Monday, June 9, 2014

Sensitive Critical Thinking Skill-Based Questions to Ask ALL students about their artwork


Stay tuned for our NTC winter 2015 event about integrating the arts! We are all about how to infuse passion and creativity with your curriculum.  

To get you all excited, read this great posting from HandMadeKidArt.com

10 Questions to Ask Your Child about their Art

  http://handmadekidsart.com/critical-thinking-skills/

To help encourage creative thinking and develop your child’s critical thinking skills ask your child open ended questions about their artwork. Open ended questions will help support your child’s efforts rather than if you said “good job” or “that is beautiful”. Plus, you may be surprised at their answers.
How to develop Critical Thinking Skills

10 Questions to Ask Your Child About Their Artwork

1. What can you tell me about your picture?
2. What materials did you use?
3. Where did you get your idea?
4. What is your favorite part of the picture?
5. What title would you give this picture?
6. If you were doing this picture again what you change or do differently?
7. Why did you use the color… (insert color)?
8. What if…. (you had used the color red instead of blue or paint instead of pencil)?
9.  How did you….(make these lines, decide on these colors, or create that shape)?
10. If you had more time what would you add to your artwork?
Encourage your child to elaborate on their answers or use the artwork as a starting point for telling a story. Open ended questions will help develop critical thinking skills in your child . By taking an interest in their work you are supporting them and helping them express their own ideas.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Renew and Recharge

From the wonderful people at We the Teachers blog: Seven Ways to Recharge Your Passion for Teaching This Summer.

WeAreTeachers Blog
 

7 Ways to Recharge Your Passion for Teaching This Summer


Jun 05, 2014 - by Krissy Venosdale
, We are Teachers BLOG
Many of us have heard that final bell or are getting close to it. We find ourselves at the start of a summer ahead. A time to refresh, relax and renew our spirits. Just as summer is a time of renewal, it's also a great chance to recharge your passion for teaching. Here are seven ways to recharge your passion for teaching over the summer.

1. Build your PLN. A PLN, or Personal Learning Network, is a hot topic in education right now. But connecting with others is not about buzzwords. If you're one of the only building specialists in your content area, it can be hard to find others to collaborate with. Connect online. Reach out. Read blogs, leave comments, join Twitter, take time to get to know others whether they are down the hall from your classroom or on the other side of the world. Every person you meet is someone you can learn from. And to someone else? You are that person.

2. Pour into your passion. Pick up an old hobby that you've missed, or start a new hobby. Cooking. Painting. Scrapbooking. Do something that you love. Nothing recharges you more than spending some time doing what you love. It's what we want to model for our students, so it's a great way to refuel your own fire for learning.

3. Check out webinars. The National Science Teacher Association has a variety of free, NSTA archived webinarsASCD's Virtual Learning Network offers a variety of free webinars on specific topics. Simple K-12 has a great variety of upcoming live webinars. Check something out! You can even learn on a laptop poolside or in your pj's sipping morning coffee. That's the beauty of summer learning.

4. Read teaching blogs. Well, you're reading this, so you've already accomplished one of these! Reading reflections by other educators can get you thinking about your own classroom and instill excitement for the new year ahead.

5. Attend an edcamp. Edcamps, also called "unconferences," are gatherings of passionate educators who share and connect. The Edcamp Wiki has a list of locations, or find one that's coming up in the fall and register. The discussions you will find yourself having can be a great way to ignite new ideas and new learning for you this summer.

6. Go on a field trip. You know that place you've always wanted to check out? Or maybe it's a favorite local landmark you haven't been to in years? Or that field trip you've considered for your class? Visit. Look around and see how it might fit with your curriculum. Ask what they offer for teachers. If you have your own children, create a field trip calendar, and one day each week, go visit a new spot. Think of it from a learner's perspective.  It can be a fun way to spend the summer learning and enjoying it.

7. Slow down.
This one is hard to do. We are all used to going a mile a minute to get life accomplished in the midst of a busy career. Schedule in some time for slowing down this summer. Take a nap in the grass. Lounge on the beach. Read a book until late into the night. Build a tent of sheets in the living room and watch a movie with your kids.

Most of all this summer? Enjoy time doing what you love. Because doing what we love reminds us all what we love about teaching and learning. Relax. Refresh. Renew your teaching spirit and your passion ... and enjoy!



Krissy Venosdale is an Innovation Coordinator, creative spirit and lifelong learner. She works every day toward making a world where all kids have the opportunities to pursue their greatest passions and are inspired to dream big. She shares her heart and soul of learning at venspired.

Friday, June 6, 2014

An Opportnunity for Early Career Teachers: Be the Voice for Change in the Teaching Profession


Be the voice for change in the teaching profession! 

