Sunday, July 13, 2014

MANY Monday Made Its!

Oooooohhh, I am SO excited to share my Monday Made Its with you this week!!  I have been incredibly busy!

Thank you, Tara at "4th Grade Frolics," for hosting this always fun linky party!

First up, we have... pennant banners!  I know these are old news to some of you, but I had never made them before.

If you have been following my blog lately, you may have noticed that this banner does not match my classroom colors.  These are actually the colors in our school shield.  I am making a banner for each classroom door and the banners are going to have each classroom's anticipated high school graduation year.

If you are interested in learning how I went about making these, read on!  The materials I used are pictured above.

First, I ironed fabric quarters, so they transformed from this wrinkled mess to...

...this!  (I highly recommend spraying water on the fabric as you iron.  It really helps to get the fabric flat.)

Since the sides on a quarter (of a yard) are not the same, I wanted to make sure I was folding the fabric over correctly each time.  So I checked to be sure I had 21 inches horizontally.  Then, I folded the fabric over "hot dog" style (top to bottom), so the opening was on the bottom and the crease was on the top. 

I wanted to get 3 pennants out of each quarter of fabric, so I measured and cut 7 inches.

I used some scrap cardboard to create a template so that I was able to cut the same-sized triangle shape out each time.  My template is a 60 degree angle.

Annnnd...there we go!

Next, I opened up the pennant, squirted some hot glue on the inside of the crease, laid a string of twine in the hot glue, and repeated with 3 other pennants on the same string.

Last, I ripped off pieces of Stitch Witchery, laid them on the edges of the fabric on the inside of the pennant, closed the pennant, and ironed over it to create a finished look.

Like I mentioned, I will be putting each homeroom's anticipated graduation year on the banners.  During my first attempt, I tried iron-on adhesives and it was an ultimate FAIL as you can see!  Since this picture was taken, I have gone back to JoAnn Fabrics and purchased black felt and number stencils.  I am going to trace the numbers on the black felt, cut out the number, and use the Stitch Witchery to attach them to the pennant banners.  *fingers crossed*

Next up, I made an activity that my Kinders can do during Literacy Centers.

I am really proud of this Made It because it is made of all recycled materials - well, almost all.

I bought these letter stickers at JoAnn Fabrics for super clearance, super cheap.

I stuck uppercase, green letters on the black tops (from Lipton iced tea of my drinks of choice) and lowercase, black letters on the green tops (from Lipton green tea gallon-sized husband's drink of choice).

I ended up applying some Modge Podge to the green caps because the letter stickers were not sticking well to those caps, for some reason.

I wrapped bright green duct tape around recycled containers (Gerber toddler puff snacks) and used the same letter sticks to identify each container.  I wrapped some fun washi tape around the base and  I also spray painted the blue lids to black.

My Kinders will match uppercase letters to lowercase letters by placing the green caps (which are slightly larger) over the black caps.

The materials to make "I Spy" bottles have been sitting in my loft for MONTHS, so I decided it was about time to do something about that.

Making colored rice is super simple!  You just add food coloring and vinegar (1 tablespoon + a little extra, I think) to a plastic bag, mix it up, add the dry rice, then mix it up again.

Lay the rice out on wax paper for at least one hour and then you are ready to rock and roll!

I bought letter beads to put inside of my "I Spy" bottles.  (I also want number beads, but have been unsuccessful in finding any so far.)  I am going to - eventually - make a recording and extension sheet to correlate with this activity.


I just love my new "Pick Me!" sticks.  :)

I placed whole bean coffee in a flower pot ($1.97 at JoAnn Fabrics)  to make it look like soil.

I spray painted wooden sticks (flowers and butterflies) to match my classroom colors.  After the "flowers" get picked, they go in a flower vase, of course, with "water" (blue ribbon).  I am going to add a "Pick Me!" label to the pot, after I print the mass amount of stuff that I need to print.

I used wooden sticks in the past, but made the mistake of writing the students' names directly on the stick, which meant I had to repaint, if I wanted to reuse the sticks the following school year.  This year, I decided to stick a piece of tape on the stick and write the students' names on the tape.  I hope he stays on!

I made a talking stick that we will use during Sharing Time (which is a part of Morning Meeting).

I took a spray painted wooden dowel (leftover from my son's birthday party over a year ago, hehe) and wrapped washi tape around sections of it.  Then, I layered it with Modge Podge.  After it dried, I nailed some curly ribbon (TJ Maxx) to the top.

(I ran out of Monday Made It number symbols.  Is there an unwritten rule that I should stop now!?  Hmmm...I cannot wait until next week, so here I go again!)

My school's professional development week is coming up.  We wanted a place where staff could stick Post-It notes of reflections, questions, concerns, suggestions, comments, etc.  So I quickly whipped up this "parking lot" that has yet to meet a laminator.

If you have read "About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers," then you might be familiar with the "I am not afraid of my words!" chart.  Here is mine!

