Like Mrs. Bainbridge, I send home a snack calendar every month. I just use this site to get a blank template, add in the names and some pictures that go along with our themes that month and print it out! During snack, I prefer to let my kinders socialize, since they don't get many chances to just talk throughout the day. We spend about 20 minutes on snack - from pass out to clean up, so it really doesn't take up that much time. Plus, I get to do Sneaky Snack which you can read more about below.
I went grocery shopping today, which doesn't seem like a hard task until I tell you that I took all 4 kids and I stayed under budget! I'm pretty sure I must have forgotten some things though, since with all the "extras" the kids put in the cart I should have been way over lol.
What is Sneaky Snack? Basically, it's when I provide a snack that will engage my kinders' minds and allow me insight into how they are thinking about what we're learning. With these fruit snacks for example, children can sort by color or letter, make patterns, count, identify letter sounds etc. Our school is Title I and most of the families struggle financially, so I try to make sure that each child only brings snack once a month. If there are more school days in a month than students or if someone forgets their day, then I bring in snack. Since I usually bring snack about 5 times a month it has to be relatively inexpensive, plus quick to eat since I only give them about 15 minutes for snack time.
To me there is nothing better than to pass out snack and have children start applying what we've been learning. When I pass out the snack it's important that I not say anything ~ thus the Sneaky part ~ if I initiate the activity it kind of skews the results as the children become conscious of the fact that I'm teaching or evaluating them. By letting my kinders initiate an activity with the food, I find that I can often get a good indication of which children have gotten a concept and which ones are still struggling. It's a great informal assessment, so I have a separate notebook where I can jot down how they "play with their food". There's always something that they come up with! Some other Sneaky Snack foods are colored Goldfish crackers or Froot Loops (think sorting, patterning, counting) and pretzel sticks (think making letters, tally marks, or shapes). I've even had kinders break into song when given fruit cups (color word song that is!).