Monday, June 30, 2014

Surfin' Through Summer School

My lanta! Summer school has come to an end, and my SUMMER has officially begun! Although summer school was a blast and we had so much fun, I am thankful to have a break to get recharged! Does anyone else feel this way? Our summer school program is offered for three weeks in June and it is for kindergarten through fifth grade. Since I teach kinders throughout the school year, I taught the them in summer school, too.

I took pictures throughout our entire summer school. We had so many fun activities, but I wanted to save them all until the end to share. Here is our summer school summed up in a couple pictures...

We became scientists and used our senses to explore lima beans. Oh boy, did the kiddos have fun using magnifying glasses to help us better see the smaller features of the lima beans.

You May Be an Elementary School Teacher if...
You bring out the magnifying glasses and the students start to squeal! 

But seriously, I loved how excited they were to explore. I got these adorable observation logs from Fran Kramer with Kindergarten Crayons! Check out her product, because the kids ADORED tracking the lima bean growth! Everyday the first thing they would ask was, "DID MY BEAN GROW?!" Their eagerness to become scientists everyday was precious.

Every Friday the kindergarten and first graders had a fun art time. As an avid "pinner", I happened upon a pin that made me thrilled for our Friday Art Day! The original site can be found here. I cannot take credit for this cool (literally) activity, so please check out the link. All you will need to do is:

  1. Fill an ice cube tray with water.
  2. Fill each cubed section with a drop (or two) of food coloring. 
  3. Place a popsicle stick in the colored water.
  4. Freeze for several hours or overnight.
  5. When you're ready to have fun, grab some white cardstock, pop the cubes out, and PAINT away!
The water melts and it makes a pastel masterpiece that the kids were anxious to show off to the older students. Our kindergarteners and first graders both thought this activity was a fun alternative to the traditional water colors or finger-painting. Try it out even at home while your kids are home for summer break!  (If someone tries this at home, please try kool-aid instead of the food coloring, and let me know how it works!!)

Yet ANOTHER activity, that these kiddos went nuts over was this alphabet memory match! I cannot take total ownership over these cards, because I did not create them, but you can get them for FREE here from Stephanie Bosh! Stephanie is a kindergarten teacher at my school. This year she has become a mentor for me because she not only is so excited to teach and creates a huge love for learning in her students, but she is so patient when explaining all those new things a new teacher must know. Plus she has SO many great things she does in her classroom. Seriously, please check her out!

I printed these cards on different colors of cardstock. Since a capital and lowercase letter are one page, they will be the same color, which make them easier to match. Lay them all out face down on your carpet, and the kiddos try to search for a matching capital and lowercase letter. They MUST say each letter they flip over to reinforce their letter recognition. After they were masters at their letter recognition, I switched it up just a *smidge* and instead of recognizing the letter name, they had to recognize and say the SOUND. It was just enough of a challenge to keep them coming back for more. We played this game e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y. I am so thankful these sweet babes were anxious to play a LEARNING game!

Every day we did word work and writing and these little ones needed some help with writing, so I made sure to practice this everyday. They were AWESOME writers at the end! We used my Writing Picture Prompts to help brainstorm ideas. The kids thought these were pretty fun and their sentences were so creative! We also had some summer word fun with my Summer Shenanigans: Write the Room. And we built CVC words! These kids were such hard workers, I was so proud of their growth and progress. (These are finally activities that I can take credit for...)

On the last day, our amazing Summer School Director, planned a fun schedule for the kids. Each of the grade levels rotated to another grade-level teacher for stations. It was a blast! The teachers were in charge of their own activity.
We went on a Letter Hunt! 
Guys, I was so pleased that grades kindergarten through fifth enjoyed this same activity. Although I created this for "summer" school, you could use it at any point throughout the year, especially if you live in warmer climates. This is easily adaptable for indoor use, but I wanted these kids to enjoy the sunshine while learning.

They charged toward the letters sprawled out on the school yard and searched and found the picture that started with the same letter on their checklist. The kindergarten and first grade students probably enjoyed it the most and wanted to do more.

What is everyone doing on their summer break? This girl needs some fun ideas!

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  1. Looks like you had fun teaching summer school! Super cute pics! I taught summer school last year and I don't think I will ever do it again. I missed out on way too much time with my baby girl and I just didn't enjoy doing it at all! Glad you liked it more than I did!

    Have a great day!

    Life As I Know It

    1. Oh Jamie, I know exactly what you mean! I do not have any children, but I was so ready to finally be on break! :)

  2. I love that little observation guide and planting activity for littles. Stopped on by when I saw your blog on Currently...great start. Isn't blogging fun!

    Renee at The Science School Yard

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Blogging is a lot of fun now that I am getting the hang of it! ;)