Are you: a Massachusetts district or charter school teacher who

  • Is in year 2 to 10 of your teaching career as of January 1, 2014
  • Is a current teacher (of any subject)
  • Teach in a school where at least 50% of the students qualify for free and reduced price lunch
If you can answer yes to these questions, read on:

   
    
Be a Voice for Change in the Teaching Profession

June 6, 2014


There are 3 days left to submit your application for the Teach Plus Policy Fellowship. This is a selective leadership opportunity for solutions-oriented teachers interested in having a voice in decisions that affect their profession.

The application is due at midnight on Sunday, June 8th. The application is short, and on average takes just an hour to complete. If you've already started your application, simply use the link that was emailed to you after you submitted step one of the application to log back in and finish up.  If you haven't yet started your application, get started here!

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing your application soon!

Warm regards,

Diane Grinnell
Senior Policy Program Lead, Teach Plus Massachusetts
dgrinnell@teachplus.org

2014-2015 Massachusetts Teaching Policy Fellowship

Fellows are current classroom teachers who collaborate with their peers to learn, analyze, and impact education policies to better retain effective, experienced teachers on behalf of urban students and schools.
Fellowship for 25 outstanding early career teachers spanning one and a half academic years
Monthly four-hour sessions with expert speakers, coursework, and working groups
$2,400 stipend over 16 months
The Fellowship begins August 2014 and concludes December 2015
Application is now available!
Application deadline: Sunday, June 8th

Who is eligible to apply?
Massachusetts district or charter school teachers who...
Are in years 2 to 10 of their teaching career as of January 1, 2014
Are current teachers (of any subject)
Teach in a school where at least 50% of the students qualify for free and reduced price lunch
​Application deadline: Sunday, June 8th

Questions? Email Diane Grinnell
dgrinnell@teachplus.org


http://cm.teachplus.org/t/ViewEmail/r/27B76D5317367A792540EF23F30FEDED/389221E0A9F91EFA907C5D7C792C0FF8


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to End Your School Year on the Right Foot and With a Smile on Your Face

"So Long, Farewell and Never Can Say Goodbye," our New Teacher Community final workshop on May 31st was fantastic.  This is clearly a topic that has much interest and for the next few week's we'll continue to post ideas in the blog about just that: How to end your school year on the right foot and with a smile on your face. 

Here's a great posting for today from those wonderful folks at Edutopia: 

Get a Start On Ending Your Year Right



Elena Aguilar Transformational Leadership Coach from Oakland, California

Image credit: Thinkstock
The end of the school year can be hectic, but consider this: The end of this year is really the beginning of next year. There are things that you can do and ways to wrap up that will make your return smooth and easy and set you on course for an even better year. Although you might be aching to get out of your classroom and onto vacation, summer school or professional development, see if you can squeeze in time for some of these activities.

Purge, Organize, and Clean

I know you know how liberating it can be to deeply clean your classroom and I also know how often we skip this part of the end of the year. Here are a few tips to help you make progress on this vital end of year activity.
  1. Recruit a few students to help for a couple hours after school or immediately after the school year ends. There's so much they can do to help (even little ones!) and many of them also enjoy the time with you. Put on music and make it fun. Teaching them to organize the classroom library or math manipulatives also gives them a feeling of ownership in their classroom. Offer them pizza and appreciations, and of course, make sure you have parent and administrator permission to do this!
  2. If your whole room feels overwhelming, just commit to purging and cleaning one section -- your desk area or the science corner or the closet where you've tossed random things all year. Throw, throw, throw. I'll admit this was always hard for me as a teacher (I was a hoarder in school) but just aim to get rid of stuff you haven't used in the last couple of years. And organize the rest of it.
  3. Set up systems for next year for stuff. Start thinking about where incoming papers can go, project materials can be stored, and books can be organized. Disorganization is really about a lack of systems -- planning for them and setting them up will put you way ahead of the game on this one!

Resources

My two favorite resources for organizing and cleaning are The Fly Lady, http://www.flylady.net/ who focuses on your home (endless useful ideas; you've got to check her out!) and The Together Teacher who focuses on the classroom. The Together Teacher's website has tons of resources and the book (same title, written by Maia Heyck-Merlin) is fantastic. Just sign up for her monthly newsletter to start with, peruse her site, and then get her book. And by the way, this book would be a brilliant gift for any new teacher! It's what I wish I'd had that first chaotic year.

