Monthly Archives: June 2010

Teaching Best Practices: We want to know YOURS!

Hi there, fellow teachers! So, it’s summertime. Time to breathe a little, swim a little, play a little…and think about next year’s lessons, goals and plans a little. (Come on, you know you’re a sicko who’s already planning for next year, too. I’m not the only one, right? Right??)

To help us think about the best practices and ideas we use in our classrooms (or want to use next year), The School Box is sponsoring a little giveaway on A Learning Experience. One person will win a $50 School Box gift card. AND- 10 more will win $10 gift cards! Here’s how to enter:

  • Simply comment on this post, sharing your favorite teaching idea or best practice.
  • It can be ANYthing you do that you like: a morning work idea, cooperative learning idea, classroom organization idea, fun project, creative assessment method, awesome field trip, favorite read-aloud book, questioning technique, writing projects or tips, creative ways to teach math, science lab ideas, ways to incorporate the arts…the sky is the LIMIT. Anything that you do that you like, share it! You never know who you may inspire.
  • And, goodness knows, two heads are better than one. So, if we put all our collective heads together, think of the genius ideas we could glean for our classrooms in the fall!

So, come on, teachers! Take a minute, type a comment, and share your wisdom. One idea will be selected by our editor to win the $50 gift card, and 10 other ideas will be selected to win $10 gift cards. Winners will be announced on July 5 on A Learning Experience.


Filed under Uncategorized

Can’t Get to the Beach? Create Your Own at Home!!

Comment on this post to win a $20 School Box gift card! (2 comments will win!)

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

Whether you’re headed to the beach soon and want to anticipate the fun–or you’ve already come home and want to recreate the experience with your little ones–I’ve got a great book for ya!

It’s called Sand and Water Play, by Sherrie West and Amy Cox. It contains easy, creative activities to do at home with a sand and water table, as well as fun ideas for creative play using household items like birdseed, shaving cream, ice cubes and rock salt. Activities include questions to ask during play, to reinforce the educational benefits of the activities. Recipes for homemade silly putty and bubbles round out the ideas and promise many afternoons of summertime fun–even without a trip to the beach.

To get you inspired, here are some questions to ask while children are playing with sand and water:

  • How does the sand feel when it’s dry?
  • What happens when we add water to the sand?
  • Now how does it feel?
  • What can you build out of the sand?
  • What tools can you use/find to move the sand around?
  • What items (rocks, small toys) can you hide in the sand?
  • What would happen if you closed your eyes and tried to locate the items in the sand?
  • What would happen if we filled a zip-top bag with water?
  • How does the bag feel?
  • Now, what would happen if we poked a small hole in the bag?
  • What if we poked several holes?
  • If we fill a bowl with water, what can we get to float in it?
  • What will sink?
  • Why do you think some things float while other sink?

Want a free copy? Comment on this post, and you could win a $20 School Box gift card. Since School Box carries the book for only $12.95, you could get a copy…and have money for some other fun gizmos and books, too!


Filed under Academic Success, Free Stuff!, Parenting, Summer Learning, Uncategorized

Summer Learnin’ Part 3: Bubbles in the Backyard!

This is part 3 in our series on fun Summer Learnin’ ideas! Click here and here for part 1 and part 2.
by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

Comment on this post to receive a $20 School Box Gift Card!!

Nothing says summer quite like…BUBBLES! So, pull out the kiddie pool and strap on the water wings. It’s time for a wet romp in the backyard, with the highlight being giant homemade bubbles! Below is our favorite bubble recipe, along with three fitting books about bubbles (to make it all educational, of course!).

First, here’s how to make some rockin’ homemade bubble stuff:

Homemade Bubble Stuff

1 cup water
4 Tablespoons dishwashing liquid
2 Tablespoons light karo syrup (or 2 Tablespoons glycerin)

Mix all of the ingredients together. That’s it!

For more bubble recipes, see

Now, it’s time to find a bubble wand. Be creative with household items! A few to try:

cookie cutters
fly swatters
a metal coat hanger bent into a circle (watch for sharp ends)
a silicone steaming basket
mason jar lid rings
a funnel
a potato ricer
the plastic rings that come around a 6-pack of soda

And, here are some of our favorite books about bubbles, to drive home those great text-to-life connections:

Pop! A Book About Bubbles. Available here at
Bubble Trouble. Available here at
Benny’s Big Bubble. Available here at
There you have it: everything you need for a fun-filled day of summer fun, with just enough learning thrown in to make you happy (and solidify your title as World’s Greatest Mom).


Filed under Parenting, Reading, reluctant readers, Summer Learning, Uncategorized

Summer Learnin’ Part 2: Library Scavenger Hunt!

This is Part 2 in our series on engaging (and easy!) Summer Learnin’ ideas. To read Part 1 (Fractions in the Kitchen), click here.

Comment on this post and you could win a School Box gift card! Two comments win each week.

by Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed.

It’s hot. The kids are bored. And you’re at your wits’ end. You need a fun activity to pass the afternoon, and you’d prefer one that’s educational…and FREE, right? Well, we’ve got a ringer for ya. Take your kids on a library scavenger hunt! Here’s how it works:

  1. Print this list (click here for a printable version) of books and items to find at the library.
  2. Head to the library and help your kids scour the shelves for all of the items on the list.
  3. When they’re done, they can check out the titles that interest them.
  4. If they successfully find all of the items on the list, reward them by letting them check out a DVD, too. Now you have free entertainment for tonight after dinner!
  5. Leave the library, feeling proud of yourself for providing a summer learning opportunity…in air conditioning…for no cash. You go, Super Mom.

Do you like this idea? Do you have your own good ideas for summer activities? If so, e-mail them to If we publish them on A Learning Experience, you receive a $35 School Box gift card!

1 Comment

Filed under Parenting, Reading, reluctant readers, Summer Learning, Uncategorized