Category Archives: School

Learning Apps Review: Tiggly Words and Tiggly Math

We received the following products for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.

Our family is pretty excited about the Tiggly toys and apps. My 3-year-old daughter tried out Tiggly Words and my 7-year-old son tried Tiggly Math; see them both in action below.

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Ever since I introduced the kids to these toys, they both often ask for a chance to play. Instead of denying them the screen time they desperately desire, I’m glad to let them enjoy these games.

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The toys are interactive, engaging, and relevant to their curriculum at school. The toys are great for kids with different strengths and weaknesses and are great for building reading and math skills.

Tiggly Words (Ages 4-8)

Tiggly Math (Ages 3-7)

There’s also a Tiggly Shapes toy for ages 2-5.

The Tiggly Learning Systems include interactive toys, 3 free apps, and a carrying pouch. The systems are compatible with all generations of iPad and iPad mini (except iPad 1), and leading android devices (Samsung, Kurio). Each system retails for $29.95.

Educators! There are Tiggly systems for the whole classroom, too. Check it out!

GIVEAWAY! Super Lice Solution

I received a Vamousse Mousse and Shampoo for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

It’s the louse’s favorite time of year! Kids are coming back from camp and they’re on their way back to school. Their adorable little heads are just asking for lice to make themselves at home. And now news reports claim that lice are resistant to traditional over-the-counter insecticides. All the more reason to choose a natural prevention and treatment product, like Vamousse. We’ve used Vamousse and here’s our review.

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We experienced lice once, and it was one time too many. Even the idea of lice was something I refused to face, and I was completely blind-sided when it happened. I had received a free treatment mousse from Vamousse and kept it in the closet, thinking it was only taking up space. I was so very thankful to have that bottle in my closet when it hit because, instead of having to go drugstore shopping, I was able to treat the kids immediately.

There was nothing pleasant about treating lice; however, one 15 minute treatment and a few subsequent shampoos for good measure were effective for us. None of us experienced any unpleasant side effects either, perhaps due to the natural ingredients. Ever since then, I always keep at least a full Vamousse treatment bottle and prevention shampoo in the closet.

Vamousse Lice Treatment

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  • Kills lice and eggs fast
  • Single 15-minute treatment, no need to reapply
  • Quick and precise application with easy-to-use mousse
  • Safe and non-toxic
  • Pesticide-free

Vamousse Lice Protection Shampoo

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  • Gentle daily shampoo kills lice
  • Helps keep your entire family lice free
  • For use during outbreaks at school, prior to camp or sleepovers
  • Allows kids to return to school even after an outbreak has occurred

Vamousse Lice Treatment (MSRP $24.99) is available nationwide at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Kmart, and in some regional chains, including Harris Teeter, and online at Amazon.com and Drugstore.com.  Vamousse Lice Protection Shampoo (MSRP $12.99) is available nationwide at Walmart and online at Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and Walmart.com.

GIVEAWAY: Vamousse Lice Treatment and Protection Shampoo

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1st Day of School #BacktoSchool #BTS #FirstGrade

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My son finished his first week of first grade yesterday and all is well. We were worried for him because he’s a sensitive soul and because it’s a new school; but the week went off without a hitch! *Giant sigh of relief*  He and a few classmates even helped the principal with the morning announcements on day one!

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And there were no tears!  Well, not from him, anyway.  His poor little sister was heartbroken that she couldn’t join her buddy.  🙁

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In good time, little one.

5 #Organizing Tips for #BackToSchool #BTS

Organizing BTS Pin

I did not receive any compensation for this post. I received the Wall Pops White Board Monthly Calendar in my swag bag at the Momtrends Back-to-School Event.