Write Yourself A Letter of Appreciation

I've written before on this idea that we have to acknowledge our growth and learning in order to move forward. I'm going to suggest a new activity: Write yourself a letter recognizing all you've done this year and appreciating yourself. I know it feels hokey, but imagine that you are your biggest champion who has ever lived and you are outside of yourself seeing everything you've done this year. No one knows better than you what you've struggled with, persevered through, or offered to your students, school and world! List these things, describe them, imagine the impact they had on others. No one else will see this letter, you never have to write it again, so go wild with the praise -- heap it on!
Another thing to acknowledge in this area is how you dealt with challenges. For example, my letter to myself this year will contain the following:
I was really proud of you when you felt really hurt and disrespected and you didn't lash out in anger. I saw how unfairly you were treated and how people made all kinds of decisions about your work without even informing you -- and I noticed that you were calm, mindful, and wise. I know how much you did to stay aligned to your values and not respond to their provocation.
No one else knows about the difficult moments of my year better than I do! And no one knows how hard I worked to manage those challenging moments. Reflect on those times, name them, and appreciate yourself.
Now, you might consider tucking this away in a drawer in case of future crisis of the spirit. If it feels like there's enough in this letter that's authentic, and it didn't feel horribly uncomfortable to write, then you might just want to refer back to it next year if and when there are rough moments. This is how this activity can set you up for a great next year: it's like having an emergency inoculation on hand.

Connect With Others

The final suggestion I have for you for ending your school year is that you find ways to connect with others: colleagues, staff, students, and parents/guardians. End of year celebrations, assemblies, lunches and so on are a vital ritual in closing out the year -- students need them, staff needs them. We need to be with others during moments of transition and the end of the school year is one of them. Our social relationships are absolutely essential to our happiness, well-being, and resilience. Take some time to be social with the people you've spent your school year with. You'll bond in new ways and set yourself up for looking forward to seeing them again in August.
I hope you've all had a wonderful year and I'd love to hear any ideas you have for essential end of year activities particularly those that set us on a path for an even better next year. Please share in the comments section below.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


End of the School Year Activities







An "End-of-the-Year event" may seem unimportant, however it is a VERY IMPORTANT activity. It's the end of the school year! The CLOSURE cements the experience of the year, and positive memories have an effect on the children's attitude. 
 In this category are ideas for display boards, games, literacy, treats, feel good, and just plain fun!
This is a time to look back and reflect --as well as a time to think ahead. Additionally, be sure to recognize your graduating youth--both grade school and middle school-- in some way!

_________________________________

END OF THE YEAR FUN IDEAS...
Read "Goodbye House" & "Goodnight Moon"...A nice idea for younger children... 
1.  Do a compare and contrast of the two books.
2.  Then have the children draw pictures of the things they would like to say "goodbye to" in your room.
3.  It's good "therapy" because we know how hard it can be to say goodbye to our familiar room and friends. When complete... bind it into a program book titled 'GOODBYE ROOM'.

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Play PIN THE MUSTACHE on the Teacher/Caregiver
Blow up a picture (or draw one) of one of your staff members...Make/cut mustaches out of black construction paper. Place tape on the back of each mustache. Then the game proceeds just like 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey'.
IDEA: You could also get permission from the school principal (or a favorite school person) and pin the mustache on a picture of them!

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Grade 3 (Or__________ ) HAS BEEN A BALL!
This is a fun and different way to have an autograph party as a remembrance of the time spent in child care program or class. 
Beach balls are fairly inexpensive--order some from a novelty company-have children blow them up and then get autographs from each other on the balls! 
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  1. Have a "WHAT I WANT TO BE DAY" and invite kids to come dressed up in clothing that REPRESENTS a job that interests them.
2Have students research their chosen profession and report to the group---and/or make posters depicting their chosen occupation.
3.  Just thinking of things they can wear, design, and make could take up a portion of the week!!!
4.  Take pictures of the event to add to your program scrapbook and for kids to take home.

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MAKE TIN CAN ICE-CREAM! Cara Bafile, shared one of her favorite activities in "Education World" WORLD -- making tin-can ice cream. Ice cream is good any time of year -- but this activity is a great small-group activity for the last days of school! It's one of those 'teacher hand-me-downs' with no particular source. I have seen some similar recipes using self-sealing plastic bags, but she vouches for this one --and says-- you'll make the best ice cream you'll ever have!"
TIN CAN ICE CREAM DIRECTIONS:(Ice cream without an ice-cream maker!)
Ingredients:
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure vanilla extract works best!)
Other materials needed:
• 1 small coffee can
• Strapping tape (It's the only tape I've found that will hold the lid tightly in place.)
• 1 large coffee can
• 1-1/2 cups rock salt
• Crushed ice (2 bags)
• Rubber spatula
• Spoons, cups, and bowls
Mix the ingredients in the small coffee can and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Tape the lid on the can securely with strapping tape. Place the "filled" small coffee can inside the large coffee can. Pack the large can with crushed ice around the smaller can. Pour at least 3/4 cup of rock salt evenly over the ice. Place the lid on the large coffee can and tape securely with strapping tape. Roll the can back and forth for ten minutes. Then open the outer can. Remove the inner can. Remove the lid and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula. Scrape the insides of the can. Do not allow mixture to become liquid. Replace the lid on the small can. Tape securely again. Drain the ice water from the larger can. Insert the small filled can. Pack it with more ice and salt. Roll it back and forth for five more minutes. Enjoy!
This recipe makes about 3 cups of ice cream. Teachers/caregivers might adapt the recipe, depending on the size of the group or whether they want small groups of students to make their own batches.
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DO SOMETHING FUN SUCH AS... AN EGG DROP! Many schools save the last days of school for their annual "egg drop" activity. Each student works within guidelines to fashion a container for an egg so that the egg won't break when the student drops it from an established height…
 