In case you are not familiar...basically the chart is used as a way to motivate reluctant writers to be brave and try to spell words they do not know.  When you notice a brave writer, you bring the kids together during "Sharing Time" (a part of Writers Workshop) and have the kid write his/her name and his/her kid spelling.  Then, you write the conventional spelling, talk about it, lead the class in celebrating that student's bravery.

I will be using these to help me organize my Guided Reading groups.  I think I got this idea from Deanna Jump, but I could be wrong.  I found colored plastic plates at Big Lots and stuck some Velcro squares to them.  After I take the students' pictures, I will print them on card stock, cut them out into circle shapes, double-laminate them, and stick Velcro on the back.  This way, my students and I will easily be able to see who I am meeting with during Guided Reading and the photos will be easily interchangeable.

I am going to use these mounting squares to attach the plates to my classroom wall.

I found this sun cut-out at JoAnn Fabrics for like $0.10 or $0.25 (I cannot remember).  I am going to hand it near our "Rise and Shine" binders.

It is hard to tell from the picture, but these are my fun curtains that will go over my built-into-the-wall shelving units in my classroom. I so love, love, LOVE them!  Thanks to my mom for helping me...I apparently am not made to sew.  I did some of the sides, but my work turned out not-so-pretty.  (P.S. - There are 3 more curtains not pictured that are already at my school.)

Oh my word...that was yet another LONG post.  I am off to bed.  It is now 1:46am here and I have a headache.  Boo hoo!  Be sure to hop over to "4th Grade Frolics" and check out all the other awesome Monday Made Its!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday and a FREEBIE!

Sometimes I wonder if it weren't for fun linky parties hosted by other awesome bloggers if I would blog at all... hmmmm.  :)

Anyway, it is time for...

Many thanks to Mrs. Kacey for always hosting this awesome linky party!

Last week, I finished the dreaded chore that every teacher hates...moving classrooms.  It was three days of awfulness.  I had to pack everything into boxes (which I mostly did during the tail end of the school year, but did not finish completely), haul them down three flights of stairs, load the boxes into my truck, drive to my new school (only about 5 minutes away, thank goodness), unload the boxes, and bring them into a storage room.  This was all done by me, myself, and I.  Oh - and on one of those days, my two-year old was with me, though I had a helper mostly taking care of him.

In the end, I left a shiny clean, ready-for-move-in classroom for the next teacher.

Did you notice how I said I moved my things into a storage room?  Yeah - the floor of my new classroom needs to be waxed and, of course, the basement floor (where my classroom is located) is the last level to be done.  *sigh*  So this epic mess is waiting for me.

Not gonna lie though - I was super proud of myself for fitting ALL of my classroom things in there!

This is the blank slate version of my NEW Kindergarten classroom.  I cannot wait to get in there and transform it!  Removing those two teacher desks will be one of the first things I do for sure.

Here is something that I have been waiting for for FIVE YEARS:  my loan forgiveness paperwork.  After five years of teaching in a low SES status, Title 1 school, I qualify for a bit of loan forgiveness.  Yay (because I could use all the help I can get)!  I sent these forms in to my lenders, so hopefully I am granted the full amount ($5,000).  Have any of you ever received loan forgiveness? 

Yet another reason I am SO excited for next year:  I get an opportunity to start over and create my dream classroom.  Picture black background with pops of pink, sky blue, lime green, lavender, and a sunny yellow...polka dots, chevrons, damask, and stripes galore.  FUN!  You know that "blank slate" classroom picture above?  Yep, that is my canvas and I cannot wait to get creative!

So in preparation, I have been snagging this and that whenever I spy a good bargain at the store.  Here are a few of my good buys:

I found this ribbon and whiteboard at Target.  I am going to hang it on our classroom door and I will record our daily attendance there (something our entire school is doing).  Hopefully I can write this once and never have to change it:  "25/25 - 100%" - hopeful thinking!

This wrapping paper also came from Target.  Don't you just love that $1.00 clearance sticker!?  I will be using these as backdrops on my bulletin boards, among other things.  I also found some lime green with blue polka dot wrapping paper at TJ Maxx for $2.99.

Can you guess what I will be using these for?  "Pick Me!" sticks (I found them on clearance at JoAnn Fabrics; the flower pot was only $1.97).  I spray painted the sticks last night using my theme colors.  Check back later, as I will be posting pictures of the final product for the "Monday Made It" linky party.

I have read about other teachers who have "sweepers" as one of their classroom jobs and that the kids love it.  So when I saw these adorable cleaning tools for 50% off at JoAnn Fabrics, I had to snag them.

This is a cute jewelry organizer that I found at TJ Maxx ($7.99) and I will be using it to store, organize, and display our incentive cards. I figure, this way the kids do not have to be reminded of their choices; they will be able to easily see them.

While I was out and about shopping, I snagged some other great bargains that were too good to pass up.  I figured I could share my goodies with you, just in case you want to try and pick them up for yourself.

Students who have clips at the top of our behavior chart at the end of the day will receive a rhinestone to put on their clip.  I found these at JoAnn Fabrics, originally $1.00, on clearance for 70%, plus my 20% off coupon.  Score!

