Halloween: Tricks & Treats for Learning

pumpkins painted with friendly faces

 

October is the month of celebrating Halloween–at least it feels like it what with all the scary commercials, the pumpkin lattes, and theme parks having their Scary Halloween Nights! But, nothing scary here today, just some awesome tips on how to use this fun holiday as a teaching time.

Please welcome our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen!

 

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist.

 

Halloween: Tricks & Treats for Learning

Those “teachable moments” can happen any time, any place, on any occasion. As we move into the holiday season, one such event is Halloween. Aside from your personal, school, or neighborhood activities, Halloween can be a prime learning opportunity. Here are six ways to turn Halloween into an enjoyable learning experience to share with your child.

  1. Vocabulary: There are many words related to Halloween which can be categorized as nouns or verbs. Words can be alphabetized. They can be used to create word pictures or to find rhyming words. They can be sorted by number of syllables. Some words to consider: black cat, boo, broom, candy, costume, Fall, Jack-o-lantern, October, pumpkin, scary, treat, trick, and witch.
  2. Big Word into Little Words: Using only the letters in the word Halloween, make as many small words as you can in five minutes. You can offer points for the total number of words, with a bonus for words of five letters or more. Some of these words include: he, hen, hall, all, an, law, lean, low, eon, no, own, we, and when.
  3. Real vs. Make Believe: Encourage critical thinking about fact and fiction. Discuss fairy tales and characters in children’s books. Decide which parts of a story are about real things and which parts are pretend. This can also be an opportunity to discuss social issues about truth, misinformation, lies, and deception.
  4. Creative Imagination: Talk about costumes and who they represent. Discuss how people dress in different countries and those who wear uniforms. Talk about the difference between styles of dress and costumes. Use a story character and make up an adventure story. Discuss the purpose of clothing to offer protection from the elements, safety, and identification with others in a group or organization.
  5. Cultural beliefs. Research the history of the celebration of Halloween. There are significant religious, cultural, and agricultural roots in the celebration of Halloween. This can open discussions about differing beliefs, understanding, and tolerance.
  6. Food Celebrations. There are certain foods we enjoy during specific holidays. You can find simple, no-cook recipes for children to make and enjoy together. Discussions can include favorite holiday foods. You can talk about the ingredients used in pumpkin pie, apple pie, and mincemeat pie; which items are the same and which are different. Candies can be counted, sorted by texture or color, or by flavor. Other foods might include maple syrup, apples, cinnamon, and cider. This can also lead to a discussing of sharing food and candy with others in the community.

Halloween can be used to open doors to leaning, not just to those cute little Trick or Treaters!

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist, author, and speaker. She has published two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Thank you, Dr. Allen, for taking some time with us today and helping us learn how to take Halloween moments and turn them into teachable moments.

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Wave of Light October 15, 2017 Event to light a candle for lost babies

 

One person that I met recently who is doing great things for Brevard County is Crystal Carman ( I love her name, she sounds like a movie star!). She is the owner of Macaroni Kids. She runs events that help children get free backpacks with supplies and publishes a newsletter that is chocked full of stories and resources for parents.

One of the articles in this month’s newsletter is about a woman who lost her child due to a condition that occurred during pregnancy.

If you have lost a baby, the best thing to do is talk about it. Don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone.

To read the full article, go here

If you’d like to subscribe to Crystal’s newsletter, click here

 

Barnes & Noble Story-time Book Event

Barnes & Nobel Events Poster for Author Storytime on Saturday, September 30th, 2017 at 11:30AM for Little Birdie Grows Up and Come Back, Jack

 

Barnes & Noble on New Haven in Melbourne, FL story-time book reading!!!

 

Joyce Jordan (pictured below on the left) and I (pictured below on the right) each read our picture books on Saturday, September 30th at Barnes & Noble’s story-time.

 

 

 

Joyce read her season-appropriate picture book called Come Back, Jack. A sweet story about her and her husband visiting a pumpkin patch with their son and picking out the perfect pumpkin, only this pumpkin can talk and his name is Jack. Only something terrible happens to Jack. You’ll have to read her story to find out what happens to him.

I read my award-winning picture book called Little Birdie Grows Up. A coming of age story of perseverance that ends with sweet little blue birdie growing up and leaving home. It brought a couple of Mom’s to tears and I, too, got choked up reading it as I recalled my inspiration for writing this story, my daughter, leaving for college.

We had about 10 children along with parents attend.

Barnes & Noble’s Starbucks coffee shop served free pizza and iced drinks for everyone!

Afterwards, we signed books for those who wanted to purchase.

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I would say it was a very successful event and we both enjoyed it tremendously.

We want to thank Barnes & Noble for inviting us and hosting the event and we look forward to future opportunities of sharing our work with children and their families in this new partnership venture.