1.  Family Calendar

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Organizing Post

Place a big dry erase calendar in a central location, such as the kitchen or family room.  Our favorite is the White Board Monthly Calendar ($14.99) from Wall Pops. This calendar is re-useable peel and stick, so you can put it on the wall.  It’s on our refrigerator now and I just started using it. It comes with a dry erase pen that can be stuck to any surface with velcro.  It’s the biggest calendar I’ve been able to find, which is an important feature for fitting the schedules of all family members.

2.  Homework Command Station

Organizing Pic Drawer

My oldest is 6, so I still want to be in close proximity when he’s doing his homework. Therefore, his homework spot is the dining room table. This can be tricky because the mess can get out of hand, and then the dining room becomes a catch-all for everyone’s paperwork. So, my son has a drawer in the dining room hutch for his often-used supplies.  When he’s not using them, the pile goes right in the drawer.

3.  Lunch Box Command Station

I reserve a shelf in the fridge for my son’s lunch items (juice boxes, cut up carrots, cheese. Not only does this make lunch items easy to grab, it becomes a visual reminder when times are running low.

4.  Permission Slip Inbox

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Wall Pockets from The Container Store, $12.99 for a set of two

Set up an inbox for important notices from the school, like permission slips and other forms. The spot should be in a centralized location close to the door, because important papers have a greater chance of disappearing if they have to travel too far in the house.  I’m going to try a hanging inbox from The Container Store this year because I want to keep our tiny desk free of clutter.

5. Purge the Closet

Go through the closet and purge outgrown clothes.  Make a list of what you’re low on (e.g., socks, jeans, headbands, etc.) for your back-to-school clothes shopping. You will surely gather enough outgrown clothes for a generous donation!

What are your top back to school organizing tips?

Back to School with Mabel’s Labels. #BTS #BackToSchool @mabelhood

I received the following product for the purpose of review.  All opinions are my own.

Back-to-School preparation is in full-swing!  I attended the Momtrends back-to-school event and had a fantastic time. You can check out my post about the event at Raising Three Savvy Ladies. One of my favorite back-to-school products from the event is Mabel’s Labels, “Labels for the stuff kids lose!”

Part of the Ultimate Back-to-School Combo
Part of the Ultimate Back-to-School Combo

In my experience, Mabel’s Labels are the best for identifying kids’ supplies, personal items and clothes. You will  need to label items whether your children are in school or day care, and you’ll need a lot of them. I’ve tried masking tape, Sharpie marker, stickers, and other labeling products, but Mabel’s Labels is heads above the rest. I will use them for my son who is in the 1st grade and for my daughter in nursery school.

The Ultimate BTS Combo includes two of these key ring tags too. Great for the lunch box!
The Ultimate BTS Combo includes two of these key ring tags too. Great for the lunch box!

The labels come in multiple sizes, they are resilient to everyday wear-and-tear, and the back-to-school package is plentiful. You’ll need them for pencils and scissors, lunch boxes, clothes, accessories, and more.

They stick on everything! Seen here: Pottery Barn Kids lunch box and water bottle, Crayola crayons and glue stick, Lands End Perfectly Packable Bag, and Spbang snack bag
They stick on everything! Seen here: Pottery Barn Kids lunch box and water bottle, Fiskars Non-Stick scissors, Crayola crayons and glue stick, Lands End Perfectly Packable Bag, and Spbang snack bag.

Now you also can find Mabel’s Labels Write Away Labels (self-laminating, writable sticky labels) at Walmart and Amazon.com. These are so versatile. They’re great to have around the house for those random, must-label moments.

Mabel’s Labels sent me the Back-to-School Combo for my son and daughter and I already started labeling their school supplies.  I’ve used them in the past, and I was so pleased with how well they endured the school year and beyond.

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This is the girl’s version of Write Away Labels. Look at all the cute icons that are included!

Go to Mabel’s Labels to see the different products available for students of all ages in a wide range of stylish designs. I’m guessing you’ll also want to buy some for yourself, like I do.  You’ll think of endless uses for their new line of household labels, too!

What will you be labeling this back-to-school season?

