I know it’s only July, but we’re well past the halfway mark of summer, which means that I’m already starting to think about the upcoming school year and how to prepare for it. As the wee ones are getting older, they’re getting busier outside school and having more responsibilities in school. That means we need to make the most of the time we have to ensure everything is getting done and learned as efficiently as possible.
I’m finding all sorts of ways that I can use a laminator from Fellowes to create projects that will assist us. I’ve always been fascinated by lamination, as I get to witness so much of it with all the school volunteering I do. The same thing happened with die cuts, and I love how I can translate these “school” devices to home use.
You know I was excited when I got to play with the Fellowes Saturn2 95 home laminator. While I would be thrilled to use the laminator to save some of my favorite recipes (because I tend to spill all over them and obliterate little things like measurements) or to make lists of important numbers for babysitters and the like, right now I’m working on making this upcoming school year a whole lot easier for us.
Our biggest challenge is getting out the door on time in the morning. I don’t know why the wee ones have such a challenge remembering what they’re supposed to do. It isn’t like brushing their teeth is a new thing, let along packing their lunches and the like. I have reminders, but they tend to get ignored. Or I’ll write them on a whiteboard but erasing and rewriting them every day is a chore for me. Instead, I printed out a schedule of the important activities with a space to mark off each day when they’ve completed the task – and laminated it!
Since the Saturn2 95 has multiple sizes of laminating pages, it’s easy to create the right size for what you need. I used the photo card size for their morning routine reminders. It was super easy to cut my schedule to the right size and place it between the two sides of the laminating sleeve.
From there, it was a cinch. I simply plugged in my laminator and turned it on. Once it beeped at me, I chose the right thickness of lamination, as I was using 3 mil sheets, but the laminator also works with cold lamination sheets, 4 mil, and 5 mil sheets. After that, I simply fed the sleeve into the laminator with the folded edge first to ensure there would be no bubbles or misalignment of the lamination, and it automatically fed through.
I didn’t let it warm up enough when I first started, so it didn’t work. After waiting another minute or so, I fed it through again, and it worked perfectly. It came out warm to the touch but not too hot by any stretch, and it looked gorgeous with no bubbles or crinkles. I plan to attach these to our front door during the school year with a dry erase marker on a string hanging nearby. Because how cool is this? When you laminate something, it doesn’t just protect it. You can use a dry erase marker to write on it again and again.
In third grade, Little Miss will be learning cursive. Her handwriting is a challenge, and she didn’t pick up on the proper way to form letters when she learned in kindergarten. It’s far more important in cursive to form them properly, and by November, they will be required to do all writing in cursive. That means she’s going to need a lot of practice. There are many cursive practice sheets out there, and I found the perfect one for her to start. And of course I laminated that, too, knowing we’ll be using it again and again.
Another of our school’s unique attributes is that the children do “rocket math” every day. They have one minute to do 40 math problems. It starts with addition adding just 1+1 and 1+2 and proceeds to more complex math with each “letter” they pass. Mister Man made it through about letter I in division before the end of the school year. It’s purely a rote memorization drill, which will allow them to think about the problem when they come to more complex math rather than having to think first about 8×7. And that takes a lot of practice.
Fortunately, I’ve found the same types of math problems online that we can print out. But printing out a new page (or two) every single day feels so wasteful for me. Now I have laminated sheets for them to use for practice. As nice as it would be if he passed a set every day, it just doesn’t work out that way. Having practice sheets we can reuse will make things so much easier.
I’m also planning to laminate some small nametags to sew into their coats and gloves and hats. There aren’t always good places to write names, and you don’t want to know how many hats and gloves and boots get “misplaced” every year – and not just by us. I’ll be honest that sometimes I have to just guess as to which gloves were Mister Man’s because so many look exactly the same. I have a feeling I just might start a new trend in our school – and I know the teachers will thank me!
Once Mister Man starts his after school Spanish class, the laminator will also be great for making flashcards for him for the words and phrases he’s supposed to learn. I’ll use the full size sheets for that with pieces of paper laid in there that will allow me to cut them to about 2×3 pieces and then punch holes in the top corners so I can string them together so they don’t get lost. With Little Miss in a Spanish immersion program, it’s important to me that he also have some proficiency in Spanish.
I love that the Saturn2 95 is so easy to use, and it has double-walled insulation that keeps the heat inside the laminator so I don’t have to worry about the wee ones accidentally burning themselves. I laminated several things one right after the other, and it was never hot to the touch. It did smell like melted plastic after a bit, but it wasn’t strong or unpleasant. Plus, if I managed to jam the laminator (and given my luck with copiers, I’m sure I will at some point), there is a release lever to move stalled pouches before they become an issue.
I can’t wait to see all the fun I have with my new toy. You can purchase the Fellowe’s Saturn2 95 at Staples either in store or online for a suggested price of $159.99, and there are plenty of other Fellowe’s laminators available at Walmart and Amazon, as well.
So yes, it’s maybe a little early (or depressing?) to be thinking about school already, but I want our year to be as smooth as possible. We’ve been lucky to have amazing teachers in the past who have helped, but we can do more here, too. And speaking of those amazing teachers, From July 15 – September 30, Fellowes can help you recognize a special teacher in your community with the “Celebration of Superstar Teachers” contest. Nominate an exceptional teacher and they could win a Fellowes classroom prize pack, including a laminator. Now to decide which teacher(s?) I will be nominating! Can you imagine the fun a teacher could have with a prize pack like this?
C’mon, I even had Mister Man create a fun template of games with one side of hangman and the other of tic tac toe and a space for drawing that we can take to restaurants and play with when there are long waits. Of course, I’m pretty sure I’ll need to make another one for Little (I Want One, Too) Miss soon.
Jealous? No need to be. I have one Fellowes Saturn2 95 to give away, as well. Enter to win using the Rafflecopter entry below.