Professional Resources for Teachers

Professional Resources for Teachers
Sharon MacDonald’s

Sharon MacDonald has been training teachers for over 19 years on a variety of early childhood topics.  Her training is based on her unique perspective from 28 years as an early-childhood teacher.  Her practical ideas, down-to-earth approaches and her enthusiastic presentation style will energize and delight you.  You will be able to implement many of her creative ideas in your classroom right away.          
    Squish, Sort, Paint, and Build and Everyday Discoveries have received coveted "highly recommended" reviews from the Parent Council, Ltd.; Idea Bags and Block Play have received Directors’ Choice Awards from Early Childhood News.          

Everyday Discoveries
Amazingly Easy Science and Math Activities Using Stuff You Already Have

     Packed with self-directed science activities that build in math as a natural part of the scientific approach: observation and measurement. This book is a reliable reference for childcare centers, preschool programs, and early primary-grade classrooms. It shows how easily and naturally children can learn to make observations and measure results. Each activity in Everyday Discoveries is made more challenging for children who need more challenge because of their age or skill level; or more easy for younger and less-skilled children.
     Everyday Discoveries received the coveted "highly recommended" review from the Parent Council, Ltd. (Summer, 1999).

The Portfolio and Its Use
A Roadmap for Assessment
     This book describes how you can begin using portfolios in your classroom.  It is a beginning book for teachers who want to try portfolios but don’t quite don’t know where to begin.  It suggests an easy-to-use method based on taking work samples and writing anecdotal records.  It teaches how to do both effectively.  
      Sharon MacDonald tells you how you can assess your children in their natural classroom setting as the children work, not at formal testing times.  Teachers learn to assess when things are happening in the classroom and to change things immediately if activities in place are not working.  There are ready-to-use forms, like checklists, parent conference forms, and letters, in the back of the book.  Also, there are skills lists that can be posted around the classroom so that any observer can see quickly see what skills the children are learning where they are working.
      This book is used as a course book by a number of colleges and universities.

Squish, Sort, Paint & Build
Over 200 Easy Learning Center Activities

      Jam-packed with over 200 activities to keep young children actively involved in developmentally appropriate ways. The activities are child-initiated, so children can work and learn at their own level of interest and ability. This essential resource includes information on how to set up 11 learning centers, what skills the children learn by doing the activities and how to simplify the activity for a younger child or make it more difficult for an older child. Most of all, this book is about how to make learning fun and exciting.

Sanity Savers for Early Childhood Teachers
200 Quick Fixes for Everything from Big Messes to Small Budgets
      From cleaning up messes to storage ideas to inventive cost-cutting strategies and everything in between, here are over 200 ways to help you keep your sanity in the classroom!
      This book offers quick and easy solutions to daily problems, giving you more time to teach and to enjoy the children you teach. It is a fun and a welcome relief for any busy early-childhood teacher. It is easy-to-use and it offers a wealth of information and moral support.      

Block Play
The Complete Guide to Learning and Playing with Blocks
      This book builds excitement about learning math, science, literacy, and social studies in the block center. It is an invaluable addition to the resource library of every early-childhood teacher. 
As most teachers of young children know, playing with blocks enriches preschool and kindergarten classrooms. This book tells you why that is so, how to make it so, how to assess children’s progress and offers 50 activity selections.  Descriptions are clear and explanations of what children learn are concise.           
      Each activity suggestion considers the ability and interest level of the children and encourages problem-solving, fine- and gross-motor development, math, science, language, and social skills. Fun activities include : Partnership Building, Building Blindfolded, Balancing Blocks,
and Simple Machines.          
      Block Play received the Directors’ Choice Award for 2001-02 from Early Childhood News.

Idea Bags
Activities to Promote the Home-School Connection

      A teacher resource book full of ways to get parents engaged in their children’s learning.
     Idea bags are brown-paper lunch bags filled with ideas parents can use at home to help further their children’s learning. Idea Bags invite the parents to do activities with their children to reinforce and expand concepts taught at school. The suggestions try to capture parents’ interest. They allow parents to learn first, and then teach their children.         
     Each idea bag focuses on a single topic. The poem attached to the front describes the topic and the activities that relate to it. Parents can expand their children’s knowledge of subjects by completing the activities with their children. Most of the activities can be done with materials found around the house or from recycled consumer products.          |
      Idea Bags received the Directors’ Choice Award for 1999-2000 from Early Childhood News. 

Idea Bags for the Kitchen
is similar in many respects to one of Sharon’s earlier books, Idea Bags. The difference is that Idea Bags for the Kitchen takes activities into the kitchen where parents work with their child using simple recipes to prepare food. Because food is something that naturally attracts most children, cooking with simple recipes is a great way for parents to build on school experiences to reinforce and expand concepts taught at school.
          For example, math knowledge improves when a child measures quantities of foods and timing how long it takes for cooking to be completed. The child expands language by learning to use words like stir, pour, beat, whip, dot, and grate. The step-by-step picture directions on the idea
bag encourage the child to "read" the directions for completing the recipe.