Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Door/Bulletin Board Idea

I have been thinking about what to post about this summer.  That's right...SUMMER!!  I honestly have pages and pages of ideas to still share with you readers, but for some reason during the summer months my brain has a hard time thinking about school (at least 24-7).  For the next couple weeks I will probably be featuring some Father's Day ideas, but after that I think I want to post about some craft ideas I have had tucked away and more on door decorations.  Teacher Appreciation week is always so busy for me that I never have enough time to post all of the ideas you send me.  I would love to play catch up with all those great pictures and feature as many as I can!  This summer I would also really like to connect with my readers.  I would love to figure out how to work my facbook page so that it will update my readers about when/what I make posts about on my blog.  I have seen it from others but need to figure it out.  Any ideas or suggestions on that, please let me know!!
I recently had a reader, Hannah, send me some pictures of 2 doors she decorated at a day care center she works at.  When I saw these pictures I thought of how perfect they would make a back to school bulletin board!  Especially with the students' personal touches...handprints!

An up close look at the sea creatures...
Here is the other door:

And the aliens...
Thank you Hannah for sending these pictures my way and for thinking of my blog to feature your idea.  Good luck with schooling and becoming a teacher!!
As for my readers...what kinds of things are you interested in finding on my blog this summer?  I would love to know what you are thinking!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Project...72 Hour Kits

Well it is official...summer is here!  I spent most of yesterday being lazy and lounging around my house in PJ's with my kids all day and it felt GREAT!!  Even though summer is here, I have a list of projects that I want to work on...crafts, preparing for next school year, organizing things around the house, becoming more healthy (you know...fruits and veggies!), camping and spending time with the family, making a (blue jean) quilt and putting together 72 hour kits for my family from How Does She?

Although it seems a bit overwhelming to just jump into I know that it is essential that I feel prepared.  I plan to check out the dollar store/Target dollar spot, etc. to look  for some of these items.  I also know that I don't have to buy everything at once...a gradual process.  One tip a friend gave me on this idea is to buy the backpacks in September...after school has started and they go on sale.  To find a list of items that were put in (Missy's) backpacks, click on the link above.  She has done a great job at breaking everything down and explaining why having a 72 hour pack ready in a great idea.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of the Year Gift

The school year is coming to an end which means CrAzY, cRaZy, CrAzY!  Summer officially begins in one week, which is hard to believe considering today we had rain, hail and SNOW (that actually stuck to the ground for a while)!  What a day!! 
I created an end of the year teacher gift for my daughter's teacher.  If you have never tried out WORDLE, you totally should!   I had my daughter list all the things she could think of pertaining to this school year.

I really like the wordle puzzles where the words are going both horizontal and vertical, but this was my daughter's project and she created it the way she wanted. 
So...where to begin?  Here is a step by step of what to do:

1.  Go to WORDLE
2.  Click on create.
3.  Type in a list of words you want into the box.  One word or phrase per line.  When you are done click on GO and your project will appear.
4.  From here you can edit your wordle puzzle...the direction of the words, font, colors, etc.
5.  Print your wordle and trim your paper down to 8 x 10.  (If you want your wordle in a 5x7 frame, reduce your wordle on a copy machine first.  Get a frame and you are done!

For FAQ click on the link, otherwise these were some tips I found very helpful...
*All words will be the same size of font, unless you type the same word multiple times.  For example, if I were typing up words that described my family, but wanted my last name to really stand out, I would type my last name 2 or 3 times so that it would appear 2-3 times larger than the other words.
*If you want 2 or more words side by side in your wordle, add a ~ between each word. (Mr. Smith would look like Mr.~Smith)
*I saved my word list on Microsoft Word so that I could edit anything I didn't like or change it up.  Just a suggestion because it's better be to safe than sorry right!?!

Hope this idea helps out.  This would also make for a great Mother's Day/Father's Day gift!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Creative Ways to Give Money as a Gift

Since my last post, I have discovered a few other creative ideas for ways to give money found on Faith, Trust and a Little Pixie Dust.
A money lei is the perfect way to congratulate the grad in your life!  Michelle has a tutorial to show you how to make one.

She also has a tutorial for how to make a money tie and an ATM machine.  I have been to several bridal showers where an ATM machine was given as a gift.  I love the idea of both!!

One more great idea for the graduate in your life that comes from the same blog, is to make a personalized pillowcase.  Write down any advice, thoughts, quotes, memories, etc. in permanent marker so your new college student can always remember memories from home or what they should do without you there to tell them! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Graduation {Balloon} Gift

Recently my daughter was invited to a birthday party which I wasn't prepared for with a present so we had to do some quick thinking.  Everyone loves to get money right?  Well that's the approach we took, only we wanted to make it a little more exciting than just money in a card.  I took 5 - $1 bills and rolled them up one at a time.  I stuck $1 inside of each balloon and then had them blown up with helium.  (You can see a dollar in the green balloon.)  We decided to fill a gift bag with candy and tie the balloons to the bag. 
Since graduation is right around the corner and money seems to be a popular thing to give, wouldn't this be a perfect idea?!?  Maybe more than just $5 for a graduate though! :)  Another idea is to fill balloons with gift certificates.  Whatever you decide to fill your gift balloons with, make sure your balloon doesn't get away from you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Gifts

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Am I glad to see Friday here or what?  What a week.  I am sure most of you are feeling the same way!  This was such a great week with it being Teacher Appreciation week, but this close to the end of the school year also made it a crazy week.  Anyway, I realize that it is probably too late for any more Mother's Day ideas with your students, but if you are still looking for a craft idea to do with your own kids, then maybe one of these ideas can help.
I really liked this idea from Second Grade is Splendid.  

