Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday Made It

I spent last week volunteering in the kitchen at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp.  It is always a fun but exhausting week!  I was one of 6 volunteers that prepared home cooked food for 250 people three times a day.  My only made it for last week was food, food, and more food! 

When working in the kitchen, my friends and I like to have matching aprons.  During the last few years I've been working on sewing aprons for the three of us.  A different apron for everyday!  It is fun to see the campers faces when we come with a different apron everyday.

Also, I love seeing former students at the camp!  Even though my name tag says Judy is large letters I am still Mrs. Brown to all of them.  Working/volunteering at the camp is a very rewarding experience and a huge change of pace from being in the classroom.

Thanks, Tara for hosting a favorite summer linky party!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Made It

Summer!!!  Time to relax and time to redo.  I'm not as ambitious as many of you but I've started thinking about what I would like to redo for the coming school year.  

Thanks, Tara for hosting the weekly Monday Made It.

My first two weeks of summer vacation has brought making memories.  My grandson lives out of state and our visits are few and far between.  When this little guy visits everything stops.  Cottage time, zoo time, play time, and fun times!

I had a little time to recover two pillows with light, fresh fabric for summer.

The Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe for piping cakes, cupcakes, etc! - Crafty MorningMy husband's birthday brought a fun evening with friends and pizza.  I made delicious poppy seed cupcakes and then bravely tried a new frosting recipe.  Check out the frosting recipe here.  This will be my new go to buttercream frosting recipe.

It has been quite a weather week!  One day brought ten small tornadoes to our little corner of northeastern Wisconsin!  As a result of the wild weather, we had some clean up to do at our cottage.  God is good, we only had to clean up the broken branches, no damage to the cottage.  It's hard to get perspective but the branches covered an area about 30'x30'.  Lots of wood for campfires!

Have a great week!


Friday, June 16, 2017

5 Ways to End the Year and Get Ready for the Next!

As the year came to an end, there were so many things to do!  My mind is swirling with getting things wrapped up for the summer but, also all those ideas swirling in the other direction for next year!  What is a teacher to do!


Sure, it may sound easy but easier said than done.  Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

Get the classroom library in order - The last week of school I have my students organizing the books, wiping out and around the library tubs/baskets/bins, and returning those stray books that just happen to find their way into our classroom.

Recently I read a post from a brilliant blogger that uses dollar store shower caps as covers for her library tubs/baskets/bins.  I was able to find 8 shower caps for $1.00 at Dollar Tree.  The caps create a snug fit over my library bins and will keep my books dust free and clean until next school year.

Another way I cover my books bins is with old sheets.  I tuck the sheet behind one shelf and bring it around the front of the shelf below and tuck in.  Two shelves covered!  This is good for the bigger books in my library area.

When I'm allowed back into my classroom after the cleaning crew has finished I pull off the sheets and this I'll take off the shower caps.  Shazam - library ready to go!  Check that off the to do list!

Toss out the pile of scrap paper - In the past I have neatly organized hoarded scrap paper, you just never know.  Well, that pile grew (who knew?) the following school year and so on.  I'm a big recycler and I don't like to see things go to waste but I also don't like to see space go to waste.  That is what the scrap paper was doing, wasting space.  

At the start of each year I need a few sheets (maybe 30) of scrap paper, by this I mean the pages that are clean on one side but printed on the other.  Sometimes I want the students to record their learning/answers/activity but it is not a hand in or take home kind of thing, so scrap paper is perfect.  At the start of each school year our students take the STAR math assessment.  I hand out scrap paper for students to work on before they mark an answer on the test.

Now at the end of each school year I save a very small stack and toss out the rest of the pile of scrap paper.  The paper storage area looks so much neater when we start back in the fall.

Have the students wash/clean the desks, chairs, and tables - I know that our great custodial staff takes care of this in the summer but I like to have my students clean their own messes.  Some of the kids will put a sticker on their desk during the school year.  I smile to myself because they will be the ones cleaning it off at the end of the year.  I don't let them decorate their entire desk and I discourage this practice, well anyway you get the idea.  Clean up after yourself.  The kids will laugh and talk all the while the cleaning is going and often the first ones done will help others, so in my book it is a win - win!

