Monday, 14 September 2015

Back-to-School Prep

 I'm sure most teachers will agree that back to school preparations, what with unit planning, familiarizing ourselves with new curricula, creating school plans, etc. can be a rather arduous and time consuming undertaking.  Still, there are some of us who add several other projects to our prep work, not necessarily because everything else is already completed or that we want our school year to run smoother.  Rather, we like feeding our creative streak and adding a bit more spark to the upcoming year be it for ourselves, out colleagues or students.   Below are some of the projest I indulged in, just because...

Chair Bags

Not sure why I'm not able to rotate this picture, but I trust you get it.
For years now I’ve provided chair bags for my students so that each of them can have several books on hand for whenever they finish their work early or arrive early.  Actually, I think a student said it best.  Once a school visitor asked about the bags and the student replied, “This is where we keep our books and when Elma answers the phone, we get to read.”  In short, whenever they have down time, there’s always a book or two on hand.
Earlier this year, a fellow Night Writer, after reading my sister Linda's newly published book "Hutterite Diaries", asked us if we would like fabric pieces for future quilting projects.  Of course we accepted them and he presented us with almost a dozen "books" of fabric samples from perhaps a drapery store.  So, the prints of this year's set of chair bags will be as varied as the personalities of the students that will use them: floral, checks, solids, bold and bright...  Since I made an extra one, each students will have a choice. 


Birthday Gifts

Many teachers present their students with a gift when their birthdays roll around.  Some bake cupcakes once a month to celebrate all  the birthdays happening in that month, while others present books or other small gifts.  For this year’s birthdays, I found something that’s all about the presentation: unique birthday smoothies!  I found the idea at: Monday Made It and decided to add my own twist to it with the items I selected to include in it: stickers, eraser, sharpener small writing tablet, balloon, candy, birthday bracelet.  To add the bubbles on top, I added a handful of Easter grass.  For the straw, I inserted a fancy birthday pencil.    I don’t think the total cost per gift was more than $2.00, but I’m sure my students will love them!

Gifts for Teachers

Typically each year, I leave a back to school gift on the desk each teacher at my school and also some of my teacher friends at other schools.  This year it’s several small items and each comes with a special message:

Sharpie, Marker or Highlighter sets

Fourth & Ten  gets the credit for this idea,


Thanks to Little Priorities for this cute idea. She used M&Ms but I used Smarties.  Teachers are smart people, right?  This is prescribed to ease various teacherish symptoms from curriculum overload to headaches to fatigue and more.





 Box of Rubber Bands

At our semi-annual back to school I was presented with several boxes of elastics – something all teachers use almost as regularly as the school bell.   I decided to add the following quote to each box: "Blessed are the flexible, for the will not be bent out of shape,"


  Cleaning Cloths

Of course, nothing says 'a new school year' like a newly serged set of cleaning cloths and towels!

May YOUR school year be bookish and bright, celebratory and sparkly!

What's part of your school year prep routine just because" ?

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Symbols of Canada and Manitoba

Symbols of Canada 

My final social studies unit of the 2014-15 school year revolved largely around learning about Canadian and Provincial  (Manitoba) symbols.  Several times, as they learned about each symbol, I was able to present my students with a sticker, pin, bookmark or some sort of object to help them remember that particular symbol.
Almost every time they added loot to their Ziploc baggies, one of my students was sure to ask, "Can we take our bag home today?" We kept them until the last day of school and the excitedly clutched their bags as they embarked upon their summer vacation.  This Canada Day they could proudly wave their flag and wear a Canadian flag pin.

RCMP Guest Speaker

One of the guest speakers for this unit was an RCMP officer, Constable Moyer from our local RCMP detachment.  She arrived in plain clothes and I had totally not expected that.  It didn't take her long however, to convince us that she knew her job.  After spending about an hour presenting on her job and locking several students in handcuffs, she allowed our students to "check out" her truck and did they ever! I believe every bell, whistle and siren was experimented with.

Pins of Manitoba

 After emailing our MLA, Mr. Ian Wishart about our project, I received a beautiful package of pins - all of them symbols of Manitoba, for each student as well as a lovely bookmark depicting the Manitoba Legislative Buildings. Each pin was accompanied with a brief write-up on the symbol.  I created a close activity for each symbol which I made available both for the SMART board and the students' booklets.


Legislative Buildings 

I believe every student should have at least one tour of thee legislative buildings and I cannot think of a better time to do this than after they've studied about provincial symbols.  When we had our annual year-end field trip, it seemed that every symbol from the golden boy atop the dome to the bison bracketing the grand staircase to the limestone Union Jack symbols bordering the second story walkway, all of them spoke to my class of first and second graders perhaps even more than the older students.
Manitoba Legislative Buildings

I believe the combination of in-class lessons, mementos, guest speaker and field trip will make this social studies unit one that will not be forgotten soon!