The beginning of the school year is always very busy. We attend teacher institute days, take part in training sessions for new curriculum and computer programs, decorate our classrooms, shop for supplies, copy worksheets, hold meetings, organize grading systems and lesson plan books, plan the new class quilt project and this year we are in the process of negotiating a new contract.
Last night was our Open House - Meet the Teacher - Expectation Night. It is always very stressful preparing for this function and there is so much information you want to share with the parents in a small amount of time, it is exausting --- and I enjoy every minute of it. I enjoy meeting the new parents. I love when former students and their parents come back to visit me and this year I have several students in my class whose parents were students of mine, uncles were students of mine and siblings were students of mine in years past. After my "presentation" the conversation turned informal and headed straight to this year's quilt project!!!
I'm not sure who is more excited about the quilt -- the parents or the students!!! Since so many of the families have had me as a teacher before, they all know about the quilt I make with the class every year and apparently everyone wants it. I love when a plan comes together!!!
Each year, each student makes a quilt square using the Crayola Fabric Crayons. We create a beautiful quilt with their artwork and at the end of the school year we hold a raffle and someone wins the quilt. Since this quilt project is so popular and the quilt is sought after, it makes my job easier. I use the quilt raffle as an incentive and since the parents each want their child to be the one to win the quilt they may study a little harder, practice a little longer or check over homework a little closer.
My students automatically win a raffle ticket for every "A" they earn on a test. They may also get a ticket when I catch them being good or genuinely kind to others without expecting a reward. I also give tickets on random occasions. For example I may say, " Everyone who turned their homework in today wins a ticket! ". This encourages the boys and girls to come to school prepared because they never know when the extra tickets will be offered. We also do a lesson on probability so they understand that the more tickets you have in the jar, the better your chances of winning!
The entire building knows about the quilt. Others will suggest a student get an extra ticket due to exceptional behavior or good deeds while out of the classroom at lunch or specials. Parents ask if there is any way to earn additional tickets or if they (the parents themselves) can win the quilt. Teachers and staff members periodically check how many tickets are accumulating in the jar and pretend to sneak tickets in with their name on them. The students love the attention and excitement. We have alot of fun and it helps keep the level of enthusiasm high.
I rambled on a bit with this blog but my point boils down to this: If you know a child, or a group of them, quilt with them. I use quilts and quilting to teach many things and the children love it all. After all ..... everybody loves quilts!
Here's to a great school year for all of us!