Purge files - I try to do this during the school year but other things always seem to come first during my prep time.  I've done this a couple different ways.  One way, I dedicate 15 each evening to file purging the last week of school.  I found this helpful because I am in the getting rid of stuff mode, I don't have a lot of other prep work to do, and it feels good to toss out those papers you probably haven't looked at all year!  Gotta love organization!

Another way I've purged files is to take them home.  While watching/listening to something on tv/music I can go through the files and take my time.  I don't take a huge number of files home and when those are done I scoot back to school for another stack while I return the first stack.  I live close to school so I can run in and out quite easily.

My 15 minute purge is quick and I've probably tossed something I could have used.  But you know what, there are soooo many fantastic resources being produced by all of you that I haven't missed anything yet.

Get materials set aside for the first week of school - As I am in the purge mode I begin setting aside materials for the first week of school.  I've read that some of you make copies before leaving for the summer, not me, I'm always thinking that something better might catch my eye.  If I have materials ready to copy, I can get to the copy machine the first week of school.  I do organize craftivity pieces (in zip top bags) for the first week.  I don't mind spending some time during the summer cutting a few pieces of paper (usually while sitting outside).

Those are my top ways to end the year and be ready for the next school year!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reduce the Summer Slide

Summer vacation has started!  Ahhh, I can see so many teachers sitting back and relaxing.

The last week of school my students and I talked about the summer slide.  I've read several articles on this topic and thought this year I would be proactive and share some of the information with my students.  They were very surprised that students slide in the summer.  While we were discussing the topic of summer slide, several students said it wasn't going to happen to them.  When asked how they were going to not let it happen they smiled and said, "Read every day."  This great for the readers in classroom but I could tell that a few others who are not readers just tuned out. 

Enter our my idea - I suggested that we do a video about the topic and they were super excited.  I love their excitement and what a better way to end the school year - starring in a movie!  Even the reluctant readers thought of ways to reduce their summer slide.

Here is my opinion following the research I did.  Also, the special guest appearance will pertain to my students.


Five for Friday

Hip, hip, hooray June 1st was our last day!

The last day of school is always bittersweet for me.  It is so nice to begin vacation but, on the other hand I won't be seeing my little 2nd graders everyday.  They are ready to move on to 3rd grade, so it is with a hug and smile and sometimes a tear that I let them go.

One sweet boy came to me, gave me hug, and asked if he could get held back so he could be with me again!  How sweet!  I guess a teacher never really knows the impact they have on students.

Thanks, Kacey for our last Five for Friday for awhile!  Hey friends, make plans to link up with Kacey and join the other great teachers across the country who are sharing their lives.

1  Busy cleaning -  How fun to see the kids for excited for cleaning!  If only the parents knew eager they are to help clean!  Every year I tell me students, "It's your dirt, so you get to clean it."  No one complains, they just dig into the task.

2  End of the Year gifts - My end of the year gifts are very simple - homemade labels around a Hershey bar.

3  Reduce the Summer Slide - The last week of school the kids made a packet cover for their reduce the summer slide folder/packet.  Summer slide has really been on my mind and what can I do to encourage the kids to stay engaged with reading and math.  The packet contains this great product by Amy Lemons.  Amy did a wonderful job to included reading, math, penmanship, and much more.

I also put in a fill in reading list.  On the back I give the students my home address and ask them to send it to me when they complete the list.  When I receive their list I send them something special in the mail.  The packets also contain a special color in bookmark to use when they are reading.  And I include a fun menu of a variety of places to read.  For example, read in a blanket tent, read a book at breakfast, read under a tree, and many more.

Off to relax,

P.S. I know this is a very late post for Five for Friday.  As soon as school was out I was spending time with family.  Now that the house is quiet again, I can get back into my regular routine. 😊