Sisters. Heidi teaches 2nd grade. Emily formerly taught 2nd grade and currently stays home with her 2 year old daughter. We are passionate about making education fun for little ones and teachers alike. We share ideas, tutorials and free downloads here. In our shop you'll find printable games for the classroom and home as well as classroom resources like homework, lessons and workbooks. Read more about us here.
Second Story Window 2011 Summer Reading Challenge!
Read 10 new books and you can earn a free $5 game from our shop. One game per child. Parents can read books to a non-reading child. Download the form here. E-mail photos or scans of completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org and specify which game you would like from our shop. Now get reading!
Boy have we been busy lately! But don't be too sad about our blogging absence, it's because we're working on so many fun new things for the shop.
Let me tell you, there are so many great programs going on right now encouraging summer reading. Here's a quick run down of some programs from major retailers, most of them involving free books or other rewards!
Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Grades 1-6 - earn free book from selected titles by reading 8 books & turning in completed journal to B&N; store before 9/6/11. Information here.
Borders Summer Reading Kids 12 and under earn free book from selected titles by reading 10 books & turning in completed form to Borders store between 6/1/11 and 9/5/11. Information here.
Half Price Books Summer Reading Kids 14 and under earn $5 Back to School Bucks by reading at least 600 minutes in June & July. Turn in reading log July 25-Aug 7 to receive reward. Information here.
Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Kids 10 years and under complete one of the reading lists to earn a free book. 5/31/11-8/24/11 See the list here.
TD Bank Summer Reading Kids 18 and under read 10 books to earn $10 to be deposited into their TD Bank Young Saver account (or used to open a new one). Form must be returned to local TD Bank location. Information here.
Chuck E. Cheese Summer Reading Kids earn 10 free tokens for reading every day for 2 weeks. There are other rewards charts available at this link, as well. Limit 1 redemption per day. Information here.
Kids Bowl Free Kids within age limits specified by participating bowling centers can receive 2 free games a day, all summer long. Information here.
PBS Kids Summer Reading Challenge A free 6 week program to help kids discover the joy of reading. Chances to win prizes daily. Information here.
Check back tomorrow for information about the Second Story Window 2011 Summer Reading Challenge where each child can earn a free game from our shop by reading 10 new books.
It seems a bit sad that July is supposed to be the month of parades and fireworks and picnics, but they're all finished by the 4th! If you're not quite ready to be done celebrating, then we have some ideas for you! July is full of holidays if you know where to look. This week we'll spotlight some lesser known and unusual July celebrations.
If you follow cycling, July means the Tour de France. For 3 weeks cyclists race across the French countryside. Why not follow their lead? One of my favorite childhood traditions was the annual neighborhood bike parade. On the designated morning we had a wonderful time decorating our bikes (or Big Wheels) with streamers. Then we were off around the block and back to the neighbor's house for Popsicles. You can find some great tips here for hosting your own bike parade. It doesn't have to be a big undertaking--my favorite part was getting to wrap crepe paper around the handle bars. If you're looking for a grander affair, consider offering prizes for the best decorations. Many bike parades have a patriotic theme, but why not mix it up and focus on the Tour de France? In celebration of the traditional yellow jersey, have parade riders see how much yellow they can add to their bikes, trikes, wheelchairs, scooters, or even strollers! Just don't forget the helmets!
Here's another of our mom's summertime plans. One summer she set up a "Token Economy" for our summer jobs. It had a few simple parts.
- There was a set of jobs we each were required to do daily. Each job had a set amount of money associated with it. - There was a list of extra jobs available, each with a set amount of money associated with it as well. Here there was potential to earn quite a bit of extra money each week. - If you failed to do your required jobs in a timely manner, the maid (Mom) would do it for you. Unfortunately, the maid isn't cheap! Maid service cost significantly more than the job, motivating you to get your jobs done right and on time. - We were paid once a week, if I recall. You received the money you earned each week minus any maid service fees.