Be ready for #BackToSchool! #Win Lice Treatment/Prevention Products from @Vamousselice! #Giveaway #BTS

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I received the following products for the purpose of review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Have you received the dreaded “lice letter” before? It’s the one notifying you of a lice outbreak in your child’s school. Immediately your skin crawls and your head starts to itch. What do you do next?!

If your family has the misfortune of a lice infestation, Vamousse makes an easy-to-apply mousse that works in 15 minutes to kill 100% percent of lice and their eggs. Instead of synthetic pesticides, Vamousse uses a non-toxic, pesticide free product with scientific support for its effectiveness in killing lice and eggs. Sounds good to me!

Vamousse Treatment Mousse
Vamousse Treatment Mousse

Now, what if your family doesn’t have lice, but you think it’s only a matter of time if your kids are exposed at school? Or perhaps you’re sending your child to camp or to a sleepover and you know the chances of getting lice is greater than normal. You and your child may never get it but you want to do something to prevent it!

Vamousse makes a lice prevention shampoo for this scenario. It’s free of chemicals so you don’t have to worry about harming your children when they have been exposed to lice but might not be infected.

Vamousse Shampoo
Vamousse Preventative Shampoo

I received a bottle of the Treatment Mousse and a travel-size Prevention Shampoo at the Momtrends Back-To-School-Event. (See my post about the event at Raising Three Savvy Ladies!) They say that the best time to purchase Lice treatment is BEFORE they arrive, so I feel peace of mind having Vamousse in the house just in case. I don’t know what it’s like to use on my head, but it smells pretty good – like eucalyptus.

Vamousse can be purchased over-the-counter in stores, pharmacies, and online, including Walmart and Amazon.com.

Or, WIN a FREE full-size set of both products worth over $40! Enter below…

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Summer Birthdays

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I just finished packing up the cupcakes I made for my son’s birthday celebration in kindergarten today. His real birthday is in July, but each student with a summer birthday gets to celebrate like everyone else during snack time on one’s own day in June. Hmm. I’m feeling a little bitter.

Ok, I know it was ages ago, but my birthday is in August and I NEVER celebrated my birthday at school! One exception: my friends decorated my locker and bought me my favorite candy (sour watermelons) one day before the end of year in middle school. I remember it vividly because I felt that special feeling of importance that a kid has when she’s the center of attention.

Clearly, my lack of a birthday celebration in school didn’t scar me for life.  And I’m not really bitter, nor do I disagree with giving each student a special day just like the rest of the kids. I’m so glad my summer baby will have his special day today. He’s so excited for it!

Oh, and check out my picture!  I used a J. Crew box to hold the cupcakes.  It was perfect because of it’s deep height.  Then, to separate the chocolate and vanilla and secure the cupcakes in their positions, I put an empty paper towel roll in between them.  A genius diy hack, totally by accident!  Score!

#RTI: Not Just for Students in #SpecialEducation. A Parent Must-Read

If you have children, you need to know about RTI, especially if they receive special education services.

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a framework for delivering academic intervention to every individual student. It is a part of special education law that puts the focus on instruction and whether it has enabled the student to meet his full potential.

RTI is relevant for all parents because all students are evaluated based on RTI. It is especially relevant if you or your child’s teacher has concerns about your child’s performance and functioning in school.

RTI is a tiered system that helps educators identify students who are struggling and how to meet their individual needs.  Informed decisions are made by the team of educators in your school regarding the progress of individual students.  The tiers of RTI are as follows.

Tier 1  In the general education classroom, evidence-based instruction is delivered by well-trained teachers, and under-performing students are identified through class or school-wide “benchmark” assessments. Students meeting benchmarks do not require Tier 2 interventions.

Tier 2 Identified students are delivered more intense evidence-based instruction targeting the problem subject area. Often in small groups.  Progress is monitored in six to eight weeks.

