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 · story · teaching thoughts

Scarecrow!

Today we will continue our topic of Scarecrows! Here is another great story: Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant.

After listening to to this or another scarecrow story, lets do a scarecrow project!

But first… let me talk a bit about arts and crafts. Often times, teachers and parents provide all the parts and pieces of a project and then have the students put the project together step by step… this is not art, this is a lesson on following directions. While this is important too, it is not allowing your child to be creative. Some projects you can provide a piece to, but provide it in the form of a tracer and then still let your child choose how to manipulate that tracer.

When we give children materials and ideas, but then let them take it in their own direction… this is art. This is allowing your child’s creative nature to take over the project.

Ok… onto our scarecrow project. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paper Bag Scarecrow Head:
    • provide paper bag– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools (crayons, markers, colored pencils…) etc.
    • Help your child fill the bag with newspaper or plastic bags.
    • Then tie off the top of the bag.
    • Let your child have fun!
  • Paper Bag Scarecrow Puppet:
    • provide paper bag– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • show your child how the bag will be the mouth of the scarecrow
    • Let your child have fun!
  • Paper Plate Scarecrow Head:
    • provide paper plate– other items you can use: construction paper, googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • let your child have fun!
  • Construction Paper Scarecrow:
    • provide construction paper– other items you can use: googly eyes, yarn, fabric, drawing tools etc.
    • let your child have fun
  • Just Draw a Scarecrow!

So many ways to engage in scarecrow fun… your child’s imagination is the limit to the possibilities … so that means they are endless. Remember if your child is struggling, do not do it for them… show them, explain to them, provide examples, provide encouragement, ask questions (how else could you) … they need to know that you believe they are capable!

math · teaching thoughts

Five!

This week we will be exploring our five senses! So, I decide to focus on the number five for Math Monday. Share this song with your kiddo The Number 5 song by BubblePopBox

2 sets of 5

Have your child collect five objects. Ok, now go get five different objects. Let’s compare the sets. Many children will not recognize that the two sets have the same number of objects if the items are of different sizes. This is called conservation of number. The understanding that numbers are constant and equal the number of objects in a set. Many times when children are presented with 5 markers and 5 Cheerios they perceive that the set of markers is greater because it takes up more space.

To help your child develop conservation of number AND work on one-to-one correspondence, match up the objects. In my case, I set the markers in a line and then put a Cheerio at the end of each marker. Now each marker has a Cheerio and each Cheerio has a marker, they match one to one! Five markers is the same quantity as five Cheerios.

Practice writing the numerals 1-5 and match one set of objects with the numerals, one more practice and connection between the number, number word and numeral!

If your child is still struggling with this concept… don’t worry it takes practice and time. So get two more sets of 5, or if your child is struggling to count out five objects correctly drop down to 3 and build up from there. These skills that we as adults take for granted, are skills that need to be fostered in young children.

If your child is strong in these skill… here’s another five skill to work on, tally counting! Here is another song for you The Tally Mark Song. Practice correctly drawing tallys. Trust me… your child will want to draw five straight lines down and still cross it out and see it as five. It takes practice. 1, 2, 3, 4, shut the door with 5 is how I teach my students to remember that 5 is the slanted line.

Hope you and your child have fun with the number 5!

teachers pay teacher · teaching thoughts · word work

Decoding Fun

Recently, Teacher Mom Talks blogger/vogger asked me about ideas for working on short vowel words for her daughter. This got me motivated! So, today I created a kit for her, yes for her…. if you inspire me to create a kit for my store in Teachers Pay Teachers, you get a copy for free!

CVC Decoding Practice Read and Flip

So let me tell you about this kit, CVC Decoding Practice Read and Flip, and how you can use it to help your kiddo learn to decode and blend CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.

In this kit, you will find 2 sheets for each short vowel sound. The sheets can be cut into strips that show the word. Each word is broken down into the phoneme (letter sound). Then you will find the whole word and a picture cue.

  • Print out pages
  • Cut the pages into strips
  • Fold the last box (with the picture) over the word box
  • Clip with clothespin if desired
  • Have child say letter sounds while pointing to letters
  • Have child blend sounds together to form a word
  • Open flap to read the whole word and check the picture

Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t seen before.

Reading Rockets- Decoding and Phonics https://www.readingrockets.org/helping/target/phonics

Once children have a strong foundation of understanding letter-sound connections, they begin to see that when you put letters together they make new sounds and words. We often work on the blending of sounds together orally before ever attaching it to the written letter, this is part of phonemic awareness.

When your child is ready to start blending sound with the printed letters, have your child point to the letters individually while saying each letter sound. Then have them start saying the sounds faster (together) while sliding their finger under the word.

With this tool, I would have the child sound out the word, blend it together with the picture clipped down. Then have the child open up the flap and read the word again pointing to the word in the 4th box. The picture is there to check that he/she read the word correctly.

Work on one sheet, then add in more of the same medial vowel. Once they are comfortable, go onto the next vowel. When they are comfortable with those words, go back and review the two sets… and so on. Always going back to continue to review the previous vowel sounds.

