Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Ready for Fall

Fall is just around the corner. Days will be getting shorter and hopefully cooler. School will begin again and before you know it you will be in full swing. Before you get caught up in the day to day of running program, work with your team and set your goals for the year. What is it that you want to accomplish? At the end of the year, what do you want the results of your year’s work to be? This is the perfect time to make this decision. Here are some thoughts about things you might want to accomplish—ranging from the simple to more complex.
100% Attendance: This is a great goal and one you must be working toward from before day one. You need to get ahead of the goal and then maintain it until the final day of programming. If you will take a look at your average daily attendance each week, you will be able to determine what you need to do to achieve and/or maintain the magic 100% number. The goal should be monitored each week by the ADA, however, your strategies may need to change to ensure that you have achieved the number.
80% of homework assignments are completed daily or weekly: If this is your goal think about how homework comes to the after-school program. If the homework is in a packet, you will need to put some things in place to measure this goal. Weekly you could tally how many students completed the homework on time. It would be written that 18/20 students completed homework on time (which would be 90%), and then collect data week over week to ensure your success. Needless to say, if the numbers start to drop you will have to put some strategies in place to ensure that homework is completed during program.
80% of students will participate in a minimum of 1 community service projects: This sort of goal would mean that you would need to take the lead on working with students at each grade level to go through the planning process for the community service project, and then develop a plan for implementation and debriefing. Perhaps you would focus on one grade level or classroom per month, and work your way through the individual projects with the students. Take some time to debrief not only the project but the learning along the way to the completion of the project and a reflection on how each student was affected by the project.
Take advantage of this “down time” to plan forward. Setting goals before school begins can provides you the time to be thoughtful.

Not so usual celebration…
July 30th is National Cheesecake Day. Twenty years ago, cheesecake was not the most popular of desserts, but now, a week without cheesecake is like a week without sunshine. One restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, takes pride in offering over 30 different types of cheesecake. These ultimate desserts include fresh strawberry, ultimate red velvet, chocolate, white chocolate-raspberry truffle, Godiva, banana cream, peanut butter cup and fudge ripple, white chocolate caramel and macadamia nuts, lemon raspberry cream cheese, chocolate-coconut cream, tiramisu, to name just a few. Wouldn’t it be great to have a taste test?
Activity for kids…
Actually, the taste test could be implemented in this activity. Have kids create a graph of the results and then have students work cooperatively in teams to “convince” another team during a Cheesecake Debate that their flavor of cheesecake is the best. If there is a Cheesecake Factory near you, request a donation of a sampling of a variety of cheesecakes for the taste test. There are other restaurants who serve cheesecake as well that may be willing to provide the samples. Share the results of the taste test with the donor.

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