We love these summer-themed kids snack ideas and you will too!
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Sometimes getting kids to turn off the tv and attempt to read a book during their Summer break is like pulling teeth, you know what we're talking about! Experts say those months off from school, however, can lead to serious learning loss, putting kids further back when the new school year starts than ahead of the curve where you want them to be.
That's why it's important to incorporate those things kids enjoy doing during Summer into learning experiences they can take with them. Interactive programs for iPad and computer from Spelling City spell success in avoiding the summer slide > with games & engaging programs that will have kids asking to play more!
VolunteerSpot friend and guest blogger, Natasha, or HousefulofNicholes.com shares in her own post (published June 12th, 2014) about Spelling City . . .
It’s officially the end of the school year for us! Nathaniel graduates this morning, and we’re entering into that time where we all want a break, but I know that if we slack off too much, I’ll be met with severely atrophied brain muscles in the fall. Well, probably not Nathaniel, since he will be attending summer school as required by the scholarship committee that he’s receiving. I still want to do my part, and make sure that he keeps all of that greatness at the forefront, while still allowing him to learn in a relaxed setting. This is where Spelling City will help me.
I’m not sure how your children feel about learning during the summer time, but I only have an issue with my oldest. When school lets out, he wants to be OFF! I figured though, with this mandatory summer school, I could sneak right in and piggyback there.
I’m also thinking of starting the Ladybug on this program as well. I’m noticing more and more, that she is asking the definition of words, or sharing her definition of them with her twin brother and sister. This lets me know that she is working to expand that great little mind of hers and fill it to the brim with knowledge. Words are definitely powerful, and knowing several words that mean the same thing can . . .
1. Award Ribbons
3. Mini erasers
5. Kiddie sunglasses
6. Mechanical Pencils
7. Mini trophy
9. Their own water balloons
10. Pie the principal
11. Head boppers
12. Hair ties/hair clips
15. Mini kaleidascope
16. Key chain
17. Jump rope
18. $100 bill pen
23. Extra bathroom break coupon
24. Homework pass
25. Water soaker ball
27. School spirit apparel
29. Pencil pouch
32. Gel pens
33. Book cover
34. Book for summer
35. Gets to make up class rule
Teacher Appreciation Week is here, and while parents do enjoy getting in the spirit of recognizing and thanking their children’s teachers, we all know it can be a hectic week on top of already busy family schedules. If you’re staring down another week-long teacher appreciation extravaganza and biting your nails, find some relief in these 5 stress-free tips:
1. Connect with your room parent. Be prepared with what to expect and communicate with your room parent to clarify when and where you can donate/help. If there is a daily expectation of parents, i.e. bring in a flower on Monday, potluck dish on Tuesday, small gift on Wednesday, etc, be ready and leave reminders for yourself on the fridge, the mirror, your phone, you name it!
Does this sound like you? “My son told me two minutes before carpool pick up that it was ‘give your teacher a flower’ day at school. I panicked, ran across the street to my neighbor’s backyard and clipped some of her wildflowers. I ran back to the stop and the carpool mom is waiting there, sees the flowers in my hands and asks if I can go cut her some!” - Delia T. of Virginia and mother of 3
2. Use VolunteerSpot’s free online signup sheets. Coordinate the teacher appreciation potluck, donations for gift baskets and classroom helpers with VolunteerSpot right from your desk! Easy online scheduling, 24/7 access for class parents from their computer or mobile device, plus automated reminders make it the go-to, stress-free solution for wrangling class parents for all the important week’s activities. Click HERE to get started
3. Know the rules. Don’t get caught in a PTA kerfuffle; know the teacher gift rules before you go shopping. Is there a dollar limit you should be aware of? Are gifts to be given on a certain day of the week?
4. Get inspired. The most meaningful teacher gift is something that comes from your family’s heart. A few simple searches on Pinterest for boards like this one with tons of teacher gift ideas give you inspiration for creative DIY presents, cute free printable signs and gift tags, as well as fun ways to wrap up a simple gift card. Check out more Teacher Appreciation Ideas over on VolunteerSpot, click HERE
5. Involve your kids. Ask your child to draw a picture or write a personal note about what she loves best about her teacher. Your child’s input will wipe away any stress that might come with contributing to Teacher Appreciation Week.
Teacher Appreciation Week is almost here! Don't forget these 8 last-minute reminders:
2. Have your emergency kit ready. Extra napkins, wet wipes, flatware, rubber bands and thank you cards are some must-haves it won't hurt to store in the trunk or stash in the teachers lounge.
