Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaching about Charity and Gratitute

I've talked about having an attitude of gratitude before.  This is one of the best times of year to teach that.

One of my most successful activities with kids has been "The Giving Jar". 

I took an ornament from a local giving tree and shared it with the children.  It was for a 13 year old girl who wanted art supplies for Christmas.  The kids decided that they wanted to help me buy her some items.  They asked if I had a box or jar where we could collect the money.

We started "The Giving Jar".  We talked each day about helping people and discussed ways to do that.  We talked about how we should be grateful for all of the wonderful things we have that most kids don't. (These were some pretty poor kids.)  And we discussed how if we work together, even a little gesture can become something big and wonderful.  The kids asked their parents if they could do odd jobs around the house for change.  We had about 25 kids at the time and in a few days we had over $200 dollars.  They decided we needed another ornament and so I picked up two more of kids who wanted books and a coat.  It was amazing to see kids come in with the entire contents of their piggy banks and all of their saved up birthday money.  I went out and bought items in my usual money saving style and we got each of those three kids an amazing Christmas with much more than they had asked for.  The kids also included pictures, notes of encouragement and I saw a couple sneak money in!  I love those kids.

Give kids the opportunity to be charitable, and they will.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles -Free Printables

I just got this great email from Activity Village...........

I hope you will have had a chance to explore Activity Village's Puzzles section!
But just in case, I thought it might be useful if I give you a quick tour of what we currently offer. We are in the middle of a big expansion of the Puzzles section and I'm excited to tell you about some of the newest offerings...
Our Puzzles section entry page is divided into 5 sections:
1. Featured puzzles
2. Puzzles by type (see below)
3. Online puzzle games
4. Puzzles by holiday
5. Puzzles by season
Here's a brief guide to just some of the types of puzzle we offer.
Sudoku for Kids:
Activity Village was the first provider of Sudoku puzzles exclusively for children, and I'm really proud of our puzzles. We grade them very carefully so that children can start with the easiest and progress slowly, never coming across a puzzle which stumps them and puts them off. We have 4x4, 6x6 and 9x9 grids, as well as some fun Word Sudoku puzzles for many of the Holidays and Topics we cover.
Develop pencil control for the youngest children and keep older children busy and challenged with our large collection of printable mazes.
These ancient Chinese puzzles ("seven pieces of cleverness") are challenging for all ages!
Grid Copy Puzzles:
I'm not sure that these are really puzzles in the conventional sense, but I've included them in the Puzzles section because they build concentration and counting skills! They are a fun way to learn to draw, too!
Word Puzzles:
We have a huge collection of the more conventional word puzzles, including word sea rches , word scrambles, word wheels, crosswords, how many words puzzles and more.
And that's only a small taster of the puzzles already available at Activity Village. Please do explore some more!
And if your kids love puzzles, or you'd like to build up a stack of printables for quick classroom fillers or rainy days, do consider signing up to our Daily Kids Puzzles Newsletter for a new puzzle, direct to your inbox, each weekday.
Thank you for supporting Activity Village, and I hope you visit often! If you have any special requests or comments, just hit return on this email and drop me a line.
With best wishes,
Lindsay Small
Keeping Kids Busy
"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Holiday Printables

Sometimes you just gotta give 'em a coloring sheet! 

It's not my favorite.  I like activity sheets , activities and games that teach and enrich.  But, sometimes a fun coloring sheet that goes along with a theme is a perfect time filler, especially when they can help decorate a bulletin board or make the room more lively.  Coloring is fun, improves motor skills of little ones, can be a creative outlet, and is an easy activity.  Just don't depend on it day after day. Please.

 www.Reading-With-Kids.com has a great Thanksgiving page loaded with activities, puzzles, cards and even coloring sheets. 

I haven't gotten to explore much of the site yet, but it looks like a fun one with lots of good resources.  Add it to your favorites!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Teach them Gratitude

As child care providers, we aren't just there to be eyes on kids running around for 4 hours after school.  We have an opportunity a responsibility to enrich them as well. 