EGG DROPUse hard boiled eggs (you could probably do raw-but be cautious of Salmonella and spoilage!).
Have each child create their own container for the egg -- with the purpose of the egg not breaking. Some kids have used "parachutes," and cans with foam. It can be a lot of fun!
Of course, everyone's hypothesis should be that their egg won't break.
The testing is the fun part---when the youth see if their egg remains intact! For this you want to drop the egg container from the highest available point.... A second floor balcony, off the top bleacher of the football field or by a teacher on a ladder?
*Even though this is for older students, it can be adapted to the lower grades without going into weight and velocity.
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MAKE END OF THE YEAR PRETZELS Send students rolling into the next year by making grade-number-shaped soft pretzels. When it is ready, cut the dough into small pieces and give one to each child. Have students stretch and roll the pieces into long ropes, then shape into the number representing next year's grade.
As the pretzels bake, invite the group to talk about favorite moments of the past year, and to speculate on what next year will bring. Give teachers, office staff, and others a special thanks by inviting them in to your program pretzel celebration.
YEAST RECIPE: Ingredients:
1 pkg. dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted (or 2 tbsp. vegetable oil)
4 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
Course salt
1. In a large bowl, soften yeast in water for 10 minutes. Add salt, sugar and butter. Mix in flour until a dough forms. Knead the dough for 5 minutes and set aside for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a knife, cut dough into small pieces. Roll each piece into pencil-thin ropes and shape into pretzels. Spray a cookie sheet with PAM type product.
3. Place pretzels onto sprayed cookie sheet. Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle coarse salt on top. Bake for 12 minutes.
SOFT PRETZELS USING FROZEN BREAD DOUGH! 2 - 16 oz. loaves frozen bread dough
1 egg white, slightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Coarse salt
• Separate thawed bread into 24 - 1 1/2" balls.
• Roll each ball into a rope 14 1/2" long.
• Have children plan and design pretzel shapes (letters or numerals).
• Put pretzels one inch apart on a baking sheet
• Brush with egg white mixture
• Sprinkle with salt
• Follow baking directions for bread dough
• Check early since they will cook faster than a loaf of bread

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MAKE FRIENDSHIP BRACLETS FOR EACH OTHER...These are nice any time of then year--but especially nice for the end of the school year!
Give kids lengths of string, yarn or embroidery floss.
If these are new to your group...demonstrate how to braid the string together to create a friendship bracelet--have kids make their own design and add beads if desired.

FYI: Friendship bracelets made for friends should be tied on by the friend if possible to an arm or on an ankle and worn until it falls off naturally. Threads commonly used are floss and will wear in time. There are some friendship bracelets made for wishing wishes, those are fun but tend to be thinner as the 'friends' like them to fall off faster so that the wish can come true.
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T-SHIRT MEMORIES 1. Have each child bring a pre-washed white shirt to school on one of the last days of the year.
2. Paint each child's hand with bright-colored paint; then have them press their handprint onto the T-shirt.
3. Have children sign their names under their handprints.
4. Last, have them collect autographs from their friends using thick, pointy-tipped, permanent black markers to sign the T-shirts.
5.  You could also just write the grade and year on the front or back of the t-shirt and have all students sign the shirt---and perhaps add a personal touch with a favorite saying or drawing.

Donna Thomas, a teacher at Heritage Prep Middle School in Orlando, Florida has said, I still hear comments from the children; they say things like 'I remember all my friends from first grade, even the ones who've moved away, because their names are on the shirt.
______________________________
BALLOON TOSS: GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
At your end-of-year party, give each child a slip of paper and invite him or her to write one goal for the future.
Have students slip the notes inside balloons and then inflate them. Later, have kids toss balloons (like graduation caps), keeping one to pop and share its (anonymously) written message aloud --with the rest of the group.
(Actually, work the last part out in a way that the majority of the group likes---read one message, several messages, or all or no messages) 
________________________________

