Monday, June 27, 2016

Organizing your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks


I have been waiting since March to do this!  I just made this fairy garden this week but I've had the idea since March.

I LOVE the summer when I can make all the things I have dreamed up, pinned, and or needed to re-do.  Sometimes it goes great.....other times..... it's a complete flop.

This project was a little of both.


I am so grateful to Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It every Monday during the summer months. 



Last week, I made pencil shoes, this week...a fairy garden.



It looks easy, right?

How to Make an Inexpensive Fairy Garden

and it was...for the most part. Except for this part....

How to Make an Inexpensive Fairy Garden

I saw these bird houses on sale for $1 at Jo Ann's and thought they would made great fairy houses.  I should have stopped there.

I thought they would look great covered with rocks/pebbles.  Pebbles, Julie. Pebbles. Not rocks. 

I spent 10 minutes in the adhesive aisle.  I spent almost $7 on this


because it said it was used for wood, metal, leather, plastic, stones, glass, and more. Sooooo.... hello?!

Not so much....

I would have taken a picture but my fingers were stuck together and my husband was coming and I didn't want him to see the huge mess in the kitchen.  It was just downright embarrassing. 

Luckily, I had some moss in the house. I covered it up.

Unluckily, this adhesive did not come off my hands for about 3 days.  Seriously?!

4 days later...I found this

How to Make an Inexpensive Fairy Garden
at The Christmas Tree Shop. Slap to the forehead. Wish I knew about this stuff before. Oh well....next time...

The picket fence was from JoAnn's: $5
The Fairy was $7 from JoAnn's.
The larger stones were from my parents garden (shhh. Don't tell them.)
The chairs and tables were old doll house furniture of mine. When I say old....I mean....old. Trust me.  I have NO idea where they came from.

My classroom library is always a work in progress, it seems. My teacher books, I am trying out a new system.

Whoever designed these cabinets in my school should be subjected to bus duty and recess duty every day consecutively for a 6 month minimum.

These cabinets are like a foot wide.  It's just not practical. You can fit a stapler in there and maybe be able to shut the cabinet. It drives me bonkers. 

I believe shelf space should be for the students. For them to access books, manipulatives, and materials. So I took my teacher books off my shelves and moved them into my cabinets and that worked great

Until....I couldn't shut the doors.

Oh great! Now what?!  Well...don't tell the custodians but I jammed rearranged the books so they would fit and made to for the remainder of the school year.

Until....

I made these....

How to Organize your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

I know....Martha Stewart....move over.  Home Deport gave me 50 of these for FREE.  FREE, people!!!!  I could have made them all pretty and spray painted them but I really don't have time for all that and I knew they wouldn't be seen anyway. So I used some Duct Tape and letter stickers and now I can organize my teacher books by topic and actually see where they go.

How to Organize your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

I can also organize by theme.  Again...nothing fancy. But I think it looks nice.

How to Organize your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

And the custodians are probably happy they won't have to fix broken cabinet doors anymore.  :)

What projects are you working on?  I love hearing about and seeing what others are making!
















Monday, June 13, 2016

How to make your own Pencil Shoes





You know it's summer when weekly Monday Made It is back!  Many thanks to Tara of 4th Grade Frolics for hosting this awesomeness every Monday during the summer. Seriously....this linky is one of my favorite things about summer!

Because who doesn't need a pair of pencil shoes?!

Yup! Pencil shoes.  It all started when my students decided they wanted to have a Pencil Day. So of course.... I had to have pencil shoes. Here's how to make them....



Supplies:  Sneakers (I got mine for $6 at Walmart), fabric paints (though you can use acrylic paints too), and paintbrushes. All paints and paintbrushes came to less than $20 with a teacher discount at Jo-Ann's.

1. Begin by marking with a pencil where you want your lines to go on the sneakers.  I had a picture of a Ticeronda pencil on my phone that I used as a visual guide.

Here's a close up of the zig-zags.

How to make pencil shoes

2. Using a fine tip paint brush I painted the zig-zag first since I think that is the hardest part. I couldn't find a tan fabric paint color that I liked, so I used a tan acrylic paint.  All the paint dried really fast so I did all my painting in one sitting.

How to make pencil shoes


3. That's it! The whole project took me less than an hour. That's my kind of craft! 




I used to have a life on the weekends. Until....my son started playing baseball. It's been great fun though and he's had a great season. To thank his amazing coaches and inspired by Pinterest, I made a gift basket of various candies/nuts using a baseball theme.

Gift idea for a baseball coach
I'm sure the coaches TOTALLY appreciated that I dusted off my Sihouette Cameo for this gift.

Gift idea for a baseball coach
Extra gum- A coach like you is "EXTRA-ordinary"
Butterfinger- "When I was nervous to bat and missed the ball you encouraged me."
Skor bar- I "SKOR'd" with a coach like you.
Peanuts- Thanks for coaching me along, even when I was a little "nutty."
Babe Ruth- For your love of the game.
100 Grand bar- You are worth even more...
Slim Jim- Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and love for the game.
Beer glass- with a baseball inside that reads "You deserve it...."

The basket is also filled with Big League gum, Cracker Jacks, Sunflower Seeds, and cheap individually wrapped round pieces of gum that line the bottom. I used a plastic bin to hold the contents instead of a cooler. 


I'm still in school (do you feel bad for me)? so I made student gifts this week.

I kept it simple this year.

End of the year gift for students

I bought the mini bags from Target. Three bags came together for $1. Can you say bargain?! I bought whistles at Target too. 12 whistles for $3.  Happy Summer Parents!  :)  The label "You blew me away this year" is from Sparkling in Second.  You can grab them for free in her store here.The bookmarks are from Brown Bag Teacher. You can grab them for free in her store here.  I used my Scholastic Bonus Points to get my students each a chapter book too.

