Furry may just be a little penguin, but he is full of possibilities. We had no idea what this little waddling flapper was able to do to change the life of a kindergartner named Mac. Furry's story is true and is told through two stuffies name Mac and Furry by Mac's mom, Ann Yurcek. The illustrations are by her friend, Jodee Kulp.
Welcome to Fun and Games Concept Math – Book One. It is my intent to share what I have gathered from a myriad of resources, first and foremost, the Kindergarten professionals in my school district, Mac Y., the child that showed me that my toolbox always needed more ways to approach how children with challenges learn, Carrie Ingebritsen, his paraprofessional who was ready to switch, swap, modify, alter, at a moment’s notice.
There were plenty of instructions and teacher manuals for the one instructor and 16 students that ranged in the beginning to advanced stages for number sense, but what about the youngsters that struggled to comprehend the language of mathematics? How can we reach these children? Where was the manual for the one or two whose brains were not connecting values, patterns, or strategy? Who had those tools?
This book is not the end-all but merely the beginning of recognizing the basics of learning using our senses, plus lots of movement and inclusion activities. The S.M.A.R.T. program is a Minnesota-born initiative that promotes various movements and motions to create pathways of relationships from the body to the brain. Thank you, Dr. Lyelle Palmer, for your valuable input on this book. I loved watching my students become engaged and looking forward to the next station!
Thank you, Jodee Kulp, inspiration and cheerleader for me to continue my research, planning, and organizing after we both enjoyed the initial curriculum writing with Ann Yurcek, the author of Furry, The Little Penguins That Could. Yes, we can! Jodee is present on every page with uplifting illustrations, ideas, and examples of personal life strategies with her own family.
Additional beginning strategies are in the works for numbers beyond Five Plus One More! Look for one on teen numbers and another 20 and beyond!
Patience and humor go a long way. There is no rush. Enjoy! Marcia Chambers
FUN AND GAMES MATH 1-6 EMPOWERMENT SHEETS (Right mouse click to save image to use with your child – note the curriculum is VITAL is making this a developmental program)
School is starting and we are filling backpacks and getting into a routine of starting our day with our children.
School has already started for some. Right now it is a good time to have a discussion with our kids about how to be a friend. It is especially important in having discussions about how to be a friend to children with special needs.
We need to teach ACCEPTANCE of what it means to be a good friend. If we start teaching FRIENDSHIP maybe, just maybe we can stop bullying.
For kids with disabilities, school is scary and often very lonely. Your child and your lessons can make a difference for those children and help them start the school year on the right foot or wheel whatever the mode of transportation. In every classroom in our country or the world, there are children who have differences, visible and invisible disabilities, or with social struggles. We all have Differing Abilities as we are all Unique. We all have strengths and purpose to bring to our classrooms, schools and the world.
Take a STAND for FRIENDSHIP and INCLUDING EVERYBODY.
Acceptance, Understanding, Inclusion, and Caring.
A – Acceptance that we all have differences. Everybody Matters C – Care about including Everyone. C – Compassion to reach out for someone who is sitting alone or struggles with having a friend. Be Understanding. E – Empower your Friend. Speak up for your friend if someone is teasing or not including someone. P – Patience and Kindness. T – Talk to your friend about what they like and talk clearly and ask them questions. Teach by being a good example. A – Ability find your friends ability and find out the interests you share in common and just play. Ask questions if you are wondering. N – Notice what a friend does well and where they have a challenge, then find ways to help your friend. See a need, fill a need. C – Create a friendship with someone who needs a friend and invite them to your birthday party or to do an activity outside of school. E– Everyone needs a friend! Help your friend to be included with Everyone. Invite others to play or do an activity at lunch or the playground. No one should ever be sitting alone.
When we teach our kids to CARE,
have COMPASSION and EMPATHY
we are all EMPOWERED.
We will have better schools, caring communities and a KINDER WORLD.
These are important skills our children will have for life.
And maybe, just maybe EVERYONE will have a FRIEND.
That’s right 23 Preschool Words! A study of children in a childcare setting functioning at age-appropriate developmental levels showed that the following 23 words accounted for 96% of the language used over a three day period.