THANKS FOR THE C
OMPLIMENT (A nice way to end the school year!) Need: Paper, markers, tape 
1.  Everyone gets a piece of paper taped to their back. (Make sure their name is at the top of the paper.)
2.  Each person is given a marker.
3.  Each person in the group must walk around the room and write a compliment or positive remark about that person on their back..... NO PEEKING!
4.  When everyone has written something positive on each others back, they return to their seat and read what was written.
5.  With a smaller group, everyone exchanges papers without looking at their own. Each participant can take a turn at reading aloud from person's list they have. . (Adjust for a larger group)

This is a great self-esteem booster! If some children still don't know each other very well...they can write such things as: You have a great smile; You're hair always looks nice; Great blue eyes; etc.
 _________________
INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR NEW TEACHER... Consider having children write letters introducing themselves to the classroom teachers they will have NEXT year. Student letters might include information about themselves, their families, their hobbies and interests, their strengths and weaknesses in school, and so on. That way, teachers can start the new school year knowing a little something about their new students. When school starts, you can find out the children's teachers and deliver the letters. Also doesn't hurt to 'build some bridges' with the school community!
If you will be leaving a position as the "site director"---and a "new director" that does NOT know the children will be taking over--be sure to do this. It will be beneficial to both the children and the new supervisor! To make it easier for the kids, you could also put together a form letter where they just fill in the blanks!
____________________________
AUTOGRAPH BOOKAt the end of the year have each child make an autograph book. They pass around their books and get everyone's signatures and notes for a summer keepsake.
__________________________
TWO SNACKS...
GRADUATION SNACK #1 (In recognition of  youth moving to Middle School or High School)Whip together 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup of seedless strawberry or raspberry jam.
Lightly spread the mixture on flour tortilla or Lavash bread, then roll up each sandwich diploma style and tie on a ribbon made of 'Fruit by the Foot'. Makes 4 to 6 sandwiches

#2 SNACK--EDIBLE GRADUATION CAPS
1. Place a miniature peanut butter cup--bottom up on a plate.
2. Top with a small dollop of frosting or peanut butter and then press on a chocolate-covered graham cracker.
3. For a tassel, tightly roll up a small square of fruit leather. Cut fringe on one end and attach the other end to the center of the graham cracker with another dab of frosting or peanut butter.
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IDEA: THEMES ARE A GREAT WAY TO CULMINATE THE SCHOOL YEAR! (Actually, themes are wonderful ANY time) Example is adapted from Lori Eisner in Florida... Her last week of school is Caribbean/Ocean week.
Children imagine they are all on a CRUISE SHIP leaving from MIAMI, FLORIDA ON MONDAY and sailing to different islands.

PORTS OF CALL:
Tuesday:  Arrive in Grand Cayman
Wednesday: Oranjestad, Aruba
Thursday: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
On Friday: Back at school. (You can choose your own islands.)
During the week  limbo, hula, make fruit smoothies, try exotic fruits, read island books, and learn about the ocean.
• Have children wear cruise wear all week; play Caribbean music, bring beach towels and relax! (See 'Water Games' category of KidActivities)

The last day of school is a luau.
• Kids  make/wear a white T-shirt that says, "Aloha ______ 2013" with a hibiscus drawn on the front and the autographs of children on the back.
Have children create visors; girls wear hula skirts; boys wear Bermuda shorts. Create lei's out of beads, foam flowers, and other materials. (See lei craft in the Ocean Themed Arts and Craft section - scroll half way down the page) 
A fun way to end the year! These are just ideas and can be combined any way you wish...
__________________________
THE FOLLOWING NEED TO BE STARTED AT THE BEGINNING of the school year--in preparation for the end of the year!
Start a special journal for each graduating student. Throughout the year, teachers, parents, community members, peers, and others can write messages to the students in the journals; you can also include activity photographs. Give the journals to the students at an end of the year family event --or your 'End-of-the Year'  party! Working on these throughout the year, will provide a wonderful keepsake for your graduating youth.
Or...
Instead of presenting a journal to the students, have  students record their thoughts in a journal during the school year: Things for which they are thankful. Present the journal to their parents at the end of the year.

________________________
IDEA: TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS DURING THE YEAR and put together a slide show. 1.  Of course you can show this as PART OF A YEAR-END FAMILY EVENT---but it would also be a wonderful "WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION to the new children you will have the next school year.
2.  You could use it to show children and families some of the things you do-how they're done--and what to expect! If you haven't started, get your slides, videos, and activity scrapbooks going now!

