Thursday, April 11, 2013

Going Out With A Bang

I have recently been using ideas from a book called Turbocharged! 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Preschool Ministry in order to find fresh ideas to use in our "Littlest People" group of kids at church.

You may be thinking, "So? My kids aren't in preschool." Neither are mine. But I have found little golden nuggets hidden among those pages that are universal to all children, not just preschoolers.
Last week I wrote about trying to beat that Summer Itch, and I realized that some of these ideas can be useful for adding a little change to your possibly boring or dry end-of-year lesson planning. They are great ways to tune in to your child's learning style as well.

Word Play - story telling, word games, creative writing

Logical exploration - discover how something works (take it apart!), collect things, puzzles

Get Physical - dance, act it out, active games

Make some music - use music with lyrics to support your idea, play classical in the background as you work, sing a rhyme or song to help you learn a set of information (states, presidents, grammar rules)

Make it beautiful - paint a picture, color, do a maze

Tune in to Nature - find a "live one," cut pics out of magazines, use hands on, touchable displays

Voice it - allow them to re-teach the idea to you or a sibling or other family member, let them write and recite a poem about it.

Leave them alone - give them some reflective questions and a quiet corner

Get techy - Find games they can play on the computer or electronic devise where they can "play" and learn at the same time!

There isn't much time left of this school year. Go out with a bang so they are begging to start again in fall. Remember, it's not about making them learn a set of information, it is about teaching them to learn and to love it!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Summer Itch

It's that time of year. The sun starts shining in through the windows in the morning. The birds start singing and the flowers spring up. The weather gets warm enough to not have a coat when you go out. Chicks are hatching and lambs are running around the fields. Soon to follow the allergies kick in and right behind it you get - the summer itch.

We've all had it. We long to be outside playing in the sunshine instead of inside doing multiplication. The kids begin to take 2 hours on a page that should have only taken them 20 minutes. Instead of jumping, giggling, racing to get out their next subject, they are groaning, slumping and dragging to get out their book. You feel like pulling out your hair and can't figure out why they can't remember an answer that they have gotten right all year long. And if you aren't sure if you've got it yet, then here is a sure sign - you begin to use bribes.

The exciting this is that when the summer itch sets in, it means that summer is getting close! The best thing for me is to take Easter Break (which we just had) and refocus. If you are struggling with the Summer Itch, here are a few things that I suggest:

1) Get a new view. Change your location. Do you usually do school in the "school room?" Move to the kitchen table. Already at the kitchen table? Consider tv trays in the living room. Sometimes just a change of scenery can give a fresh outlook to an old routine.

2) Change up the schedule. If you are like me then this is like pulling teeth. But sometimes just switching up the order you do things can give a new momentum to your day. Usually start with Math? Go with Art today! Begin the day with reading? Try History for a change.

3) Take it outside. As the weather warms up, there is nothing better than to cure the Summer Itch with a small dose of sunshine. Take out a blanket and do your lesson "picnic-style."

4) Give Vision. Let your kids know how close they are! We only have 5 weeks of school. I printed out the assignment for these last weeks in check-list style so that after completing each day they can see how close they are coming to summer vacation!

5) Add a touch of something new. Read a book aloud. Have you read this year's award winners? Give that a try. Take a nature walk. One of my favorite sites for outdoor activities can be found on their fb page: Do an end of the year project to reinforce what you have learned in science or history.

We are so close to the end of another year! Be proud and excited!
1 Corinthians 9:24
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."

Finish strong, my friend!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Celebrate the Small Stuff

I am so excited to begin this second half of the school year. Yes, I was a little burnt out come Christmas, but now I am ready to go.  I want to keep to my pledge to make this the best school year ever!

Here are a few little things that I am doing to keep going:

1) Take breaks...lots of them. BREATHE.

2) Pray....lots.

3) Smile...lots.

4) Go outside. I know for me this is the hardest time of year to get outdoors because I hate being cold. But do it anyway. It gives your body fresh air, your mind something new to observe, and those kids open range to play and feel the energy flow through them that only nature provides.

5) Celebrate the small stuff. Find those awkward holidays and do something special for them. For example -- last week was the Grimm Brothers Birthday. We read Grimm stories during reading, even one in Spanish for Spanish class, and had a late night watching Grimm-based Disney movies. It was so much fun! Who says learning can't be fun??

Today is National Bird Day. So we made feeders out of oranges. There is always ways to brighten your day and give you the needed motivation. Sometimes you just have to look and be creative!