Teacher Talk

Teatchertalk Arborday 315

Parents: This month is jammed with events. First, there’s National TV Turnoff Week. Earth Day is on April 22, and Arbor Day is on April 29. Teachers in your children’s classrooms may be introducing activities for some of these events for you to do at home with your children.


Why don’t you introduce activities for your family centering around Arbor Day? This 135-year-old holiday has not received the attention other events have. And what you do to celebrate this holiday will tie in nicely with turning off the television and celebrating Earth Day.


Traditionally, the idea behind Arbor Day was to have a special day set aside for tree planting. Recently, other ideas have been included in the celebration. Communities and organizations may organize public beautification projects, have concerts with songs about trees or organize a paper drive to save trees. Try to take part in one of these events.


At home, your children can view the enjoyable “It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown” video and learn about preserving green space. Plus, your children can learn the names of the trees in your yard or on your street. And, of course, your family can plant a tree.


Q. Before my girls were 3, I put the spelling of their names to music. I also put our telephone number to music, and that helped them learn this important information easily. Further, when they were 3 years and older, we played such word games as “Give me a word that starts with the letter …” or “Give me a word that sounds like ….” Just thought these ideas might be of value to other parents.

– Creative Mom

A. Using music to teach your children vital information is a good approach. It also could be used to teach them their home address and parents’ names. These are things young children should know. Starting young children out in learning letters and sounds by playing word games is better than using workbooks, because it is a more interesting approach. Plus, they can be played everywhere.


Q. My fifth-grader is a very stubborn child. He never budges an inch when he thinks he is correct. While we find this very annoying at home, his teacher this year is very impatient and not very nice when he digs in his heels, because the child believes he is correct. The teacher is tired of his continual arguing over the correctness of his views. How can we turn this around?

– Not the Teacher’s Favorite

A. You need to tell your son you are supportive of his having his own ideas. You don’t want to crush him for expressing his views. But at the same time, he needs to learn when and how to make a point when there is a disagreement.


One possible solution for the classroom, that could work at home too, is for him to write down what his disagreements with the teacher are. Then the teacher could give him five minutes in the morning and another five in the afternoon to discuss only one issue in a one-on-one conversation. He chooses the issue to be discussed. Later on, as your son realizes his views are being heard, this discussion time can be reduced.


Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or ask them on the columnists’ website at www.dearteacher.com.