_______________________________
DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR: Children can create individual scrapbooks with pictures, favorite sayings, stories and art work saved during the year!
_______________________________
TWO 'LEAVING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL' IDEAS!
IDEA: WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER At the end of the school year, have students write themselves a letter. Tell them that no one but they will read this letter so they can say anything they want in it. However, part of that letter might include who their friends are, their current height and weight, favorite movies and music, and special things both good and bad that occurred during the year. Encourage youth to also include a current picture.
On another sheet of paper or the back of that sheet ask students to write ten goals they would like to accomplish by this time next year (or sooner). Students seal this letter in an envelope, self-address it, and give it to you. In a year (or sooner) mail (or return in person) the letters  to the students.
The directions are slightly different for eighth-graders. Ask them to write ten goals they would like to accomplish by the end of the next four years. They seal these, self-address them, and give them to you. Mail those letters back to them at the beginning of their senior year. Original directions for this activity say to mail at the end of their Senior year; however mailing them sooner will remind youth of their goals. They still have a year left!
_____________________
A WONDERFUL IDEA! Current graduating kids might create a handbook full of advice for the next group of “new to the program or school” kids. They could contribute pages to a single handbook, or brainstorm a list of helpful tips and information; this could be used to create mini handbooks. The hand-books could be given out to new families with your "Welcome to our Program (or School)" packet!
________________
  IDEA: Many schools and programs end the school year with an Olympics Type Event. Tons of ideas if you check out the categories of:

Some 'Indoor or Outdoor FIELD DAY' ideas from the above links are:
  • Potato Sack Races (using old pillow cases or sacks purchased from Oriental Trading or similar supplier)
  • Shoe Mix-Up: Have children take off their shoes and mix up the whole pile; have them race to put the shoes back on.
  • Tug of War: Using a huge rope have Kids vs. Kids and then play with Kids vs. Adults (They'll like that one!)
  • Sock Throw: Put a tennis ball into a long sock and have kids throw it to see who can throw it the furthest!
Set up a COLORED RING TOSS
Have a HULA-HOOP CONTEST
HAMMER THROW
Need: Small paper bag, newspaper, string
1.  Stuff a small paper bag with newspaper.
2.  Tie it off with a 12" long string.
3.  Hold the end of the string. Spin around 3 times. Let go.
4.  Watch how far the hammer travels. Record distances. The longest distance wins.

JAVELIN THROW (Nice idea for inside too!)
Need: Soda straws, waste paper basket, tape
1.  Tape 4 straws together end to end.
2.  Mark a starting line behind which all players must stand.
3.  Place a wastepaper basket 5 feet from the starting line.
4.  Throw straws into the wastebasket.
5.  Give each player 5 turns.
6.  The winner is the child who gets the straws into the basket the most times.

STANDING BROAD STRETCH
1.  Mark a starting line with tape.
2.  Start with the toes behind the line.
3.  Take one giant step.
4.  Measure the step.
5.  The winner is the one who took the biggest step.

SHOT PUT FOR DISTANCE
1.  Make a ball out of aluminum foil.
2.  Hold the ball in the palm of one hand.
3.  Instruct children to place that hand next to their ear and then push the shot into the air extending their arms.
4.  They can not move their feet. Record distances; the longest distance wins.

DISCUS THROW
1.  Use a Frisbee to play discus...or...
2.  Tape two heavy foam plates together. Hold the "discus" like a flying disk. Throw away from the waist.
3.  Record distances. The longest distance wins

PLAY BADMINTON
1.  You can have competitions involving pairs and singles.
2.  You will need a judge to determine if shots are in or out in the event there is a question.
3.  Keep scores for each of the teams competing.
4.  Use the official badminton rules or make your own that are consistent for every team.

SOCCER
1.  Set goals at least 15 feet apart. Goals can be as simple as a rope anchored in the ground.
2.  Play the best two out of three games.
3.  Keep scores for medals and prizes.

• How about the games played in 'Summer Olympic Games' such as: SOFTBALL, FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, HANDBALL, HOCKEY, TENNIS OR VOLLEYBALL? They're all Summer Olympic Games!!!
In preparation of your games you'll need:
  • Stop watches
  • Tape measures
  • Whistles for the game officials
  • Equipment that each game requires

 __________________
IDEA: LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL WATER STATIONSThe last week of school can often go into extremely hot days… During that week, hold a Water Fun themed day! Have the children bring their swimsuits and towels to school and outside for an hour or two and take part in a variety of "water" stations. (Similar to a day of Field activities).
Stations could include:

  • Beach volleyball: a basketball hoop in a small child's swimming pool
  • Obstacle course: (Go through a sprinkler, over hurdles, through tires, etc.
  • Sprinkler limbo or sprinkler jump-rope: Use the flat hoses with holes in them and jump rope or have a Limbo line
  • Also see Water Game Category
The person who described the Water Station Day—said they also had the village fire truck visit to spray anyone and everyone! (A great idea on its own!!!) With activities finished---all dried off and changed clothes so that no one went home wet. It was a great cool off and quite a nice change for the last week of school. Idea from John Coomer
_____________________

 A great idea from the pre-school graduation at Great Lakes Day Care in Royal Oak! Something like this is also a nice idea when graduating from Kindergarten or Grade School... 


