Teachable Moments


HALF of the eggs were boiled.

Okay, I admit that it’s a little weird for the social worker (me!) to be writing on this topic instead of Julie (who is a “real” teacher) but in some ways it makes even better sense because if I can do this, anyone can!  Of course, I am the daughter of a kindergarten teacher and Julie and I have worked together for something like 14 years now, so I’ve probably absorbed a lot of good stuff by osmosis.

Anyway, O. and I were in the process of dyeing Easter eggs this weekend and all of a sudden I realized that I needed to grab my camera and take some shots to try to illustrate how easy it can be to teach in the course of everyday parenting.  It started something like this:

Mom:  Let’s boil half of these eggs.
O.  How many is half?
Mom:  Oh, well, find the middle and make an invisible line.  (shows her) This is one half and this is the other.
We go on to count 9 spaces where she took the eggs out and 9 eggs still left in the carton.

How many more glasses do we need?

After she put one tablet in each glass that I had out:

Mom:  How many more glasses do we need?
O:  Two!   (I get two more glasses)
Mom:  Here are two more glasses.  How many glasses do we have now?
O:  Six! We had four and now we have six!
Mom:  That’s right!  We had four, added two more and now we have six!

We could’ve gone on to talk about all kinds of other things depending on her level of knowledge, interest, etc…  Just a few ideas I had were

  • colors (darker, lighter, brighter in addition to the color names)
  • mixing colors
  • the fact that egg shells are porous and that is why the dye works
  • time
  • who we are going to give them to
  • write names or shapes or squiggles with white crayons

I think the key, though, is to be able to gauge the child’s interest and keep it short, conversational and just a natural part of your day.

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