One of the fitting themes for this season, is to facilitate an "Attitude of Gratitude".  There are many ways to do this.
  • Be an example! 
    • Always the BEST way to teach something.  When you ask them to do something, say "Thank You, I appreciate that!" Once they have done it.
    • Allow them to see you thanking people for every little thing that is done for you.
      • Thank the custodian for getting the garbage.
      • Thank the school secretary for bringing you a note.
      • Thank parents for ______  when their child is picked up.
      • Mention how grateful you are that someone did something or another for you today.
  • Write Thank You notes
    • I have my students discuss and decide on a person in our lives to thank each week.  I make a large card that they all sign and present to that person.
      • They want to write cards to their teachers, principal, custodian, the mail man, local police, veterans, parents, etc.
  • Do a service project.
    • We have done several over the years, including cards for Veterans, visiting a nursing home and singing carols, collecting change to buy a child from a giving tree presents, helping the school facilitate the canned food drive, etc.
  • Teaching Manners
    • Once of the best ways to show gratitude is to be respectful.  Teaching students about common courtesy and manners is important because sometimes they don't even realize that they are being rude. 
    • Thanksgiving is a great excuse to review table manners. 
      • Have students use PROPER table manners at snack time, giving them the opportunity to ask for something to be passed, waiting until everyone has their food, or cleaning up after themselves.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Free Resources - Garage and Rummage Sales

If we weren't thrifters before working in after school programs, with our low budgets and high numbers of kids, we are now.  It's the best way to get stuff cheap!  Especially if you are sometimes paying out of your own pocket. 

Most yard sales and rummage sales donate their items to Goodwill or other charities after the sale.  If you see things that could be used in your classroom, ask the manager of the sale if they would mind donating this or that to your afterschool program, if it doesn't sell.  I have actually never gotten a no.  Once in a while they will just give me the items on the spot.  Especially at a rummage sale, where they are probably raising the funds for some kind of charity.  Give them your number and they can call you to come pick up your items after the sale.  Don't be too picky.  If you asked for books, take all of the kids books.  You can always donate the leftovers yourself.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Free Resources - The Dover Sampler

I love getting my twice monthly Dover Teacher Sampler in my email.  Dover publications sends out samplers of their newest and best fit publications for you to try.  These are great worksheets and samples of ideas you can use in the classroom, summer of after school.  Sometimes they are coloring sheets, worksheets, puzzles, or games that go along with lots of themes.  These aren't just fun, they're educational too!  A coloring sheet of a shark tells about the type of shark, how it lives, what it eats, etc.  In afterschool we tend to sometimes rely heavily on coloring sheets to keep the kids occupied.  Why not have them learn something from those sheets.  These are also usually more intricate, and so they take longer and pull in the interest of older kids as well.

Instead of printing out all of the samples that you like, save them into theme based files in an afterschool folder, on your computer.  When you are doing an ocean theme you will have a few great Dover shark coloring sheets and worksheets to go with your theme!

Sign Up and enjoy!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Connecting Low Income Families to the Internet

Being a substitute teacher, I've been in hundreds of classrooms. At every level, kids are using the internet in projects and assignments. Sometimes they are required to use it at home, but that's not a possibility for all students. Comcast has now made internet available to low income families with children who qualify for the Free or Reduced lunch program, for $9.95 a month. There are no extra charges for equipment or setup. They are even offering those families computers for $149. If you know someone in need, or can share the information, visit http://www.internetessentials.com/

There are some catches.  You must be in a Comcast customer area.  You must not have had internet service through Comcast for 90 days.  You can't owe Comcast any money. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Preparing for the end ......... of the school year.

