Jul 28, 2014

Monday Made it and a Freebie!

Well let me tell you I have been gettin’ my craft onlol.  I have to admit I didn’t start all these projects this week, but I did finish them all. 

So, I am linking up with the fabulous Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  Go check out what everyone has been making this past week, after you read my post first of course.  Be sure you stick around until the end for your freebie!

First up I made these super cute, and easy, sun catchers.  These are the brilliant idea of Cara over at Creative Playground.  She made hers on pizza pans, but I wanted mine a little smaller so I used 2 different size round cake pans. 

First gather your supplies, pony beads (the amount will depend on how big your pan is), ribbon and the pan you are going to use.  That’s itreally. I used about 1,200 beads to do 4 suncatchers.  Cara suggested 1,000 if you do the pizza pan size.

I am going to be brief in my directions, Cara’s are so fabulous and I figure why reinvent the wheel if I don’t need to.  Preheat your oven to 425.  Pour beads into your pans. No need to prep the pan the beads do not stick.   Be sure there are no large open areas.  I used 3 different beads for mine in colors to match my room.  Mine were not even all the same size, it won’t matter once they melt.  The only caution is you cannot use metallic beads as they will not melt correctly.

Put your pan(s) in the oven for 15-20 min.  There will be a small amount of odor.  Not burning, but a plasticy (not a word I know) smell.  Keep an eye on them and remove once they are all melted and look smooth.

When you remove them from the oven, QUICKLY use the end of a pencil to make a hole near one edge to put your ribbon through.  I am not kidding when I say quickly.  It is amazing how fast they start to harden.  Since I melted 2 pans at the same time I actually only took one out at a time and made the hole in it before I did the other. Well okI didn’t do that with the first batch and by the time I made the hole in the first the second was already too hard to make a nice hole.  So I had to put it back in for another 5 min to get it melty again. Lesson learned for round two. SO, learn from my mistakes if you are doing more than one at a time.  

Let them cool for 10 min. or so.  Turn your pan over and they fall right out. Add your ribbon and hang to enjoy.  I just love the way they turned out and think they add a nice touch to my plain windows. Just ignore the dirt on my windows our janitor hasn't gotten to that It was also a little overcast so the sun isn't as sparkly as usual.

My second project was 2 mini chart stands.  I made one for my guided reading table as well as one for my Para to use.  Again this is not my original idea.  Check out Stephanie at Falling into First for in-depth tutorial.  Here is a picture of Stephanie's.  

Here is the supply list you will need:

Lowe's Materials
 2 - 1 x 1/2 in. Side Outlet Elbow
2- 1/2 in Adapter (Slip x Thread)
2- 1/2 in Elbow (Slip)
1 - 1/2 inch PVC pipe {Cut into three 10" pieces}

I bought the 1/2 in. pipe in a 5 ft piece and cut it at home with the power saw, if you remember I love me some power toolslol.  You can also use a hand saw or I do know you can sweet talk the worker at Lowe’s to cut it for you, if you only need a few cuts. But, since I was doing several projects it was easier to just cut it at home.

I have double the supplies since I made 2 of these. Plus I was cutting the PVC for my second project, see made it #3 below, at the same time and those supplies are in the pile too.

You will also need:
Walmart or Target Materials
Duct Tape or Spray Paint (Optional)
Binder Rings

After your pieces are cut you can leave them as is, they do have some bar codes and printing on them, or you can cover them with duct tape, like Stephanie's above.  If you choose that route, leave 1 in. uncovered at each end so the pieces will slide together easily. 

I choose to spray paint mine.  I will admit, the painting does take more time.  You first need to lightly sand each piece with 400 grit sand paper so that the paint will stick. Then wash off all residue from the sanding and let dry.  Next paint your pieces.  If you lay them on wax paper to paint they will stick less than using newspaper or magazines. 
Also by doing several light coats, be sure to let it dry completely in between, you will get a more even color.   I used the cheap, .99 cents a can, flat black spray paint from Walmart.  Once you see my room reveal, you will understand the black.

Once all of the pieces are dry from paint or covered with duct tape, you just push them together.  You can glue them, but I didn’t.  If you choose to paint them they will require a little elbow grease to get them to fit together. Add your two binder rings your chart and there you have it!  Perfect for at your guided reading table or small group math.

My 3rd made it this week is a teacher Rekenrek. Once again I am a fantastic copier and this idea was from Kim Adsit at Kindergals.  Gather your materials:
Lowe’s Materials
2-22” x 1/2” PVC Pipe
2-6” x 1/2" PVC Pipe
2-2” x 1/2" PVC Pipe
2-1/2” PVC “T” Pieces
2-1/2” PVC P-Trap (HPY-507)

Other Materials (Dollar Store,Walmart or Target)
2-Pool noodles, 2 different colors
Spray Paint (Optional)

First cut all of your PVC pieces using a power saw, hand saw or bat your eyes at the little guy in the blue vest in Lowe’slol.

