Premeditated Snack Time

I love snack time.  Yes, because I love to snack, but more so because I love watching little kids munch on their snacks, make a mess, and try to practice table manners.
Teaching table manners is important, but today I want to talk about ways to incorporate cognitive learning into this enjoyable time.

I think about lunch time with one my co-workers in the school where I taught Kindergarten. She was so intentional during this time – even though the school rule was that the lunch room was a “quiet zone.” She still found a way to teach them about the shapes that their food resembled, the sounds their food started with, and how many tater tots they had on their plate.
There are so many skills you can teach when you put your mind to it. But the great thing about snack time at home is that there aren’t necessarily time restrictions you have to follow or mandated food choices; you can “design” snack time to fit your personal preference and “lesson plan”.
Not that you want your children to play with their food, but you want them to make learning connections in everything they do. You want them to realize “Mom! My cracker looks like a square!” And to respond, “Great discovery! Oooh, I wonder what shape it would be if you break it in half?”

Here are some other ideas:
Counting – how many goldfish are there?
More or less – how many more goldfish do you have than pieces of fruit?
Adding on- how many goldfish will you have if I give you 3 more?
Shapes – how many triangle shaped crackers make a square?
Sound discovery – what sound do you hear in the word /g//g//g/ goldfish?
Patterns- how can we make a pattern out of our cheese and crackers?

Casey chose deli meat and cheese for a mini lesson on patterns during her son’s snack time.
These are just a few ways to teach in your child’s daily routine!

If you have pictures or other ways that you incorporate learning into your child’s snack time, please share with other Mommy Teachers by clicking on the link below!


A Lesson About TV

I may get some hate mail for this, but if you read on and see what my views are on the matter maybe you won’t get hot and bothered…

There are kids who aren’t allowed to watch any TV and there are kids who are babysat by a TV all day.
I’m here to bring some insight on what I think is a balanced way to use television, in moderation, as a teaching tool , if you choose to use it.

Before I chat about it, I ask you to reflect! Ask yourself:
1. Which shows and how many shows do I allow my child to watch each day?
2. What lessons are the shows teaching?
3. Can I set aside time to talk about the shows (during and after) my child watches them?

When I was a student teacher at a phenomenal school, the guidance teacher showed a movie clip (with no commercials) of Franklin to the students. She opened up with some questions, showed the movie pausing it regularly to ask questions, and then had the children reflect, respond, and act out different aspects of her lesson (using props) at the close of the show. I thought that this was a great way to use the TV as a teaching tool because children can make connections, learn new strategies, and practice what they learned with someone guiding them in the process!
Some TV shows are also informative for the parent. You might learn new methods to teach your kids by watching educational shows and what kind of content to teach them.

When selecting and showing episodes keep some things in mind: 1) Moderate the use of TV (Use your judgment on what that would be, considering your child’s best interest), 2) Moderate the TV show choice (I recommend three educational shows below),  3) Pause the TV show, if you are able to, in order to ask questions or get them to interact with the show by pointing out letters they know or words they know, etc.,  4) Try to apply the lessons they learn throughout the rest of the day/week. 

So, TV can be a plus in education at home, but there are shows that are more contstructive than others…And here are some I recommend:

Super Why

             My Review: I like that this show can accommodate to different levels of readers because it teaches letters, letter-sound relationships, word recognition, word structure, and comprehension strategies in an interactive way.
Casey’s Review: James’ favorite – is all about reading comprehension, rhyming, letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and more. It’s really great. You should definitely catch an episode sometimes.

Word World
My Review: This is one of my favorites because kids follow a story line that causes them to interact by finding letters, sounding out words, and seeing words take shape. 
Casey’s Review: today specifically they talked about compound words (which tied into the compound word activity I did with him that day from The Mommy Teacher). It’s cute, but we just started watching it, so I’m not as familiar with this one. Everything on the show takes the shape of the object and the word is squeezed into that shape. For example, the word “frog” looks like a frog. They pull words apart and put them back together all of the time.

Sid the Science Kid
My Review: I love Sid the Science Kid. The teacher is so fun, making learning fun for the students, she is prepared with age-appropriate exploration, activities, music and play that teaches the children to investigate their world.  I love the teaching strategies and content from this show, and the way questions are raised to the kids.  Parents can learn a lot from it 🙂
Casey’s Review: my favorite! This show has led to some super great discussions between me and James. Sid wants to know about anything and everything so he asks his friends, parents and teacher to answer his questions. The kids investigate, ask questions, discover new things and journal about them. It has given us some great science activities to do too.

This is Casey’s little man dressed up as SuperWhy and really becoming the character! “We need to fix the word!” ~James


This PRECIOUS family dressed up as Princess Presto (mom), SuperWhy (big brother), AlphaPig (little brother), and my personal favorite -WonderRed (DAD!!!).

Super Why and Princess Presto have been labeling things around the living room. Super Why is in charge of sticking the letters on objects, and Princess Presto, with her Spelling Power, writes the words on the paper.

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