31 August, 2012

Artwork and cutesy paper

So the school year has started and I absolutely love it.
I have the best group of kids and I love every single one of them. I will post pictures of my finished classroom as well as other such stuff later.
My students love to make me stuff. I get, on average, 6 love letters, artwork, or creations of some kind every day. I don't know what to do with it all! One of my girls draws me at least ten pictures a week and last week at recess, she went around to random students to have them write down what they like about me. They have braided yarn, made wands, created fish, butterflies, and drawn just about every imaginable thing.

One of my favorite things I have done so far this year is provide them with "cutesy" paper to work with during free time. I realized halfway through the summer that I was throwing away lots of scraps from making things for my classroom. Many of them were still large enough to use for a small craft but I did not want to spend the time to organize them. I cut them up and now have hundreds of small, medium, and large pieces of scrapbook paper that my students love to use. They love to ask me if they can use the cutesy paper. Lots of them make cards for their mothers or friends and several have made me creations out of it. A great use of something I would have just thrown away. (I called it cutesy paper on the first day of class and the name stuck. They get confused if I call it anything else. It is a little amusing to have ten-year-old boys coming up to me to ask if they can use my cutesy paper.)

05 August, 2012

Table Numbers

I had been trying to figure out what on earth to do for my table numbers. Because I had been going all out on other classroom decor, I was about to cute little circles with the table number listed on each. Out of desperation for something a little more different, I Googled "table numbers" very well knowing that it would come up with table number ideas for weddings, but hey, that's different. Most of the table numbers that showed up in Google Images were the kind that you set on the tables themselves or they involved fire or water. Surprisingly I skipped past all of those without much thought.
I then found this picture:

It was love at first glance. Then I read that they took bouncy balls and painted them. That was something I certainly did not have time to do. I researched it a bit more and found the perfect solution for me. My husband, bless his little heart, bought me a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas. The best Christmas present ever. I found a balloon shape and made a box shape and quickly found pieces of paper that were the different colors I was using for my tables.
The balloons were easy enough to cut out and assemble. I used 4 different patterns for each balloon to add a bit of a more vintage-y feel. (mixed patterns are vintage, right?)

I cut the boxes out on left over paper I used to make my cabinet numbers. On the assembled boxes, I put the table number out of the 4 patterns I used for the balloon and 4 different fonts.

All that was left to do was assemble them. they all are. Please forgive the terrible lighting. That is one of the only things that I wish I could change about our current place. (You really can see all the numbers on the boxes.)

What do you think? What are you going to do for table numbers this year?

Book Recommendation Tree

So. A while back I got the idea for a book recommendation tree from Lessons With Laughter. The idea sounded perfect to me! I thought it was such an adorable idea to have students recommend books to other students in this way. It also helps with their summarizing main ideas skills.
And thus my book recommendation tree was born.
The idea is simple enough: take some dead branches, spray paint them, and put them in a pot. The reality of the idea was not much harder. There is an old, dying pie cherry orchard behind my parents' house that provided me with a multitude of dead branches. I just had to pick a couple and I was good to go. The pot I used was purchased for a dollar at a craft store. Some Martha Steward paint added just the right shade of blue that I thought went very well with the gray painted branches. I found the most adorable vintage tags at this website so all I had to do was add text. I put foam in the bottom of the container to have something that would hold my branches and I filled the rest of the container with pebbles purchased from Ikea.
This was the result:

I decided that green 12x12 paper would be perfect for the "leaves" on my tree. I also want to brag and say that I managed to get 36 2x2 circles out of the 12x12 paper with my circle cut. Instead of making the circles reusable, I am just going to have them keep a maximum of two up at all times. I can make the circles for less than a penny each and it does not take long to cut the circles out.

Do you have your students recommend books to other students?

02 August, 2012

Back to School Present for Students part 1

On August 20, I am going to be a nervous little wreck. August 20th is the day before school starts and more importantly, Open House night. I have been trying to find the perfect back to school presents I can give to my students. I had the hardest time finding something that I didn't think was cheesy or something the students would just throw away or forget about as soon as they got home from Open House night.
I was cleaning out my craft room the other day and found some red felt fortune cookies I made for my husband on Valentines Day and suddenly an idea clicked in my head.
Fortune cookies are a perfect idea! No They are fast to make and extremely inexpensive. All you need is felt, matching 3/8" ribbon, wire, and glue.
Here is how it's done:
I took a cute little plastic cup from Ikea and managed to fit ten circles on each piece of felt. (Yes. There are only 9 circles on the piece below but I fit ten on all the others.) These fortune cookies were a little small especially compared to the ones I made for my husband but any size will do.

Next you get to cut all the circles out. Like so.

For wire, I used what I had: floral wire. Measure it so it is about a centimeter smaller than the diameter of the circle.

Like so.

Cut out all the wire you need.

Now you get to cut out the ribbon. The ribbon makes it so it looks nicer and makes the glue hold it better.

Glue the ribbon down with the wire right in the middle.

Now you just have to bend it. Bend the wire so that it forms a loose V shape. (The arch shape you see on the bottom of a fortune cookie.) Then just flip the felt so that it creates a perfect fortune cookie shape.
Slip in a fortune on a small slip of paper and you're all set!

You can just put them in a plastic bag (you know, the ones that come 100 for a couple bucks) or you can spend 50 cents more per student and buy the baby Chinese take out containers to put the fortune cookies in.

It makes the gift look extra cute.

For the fortune, you can put something cute like "You will do well in school this year." But I think I will give them extra points on an assignment or an extra punch on their punch card. Something like that.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the back to school presents I am giving my students this year.
Do you give your students back to school presents? What is it going to be this year?