Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fun Summer Recycling Ideas

Well, it is only the middle of June and I am missing my class very much. I am busily finding new ideas and looking for things that will make my class more exciting next year. One of the things that dawned on me the other day was our Sunday newspaper. I use the comic section to put on our tables, just to help a little with out painting/gluing messes. It is ssssoooo colorful and happy looking. I always keep the comics and any toy store ads (i.e., ToysRUs or Walmart) during the year but why not start during the summer. This way when school starts in a few months I'll have a big supply. My class loves to "read the newspaper" and look at the toy ads. One of my little boys even took his newspaper to read it, "just like his Dad"!!! ;) I have a couple of older neighbor so I've asked them to save their papers for me too. People love to help out, they just need to be asked.

Another thing I like to keep are the little plastic pudding and fruit cups. My Mom is always buying these since she's by herself now. These small container are perfect for her. It cuts down on her opening big cans and wasting food. She will rinse them out and keep them for me. Since our school buys glue in those HUGE contains, I use the plastic cups to put glue in. We use either paint brushes or Q-tips to spread our glue. Okay, we've been know to use our fingers too. But either way, we are fine-tuning our fine motor skills.

I also collect plastic bottle tops. They come in all different colors now and my class loves to separate and count them. I just dump them in a big box and let my class divide them up anyway they like. Some days it is by color, some days it is by size. You just never know!

Don't forget to save your paper towel rolls. I like them better than toilet paper rolls because well, they are bigger and hey, bigger is better! Paper towel rolls are good not only to make things with but, they are fun to roll over paint. My classes have always loved watching the paint squish around!

Don't forget about your old clothes. My class loves my "dress-up box". It is nothing but old clothes, scarves, hats and belts. I've found a few pairs of girlie pumps too for next year. Thrift stores are great, but if you ask your neighbors and friends, I'll bet you will get a bunch of goodies.

My last "got to save" item is fun boxes. WHAT?? You know really unique shaped boxes. I like to use real food boxes and containers in our kitchen center and during the school year I am always bringing them from home. BUT, sometimes I find really unique shaped boxes. I'll just have to store them until school starts.

My Gift

I've been teaching pre-school for many, many years. I'll be starting my 15th year soon, I think :) ! I have received a lot of gifts from students/parents in those years. Some of course, were sweet and very sentimental, like all the lovely pictures with sweet notes and the donations made to charities in my name. Some were absolutely hysterical, like the time one of my students brought me a refrigerator magnet - straight off her Mom's fridge! Some seemed a little strange to "ordinary people", like the patriotic dishtowel. But I understood it because this particular student LOVED talking about our country. But this year I received by far the sweetest most treasured gift. It was a scrapbook filled with pictures and quotes from my students! Oh my, there are no words in my vocabulary (and I talk a lot!) that are special enough to describe this gift. The creator of this book is a friend, co-worker and parent of one of my students. I often thought that she "got me" and my crazy, unorthodox teaching style. Now I know she truly understands me better than anyone I have ever know. She took the time to send home a questionnaire to each of my students and ask the parents to fill them out with the child's own words. The results are priceless. One of my favorites (and there are many, many) is "what does Mrs. Karen do when she isn't at school?" One of the answers, "she goes to New York." Hmmm, I've never actually been to New York but we did talk about it at school. It always seems that one student "likes my head, it always changes". I finally realized that she was referring to my hair, it does always change!

This gift is special to me in so many ways. Of course it helps me remember my students but it also reminds me of their joy and zest for learning. I will treasure this book for years to come. It is one of my most prized possessions. Oh, before I forget, I wanted to post pictures, but I can't. There are too many sweet faces and I don't want them posted on the internet. But trust me, the book is amazing!