Friday, July 29, 2016

Minds Under Construction

This was year number two that I taught summer school and once again, it flew by so fast! I just love the half days and the fact that I get to make my own schedule. I don't have to worry about kids coming and going from mainstream. Everyone is there at the same time and we can just do our thing. It was easy peasy! Here's a few highlights from our summer school program.

We did a construction/STEM theme this summer for some fun hands-on learning. The kids loved using their own imagination and creativity to build everyday. I set up 16 STEM tasks and each day they picked a different box to build with. I snapped a photo each day and then they would write about their building creation the next day in their STEM journal. (Which I forgot to get a photo of.) I had them writing and they didn't even realize it! =)
For literature we focused on Iggy Peck the Architect. We had a lot of fun with this story. The kids thought it was hilarious. Our second book was Rosie Revere the Engineer. They love it just as much! Many of our summary skills and vocabulary revolved around these two books for the summer.
When the day is full of activities the day just flies by! Our last hour always flew by with our centers time. I set up 8 different centers and the students rotated three times for 20 minute centers. By the end of the week they had visited each center and been to small group with me. Engagement is the key and keeping them busy! Due to the large range of kiddos I have (from kindergarten to sixth grade), I had to put out several different centers that would hit everyone's needs. That's always fun finding materials to reach everyone!

So in order to really target those sight words for the kindergarten students I created these Construction Sight Word centers to get us through the summer. If you're interested in four different construction themed centers, you can find them here in my TpT store

For art, we made some Lego blue print stamp painting. I collected various size Legos from my daughter's stash and the students just dipped the bottom sides into the paint and stamped them on the construction paper. I hung up their art work for a cute display during summer school. Then at the end of summer school I used their Lego art as a folder to send home all of their work from summer school. 

While learning about architects, I had one of our teacher's husband come in and talk to the students about his job as a construction estimator.  He brought in actual blue prints and tools for the students to check out. He was so awesome with the students and they had a million questions for him.

During summer school we're not supposed to take any field trips. It's a pretty lame rule... but it was made due to those that just want to walk up to 7-11 every Friday to kill time. Well, I was able to write up a proposal and show the educational benefit of our field trip and it was approved! So during our third week of summer school we went to Home Depot. The staff was fabulous! They arranged a tour with their mascot Homer so the kids could see each section of the store. We saw everything from how they mix the paint to cutting a key. The kids were so into it! Homer gave them each a flag and a goodie bag.

Then we went back into their training room and they each got to make one of their Builder's Workshop kits. (You know you can take your own kiddos to Home Depot the first Saturday of the month? They put on a kids Builder's Workshop for free.) The students made a little Ice Age 2 bowling game. They were in heaven! That morning one of students were shocked that they were actually going to *use* a hammer all on their own. She was so proud of her creation!

So, overall we had a great hands-on summer of learning! The students were rarely absent... which tells me they enjoyed it as well!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer Survival Bag Giveaway

Summer is in full swing. Ahhh. I am loving it! Lazy mornings. No schedule. Time to relax and recharge. To celebrate summer, I am teaming up with a group of bloggers to bring you this adorable Thirty-One bag and a few summer goodies! Enter to win below.


Prize: Thirty-One Summer Survival Bag (Thirty-One bag, sunscreen, flip-flops, beach towel, and cup TOTAL VALUE - $70)

Co-hosts:  Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Giveaway ends 7/28/16 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

End of the Year Camping Theme

Even though it's summer time, I've got some catching up to do here on the blog with all of the activities we did at the end of the school year. So file these ideas away for next year. 
During the last week of school we had a different theme each day. Yes, it was a lot of work for me. But it was so worth it! The days flew by and the kids were engaged and having fun the entire time. 
Typically the last week of school seriously drags.  Not this year! My kids were shocked to walk into the classroom and find the desks and tables were missing. In their place was a tent, camping chairs and even a little camp fire. Camp Read-a-Lot was ready to go!
 I made up some little 'Adventure Passes' for the students. They had to complete all six centers in the morning in order to make s'mores in the afternoon. Talk about motivation!  I used this free set of camping clip art to label our buckets and to make the adventure passes.
 I downloaded the center activities here and they were perfect for my kiddos. I also found some little freebies here and here that we used. I quickly prepped the centers and our whole morning was filled with learning and kept everyone busy. Well worth the work during that tiring last week of school!

Before lunch we turned out the lights and read by flashlight. The kids got a kick out of that. My classroom does not get very dark, but we made the most of it.

In the afternoon we were ready for a little treat. We used this sequencing and writing freebie to talk about how to make s'mores. We went step by step using the graphic organizer to build a s'more. Each of the students made their own (in the microwave) and it was just like we were in the great outdoors. After enjoying their s'more, they wrote their "How to make a s'more" paragraphs and made the little craftivity that went with it. Perfect end of the day activity!

This theme day is for sure a 'keeper' for next year! The students had so much fun and didn't even realize they were learning right up until the end of the school year!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Monday Made It- July 4th Edition

Hey! Hey! It's summer time!
Well.... for me summer school is still in full swing and I have not official started my summer quite yet. But it's coming very soon. I cannot wait!
Today I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It of the summer!
 I found a little down time this weekend to make our Summer Bucket List board. 
First off, I found a frame at the Goodwill. I took out the glass, spray painted it black and added some mesh chicken wire to the back. Then I realized our tiny clothes pins were not going to fit in the mesh, so I tied on some bakers twine in order to clip on our cards.

 My girls and I sat down and thought about all the things we'd like to do this summer. They wrote on some Project Life tropical theme cards that I found on clearance at Joann's. My girls are 8 & 6 and I adore their little kid writing. I started to write on the cards as they dictated, but heck, why not have them write them out!?! I added the date that we completed that event at the bottom of the card. I think at the end of the summer I might make a little summer album with pictures and these cards. Super cute!

We clipped them onto the bakers twine. We didn't even have enough space for all the things they'd like to do! Apparently our summer is going to be pretty darn full!
I have been pretty busy working on my Curriculum Development class for some extra units this summer. No rest I tell you! So I'll share a few things I've done for my class.
I am working on putting together a sight word curriculum for my little guys moving up to my class. All of my students are deaf/hard of hearing so we don't spend very much time on phonics. =) It's all about sight words in my class. 

 I'm using Lavinia Pop's sight word readers, flip books, homework, and writing centers to create weekly sight word activities. I've paired them with nonfiction readers from Scholastic to also do some interactive reading. I was able to get all of my lesson plans done and submitted for my class. Boom. Done.

I found some ready to print Read Every Day homework folder printables here. I've got my envelopes prepped and ready to go for the new school year along with my parent letter. Check that off the to-do list.
Happy 4th of July everyone! I'm off to spend it with my family!