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.  🙂

Ready or Not…The Kids Show up Monday!

Since the kids are coming, we had to be ready.  Our classroom reveal…Superhero theme.  I am a theme person and I love making the environment I spend 8+ hours a day in pleasant and inviting.  Crafting and Pinterest are my relaxation.

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Our classroom library has popcorn bins from last year’s Hollywood theme. However, there are so many superhero movies coming out lately that it still works! We have the wall straight ahead separated by levels and the shelves on the right of the picture organized by genre. The crate seats are also filled with books! We are book hoarders!
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Students will eventually write short book recommendations and staple them onto the bulletin board.
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Sorry the picture is a little blurry! The Incredible Hulk!

 

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Modge Podge + Clearance Comic Books = File Cabinet that is slightly less of an eye sore
More clearance comic book crafts!
More clearance comic book crafts!
I'm going to put up the Super Scientist of the Month for September and then hand off  the responsibility to select students.
I’m going to put up the Super Scientist of the Month for September and then hand off the responsibility to select students.

 

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Last, but certainly not least, we will be handing out these super cool super hero badges to the kids as they arrive Monday morning.

 

Here is the badge I made for myself.  We put their name, but they will get to pick their superhero name and super power.  The QR code will lead parents to our class Facebook page.  (The drawing was done by a former student.)  Hoping this will get the kids excited before the day starts!
Here is the badge I made for myself. We put their name, but they will get to pick their superhero name and super power. The QR code will lead parents to our class Facebook page. (The drawing was done by a former student. Students will draw their own pictures.) Hoping this will get the kids excited before the day starts!

Back to School DIY Begins…

I just realized I use the … a lot…

Last year we went with the Hollywood theme.  We wanted to change it up for the new year, but had to figure out how to keep our awesome classroom library. So….Superheroes!  There are ton of superhero movies after all and we are going to be VERY boy heavy this year.

I found this perfect fabric for a bulletin board…Score!

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The first DIY I finished is for the birthdays.  Each kid will have a star with their name and birthday.  The star will be hot glued under the month they were born.  I did this last year too (A Star is Born), not an original idea.   I found it somewhere online.

20140722_181920Second, I painted new Popsicle sticks. (Also not an original idea!)  These are much better than the traditional Popsicle sticks.  We used these last year for our morning meeting and they worked great when we remembered what color we were picking.  🙂  During the days that we do an open share for morning meeting, we pick a stick and then turn it to the other color.  This way we can make sure everyone gets a turn over the course of the week.

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I’m also working on the fairy throne/garden that I wrote about here.  What next?  Hmmm…..