She used these {personalized} tiles as coasters, but I was thinking of something similar to these only using the tiles as...well...tiles.  I am sure you have seen tiles with vinyl sayings on them which sit in a stand (small easel).  Whichever way works for you, I think it would make a simple, cute and personal gift for mom!
Another really great mom idea is this bottle of leMOMade from Diary of a First Grade Teacher.

What did my class do for the moms this year?  Well my inspiration came from IKEA.  On a quick run into the store last weekend (literally in and out in 15 minutes) I was searching for small easels to make the tile project (mentioned above).  IKEA did not have any easels, but while I was looking in the picture department, I came across these 2 sided picture frames for only $0.99 each.

When I saw them I instantly thought of how perfect these would make for a Mother's Day gift, especially since I still didn't have an idea.  Well here is what we ended up doing with them:
I gave the kids each a 4 x 6 white cardstock and told them to draw a picture of their moms the best that they could.  Here are a few...

 Then I gave them each a questionnaire about their moms that they had to fill out with their best spelling and handwriting.  (Sorry the first one turned out blurry.)
My mom is a good cook because she makes _________________. (#1 answer:  hotdogs!)
My mom taught me how to _____________________.
I know my mom is smart because she knows how to _______________.
My mom makes me laugh when she _____________.
I know my mom loves me because she _____________.
(All of my students have moms, but be sensitive to those who don't!)
The last thing the kids got to do was decorate their picture frames anyway they wanted using Sharpies.  Each student decorated a lunch sack for their gift bag and took them home today.  I think the moms should appreciate these frames.  After all, don't most moms love a good homemade gift?!?

Mother's Day Portraits

I absolutely love this Mother's Day idea for the classroom!  The idea comes from Lesson Plans SOS but can be purchased from TpT HERE.  I am not so sure it would work for my 1st graders, unless I adjusted the prices and kept the same concept.  I think 2nd and 3rd graders would find this to be a blast though!!
Basically the students were allowed a $5.00 budget to spend on "mom" items at the Ma Store.  They were given a price list of the mom items and had to come up with what they would spend their money on.  Once their lists were approved, the kids could buy their items and begin creating their moms.  Some of the items to buy included buttons, googly eyes, hair, clothing, jewelry, etc.  Honestly, these are so stinkin' cute!  Here's a look at a few more, but head over to Lesson Plans SoS for the full scoop.
Further down on their post, they described about a Mom Spa the class hosted for the moms.  Sounds like a fun activity!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day Ideas

With Mother's Day being only a few days from now, if you haven't found something yet, it's not too late!  Check out these ideas...
Frogs and Bees Under the Seas has FREE downloadable gift tags for Mother's Day.

A super cute All About Mom book that is a FREE download from Fabulous in First.

Make some Mother's Day Stationary using the template from In the Teacher's Lounge.

Several Art ideas for Mother's Day from Art Projects for Kids.

GREAT new craft ideas over at the Crafty Crow.
My Kids Make string flowers

Crafts By Amanda epsom salt votives
What are you doing for your moms?  I will be sharing what my class did  today later {hopefully tonight} after a ball game...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TpT Sale Extended!!

Last night was frustrated with TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) because of the technical difficulties they were having in maintaining their site.  I assumed it was because of the large amounts of people on their site for their fabulous deal and I was right.  So many people were on supporting the TpT sale that their site continued to crash.  Lucky for us, most of the teachers who were involved in the 20% off (plus the 20% off - matched by TpT) sale will continue through today and some through the rest of the week!  Thank you to all you wonderful teachers for extending your sale!  If you haven't already tried TpT, check it out for a 40% savings today!  Remember the code: TAD11 at the checkout!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fortunate to Have Your Help!

 I have had {8} of the best parents this year.  Ok so I have really had more than just 8 fabulous parents, but those 8 I am referring to have been my parent helpers.  They have been so good about coming into my classroom to work with my students on reading, math skills, and any project we might be working on.  I wanted to give them each something to tell them thank you, so I came up with this:

I started with these fortune cookies I found at Walmart.  There are about 12 in a box for a little over a dollar.
 I grabbed some {chocolate and vanilla} almond bark (located by the chocolate chips).
 Then it was time for dipping.  I melted 4 squares (half the package) of almond bark in a small sauce pan and heated it on the stove on LOW heat.  You need to be sure to stir the almond bark continually so it doesn't scorch, but overall very easy.  When I was done, I dipped the fortune cookies one at a time into the {melted} almond bark and then dipped them into sprinkles.  Some I left just plain chocolate.  Then I laid them on wax paper to harden and set up.
I them added 10 to a take out box, padded by tissue paper...5 of each kind.  I found the take out boxes at Walmart down the party aisle.  They came in packages of 4 and I think they were $1.50/package.  Overall, a very easy way to let my parents know how I appreciated all their hard work.
 My (6th grade) daughter decided she wanted to make a candy gram poster for her teacher for teacher appreciation.  I think she did a pretty good job!

I still have so many teacher appreciation ideas I will be sharing.  This happens to be a crazy busy week though so bare with me.