teaching thoughts

Wait Time and the Young Child

I recently was tutoring a kindergarten child and noticed his need for wait time. When I spoke to his parents about this, I realized that many adults probably do not even know what this means, never mind be able to recognize it in their own child.

Wait time, or thinking time, in education is the time between a question posed and the next oral response (either by the teacher or another student). Often times when we ask children, or adults for that matter, a question we expect a quick response. The problem with this is, not everyone can do this is quick time.

We often think about providing children who are learning a second language with wait time because the child is hearing the question/information in one language, then they have to translate it to understand… then think of an answer, and then translate that answer into the language we asked the question. People can see the need for this wait time easily, even if it is still hard to provide that time. But, they are not the only children who have to change the processing of information.

Back to the child who I was tutoring… if you looked at him, you might think he was “zoning out” or not paying attention. But, what I noticed is that he was looking… he was looking at something in his mind’s eye. Yes, he was looking for the answer. This child is very visual and needed to see the question and answer in his mind before he was able to answer. If I did not provide him wait time, he would get frustrated because he felt he couldn’t answer the question, when he could… if I gave him the time he needed.

Children often need 3-5 seconds of wait time, but some need a bit more. Sadly often times adults provide less than 2 seconds of wait time before they start talking or often just fill in the answer.

We as adults need to get better at providing ample wait time for children. They need time to process information. We also need to teach children to ask for wait time. I teach my students, including the child I’m tutoring, to put up one finger as we as adults do when asking for 1 minute from a child who wants to speak. This is a cueing that most children have seen before in school. Providing them a non-verbal cue helps because they aren’t disturbing their own wait time. This allows the child to advocate for him/herself. Then the next key piece is for the adults to respect and accept this need. Provide the time needed and praise the child for seeing this need.

I encourage you to time yourself. Are you giving your child ample time to think and respond? Are you quick to repeat the question, provide more details or even fill in the answer? Or are you seeing the need to allow your child to think. Time yourself… 3-5 seconds is LONG time to wait, but it is so worth it in the confidence and learning of that child!

art · math · STEAM · teachers pay teacher

Monster Math!

This week is all about MONSTERS! This is such a fun topic for children as they can be both fun and scary. But we will focus on the fun side! Today’s story Monster Math by Anne Miranda… read by Anne Miranda! This is a story about a Monster’s birthday and how many monsters join the fun!

Shape Monster created by Adam Ray Daniels’ Cartoons for my TPT store kits

So … it’s time for a favorite activity and character: Shape Monster! Shape Monster Shape Monster munch, munch, munch? How about about a (color) (shape) for your lunch! This is a common kindergarten shape activity, but can so easily be adapted!

I’ll share with you a few ideas on how you can use the shape monster today.

Create simple shape monsters (or complex if you want). Put them onto bags or onto empty boxes to make the shape monster’s lunch bag/box. Label each monster with a shape. (circle monster, square monster, rectangle monster etc…). Have your child find items around they can put into the shape monster’s lunch bag.

Provide your child with construction paper, either already cut into shapes or have your child cut his/her own shapes. Use the shapes to create a monster out of shapes… a shape monster! Or if you do not have construction paper, they can just draw a monster out of shapes!

Want more shape monster fun? I have two kits in my store that use Shape Monster!

Show preview image 3

Shape Monster’s 2D lunch time mini book ($2)… Help shape monster find the shapes he wants to for lunch. Each page focuses on one shape and provides a color for each shape. And, Shape Monster himself describes the shapes attributes.

Shape Graphing with Shape Monster ($1)… This kit has your child(ren) sorting and graphing shapes. The kit includes four different graphing pages (spin and graph, color and graph, grab and graph and find and graph)

art · story · topic

Jack O’Lantern Art

It’s Friday!! Did you have fun learning about pumpkins this week? You will have to let me know which activities you tried and which types you’d like to see more of in the weeks to come!