__________________

TEACHERS SAY GOOD BYE...
IDEA: END OF THE YEAR REMEMBRANCE KIT This wouldn't be too difficult or expensive to do!
Here is something to remind you of SAC, Grade 1 (or________)...
Some seeds to remind you how much you've grown-
A sucker to remind you of how sweet you are-
A book mark to remind you to always love books-
Money to remind you of how much you're worth - (Play money)
...All in a cup filled with love and a kiss.
Put all items in a paper cup with a Hershey’s Kiss--wrap it up with cellophane and tie with raffia, yarn, or ribbon.
________________________
IDEA: A LETTER TO PARENTS AT THE END OF THE YEAR...
Dear Parents,
I give you back your child ~ the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give him/her back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature then he was then.
Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.
Ten years from now if we met on the street, we'll feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.
We have lived, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him/back I must. Take care of him, (or her) for he (she) is precious. I'll always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes.
~Author Unknown
You could change the "I's"--to "We's"---
the "my's" to "ours"...
and "me" to "us"...
If it is to be from the entire  staff of a child care program...
__________________
IDEA: Program/Class AWARDS Get creative! Make up some fun and unique awards for your students. Find something unique about EACH CHILD and recognize them for that unique quality. You can purchase award certificates at your local teacher supply store. You may also want to create them yourself on a PC or download a template from the internet.
Suggestions:
Make up awards to match candy bars, such as:

•ALMOND JOY AWARD: For the person who is always happy
•BABY RUTH AWARD: For baseball-minded student BIT-O-HONEY AWARD: For someone very sweet

•BUTTERFINGER AWARD: For the person who broke the most things
accidentally

•DOVE AWARD: For the program/class peacemaker

•GUMMY BEARS AWARD: For a very lovable child, who is always laughing

•JOLLY RANCHER AWARD: For the person always telling jokes

•KIT KAT AWARD: For the student always at the teacher's side

•LAFFY TAFFY AWARD: For someone with a sweet disposition

•LIFESAVERS AWARD: For the person, who is always helping someone in need

•MILKY WAY AWARD: For the group daydreamer

•MR. GOODBAR AWARD: For the student who exhibits the good qualities of friendship

•NESTLE CRUNCH AWARD: An alternative to pencil chewing

•NUTRAGEOUS AWARD: For an outstanding personality

•NUTRAGEOUS AWARD: for the wild and crazy person in class

•SKOR AWARD: For athletes in the class

•SNICKERS AWARD: For having an outstanding sense of humor

•SWEET TARTS AWARD: For a sweet girl/boy

•SYMPHONY AWARD: For anyone musical

•TEDDY GRAHAMS AWARD: For the most huggable

•THREE MUSKETEERS AWARD: For the one always with the group

•WHOPPERS AWARD: For the best storytelling

•ZERO MATH AWARD: For outstanding performance in Math

 _______________________________ 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride

Finish the year with a smile on your face!
 
Come to our Lesley New Teacher Community May 31st Celebration Brunch honoring each of you. Hear some great tips from a panel of wonderful teachers on Closing Up the School
Year. 


Yes, you can finish this marathon in stride and make some
wonderful end of the year memories for your class, too. 


 Let us know if you need more information or
RSVP to NewTeachersCommunity@lesley.edu. 


Our BRUNCH will be at University Hall on the Porter Square Campus from 10:30-1:30. 



To get you in the mood: From Edutopia

End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride




Image credit: Thinkstock
The end of the school year can feel like the final few miles of a
marathon. Not only does your body not want to go on, your mind wants to
be elsewhere. It's not helped by the fact that the dreaded tests are
over. Feeling burned out is quite common. In one of my previous blog
posts, I drew upon the work of expert Cary Cherniss, whose book, Beyond Burnout, gives great guidance about factors most likely to lead to teacher burnout and some ways to detect and prevent it.


But the end of the year is different. Detection is not the issue.
Neither is prevention. You are at mile 23 and your lungs are bursting,
your legs are cramping, your mind is in a jumble, and you just want say,
"Beam me up, Scotty."



Yet, just as the marathoners make it to the finish line, so can you. Here are five ideas that work:




Idea #1: Reconnect your kids and with your kids. Not your "students," your kids.
Whether 7 or 17, they are kids at heart and this is your chance to
reconnect with them as people. Talk with them about their interests.
Ask about what books they have read, videos they have seen, sports they
are following, teams they like, foods they most enjoy, favorite things
to do during the weekend, museums or parks they have visited. To make
this more comfortable, you might want to have them start out some of
these conversations in small groups, or in round robins, or in
speed-dating formats, to keep things lively and to help them better
connect to each other. You could also have them write or draw about
it.