Tier 3 Students who did not respond to the intervention, according to progress monitoring, receive evidence-based instruction that may be individualized or delivered in much smaller groups, more basic curriculum, or more frequent instruction.  Progress may be monitored more frequently.  Or the child may be referred to the CSE, after which a Special Education program may be integrated into the model.

RTI gives us the documentation necessary to support referral to the CSE.

The Psyhologist’s Role in RTI

As a member of the Child Study Team, the psychologist helps make decisions on interventions used for each student, helps monitor students progress, and arranges meetings to discuss progress.  The psychologist helps meet the social-emotional needs of students in Tier 1 by developing and implementing school-wide social-emotional programs like bullying prevention, in Tier 2 by providing group or individual counseling, and in Tier 3 by overseeing the referral, evaluation, and IEP development process for students referred to the CSE and creating behavior intervention plans (BIPs).

If you have questions about RTI implementation in your school, ask the school psychologist or principal.

Homework Tips

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It’s that time of year again! Your child is receiving her first homework assignments.  Who’s more apprehensive, you or your child? For many parents, homework is a struggle. It’s up to parents to help build good HW habits, and you will be rewarded in the long run for effort put in early on. Here are some tips for setting your child up for HW success.

  • Prepare a tidy, quiet, and comfortable workstation for your child. A desk in his room may seem ideal, but the workstation should be near where you hang out so you can monitor his work. A tidy dining room or kitchen table may be better, as long as you keep the TV off nearby.
  • When the kids come home from school, let them have a little downtime before starting their work. A game of catch or even the walk home are perfect ways to decompress and get the blood moving after school. Skip the TV and video games until the HW is finished.
  • Help your child as needed, by keeping him on task, clarifying directions, and answering questions. Just don’t micromanage or do the work for him. HW is for reinforcing skills and measuring progress, not impressing the teacher with your ability. Aim for your child to complete her homework independently, with a check over from you when it’s complete.
  • Create a centrally located calendar for all the kids’ long term assignments. Yes, your children should be accountable for managing their time, but this is a learned skill you have to model. Plus, you know you are going to be the one rushing to the craft store the night before the diorama is due, so keep an assignment calendar to limit surprises.
  • When a long term assignment is given, continue to teach time management skills by helping your child plan out the steps toward completing the work. Break a large assignment into smaller ones and put them on the calendar. For example, schedule a time to read a chapter a night, create an outline, shop for supplies, write the first draft, etc.
  • Keep the computer in a public place and keep it off during HW, even the news, Mom! If your child needs to use the word-processor for HW, you can turn off the router to avoid social media distractions.
  • Praise for hard work is worth more than praise for correct answers and intelligence.

How long should HW take? According to the National Education Association, HW in 1st grade should take 10-20 minutes and and additional 10 minutes per grade.  So, HW in 5th grade should take about 50 minutes. If HW takes longer than the recommended time, let your child’s teacher know and ask if he/she thinks there may be a problem.

What Is a School Psychologist?

A school psychologist has earned a masters or doctoral degree and is certified and/or licensed by the state. The school psychologist has completed internships in school or clinical settings and may practice in a school, hospital, clinic, or private practice, with the appropriate credentials. Training in school psychology includes intelligence testing and learning disability identification, research design and statistics, therapeutic techniques, and special education law and procedures.

The school psychologist is different from the school counselor or guidance counselor in their training and role. Like the school psychologist, the guidance counselor helps students succeed academically and socially by meeting with them for counseling; but, they refer students with serious psychological, emotional, or intellectual problems to the psychologist. The guidance counselor also gives advice and is in charge of course selection, internships, post-secondary vocation, and college applications.

All students who are classified as requiring the services of special education, whether due to a physical, intellectual, or emotional disability, will be served by the psychologist. The school psychologist is always a member and often the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education, the team of individuals who create, maintain, and implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP) of every student in special education.

Check out the National Association of School Psychologists for more info.