After our crazy-successful Smart Summer Challenge, I needed a little week-long offline vay-cay to say the least!
Our Smart Summer Challenge was a smashing success (woo-hoo!), but blogging daily for six straight weeks had me just about nutty by the time I hit day 42. So a quick trip to Florida to do some work and a whole lot of time at home with family in the Keystone State was just what the doctor ordered.
And now that summer’s end is near, we’re starting to look more seriously toward the new school year.
Back-to-school shopping can certainly be a headache–don’t get me wrong–but as I’ve said before, with three kids who all have lists o’plenty, rather than fight it, I’ve decided to roll with it. And make the event a fun learning experience as well.
So today, Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I were ready to get back in the swing of things and get ourselves prepared for the upcoming school year. We hit the stores early, school supply lists in hand, to beat the crowds, and we really made a morning of it.
Minus an item or two on each list, we’re ready as far as supplies go. Here’s the skinny:
- Back-to-School Shopping with Three Crazy-Cool Kids: I printed out lists for Maddy (grade 2), Owen (Kindergarten), and Cora (pre-K) last night, and I gave them their lists at breakfast. (And here’s a blank school supply list if you’d like to make your own!)
We read them together, and we chatted about what items we had at home (not many) and what we needed to buy. The lists had item names and quantities. We compared items on each list, and we figured out who needed the most and who needed the least.
Then I pulled out some of the weekend sales circulars, and we figured out the best place to go.
Owen, standing backwards, on the back of the cart. His arm looks crazy, I know. We’re lucky he didn’t knock his teeth out.
We finished eating, jumped in the car, and off we went–the earliest bird shoppers ever!
Heading directly to the school supply area, we made zero stops until we were surrounded by pencils, pens, markers, and paper. It was bliss. We started with crayons, 24-count box of Crayola. Maddy and Owen gathered the number they needed, put them in the cart, and checked them off of their lists.
It was awesome having the kids hold their own lists; they were responsible for what they needed, and it took some of the pressure off of me to juggle three lists, three kids, and tons of supplies.
We shopped for a while, but before we moved sections of the store, we stopped for a snack. Popcorn and juice boxes–the snack of champions. Eating helped us re-group and re-focus. When we were finished, we knew exactly where we needed to go and what we were looking for.
Tons of happy, brand-new school supplies. . .
Once we gathered everything we could, we took our supplies to the car. Maddy wanted to look at some books, so we moseyed around the bookstore for a bit, and then we headed back to the house.
After lunch, I labeled a paper bag with each kiddo’s name, and I spread out the supplies on the floor. We took one last look at lists, and we loaded their bags.
. . . waiting for a new year to begin.
(Fyi, after lunch, Owen was ‘dressed up’ in his ‘fanciest’ outfit–a size too small–by Maddy.)
It was a smart final re-read for everyone. Even Cora by the third read knew the first few items on her list, if not by memory then by looking at the first letter and making that letter-sound-word connection. And Owen got tricky ‘scissors’ himself the last time–woo-hoo!
So school supplies are checked off, and we’re ready to hit the next item on our preparing for school list: Hello Teacher Notes–one of our faves!!
The re-reading we did today reminds me of a really fab piece I read by Lori Oczkus (Fluency Survival Tips: Guidelines and TOP 5 Strategies for Developing Fantastic Reading Fluency, Best Ever! Literacy Survival Tips; IRA: February 2010). Oczkus maintains that ‘repeated readings are a motivating, supported, and easy way to improve reading fluency’ (p 3), and she’s totally on the spot. And I’m all about motivating and easy.
Though fluency involves several components, this one hugely important element involves re-reading. So even though Maddy, Owen, and Cora weren’t reading texts today, their authentic repeated reading of the items on their school supply lists count, and even if they each gained one or two new words–it’s something.
Hooray for the sneaky learning in our day–and happy re-reading!
Love this idea. Over the summer we did something similar with a packing list. My older son is a preschooler and a pre-reader but he started to “recognize” words after the repeated readings of the list to ensure we had everything we needed for our trip. It was a pretty basic list but he was very motivated to read it repeatedly and I could tell it made him feel like an important member of our family with the responsibility of checking the list and grabbing the items. Your site is awesome and I look forward to learning more wonderful ideas. Thanks!
LOVE this, Jenn! Its the same deal it seems–and the re-read, even in a list–is so powerful! Thanks for writing, my friend, and let’s stay in touch!