Tag Archives: summer

The Teacher is Talking: Summer Literacy Fun


By Leslie Lindsay

It may be summer but your kiddos still need to stretch their brains.  Here’s a fun way to keep the words a coming!375cc-summer-reading-draft-031609

  • Visit your library and stuff a basket full of books.  Try some new genres!  My 8 year old daughter was found browsing in the juvenile history section. Her favorite selections–Ancient Egypt, and the history of the Titantic. 
  • Start a journal.  Pick one up at your favorite discount store.  Write in it everyday…simple things like what you did and where you went will suffice.  If you (or your child) feels like going deeper, go for it!
  • Make a list of your favorite foods, put them in ABC order.  Maybe it’s a list of all of your favorite summertime foods: corn on the cob, watermelon, pasta salad.  Ask your mom to make some of those favorite dishes as a way to count down the days.
  • Stage a scavenger/nature hunt, create a map, make a list of things to find.  Gather some friends and go!
  • Read a book to your younger siblings or neighborhood friends.  Can you be the teacher? 
  • Look for words in hidden places.  Can you find words within words on street signs, billboards, around town?  What about in the pile of junk mail (ask mom and dad what mail you can sort through, first).
  • Sort through some magazines and catalogs and create a collage.  Make it all the same color, or make theme be that everything starts with the same letter/sound.  Get really challenging and make the same color/same sound. 
  • Read anything today!  An instruction manual, the back of a cereal box, a magazine or newspaper…then write a one paragraph summary of what you read.
  • Grab a friend or a sibling and write summer time words on your driveway or sidewalk.  Or, make a list of all of the things you’d like to do this summer: eat ice cream, catch butterflies, go to the splash pad, play kickball…maybe even dream a little…go to Disney, run on the beach.  The possibilities are endless!
  • Write and then perform a short play.  Adapt this to make it like Reader’s Theatre (read the script/no need to memorize, no props). 
  • Observe the night sky.  We do this on “Firepit Friday.”  Have a bonfire, roast some marshmallows and lean back and look at the sky.  What’d you see?  Can you describe it in using a new array of adjectives? Shimmery?  Sparkly?  Vast?  Bring a dictionary or thesarus with you.

What other ideas do you have?  Share them, share them!! 

Class dismissed…

The Teacher is Talking: Establishing Rules for Summer


By Leslie Lindsay (image source: kidssummerprogram.com)

We try to be timely and topical here on “The Teacher is Talking,” so with that in mind, I’d like to share with you a little glimpse of our Sunday morning family meeting.  The topic:  summer rules and expectations. 

Kate, my 2nd grader and her little sister, Kelly (kindergarten) affectionately refer to themseleves as “red-year-olds,” are sitting around our round kitchen table grasping at breakfast items, lifing their skinny little bottoms up out of their chairs when my husband and I locked eyes across the table.  “I think it’s time to talk about summer rules and expectations,” he grumbled. 

That got the red-year-olds attention.  They sat down and looked at their daddy, “What do you mean?” 

“He means,” I pause and look to the girls, “That summer is not going to be a free for all.  We’ll have rules, boundaries…but also some fun.” 

The four of us mapped out some summer rules (we’ll call them expectations–it sounds less jail-like that way) and some fun challenges…as well as rewards/fun things to do. 

Here’s our Rule List: 

  • Use the garage door only.  (NO kitchen door, no front door)
  • Shoes have a place–in your bin in the laundry room.
  • Do not feed friends without asking first (their parents as well as yours–think allergies!)
  • Stay in sight of the house at all times.
  • If you go farther from house, ask an adult
  • Use the buddy system
  • You will given a warning before it’s time to come in.  Use that time to clean up and say good-bye to friends
  • You should spend at least 30 minutes a day reading or doing something academic

Fun Activities/Challenges:

  • Get all the way across the monkey bars (that’s for our kindergartner)
  • Read a Junie B. Jones book on own all the way through
  • Participate in an orienteering project created by dad
  • Okay, there’s more…just not remembering everything!

Rewards (girls earn points for completing the above challenges.  Points can be applied to rewards):

  • A trip to the rock climbing place
  • Bounce Town
  • Special 1:1 with a parent
  • Have a friend over
  • Go swimming
  • Slumber party
  • Go to the movies

The girls seem game for something like this.  Whew!  : )  Today, I stocked up on poster board, glitter glue pens, stickers, and markers.  Over the course of the next few evenings we’ll work on our boards and when summer’s out–we’ve got it in the bag!

Remember, keep your discussion about summer activities and expectations open, fun, and then post in a highly visual place (accessible)…because out of sight, out of mind!

Class dismissed! 



In My Brain Today: Hanging with the Hound


By Leslie Lindsay

I really wish I had more to report today.  Blame it on the heat, because my brain is just not funtioning like I think it should.  Not that it’s particularly brillant brain in the first place, but the heat is really dulling it down. 

The dishes are sitting in the sink a little longer than I’d like to admit.  The laundry has gone unfolded as it just sits in a heap inside the dryer.  (I don’t even want to turn the thing on to fluff up the garmets inside…more heat!).  And I really haven’t wanted to cook, either.  In fact, one night this past week I am sad to say, we had cereal for supper–although the kids thought that was great fun.  Today, it’s too hot to even go to the pool.  Instead, we are going to the library to finally sign up for the summer reading program, and then get hair cuts.  Because, who needs long hair when it’s 5 million degrees out?!