3. Find great ideas on Pinerest! Caught in a last-minute lurch for a fab teacher gift idea? Quick, get on Pinterest for easy DIY teacher gift ideas and more, click here
4. Get more people involved. Scrambling for a last-minute teacher appreciation week activity? Quickly schedule what you need and when on an online signup, invite class parents to sign up from their computer or smartphone, and rely on VolunteerSpot to send automated reminders, click here to get started
5.Thank your parents who participate. Send a quick thank you email or card home to your class parents who participate and donate for teacher appreciation week letting them know their small contributions meant a lot.
6. Dress up your gift card. Opting for a great gift card for your favorite teacher this year? Add a last-minute touch like wrapping your gift card in a sweet felt wrapper, in a hand-written thank you card, in a bouquet, you name it. More ideas here
7. Print if off! It's so easy to find beautiful, funny, and sweet signs and gift tags that you can print offline for free. Find a great list on our Teacher Appreciation Ideas page
8. Have fun! Teacher Appreciation Week can get a smidge chaotic, especially if your school ask parents to contribute or take part in an activity every day of the week. Don't forget to have FUN and know your teachers and educators will love any of the recognition they get!
Don't miss more fool-proof teacher appreciation tips, click here
Fun, creative team snacks don't have to be time-intensive! Throw together these fun ideas in 10 or 20 minutes and be the team mom everyone loves.
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Don't miss a beat when it comes to Teacher Appreciation Week - follow these 5 simple steps!
1 >> Start now! Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner (May 5 - 9, 2014); plan ahead and start interviewing students for a special thank you video, collecting donations for a group teacher gift, and scheduling events for the week.
2 >> Get more parents involved. Organize teacher appreciation events - brunches, flower days, pie days, etc - with free online sign ups & reminders from VolunteerSpot! Make it easier for parents to sign up to help by taking advantage of this free tool with mobile access and calendar syncing. Take a free demo now
3 >> Go social! Use apps like facebook, twitter, RewardVolunteers, Tout, and YouTube to share your special teacher recognition events and shout outs so they show up on your school parent's social feeds.
4 >> Don't forget. There are so many other teachers in a kid's life including school staff, librarians, band and chorus leaders, you name it. Consider having classrooms or grade levels "adopt" a special member of the school who might otherwise go unrecognized during this week. More ideas here
5 >> Check out our fun Prezi with great tips & tidbits. From fun video ideas, to event planning resources and more, don't miss the slideshow from our recent teacher appreciation webinar:
Looking to make a mess at this Spring's big outdoor fundraiser? Try some of these FUN booths kids love to take a part of!
1) Pie the Principal: Pie tins filled with whip cream or pudding make this booth fast, messy fun for the whole family. Typically as a reward for a certain amount of money raised or a raffle, principals and other school staff will have just as much fun as students who get to throw pies at them!
2) Confetti Eggs: Carefully hollowed egg shells filled with colorful paper make for an explosive, fun carnival booth. Kids love to buy the eggs and throw them at their friends; they break easily and release all the confetti inside. Game instructions from CarnivalSavers.com HERE
3) Balloon Dart Art: Help kids create a masterpiece at this year's carnival with Dart Art! By filling balloons with colorful paint, tacking them to a large canvas and letting kids throw darts to pop them, a wonderful work of art is created that can be hung up at the school. Instructions and ideas from Craft-Austin.com HERE
4) Dunking Booth: Watching the principal or your favorite teacher get dunked is probably an all-time favorite for kids. If renting a whole booth isn't in the budget, however, consider an inexpensive alternative where kids get to soak big sponges and throw them at unassuming victims 10 or 15 feet away.
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Tip: Control the mess! Have a clean-up volunteer crew signed up to help and necessary tools on hand like vacuums, brooms, and trash bags to make clean up swift. Schedule volunteers and even sign up for people to donate cleaning items with free online signup sheets, get started now!
“Test.” Even the very word strikes a chord, leaving the hairs on the end of our necks prickling. It doesn’t have to be that way for kids though! Whether you’re giving your child a head start on end-of-year tests or simply being proactive in her success, test prep and practice is a significant way to start making a difference in your child’s education today!
1) Ask The Teacher: Ask your child’s teacher if they have any concerns about your child's readiness for upcoming tests. They may recommend your child get some extra practice in a particular area. Find out what resources your child’s school or your district offers to help with test preparation.
2) Spectrum® Test Prep Workbooks: Tennis great Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” Spectrum® Test Prep and Test Practice Workbooks from our friend and sponsor, Carson-Dellosa Publishing, boost kids’ test-taking confidence through preparation. Spectrum® Test Prep Workbooks allow your child to practice real test questions so they become familiar and comfortable with standardized test material and question formats. Available for Grades 1–8, and in both print and ebook formats, Spectrum® Test Prep and Test Practice Workbooks are a smart way to achieve test success. Spectrum® books are aligned to the Common Core and your state standards.
