Lovable, Capable, Valuable Plate

A special plate I made when our family was just beginning.

A friend shared the idea that although you could buy a “special” plate for birthdays this could be about more.

And so it marks life’s celebrations and even life’s disappointments with the reminder that in good times and in bad when this plate appears at your place in our family table….

You are loved….You are valued…You are capable.

Allison blogs at Totus Tuus & Catholic Homeschool

Our Lady of Lourdes ~ A Few Crafts and Activities

Our Lady of Lourdes Felt Doll/Statue ~ Craft
Here is another felt doll/statue! It’s Our Lady of Lourdes and she’s perfect to make and/or display on her feast day- Feb 11th. This doll/statue is a project that will require some assistance from older crafters who can use a hot glue gun to add the gold trim to Mary’s veil.  Or if you sew, you could sew it on, too!
For the instructions click here.
Our Lady of Lourdes Chocolate Grotto
I made this for my kids so we could celebrate
 Our Lady of Lourdes feast day (Feb 11).
It’s made with a paper picture of Our Lady of Lourdes

Weekly Round Up is Up and Running, Sorry!

The Weekly Round Up is up and running!
Sorry, last week’s Weekly Round Up may have been dated incorrectly: sorry for the confusion.
The Link-Ups are now open for an entire month in the 4 different categories:
 Scripture, Sunday Readings and Homilies,
Homeschooling and Liturgical Calendar,
Catechism & Apologetics
and Catholic Family Journal.
Post as often as you like…
let’s see how many posts we get for the month of February!
Come and Link Up and check back often!
Visit the other Catholic Bloggers and leave comments
and subscribe to their blogs to help build a strong
Network of Catholic Bloggers!
For previous posts, check out the Weekly Round Up Archives

Free Family Tree for Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time is a great time to launch some family traditions with
family culture-building crafts!
Here’s a simple way to get started making a family tree…and it’s a free printable!

It’s a new mini-Craft Kit, extracted from our Faith Journal
Hand in Hand with Jesus

There are two templates included with instructions. 

“My Roots” offers an opportunity for more info about each family member,
while “The Family Tree” offers a bigger picture of where all the relatives fit!

Download it at Equipping Catholic Families for free!

Host a Card Shower for a Priest!

Our parish priests put forth so much effort for us! They have a life of sacrifice, stress, and heartache with very little appreciation from we parishioners. We need to show these devout men that we are thankful for their sacrifice and living witness. 
Host a Card Shower!

For those who don’t know what a card shower is….It’s when a large group of people join together to send cards to someone. Each individual should take a few minutes to send a store bought card or a hand-made card to the your parish rectory. Normally, the time frame for this would be over the course of a week or month. 
As the host you simply need to get the word out!!

This is a perfect activity to do during February for Valentines day!!!
After all they don’t get a card from a wife!

To learn more or for free printable fliers Click here

Lent Link-Up hosted by Equipping Catholic Families

Check out the Lent Link-Up hosted by Equipping Catholic Families,
as part of the Fiestas de Enlaces  (Festival of Links)! 
Link up your Lenten traditions, activities, practices, or sacrifices
that will be part of your family Lenten journey, 2012!
Let’s see how many of our Catholic Bloggers blog about LENT!
(Don’t worry…there are still 3 weeks left before Lent starts,
to decide what you’re going to do!)

Teaching Reading: What are Sight Words?

I havea little secret, something I haven’t written much about but want to start focusing on more.  I love to teach reading and it really comes as second nature to me.  I learned this around 1998-1999 when I was helping a neighborhood kids in the 5th grade.  Tony was reading at a 2nd grade reading level and his teacher and school was threatening to retain him.  Smart boy but had never been properly taught to read as a small child, unfortunately he is one of those quiet good kids that get left behind by teachers when they have too many students to tend to (this was his specific case).  I took him to help him how to read and write better and learned that Tony was VERY proficient in Phonics but not in sight word recognition.  So I started with that with him and viola!  he was reading away real quick!  This led to me going back to school to get a Masters in Reading K-12…it was so much fun!  I actually miss being in college learning about the art of teaching reading! 😉

This past week I’ve had a lot of on the road time traveling to see family and I realized that I haven’t writtern about that which I love so much!  So I will be posting things about teaching reading in hopes that I can help someone out there that is having trouble or just starting out and could benefit from these posts.

If you are teaching reading to your little one or have a child who is having trouble reading, then it is vital that they become proficient in sight words. Why? Well because sight words are about 87% of all the words that children read in their trade books. Words like “the” “in”, “a”, “it”, and “is” are all part of this very important list.  These words are phonetically irregular words, meaning you cannot use phonics to decode them so they must be learned by sight.  Knowing sight words is one of the basic building blocks when learning how to read and one that should not be ignored.

What happens if the Reading or Phonics program you selected does not include the teaching of sight words?  I suggest that you do it on your own and it is quit simple.  Am I saying that you shouldn’t teach Phonics? NO!  Never!  Phonics is important or just as important as teaching sight words.  Many programs fail to intergrate both of these in their reading programs, which is unfortunate but important for homeschooling moms to know.  For the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on sight words.

There are two lists but most of the words overlap.  Dolch Sight Words and Fry Sight Words are the two lists you can work from.  In the 1940s, Dr. Edward William Dolch created the  list by using 220 phonetically irregular words and 95 common nouns to create his Dolch Sight Word List.  He chose words that were most often used in children’s reading books during the 1920s and 30s.  In the 1990s, Dr. Edward Fry took the Dolch researched list and created 1,000 most frequently used words and he put them in order of frequency.  Children should be repeatedly exposed to these words so that they learn them quickly.  This bolsters their reading self-esteem, which in turn makes them want to read more.  You would be so surprised how your little Joseph or little Mary is going to want to start reading and selecting books at the library!