Today’s stories:

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell– Tim carved the best pumpkin and named him Jack. He puts the pumpkin out into the garden as it begins to rot. Tim watches Jack change over time. Watch to see what becomes of Jack over the days, weeks and months.

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson — in this informational text you follow the life cycle from seed to seed of a pumpkin. Story written in flowing and bouncy verse to match beautiful and vivid photographs.

Here is a fun song to learn and sing together.

Little Jack O’Lantern (sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Little Jack O’Lantern had a candle lit inside
  • Till somebody blew it out. (then blow out the “candle”)

Now let’s make a Jack O’Lantern!

For this activity in school I would typically give the children the option of drawing and cutting out their own pumpkin shape or using a tracer. At home, you can either let them create their own or trace something to make the basic shape (plate, bowl, or other roundish item).

  1. Determine if you want your pumpkin to be tall and skinny or short and plump.
  2. Trace/draw the outline of your pumpkin onto an orange sheet of paper… or make it a green pumpkin, or a white pumpkin… you pick!
  3. Does your pumpkin have a stem or is it a “stumpkin”?
  4. now cut out the pumpkin… only cut the outside (trust me say this as some will cut ALL the lines they drew!)
  5. Now design the face of your pumpkin.- you can either cut pieces out of yellow, white or black paper and glue it onto the pumpkin or cut the pieces out of the orange paper. I show the children how to bend the paper to start cutting into where you want the openings.
  6. Use markers or crayons to add the pumpkin lines, color in the steam, and add more details
  7. If you cut out the eyes, you can either leave them or back the pumpkin in yellow or black paper to see the depth.
STEAM · topic · writing

Pumpkins Can, Have, Need, Are

Today we will think about pumpkins! Today’s story is Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli. I hope you enjoy this story!

Today for our activity we will create a chart of facts about pumpkins. First, I encourage you to watch Dissect a Pumpkin from SciShow Kids. Watch Jessi and Squeeks learn more about pumpkins.

After learning a a bit more about pumpkins, lets chart some of our knowledge! In this example I created a four box page to collect information on what pumpkins can, have, need and are. You could also limit this to two or three concepts. The purpose of charts like this is to begin writing informative sentences: Pumpkins can rot. Pumpkins have seeds. Pumpkins need space to grow. Pumpkins are fruits.

In my Teachers Pay Teachers store, you will find a collection of Can, Are, Have charts for fall. In this kit, Fall Graphic Organizers, you will also find circle maps, writing pages and venn diagrams. Topics covered: apples, pumpkins, spiders, bats and owls.

phonemic awareness · word work

Word Family Pumpkins

Here are two more great Pumpkin stories: Christopher Pumpkin by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet and Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Both these stories talk about pumpkins that don’t quite fit in, but stand out all the same.

For Words Wednesday we will work on short “a” word families. Word families is a great way to work on sounding out words, for those ready for this skill, but it is also a great way to work on rhyming words. I will explain how you can alter these activities based on what skill your child is ready for at this time.

For the first activity, have your child draw 2-4 pumpkins on the page. Make sure they are big enough to draw inside. Label each pumpkin with an “a” word family (-ab, -ack, -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at). Brainstorm with your child words that could fit in that word family. I typically ask the children if they can come up with one on their own, if they can… go from there. If they can’t then I will give an example or two and then see if they get the concept and can move on. For children who are working on this skill strictly as a phonemic awareness skill, they will just draw pictures of the words. For children who are working on reading and writing these CVC, CVCC words, they will illustrate and write the word. Continue to do to the same for each pumpkin on your page.

The second activity is real vs nonsense words. Children love playing with nonsense words. They love to create words that just sound funny. So… why not play with nonsense words with word families. Pick a word family, see list above. Divide a sheet of paper in half, and write real words on one side and nonsense words on the other side. Now work the same concepts. Put different beginning sounds on to the rime and see if the word is real or nonsense. Using magnetic letter or other letter tiles helps with this skill as children often struggle to go through the alphabet to find more words. You can do this totally orally as a phonemic awareness skill or write it on paper as a phonics activity.