(image retrieved from www.fanpop.com on 7.05.12)Basset Hound  - basset-hounds Icon

All I want to do is read.  And nap.  And sit in a cool office to write.  And look lovingly down at my darling writing companion, Sally Mae who happens to be the best hound in town. 

For more information on the heat, how to protect yourself and stay cool, see these websites: 


In My Brain Today: The Kids Are Wearing Me Out!


By Leslie Lindsay

Today, we have an interview with Summer Sleuth and Worn Out Mom.  Summer Sleuth is on location chatting with Leslie Lindsay, mother of two (ages 5 and 7) in a southwestern ‘burb in the Chicagoland area.

Summer Sleuth:  The kids are home from school this summer.  What have you got planned?

Worn Out Mom:  We have a fun summer planned!  This week, the girls are in horseback riding camp for two hours.  Next week, it’s VBS at the old preschool.  The week after that, they go to Door County with their grandparents.  Later in July, we have Safety Town and art camp, plus some day camps at the YMCA. 

Summer Sleuth:  Sounds like you are really staying busy. 

Worn Out Mom:  Yes, we have to!  Without things to do, the girls go bonkers.  Then I do…which isn’t a pretty thing.

Summer Sleuth:  Tell us about a typical day for you all.

Worn Out Mom:   Well, it all starts with the early morning wake-up call from my oldest daughter (7 years).  She is an early riser. Really early.  It used to be that 7am was a “civilized hour” [for wake-up, established by me].  That is so over.  Now, it’s more like 5:30am.  Of couse, I am not into that.  She gets up and acts like a hooligan.  For example, this morning I was awoken at 6:12am when she told me she couldn’t find her [typically late-sleeping] sister.  She was in her bed all along.  Next, my shower is interrupted–the door was even closed–when my daughter demanded a [bottle of] sparkling tea be opened.  Hummm….let’s think about that…mom is in the shower!  Then, they were outside.  Outside!!  In their pajamas before 8am drawing with sidewalk chalk.  And wouldn’t come in when asked.  Then it was breakfast time…to which the oldest announced she wasn’t eating any because she already downed some Oreos!

Summer Sleuth:  All of that before breakfast?!

Worn Out Mom:  [Exasperated sigh] YES!!

Summer Sleuth:  What do you do? 

Worn Out Mom:  I lock ’em in their rooms and throw away the key…??!  [laughs].  No, seriously.  I take them to horseback riding camp.  Then I get a little breather while I sip coffee at Barnes & Noble. 

Summer Sleuth:  So, how did the morning end?  On a good note, I hope.

Worn Out Mom:  Well, my daughter told me she loved dad more than me.  [shrugs]. 

Summer Sleuth: Yikes.  How did you respond to that? 

Worn Out Mom: I told her the feeling is mutual.  No, not really.  I did the responsible thing and told her that I love her very much but I wasn’t a big fan of her behavior right now. 

Summer Sleuth:  And there you have it, parents who are worn out by summer already.  But to you in the studio…Chipper-Anchor-Woman-who-has-no-kids-and-looks-perfect.   

And that is what is in my brain today, Thursday June 14th 2012. 

[This “interview” for entertainment purposes only.]

In My Brain Today: Getting my Feet Wet…Again.


By Leslie Lindsay

I haven’t quite gotten my summer feet yet.  You see, mentally I am still stuck in March–maybe early April.  Why?!  I am not really sure.  Time has a way of sneaking up on you–damn, that linear time thing!  So, when my darling daughters said good-bye to the school year and hello to summer, I wasn’t quite ready.

My skin is still painfully white, speckled with cellulite and my toenails are definitely in a need of a coat some bright sunny shade.  I have no idea where the pool bag is hiding (well, I do now) and my legs are still a bit, well…amazonian.

Any “good” mom would have been joyfully counting down the days till summer break, scouring the house for all of the essential pool items–perhaps even making a trip to the store  (ahem, Target) for new summer accourements and just waiting, waiting for that last day of school so the kids could go to the pool.

Alas, I didn’t really do anything in preparation of the last day of school.  Save the last wail–mine, not theirs–as the school doors closed for the next 70 or so days.

Today, the chaos met me head-on.  I was tired of seeing things from Easter still littering my backdoor.  I was done with the backpacks full of a year’s worth of school supplies sitting idle in their cubbies in the laundry room.  The Mother’s Day cards still on display, not to mention the preschool graduation cards flocking our mantle…well, they all had to go!  I was ready.  I took charge.  I evaluated.  I tossed.  I saved.  I made notes on the back of cards, projects, stories, photos.  I made a pile of “to be laminated” (yep, that’s me–big nerd that I am!) and I even found the pool bag, complete with too-small cover-ups (theirs this time, not mine…despite the cellulite).

When it was all said and done, I felt better.  I looked back and thought, “Gee, I can breathe a little more.”

It’s not really finished.  I still need to compile things in the first grade journal–loose papers worthy of saving for some rainy day when my daughter asks, “I wonder what I did in 1st grade?”  Alas, I can haul out a tub or a binder and say, “Here!  Look!  It’s all been saved.”  (Well, maybe not all–but you get the idea).

And then we went to the pool.  And just when I think I have it all figured out, I realized I should have brought along some shampoo so I could just wash their hair in the locker room showers, in their swimming suits no less so I won’t have to mess around with it at home.  And then we had a little meltdown because it couldn’t possibly be time to go already.  (When you have two fair-skinned redheads, it’s always time to get out of the sun).

I am still not really sure if I have my summer feet. 

And that is what is in my brain today, Thrusday June 7th 2012.