23 Preschool Words in descending columns of the frequency of use:
TEACHER CHALLENGE: Shared Reading with non-verbal emergent readers.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is an increasingly prevalent option for individuals with delays or disorders in their expressive communication abilities. For school-aged children, the use of research-based language selection and well-designed AAC systems are integral to academic success.
Note: These core boards should never replace a well constructed currently available device/system.
RESOURCES FOR YOUR CLASSROOM
The final 36 core words have been researched by the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and reflect words that are most commonly used in a classroom setting. In addition, Furry adds words that allow class participation for all children. Furry – The Little Penguins That Could Curriculum uses the 36 ACC Project Core cards as indicators, you are free to use any of the many varieties of cards. A full range of ACC free downloads are available at: http://corevocabulary.weebly.com/resources.html
For example, Chapter One in Furry The Little Penguins That Could Curriculum begins with learning the DLM Core Vocabulary word “I’ and for fun Furry added “penguin”. Children learn best by playing together and we have designed this curriculum so almost any child can participate in shared reading.
Furry The Little Penguins That Could curriculum utilizes the work of the Center for Literacy and Disabilities Studies.
The DLM Core Vocabulary Project was initiated to determine the vocabulary that is necessary for students with significant cognitive disabilities to engage, learn, and demonstrate knowledge in an academic environment. Instead of identifying every possible word, the goal was to identify and prioritize the smallest set of required words.
The first 40 words in the DLM Core Vocabulary:
The first set of 40 words was designed to create groupings of words that could help students with both communication and language growth. The words are organized in groups of 4 that lend themselves to expression and modeling of language usage.
Read Furry – The Little Penguins That Could to yourself so you:
Know the story and characters. Think about the students you have in your classroom.
Can this story help children enjoy reading?
Will this book help your students value each other’s differences?
Will the lessons learned in this book empower the children to develop friendships and acceptance that encourage inclusion?
How do I get started with The Furry Curriculum?
Start by surveying your students
We hope that Furry will make a difference to enhance the love of reading and increase inclusion, friendships, and acceptance in your school and community. We ask that you join us to create an evidence-based curriculum for all students.
The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey can be administered to an entire classroom in about 10 minutes.
The survey consists of 20 questions using the cartoon character Garfield to provide a quick indication of students’ attitudes toward reading.
We recommend administering this assessment before beginning the Furry curriculum and then administering after completing the Furry curriculum.
Note: The Professor Garfield Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational collaboration between Paws, Inc., the global headquarters for Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University, a nationally recognized leader in teacher training and digital education.
Did you know Stuffies can help children learn to read?
Stuffies do not care about difficulty sounding out words or missing a word or getting frustrated. They are designed to listen quietly.
One way parents have discovered to help children learning to read is take a stuffie to the library and leave it for a sleepover. The stuffie job is exploring the library to look and read and listen to books specially picked for the child. Pictures are taken of the Stuffie reading favorite books so when
Children take their toys to a library for the night and drop them off before going home.
The animals then ‘search’ for books they want to read in the children’s absence – staff and volunteers take staged photos of the animals exploring the library and reading together.
The next day, the children collect their stuffed animals and the photos of what they did during the night.
They’re also given the books their animals ‘chose’ to read.
S.M.A.R.T. is a developmental approach to teaching that takes advantage of current brain research. Its developmental approach is a critical and foundational part of learning readiness! Students who have developed mature readiness skills through S.M.A.R.T. have shown an increased attention span, ability to focus, and improved reading scores.
S.M.A.R.T. (Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training) integrates fun and challenging physical activities into the classroom that are designed to prepare the brain for reading and learning in a way that traditional instruction does not. Compatible with any existing curriculum, the multi-sensory activities stimulate the brain and increase its capacity to learn.
Simple Preschool Readiness Games To Play Together With Very Young Child
Put the Rabbit in the Hole Game:
Tell the child to put the rabbit into the hole and he/she will do the necessary repetitions happily (up to ten reps, with longer and longer spaces between the targets. The path to the target will be wobbly at first but the job of starting and finishing a line is basic and fun.
V V V V V
O O O O O
Put the Apples on the Tree Game:
Draw a simple tree and have the child put apples on it. The apples will be varied squiggles for a time, but eventually round out and become more circular.
