Garden of Gratitiude

By: Jennifer Perez

Once a year, teachers everywhere are recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week. As a teacher, it always fills my heart to hear those simple two words… “‘Thank You.”

Those of you who know me know that I have a few passions:

1. Children~ my own two AND the kiddos I come in contact with each year in my classroom.

2. Reading/Learning~ I can NEVER know enough!

3. Writing ~There is just something about writing that seems to put me in my happy place.

Being an educator is an absolute honor! I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with the gifts that I was given and mix them with my passions. It takes true dedication and heart to be an educator though. These are some tough times that we live in and for me to paint a “rosy” picture of the profession wouldn’t be 100% accurate. There are those rare moments when I wonder, “Is this for me?” ” Is this what God has called me to do?”

“What could possibly happen “at school” to make an educator think such a thing? “

Well, I’m glad you asked….

Not a day goes by when I am not thinking about my students. How is their life at home? Do they go home with a mom and dad? Mom? Or just Dad?

What kind of lessons are they receiving at home? Are they learning about God, culture and ettiquette? OR are they learning how to simply “survive?”

The reality of the matter is this…Yes, I am a teacher and I only have control over lessons/situations when my kiddos are with me. Not only am I teaching History, Language Arts, Reading and Writing, but I’m teaching my kiddos how to love one another, how to use their manners, that it’s alright to have an “off” day. I teach my students how to follow their hearts and to work hard each and every day.

Yes, as a teacher, I have taught my students a plethora of lessons-both educational and non. However, what my students have taught me over the years is far greater in importance than I will ever be able to express with words. And you want to recognize and Thank me? No way!

I want to THANK YOU student(s) for coming to school and trusting me with your minds, ambitions, fears, strengths and weaknesses. I promise to always give you all that I have and to always have your best interest in mind. I promise to be your #1 fan and to pick you up when you fall. Afterall, this is what I was born to do!

Happy Teaching to all you educators out there!

April 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM Leave a comment

Inspiring Minds Tutoring ~ 2nd Annual Drive for Supplies

I am extremely excited to announce Inspiring Minds Tutoring 2nd Annual Drive for Supplies.  Each year, thousands of children return to school without the proper resources in order to succeed in school.  As an educator, I have witnessed this take place year after year in my classroom! My hope for the Drive for Supplies is to collect enough school supplies so that an entire classroom will be stocked and ready to begin a brand new school year.  A brand new school year brings promise and new hope; a hope that this year will be better.  This will be the year my friends- – the year where we can come together and help make a difference in the lives of young children!

Our children and students should not have to worry about such things; yet, in our society such worries are still a reality.  Please spread the word about IMT’s Drive for Supplies to your friends and family members! (A flyer is available upon request via email) Feel free to print and post our flyer to help in this grass-roots fundraising effort!  Anything and everything that you are able to contribute to IMT’sDrive for Supplies will be a blessing so please don’t hesitate to donate!

Drive for Supplies Wish List

  • #2 pencils
  • Black/Blue pens
  • Wide-ruled paper
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Composition Books
  • Pencil Boxes
  • Washable Markers
  • Crayons
  • Glue Sticks
  • 2-pocket folders
  • 1” binders-white or black

I THANK YOU all from the very bottom of my heart!  If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach me via email atJPerez@InspiringMindsTutoring.com or telephone at  (813) 388- 5964.

The drive will take place on July, 25, 2011 through August 15, 2011. DONATIONS CAN BE MAILED TO: 3232 Whitley Bay Ct., Land O’Lakes, FL 34638.  If you are local, I will be MORE than happy to coordinate a pick up!  This year’s Drive for Supplies will benefit Crestwood Elementary School  and Oakstead Elementary School.

Happy Donating!

Jennifer Perez

© Jennifer Perez 7/25/11

July 25, 2011 at 7:06 AM 1 comment

Reader’s Theater

by: Jennifer Perez

Readers Theater…what is it?

Readers Theater involves students in reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. It involves children in….

  • sharing literature,
  • reading aloud,
  • writing scripts,
  • performing with a purpose, and
  • working collaboratively

The benefits of Reader’s Theater are immense when used with fidelity. When Reader’s Theater was first introduced into my classroom, what I observed were my students showing excitement and pure enjoyment toward their particular piece. They were arriving to school early to rehearse with their groups (fluency), planning which person would create which props (collaborating) and some groups extended themselves by creating AND typing out their own Reader’s Theater scripts.

