It has been a long time since being in school and learning all the educational lingo. There is a term called "scaffolding" that educators use. It pretty much means meeting a child where they are at and then just pushing them a little further, just like an actual scaffold.
I have always said jokingly that every thing you need to know you learn in fifth grade. Being a fifth grade teacher taught me a lot of things, which I am now passing to my kids.
So here are a few things that I have noticed teaching the boys recently:
Growing plants opens up a wide variety of teachable moments - for younger and older preschoolers. Here we planted sunflower seeds that their Babci got them for Easter. Evan planted both his and Carter's since Carter isn't quite old enough to understand what is going on. Did you know that when a plant "sprouts" the scientific term is "germinate". So when Evan was excited that his sunflower "sprouted" I knew he understood that concept, so I mentioned to him that that is also called "germinated". So we practiced a new word. Has he used that new word yet? Nope! But I nestled it in that sponge of his.
Also, once the plants started to grow, we have been talking about what plants need to grow (sun, water, air) and what kids need to grow. These aren't very in depth discussions, just quickies when Evan checks his plants every morning.
And just for the fun of it, I have done an experiment with Evan, that he actually hasn't noticed yet and may not but it's still fun to try. Phototropism - or the way a plant leans toward the sun. So every morning I show Evan how the plants are leaning and then I rotate the plants and by the afternoon the plants are again leaning toward the sun. It goes right over his head, but it's still cool to watch :-)!
Geometric shapes: Evan has mastered all the basic shapes. So recently, I have been throwing out new terms. Yes, I was a fifth grade math teacher for many years so the terms comes easy to me but you can pretty much google math shapes and come up with some decent references.
Evan was checking out a diamond the other day and I mentioned to him that there was another name that he could use "called a rhombus". He thought that was pretty cool, unfortunately, he doesn't understand that not all words have many other terms :-). So now, every time we are looking at shapes, he asks if there are other "funny" names. So we have been practicing "rhombus", "parallelogram", "quadrilateral" etc. I don't exactly "teach" him what each one is, we just play the game of "how many names each shape has." And Evan just likes to hear the big words!!
Moon Phases: I know I mentioned this last week, but Evan and Carter both love finding the moon in the night sky (and sometimes in the day sky). We practice the names of the different moons. Evan loves to find the "crescent" moons, just because he knows the shape "crescent" :-)
He has asked my "why does the moon change shape?" I try to explain to him about the sun and the shadows as "dumbed down" as possible but he still doesn't get it. It doesn't really discourage him though, surprisingly. And fortunately for me he hasn't done the "why" routine with it because sometimes those "why conversations" can go on and on and on. He just asks again at a different time and again I try to explain it.
Jeremy likes to throw around graphic design and typography terms at the boys, which is pretty funny to listen to. But you never know what the boys will pick up?!
Now it's your turn. In what ways are your scaffolding and may not have even known it?