Dr. Lyelle Palmer, co-developer of the S.M.A.R.T. program shares, “The responsibility for success lies with the teacher/trainer in knowing both the content and the students and also have appropriate measures for regular feedback to all and appropriate action in response to that feedback. One of my goals is for all students to master the content to the level I have in mind.”
The S.M.A.R.T. Program integrates movement stimulation for kinesthetic, tactile, visual, and auditory stimulation to produce unprecedented results. Young children must move and some moves are better than others. Dr. Palmer shares his Reading Readiness charts with us.
Thousands of teachers have been trained in school teams (including the physical education teacher) for brain stimulation in the classroom, gymnasium/floor, and playground. A huge part of the program is movement activities that produce high levels of agility and coordination, strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Valuable Wisdom from Dr. Lyelle Palmer:
S.M.A.R.T. research has found more efficient ways to teach common knowledge for emergent readers. Young children are vulnerable to confusion in the testing/guessing environment when confronted with difficult/advanced choices. We want students to concentrate on the content rather than the process. We want to process to become automatic and unmediated. These distinctions are important for speed and accuracy. Our letters and words are tools that we use for construction.
The Right/Left Choice: The S.M.A.R.T program does not teach left and right because teaching both together can confuse some children for life. S.M.A.R.T. only teaches right and when individuals know “right” direction. The person then automatically know anything that is not the “right” direction is “left”.
The Upper/Lower Case Choice: Early letters are all upper case where confusion is minimal. Separate each letter and teach individually on different days and do not compare them during teaching. This rule applies to all pupils. Kids learn to read easier in capital letters. Lower case letters are presented in late K or first grade. Once young children master the Uppercase letters, the lower case is presented. Only seven or eight letters are different from the upper case forms (Bb, Dd, Ee, Gg, Hh, Qq, Rr).
The b d p q Choice: Once all Uppercase letters are solid, B D P Q are introduced as individuals in contrasting presentations such as B b O o. S.M.A.R.T. never teaches lowercase b d p q in the same lessons. In fact, the program uses great care to not show them together. The letters b d p q follow the same principle as the “right” principle. S.M.A.R.T. strives to prevent the possibility of confusion by not adding in extra work. This creates the automatic mastery without the need for thinking about differences (automatic means not thinking about differences).
Use ballpoint pens not pencils with erasers: What? Use ball point pens (crayons, markers, paint) in order to prevent corrections. Students can put a bracket around an error to show that they know the error, but proceed with the correction. A GREAT deal of time in classrooms is wasted by some children who spend all of their time erasing and the production is never satisfying. Knowing an error and trying again is an additional life skill.
S.M.A.R.T. uses lined paper. The purpose of lined paper is to give the pupil structure as to where letters begin and end. Without lines anything goes and the child is unprepared for early academics.
Children will develop eye-hand coordination beginning at ages 2 1/2 – 3 when we make it fun to draw vertical lines beginning at the top mark (dot or circle) and draw the line downward.
S.M.A.R.T. works to spare children arm/hand/finger fatigue from undue pressure and better control. S.M.A.R.T. teachers may use paint instead of crayons, markers or pens. They may place a sponge beneath the paper so that pressure punctures the paper to help the child work to lessen the pressure. Taping papers/templates to the wall or easel forces the child to use the entire arm and develop control without pressing down so hard. Pencil grippers also help. Upper case letters for younger children provide longer strokes and create a base of coordination for later use with lower case letters.
S.M.A.R.T. Tracing is not practice, it is instruction with instant feedback.
Tracing lines and outlines on wall posters is also necessary. Play “Drivers Ed” found on page 70 of Get to the CORE of Readiness.
So what is S.M.A.R.T.?
Simulating – Brains learn by seeing, hearing and touching things many, many, many times. Maturity – Brain stimulation through the S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K program aims to mature sensory pathways of vision, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic. Acceleration – To help messages travel in our brain with efficiency and speed. Readiness – Creating foundation skills so the Brain Stem can perform automatic functions and the Cortex can perform higher functioning work. Trains – The body and brain to be ready to learn
Compared to norms, half of the students in the Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (S.M.A.R.T.) program achieve at the 75 percentile on formal and informal tests, and 25% are in the top 10 percentile.
Remember lines before circles!
