Fill Your Holidays With Teachable Moments
Like us, most children love the holidays. They sense something is different; there is excitement in the air, and they get excited when we start to decorate the house or make cookies. The holidays are full of opportunities to use your child’s excitement as motivation to engage in learning.
At The Reading Corner, we have created “Mini-Units” for our teachers and students. “Mini-Units” are comprised of small sets of lessons that are not embedded into the curriculum. While continuing to focus on skills that are being developed, we use the holidays to create variety: a nice break from the week to week agenda.
Variety is a great teacher, and we find that using “Mini-Units” creates engagement and excitement to learn. Our students love to see new pictures with the concepts that they already have been learning.
With our curriculum, we do not teach to the theme; instead, we integrate the theme into our learning. We take fun holiday pictures and themes and create learning experiences for our students. Variation with the curriculum is like incorporating a new workout into your fitness routine; it’s a new challenge that exercises students’ learning “muscles” which creates those life-long connections for our learners.
For example, carving a pumpkin and pulling out the seeds is a great opportunity to count the seeds with your child. We ask our students to guess how many seeds are in the the pumpkin, and then, we count the seeds and compare. Creating the Jack-O-Lantern is a great opportunity for a sequencing activity!
There are so many great learning opportunities and teachable moments during the holidays. We align these experiences and “Mini-Units” with our standard based curriculum. Similar to our year-long curriculum, the holiday curriculum is standard based and aligned with Teaching Strategies Gold Objectives. Each activity focuses on one of the objectives in Teaching Strategies Gold: listening, counting, sequencing, reading, beginning sounds, or sorting.
This week’s freebie is a great example of how you can model creativity with your student; have fun; and encourage learning. Our Halloween Recipe freebie incorporates fine motor skills, sequencing, listening, and math. In this freebie, your child can look at the task card and recreate the cupcake, or you can create a sequence for them to follow. Once they have created it, you can ask how many toppings are on top of the cupcake. An extension could be “What if we added/took away one more piece of candy on the cupcake?” The learning opportunities are endless.
We have learned that children ask many questions when the environment is changing around them. There are sights, and scents, and temperature changes: all can be used to stimulate learning. Count the pumpkins on the side of the road. Note their excitement when they see all of the Halloween costumes at Walmart.
Use the season’s stimulation to create motivation to learn new skills and reinforce the standard curriculum. In addition to the aromas of pumpkin spice, take advantage of our “Mini-Units” variety to spice up your student’s learning!