Saturday, April 30, 2016

May Round Up

Who's ready for a new monthly round up?  This teacher is!  May is always a busy month.  It's not only the last full month of school, but it's also when I start looking ahead to see how I can get a head start on the upcoming school year.



Directed drawings are awesome.  They make the students really focus, listen, and to think before they do.  Once the drawings are done, students can color them with crayon, oil pastels, or even paint them with watercolor paints.

We've done several directed drawings this year, and they have been a hit with the parents.  This got me thinking, why not have the students make a special drawing for their mom (aunt, grandma, whoever) for Mother's Day?   


To make this a little more gift worthy, we will frame the drawings using 8x10 frames from the dollar store.  If you plan to frame your drawings, just be sure to trim the paper to match the size of the frames you purchase.  I would recommend cutting your paper to size before the students do their drawing. To help cover the cost of the frames, I ask the students to send in one dollar.  Even if some students don't contribute, it helps to cover the cost when you are buying so many frames.


I like to use card stock when we do our drawings, especially if they paint them afterward.  It just holds up a lot better than regular construction paper (and it's usually cheaper than investing in watercolor paper).

To present the gifts, simply wrap the frame in colorful tissue paper and tie some yarn around it.  You could also let your students make a card. 

You can grab the free step by step directions for this drawing HERE.



May is research month in my classroom.  More specifically, we research various American symbols and put together an impressive project.  It gets sent home at the end of the month, and parents are always so impressed with the final product.


I love that this project keeps us busy, but with meaningful learning material, addresses several of our social studies standards, as well as a few writing standards.  It's high interest and the kids take a lot of pride in their work.


You can read more about this project here.  And, you can check out my Celebrating America unit here on TPT.


The end of the year is a crazy time.  The students get super distracted, challenging behaviors might become even more challenging, you're trying to teach those last few standards, and you're also likely thinking of the next school year.  Wait, that isn't just me, is it?

Ok, so let's talk next year, shall we?  This time of year, my brain goes into serious "plan for next year" mode.  I can't help it.  I just always think if there is something I can do now to save myself some time when reporting back in late August, that I might as well do it.

For example:
  • Sharpen pencils for next year and store them in a zip top bag.  I do this every year and it saves me a ton of time and hassle when I'm more worried about reconstructing my classroom that was dismantled when I checked out in June.
  • Copy any and everything you know you will use.  For example, I know that I will set out my Meet the  Teacher letter at Meet and Greet.  I also know that there are specific back to school forms I want/need parents to fill out.  If I copy them now, I don't need to worry about fighting my way to a copier at the last minute next year. 
  • Laminate your nameplates and cut them out.  This job is perfect for parent volunteers, and again, saves you precious time when you are worried about making your room presentable for meet and greet and attending various staff meetings at the same time. TIP: I laminate the nameplates now, and write the students' names on them with permanent marker in the fall.  This has worked well for me over the years.

  • Each week, choose one thing in your classroom to "spring clean." Go through things, get rid of what you don't need, consolidate what you can, and label things for easy reference next year. For example, tackle those math manipulatives in your storage closet.  When I did this recently, I noticed that I had a bucket of tangrams.  They weren't sorted into individual sets.  Why and how did this ever happen?  Who knows, but I had a parent bag them up and I found out I had enough sets for two classes and ended up sharing half of mine with another teacher. 
For even more end of year ideas and tips click here.


Also, check out my End of Year Pinterest board for some fun classroom ideas!




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