Furry and the Stuffies are on board with the Minnesota Learning Resource Center and the S.M.A.R.T. Program. A 2011 study found that children who received S.M.A.R.T. programming maintained their reading gains through second grade, while more than half of the control students were failing again in reading by second grade.
We highly recommend you purchase S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K Program Guides CORE and MORE. https://actg.org/products Or attend the ACTG Teachers Classes!
The USA has a literacy problem. Join us as we work to change this!
Literacy is the foundation for all learning, yet nearly 40% of all fourth graders in the United States read below the basic level. 60% of all juvenile offenders have problems reading. 40% of adult Americans have trouble reading.
Furry – The Little Penguin That Could is designed to be read one chapter at a time aloud. Through the true story of a Kindergarten full of stuffed animals and a little boy who could not speak a miracle happens.
And that miracle builds empathy in children, besides increasing love for reading and being read to. Fictional characters help create empathy in children. Furry and Mac are REAL!
U.S. literary average: below-basic – Let’s become a nation of readers again instead of screentime
According to a 2018 survey of American families, only 30 percent of parents reported reading aloud to their kids for at least 15 minutes a day. Yet reading together aloud for only 15 minutes a day creates immense rewards for children and their families. http://www.readaloud.org/surveyreport.htm
Starting any day you want to begin, Furry and Mac challenge your family to a “Snuggle Down, Cuddle Up” Challenge of one month of bedtime reading. We offer a whole bunch of FREE ideas for each chapter of Furry: The Little Penguins That Could to help children grow and families enjoy time together. Or Join Our FREE Furry the Penguin Curriculum Program and take a chapter per week.
We want you and your children to cherish this time together of memory-making.
Reading is a tradition that will follow your children through adulthood and these cherished moments are gifted to your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Talk with your child about how unique the child’s name is and if you know how they got their name. You can share that it is good people and animals and things have names, or we would have to say, “Hey you!” and no one would know which you, you are. Or for an animal we would call out, “Hello dog!” and that would not work too well either. And as for things, it never works very well to say, “I need that.” It is better to be more specific. Specific means you are telling more about something, so you know who is talking to or about who and what you really need instead of what you really do not want.
A long time ago, people only had only first names.
Then people had names with their jobs. So for example, John Cooper would be John who is the cooper or barrel maker who lives in my village which is a small town. A barrel maker was an important job. Before we had electricity and refrigerators and running water people kept dried food and liquids in barrels. The barrels kept the small animals from eating the food.
Furry’s shared reading guided lessons are a sequence of interactive discussions, games, worksheets, and other activities to guide early learners through different concepts and skills as they learn and gain skills. When you sign up for our FREE Curriculum platform – you will receive a more complete set of curriculum ideas, empowerment sheets, list of additional books for children, video access to Mrs. C reading the chapter and an e-chapter book.
Furry uses Stuffies as bridges to help remember new learning
Furry encourages Stuffie Study Buddies
A Stuffie becomes the connection in the non-training settings and an educational Emotional Support Partner. Some children may work hard to learn something at home or school and they are incapable of using that new learning in another location. Generalization refers to the transfer of what is learned in one setting to another setting without explicit teaching in the second transfer setting. A Stuffie with a light scent (essential oil) that appeals to the child can become a bridge “common stimuli” between classrooms, or home and school to help connect to new learning.
Reading Furry – The Little Penguins That Could allows all children to interact:
Each chapter lesson builds on learning through friendships, fun, and laughing together!
Furry uses Stuffies to play and to learn! Furry loves to play “Red Light, Green Light”
Grab a Stuffie and Ready, Set, Go for a game of Red Light Green Light. Partner participation, movement and laughter go along with two words “go” and “stop”. Over time, Furry adds “Yellow Light”, “Yield”, or “Slow” with children as they practice using listening ears, watchful eyes, or supporting peers in play as they learn the words.
While playing Red Light Green Light Furry introduces: – Street traffic signs and lights. – American Sign Language. – ACC Picture words – Braille dots 30 chapters of FUN FREE curriculum progress.
Saturday & Sunday: Family Time
To The Penguin Shoppe. Our team at Furry the Penguin embrace the delights of childhood. We support and believe in enjoyable learning and a safe space for all children. We embrace “Stuffun la Muffins of inclusion, acceptance and friendships.