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Both of our books are also available on Amazon. You can purchase them here via these links–Come Back, Jack and Little Birdie Grows Up

Strategies for Kids Responding to Bullying

October is Anti-Bullying Month. This is a wonderful article about ways to help kids go from being a bystander to being an upstander using the acronym S.T.A.R. Read on to learn how…

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

By William T. Mulcahy, LPC, NCC, CEAP, author of the Zach Rules series

Strategies for Kids Responding to BullyingIt’s not easy to admit it, but when I was younger, I bullied another kid in my parochial grade school while out on the playground.

I remember that Bobby’s clothes were wrinkled and often too small. He was awkward playing sports and was in the lowest reading and math groups. I also remember that he came from a large family, and there were rumors that his father was an alcoholic, or perhaps something even worse. Looking back now as a therapist, it is clear that Bobby’s family system had some kind of dysfunction—perhaps trauma, poverty, or addiction—and perhaps Bobby had an undiagnosed learning disability. Whatever was going on back then, I thought I was better than him. After all, I was in higher math and reading groups, I was a good athlete and a popular kid, and…

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“Tolerance, Acceptance, Equality, Love”

Picture of Andrew Fairchild, children's author with red flowers blooming behind him. He's wearing a green button-down shirt opened with white t-shirt underneath and a stylish cap on his head.

I would like to welcome award winning children’s author, Andrew Fairchild. Andrew has three children’s books published. Bali and Blu: Friends of a Different Color, a heart-warming story that encourages children that is okay to be friends with others different than yourself. The two-time award-winning book, Rose and Her Amazing Nose, which is an extremely funny book from the story to the illustrations that encourages children to embrace themselves no matter how different they may be. His latest book, Have You Seen My Egg? is an endearing story about a rooster who wakes from a dream and believes he has an egg to take care of.  It is a delightful story of strength, fortitude and reward.

 

Thank you for being here Andrew. Can you tell us what inspired your newest book, Have You Seen My Egg?

Have You Seen My Egg? children's book cover written by Andrew Fairchild and Illustrated by Melissa Shultz-Jones

 

 I would first like to say thank you for letting me be your guest on your wonderful blog.

Have You Seen My Egg? is a story that was inspired by my experience volunteering at Texas Children’s Hospital. Being a volunteer, you see many things which are heartbreaking. One of the things that struck the most, was children who were sick and abandoned by their family. I just wanted to scoop them up and take them home. My heart broke every time. So, I decided to write a story about a rooster who had this urge to nurture and wanted an egg of his own to love. Many believed he was crazy, especially the hens. He does run into other farm friends who do try to help him.

Andrew Fairchild's children's book, Have You Seen My Egg? description, quote from a reviewer, and link to his website

 

Did you always want to be a children’s author?

 

Not in a million years. When I graduated from school, my plan was to go to Miami and study fashion. I just had such a difficult time with reading and math in school that I was placed in a classroom for children with learning disabilities for the first six years. No one ever told me why, I just knew I had to be there or I would be stupid. Of course, I got teased for it. It also kind of turned me off from reading and writing because of that negative stigma attached to it and all the teasing I endured.

 

Do you have any children of your own?

 

Unfortunately, I do not. Do I want them? YES!

 

What would be an important lesson(s) that you would want to teach your children or any child for that matter?

 

To embrace anyone that is different than yourself. Take the time to listen to them, get to truly know them and love them. Just because someone looks different than you, laughs different than you or likes to do things that you don’t doesn’t make them any less of a person.

 

How was your childhood growing up?

 

Ah, the million-dollar question. It was very difficult. I grew up in a very poor family of six. My dad was an alcoholic, he spent a lot of his check on alcohol and that left very little money for food or clothes. Many times, I remember going through bags of clothes that were given to us, hoping that I would find something I could wear. I was sexually abused by friends of the family and family members. Having to go to school and be teased and bullied, made it much more difficult. It was VERY difficult.

 

What do you hope to achieve by writing children’s books?

 

I don’t think it is about me achieving anything, it is more about what can I teach! Tolerance, acceptance, equality, love, etc.

Andrew Fairchild's picture book, Rose and Her Amazing Nose book cover. Illustrated by George A. Raggett

 

You are also a self-published author, I understand.

 

Yes, that is correct. I have my own publishing company called 4Kidz Publishing. I started out by publishing only my own work; however, I have just recently started helping other authors get published. I don’t think I would ever want to have more than just a handful clients, it takes away from the personal one on one interaction.

 

Have you ever thought about getting traditionally published?

 

Absolutely, what author would not like to get picked up.  It is something that I am working on. While querying agents, I will continue to self-publish.

Andrew Fairchild's children's book, Bali and Blu, Friends of a Different Color. Written and Illustrated by Andrew Fairchild.

What projects are you currently working on?

 

Well, I just finished two manuscripts. A Garden for Emery and Makayla’s Brand-New Day. I am still working and revising a few; Princess Pippa and Her Magic Box, La Petit Pierre Extraordinaire and Bonsai.