3) Spring Training: Spring break is a perfect time for a little test-prep practice without the pressure of other schoolwork. Whether it’s in the car on the way to the beach, or for thirty minutes at the breakfast table, practicing skills daily will help keep kid’s skills sharp and prepare them for the rest of the school year. Make it a game! You can even have your child quiz you and tell you if your answers are correct. Show your child that learning is fun and rewarding.
4) Sleep & Nutrition: We all know super busy family schedules can leave little time for proper bedtimes and perfect sit-down breakfasts, but here’s a reason to make it a priority: Studies have found that children who get at least eight hours of sleep and have a nutritious breakfast are more alert, have longer attention spans, and even get better grades. If success with final exams and end of year assessments is a goal for your family, commit to a consistent bedtime routine and breakfast–even if it’s just a granola bar on the way out the door.
5) Talk With Your Child: All kids are different. Some keep school stress to themselves; others worry openly. Either way, talk with your child when it comes to test taking. Don't brush off their worries, even if they seem unfounded. Find out why they’re feeling stressed. Are they having trouble in math? Do they worry about completing the test in time? To boost their confidence, give your child specific examples of their academic progress this year. For example, you could say: “You've gotten all As on your spelling tests" or "You brought your math grade up to a B!” If your child is truly struggling, work together and with their teacher on a plan to practice the skills they need to succeed. And above all, stay positive! Remind your child that what they believe, they can achieve!
Thanks to our sponsor:
Carson-Dellosa Publishing makes learning fun! With unique educational product lines including Spectrum® Test Prep & Practice Workbooks, Summer Bridge Activities® books, Common Core teaching materials as well as classroom décor, stickers, flashcards and more, school has never been more colorful or effective!
Valentine's provides one of the true, smile-worthy respites from the chilly, overcast winter and graciously gives kids a 'sweet' memory of the year that won't soon be forgotten! Check out what's trending for Valentine's class parties below:
1) Valentine's Printables (free): Cute printables for classroom signs, gift tags, pennants and banners and more, we're loving this collection of Valentine's printables from the web - click HERE
2) Getting More Parents Involved: Your teacher will love having more time and more helping hands where they need them - free online sign up sheets with reminders can help! Create a quick class party signup, invite parents to help with decorations, food, flatware, games, crafts and more - they can sign up from their computers or smartphones (and reminders keep everyone on track)!
3) Teacher Gifts: Small, simple tokens of appreciation show teachers how much they're loved on this special day. Don't miss these 10 Teacher Valentine's Gift Ideas or check out our teacher gift board on Pinterest, click HERE
4) 'Heart'y Snacks Kids Love: The great thing about Valentine's Day is that anything shaped like a heart works! Try vegetables like carrots that can easily be cut into heart shapes, or fruits where a heart cookie cutter gives you a healthy, sweet snack. More delicious ideas for Valentine's party snacks HERE.
5) Fun Games & Activities: Novelty candy hearts make for loads of fun games like Hearts Match Up, Can Toss and Bingo - click HERE for these great games. 'Find Your Heartmate' is a sweet game too that lets students practice their math, while these Valentines Word Games will keep language-learning and spelling a priority.
Your classroom Halloween or Fall party is just around the corner - are you ready? Start planning now in order to have a stress-free, festive Halloween party the whole class (and your teacher) enjoys!
Craft Projects: Plan a craft that can be easily completed in 10-15 minutes and fits with the suggested theme. Ensure the craft parent volunteer has EVERYTHING needed and brings full craft kits (glue, scissors, etc.), also a trash bag for clean up. Don’t assume the teacher will provide all items. Check out fun Fall crafts HERE
Party Favors: Hand out colorful, festive pencils, candy, Halloween stickers, erasers or other school supplies as party favors or as prizes for games.
Snacks: Keep it simple and portable, and plan extras for the teacher, staff and parent helpers. Are there allergies or school guidelines to consider? Pumpkin treats are always a hit – check out this blog post for 5 easy pumpkin snacks kids love!
Decorations: A colorful tablecloth, balloons, and hand-cut paper pumpkins are inexpensive and go a long way to making a room look festive. Add some spooky (but fun) Halloween music to complete the mood.
Memories: Pick a volunteer to take photos or videos of the party and share with the parents who could not come. Upload to a shared online album, private facebook page or class blog.
Relax and have fun! Your kids love having you help in their class. Halloween can be fun for everyone – including YOU!
Bonus: Get more class parents involved in the festive fun with free online sign up sheets! For class party signup templates, click here.
Here's to a fantastically planned class Halloween party and a safe and fun Halloween!
Pumpkins, parties and parent conferences, oh my! Make the most of your parent-teacher conferences this busy Fall season with these helpful Do's & Don'ts:
Do: Schedule classroom parents for conferences with free online signup sheets. Allow parents the convenience of signing up for their conference slot from their computer or smartphone; and rely on automated reminders to help everyone remember! More info here
Don't: Send a reply-all email to parents and expect not to stress out over sifting through 30 replies to schedule parents.
