If you work as a teacher at a year-round school, then you know how long the summers can feel! The heat can make me feel exhausted, sluggish, and unmotivated, as I daydream of beach vacations and strawberry daquiris. And so in the past couple of weeks, I have tried to incorporate a little bit of summer fun into the classroom and the shelves. Here are three things I am doing (or have just started doing) in my classroom this summer that have helped make the dog days a little less monotonous and little more exciting!
- Recycling art
The children in my class make art like they’re getting paid to do it. I have PILES of papers on which they have painted, colored, scribbled, stamped, glued, etc. I send home so much artwork everyday! While I typically send each child’s art work home, it has gotten to the point where I have stacks of unclaimed art work with no name, and I’m left guessing who has done what. I’ve tried to reuse paper by encouraging children to color on the back of it, but my toddlers are very particular about wanting a completely blank piece of paper for their canvas…so then I decided I’d need to get creative. I have started to cut up all the unclaimed art into small pieces and shapes to be used for a gluing work, where the child can arrange the shapes and create a totally NEW piece of art. I have also started using some of unclaimed art as notecards; maybe with a quote, a short note, or a small design to send home to parents or coworkers. I am excited to see what other ways I can recycle art in my classroom!
2. Beach Bag
I have spent a lot of my summer dreaming of lying on the beach…SO I decided to bring the beach to my classroom! I created a “beach bag” work which I put on my Practical Life Shelf (though it could also go on a Sensorial or Language Shelf too!). The work is a beach bag, and inside is a small towel which the children roll out, a pair of sunglasses, a hat, a (empty!) bottle of sunscreen for the children to open and close, a seashell, and some photos of the beach. This work just makes me so happy! I love seeing the children relax on the towel and listen to the seashell!
3. More nature!
I see a lot of my toddler friends smuggling leaves, sticks, and rocks into the classroom in their pockets. I typically remind them to “leave nature outside,” but I have just started a “nature box” where they can put any bits of nature that they find and bring it into the classroom. (I tell the children to find things that have fallen, or are already on the ground, as I don’t want to encourage them to pick at plants or flowers.) I am excited to do this throughout the year, and observe as a class how nature changes with the seasons!
How do YOU make the most of your summer?