Back to School Reminders


It is that time of year again for most of us. Freshly bought supplies are loaded up into backpacks and students nervously ponder all that may be in their new year. Here are some things to keep in mind as we all begin a new school year.

If you have the opportunity, volunteer to help your child(ren)s teacher. As a former classroom teacher I can attest that there is a
HUGE challenge daily to get to all the work to be done. First there is the  important work (looking at classroom data and assessments, goal setting, lesson planning) and then there is all the busy work too such as photo-copying, cutting, filing, bulletin boards etc… Parents can help out in getting this busy work done. It is an enormous help for teachers in getting it off of their plate so that they can focus on instruction. Keep in mind you are there to help the teacher. As much as we may want to see our
precious little ones, don’t forget you are there to contribute to your child’s classroom in completing tasks the teacher needs done. This may mean spending your time in the teacher supply closet or photocopy room.

Secondly, at home we can ask our children to share about their day. Asking them to reflect and talk about the day helps them process information and help further learning occur. Here is my favorite saying that I heard recently:  “He who talks the most, learns the most.” If the talking is done in a purposeful context learning is ‘cemented’ further. That is why talking is a
big part of all classroom learning these days. Students are asked to talk about the math problem they solved (or are struggling with), the essay they are writing and the reading they are doing.

That said, sometimes I struggle with my girls to tell me anything at the dinner table about their day. If anyone has some creative ways to get your kids to open up at the dinner table and share more about their day I would be happy to hear about it!

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2 thoughts on “Back to School Reminders

  1. Has anyone heard of the Native American Tradition of using a “talking stick”. Whoever has the talking stick gets undivided attention. We could bring a “talking stick” to the dinner table conversation. Kids could make their own “talking stick” from a twig and ribbon and maybe a feather and some beads. Of course it might get messy with dinner but you could just set it in front of the person who has the floor.
    Here is a link to a description of the Native American tradition of “The Talking Stick” http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TraditionalTalkingStick-Unknown.html
    I don’t have kids. What do you Moms and Dads think about this?

  2. I hope you young mothers can come up with some great “table sharing” ideas. That is so important for the children to expect. During the day something will happen and they look forward to knowing they will be telling it at the table.

    Having 6 children 1 and 1 1/2 years apart, I recently had to ask my children what we talked about when they were little. That was 30 some years ago. They commented that they talked about everything and nothing. The two smallest ones listened more than conversed. Sometimes they would wait til after dinner to ask me the meaning of a word their siblings used. .

    When they were older ( pre-teens) I attempted to have some conversations. That was during the Kennedy era and I was fascinated with their intellectual table talks. So, asking what they did at school or bring up something happening in the world would always end in something funny and the whole dinner was funny, laughter or fighting. Oh, to have this blog today.

    Interestingly, they all grew up to be open and radical thinkers and this includes the editor of this blog. We have some delightful talks, discoveries and arguments.

    One idea, similar to the talking stick, would be to have one child tell their story and NOT end it but rather say “AND” and point to another sibling and they were continue and on and on. That way all could talk.

    Another idea would be to have a number in front of each plate. On the other side is the name of one of the chldren. You could call a number and they would turn it over and the name on the other side would start a discussion. Then that person would turn his number over. the name of the next child would be there.

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