While shopping for a baby gift, I noticed the variety of rattles available for infants. There were rattles that were simple, plush, noisy, colorful, interactive, chewable and even battery operated….so many to choose from! I had a difficult time choosing one to add to my gift and it got me to thinking that new parents must feel the same way. Do infants and babies even need rattles? What is their role in infant development? It was then that I decided to add a lesson and project about rattles and how they affect development to my infant unit!
This is a topic I’ve wanted to teach for a long time, not only because I practice it, but think it’s an important lesson for everyone to know and implement in their lives! However, that said, I was also a bit nervous introducing this lesson because I didn’t know how my students would receive it. Would they think it interesting and practical? Would they think it old-fashioned and a thing of the past? Would they even engage? Well, I can honestly say that my students were totally with me throughout this entire lesson! They shared personal stories and examples! They embraced the topic and were quite interested in the articles and stories I had them use, as well as the projects they were assigned! In the future and for the record, I will definitely be teaching this unit again, but this time with complete confidence!
Some of the most cherished gifts our family has received over the years have been made by the hands of the people we love. In fact we look forward to those gifts every year as they’ve kind of become a tradition. Sometimes those gifts made with love were born out of necessity due to limited resources available to go out and purchase store bought gifts, but many times they were made and given out of love for the recipient(s) of the gift. For example, many years ago, very close friends of ours began making us a delicious candy-like treat that can only be described as “Christmas Crack” because once you start eating it, you can’t stop! We love the candy and our friends and look forward to that gift every year! After all, how can you look at, use or consume that wonderful gift without thinking fond thoughts of the talented person/people who took the time to make it for YOU! Why not teach your students how they can use their talents, time and resources to make gifts of love to give to those in their lives that they cherish most during this Christmas and Holiday season?
Karen Conklin has been a Family and Consumer Science teacher for 19 years and she is currently teaching middle school in central Connecticut. I had the distinct privileged of interviewing her while she was attending the Twist Craft Fair–a craft show she says is “inspiring, a place to get ideas, and keep up on the latest trends.”
Another great way to teach students how to bake in mass quantity, maintain quality control, and market food attractively is to sell boxes of several kinds of Christmas cookies. My students made boxes of 3 dozen Christmas cookies including peanut butter kisses, chocolate crinkle, Russian Tea Cakes, gingerbread, sugar, raspberry thumb prints and coconut macaroons. The community generously supports the fundraiser often profusely thanking me for making their holidays easier.