I’m not quite sure how we are already halfway through November. It’s been a blur. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to be culturally responsive in my therapy and lesson planning. I would LOVE to teach my kids about the real story of Thanksgiving, but considering I had a kid break down last year during Dragons Love Tacos because the dragons burned down the house, I think its safe to assume that truth might be a little too emotionally taxing for them. (I work with District 75 special education elementary students.)

Instead, I decided to create a parent/caregiver form in English and Spanish to survey family customs, traditions, and foods that are relevant to each individual student. It was my way of being culturally responsive. Now, as we go through some of the fun books and activities we have planned for the month, we can be mindful of their cultural norms.

This week we actually did a pie tasting in the classroom (cherry, apple, blueberry, lemon, and pumpkin.)


The next day we followed up by reading There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. We used Jenna Rayburn’s Old Lady stimuli to have the students feed the old lady throughout the joint reading. Then, we voted for our favorite flavors and identified what we liked most and what we liked least as a class. At the end of the lesson, we used a joint action routine schedule to complete a pie craft.


Some classes enjoyed the pie tasting more than others, but all the classes really seem to enjoy the Old Lady series. It’s especially fun because they get to engage with an activity throughout the reading.

I only created this JARS schedule in English because I was struggling to translate this activity into Spanish. I grew up in a Dominican household and we didn’t eat a lot of pie. I wasn’t sure if “torta” would be the right word to use. I’m open to feedback and suggestions about whether or not it would be culturally relevant to create this schedule in Spanish. Leave your comments down below!

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