STEAM · story · topic

Pumpkin Life Cycle

Today we will focus on the life cycle of a pumpkin. Here are a few youtube links to help your child see this process.

It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall— a family plants a pumpkin patch and watches it grow from seed to jack o’lantern.

How Do Pumpkins Grow by Inspired by Kinder— an easy reader about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

A Pumpkin Grows by Scholastic— great visuals of a pumpkin life cycle

Time Lapse of pumpkin growing: a pumpkin life, pumpkin time lapse (up close)

So now you have seen how a pumpkin grows! Let’s put it down on paper.

Typical steps stages focused on: seed, sprout, vine, flower/blossom, green pumpkin, orange pumpkin

I made a paper pumpkin and drew the life cycle on the pumpkin. You can do this or vary it many different ways…

Have your child make a pumpkin and print out the stages having your child glue them in order on the pumpkin

Draw/color the steps on green leaves and glue them onto a green piece of yarn to represent a pumpkin vine

Draw/color out the steps and place them on a long strip of paper such as a sentence strip

Draw/color each of the steps on small pumpkins and make a pumpkin patch

Or any other representation you want!

game · math · topic

Pumpkin Bump Game

This week we will be looking at pumpkins! Who doesn’t like to learn about pumpkins? Here is a fun pumpkin story to listen to: Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. What would you do if you had too many pumpkins? Well listen to what Rebecca Estelle does with all the pumpkins she finds!

Today you are getting two stories… How Many Seeds in Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara. The children in Mr. Tiffin’s class learn about estimating, sizes, counting and more by counting the seeds in three different sized pumpkins.

Time for some pumpkin math! I encourage you to do some math/investigations with real pumpkins at home.

  • How much does your pumpkin weight? How much does it weigh after you take out the seeds and the pulp? After you carved it?
  • How many lines are on your pumpkin?
  • How tall is it?
  • What is the circumference of your pumpkin?
  • How many seeds are inside?
  • Will it sink or float? Does it sink or float after you took out the seeds and pulp?

Now lets play a game!

Bump is a fun dice game to play with kids. I will teach you how to play and then share how to easily alter the game to work on different skills.

I will show you the simplest version first. Create a gameboard, I drew pumpkins (sad looking pumpkins I admit!) for mine. On the gameboard write the numbers 1-6 since we will only use one die for this version. Each player needs 10 counters, transparent counters work best, but aren’t necessary.

Directions:

  • roll the die
  • put your marker on that number
  • next player rolls and they put their piece on that number
  • if you roll a number that the other player is covering, you can bump them off that space
  • if you roll a number that you are already covering you can double cover and lock the space.
  • First person to use all 10 counters wins!

Easy and Fun!

Variations on the game:

use two dice and add them together

use one die and have the children add one (I would write _____ +1= on the board and have the children put the die in the blank space to remember to add one

double roll one die but cover it’s double (roll 2 but cover 4, roll 3 but cover 6)

use three dice

older kids you can use the dice to multiply or practice place value… so many options!!

art · teachers pay teacher

Scarecrow Direct Drawings

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I love doing direct drawings with children. While I wholly see the value of open ended art projects and suggest them on a regular basis, there is much to be learned and gained by following along with direct drawings!

Art for Kid’s Hub has THREE different scarecrow drawings! Check them out here, here and here. While they are not the only direct drawing available on-line, I used their links with my classes often and even my pre-K kiddos could follow along with the drawing steps, with limited support! I love that he encourages the students to try and reminds them it is ok for all the final products to look different… it’s about having fun.

But, let’s talk through how to draw a scarecrow step by step together! Directions inspired by First and Kinder Blue SKies Scarecrow Direct drawing freebie

hold you paper vertically (tall)

In the middle of the page draw a large smile line

On top draw a flat rainbow line touching the tops of the smile line

from the ends, connect back to the smile line with slight curves

now draw the top of the hat, I like to open this up to let the children be creative. I point out where the line should start (where the smile and rainbow lines connect)

draw two parallel lines at the bottom of the smile line, making the neck

from the bottom of that, draw lines parallel with the bottom of the page all the way to the end of the page

below that draw two shorter parallel lines to make the arms

from the end of those lines, draw perpendicular lines going to the bottom of the page

Now for the fun!