Idea #2: Share your interests. Talk to them about things
that interest you. Not part of the syllabus? Make it so. "Speaking of
geometry, we have been trying to find a new table for our kitchen, and
we have not been able to figure out the right shape -- rectangle,
circle, oval, square, pentagon -- I bet you hadn't thought about the
geometry of a kitchen or dining room! You could announce something like,
"Today, as part of our English lesson, I wanted to talk with you about
London, which is in England, and therefore part of the English
curriculum. It's my favorite city in the world. What are some things
you might go to see in London?" Or, "Before we talk about our science
topic today, I have a question for you: Do any of you have pets at home?
We have been having some trouble with our dog and I can use some
advice." Even if they don't care about the subject matter you are
talking about (not exactly a new event during a school day), they care
about you and will enjoy that you are sharing with them in a personal
way.




Idea #3: Talk about the summer. In some of my work in
schools this year, I have been surprised about how many students want to
talk about the summer. There seem to be three groups: kids who just
want to think about the summer the way marathon runners think about the
refreshment tent beyond the finish line, kids who have specific things
they are looking forward to, and kids who dread the summer because they
have to spend time at home, or work at things they don't want to do.
Either way, giving your students a chance to talk about the summer, as a
class or in small groups, will help them, and help you. One approach
is to ask students to raise their hands if they are really looking
forward to the summer, sort of or not really, or really not looking
forward to it. Then, you can put kids in those three groups for a
preliminary conversation to share their particulars. You can visit each
group, and then have an overall class sharing. You can also talk about
your feelings about the summer, as you think appropriate.



Idea #4: Engage and encourage their aspirations and dreams.
"Ok, today we are not taking out any books or papers or anything. I
want you to take out your imaginations and your hopes and dreams about
the future. Put them on the desk and look them over. What do you hope
for in the future? What do you want for yourself, and your family?
Your education and your career? Let's talk about it." From here, you
can guide small groups or a class discussion, individual writing or
mindful contemplation, etc. There is a lot of research showing that, in
terms of learning, the aspirations of students matter. You will find
it valuable to learn what they think about their future and you can
devote more productive classroom time to helping your students more
realistically plan for their futures, expand their aspirations, and
understand the importance of turning their dreams into reality, than by
any bits of lesson content you will cover in those last few classes.
And you will find yourself re-engaged in why you went into education --
to make students' lives better and to help them make a positive mark on
the world.



Idea #5: Have some fun. Check out my recent blog post on
humor in the classroom and, most importantly, the fantastic ideas and
comments added by the Edutopia community. They provide testimony that
the best antidote to burnout is humor and fun.



Perhaps unlike a marathon, we don't have the option to quit before
the finish line. And we can't make the terrain any easier. But we can
spend the time in ways that will actually lighten our stride and allow
us to cover more ground -- in this case, time -- without it feeling
quite so burdensome. And you might even get a "runner's high" on
occasion. What are ways you beat burnout? Please share in the comments
section below.







End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride | Edutopia

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Elevating, Honoring and Encouraging: Wisdom from the New Teacher Center

Elevating the teaching profession, honoring the leadership and talents of experienced teachers, and helping to encourage a new generation of teachers

Given that government forecasts predict that we will need to recruit somewhere around 300,000 new teachers per year, the US Department of Education has launched a large scale teacher recruitment campaign which includes a public service announcement by President Obama about a teacher in Hawaii who inspired him. 

We need to elevate, inspire, and launch the next generation of teachers and honor the talent and leadership of our expert teachers in order to build a powerful, prestigious teaching profession. This very same point was highlighted in the introduction to this recent Ed Week Commentary that argues for elevating the teaching profession to the point that public perception of teachers matches that of other professionals like doctors and lawyers.  A recent article in the Huffington Post, “Here’s why we’re optimistic about the American Classroom,” highlighted the results of a survey by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in which, along with other questions, they asked teachers why they were motivated to become teachers. According to the survey, an overwhelming majority of teachers said their top reasons for going into education were "to make a difference in children's lives," "to share my love of learning and teaching" and "to help students reach their full potential."

Here’s a way you can help to encourage anew generations of teachers:Description: mage: Take Part - Be A Teacher VideoFirst, you can follow and participate in TakePart’s campaign to inspire the next generation of teachers.

Have you ever heard being a teacher as described the following way? “You will lead a force of small humans who will change the world. They will battle the biggest dangers facing mankind.” If you know a young person who has yet to decide what career path to take, share this highly entertaining, life changing YouTube video


Finally, forward information on www.teach.org to anyone considering entering the profession. And most important of all, next time a young person says to you, “I want to become a teacher,” make sure to say: “That is a great profession. You’ll be building the next generation of leaders and shaping the future. There are not many other professions where you get to do that. Good for you.”

Courtesy of the New Teacher Center: www.newteachercenter.org
http://www.takepart.com/photos/teaching-quotes-about-best/next-gallery
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v781UT871sU