The End is NEAR!!!!  The end of the school year that is.  There are lots of things you can start doing to prepare for the end of the school year without waiting until the last few days and panicking!
  • Make a list
    • Just get started by walking around your space and making a list of things that might need to get done before school ends and everyone goes home for the summer, or your space gets used for a summer camp.
  • Vetting Process
    • Go through some of your games and toys to see if you have lost pieces or things are broken.  If they aren't worth keeping, toss 'em.
    • I am super thrifty, so I rarely throw out things I think might still be usable.  If I have a game with missing pieces, I will email other sites in my network and ask if they need pieces, or have extras.  I always keep a bag with extra generic movers and dice, and left over pieces to popular games like Sorry, Monopoly, and Trouble.
    • Have the kids played with this this year?  If not, it doesn't mean your new friends next year won't want to play with it, but if it's from an out of date character or show it might be time to let it go. 
      • Characters such as Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Power Puff Girls have lost their luster with most kids and no matter how fun it is, they probably won't be touched. 
      • Consider trading unplayed with items with another site.  It's free, but the items are new and fresh to your students.
      • In the future, don't buy the newest, hottest characters and games.  The old standards stand the test of time if you need games and toys to last for years to come.
  • Fix Stuff Up
    • Books and game boxes can be taped up to last another year.  Games should be cleaned organized and have all pieces put into a baggie within the box for safe keeping. Damaged toys fixed.  Dirty toys and equipment cleaned.
  • Supplies
    • Have students go through all markers and check to see if they are still good.  Toss the bad ones and make a note of how many you will need for next year.
    • Sharpen colored pencils.
    • Marry bottles of glue and throw out the bottles with bad tops.
    • Sharpen a set of new pencils to get ready for the new year.  Why wait until the end of summer?  Get all supplies ready for the new school year that you can.
  • Inventory
    • When you are done cleaning and organizing, do a good inventory of your supplies, games and equipment.
    • This will help you when you hit a good garage sale this summer!  It also helps you determine what supplies and equiment need to be purchased for next year. 
My BEST ADVICE is to be a scavenger!  If you are located in a school building, talk to the secretaries and teachers about taking left over supplies.  Used markers, bottles of glue, colored pencils, and other supplies get thrown out at the end of the year.  Classrooms get shiny new supplies each year, but you can save your program some cash for more fun stuff, by reusing equipment that still has some use.  Let teachers know that you are willing to take things and you will end up getting little surprises all throughout the school year!  I once had a teacher bring me 15 unused board games.  I've gotten a garbage bag FULL of markers, brand new glue sticks and bottles, hundreds of sharpened but unused pencils and LOTS of other usable items.  I never say no.  If I can't use an item I offer to another site, families of my students, or donate to Goodwill.  Once you start saying no, the items you get is reduced. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Awesome Art Projects from Pinterest

If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, where have you been?  Oh yeah, dedicating your life to kids.  Okay, I forgive you!  There are SO many cool projects and ideas there.  Here are some fun ones that I found recently. 

I always like to do some fun and invovled projects at the end of the year.  Things are starting to wind down at school, but you need to keep those littles busy so they don't go "summer" crazy. 

White Crayon Resist Watercolor PaintingPinned Image

Pinned Image Animal Water color tutorial

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The monsters game and hand knitting are great free time fillers!

Follow my After School Awesome pinterest board for more fun ideas!

Monday, April 8, 2013

April is Poetry Month - Free Resources - Shel Silverstein

Every kids loves poems and illustrations by Shel Silverstein.  www.ShelSilverstein.com has some great poetry packets to help teach kids to write different types of poetry and illustrate them. 

These ideas will work with all ages and they can get super creative, or you can give them a specific theme to write the poems about.  Perfect for decorating a bulletin board.  It would be fun to have a poetry show where students share their artwork and present their poem.  Parents would love to attend.

More ways to share poetry.
  •      Pick an expressive or abstract poem, read it out loud to students and have them illustrate the poem.
    • Show the students pictures and have them share what they were thinking about when they were listening to the poem.
    • Have a discussion about what they think the author was thinking or what the poem means.  You would be surprised at what context clues that students will pick up on.
  • Read the words of a popular song.
    • Explain to students that songs are poems set to music.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Make a Scrapbook

It might seem like a simple idea, but kids really love it.  Take a few snap shots when you are doing a fun activity and print them out.  Put them in a binder on cute paper and allow students to write about that day.  Even if only a few of them want to write a few sentences it would be fun for them to look and read later.  I have a book that I kept when I left my job after 15 years.  The kids enjoyed it while it was there and now it is great memories for me!