I have also been working on a MG chapter book titled, The Bookkeepers: And the Garden of Forgotten Archives, which I am hoping to release the end of next year.

 

Where can readers find out more about you and book signing events?

 

www.author-andrewfairchild.com

www.facebook.com/authorandrewfairchild

 

Where can readers purchase your books?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Have-You-Seen-My-Egg/dp/1513619659/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506466034&sr=8-1&dpID=6176eD-N-rL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/have-you-seen-my-egg-andrew-w-fairchild/1125846997?ean=9781513606088

 

6 Things I Am Learning On My Way To Recovering From OCD

This is a beautiful post by someone recovering from OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). I hope it encourages someone today. There is healing and recovery.

Lonely Blue Boy

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  1. I am learning that I can never truly be perfect no matter how hard I try. Instead, I am learning that I can always be growing no matter how hard it is to do so when every single moment of every day is filled with doubts and irrational fears.
  2. I am learning that every negative thought that comes into my head is out of my control. What I do have control at is how I give them meaning.
  3. I am learning that exposing myself to my irrational fears is how I’ll get better.
  4. I am learning that change, no matter how scary it is, for me, is a good thing.
  5. I am learning that letting go of control and letting things be is the best thing that one can do at the end of the day.
  6. I am learning that there will be days when I’ll be stressed and not…

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Do You Wanna Be My Friend?

two female children hugging with happy faces, fall leaves in the background

 

I just want to say that right now it does NOT feel like FALL in Florida even though September 21st (the equinox) has come and gone, but I’m hoping any day now we’ll start feeling some cooler temperatures.

Today, let’s please welcome our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen, to share on the topic of helping your child make friends.

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist

Do You Wanna Be My Friend?

Children need to feel comfortable with themselves and confident when meeting others.  Youngsters need to build self confidence and self esteem, especially in new and unfamiliar situations, such as starting school or joining a team or social group. You can help your youngster make friends using these guidelines.

  1. Put on a happy face: A smile is a universal language. A smile sends out a friendly message. Some children grin spontaneously when they meet others or engage in a new experience, other children are shy or fearful.   Help your child practice by making faces in a mirror, or at each other. Look at pictures of people in books and magazines and discuss what emotions they are conveying with their facial expressions. Ask your child how he would feel if he was with this person. Encourage your child to smile when greeting others; smile, be positive.
  2. Introduce Yourself: The best way to start a conversation is to have eye contact and say your name, loud and clear and offer to shake hands. Next, ask the other child his or her name. This personalizes their time together and encourages friendship and acceptance. It also opens the door for further comments, for example, they may have a relative or friend with the same name.
  3. Share Yourself: Your child should offer some information such as his age , which grade he is in, if he has a pet, or his favorite food. Telling something personal invites others to share something and keeps the momentum going between them. Sharing information shows trust and caring.
  4. Show Interest: Listening is critical in making and maintaining friends. Teach your child to listen as others speak. If their new acquaintance says she likes kittens, your child can relate an incident she had involving kittens, or she can tell about her favorite animal. Practice listening and responding with your youngster. Make a statement and have him or her respond with related information. See how long you can go back and forth on a specific topic.
  5. Be Polite: Being courteous goes beyond saying “please, thank you, and excuse me”. Children need to play cooperatively. This involves sharing toys, asking permission, waiting their turn, being fair, and following rules. They need to accept “no” for an answer. Being polite shows respect for others and teaches self control.
  6. Play by the Rules: Children think they are the center of the universe and all that happens, revolves around them. They must learn they are part of a larger group, a family or a school, and the needs of others are also important. They need to learn how to ask to join in with other children and how to go along with established rules. They can’t be demanding or bully others into doing things their way. This will cause rejection and isolation by their peers. Teach your child to compromise and negotiate, to get what he wants without offending others.

Encourage your child using these suggestions to improve his or her social skills and interactions. These are some ways your child can make friends and find acceptance by others.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has written two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.”  Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Thank you, Valerie, for being here today and sharing this important topic. I’m also very glad you’re my friend.

Have a great one everybody!

Featured Author – King Campbell

I want to encourage everyone to check out Patty Fletcher’s book, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life. You’ll love it!! Enjoy this post from King Campbell AKA King, himself!

Campbells World

DSC01320King Campbell is a black seeing eye labrador who is wearing a golden crown with red fabric inner and a white fur band.  Around his shoulders is a cloak of red velvet and white fur. He had his tongue hanging out to the left and a blue collar. Art work is by Hagan Plaisted aged 17.

First, tell us, in your own words, a little about you.

Hi, my name is Bubba, well, Bubba is the nickname made of love that my human mother gave to me. My real name is King Campbell-Lee, Seeing Eye Dog.

Something I must tell you though, is this.” I was not always a king. It was not until my mother loved me that I became so.

“A long, long time ago, when I was very small you know, I was taken from my dog mommy and given to a family. I thought I would…

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