Thursday, May 5, 2016

Making It To Summer Series: Part 1

Okay teacher friends - be honest, how many of you are counting down until summer vacation?  I know I am!  As my superintendent said this past weekend, "these are the dog days of education," and we need any help we can get to make it to summer.

So I've got a 4-part blog series with ideas and products I have created that can help you make it until summer vacation.  Finish your year out with a bang and don't lose all your hair!

Part 1 of my Making It To Summer series is all about counting down the last 10 (or more if you want) days of school with my Surfin' Into Summer QR Code Countdown.

You have probably seen all of the Pinterest ideas for counting down to summer and doing a fun activity each day.  My first couple years of teaching, I did the balloons and put all the activities in balloons and displayed on a bulletin board in my classroom. 

It looked great and all Pinterest-y - at first.  That is, until the balloons all started to deflate.  So, I had to come up with a new idea that wouldn't involve delating balloons.  About this time, QR codes were making their big debut in education, so I incorporated this technology into our countdown to summer.

Each afternoon we would use one of our classroom iPads to scan the QR code for the next day's activity.  I scan it the afternoon before so that if students need to bring something to school, like sunglasses or a beach towel, the next day, they know to bring it in the morning.

There are over 25 activities that you can choose from for your countdown to summer.  I always countdown the last 10 days, but with all these fun activities - you could count down for the last 25 or more days of school!

What's included in this product you ask?
First there are display posters (pictured above).  If you do not wish to use the QR codes, you could use these posters to display in your classroom.  This does take the "mystery" out of the Summer Countdown, but I know teachers use products in different ways so the posters are included.  These posters are the same images that the QR codes will link to when scanned.

Now to the QR codes!
I have included two display options for the QR codes.  The first option is just surfboards with the QR codes.  Print and cut out the surfboards to hang in your classroom.  My first year, I hung these in my classroom windows.

The second option is a beach scene with Day # (blank) so that you can write down which activities yo want to do each day.  This is the option I am using this year in my classroom.  For now, they are hanging on my whiteboard, until I decide where I want them to be permanently as we get closer to our 10 Day countdown.  With my kiddos knowing how to scan QR codes with their iPads, I need them to be a little higher and "out of the way" to ensure my kids aren't scanning QR codes to reveal the secret activities.

Do you do a countdown to summer with your kiddos?  When school is so stressful now with assessments and having to "make the grade", I enjoy getting to spend the last few days of school doing fun and happy activities with my kiddos - because that's what I want them to remember about our time together.

Come back Sunday afternoon for Part 2 of 4 in my Making It To Summer series.  Up next - End of Year bucket gifts and summer games!

Happy Friday-eve friends! 

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