Extended Day Halloween Pumpkin Painting

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Teaching Kids about Advertising Tricks - Sooper Goop! PERSUASIVE WRITING!

A fun way to teach kids things is through films.  I have always had a 16mm projector and plenty of films on hand.  I know, I know, most people wouldn't even know how to use one.  But, many of those fantastic educational films are on the internet now and available for you to share with your students.

This film, Sooper Goop, teaches kids about how cereal advertisers fool them into thinking their product is SUPER when it actually isn't.

I have used this, and other films about advertising, to teach kids about how to be aware of the commercials they see and to not let it influence them too much.  We talk about the different strategies they use to make things look or sound better than they are.

In addition I have broken the kids into small groups and allowed them to come up with some advertising for any random object that I give them.  They have to give it a dynamic name, draw a logo, and write a fun advertisement that they can act out for the group later.  You can even record them to make a commercial! 

This could be a great week long project.  With about 30 minutes a day of activity.

See update about Persuasive Writing at the end!

Day 1
   Watch the Super Goop film and talk about how advertising works and have the kids identify what they do to make things sound better than they are.  Make a chart to keep for future use.

Day 2
    Watch some fun vintage commercials and let the kids point out what they did to make things sound great and if they think it's true about the product.  Possibly add to the chart.

Day 3
    Separate the kids into groups, give them an object, and allow them to write a commercial and advertising(logos) to make it sound SUPER.  Have them use at least two of the advertising strategies on the chart.

Day 4
    Continue work on their advertising and commercial they can act out.

Day 5
    Act out commercial for the entire group.  You record it for commercials and let them watch it later.

Kids who are allowed to be creative can have a ton of fun and learn something important!

You can also include lessons on Persuasive Writing. I was substitute teaching today and the teacher asked me to teach a lesson about Persuasive Writing. As I was teaching it the students said it sounded like a commercial!   I forgot to take a photo of my anchor chart. Dang!  Anywho, it looked something like this.

I used some examples about Eating healthy to make a persuasive poster.

I then asked students to talk in small groups to brainstorm some ideas and they came up with some great ones.   Connect the advertising lesson with persuasive writing and the classroom teachers will thank you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Read Across America - Dr Seuss Birthday - March 1

It's Dr Seuss Birthday on March 1.  Most school celebrate Read Across America Day.  There are LOTS of activities on Teaching Blog Addict.  Fun and education!  That's the goal of a great afterschool program!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

St. Patricks or Spring Cupcakes - Rainbow

This would be a great cooking project to do with your littles if you have access to an oven.  If you are in a school, the industrial oven will cook faster, so keep your eye on them!

Kids LOVE to help with cooking projects!  You might want to start by reviewing good hand washing practices and then having them do a really good hand wash.  Give every student gloves and instruct them not to touch anything but utensils for food prep.

Basically you will make white cupcake batter as normal, but split it into 6 different containers and color it with food coloring.  Then you will pour a little of each color in each muffin cup, in order.  When cooked it will look like a rainbow.  It's a lot of work but comes out looking great!

Here's the link to the recipe.

You'll need:

White Cake Mix.  Enough for as many kids as you have. I always make a couple of extras for building staff that are still there when you are enjoying your treat.

Cupcake Cups


Food Coloring

Mixing Bowl including 6 smaller bowls, or cups for separating the batter.

Great jobs for kids....
  • Start by having one of them read all of the cooking instructions on the cake mix box.
    • Talk about how important it is to read all instructions first, that way you know what you will need to do and hopefully you won't mess anything up.
    • Make sure you have all ingredients and utensils ready to go.
  • Have kids pour pre-measured items into the mixing bowl.
  • Stirring (Each can do it for a short time.)
  • Teach them to break eggs and have an older student break the egg over a seperate bowl (incase of shells) and someone else can pour it in.
  • Checking off steps on the directions and reading the next direction.
  • You should do the food coloring to make sure you don't get too much, which can ruin the color.
  • Have students take the colored frosting by the spoonful and pour it in.  That way the amounts should be pretty consistant.
 This could be done in different color combinations for different holidays, School colors, etc.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fun Science Experiment - Yummy too!