Looking for more short vowel work? Check out my kit for Word Family Cloze sentences.

Thanks again Teacher Mom Talks! Hope we can work together again soon.

STEAM · teaching thoughts

Lego Name Fun

Children love doing activities with their names. Check out other name activities (name writing, name flower pot, and name art for a few). When you work with your child on his/her name, I strongly encouraging you to have your child write his/her name with the first letter as a capital and the rest lowercase. This will be one of the first things your child’s kindergarten teacher will work on, so why not teach him/her that way to begin with?

Today we will have some Lego fun, who doesn’t love Lego blocks? Well, we don’t like to step on them, but they are a fun learning and building toy.

I decided to play with my blog name for a change! I also made my sons’ names too (oops! I made Blake’s “a” backwards… see even teachers make mistakes).

Here is what I want you to do…. “Let’s have some fun with Lego blocks today” Now… let your child do whatever he/she wants to do first. Trust me, if you let the children play with the manipulative before giving him/her a direction it will work out a lot better.

“I have a challenge for you! Can you build your name out of Lego?” That’s it! Do not suggest more, do not model, do not tell your child how to do it.

If your child is not confident in writing his/her own name, then write the name on a sheet of paper or tape it on the surface they are building on, and again… say nothing else.

You will probably be surprised at their solution to this problem. Give him/her time to problem solve BEFORE you jump in and help. If the struggle is real, then sit down and say… hmm what if I make my name like this? And start working on your own name, or a sibling/pet name. Do not work on your child’s name… that is you doing the work/problem solving not your child.

Some letters are going to be a LOT easier than others. Trust me I struggled on Blake’s capital B!

You might notice that I used three different methods to build the letters. In the “My Day,” I stood the Lego up the way you stand up dominoes. In the “In Pre-K” I just laid the Lego flat on the table. For the boys’ names, I stacked them up. Colby’s name could stand, but I didn’t finish the process of linking the blocks for Blake’s name.

These are NOT the only ways this can be done. Please, please, please… let your child explore with the concept. There is no right or wrong way. This is how STEAM projects work in early childhood… they are engineering, building, constructing and problem solving… they need to do this!! It should be fun, they are learning through play. (:

art · teachers pay teacher · writing

September Self-Portrait

If you have been following my blog for a while, you have seen that I have my students draw… a… lot! Yes, draw pictures. The developmental range of drawing is very diverse in this age group. You can read about the development of drawing here.

The drawing of a self-portrait is often used to show developmental levels in children. As a teacher, I work hard with my students to help them progress through these stages. I have my pre-K and kindergarten classes draw a self-portrait every month and then send them home as a book at the end of the year. Parents are usually shocked with the progress from Mr. Potato Head to a fully recognizable person.

So… I encourage you to have your child draw a monthly self-portrait. You can use a sheet such as the ones I have in my teachers pay teachers store that provides a place for your child to write his/her name, the month and draw their picture in a frame or just draw it on a white sheet of paper. The most important thing is for your child to draw him/herself!

No photo description available.
Mr Potato Head — young self-portrait

Children who are young 4s often draw a head with arms and legs. At this age, it is totally developmentally appropriate for this level of drawing. But, I encourage you to point out things that he/she might be missing. Simple additions at this age: hair, hands, feet, ears.

Image may contain: drawing
lots of body parts, I cheat on the hands and put my arms behind my back (:

As your child progresses you will start seeing the addition of more body parts. One of the big things I push with my students is the addition of a torso. I’ll say do your arms and legs come out of your head? Nope! What are you missing? You are missing your torso the middle section of your body. How can we draw a picture including your torso?

Have your child look at him/herself in a mirror to see what else they can add to the picture.

I drew mine on a whiteboard, but I would have your child draw with crayons on paper. If you have multicultural crayons, that’s even better as you can get better representation of skin tones. You want the picture to be as realistic as your child can make it!

art · STEAM

Make Pete!

Let’s end the week with a fun and simple craft project. Read or watch a Pete the Cat story, and then get ready to make Pete.

Materials:

  • blue sheet of construction paper
  • scissors (child size Friskar scissors are the best, in my opinion, for children)
  • paper to mount your Pete
  • markers or crayons
  • glue/glue stick
  • any other paper to embellish Pete’s clothes

I will share with you two ways to have introduce this activity to your child

Image may contain: stripes

1– Provide templates of a rectangle (large and long/skinny), semi-circle, triangle. Explain to your child how to trace around the shapes so he/she can cut on the lines. Oops poor Pete is falling in my picture oh well!

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2– Provide a picture of Pete the Cat and have your child draw Pete him/herself on the blue paper and then cut it out.

Both Pre-K and Kindergarten children are capable of both of these steps independently! Allowing and encouraging your child to work independently will build not only the skill, but also your child’s confidence. In school, we will help a child hold scissors correctly, demonstrate how to rotate paper while cutting and provide encouragement… that’s it. They can do it. It might not be perfect, but it will be their work!