Ahhh....summer. You are almost here.  One more week of school for me and I'll be getting my craft on and reading up a storm.  I'm hoping to make some fairy gardens this summer.

I can't wait to see what you all make for Monday Made It! with 4th Grade Frolics



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Summer Reading List 2016


Currently, my fingers are sticky with glue and stained with sharpie marker. I have the PowerSchool window tab open in another window on my laptop waiting for me to stop procrastinating and finish report cards, and I'm waiting for the laminator to heat up and it's Sunday. How much can I get done before I fall into bed?

Yup...it's the end of the year craziness. 

I pretty much feel like this the entire month of June....


But...it's my own fault.

I do it to myself every year. I constantly create more work for myself every year because I want to "outdo" myself every year.  It must be a sickness.

I don't even know how many days I have left until the last day. It's about 2 weeks. 

I have lofty goals this summer.

Reading.

That's it.

That's all I want to do.

I love to read and I never have as much time for it as I want, so this summer....it's my priority.

I know I should say that spending time with my kids and family is, but the truth is...I'm being selfish this summer. I really need some "ME" time.  I desperately need some me time.

I'm linking up with the fabulous Molly from Lucky in First, who I just ADORE, to share my summer reading list this year. Make sure to check out what others are reading and share what you are reading too!


The Glass Castle: A memoir of a dysfunctional family.
A Painted House: It's 1952 and 7 year old Luke Chandler's family owns a cotton farm. What Luke sees and hears could shatter lives and his family forever.
The Kitchen House: A heartwarming tale that takes place during the Civil War about a young, white Irish girl who develops friendships with the kitchen slaves who become like family to her.
A Man Called Ove: A feel-good story about the impact of one's life on another.
Whiter Than Snow: A tragedy in a small town and how it effects those in the town.
Calling Me Home: Such a touching story you won't forget any time soon.
A Land more Kind than Home: A heart-rending story and thrilling mystery.
Sworn to Silence:  A thriller about a murder in Amish country.


Fish in a Tree: “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Wonder: "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."
Between Georgia:  I really enjoy southern fiction so I'm looking forward to reading this.
Not Without my Daughter: From Amazon:  "In August 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody accompanied her husband to his native Iran for a two-week vacation. To her horror, she found herself and her four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, virtual prisoners of a man rededicated to his Shiite Moslem faith, in a land where women are near-slaves and Americans are despised. Their only hope for escape lay in a dangerous underground that would not take her child..."
One for the Murphy's: A foster child must decide whether to accept a family's love.
The Nest: From Amazon: "This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down."
My Grandmother asked me to Tell you She's Sorry: It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

2 more weeks....

2 more weeks and I am assuming position...


What are you reading this summer?

Hop over to Lucky to Be in First to join in and tell us what you're reading!




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Camp Learn Some More


Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

Perhaps I am one of the few teachers who LOVES the last week of school. 

Assessments are done. The pressure is off...well sorta...

I make a commitment to my students that the last week of school we have FUN.  That's right....I said it.  The "F" word.  Fun. 

Fun in school.  Can you believe it?  It can be done.

Every year I do a camping theme for the last full week of school.  My students love it and I love it.

It's kind of adorable how the kindergarteners ask "Are we going to do that camping thing this year?"  They walk down the hall and see our classroom dark, lit by only the glow of camping lanterns and campfire on the SMARTboard and it becomes a big mystery....

What exactly are we doing?
Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.
Since we have tables in my classroom, I cover them all with plastic "picnic style" table cloths I find every year at the Dollar Store. I don't try and save them.  Some things are just not worth it, in my opinion.

I found this campfire by googling "campfire" on YouTube that I keep playing all day for added ambiance.



We leave the lights off, and camping lanterns also help "set the mood." 

The kiddos love bringing in flashlights and sleeping bags too. Inside the tent, I placed a cooler filled with camping themed books. Charlie, our beagle and classroom mascot really enjoyed being "read to" throughout the day.

I borrowed 2 tents from parents since I'm not a camping type of gal.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

My first graders really handled the freedom and flexibility of having various tasks at "campsites" well.  We went over the rules and expectations beforehand and this helped to set the tone for success.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

The classroom was set up by various "campsite" or themed academic tasks. Such as...

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

The Math Mountain campsite has time to the hour, half hour and a few time to the quarter hour task cards.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.
The campsite also has a Trading post where students can "purchase" various camping supplies by showing the coins needed to make each purchase.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

The Social Studies Campsite is a popular choice for a great review of mapping skills and cardinal directions.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

Here, students use a map to "find logs for the campfire."

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

The Science campsite has us venturing outside.  You can't go camping without being outdoors, right?

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

By far, creating a boat out of tin foil and filling it with pennies for a fun STEM project is a favorite with the campers! We made predictions, weigh, measure, plan, work collaboratively, and make comparisons with this super fun activity!

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

The campers also enjoy a scavenger hunt...

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

and some dot-to dot- constellation work to review counting by 5's.

Of all the campsites, as I'm sure you can guess, the tent is the favorite, so I save that for the reading campsite.  We call it "Reading River."

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

At Reading River, students enjoy close reads on camping, bears, squirrels, and ants by flashlight inside the tent.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

At the Writing Ravine, students can write about their camping adventures for the week in their camping journals as well as how to make s'mores


Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.




Campers keep track of which campsites they have visited with this handy checklist:

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.
Campers can earn badges when they complete the activities at each campsite.
Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.

So.....Are you ready to go camping?

Engaging integrated and thematic camping unit for elementary classroom.


You can find this Classroom Camping Resource here.

Do you do any fun end of the year themes in your classroom? I always love hearing from you!