Posts filed under ‘Family Activities’

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 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

Hispanic Heritage

by: Jennifer Perez

Just what is Hispanic Heritage Month?  According to Hispanic Heritage, “Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

As a teacher, I feel that it is extremely important to create ‘experiences’ for my students. If they do not have the schema, or background knowledge, to support certain lessons, then that’s alright!  It is my job as their teacher to help them to create it!

Each year, I brainstorm ways of creating lessons that teach my students the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month.  I like to incorporate:

  1. Technology-Short video clips and virtual tours are excellent ways to ‘hook’ my students.
  2. Text- I enjoying searching for a variety of text and flooding the room with MANY options.  A few options include poetry, Realistic Fiction, articles and magazine clips.
  3. Writing- I encourage my students to reflect upon their thinking

So where do I start?

There are tons of resources at our fingertips…we just need to locate them and use them!  Personally, I always begin with an Internet search to find the most up to date information; whether it is in books, articles, sites or virtual tours. Next, I determine what I can and cannot use for my current class.  As teachers, we know that each year brings a new set of students, completely different from the previous year.  (It is important to keep this in mind when planning any subject!)

Suggested Resources to use in planning your Hispanic Heritage Month Unit.

After some research, I have pulled together the following resources to help me teach my students about Hispanic Heritage Month.


This site contains excellent short clips to share with your students.

  2. My Diary from Here to There by: Amada Irma Perez
  3. Harvesting Hope: The story of Cesar Chavez by: Kathleen Krull
  4. Famous Hispanic Americans by: Janet Morey

There are MANY other resources available out there that can be used to create amazing lessons for your students.  I hope that these few will get you on your way!  Please feel free to share any other resources you may find!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 9/26/10

September 27, 2010 at 7:41 PM Leave a comment

Labor Day Fun

by: Jennifer Perez

In preparation for the Labor Day weekend, I have been planning a few educational activities to share with you all.  Teaching your little ones can be fun way to incorporate family “learning” time!

What is Labor Day?

Labor Day is celebrated the 1st Monday in September in the United States and Canada.   It is a day the many workers in our nation either don’t work or they take the day off in honor of the day.  (To read more about the history of Labor Day go to for an overview.)

How can I teach my children about Labor Day?

Keep it simple!!!  After reviewing the history at, summarize for your child the purpose for the holiday.  Items to discuss can include:

  • When is Labor Day Celebrated?
  • Where did Labor Day originate?
  • What was the original purpose for Labor Day?
  • Who celebrates Labor Day?
  • Why do people celebrate Labor Day?
  • How ‘we’ can celebrate Labor Day.

After having this verbal discussion, I would highly recommend reading a few books to your children about Labor Day and extending their learning through a writing activity and maybe even a craft!

What to read?

There are many books at your local library and bookstores that cover this holiday well!  Two that I have enjoyed are:

Labor Day by: Carmen Bredeson and  Labor Day (Holidays and Festivals) by: Rebecca Rissman.

Maybe one evening, your family can host The Family Reading P.J. Party where you can read these Labor Day books to the family.  After they have been read, have a family discussion about each book. Ask such questions as:

  1. What did you learn after hearing more about Labor Day?
  2. Is there anything else that you are still wondering about this holiday?
  3. What can we do as a family to celebrate?

Labor Day by: Carmen Bredeson

Labor Day (Holidays and Festivals) by: Rebecca Rissman

We read the books…now what?

There are several activities that can be done to keep the Labor Day learning fun this weekend:

1. On Labor Day stationary, have your child write what Labor Day means to them.  Ask them to include such items as the questions mentioned in “What to read.”

2. Brainstorm a list of Labor Day related words.  Then, create a word search using those words and encourage your child to locate each word on their own.   (A great site to try is Puzzle Maker.)

3. Using that same list of words from #2, help your child locate these words in newspapers and magazines.  Use these words to create a collage.  What you will need: scissors, glue, construction paper, old newspapers and magazines.

4. Draw a comic strip of what your family will do to celebrate Labor Day.  Brainstorm the text to be included in the thought bubbles together and encourage your child to use their neatest handwriting!

I hope you all have a wonderful and SAFE Labor Day weekend with your family and friends!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 9/4/10

September 4, 2010 at 12:17 PM Leave a comment

Beach Bound

by: Jennifer Perez

My husband and I recently took our daughter to the beach for the 1st time and she had a blast!  From chasing the waves to running away from the waves-a good time was had by all!  Before leaving the beach, I wanted to help Peyton pick a few seashells because isn’t that what every child does?? We searched for shells and were able to find a few to document the trip.  This beach visit was more than just a trip; it was also the inspiration for this piece!  Pack the car with everyone’s favorite beach goodies, pack a lunch and let’s go….we are Beach Bound!

