National Parks Month – A Learning Experience for Students


national parks month

In honor of National Parks Month in August, I wanted to share an experience I had this summer that I believe can make a difference to many generations of students.

This June, I was fortunate to be able to visit two of our country’s National Parks. It was a trip I dreamed about ever since I was young. My husband and I were finally fortunate enough to be able to make the journey a reality. Some may be lucky to live close to and have access to visit and to take children or students to a national park, but for those who don’t, having the parks come to you may be more realistic then you imagined. Continue reading

Watercolor Resist Art with Writing Lesson for Students



Objective: To visually inspire writing through textured resist art mediums

Age: 5+

Time: 30-45 minutes (writing varies)

Grades: Kindergarten +



Lesson for Crayon & Glue Resist Art

  1. Choose a topic to illustrate using masking tape or liquid glue.
  2. Choose the desired size of paper. Lighter shades will allow the ‘resist’ to appear easily.

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Across the USA Theme – State of South Dakota


state of south dakota

Recognize South Dakota – the Across the USA state theme for August – by providing your residents with activities that relate to the Mount Rushmore state, including Native Americans, the Black Hills, and a few local South Dakota events.

Native Americans

Since South Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations, with nine official tribes, provide activities throughout the month that educate your residents about Native American culture. For instance, as a one-on-one activity, schedule a personal Native American History Class for one of your residents using a social studies book that you and your resident can read together. If your resident is a bit crafty, however, start a two-person Beading Club for the two of you to use a bead starter kit to make beautiful Native American beads. Consider selling the finished beadwork at your next Crafts Fair.

south dakotaFor your larger groups, plan several fun Native American crafts, like a Dream Catcher Weaving activity, in which you assist residents with crafting their own dream catchers. Another crafting option is to involve the men in a fun Woodshop Class activity to have the men paint wooden canoes that can be given to their grandkids as summer gifts.

Additionally, teach residents a few Native American art techniques. For example, schedule Sand Art on your activity calendar to teach residents the art of sand painting. Use the images, glue, and colored sand that come in the kit to show residents how to create beautiful Native American-style art pieces. Furthermore, besides doing sand art, schedule a Native American Lacing Class to teach residents how to lace Native American mandalas. Continue reading

6 Afternoon Treats to Keep Residents Cool This Summer


summer seniors

With summer at its hottest during July and August, be creative with how to keep your residents cool during the summer. Try out a few of these afternoon treat parties at your facility.

  1. Popsicle Run

Grab a box of small popsicles and go on a popsicle run through your facility, passing out popsicles to passersby. During the summer, consider having a themed popsicle run each week that’s features a different flavor, like grape, cherry, and lime.

  1. Snow-Cone Bar

Turn an area of your Activity Room into a snow-cone bar, and invite residents to stop by to sample the snow cones. Make the snow cones to order using snow-cone cups, snow-cone syrup, and crushed ice. If you have diabetic residents, use sugar-free syrup so that all your residents can enjoy. Continue reading

Getting the Grant – How to Strengthen Your Grant Proposal


grants proposal

Strengthening Your Grant Proposal – Emulate Successful Programs

The grant proposals with the greatest chance of being funded are the ones the grant readers believe have the best chance of being successfully implemented. In other words, if you are able to convince those reading and evaluating your grant proposal that you will actually be successful in correcting the problems you address in the proposal, you are much more likely to be awarded the grant money.

Any grant program is essentially a change program. There are two ways to increase the likelihood of success in any change program. The first is to copy a program that is already successful as closely as possible. The second is to pilot a small change program of your own first and then seek grant money to expand it based on the success you achieved in your pilot program. When I was principal of a middle school in Northeast Texas, we were able to capture grant money in both ways. We copied what neighboring schools were doing successfully, and we also set up successful pilot programs that we later expanded with grant money.

If you are going to write a grant based on the success of another school, it is important that you have similar populations and similar problems to overcome. It doesn’t help to say you are going to improve your reading scores just like an adjacent school when that school’s students were one grade level behind in math and yours are two grade levels behind in reading, and that school has 20% at-risk students when you have 60%. The problems don’t match, and the student populations don’t match. A grant reader would have no reason to believe you would achieve similar success.

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