Ranch Dressing- Simple and Tasty

Ranch Dressing

  •  1 tsp. dry parsley
  •  ½  tsp. garlic powder
  •  1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½  tsp. instant minced onion
  •  1 tsp. pepper
  • pinch of oregano

Mix spices with 2 cups of buttermilk.  Then add 1½ – 2 cups of mayonnaise. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 min. (Will keep refrigerated for several weeks.)

For more educational products and information visit www.phonicsbyspelling.com

Letter Formation

Teaching Handwriting

Teaching a one-stroke method for Lowercase letters (except for “f, i, j, k, t, and x”) makes handwriting easier, neater, faster, and makes cursive easier when they are older.   Letters are started one of 4 ways:

  1. First, “l, i, j, t, h, b, p, r, n, and m” are started with a straight line down, and finished with an up and over the hill in the case of “h, b, p, r, n, and m”.   The “b” is made by coming straight down, then up and over like an “h”, then tucked under.  (Associating “b” with “h” and helping children connect their similarities will help children keep “b” and “d” straight in their mind.)
  2. Second, the letters “a, d, g, q, s, and o” are started by writing a “c”.  Such as, “a” starts like a “c”, then go up and touch where the “c” starts, and come straight down.  Wait about 6 weeks after you have taught “b”, to introduce “d”.  This will help children keep these two letters straight.  Associating “d” with “a” and connecting their similarities, will help children be less confused between “b” and “d”.  Most children get them mixed-up.  Just keep comparing “b” to “h” and “d” to “a”, and they will eventually get it straight.  Here is a sample instruction for “d”:   “d” is made by starting at the broken line, go around like a “c”, then go up to the top line, then come straight down to the bottom line.
  3. Third, “u” and “y” are started by drawing a smile, then come straight down.  In the case of “y”, add a hook like in the j and g (For example see picture below).  Teaching “y” this way will do two things.  It will make the “y” easier, and it won’t look like an “x”.  Also, it will make the transition to cursive easier.
  4. Fourth, v, w, x, k, and z are the angled letters.  These are harder for children to form.  Teach these later in your instruction, unless the child has one in their name.

We have phonics based lesson plans that provide great ideas for kindergarten, preschool, or home schools.  Visit our website.  www.phonicsbyspelling.com


Applesauce     20140821_141933

  • Peel, core and slice one apple per person.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until apples are soft.
  • Mash with a potato masher.
  • Add sugar and cinnamon to taste.
  • Eat and enjoy!

For more educational products and information visit www.phonicsbyspelling.com



Objective:  Children will learn about apples.
  • Find drawings or pictures of apples and apple trees from books, magazines or old calendars.
  • Gather the following materials; Apples, Knife, Paper, Paint: red; yellow and green, Paper plate.

  • Decide on a book to read.     Suggested books: The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall ,The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons,Ten Apples Up On Top! By Theo LeSieg.,
  • Read a book. 
  • Discuss apples while showing pictures or books.
  • Discuss that an apple is a fruit.
  • It is important to eat fruit to be healthy. 
  • It is fun to cut an apple in half horizontally to show the children the star pattern created by the seeds.

Discussion Questions:

  • What color are apples?
  • How do they grow?
  • How do they taste?
  • What can we make with apples?

Activity: Apple Stamping

  • Cut your apple in half( for an apple-shaped stamp cut the apple vertically – cutting it horizontally makes a circular shaped stamp.)
  • Pour paint onto a pie tin or plastic plate.
  • Dip your apple into the paint.
  • Stamp your apples on the paper.
  • Set aside to dry.

Making Applesauce is a fun activity with children.  Applesauce blog to be posted soon.

For more educational products and information visit www.phonicsbyspelling.com


Teach about Summer–The Season


Objective: Help children see and experience summer and how it is different to other seasons.