Again I chose to paint my pieces, you can just leave them white as well.  The duct tape doesn’t work well with this project because you want the pool noodles to slide easily on the PVC.

If you are going to paint, they will need to be prepped as I stated above in made it #2, then lay on the wax paper and do several coats of the paint.

While your pieces are drying you can measure and cut your pool noodles.  You will need 10-1” pieces of each color.  A sharp knife and cutting board work perfect for this. It cuts like butter and no mess.

 Finally, assemble according to the picture below and there you have it, your very own Rekenrek.  You might just see, I am not saying for sure, a made it in the future for a student rekenrek. Not with PVC, I am over the PVC for this summerlol.

For my final made it for the week, and something special for still reading this far in this epic novel, I have a cute back to school math FREEBIE for you. My kiddos just love to play scoot or count the room.  You can do either activity with this, and it can be easily differentiated for different levels too.

Hope that you and your kiddos enjoy it.  If you download it please leave me some love!

So what did you make this week?  I love reading your comments. 


Jul 26, 2014

Five for Fraturday!

Happy Friday Saturday friends.  Boy this summer is just flying by.  Dare I say BTS is looming very quickly for me.  I just finished Kinder Camp this week and teachers have to be back Aug 5th, meet the Teacher night is Aug 7th, and the first day of school is Aug 11th.  I don’t even want to count the exact days.  I have tried to make the most of my time with my family and get in some great PD too.  I tend to get a bit long I apologize in

 Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Fraturday to give you a quick recap of my week.

It started off FANTASTIC.  The hubby surprised us all with an impromptu trip to the beach.  Even though it was only for the day it was wonderful.  It is one of my favorite places to be.  We just kicked back, relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

My younger two sons and nephew went with us and they had a blast driving their supped up remote control cars on the beach.

It was hilarious to watch the people drive by and the boys cars were going faster than they were.  Several had to stop and watch their crazy drivinglol.  My oldest son didn’t join usthe beach is not really his thing.  Which is totally ironic considering he will be attending UC Irvine in the fall, which is like 5 miles from Huntington Beachlol.  But, he was busy building a computer for a friend anywaywhich is totally his thing. 

We stayed until the sun was almost gone and then had a yummy meal at my favorite place, Pismo Fish and Chips.

We had our last week of Kinder Camp this week as well.  We continued working on fine motor skills, social skills, class room etiquette and of course some fun too!

If you have kiddos that need some practice writing their letters and numbers to 30 you can grab this cute freebie from Lauren at A Teachable Teacher.

We ended the week with a fun water day and a piñata.  The kids had a blast!

I managed to get all of my pre-assessments done during Kinder Camp as well.  Thanks to ESGI.  If you have not checked it out you really need to.  It is fantastic and cuts your assessment time in half. You give all of your assessments right from your computer or iPad.  Then it automatically totals everything up and there are graphs and charts summarizing all of your data so you know exactly where all your kiddos are and what you to need to teach or re-teach. Be sure to check back on Tuesday, I will be giving a full run down of all the features of the system as well as a chance for you to get a free 60 day trial and a discount.

I also received my first Stitch Fix this week.  I was totally excited.  If you don’t know what Stitch Fix is let me give you a run down.  You sign up on line and a special stylist picks out items of clothing and/or accessories based on your answers to style questions. You can link a Pinterest board of styles you like as well. When it arrives your try everything on decide what you want to keep and send the rest back.  If you keep everything you get an additional 20% discount.  The fee is $20, but that is deducted off of the total of anything you decide to keep.  Then in 3-6 weeks, you decide how often, they send you your next “fix”. It also comes with a card from your stylist that shows you what to pair each piece with to make a complete outfit.  So it is dummy proof, haha! Plus the bonus for me, I don’t have to go to a storelol. As you may remember we live in the middle of nowhere so I thought I would give it a try.

The clothes were very pretty and the fabrics were super nice and comfortable.  However, none of it fit me this time.  The tops were too big or just not my style. I have like no boobslol.  If it weren’t for Victoria Secret I would probably be a negative number.  So I have a difficult time finding tops that fit right.

The black stripe skirt fit, but I didn’t like the look of how the stripes were.

The dress was cute & comfortablebut about 4” too long.  I am short people and the thought of wearing my 4” platforms to school is just not a good idea.  I am looking for things to go back to school so this one will have to go back.