The second component here is that because there was the potential to earn a significant amount of money in this "economy" we took on the responsibility of paying for our own school clothes that year. This means we could spend our money each week but come fall, if we'd spent it all, we wouldn't be purchasing new school clothes that year. It may sound mean, but it was a great way to teach us responsibility with money. And I, for one, did really well with this economy system and earned plenty of money for school clothes and extra spending money. My brother on the other hand didn't have much left over for new clothes!
I believe I was about 12 when we did this, and I was the youngest child. But you could adapt this to most any age.
Heidi has also used a similar system in her classroom. To help the students learn about money they earned plastic coins for good behavior and other tasks. The money was kept in a little "bank" on their desks. She also used a charge for Maid Service as a consequence for not cleaning up your desk area at the end of the day. When the student earned $1.00 they could trade it in for a prize anytime before or after school.
We hope you got some good summer and classroom management ideas this week!
Heidi and I were discussing our theme this week we recalled some of the summer plans my mom came up with to keep us busy during the summer. She remembered one I had forgotten where you got to choose your own job.
The plan went like this. Everyday you had to pick a set amount of jobs with bigger jobs being more "weighted" and easier jobs being less "weighted". This could be done a couple of ways. You could have the kids pick, say, 3 jobs out of the "easy" pile and 1 out of the "harder" pile everyday. Or you could give the jobs a number of "points" and each child has to choose the same number of points, in whatever way they choose. So if they wish, they could end up doing 2 hard jobs or, say, 6 small jobs.
The key to this plan is it was first come first serve! There was definitely motivation there to get up and moving at a reasonable hour to get first dibs at the jobs. If you were the last one up, you get the least amount of jobs to choose from, or perhaps you have to take whatever is left!
Just another idea to keep the summer chores and activities interesting!
Today's Get it Done! idea is another summer plan by the talented Stacy Julian. This time she used a tickets system to motivate her children to "get it done!" They earned a set amount of tickets for certain "jobs" and then were able to redeem them for sleep overs, going to a movie, etc. And she even added a way for them to use their tickets to "upgrade" their school clothes. LOVE that aspect. In fact, you'll be hearing some more about a little "school clothes" twist later this week.
I've done a ticket type system in my classroom before where the students earned tickets for activities throughout the week. One year I let them use the tickets to buy things from the class "store" and another year they were entries into a weekly drawing for picking out of the treasure chest.
As teachers we know how hard it can be to help young children accomplish a task in a timely manner. We suspect you mothers feel the same way at home! This week we'll offer some tips on helping your children accomplish work, chores, and tasks in a way that will make you both happy!
Our first tip is to set a time limit! You can do this the simple way by setting a timer. It's always a good idea to give warnings too, such as "only 5 more minutes!"
One way I did it in my classroom was with music or poetry. During transitions, for example, when we recited the monthly poem aloud as they cleaned up one task and came to the carpet, the students knew that they needed to be at the carpet by the time we finished the poem. Since they were familiar with the poem before this time they knew how long they had to make it there. It worked like a charm!
And another way I've seen it done in the classroom is with an end of the day clean-up song. I recommend a fun, silly song that you will all be happy to hear each day. The kids get familiar with the length of the song and when it's nearing the end so they'd better hurry!
Come back tomorrow for some more ideas to help your little ones accomplish a lot this summer. (We'll be showcasing some fun ideas like using tickets and a summer bingo!)
With a sense of humor like Shel Silverstein has, you know he's going to have a fantastic website, which he does.
Check out the "Let's Have Some Fun" section. Here are some examples from the Kids Section.
Games & Puzzles: Matching titles to Shel's poems, memory, finishing Shel's poems correctly and also creatively, coded puzzles, and character names. Printables: Cuttin' Kate Drawing and Activity Book (LOVE this, it has a wonderful reader's theater), make your own bookmark, and a poetry kit (word search, word finder, poetry puzzle, and more.) Downloads: Screensavers and wallpapers
Much like the other sites I've highlighted this week, Shel's website has an awesome Teachers & Parents section! There are several drawing, activity, and event kits! They include beautiful illustrations and activities rich with creative poetry and writing. I'm so excited to have found these kits. Please use them!! Poetry is a great way to help your child/students with their creative writing but reading it is also great for fluency!
Here's an example of one of the awesome activities in the National Poetry Month packet.