Parent Perusals

Thanksgiving Edition

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A note from Kimberly

I have found it difficult at times to preserve the Thanksgiving holiday. Almost every store you walk in to has Christmas plastered everywhere. I love Christmas, but I also love Thanksgiving so I work extra hard as a mom to instill some Thanksgiving traditions and practices.

I did a little reading on the meaning of Thanksgiving and wholeheartedly agree that it's all about expressing gratitude. I particularly enjoyed reading the following 3 points about Thanksgiving customs:

  • To gather in unity – It is refreshing and invigorating when people come together, in celebration of a common purpose. It is a reconciliation of differences as well as a time of healing. In sharing our victories as well as our struggles, we find strength and hope.
  • To teach the young – In stories retold, each generation brings purpose and significance to the richness of their heritage. Faded pictures, sentimental knick-knacks, even the prayer of Thanksgiving before the meal all form a Thanksgiving family legacy.
  • To prepare the heart – In gratitude, we humbly reflect upon all the gifts (family, friends, health) that saturate our lives. By “giving-thanks” we choose to extend ourselves and give to others less fortunate. Out of the abundance of our hearts, we are able to offer our resources to help others.
  • Read more HERE.

One tradition I started about 4 years ago was creating a thankful tree. Beginning November 1st, we add to our thankful tree each day (see picture above). I won this tree (it was intended to be a photo holder) at an event I attended and used it to display pictures until I had a different idea! I found some leaf cutouts and decided we'd use this as our Thanksgiving centerpiece. Each night (at least 5 out of 7 nights) we talk about what we are thankful for, write it on a leaf and put it on our tree. I keep it on our table and on Thanksgiving Day we take it with us to my in-laws as a table decoration. I love it when my in-laws ask my girls to explain what's on their thankful tree! They take great pride in sharing what they contribute.

It may seem too simple, but it has opened up some great conversations with my young girls. It's easy to say I'm thankful for my family (yes, family is very important), but I like to get my girls to tell me WHY.... I also like to get them to think beyond themselves and learn to be thankful in all situations. For example, how can we be thankful when our feelings get hurt or we don't get something that we really want?

This is one way we focus on gratitude in our home.

This Thanksgiving edition of Parent Perusals will offer some upcoming events and resources I've been hanging on to share with all of you, AND it will share some other family ideas and tips that you can consider incorporating in your home to foster gratitude and thanksgiving during this Thanksgiving season.

As I reflect on a professional level of what I'm most thankful for, it truly is the work I get to do to inform and inspire families through education. Thank you for being supporters of this great work!


Kimberly Baumgardner

GIVING Conversation Starters

Ages 1-5
  • What was the best gift you ever received?
  • What is something you love that you would like to share with someone else?
  • What can you give or do for someone that doesn't cost any money?

Ages 6-12

  • Talk about a time when someone did something thoughtful for you. What was it? Then, talk about a time when you did something thoughtful for someone else. How did it make you and the other person feel?
  • What is a strength or gift you have that you could teach to others during the holiday season?
  • If you could give one present to the whole world, what would it be and why?

Ages 13-18

  • Think of a person in your family (living or not) who gave back to others. In what ways did he or she give to others? What could you do to be more like this person?
  • Share a story of giving and ask each family member to name a cause that matters to him or her. how could you give your time or money to support one of these causes?
  • Save enough local newspapers that everybody can read a front page, and then circle areas of need. How could you help, as individuals and as a family?
  • Do you think it's more important to be kind or to be happy? Why? Discuss the importance of kindness and ways family members can display their kindness every day in small ways.

Taken from The Family Dinner Project. Download the Giving Conversations HERE.

Talk About: Thanks + Giving

  • When is it especially important to say "thank you?" Do you notice when people thank you, or forget to thank you?
  • How has your understanding of gratitude changed over the years? What did you feel most grateful for when you were younger? And today?
  • If you had superpowers, what would they be and how would you use them to help people?
  • What can you give or do for someone that doesn't cost any money?
  • Do you know someone who is a giving person? How so? Who is it?

Fill in the Blanks Thanksgiving Word Game

That Thanksgiving turkey needs time to roast — so while dinner is cooking, keep your little ones busy (and seriously entertained) with this goofy, Mad Libs-style fill-in-the-blank template word game. Who knew nouns and adjectives could be so much fun?!

A fun activity to practice nouns and adjectives! Taken from Scholastic Parents.

Download HERE.

Thanksgiving Games

Whether you're still waiting for the turkey to roast or looking for a fun post-dinner activity, try these Thanksgiving-inspired takes on Pictionary and charades. Let the games begin!

Ten Books for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is about more than the turkey! Here are ten recommended books for kids ages 0-9 that celebrate sharing, community, and family.

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Register for Statewide Parental Involvement Conference

Want to discuss your ideas for student achievement with other parents and community leaders? You’ll have the opportunity if you register for the 2018 Statewide Parental Involvement Conference.

