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)
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.
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.
After you have read the story once aloud and talked about the chapter, read the chapter again.
When you reach a word you and the child are practicing, keep your finger in place, pause, and allow the child to indicate the word with a sign, blink, click, breath or motion you have selected. Please do not do this with emergent readers as it will confuse their thinking process and the flow of listening to the story.
Act out the story as it unfolds and take turns doing what the characters are doing.
Host a “Once a Month Evening Read-In” Choose a book, add some pizza or popcorn.
Students can bring Stuffies and wear pjs.
Invite parents, community members, local television, author, or local sports figures to be mystery readers.
Unveil the book for next month during the read-in.
Run a “Get Caught Reading Raffle” – every time a teacher ‘catches’ a student reading the student gets a ticket and goes into the draw for a weekly prize.
Have a book drive for your local police station of children’s books so they have a selection of books for children in crisis.
Raise money with a Read-a-Thon Instead of spending time selling overpriced fundraising products, students focus on reading. Students commit to completing 10 reading sessions, ranging from 10-30 minutes a day for 10 days. They can choose any book they want to read. Readers build personal Read-a-thon pages that they share with friends and family using social media, email or text. Those friends and family are asked to support the reader by making a one-time online donation. https://www.read-a-thon.com/
Join the Little Free Library program. Little Free Libraries inspire a love of reading, build community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. If you have public transportation set up your Little Free Library near the bus or train stop. https://littlefreelibrary.org/
Developed by Marcia Chambers,
Ann Yurcek, Jodee Kulp, Jeff Peterson, Mac, his friends,
and all the Kindergarten Stuffies.
Read Together with Shared Reading
Furry – The Little Penguins That Could is designed to be a Shared Reading opportunity for children in schools, day programs, and homes. Children learn through play. Furry is playful, can be silly, and meant to be enjoyed. Shared reading creates a sense of togetherness in the classroom or at home. It empowers children to become peers and support partners. Shared Reading is an interactive reading experience that happens when students share reading a book while supported and guided by a teacher, friend, or caregiver.
The “Reader” models reading with expression and fluency. The child connects as he or she communicates with the story. As you will learn in Mac’s life, he connected through a stuffed penguin. Shared reading supports and encourages emerging readers to participate while listening and understanding the story.
The Furry -The Little Penguins That Could Shared Reading Curriculum is designed to enhance the love of reading through listening, playing, and participating with others.
The thirty chapters in this 204-page book stand-alone or can be read together. Each chapter is between 4-15 minutes of reading. Written above the reading level of many 3 to 8-year-olds, shared reading of this 30 chapter, fully illustrated book allows children to participate in a challenging reading experience regardless of ability. Children will get a sense of accomplishment. Main Readers will discover each curriculum chapter is filled with ideas to create a classroom that bridges friendships, promotes acceptance of differences, and includes everyone.
Furry provides chapter videos and links to help the main readers develop skills. We offer creative learning ideas for art projects, listening, talking, singing, movement, and playing games to build a love of reading.
Furry is a true story about a real child. The story reaches out to all ages and stages of readers.
The Furry curriculum is designed for children ages 3-8 in three developmental reading levels: 1. Emergent readers. 2. Beginning conventional readers. 3. Conventional readers.
Emergent readers are individuals beginning to grasp the basic concepts of book and print.
Shared reading of this book with emergent readers is engaging and multi-sensory. If a child is showing interest, asking a question, or making a statement take the time to engage the child
Emergent readers are encouraged to:
Talk about the story.
Look and talk about the picture.
Enjoy the reading experience.
Emergent readers are learning the alphabet. Research has shown that learning the UPPERCASE letters first, which have more variation leads to better understanding and allows for the transition to learning lowercase letters while developing many phonological awareness skills. These skills include recognizing phonemes (sounds that each letter makes), syllables, and rhyme. As they progress they begin to learn sound/symbol relationships starting with consonants and short vowels. This is why many emergent reader books contain CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, rhyming words and high-frequency words (Dolch/Fry words).
When searching for books for early emergent readers look for concepts of interest to the person, large print with wider spacing, natural language and picture support of the story. Often these books have carefully controlled text, repetitive patterns, and limited text on a page. Furry – The Little Penguins that Could is an introduction to a larger more robust reading experience to encourage children to develop the love of reading and listening to reading.
Children move towards a more conventional understanding of literacy as they have a means to interact and communicate. Over time the student knows most of the letters much of the time and actively engages during shared reading.
Beginning conventional readers have a grasp of the alphabet, phonemes, and early phonics.
They also know many high-frequency words. Books for emergent readers will have more lines per page, contain less repetition, patterns, and pictures. Again focus on books that hold the child’s interest to make deeper discoveries and create a love for reading.
Beginning conventional readers may share in some of the reading as they recognize a word, number, or symbol they already know. Recognizing and sharing is a time of celebration for accomplishments.
Furry has created games to play to encourage enjoyment for beginning conventional readers.
Conventional readers are able to read, decode, and write.
Furry’s wish for you is that he and all his friends with their adventures and antics will bring you a joy-filled reading experience. Our team of educators, parents, adults challenged with disabilities, and a curriculum designer have worked tirelessly to bring you an exciting and fun curriculum to include all children.
Cut 4.75 inch x 6.5 inch colored cardstock/construction paper backs. Apply glue to the back sides and center on the colored paper backs. Use a hole punch to punch two holes if wanted and tie with ribbon. Have your child sign the back of the valentines before putting on the crayons.
Mackie struggles with writing his name. We purchased a stamp with his name on it for him to be able to “write” his name like his classmates.
For kids who struggle writing the names on the Valentines, cut the list into strips and glue them to the envelopes. Accommodation and setting up our kids to be able to do their Valentines for their friends means we have to think out of the box.
We even found Valentines for Furry to give the classmates at the Target Dollar Spot. Furry Stretchy Penguins!
His teacher reached out to check to see what Mac could have for the party and she is making sure he is included and not left out due to his complex food allergies and intolerances. Due to Mac’s shortened school day, the party is moved to the morning so Mac can be there with his friends. A parent checked in to see what treats he can have and I found Black Forest Organic Valentines Gummy Bears that are dye-free and gluten-free for his friends to put with his Valentines!
Now all that is left is for Mom to make gluten-free Crispie Bars for the classmates and Mac. Planning ahead we are making sure that everyone has a great Valentines Party.
Happy Valentines Day from Mac, Furry and the Friends at the Little School That Could!
Download and Print and Cut out the Furry Inclusion Valentines. Cut 4.75 inch x 6.5 inch colored cardstock/construction paper backs. Apply glue to the backsides and center on the colored paper backs. Use a hole punch to punch two holes if wanted and tie with ribbon. Have your child sign the back of the valentines before putting on the crayons.
Liberty Ridge Media
Lancaster, WI 53813
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.