Project? Check!

I have a long history of having a great idea, jumping in without enough forethought or preparation, and ending up abandoning it. There are good ideas I do manage to complete, but the percentage is not impressive. Today I managed to improve my batting average. Of course, that’s mostly because there was outside influence pushing me to pull this one off…

About a month ago I created a GoFundMe campaign as a part of their Teacher Appreciation Week promotion. My goal was to create summer bags for kids with things to help them keep learning all summer. Many of our students do not have summer camp or travel or similar experiences during the summer. We often see summer slide with our students and I was looking for a way to make that less of an issue.

Thanks to generous donors we were able to create bags for 55 kids today. We gave bags to students in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. The thought was to aim these at students who were old enough to be independent in their use of the materials.

We had books for readers who are just getting started up to middle grade novels and nonfiction.

Every student got a spiral notebook, colored pencils, a pen, and a drawing notebook.

Every student got a bag they could use to gather their goodies. They got to decorate their bags if they wanted.

Two bookmarks for every student.

Two pencils for each student.

Every student got two ten-sided dice and directions for math games using them.

More books

Even more books

Several of the math games work best if recorded. We laminated them, in English on one side and Spanish on the other, and gave the kids dry erase markers so they could use them again and again.

This morning we brought the kids in by grade level to create their bags. They decorated. They picked out four books each. They picked a spiral notebook and a drawing notebook. They got copies of the math games and picked out dice and dry-erase markers. They got bookmarks and pencils. They walked out with a tote bag full of fun (I hope).

It was a bit crazy, but two colleagues were fabulous and gave up their time to help out. The kids were thrilled. Multiple kids said, “This is fun!” which is what we hope they’ll keep saying all summer. One fifth grade girl cracked me up as she was picking out dice and markers and said, “I feel like I’m shopping at the mall!”

Getting all the materials actually went pretty smoothly. The math games, however, were my snag on this one. I ordered the dice and the markers, but procrastinated on putting together the games. Luckily we have fabulous folks at school who translated the games for me quickly (for which I totally owe them). I made the copies of the games and laminated them yesterday. But I didn’t have time to cut them out before leaving school for an event. This morning I was beginning to panic. Getting everything set up before my students arrived (as I wouldn’t have free time between their arrival and our distribution) would be time consuming enough without needing to cut out hundreds of laminated pages. I got one game done but knew that was it. So I cut the other games into sets of eight and enlisted the help of my 3rd graders.

At least fifteen of my kids started their day cutting out laminated pages. They thought it was fun. Thank goodness.

Now if I can just remember how good it feels to actually complete a project the next time I get in over my head…

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