After rehearsing their Reader’s Theater plays for about two weeks, the students performed in full costume, props and microphones for other 3rd grade classes. Their peers graded them on such items as: fluency, pronunciation, clarity and working collaboratively. The feedback was very positive and I was thrilled to see my little worker bees take the feedback and immediately begin making changes to improve their next performance!

Here are a few of the Reader’s Theater resources I use in my classroom. They are amusing, entertaining and downright whimsical! Give them a try….Im’ sure you and your students will love them too!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 6/30/11

July 13, 2011 at 12:42 PM Leave a comment

A year ago today

by: Jennifer Perez

Exactly one year ago today, my dream of starting a tutoring company came true!  For many years, I wondered how I could merge my love for teaching AND learning in such a way that would be able to make a positive impact on children.  Sure, the idea of starting my own tutoring company popped up several times during the brainstorming sessions, but I thought there were already too many privately owned companies promising to do the same thing.  I thought to myself, ” If I am going to begin this journey how would I be different?  What would make parents/guardians choose to tutor with me over the competition?”  Almost immediatley the answer became abundantly clear- my passion for teaching and learning would shine through each individualized lesson I teach!  That’s it!  I am not talking about workbooks and meaningless reproducibles, but taking the child’s strengths, weaknesses, goals and priorities and creating lessons that are specifically tailored for them!  The question of “how would I be different” instantly morphed into, “What do I need to do to get this tutoring business started??”

After a few months of planning and preparing….Inspiring Minds Tutoring was born on January 15, 2010.  It was truly one of the most special days of my life.  To be able to dream a dream for so long and to see it slowly come to fruition is simply beyond words.  I am thrilled to see what the upcoming year brings for us and to my wonderful clients!  Thank You for sticking with me and I promise to continue inspiring the young minds of our future leaders!

Happy Anniversary Inspiring Minds Tutoring!

© Jennifer Perez 1/15/2011

January 15, 2011 at 10:00 PM 2 comments

Math Bingo

by: Jennifer Perez

 

Math Bingo??  Yes, that is right!  I am sure some of you have heard of Math Bingo before…some of may have not.  I decided to bring “back” the Math Bingo game for one of my newest clients….5 year old R.  Little R is now tutoring with me, Ms. Jenny, and we began working on all sorts of math goodies: numerics 1-100+, recognizing numbers in word form, using manipulatives to represent numbers, addition, subtraction and more! Before meeting my newest little client, I had prepared a Math Bingo game  as the culminating activity.  I prepared the bingo card with the numbers 1-9 in their individual boxes. I then showed R a flash card with a number spelled out in number form, which he then located the matching number on the card and covered it with a foam manipulative. We continued in this fashion until he has three in a row and shouted “BINGO!” We had such a great time that R requested that we play Blackout!  ( Apparently, this is where you play until all of the squares on the bingo board have been covered!  Of course….I said yes!)

For Example ~ I showed R the flash card which read- “FIVE.”  R read the number five and then located the matching number in numerics on his Math Bingo card.

This is an excellent, easy way to make math fun in your home!! You can use the Math Bingo game to review  ANY operation: Addition, subtraction, Multiplication or Division.  Whichever you choose, just create the correct flash cards. For example, if you want to work on addition- then your flash cards would contain addition problems such as 5 +2 which your child would then locate the sum of  7 on their Math Bingo card and cover it with what ever you choose.   I am sure that you have the materials in your kitchen junk draw as we speak!

Materials needed:

  • blank computer paper OR any solid color paper
  • index cards
  • dried pasta OR beans
  • markers OR colored pencils OR crayons

What to do:

1. First, decide how many numbers you want to use for your child’s Math Bingo card.  Create the bingo card, using the blank computer paper or colored paper, with just a few less boxes than numbers chosen.

2. Create an appropriate set of flash cards using your index cards and markers.  If you are working on addition then create addition cards.  If you care choosing to work on multiplication, then create multiplication flash cards, etc…

3. Review the rules of the game with your child and discuss prize, if you choose, once the have “BINGO.”

4. Set out Math Bingo chips for your child to use to cover their numbers.  You can use dry pasta, beans or small cereal pieces.