LAST CHANCE to REGISTER for the 2018 Statewide Parental Involvement Conference, One Team One Dream.

  • December 6-8, 2018
  • Frisco Embassy Suites Convention Center, Frisco, TX

Current Registration Fee $185.00 per person

Beginning Friday, November 16, $300.00 per person

Session Presentations:

  • The TX State Board of Education will present their long-range plan.
  • TEA presenters - Title I, Title III, Special Education, Early Childhood, and TX Department of Agriculture.
  • Texas School Safety Center.

Online Registration


Check out these other great newsletters that contain MORE information & resources!

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Adult Education & Literacy

FREE! Earn your High School Equivalency (TxCHSE)  Learn English  Train for a high demand career

Adult Education & Literacy (En Espanol)

Gratis! Obtener su High School Equivalency (TxCHSE)  Aprender inglés  Entrenar para un major trabajo

We encourage San Antonio to come together and help fight hunger. Food4SA is a city-wide campaign to collect 1M lbs of food through community food drives and monetary support throughout the month of November. You can help us reach our goal by making a donation online or hosting a food & fund drive with your business, school, church, neighborhood, organization, family or friends. Food donations can be dropped off at any SSFCU branch location or area H-E-B.

More Information: Food 4 SA

Special Performance of The Children's Nutcracker

Your kids can join the Performing Arts!

Are you interested in getting your child with a disability engaged in the performing arts? You are cordially invited to join disABILITYsa for The Children's Ballet of San Antonio’s production of the classic holiday favorite The Children’s Nutcracker!

The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio presents a cast of local San Antonio artists ranging from ages 3 to 19, including award winning ballet dancers and talented special needs artists.

This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the possibility of having your child with a disability participate in the ballet experience. Come see how one organization is creating inclusive opportunities for children with all types of abilities with disABILITYsa.


This performance will include children who have a disability and participate in the Children's Ballet of San Antonio programs. "

A LIMITED NUMBER TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE and families are limited to a maximum of 3 tickets so that you can expose, explore, and imagine the possibilities for your child!



Do you find your child's sleep patterns have changed since the time change? We are still adjusting in my house!

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has endorsed new recommendations on sleep times. I find this to be important information to know as a mom!

When our kids do not get enough sleep, they can experience increased attention, behavior and learning problems.

Read the information here: AAP Endorses New Recommendations on Sleep Times

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

If you have a child with diabetes, get information about the disease during National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Visit the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Diabetes Prevention and Control Program webpages. The webpages have information about diabetes risk factors, testing for diabetes, educational materials, the Texas Diabetes Council and much more.

About Diabetes

Children and Media: Tips for Parents

In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills. Tips taken from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Special Education Resources

Remaining November Parent Trainings at ESC-20

Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 9:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.

STAAR Accommodations and You

During state assessments for STAAR, certain accessibility features and accommodation resources may be provided to students based on their needs. In general, these procedures and materials are available to any student who regularly benefits from the use of them during instruction. Come join us for an in depth review of the accommodations approved for use with STAAR. This training will also specifically address what accessibility features and designated supports are allowable for students receiving Section 504 and special education services.

**Interpreter provided by request. Call 210-370-5430 by 12:00 p.m. on Monday, November 12th. **

Session ID: 53089 Webinar Session ID: 53178

Thursday, November 15, 9:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.

Early Childhood Parent Toolkit

Join us as we explore the NEW ESC-20 Early Childhood Parent Plus+ Toolkit! Parent Plus + is an engaging set of activities for parents to use in playful learning with their preschool aged children. This training will train PARENTS to become actively involved in learning how to enhance student engagement with playful learning activities in the home setting. The kit includes activities aligned with the Pre-Kindergarten Guideline standards in math, reading, writing, and language development.

**Interpreter provided by request. Call 210-370-5430 by 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13th. **

Session ID: 53090

Wednesday, November 28, 9:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.

My Child Doesn’t Talk

This training will introduce participants to the various options to help support their child that has complex communication needs or limited language. We will review the common misconceptions that surround using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as well as look at strategies and resources that can be used at home that can aid in building communication with their child.

**Interpreter provided by request. Call 210-370-5430 by 12:00 p.m. on Monday, November 26th. **

Session ID: 53091 Webinar Session ID: 53179

Thursday, November 29, 9:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m.

Parenting the Love & Logic Way

Love and Logic is an approach to raising children that provides loving support from parents while at the same time expecting children to be respectful and responsible. Love allows children to grow through their mistakes. Logic allows them to live with the consequences of their choices. Love and Logic is easy to use, raises responsible children, and changes lives. By attending this training, you will learn to use humor, hope, and empathy to build up your adult-child relationship, provide real limits in a loving way, and learn how to teach consequences and healthy decision-making.

**Interpreter provided by request. Call 210-370-5430 by 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27th. **

Session ID: 53092

Registration Instructions

Need help knowing how to register for an ESC-20 parent training or webinar? Click HERE to download instructions.

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