science Fair or dress up as a clown to help promote Fun Fair.
  • Volunteer, volunteer, and volunteer!

Copyright 2008 Cedar Valley Publishing, Stacey Kannenberg; Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Have a story about how you or someone one else got involved and it improved your child’s learning experience, or lit a fire under other parents?  Please share it with us!

401 responses so far

Aug 14 2008

Tips for First Grade Learning

As parents/caregivers, you can help your First Grader learn with ease and confidence by implementing these everyday tips:

  • Communicate concerns and/or expectations with your child’s teacher.
  • Foster independence by giving chores:  setting the table, dusting, putting silverware away, etc.
  • Follow a daily routine to help your child transition smoothly from school to home each day. For example, empty his/her backpack together and review its contents.  Schedule homework, playtime, dinner/conversation, bathtime, shared reading time and bedtime.
  • Write important home/school events on the calendar:  teacher conference, picture day, vacation days, early release days, etc.
  • Volunteer in your child’s class/schoolroom or ask how you can help from home.
  • Support your child by attending school functions.
  • Praise hard work when completing projects and learning.
  • Read various types of books, and discuss the author, illustrator and its content.
  • Nurture, motivate and instill self-esteem in your child by listening to him/her. 

Take an active role in your child’s life and just watch him/her succeed at anything and everything he/she does!

Copyright 2008 Cedar Valley Publishing, Stacey Kannenberg; Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

What’s your favorite transition ritual that you perform with your child each day?  Why?

440 responses so far

Aug 12 2008

Tiny Tips for Kindergarten Lunch Time

Going to lunch with a class full of first time Kindergarten students was an eye opener for me.  It was September of 2004 and I had not been in a school cafeteria setting since my own elementary school days many years ago.  Once I reached middle school, I walked home for lunch every day, so to me it seemed like a brand new experience being in a school cafeteria again.

I met my daughter at her classroom on her first day of Kindergarten. We walked as a class with her teacher.  Her teacher, Mrs. Neitzke was reminding the children of the school policies: no running in the hallways, to walk quietly, and no loud talking as other classes were in session.  We walked in a single file line to the cafeteria with this new group of wide-eyed Kindergarten kids.

There was a buzz of excitement in the air.  The children who had a bag lunch were carrying their shiny new lunch boxes and were told to follow Mrs. Neitzke to their lunchroom table.  Each child who was taking hot lunch for the day followed Ms. Lunch Lady.  They all had a nametag with their lunch number on it and were asked to punch in that number on the keypad with the help of Ms. Lunch Lady.  Patiently, she helped hot lunch children enter their three-digit number.  Then they were asked to take a tray and help themselves to their silverware. 

I was not expecting those trays to be so heavy.  I remember using them in college to slide down the hill after a snowfall, so if they were strong enough to hold my bottom down a hill; one would think it could hinder a Kindergarten student. 

  • Tip #1:  Prepare your child that every day, somewhere in America a child drops his/her lunch by accident.  It is loud.  Everyone stares. Many people will laugh, and most likely the child who dropped it will cry. Unless, however you prepare your child that accidents happen.  There’s no need to cry, try to smile and say “Opps!”, or better yet, laugh too—so the kids aren’t laughing at you but with you.

 Silverware goes on the tray.  Many times it is the first time a child actually has access to a butter knife; so, many kids were excited to be trusted with this huge honor. I observed two boys having a duel with their butter knives and it took less than a second for the sound of clanging silverware to draw the attention of Ms. Lunch Lady.  She sternly reminded the boys that butter knifes are used to cut food only!  

  • Tip #2:  Remind your child about how to handle and use butter knives safely.

Amazingly, there’s a milk carton color system to go along with all the milk options provided by the milk supplier. In our case, we had brown for chocolate, pink for skim fat free, blue for 2%, and red is strawberry.

My daughter was thrilled to be in charge of her milk choice every day. I reminded her that I would like her to rotate between white, chocolate and strawberry.  She agreed. My daughter started saying that the she did not like her white milk at school, only at home. So, I decided to meet her for lunch to see how this could be true. I noticed she selected the pretty pink color carton.  I grabbed the blue carton and while we were munching on our pizza and green beans, I asked if we could switch cartons.  She said sure and I watched her take a tentative sip of my blue carton of 2% milk and then she sighed and drank the entire carton.  She likes 2% in the blue carton over the skim fat free milk in the pink carton. 

  • Tip #3:  As about your child’s lunch, the food and drinks itself. A simple change in the color of a milk carton could solve your problem.

Helpers help the children to the menu of the day items, and assist with carrying a heavy tray to the table.  The teacher helps the children with bag lunches by opening fruit cups; yogurt tabs and opening milk cartons.  

The teacher waits for the rest of her class to arrive and reminds the students that this is their opportunity to eat; and as soon as they are all finished eating, they will empty their lunches in the trash cans and deposit trays and silverware onto the conveyer belt. 

The teacher introduces a team of older students waiting to help them along the way.  She tells them that after they are done, they will go to the bathroom and wash their hands and then go outside for recess.  She stresses that Kindergarten is so much fun, the children have to make sure they eat all of their food in order to have enough energy to play for the entire recess. 

She explains that the Kindergarten class will be getting a small nutritious snack after lunch before they leave for the day, but she reminds the kids that a healthy lunch helps a growing body to function properly.

Many of the kids were too excited to really eat their food – including me!  It was exciting watching them interact up and down the table.  New kids meeting and becoming friends over lunch on their very first day of Kindergarten.   It was loud and fun!  I was so caught up in the excitement of the moment, that I was just as guilty as my daughter, who was too busy talking rather than eating. 

  • Tip #4:  Reiterate the sound advice that my daughter’s teacher shares with your child because I, too, fell victim to the excitement and grossly under-ate!

At home, Heidi is rarely rushed to eat her food.  At Kindergarten she would have to adjust to this new schedule.  She would have to work hard to eat within 20 minutes and still hold multiple conversations with her school friends. 

  • Tip #5:  If your child is coming home starving, you might want to make sure he/she is  focusing on eating lunch at lunch time and not socializing too much. 

Take it from me; it was hard for me not to get caught up in the excitement of “kid watching”.  I was just as distracted as the rest of my new little friends.

Copyright 2008 – Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

What are some additional tips Kindergarteners should know?  How’d you learn about them? 

573 responses so far

Aug 05 2008

Pre-First Grade Skills

Now that your child graduated from Kindergarten, you may be curious what can you do over the summer months to prepare him/her for First Grade.

Listed below are the basic Pre-First Grade skills most schools will assume your child will know as he/she walks through the doors in the Fall:

  • Write full name and phone number.
  • Know upper and lower case in/out of sequence.
  • Know colors and shapes.
  • Know numbers 1-30.
  • Count to 100.
  • Recognize patterns.
  • Skip count by 5s and 10s to 100.
  • Know money (coins and dollars) and its value.
  • Read basic sentences.
  • Know days of the week and months of the year.
  • Understand weather concepts.

Copyright 2008 – Stacey Kannenberg, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Do you have plans for integrating this list into your summer?  What are your ideas?

122 responses so far