Each list is arranged by levels of difficulty advancing in it and the levels of infrequency, well at least the Fry list is.  Dr. Dolch created his lists to be mastered by the third grade while Dr. Fry’s list is separated by grade levels and goes up to the fifth or sixth grade.  Each list is separated by 100 words so the first 100 words are called pre-premer words and should be learned by kindergarten the next words are learned in increments of 100 but I suggest should only be taught 5-10 at a time until mastered.  Once those 10 are mastered you teach another 5-10 but always exposing them to the previous ones either by games or flash cards and with exposing them to easy reader texts.

Here are the list of words for your use in PDF format:

First Hundred
Second Hundred
Third Hundred
Fourth Hundred
Fifth Hundred

Depending on your child’s ability is when you should start.  For example, my six year old son is brilliant in Math but not in reading whereas my five year old daughter is the opposite so she is in kinder and he is in first and this is what we are doing this year:

Trimester 1:  Words 1-150
Trimester 2: Words 151-300
Trimester 3: Words 301-500

Now this is the plan and yes I do have high expectations for them but its because of how they learn and what they can do.  So far so good.  There are several ways to teach sight words.  Here are some examples:

1.  flash cards
2. memory games
3.  practice tracing the words
4.  use tactile things like playdough mats or any multi-sensory way to create the words
5.  create a power point of the words
6.  use the words to create sentences (include vocabulary from either your Science or History lessons).
7.  teach the shape of the word
8.  Sight word games

Repetition is important in learning these words by sight but it can be boring so it is vital that you make this as fun of an experience as possible!  🙂


Welcome! Part II

Welcome to the Contibutor Pages!

 If you would like to be a regular contributor to these pages, please respond with comments on this post mentioning your Catholic blog address and your email address.

For the time being, we have decided not to create a schedule for posting. 
To give everyone a chance to post, here are a few guidelines:

1. Be brief!  We are happy to help you increase traffic on your site!  Please post only 1-2 photos and a brief summary of your post,  with a link to your complete blog post. 
You can include the following: “Read the entire story at {hyperlinked blogname}” 
(The hyperlink should be the address of the full post on your blog, not the general blog address that links to your home page.)
With shorter entries, readers can skim through many more posts on the one Contributor page and will refer to individual blogs for more information…increasing traffic to your site!
2. Please post only ONCE a week in your category* to give others a chance! We plan to have special link-ups on specific Feastdays, so that everyone can share their Feastday posts, particularly on the  Homeschooling, Crafts, Traditions and the Liturgical Calendar contributor page. 
*If your category is Catechism/Apologetics or Scripture, Sunday Readings and Homilies, you can probably link more often, as there are fewer contributors in these categories.
3.  Please have at least one clearly visible Catholic Bloggers Network button on the home page of your blog.  If you’d like to include a link at the end of the post on your blog, we’d appreciate that too!
4. Try to include a signature biography with a photo (or blog button). 
Until we figure out how to make a template for these, this is mine. 
I’m Monica and I am a wife, a Mom of 5+ kids, a designer, an architecture school survivor, an author and a crafter and I think it’s cool to be Catholic!  My husband and I founded a Catholic apostolate called Arma Dei (Armor of God; Ephesians 6:13-17) creating solid Catholic, fun teaching tools and gifts to celebrate and teach the Catholic Faith. I like to post about these family-building and Faith-centred crafts on EquippingCatholicFamilies.com ! 

Attention: Catholic Blogger Contributors!

Welcome to the Catholic Bloggers Network!
Many of you have already joined and are participating in the new Catholic Bloggers Network on facebook and on the Catholic Bloggers Network blog.  We just wanted to let you know that we are now opening up the Catholic Bloggers Contributors pages.  If you would like to be a regular contributor to these pages, please respond with comments on this post (mentioning your Catholic blog address, your email address and which category you would like to contribute in).
Please keep in mind:
1. Try to limit your posts to one category.  (No repeat posts across multiple categories)
2. We may end up creating a posting schedule if there are many contributors in one category, so that everyone gets some time in the spotlight. In any case, please post only ONE post at a time…and unless you post about DAILY Scripture readings…please only post once or twice a week.

3. As a courtesy to the other contributors…please shorten ridiculously long posts =)…so that previous posts are still visible on the page.  If we get many posts each day, we may need to consider partial feeds which would automatically shorten everyone’s posts. 
Remember…you can always include a “read the entire post here” and a link.

4. We would like you to have a small blog button or portrait at the end of your post, with a brief introduction of you and your Catholic blog.  Please feel free to link back to your blog to increase traffic on your site!  We hope to create a standard template for the introduction…we will keep you posted!
5.  We would also like all Contributors to have at least one Catholic Bloggers Network button on their blogs, linking back to our Catholic Bloggers Network .   Help us spread the word! 
These are the different Catholic Bloggers Contributors pages:
Don’t forget to Link your Blog and check out all the Catholic Link-Up parties
or add your favorite Catholic post for the week at our Weekly Round Up.
Looking forward to blogging with you at the Catholic Bloggers Network!

Catholic Bloggers Network

If you are a contributor and would like to add a button to your blog, here it is!