I grabbed a bunch of these tongs at 70% off in the dollar bin at Target.  I figure the kiddos can work on their fine motor skills by sorting pom pom balls or something - not quite sure yet.

Target, dollar bin, 70% off toothbrushes...ready, set, go!  (I cannot decide if I will give this away for their birthdays or during dental hygiene month.)

Target, dollar bin, 70% off, magnifying glasses...adorable!  The kids can use these for investigations and also for tracking the print as they read.

You guessed it...Target, dollar bin, 70% off...fairy wings and wands.  I am thinking I will probably use these to "make an entrance" during our school-wide daily assembly, just to make the kids giggle early in the morning.

I was super excited to find these wood sticks for only $1.00 per pair in the clearance bin at Target!  The kids will definitely be using these to determine how many syllables are in words, segment words, play fun games and group activities during Morning Meeting, etc.

My ID holder was bent, torn up, and simply in need of being tossed.  So when I found this cute felt ID holder at JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00, I had to snag it.  To decorate or to not decorate?  Hmmm...

Long story short:  I received a small grant to get some free books.  I thought I was being offered one box of different titled books.  However, when I went to pick the box up, it contained the same title - a whole box of the same book.  Hmpf.  I was going to use those books as our birthday books, but it is not much fun when everyone is getting the same book.

So I have been on the look out for cheap, new, engaging books and JoAnn Fabrics came to the rescue!  They sell books for $1.00 and they had a sale going on:  buy two, get one my 20% off coupon.  Now that is what I am talking about!  Now my kiddos can CHOOSE what book to take home on their birthday.  :)

Sometimes I give my Kinders fun glasses and I tell them that it helps them focus better during Guided Reading (hehe).  They love it!  I found these at JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00 each, plus my 20% off coupon.

I am not sure what I will do with these yet, but they were too cheap to pass up (JoAnn Fabrics).

I found this fun pink, glittery crown at JoAnn Fabrics for a buck.  Again, something to wear to our morning assembly just for fun.

I love, love, LOVE this chalk tub!  I like to give my kids chalk to play with at recess, but I hate how the cardboard box that it comes in gets all torn up.  I found this tub at JoAnn Fabrics on sale, plus with my 20% off coupon, I only paid $6.00 for it!

Haha!  Nerdy?  Yes, but I could not resist.  $1.97 each at JoAnn Fabrics.

I was a little worried that I would not be able to easily find bulletin board borders that went along with my color theme, but JoAnn Fabrics proved me wrong.  Yay!  

By the way, I went to the JoAnn Fabrics in Greenfield, which is apparently the largest in the state of Wisconsin.  They practically had a mini teacher store in there!

I think I snagged this for like $0.50 or something like that.  I figure I will use it as a labeled sign for our "Rise and Shine" binders.

These decorate-your-own wooden bookmarks were too cheap to pass up (JoAnn Fabrics).  I will let the kids go crazy with them during an indoor recess day.

I found this limbo stick at Wal-Mart.  I have been on the look-out for things to make our entrance into the classroom fun each day.  So far I have a red carpet (and music), a tunnel, a slide, and now a limbo stick!

Have you seen this on Pinterest?  Someone came up with the genius idea to group students by having them pick colored bracelets out of a bag.  The very same day that I saw the above picture on Pinterest...

I found these on clearance at Wal-Mart!  Score!  (Don't you just love when that happens?!)  When I got home, my husband pointed out that they will likely be too big for my Kinders to wear (since they are bottle bracelets, which I failed to notice in my moment of excitement), but I think it will still get the job done.

Previously I mentioned that JoAnn Fabrics sells books for $1.00 and they had a sale of "buy two, get one free" and I used my 20% off coupon.  Well, same applied for these "How To Draw" books.  I used to have a how-to draw binder in my previous Kindergarten room that the kiddos could pull out as a sponge activity (something engaging to do for early finishers), but I left that how-to binder behind.  These how-to draw books were meant to be found by me.  :)

At my new school, we are very goal-driven.  We will use the following to keep us focused:

- school creed
- school mission statement
- school vision statement
- individual staff mission statements
- classroom mission statements (written with the students)
- individual student mission statements

Even the 4K kiddos will "write" (dictate to the teacher) a mission statement.  Yes, it is possible.  Yes, I have seen it done.  I have been thinking a lot about what this will look like in Kindergarten.  I wanted them to be cute because they will be hung all year long and I also wanted them to be displayed in a way so that they are visible, yet not in the way.  Then, I saw this on Pinterest:

(This photo belongs to Teach With Me.)

Light bulb!  Cute?  Yes!  Visible, yet out of the way?  Well, I am going to hang them from the ceiling, so yes!

The craftivity that my kids will make will have 4 sides:
1) writing prompt:  "Who I Am"
2) writing prompt:  "What I Want"
3) writing prompt:  "Where I Am Going"
4) blank side for art integration, which will like be crayon resist technique (draw with crayons and water color paint the white)

I made a simple template that we will use and you are welcome to grab it for FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking here!

Phew!  If you made it to the end of this lllooooonnnngggg post, thank you for stopping by!  :)