Add eyes, nose, mouth (ears if wanted)

Add straw coming out from under the hat

Add a flower, patch or other embellishment to the hat

Don’t forget clothes!

When you are done drawing, go over all the lines in marker or crayon and create the coloring book lines… then color!

teachers pay teacher

October learning in my TPT store

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that I also have a store at Teachers Pay Teachers. Click here to visit my store!

I have put out some new fun kits that are perfect for the month of October! All kits are $3 or less! These are perfect for pre-K, kindergarten, and homeschool learning!

Magical Words-- CVC mystery words

Magical Words– Beginning Sounds Mystery CVC Words. There are 5 pages, one for each short vowel sound. Children will use the beginning sound from picture cues to make new CVC words. They then draw a picture of the new CVC word in the cauldron.

2D Shape Graphing with Shape Monster

2D shape graphing with Shape Monster. Included you will find four shape graphs. Shapes used in graph: square, rectangle, triangle, rhombus, trapezoid, hexagon

  • spin and graph
  • color and graph
  • find and graph
  • grab and graph
Shape Monster's 2d Lunch Time mini book

Shape Monster’s 2D Lunch Time Mini Book. This kit is a mini book in which the children will help Shape Monster find the shapes he wants to eat for lunch. Shape Monster describes each shapes attributes and tells you which color to color the wanted shapes on each page.

  • Red hexagons
  • Yellow trapezoids
  • Green circles
  • Blue squares
  • Purple triangles
  • Brown rhombuses

Count the Room Fall Items. Count the room is a fun active math activity. You put number or ten frame card around the room and the children need to find the cards and record the matching number or set to match the number on a recording sheet. Kit provides sets of 1-10 and 11-20

Non-Standard Measurement for Fall. Included you will find acorn “rulers” and fall images to measure. (scarecrow, maple leaf, gourd, oak leaf, fall tree, pumpkin, squirrel, apple, chipmunk) as well as two different style recording sheets.

Fall Predictable Pattern Stories. These are simple fall stories based on familiar story book patterns.

If you give a squirrel… book 1 has tree names and book 2 has leaf colors

Chipmunk, chipmunk what do you see… book one has item names, book 2 has item names and color words

story

The Scarecrow’s Hat

Today for Thinking Thursday, we will use the story The Scarecrow’s Hat by Ken Brown to see the roll of problems and solutions have in stories.

In the story, The Scarecrow’s Hat, chicken decides he really likes scarecrow’s hat. Scarecrow is willing to trade for a walking stick, but chicken does not have one. Follow along to see how one person’s problem is solved by another person.

Here are two examples of how you can work through the retelling of this story focusing on problems and solutions.

Create a story map. Have your child draw 7 boxes connected by arrows. In each box, draw a picture of the character you meet in the story starting with chicken. Under the picture write what that character needs and has to give. You will see as you work through the connection between the need of one character with the object the next one is willing to give away. Make sure to retell the story in total getting all the way back to chicken getting scarecrow’s hat.

Or, you could create a table of problem and solution. What problem does each character have? In this context I would encourage your child to see that the problem is NOT the missing item, but what the item would be used for. Scarecrow’s problem is he is tired of standing. The solution is to use badger’s walking stick to stand up. Badger’s problem is his door will not stay open. The solution is using crow’s ribbon to tie it open.

When we start talking in terms of problem and solution, using terms such as character, setting, plot, author, illustrator, etc… we are setting the children up with facts and knowledge that will help them in later grades.

Want to extend the challenge?? Have your child write their own story in a similar context… I want ____ but I don’t have ____. So and so has _____ that I need, but they need ____ etc. until you loop back around to everyone getting what they need!