We are at the beach ~ Now what?

As a child, I remember packing up the morning of ‘beach day’ and being so completely excited that I was sent outside because I had “too much energy!”  Isn’t it like this for our kids though?  One mention of the beach and they are soo there-racing to grab their bathing suit and sand pail!  In their defense, what’s not to love about the beach?  The sound of waves crashing onto shore, seagulls squawking in the very near distance, sandwiches and chips galore and…we can’t forget the seashells!

Collecting seashells with your kids can be a wonderful learning lesson for them.  (If you have more than one child, I suggest having some sort of pail or bucket for each in order to keep the shells separate.)  While collecting shells you can discuss their size in relation to other shells, count how many you’ve collected and describe their shapes.  After collecting those seashells, wash them off and get ready to use them for some educational purposes!

Sorting Seashells

There are a few ways in which shells can be sorted.  They may be sorted by:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Jagged edges / smooth edges
  • Symmetrical/not symmetrical

Before asking your child to sort, explain what it means to sort and even provide them with an example.  You may want to sort once with your child and then allow them to choose other possible ways to sort!  For example, sort the seashells by size once together.  As the parent, pull out all of the shells that may considered small. Next, have your child sort for the shells that may be considered large.  Any of the shells left can be considered medium shells.  Take this activity a little further by having your child take pictures of their different shell sorts!

Counting Seashells

Counting shells sounds like an easy task right??  Well, it depends on the age of your child!  Simply counting seashells is a great way to build number sense.  If your child is a bit older or is ready for a challenge, ask them to:

  • Count the shells by 2’s, 3’s and 4’s.
  • Create groups of 5’s and 10’s
  • Use the shells to create a number sentence such as 8-3=5.

Graphing Seashells

For this activity, you will need:

  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Graphing paper or lined paper

Using the data from one of the sorts above, help your child create a graph of their choice!

For example ~ If there were 5 small shells, 7 medium shells and 6 large shells in the SIZE SORT, then this would be the date or information needed in order to create the graph!

Encourage your child to have fun with their graphs.  Creating the graphs in pencil first, is a good idea just in case some erasing needs to take place.  Once the final product is complete, the markers would be a great way to add some color!!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/11/10

August 12, 2010 at 7:53 AM Leave a comment

Family Academic Contract (F.A.C.)

by: Jennifer Perez

The F.A.C. is a working agreement between family members in order to help each child in the household strive academically.  In order for the F.A.C. to be successful, it must be a “working” agreement.  A working agreement means having the flexibility to change the agreement for the betterment of your child/children to help them succeed.

Here are a few items that you may consider for your own F.A.C. between you and your child/children.

F.A.C. Sample of Terms:


  1. Child must complete all homework before watching TV.
  2. No cell phones while doing homework.
  3. There must be a minimum of 1.5 hrs of studying a night.


  1. All study time must be non-interrupted time.
  2. Parent must be available for questions if needed.
  3. Parent must check that all H.W. has been completed.


Just like all contracts, there are consequences when the terms are broken.  I highly recommend making these consequences part of the F.A.C. so that expectations and consequences are understood from the beginning.  We want our children to be fully aware of ALL terms before agreeing to this contract.


Now for the fun part!  I say fun part because as parents we want the best for our children.  When our children are successful it fills us with a pride that is unexplainable.  So, why not add a ‘Rewards’ term to the F.A.C.?    Rewarding your children will help keep them motivated about meeting the F.A.C terms.

Once  ALL of the terms have been set and agreed upon, it is time to draft the F.A.C. and have all stakeholders sign and date. Post the F.A.C. in a area where it will be viewed often such as: the office, I.L.S. or even the refrigerator.  Re-visit the F.A.C. every so often and remember…it is a “working” agreement, which means that you as the parent have the flexibility to revise terms if it will benefit your child!

Presentation of F.A.C. ~Sample Scripts:

“Peyton, I was thinking; you have been doing much better with your studies.  Why don’t we put a F.A.C. in place so we can track your efforts and reward you for your hard work?”

“Peyton, I know this school year is tougher than last year.  Why don’t we put an F.A.C. in place to help out?  If you stick to the F.A.C., not only will it benefit your studies, but we can reward you for your efforts as well.”

