Classroom DIY

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So exited to be moving to fifth grade!  I know there will be a lot that will be different, however there are a few things I make every year that should still be useful:

This is what I use for students to order their lunch choice.  Each student has a magnet with his/her name on it and it starts on the circle pan in the morning.  As students arrive and enter the classroom, they move their magnet to their lunch choice.  (The A, B, C, Home are also magnets so that I can remove them if there are less lunch options for a day.)   It also doubles for attendance.  If a student’s magnet is left on the circle, I know they are absent.
These are Popsicle sticks that will have the kids name on it.  They are two colors so that after picking one student, it can be turned upside-down and I will know which have been picked already.  This summer I made two:  one for morning meeting sharing and one the rest of the day.

I’ve also repainted a few chairs that I found at Goodwill to add to my new classroom.  And I have another one waiting in the garage that I just found last night!

One last thing!  Not a craft, but a great find from the Target Dollar Spot.

I’m thinking I might use them to label book bins in my library?  Not sure yet, but I couldn’t pass them up!

Saturday Projects

My sister is throwing my nephews a minion party in April, so she enlisted me to make a “Pin the Eye on the Minion”  game.

I purchased two poster boards Friday night and Troy and I got to work Saturday morning.  He started working on Bob with his preferred media, pencils.  I started on Stuart with paint.


After drawing Bob with pencil, he traced the pencil with black marker. Later, he would color it with colored pencil.

As I finished painting the yellow part of the minion, my phone rang.  I answered it and was talking to my sister when I noticed that Troy was leaning over to my poster with his marker uncapped.

“Don’t you dare touch that!”  I burst out.

“But, you can’t see the mouth.  I’ll just trace it,” my son said.

“Don’t touch my minion! Work on your own!”  I demanded.

“What?”  my sister asked over the phone.

“Talking to Troy.  He is trying to fix my minion.”  I told her, giving Troy the stink eye.

Isn’t it supposed to be the parent that takes over the child’s project?


To Craft or Not to Craft

I’ve been reading a lot of advice for new teachers and I keep reading warnings about themes and Pinterest classrooms.  The common idea seems to be these take time and detract from the important things – like curriculum and student learning.

Here’s the thing – I love themes and I love Pinterest.  My classroom will be filled with Pinterest finds.  Crafting, Pinterest, themes – they make me happy.  And the reality of teaching is I spend a lot time at school.  At least eight hours a day, five days a week.  A minimum of 1,408 each school year.  (This is a very very low estimate.)  If I’m going to spend that much time in a room, I want to make it a happy place.  While every other decision I make throughout the year is based on the kids and their needs.  But, the theme and the beginning of the year Pinterest-ing is what I do for me. 20150728_190328

I don’t make a bunch of anchor charts.  I don’t label the kids’ lockers.  They make those.  But, I do craft my heart out.  This year’s theme…Travel.

Themes are necessary to my happiness.  I am not an everything needs a place kind of person, but I am the everything needs a theme person.  Every party.  Every classroom.  Themes are a necessity.

So, my point is there need to be two warnings…one for new teachers and one for school leaders.

New teachers:  Beware of falling into a pit of unnecessary work. Themes and Pinterest crafts are not necessary for your classroom to be a welcoming place for students.  Charts should be made with the kids.  Students need to be a part of creating the physical environment.

School Leaders:  Don’t judge a teacher just because her classroom is filled with crafts.  Yes, she may be a Pinterest addict.  However, that doesn’t mean that she is taking time away from planning.  It doesn’t mean her focus isn’t on student learning.  It may just mean that crafting and themes make her happy.  🙂

What I’m Loving Wednesday 7.22.15

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 2.05.13 PMcrafty♥  Troy’s version of American Ninja Warrior – Even if it left my couch more broken and bruises on Troy’s legs!

♥ Purple Pens (I need to buy a new box of them for the new school year!)

Drive Me Crazy is on Netflix!  I know it isn’t the highest quality acting or story, but I love it anyway.

♥  Staple Guns!  This was my first time using a staple gun and it was so fun!  It probably helped that my projects were successful!

♥  Waking up to this crafty mess!  Yep, I’m strange like that.  I absolutely love crafting and messes.  Waking up and seeing all of the things we had created was a great feeling!

♥  Friends – Especially nerdy and weird friends!

My friends like to craft.  They get excited about creating.  They love Disney movies.  They enjoy writing and are willing to spend 12 days at an Illinois Writing Project PD and an entire day writing at a writing marathon.

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