DEILAB, A STEM Curriculum, Comes to S&S

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DEILab trainingAnother day, another training. “DEILab is offering a workshop and we want you to come build this tower, and while you’re at it learn about STEM,” they said.

“Ugh, math and science,” I said. I wanted the opportunity to create, build, and play. Not do math. I hate math! I WAS WRONG. There I said it. Learning from the STEM curriculum with DEILab was great!

I was still able to create, build, and play while working with a teammate. The biggest problem was learning that my teammate for the afternoon was A YANKEE fan. Go figure, that a Yankee fan and a Red Sox fan could communicate and work together as part of something strong and beautiful. While having fun we were able to help attain the goal of Continue reading



A Few of our Favorite Paper Crafts

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We love paper crafts! How could we not with over 300 paper products available in our warehouse. Wow! That’s a lot of paper right? There are endless possibilities for paper creations and we are inspired by so many of them. What was once a blank canvas for crayons, markers, and glued on craft accessories is now a 3-D masterpiece, a favorite Finding Nemo character, or even a fancy Alice in Wonderland themed top hat. So here are some of our favorite paper crafts, hand picked by some of our crafty associates who just like us, love their paper!

Colorful Construction Paper Spinning Hot Air Balloon Craft

Paper Crafts Hot Air BalloonWe absolutely love this idea from Crafty Morning! This craft is great for both the young and old. Who doesn’t love hot air balloons? Using just string, toilet paper rolls, and paper – you can make one too!

Origami Paper 3D Diamonds

Paper Crafts DiamondsWhat a gem this craft is! Can you believe this is paper? Believe it or not, Minnieco has a pretty easy tutorial and printable template for making them. Use our origami paper to achieve the best results!

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Create a Colorful Indoor Sand Garden!

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indoor sand garden

Air Plants and Succulents have become increasingly popular lately – and its no surprise because they are almost completely indestructible – and oh so adorable!

We’ve teamed up with Mel Arledge from Indoor Gardens by Mel, an Air Plant and Succulent Terrarium Artists/Designer from sunny San Diego, to bring you this awesome step by step picture tutorial on creating your very own colorful indoor sand garden! Here’s how she makes these beautiful creations.  When you’re done, head to Mel’s Instagram to get some inspiration.

Materials:
Terrarium Sand
Glass or Plastic Terrarium Bowl
Air Plant or Succulent

Colorful Indoor Sand GardenThe first step is to decide which colors to use! For this specific design, I chose bright colors that pop!

Indoor Sand Garden

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Received Your First After School Grant, Now What?

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You’ve received your first after school program grant! Now what?

The grantor was very generous and has promised to help you keep going throughout the next school year. Awesome! Yes, celebrate, but your work is not done. Many school grant writers never ask the question of what should I do to keep my grant going past the school year, until it’s too late. The school year goes by, the program is a great success, how can we keep this going?

This is not an article for a once in a lifetime program.

This is for the after school program you want to keep, because it’s aligned so beautifully with your school day curriculum and mission statement (you have a mission statement for your school, right?). How will you secure funding to keep it going past the witching hour?
The answer is to make it part of your school day plan. Each time you write for funding for a program in your school, you need to weave your after school needs into the budget. The success of this strategy depends on the transparency of the weave. You need to be sure grantors understand that your after school program is a key and crucial part of your overall curriculum plan. After awhile, this becomes second nature but now is the time to grasp the importance of this concept.

In your first grant narrative, you have all the information you need to apply for more.

By all means, prepare an update for the current grantor. During the school year you should develop a newsletter or website (or both) for the after school activities you promote. (If you do not have the time to start a website or newsletter, we would love to feature your stories on our blog that you can share to your grantor and community. Let us know it the comments below if this is something you would like to do.). Start a mailing and email list for its dissemination. You are polishing your brand, your school identity, and you want everyone to know what it is and how it’s working for your students. Be sure to include information that explains how it’s aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSSI). If your state is not an adopter of those standards, outline the standards embraced by your state. This underscores the careful planning you’ve done to assure its success in improving academic achievement in your school. If you’re thinking, “well this program isn’t for that purpose, we just want the kids to have fun”, be prepared for it to be a one-time thing. Grantors are universally aware of standards and want to know their investment is going to support students in their community to become useful members of their workforce. Continue reading



School Year Resolution Giveaway *UPDATED*

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School year giveaway banner website

Dear Teachers – This giveaway is for you!

“This school year, my resolution is to…”

We are giving away a total of $2,500 to 13 lucky winners! One winner will be chosen to receive a $1,000 S&S E-Gift Card, two winners will be chosen to receive a $250 S&S E-Gift Card, and ten winners will be chosen to receive a $100 S&S E-Gift Card.

After reading some of your favorite teaching moments during our Teacher Appreciation Giveaway we knew we wanted to do more to help teachers this upcoming school year. We want to help inspire you heading into your new school year!

There has been a lot of negativity in the press and within the education industry surrounding teachers, their abilities, and the standards that have been set by those who don’t understand what it really takes to educate children. Quite often, the expectations and standards that are set for educators come from those who have never taught a class or created a lesson plan.

At S&S we know you’re exhausted! It’s hard to put your entire heart, mind and life into your profession because you truly love what you do, just to continue to hear that it is not always enough. Continue reading



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