Playing the Math Bingo is a sure way to get your child excited about math, which-let’s be honest, is sometimes difficult to do.  Continue to challenge your child by adding a few more flash cards to their stack each week or maybe even inviting them to create their own!!

Happy Bingo playing!!

© Jennifer Perez 1/14/11

January 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM 2 comments

New Years Resolutions for Kids

by: Jennifer Perez

As adults, we understand what it means to make a New Years Resolution.  It is the one time each and every year where we take some time to reflect on the past year-what we’ve done vs. what we haven’t done and what we plan on conquering in the year to come!  While reflecting on the past year, I was able to set my own New Years Resolutions for 2011.  As I was writing them down, I couldn’t help but think, “These resolutions are exactly like goal-setting.  Why not teach children and students to set goals/resolutions as well??”

If you have children ages preschool age and up, consider helping them set their very own New Years Resolutions.  It would be helpful to explain to them what a New Years Resolution is and how similar it is to goal-setting.  After your discussion, encourage your child/student to reflect on the past year and brainstorm for their 2011 new Years Resolutions. Please remind your child of the following:

  • ALL resolutions should be age-appropriate
  • Resolutions/Goals should be ones that are attainable
  • Keep the resolutions anywhere between 3-5 different resolutions

The following are some examples of New Years Resolutions from the American Academy of Pediatrics. (You can find even more suggestions on their site).

Preschoolers

  • I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.

Children 5 to 12 years old

  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.

Children 13 years old and up

  • I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.

Hope everyone has had a blessed 2010!  Here is to an even better 2011…Cheers!

Happy Resolution Writing!

© Jennifer Perez 12/29/10

December 29, 2010 at 9:28 PM Leave a comment

The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

by: Jennifer Perez

I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember.  My first recollection of writing was in my very own hard-back leather  journal.  The kind that came with two tiny gold keys attached to one another through a single silver hoop.  I remember feeling so important as I jingled those tiny golden keys to unlock my very own journal….a place I wrote my feelings, thoughts, dreams, fears and so much more.  I didn’t realize it then, but journal writing was very therapeutic.  I was always a quiet child- not one to verbalize much, but when I wrote…..I did so with such detail and emotion, it was as if I were actually speaking to someone, instead of just writing in a journal.  Or was I ” just writing in a journal?”

It wasn’t until I was an adult when I re-read my childhood journals that I was able to appreciate the importance of journal writing.  While reading those journals, I noticed several important things worth mentioning:

1. My spelling, at times, was horrendous!  Yes, I am admitting it…my spelling wasn’t always perfect, but in my journal I was able to take chances without anyone telling me that I needed to “look at that again.”  A part of growing up is learning from your mistakes, and let’s just say…I’ve learned from my spelling mistakes!

2. Every journal entry was different: some days it was obvious that I had  GREAT day, other days not so much.  Whatever the day brought it was visible through the writing on the pages of my journal.  As an adult, this made me wonder…..If everyone always spoke what they thought, would there be less “miscommunication in today’s society?”  Interesting thought to ponder as there can be miscommunication in anything and everything we do!

3. While reading these journal entries, I noticed that the entries were not ones that were written in 10 minutes.  It seemed as though I had plenty of time to myself to think about what I wanted to write….to truly choose the right words to express myself.  This made me think, “Just like adults, children also need some time to themselves.”  Why?  Everyone needs time to reflect, wind down from the day and just be in the presence of the now.  It may not be easy for a young child to ‘reflect’ on the day, but this would be a wonderful skill to teach your child as it will be something they will constantly do throughout their lives!

There are many benefits in keeping a journal ~ for both children and adults.  I have listed a few benefits from my own personal journaling experiences, but everyone is different.  If journaling is something you’d like for your child to take advantage of then explain to them what it is. Maybe even go to the local bookstore and encourage your child to choose their favorite journal.  Let them know that their journal is theirs, for their eyes only and they can write about anything and everything.  Share with them my experience if you’d like!

Happy Journaling!

© Jennifer Perez 12/27/10

December 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM Leave a comment

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