Posts from Your Archives – Lunchtime conversations in the Classroom: It’s Important by Jennie Fitzkee

I recently invited you to share some of your posts from your archives. It is a way of giving your earlier or favourite posts a chance to be read by a different audience. Mine.  Details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.

Jennie Fitzkee has been a pre-school teacher for over thirty years, I have reblogged several of her posts because they demonstrate how a dedicated and passionate teacher can ignite imagination and a passion for books and music in the very young. Here is a post from 2014 on the importance of conversation outside of classroom hours.

Lunchtime conversations in the classroom: It’s Important by Jennie Fitzkee

I thought you might enjoy a a little verbal window into my classroom at 12:00 PM. Is it chaos or is it beneficial?

Yes, there is chaos. The logistics of of getting fifteen children set up for lunch is no small feat. On the other side, lunch time is almost like a casual circle time; a time that we often engage in in-depth discussions, sometimes light and fun, sometimes deep and serious!

We have debated if girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys; we have nominated our favorite cereals and our hated vegetables. We talk about nutrition, manners, health, nightmares, and monsters. The questions are endless. Everyone’s opinion is valued. Isn’t that wonderful? A favorite is, “Tell me when you were a little girl”. Children derive such comfort and support when they know that their teacher had all the same fears and troubles when they were young. “It happened like this…” has become the opening sentence for the ‘Jennie stories’ that have children captivated. They know it is a true story as soon as they hear the words, “It happened like this”, and they are on the edge of their seats. And now, that phrase also signifies something important as well as true to children.

Lunch time is much more than learning about nutrition, practicing with utensils, or remembering ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. It is a time of coming together, where we truly bond as a family, and often engage in rich conversation. Much like our Morning Meeting, each child’s thoughts and questions are welcomed and valued. We had quite a deep discussion which I would like to share with you. Many children were contributors to this conversation. It happened like this:

Child: “Is die a bad word?”

Jennie: “No, die is not a bad word. Everything that is alive dies. Flowers die. People die after they are very, very old.”

Child: “What does alive mean?”

Jennie: “It means something that is living, like plants, or animals, and even people. Let’s see; ‘What is alive and what is dead’?”

Child: “My lunch is not alive.”

Child: “Or a table.”

Jennie: “Is the lettuce on my sandwich alive or dead? This is tricky.”

Child: “Alive!”

Child: “Dead!”

Jennie: “Well, it was alive when it was growing in the ground, and it died after it was picked. All plants and food are alive when they are growing. Just like animals and people.”

Child: “I’m growing. Will I die when I stop growing?”

Jennie: “You probably won’t die until you are very old.”

Child: “My Grampy’s old, and he’s alive.”

Jennie: “My mother is very old, and she is alive, too.”

Child: “Do you die if there’s a fire?”

Jennie: “Firefighters will be there to rescue and help you. You probably won’t die.”

Child: “What if you’re hot in a fire?”

Jennie: “A fire hardly ever happens, and the firefighters are right there. You don’t need to worry about that at all. You probably won’t die until you are very old.”

Child: “Will God die? He’s very old.”

Jennie: “God doesn’t die. For people who believe, He lives in your heart forever.”

Wow! As you can see, our lunch times are often full of wonder and sharing. Learning takes place in many ways, and we will always provide an environment and multiple avenues, such as today, where children can learn.

Did you know that the benefits of verbal dialogue among families at dinner is as effective for language development as reading?

A key to language and to reading readiness is in both conversation and listening. I believe that our lunch time provides all of these opportunities plus socializing, nutrition, education, and reinforcement of table manners, in a fun, sometimes relaxed, sometimes chaotic environment. It’s wonderful!


About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie


My thanks to Jenny for sharing the second of four posts with us today and look out for more next Sunday. In the meantime I hope you will head over to her blog and catch up on her current posts.

If you would like to give some of your posts from the past a little TLC then dust them off and send four links to me at If this is your first time on Smorgasbord then please include your links to social media. If you like the experience then we can always look at sharing more.

This is for posts of general interest rather then book promotion, although your work will feature. If you would like to promote your work here then please contact me at the email address above.

Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally.

This entry was posted in It is a Wonderful Life. by Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at

39 thoughts on “Posts from Your Archives – Lunchtime conversations in the Classroom: It’s Important by Jennie Fitzkee

  1. Pingback: Posts from Your Archives – Lunchtime conversations in the Classroom: It’s Important by Jennie Fitzkee | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Pingback: Posts from Your Archives – Lunchtime conversations in the Classroom: It’s Important by Jennie Fitzkee – The Militant Negro™

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Cafe and Bookstore revamp, Archived Post bonanza and great guests. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Although I am “Old” I am still not dead, ha! I so enjoy Jennie’s blog. Taking part in this series can bring awareness to not only teachers but parents as well.
    Hopefully, the future generations will do a better job taking care of this world we live in than their ancestors.
    Thank you, Sally and kudos to Jennie.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Always a delight to read one of Jennie’s classroom stories. It took me back to my own childhood memories of worrying about death, and those constant questions. She’s an educational guru, in my mind.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I love Jennie’s posts. Encouraging children to ask questions and discuss things is part of their development. Children who were raised in the “seen and not heard” households grew up to be poor communicators and suffered as adults at work and in relationships. Thank heaven for teachers like Jennie.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. This was such a delight to read! I have 13 great nieces and nephews, and often have been put on the spot with an unexpected question. Viewing the world through the eyes of innocence opens the door to discovery. It’s obvious you love your job, Jennie. How fortunate, for both you and the children ♥ This is a lovely series, Sally ♥

    Liked by 5 people

  8. “Did you know that the benefits of verbal dialogue among families at dinner is as effective for language development as reading?” YES! And a child’s ease and readiness for reading is directly related to the size of his or her vocabulary (how many words they’ve heard and understand). Mealtime discussion work on both of those important things.

    You are SUCH a wonderful teacher, Jennie. Thanks so much for sharing this post.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 4 people

      • My mother worked on mine – and both of my parents were highly articulate with huge vocabularies.

        They didn’t talk down to children and no baby talk passed without correction when I was growing up. Not so much fun then, but I have had decades to be extremely grateful.


    • Thank you, Madelyn! You need to read “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease. That statement you like and know to be true is from that book. Imagine reading all the facts and research behind this (so you), balanced with gripping stories (so you). The one on Cuban cigars is my favorite (yes, this is about reading!) and also the terrible school in Boston. I can’t say enough about this book!

      Liked by 1 person

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