The F.A.C can be as effective as you decide to make it.  Good luck and remember, your approach is everything!

Family Academic Contract ~ SAMPLE

This contract is between the family of _________________ and ______________________.   This contract is to have the input and agreed upon by both the child/student and the parent.  This contract is a ‘working’ agreement between the signers.  Since this is a working agreement, we have the flexibility to make changes to the agreement if the changes are to benefit the child/students

The following are the terms of the Parents:

  1. Child/Student is to have excellent behavior in all classes.
  2. Student must complete all homework before any extra curricular activities may take place.
  3. Student must complete work without any distractions. (cell phones)
  4. A Parent must review homework.
  5. A minimum of 1.5 hours must be spent each evening completing homework and reading.

The following are the terms of the Child/Student:

  1. Parent must provide a quiet working environment.
  2. Parent must be available for questions.
  3. Parent must make time to review assignments.

Consequences if terms are not met:

(If you and your family decide on consequences)


Parent Signature/Date


Child/Student Signature/Date

Happy Learning!

©Jennifer Perez 7/16/10

August 3, 2010 at 9:17 AM Leave a comment

Alphabetizing Books

by: Jennifer Perez

Ever since I was a child I have loved books!  I love reading them, holding them, shopping for them and talking about them.  It really isn’t surprising to anyone who knows us that Peyton, my daughter, also has a love for books! Several times a day, Peyton will walk over to her book collection, choose a book that interests her and ask me to read it.  I especially love how she will then take the book and sift through the pages on her own, pointing out familiar items and calling them by name!  It just warms my heart to see her evolving into a young reader!

The Alphabetizing begins

Due to the amount of books Peyton owns, her books are stored in two places: in a shelf in her bedroom upstairs and in two baskets downstairs in the living room.  As our afternoon activity, I decided to take Peyton to her bookshelf upstairs and alphabetize her books.  Now, my daughter is a little too young to alphabetize her books on her own, she is 21 months old! However, it was a wonderful opportunity to practice the alphabet, organize her books and spend some quality time together!

Alphabetizing ~ Children 0 to 4

  1. Gather all of your child/children’s books and spread them out onto the floor.
  2. Explain to your child what you are doing, “here are all of your wonderful books!  As a way to organize your books, we are going to work together to put them in ABC order. ABC order is also called Alphabetical order.”
  3. Since your little ones are still too young to alphabetize themselves, stimulate their minds by singing the alphabet while sorting the books into the correct ‘alpha’ pile.  Ex. Books by author’s whose names begin with A in one pile, B’s in another pile, etc…
  4. Change things up a bit by asking your child to repeat the letters after you as you continue to sort and stack books.
  5. Feel accomplished!  When all is said and done, you have organized your child’s books alphabetically, given them additional practice with their alphabet AND spent quality family time together!

Alphabetizing ~ Children 5 and up

  1. Follow Steps 1 & 2 from above.
  2. Before beginning to sort, have your child sing the alphabet out loud as a warm up to their task.
  3. Begin by modeling how to search for books whose author’s names begin with the Letter A and pull those books to the side.
  4. In order to ensure your child understands the task, ask your child to begin sorting an creating a pile for the Letter B.
  5. If your child has a great grasp on the task, encourage them to continue sorting by letter until all of the books are in the appropriate pile. If they need more practice with the alphabetizing, work on sorting the next few letters together or until your child is ready to attempt on their own!
  6. Feel accomplished!  When all is said and done, you helped your child organize their books alphabetically, given them additional practice with their alphabet AND spent quality family time together!!  Not bad for an afternoon activity 😉

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 7/28/10

July 28, 2010 at 6:33 PM Leave a comment

Acrostic Poem

by: Jennifer Perez

I just love creating Acrostic Poems!!  I must admit, I tend to create one with my class for nearly every holiday, but I cannot help myself!  My students really get involved and bring a lot of unique ideas to the table when creating our Acrostic Poems.

What is an Acrostic Poem?

An Acrostic Poem simply requires the writer to choose a word in which they would like to write about and turn in into a vertical acronym.  Each letter will then have a describing word that stems horizontally from it.

In order to ‘hook’ your children, try creating an Acrostic Poem with their name.





From the 4th of July Pride Placemat~






There are NO LIMITS as to WHAT you and your child can turn into an Acrostic Poem!  Just brainstorm together and let the writing begin!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 7/19/10

July 21, 2010 at 7:05 AM Leave a comment

Older Posts

"Unlocking your child's potential."

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7 other followers


Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.