My students love having some... - Teaching Little Minds - Preschool and  Kindergarten | Facebook

teaching thoughts

I’m back… well tomorrow I am

Hello friends, I am back to posting daily lessons for you to use with your pre-k/kindergarten child(ren). Each week I will choose an easy reader book and provide lessons to go with the story. Tune in tomorrow for Pete the Cat Too Cool for School!

I encourage you to watch/read the story multiple times during the week. If you have a similar book at home, read that book too or instead. While I know you as a caregiver gets tired of reading the same story over and over, it is actually important to children’s reading development.

Every year I send this poem home with my students… this year I share it with you here. It is written by author Jane Yolen, known for Owl Moon, the How do Dinosaurs series, and so many other books: informational text, stories, poems and so much more.

Read to Me
By Jane Yolen

Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes
Read to me stories of magical times
Read to me tales about castles and kings
Read to me stories of fabulous things
Read to me pirates and read to me knights
Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then
When you are finished- please read them again.

I encourage you to follow my blog, reply to the posts and email me (mydayinprek@gmail.com) with any questions and/or book suggestions. If you don’t already, please follow me in Instagram @mydayinpre_k

Feel free to share my site with your friends… I am not paid for this blog. I am doing it for my love of children and helping children develop a love of learning!

art · teaching thoughts · topic · writing

Stages of writing and drawing

I often mention these stages in my posts and wanted to have one post that I could link to to share the stages. I am also including some thoughts for you to consider when working with your child on writing and drawing.

In the world of pre-K and kindergarten children’s writing ability can be all over the map. I encourage you to tell your child to write. Even if they write scribbles or goobly-goop, they are writing! Then ask your child: “Read to me what you wrote.” Often times, they will say, I don’t know what it says. My answer to this always is “You wrote it, you can read it… tell me what it says.”

Pencil scribbling | Free SVG
  • Squiggle lines to represent words
  • Random letters that have no connection the word they are writing (JmtIop=flower)
  • Writing just the beginning sound (f=flower)
  • Moving into hearing more sounds in words – teach your child to slowly stretch out the word to hear all the sounds (flr=flower)
  • Moving more into conventional spelling (flwer= flower)
  • conventional spelling (flower=flower)

Each of these steps is an important part of learning to write. I promise you… your child will not memorize flr as the spelling of the word flower, but giving them the freedom to write phonetically WILL give them the confidence to write. When children are dependent on adults to spell all the words they are afraid to write and won’t write. When they are given the freedom to write on their level, they will want to write!

There are typically 4 stages of drawing development .

  • Scribble-(18 months to 3 years)–random exploration of art materials. This helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor dexterity, independence and much more
Brown Colored Pencils on White Printer Paper · Free Stock Photo
  • Pre-Schematic Stage – (2 to 4 years)– drawing are simple, but are begin to look more like objects. Color plays a more important roll. Most drawing is outlines. People are heads with arms and legs (Mr. Potato Head people). This continues to work on the previous skills, but adds in observation, problem solving and pencil grip work
  • Schematic Stage (5-8 years)– more details are added including background and correct coloring. Learn to draw things in a specific way and use it over and over (always draw a house the same way etc). There are typically stories to go with the illustrations. They now work on trial and error, patterns, and interpreting illustrations
  • Pre-Teen Stage (9-11 years) –Drawings are more detailed, realism and spacial perspective. This is that point where children typically feel they can or CAN’T draw.

Children often need permission to be creative. When children draw we need to recognize that it may not look like what adults expect it to look like, but it is perfect to the child. Do not try to guess what your child drew, ask! Your child will love to share lots of details about the picture. Children need to feel pride and acceptance in the drawing stage they are already in!

We need to ask children questions about what they write and draw. Conversations is so important. Showing interest and excitement in what your child draws and write will spur him/her on to write and draw more!

math · teaching thoughts

Math review– comparing

The ability to compare is natural to children. They see when things are different. The thing we need to work on it correct vocabulary AND correct comparisons.

comparing lengths
  • Comparing length/height: Provide a variety of items and have your child choose two. Ask them to tell you which is longer/taller or shorter. Demonstrate how to line up the end to get an accurate comparison. Once your child sees the comparison of two items, provide more items and have him/her line them up in order from shortest to tallest or reverse.
  • Comparing weights: Provide your child with a variety of times and talk about what is heavier/lighter. This is much easier to do with items that are VERY different in weights. Which would weigh more a baseball or a ping pong? Which would weight less a piece of paper or a book? You can also introduce your child to scales.
compare by matching (one-to-one correspondence)
  • Comparing quantities: Provide your child with a variety of objects and have him/her put them into groups and then count to compare. Here are a few skills that are important with this skill.
    • Matching to compare— line up the groups side by side so you see which has more/less (who does not have a partner)
    • Count to compare— count this group, count that group, which number is bigger? smaller?
    • Same quantities— don’t always have different quantities.

similar items/different sizes

When providing items for comparisons do not always provide groups with the same sized objects. Often times a child will see 3 beach balls as more than 7 ping pong balls because the larger item takes up more space.

Always have your child prove it to you. Show me how you figured that out. Often times children will guess or try to watch you for your answers. Getting children to talk about math is so important.