Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Helping Hands

Being a former teacher, I believe life is filled with "teachable moments."  Incidental teaching is using unplanned opportunities to teach/improve a skill.  I love incidental teaching moments.  A child's best learning often occurs when you're least expecting it.

Last week, I was visiting my sister and her three adorable girls when I discovered one of the above mentioned treasured moments.  Lilly, a kindergartner, is quite the artist.  She carries her "writing book" everywhere she goes (and has since her third birthday).  She even keeps one in the car for the drive from school to home (keep in's less than a mile).  Anyway, while I was visiting she showed me a picture of a cornucopia with veggies and fruits falling out of it.  It is amazing to me the detail she adds to her work.  I asked Lilly if I could keep her drawing (as long as I promised to return it).  So, today I took it to Fed Ex/Kinkos and left with this.

I decided the cornucopia would make a great place card for Thanksgiving.  I enjoy seeing kids be a part of the action, and this allows Lilly the opportunity to know she helped make this holiday special for everyone else.

While cutting the cards, I  figured it was best if we kept the kid theme going and asked the other kindergartner in the family (Will-my brother's son) to write the names on the cards.  This afternoon, I spent some time with Will as he wrote out everyone's name for Thanksgiving.

Here are the finished cards.  The plan is for them to lay across the plates instead of standing like traditional place cards.

However, my sister requested a set to take to her in-laws.  They are traditional ones.

Being a special education teacher, I feel the need to point out that this activity can work for kids of all ages.  Here are some suggestions to make the activity more appropriate for younger kids or children with fine motor difficulties.

1. Use stickers instead of drawing a holiday picture.
2. Draw the pictures yourself, and let the children color them.
3. Print the names on labels, and have kids put them on the place cards.
4. Write the names with a highlighter, and let the kiddos trace the names.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving (full of teachable moments)!  

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  1. What a wonderful way to make your little ones feel special and needed! Super cute and great idea!
    Also, I LOVE your modifications! SPED is your calling for sure!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Hey, I have your name for the craftaholics anonymous craft exchange. I emailed you to get your mailing address but hadn't heard back so I just wanted to make sure you got it. Email me the info at