  • Find drawings or pictures from books, magazines or old calendars of summer activities, food, and sun protection items.
  • Print the attached worksheet. Downloadable PDF link: summer vs. winter worksheet
  • A world globe and lamp.
  • Decide on a book to read.  Suggested books: The Wonderful Tree, by Adelaide Holl,  Wake Up, Jeremiah, by Ann Himler,   The Sky Dog, by Brinton Turkle,   Frog and Toad Together, by Arnold Lobel The Reasons for Seasons by Gail Gibbons


Read a book(s) then discuss while showing pictures:

Discussion Questions:

  • Why do we have summer?  Summer is the time when our part of the earth tilts towards the sun. This can be demonstrated by holding the lamp next to the globe and explaining how the earth is tilted on its axis. Rotate the globe around the lamp showing how the Northern Hemisphere is tilted more toward the Sun which causes the sun to rise higher in the sky and set later causing longer days. The rays of the sun hit the earth more directly causing hotter weather. In the N. Hemisphere, winter is when the hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, the Sun rises low in the sky, and sets earlier causing shorter days. The rays of the sun strike the ground more obliquely causing colder weather.
  • What is the weather/temperature like in the summer? It is the warmest season of the year.
  • What are some ways to protect ourselves from heat and sunburn?  Use sunscreen, Wear a hat, Wear Sunglasses , Drink a lot of water
  • What kind of things do we do in the summer?  Play in the water. Go on vacations/camping. Celebrate the fourth of July, Ride Bikes, Play summer sports like baseball and soccer. Have picnics.
  • What kind of foods do we eat/drink in the summer?  Ice Cream, Popsicles, Watermelon
  • How is summer different from winter? 

Activity: Worksheet 

How do we dress differently in the summer than in the winter?  Have the children do the attached worksheet. Discuss with them what each picture is and to which column it belongs. Ask why each article of clothing would be appropriate for that season.

For more educational products and information visit www.phonicsbyspelling.com

Teach About Manners

Teach About Manners

Objective: Children will learn what types of behavior (manners) are expected at school. (Best taught in the first few days of school.)

(Remember that you are a role model! Your polite example is the best way to teach manners.)
Gather the following materials:
  • watercolors
  • paper
  • water cup
  • paint shirt to protect their clothes.
  • Decide on a book to read: 
    • Suggested books:
      • Big Black Bear by Wong Herbert Ye 
      • Clifford’s Manners by Norman Bridwell

Lesson: Read the book(s) then discuss:

  • Explain to the children we want EVERYONE to have a good time at school. Good manners help everyone get along together.  When we play nicely together, share, and are polite to each other, we are using good manners and children want to play with you. 
  • At snack time, we wait for our turn as the teacher passes out the snack. When she asks if we want something, we either say “Yes, please” or “No, thank you”.  If we want something, we just raise our hands or our cups.   (Spend time during snack time reviewing the manners for snacks.)
Discussion  Questions: 
  • What should you say if you walk in front of someone or bump into someone? “Excuse me.”
  • What should you say when you ask for something?  “Please.”
  • What should you say when someone gives you something?  “Thank You.”
  • What should you say if you hurt someone’s feelings? “I’m Sorry.”
  • Is it polite to interrupt someone who is trying to talk? No! If you want to talk, you raise your hands.
  • Is it polite to whisper about someone who is near by? No, it might hurt their feelings.
  • At snack time what do we say if we don’t want something?  Simply say “No, Thank you.”
Have the children watercolor a picture of themselves 
using manners.   
(This activity can be used to teach children how to watercolor 
without making too big of a mess of the area or their paints. ) 
Here are some suggested guidelines: 
  •  Have the children get a piece of paper, their paints, a cup of water, and place them on a tray.
  •  Have them put on a paint shirt to protect their clothes.
  •  Explain that we need to keep from mixing the colors together so we:  Dip the brush in the water… in the paint….on the paper… in the water….repeat.  Have them repeat the chant several times as they paint.

For more educational products and information visit www.phonicsbyspelling.com


“Don’t” isn’t a word that children understand.

When you tell a child, “Don’t touch the stove.”, all they hear is, “Touch the stove.”

It is better to say what you want them to do such as: “Stand back!  It is hot.” or “Stop!  The stove is hot”.  This is hard to do, but instructions or rules given in a positive manner, always works best.


“Keep your hands to yourself.”

“Keep all four legs of your chair on the floor.”

Good luck on making directions more positive!


For more educational products and information visit www.phonicsbyspelling.com



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