Thursday, May 30, 2013

Volunteer Appreciation Gift

We are always looking for the perfect gift to give our parent volunteers. No present ever seems to equal the time they donate to our classrooms. So why not pull their heartstrings and make a Volunteer Journal? Print out our prompts (both mom and dad choices available), or make your own, and buy a bound journal. Cut and glue the prompts to the top of each page. Then ask the child of the volunteer to respond to and illustrate each prompt. Write a personal note to your volunteer on the inside of the cover. Encourage them to continue writing in the journal with their child as the years pass. Expect tears!

Ahh… Summer

This easy door display got the class dreaming about summer vacation at the beach. Each student designed his or her own sea star. The jellyfish was just a collection of leftover lamination film stuffed with tissue paper and various colorful strings. Easy and beach breezy!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Top 10 Favorites for Summer

Looking for some exciting things for your students to do this summer? Give them our Top 10 Favorites for Summer!

You can also check out A Year of Top Ten Lists for a list to send home to parents on a monthly basis!

We Recycle Crayons!

Throughout the year, collect old or broken crayons in a bucket.  

On the last day of school, have your students clean out their crayon boxes too! Then pack up your crayons (with the wrappers on) and send to:

16612 Minnetonka Blvd.
Minnetonka, MN 55345

Ask a local business or a generous friend to cover the shipping costs.

Find out more at their website:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Big Summer Clean-Out

Does anyone else have a drawer that looks like this?

I started my “Summer to Do” list this weekend after attempting to open this drawer. It was so jammed up that I couldn’t find what I was looking for without everything falling out! So #1 on my list is: Clean out junk drawers! My motivation is that I’ll find stuff to contribute to my class prize box, the teacher’s lounge “Free to a Good Home” pile and maybe a few other places along the way. Most importantly, it will be out of my house. Do you need some motivation too?

Here are some ideas Erin and I brainstormed for THE BIG SUMMER CLEAN-OUT!

What to clean: Closets
What to look for: hats, jackets, scarves, umbrellas, mittens, gloves and shoeboxes
What to do with everything: Hats, jackets, scarves, mittens and gloves - Donate to kids at your school, hold a school clothing drive or even try a Staff Scarf Exchange. Encourage members of your staff to bring in a scarf they no longer wear. (Make sure they wash it.) Display all the scarves in your teacher’s lounge where participants can swap their scarf for a new one.

Umbrellas - Keep extra umbrellas in the office for staff members who get caught in those sudden storms at bus duty.

Gloves - Cut off the fingers and let your students make puppets out of each finger.

Shoeboxes - Use for dioramas about books or SOL content. Check out this diorama of a rainforest ecosystem!  

What to clean: Drawers
What to look for: buttons, junk jewelry, key chains, wallets, change purses, pens, notepads and socks.
What to do with everything: Buttons - Make math counters/manipulatives or eyes and noses for craft projects.

Fake jewelry - Use for a dress-up center (if you teach kindergarten or pre-school) or put it in your prize box for the girls.

Key chains - Put in your prize box. Kids love to attach them to their backpacks!

Wallets and change purses - Our students are always bringing lose change and bills for lunch money. Allow them to borrow a wallet or change purse to transport their money safely to the cafeteria.

Pens and notepads - Can be used at your classroom writing center or put them in your teacher workroom or teacher’s lounge for staff to use or take.

Socks - Use for sock puppets in your classroom or see if your art teacher needs them

What to clean: Garage, Basement or Attic (All 3 if you have them!)
What to look for: games, toys, stuffed animals (slightly used, not grungy), picture frames, marbles, flashlights, books and coffee mugs
What to do with everything: Games and toys - perfect for indoor recess. If you don’t need them, give them to a first year teacher in your school!

Stuffed animals - Wash them on the gentle cycle then stock your reading corner or classroom library, donate to your school library, or put them in the class prize box.

Picture frames - Frame student artwork, poems or letters. Set them up around your teaching space to add a polished look to your classroom. Picture frames without glass can also be put in your prize box.

Marbles - Play an old fashioned game of marbles during indoor recess. (Use a hula hoop on the floor, to keep them contained and from rolling under furniture.) Marbles also make colorful fillers for vases that hold flower pens or flowers if you get them.

Flashlights - Save for a campsite escape (see previous post), lights-out reading (turn out the lights and read by flashlight) or put in the prize box.

Books - Put in your classroom library, give to a first year teacher, host a teacher book exchange or have a “Free Book Giveaway” and let each student choose a book or two to take home.

Coffee mugs - Donate to your teacher’s lounge or use at your classroom writing center to hold pens, pencils and crayons.

Ann Marie