The Night Before Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is turkey day. So, it is a great day to read Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey and The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing. While the rhythm of the story is the same, they are two very different books.

This is a good opportunity to talk to your own children about what you are doing to get ready for the holiday. Are you cooking already? Will you set the table today?

Ask your child what they think needs to be done to get ready for the holiday. What can they do to help? Children at this age love to help, and if you give them the right tasks, they can do it! Check out Momable’s list of things children can do in the kitchen by age. Or if you don’t want your child helping in the kitchen… they can set the table. Make place cards/placemats or other table decorations.

Here are three levels of turkey drawings with Art for Kids Hub simple, cartoon, realistic… and don’t forget a cooked one too.

I am taking some time off to be with my family over the holidays. I will be back on December 1st… don’t ask what topic, I haven’t decided yet… oops!

teaching thoughts

How I plan! And how you can help

As a teacher there are various ways of planning life and lessons moving forward. Often you have to follow a set curriculum either set by the text books you are expected to use and/or the standards set by the state you live/work in. But, these aren’t the only factors to take in accord. You need to know your students. One of my philosophy statements is a textbook is a tool, not a toolbox! I believe in making connections in learning between life and as well as between the subjects that need to be taught.

I have always used the state standards as my guide, this give me more freedom in how to get to the knowledge than just using the text book and other resources provided.

This year, since I am not working in a school, but instead am planning these lessons here for you… the families of preK and kindergarten students, who need extra support. I’m have been going back to my roots of thematic teaching. Picking a topic and diving into that topic to teach the skills needed!

But, now I need to pick topics. I do not want to spend the month of November working on Thanksgiving. (Did you notice I did not teach Halloween all of October??) I often find November to be a lost month. When teaching we often have to touch on the election, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. But, there is so much more to the month.

So now I try to plan… do we work on food/nutrition? This easily ties into Thanksgiving. Do we work on communities or families? Do we work on farm life? Or do we pick something totally different? Something not related to any of the November holidays/events?

HELP! What do you, the readers of this blog want to see? What would help you planning your daily/weekly activities for your child. What would your child enjoy learning about at this time?

Drop me a line here and give me some feedback… OR email me at and let me know your ideas!

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!