Honestly, I didn’t even try these pants on.  They are super skinnyso not me.  I carry all my weight in my lower half and have always been self-conscious of that.  Plus, they were cropped length.  I have “cankles” friend.s.  That is where your calves and ankles just pretty much run together, with no real size difference.  So I do not want to highlight that fact.

Sorry I have no pics of me wearing the clothes I didn’t have anyone at home to take pics for me and after a few dozen attempts at “selfies” I decided to just call it a day.  If anyone can offer me a good tutorial on taking selfies I am all earslol.  I will be sure to have photos of me with the clothes next time. If you want to give it a try for yourself just click here.  It was totally fun even though I didn't keep anything this time.

This week has been a printing, laminating and cutting marathon.  I can not bury my head in the sand, even if I want to.  School is coming quick and I am a little OCD about my room, so I have been trying to get ready. I know it will be all worth it in the end.

What have you been up to this week? Link up with Doodle Bugs and leave me a comment I would love to hear all about it!


Jul 25, 2014

Vegas Tips & Tricks!

Well, you are probably tired of hearing about Vegas, and in all honesty I have tried several times to get my thoughts together to post for you all about my experience.  Yes, it was soo much fun and I met so many fabulous teachers and presenters, but most of all I learned more than I could have imagined and have had a difficult time organizing all the fabulous ideas to be able to share them with you.  I have made the decision that it would be like a short novel to share it all in one post, so I am going to give you some of the “golden nuggets” I learned over several blog posts. 

I have to start with a quick photo collage of the beautiful views of Las Vegas and some of the fantastic presenters I met.

DeeDee Wills from Mrs. WillsKindergarten

Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump’s Class

Mary Amoson from SharingKindergarten

Kim Adsit from Kindergals

Annie Moffat from the MoffatGirls

Kristin Oldham from The TeenyTiny Teacher

Greg Smedley From Kindergarten Smorgasboard

The quality of the pictures isn't the best. That's what you get when you ask strangers to take your

Today is about some quick tips and ideas.  Many of these are like a V8 momentreally why didn’t I think of thatlol.  These are not all new, but I feel that they bare repeating.

Tip #1-When having your students join you on the carpet how do you have them sit?  I’m not talking about criss-cross applesauce, I mean who are they sitting next to?? I have always just tried to make sure they were not next to someone who would distract them and chat with them.  However, several presenters suggested sitting them according to abilities.  Well Duh!!  Put your “bless your heart” (lower) babies in the front next to you where you can best help them.  In the middle row are your average learners.  In the back are those students who will get it all on their own.  This is so easy yet totally brilliant.  Please tell me I am not the only one who has not thought of this.

Tip #2-When you are in whole group, walking down the hall, etc and you see a student(s) who is not on task just casually remind the group “check yourself “.  This just reminds them to think about what behavior they should be displaying in that situation without you calling them out and disrupting what else is going on.

Tip #3-Use songs or chants during transition times.  This helps make the most of your time.  Instead of saying it is time to come to the carpet and then waiting for them to do it.  Put on the song “Come to the Carpet” (By Harry Kindergarten and it is one of my kiddos favorites) and they know where they need to be by the time the song ends.  Another example is you can sing the 5 little monkeys and by the time they have all fallen off the bed they should be cleaned up and in their seats.  You can really use any song or chant to review any concept you have been working on.

Tip #4-Are you having trouble trying to figure out how to store all those beautiful anchor charts you make.  Problem solvedgo to Target, like now, well maybe not if it is the middle of the night when you are reading this.  Anywho, they have XXL Zip Lock bags.  Right there next to all the other zip locks, I promised I went yesterday just to see for myself.  I did get 2 boxes for now.  These will hold and protect your charts perfectly.  If you have a nice storage closet you can then attach them to a hanger with clothespins and hang them. 

Tip #5-Make a playlist for your iPod, iPad or phone with all the songs for each theme during the year.  Also make one for each day of the week.  This way you can quickly access the songs you need, if your still using old school CD’s this is the way to go.  I already had a playlist for my calendar time, but really the kids get bored doing the same songs every day.  So, now I am going to make a different playlist for each day.  That way I can change up the songs, while still working on the same skills and it can be fun and engaging for the students instead of the same old thing.

Well, that is just a few tips to start with.  I don’t want it to be too much. Then your brain will be on overload like  Next time I plan on giving some tips related to using Reader’s  & Writer’s workshop in your room. 

To see what else happened in Vegas head on over to Deirdre's blog A Burst of First.  You'll find lots of great stuff!!

What are some great tips you have.  I love to read your comments and thoughts.