Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Adventures in Academic Language (Part 1)

Friends, I have stumbled upon a GREAT way to teach important academic and testing language to pre-schoolers so that they will be cumulatively comfortable with and sufficiently exposed to it by the time their high-stakes testing shenanigans begin! Here it is: weave the terms into regular, everyday life in normal and fun ways.
Sooo, I confess there is quite a bit of Claire Huxtable in me--this "let the re-cord show" kind of precise, lawyer-like way in parenting. At times, it is sheer hilarity! :-) But this past summer I realized that I could use it to my advantage in teaching my youngsters the importance of letting their actions match their words. I realized that using the word "evidence" was a PERFECT way to both get them used to that term and give myself a springboard for using it in lots of ways down the road. "It's not that I'm saying you're not telling the truth," I'd tell them. "But the EVIDENCE makes me think..." Here's an example of how I used it.

Sonny (just ate dinner and claimed he was beyond full): Asks for a snack
Me: You CAN'T be hungry, because that's not what hungry people do! HUNGRY people don't get rid of their food, and then ask for more! The EVIDENCE does not show that you're really hungry!" Totally natural way to introduce the term, and a principle to boot!

Tonight I just discovered a different example. My 3-year-old finds it hilarious when, instead of re-reading a book they love, I give a super-boiled down version. With very few words, I hit the first page, middle section and "the end." She cracks UP!! Tonight it hit me: What if I just put a label to that? So tonight, I said innocently, "What?! I just gave you a nice SUMMARY!" Of course, she went on to show me the right way to read it and to urge me to follow suit...and I did...or at least Daddy did. But the exciting thing was, I learned something new about the beauty and ease of introducing academic language. I will keep chronicling this process as I learn more and more revelations unfold... #tobecontinued