Time for back to school! Here's a roundup of the best posts I've found.
Our school year has started well, and we're adjusting to new routines. I went to the first day of school with Saul at Burns Park, met a bunch of parents at the PTO coffee, and am eagerly awaiting the new school directory so we can know who our new neighbors and schoolmates are. Days have changed, wake up time has changed, pretty much everything says school and not summer.
I went through a bunch of back-to-school stuff on the net - mostly not the back-to-school shopping things, but the first week of school stuff - and pulled out a bunch of highlights relevant to this year.
When you’re putting together the perfect family schedule, you have to do more than just tack up a Puppy Of The Month calendar on the wall.
The Regular Schedule
Book clubs. Soccer practices. Or, if you’re like us, physical therapy appointments. Some appointments are regularly scheduled, and the times don’t change week-to-week, but rather month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter. Rather than write down the same information every week, have one whiteboard or poster board with everybody’s regular schedule Mon – Sun.
Let us know your thoughts. Send us your organizational questions to answer. Yourlife@getbuttonedup.com
Deb and I maintain our calendars two different ways - hers is paper, mine is mostly electronic - and there are enough standing dates on the calendar that this sounds like a great idea.
2. Lifehacker's Gina Trapani posts Top 10 Back to School Tools for the Organized Student
Top 10 Back to School Tools, #9: Perfect your note-taking skills this semester—get a primer on how to take study-worthy lecture notes using the Cornell method, and customize and print Cornell templates to get started.
I've written about Cornell Notes before, but somehow missed Ryan Stewart's Cornell-Notes.com. The template is nifty. Another nifty thing I've found recently in the print-your-own-pages world is Page Packer for making pocket-sized books from PDF files.
3. Cool Mom Picks Back to School Guide 2007 is a shopping guide. Saul ended up with a new used bike (garage sale plus brake work rehab at Ann Arbor Cyclery) and new backpack from Land's End. Cool Mom Picks found this source for book plates to put in your books from One Good Bumblebee:
Library card bookplates are so so cool, and help insure that the books your kids brings to school come home with them too.
4. Parent Dish's Angie Felton notes that here in Michigan schools start after Labor Day (to make sure that tourist dollars flow freely) and unearths this fun MasterCard commercial on the backpack theme:
Lisa Wever Koski, a Miami-Dade teacher, is surprised that more people don't use this simple tool -- a monthly calendar. She prints hers from the computer, attaches a magnetic strip and hangs it on the refrigerator where everyone will look at it several times a day. She puts all family members' activities, meetings, appointments and birthdays on it. ``I see that kids do not consult their parents about their schedules. They will sign up for an activity, pay the fee, then back out because they didn't know it was their grandmother's birthday.''
6. Techmama's Beth Blecherman wrote What Tech Gadgets do K-8 Grade School Students Need? this spring. She notes the technology standards in the classroom in Silicon Valley schools:
Starting in 1st grade, schools with computer labs allow children to spend time creating pictures on computers. In second grade students start to do research for projects using the school computer lab. Before third grade they are allowed to store files on the school's hard drive related to the work they are doing in a computer lab. In 4th grade, the school tech office creates private (password protected) folders for students to store their work. I have heard some students using word processing or spreadsheet software for school projects as early as 3rd grade but defintely by 4th.
Saul, who is starting 2d grade, has been using a computer for a while now - some of his drawings of Ann Arbor Fairy Doors are up on Flickr.
7. BlogHer '06 keynote speaker Jennifer Satterwhite posts The sigh heard 'round the world. Back to school time! with a roundup of first week of school mom experiences.
It's that time of year again. Back to school. Some Moms are thrilled. Some Moms unsure. Some are just in a state of shock over the hit the wallet takes. One thing consistent about it all: there are moans from kids heard around the country that their summer is ending. But the Moms? Ahhhh, the Moms have other ideas.
Personally, I always get a bit freaked out as if it was my first day of school when they start up. But that probably has more to do with the fact that they have not yet instituted a "start at noon" school day with our public school system. Now that would rock my socks off! Alas, my cries to let my kids (and when I say my kids, I of course mean me) sleep in late and then go to school.
8. ModernMom's Lolita Carrico Back to School Dos & Don'ts
DO plan a get together with other families before school starts. Get a class contact list from the school and invite the parents and kids over for a play date. My friend, Laurie, invited new classmates to her daughter's birthday party (which happened to fall two weeks before the first day of school) -- it presented the perfect opportunity for the parents to get to know one another and for the kids to get to know each other before the big day.
The Burns Park PTO organized a picnic at the playground for each of the incoming classes, and we all had a great time talking to the other 2d grade parents. I'm organizing our Math / Science Night this year - and the PTO has an event calendar that it looks like you can subscribe to with iCal.
I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.
The winning bid was $142.51 (with 53 bids), which just goes to show you how much writing well can help you.
10. It wouldn't be back to school without a discussion of how schools and school programs get funded. The Ann Arbor Public Schools Education Foundation gives grants system-wide for programs - the deadline for applications by teachers is October 5, 2007. - and is embarking on a major campaign to raise private funds to support public education. Ann Arbor Parents for Schools is group of AAPS parents who are worried about the funding problems our schools face and the consequences this has for our kids and our community.
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