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Do: Offer ways for parents to attend remotely, i.e. via Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, in case their busy schedule or possible emergency prevents them from getting to the school.
Don't: Wait to the last minute for straggling parents to sign up; email them or message them from your VolunteerSpot parent-teachere conference signup with reminders to fill a slot or find a way to work with their schedule.
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Do: Use social media to get the word out about parent-teacher conferences. Tweet, facebook, include on the class blog and in the eNewsletter. More ideas here
Don't: Send a flyer home with students and expect it not to get lost in the shuffle.
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Do: Be prepared for each conference to discuss the individual student in a positive and encouraging way. Remember, it's a collaborative conversation with parents, not a tell-all. More tips here
Don't: Find yourself struggling to remember specifics you want to discuss with parents. Jot down notes for each conference and be prepared with these extensive resources for teachers here
The Back-to-School mania doesn't have to be so crazy! When it comes to coordinating and communicating with school parents, VolunteerSpot's free online signup sheets and parent scheduler simplifies the process and saves schools (and parents) hundreds of hours just getting organized! See how:
1. Back to School Night: Online signups are a must-have at Back-to-School night! Get more parents involved and on track by signing them up on the spot with VolunteerSpot's "Clipboard" app for iPad, or by simply sharing your online sign up links on your social channels and BTS Night materials. Back to School Night tips HERE
2. Classroom Helpers: Save hours coordinating classroom volunteer calendars and forget reply-all emails. Parents will LOVE teachers and room parents who utilize online signup sheets that let them commit on their own time from the convenience of their computer or smartphone. Plus, automated Reminders will keep everyone on track.
3. Organizing Committees: Prepare for the school year by encouraging parents to signup for areas they are interested in, like yearbook, fundraisers, media center, and more - with quick committee picker signup sheets. Click HERE for free signup sheet examples and best practices for coordinating your school committees.
4. Fundraisers: Fall carnivals, festivals, concession booths & auctions take a ton of hands-on support. Boost profits and turnout with VolunteerSpot's school volunteer scheduler. More volunteer support gets more parents involved, contributing, and turning your events into a huge success.
5. Going Green: More and more schools are turning their everyday classroom happenings and school events into eco-friendly activities with simple acts like ditching paper signup sheets and volunteer updates and organizing online. More 'green' ideas HERE
6. Library/Lunchroom Volunteers: School budget cuts and hiring freezes means a higher need for parents to help supervise recess, the media center and hot lunch programs. Save tons of time scheduling a whole semester of parent volunteers with free online volunteer calendars, click HERE
7. Fall Sports Snack Schedules: Last-minute trips to the grocery story and late night reminder phone calls are a thing of the past. With many football, soccer and baseball seasons underway, ongoing snack schedules are a cinch with VolunteerSpot's free parent snack scheduler, click HERE
8. On-the-Go: VolunteerSpot's updated mobile site and brand new iPhone and Android apps make contributing at Back-to-School a breeze! Check out more about VolunteerSpot on-the-go HERE
BONUS: Use VolunteerSpot at back-to-school and your school could win $1500! Details HERE
Technorati Tags: back to school, free classroom calendar, free online sign up sheets, online parent scheduler, online school calendar, online school volunteer calendar, online signup sheets, school signup sheets
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Going back to school reminds us of notebooks full of paper, colored flyers with the latest school updates & news being sent home, and countless sheets with math problems and vocabulary words. Is it possible to go back to school while still being eco-friendly? Of course it is! Even the tiniest of steps can make a huge different for the environment, and you can even save your school money on supplies. Keep reading to see what YOU can do to make this year a greener one!
more printing up sign-up sheets, use VolunteerSpot instead! All online, your free VolunteerSpot signup sheets & calendars keep classrooms paper free and get more parents involved with the convenience of signing up on their own time from their computer or smartphone. Automated 'green' email reminders help keep everyone on track too!
2. Encourage your families to attend your fall carnival/festival with their own reusable bag from home. Entice them with prizes or extra tickets just for being eco-friendly.
3. Make every school event a chance to recycle. Have apporpriate bins set up at big school functions and committee meetings (for bottles, paper, etc). Also be sure to encourage families to use their own mugs and cups for their coffee, juices, and hot chocolate at school community nights and fundraisers.
4. Change up your usual fundraisers for ones that feature “green” products like reusable labels, flower bulbs, all natural products, and fair trade coffees or chocolates. A new repertoire can be exciting for school families, help raise more money, and promote an Earth-friendly mindeset.
5. Start a Green Team! This team of parents and staff can help reduce, reuse, and recycle in every aspect of school and really make a difference. To make things easy, you can use VolunteerSpot to organize the members and their duties. Check out green team ideas and signups, click HERE