Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Halloween Parties - Can we still have them in After School Programs?

In this modern era of political correctness and being sensitive to everyone for
everything, it's a fair question.  Some schools and districts still celebrate Halloween whole-heartedly, while others have no mention of the holiday, no jack o lanterns on the wall, no witches hanging from strings, no classroom parties or costume parades.  These were some of my favorite memories as a child, so it is hard to see the lack of this in schools I work in.  It is typically a district or school decision.

In the past, I have discussed, with my school principal, the possibility of having a celebration even if they don't have it during the school day.  We came to an agreement that if parents and supported it, and we waited until the day of the party to decorate, it would be fine. I spoke with all of my parents individually and assured that they were okay with the party, and then we were able to go ahead with it, with the blessing of our administration.

The vast majority of Americans still celebrate Halloween, and while some of the images can be quite offensive it is possible to have less scary fun at school.  If you allow students to wear costumes, make it abundantly clear that there is no blood or weapons allowed. (Sorry little Zombies!)

Your fun and activities can include, Jack-o-lanterns, spiders, bats, friendly ghosts and witches.  Just leave out the scary images and menacing faces.

Here's a link to a fantastic Pinterest Board with lots of Classroom Halloween ideas.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Best Tip - Connect with Kids

Me and my friends goofing around.
As I was planning something new to add to the blog, I started thinking about my best advice. 
What could I share, from my 20 years of child care experience, that would really impact someone's after school program.

My best advice is for you to CONNECT with your kids.  If you truly connect, truly show that you are there FOR THEM you will have an easier and more enjoyable time.  Kids respond better to you, they are more open with you, discipline issues are less (They never go away.) and the kids feel more comfortable.  Those things are a big deal for most kids.  They need to know that they can trust you and that you won't lie to or dismiss their feelings.

My friends making monsters. Sewing felt and
 YES, I let the kids use a glue gun and needles.
     Connecting isn't always easy.  If we try too hard it's obvious.  For me, the best way has always been to just play.  Board games, card games, puzzles, dress up, Frisbee, or whatever.  Having fun with them.  Sometimes it's so hard to make the time to play.  We all know that there is just so much to do, and I sometimes realize I haven't played a game or done a craft with the kids in days or even weeks.  I have to remind myself that making those connections is a part of my job, and it helps my job to go more smoothly.  And I have more fun as well, so it's a win-win for everyone.

You never know when your attention is exactly what that child needs, at that time.  And isn't that why we are here doing what we're doing?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Art For Kids Hub! - Daily Art Lessons

I started following this channel on You Tube a while ago, and I have been repeatedly impressed with the art lessons that are shared here.  Super fun to share with kids as a daily drawing lesson or as a reward once in a while. Also can provide you will some fun lesson ideas and activities to do based on themes and holidays.  They do lots of drawings, but they also do painting, finger painting, origami, clay and more.  Check it out!

Remember, if you are getting great content from a You Tube channel, watch the whole commercial and "Like" the video. That helps support their channel.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Activity Village -Free Website Resource

I'm fairly certain that I have posted about Activity Village in the past. They have some great stuff on their site.  Lot of international stuff as well.  They have just updated with lots of new FREE resources. 

From their email....

Activity Village News
9th September 2015
Here's a special quickie newsletter just to let you know that we have...


It's not too late to enjoy some of our new Longest Reigning Monarch and Queen Elizabeth activities, to celebrate this special day.
Longest Reigning MonarchThe Queen

With Roald Dahl's birthday coming up we've added a few new fun worksheets and printables:
Roald Dahl Printables
Roald Dahl Worksheets

New Autumn (and Fall) worksheets just added - handwriting included:
Autumn Worksheets

And here are some lovely new Autumn (and Fall) posters too:
Autumn Posters

Elizabeth I, James I ( and VI of Scotland) and Charles I - what have they got in common? We've produced some new activities aimed at younger children, that's what! The kids can even learn to draw these Tudor and Stuart monarchs...
Elizabeth I

Lots more has been added to our Colour topic, including bright word cards, fun sorting cards, and a brand new collection of useful colouring pages:
Or explore the whole topic here: Colour

Our new Farmyard Stepping Stone Puzzles give kids some fun practice with early skills - the alphabet, vowels and consonants, odds and evens and skip counting 2 to 12.

While on the farm theme - we've added new
Farm Puzzles

We've added a new set of simple colouring pages for London for younger children, to add to our existing detailed pages for older children:

And finally, we've also added a set of London I Spy booklets which could be used when sight-seeing or perhaps taking a virtual tour of London. Sarah designed these for her Guides, putting up our London posters around the room and sending them off on a London hunt!
London I Spy Booklets

Friday, August 28, 2015

ABCya.com - Games for K-5

www.ABCya.com is a site with lots of learning games for Grades K-5

Wonderapolis - Daily Wonders - Free Website


Wonderopolis is a free website with a different wonder everyday.  They have a topic and information related to the topic.  These would be great quick little lessons while kids are eating snack or before a transition time. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Learn languages FREE with Duolingo

If you have access to computers or a computer lab, you can get your kids involved in learning languages, for FREE with www.duolingo.com. The site is fun and has a classroom component that is like a game. 

You could make a progress chart, and even offer prizes for students when they reach certain goals.  It could even be used as a year long theme!  Oh the ideas......

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What to do with all those - Craft Sticks. STICK BOMBS!

How to Make Stick BombsWhat a fun looking activity!  The first time could be a learning day, and the second time could be a competition. A fantastic time filler, plus the kids practice teamwork, problem solving, work through frustration (I'm sure it won't work for every group the first time out.), motor skills, and follow through

Gotta love the type of activity that kids want to do over and over and it actually costs nothing, as the sticks are still usable for another project later.

Pin Ithttp://www.pbs.org/parents/adventures-in-learning/2014/08/stick-bombs-an-adventure-in-engineering/