I have created a fun and tasty science experiment for students.  Kids of all ages can do this experiment, although little ones will need help.  This would be a great small group activity with older students acting as the helpers and mentors.  Of course, they also will need a little guidance as well.

The Incredible Gummi Worm

If you don't have a budget to spend on lesson plans, just let me know and I will be happy to send it to you.  I understand how that works! 
At any rate it is only $1 on TeachersPayTeachers.com.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Making the Best of Recess #4 in a Series

To see all posts in this series click here.

  • Some kids don’t play at recess, and that is okay, if it is truly their choice.  The best way to get kids to hate exercise is to force them to do it.  For many kids, they don’t think of recess as exercise, but as fun.  If they are having fun, they can play and get the break and exercise that they need.  Once it becomes a forced activity, all the fun goes out of it.
    • If they aren’t playing, but don’t seem happy about it, it is your responsibility to try to find out why and help solve the problem if you can.
      • Is the child being bullied or otherwise excluded by the other children?
      • Is the child having vision or mobility problems that are preventing them for entering a game?
        • Try to encourage adaptations to a game to include students who have disabilities.
      • Is a child feeling that the games or certain players aren’t fair?
        • Review the rules of the game, or make sure that everyone knows the rules of a game that the kids have made up on their own.
        • You may have to help with team choices to make sure that the teams are somewhat equal. 
          • If the kids have organized their own game, it’s best to not intervene.  Let them set the rules and make the teams.  However, there are times when you will have to jump in and make a few changes or help facilitate teams, rules and fairness if arguments begin
  • Sometimes kids just don’t know what to do at recess.  Give some ideas to the group about playing games they know well and can organize and play on their own.  If they have a problem playing on their own, be a coach and slowly work away after a few recesses, or assign a different sideline coach each day.  This would be a great way for some kids to build leadership skills.

Valentine's Day Clipart Border Set FREEBIE - TPT

Teachers Pay Teachers Valentine's Day Clipart Border Set FREEBIE

I have been having fun creating some stuff on Inkscape and I thought I would share a freebie with you.


Freebie Fridays

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Making the Best of Recess #3 in a Series

To see all posts in this series click here.

Join in the Fun
  • Joining in a game can up your cool factor with the kids.  However it can have some major pitfalls.   
    • Don’t get so involved that you can’t see and pay attention to the other students.  Never assume that your colleagues can see everything and are paying attention.
    • Make sure there is someone on the sidelines to take care of minor injuries, bathroom and drink requests and any other issues. 
    • Don’t get competitive!!!!
      • Remember that these are children and they don’t have the skills you have.  It’s okay to play and even win, but if you start feeling like you want to win, it’s time to step out. 
      • You are their example for sportsmanship.  This can be a great learning tool, because as we know, you will teach more by your actions than your words.  Get out there and be a great teammate, encourage your team and even the other team.  “Good Teamwork”, “Nice Shot”, and “I can’t believe I missed it!  I’ll get it next time.”  Are all good examples of things to shout out during the game.
    • NEVER CHEAT! This should go without saying, but I have seen it many times.
      • If you cheat you are sending some pretty strong messages that you may not intend to be sending.
        • “Don’t Trust Me!”  If you teach the kids that cheating is wrong, and then you cheat, you lose their trust.  This can be a very BIG deal to kids.  You could damage their trust in all adults by cheating.
        • “You don’t have to follow the rules either.”  If the teacher doesn’t have to follow the rules, the students won’t either.  They will remember and throw it back at you at every opportunity.
        • “I’m a Liar.” Similar to don’t trust me, but you are no longer to be believed and some students will begin to argue with you because they no longer believe in you or your honesty, fairness, or sincerity.
        • “This game isn’t fun anymore.”  You could be ruining their favorite game for them.  A big blow like losing trust in a teacher can surely put a bad taste in their mouth for that game or activity.
        • “Don’t Trust Adults” The simple act of a little cheating in a game can ruin a child’s faith in you and other adults.  Authority figures are to be trusted and some will break a child’s trust over their lives, just don’t let it be you.