Monday Made It #4

The creating bug has bitten me finally! However, I'm not able to create as much as I'd like to because of this guy:

Felix is one busy puppy! He's keeping us on our toes and no summer sleeping in is happening (well, kinda- if my hubby gets up before me I may sneak in some additional shut eye). I'm trying to find time to start tackling my to-do list when I'm feeling it, so here's what's up for this week of Monday Made It!

Starting off simple. With flexible seating next year, I'm having to think about supplies. I picked up some of these caddies from the Target Dollar Spot, stuck the rectangle adhesive pockets onto the sides and slid in the little S.S.S. label (for supply stock up station). These will be placed around the room for easy access.

My two favorite little men, my twin nephews, turn 1 on the 1st. We celebrated last weekend and I got to make them their little smash cakes. My first attempt failed and at 9:00 pm the night before, I had to go and get new supplies and start over. So nothing too fancy, but they worked. My sister didn't want any sprinkles or such, so to jazz them up, I made little cake toppers in a comic book super hero theme.

I made the cake toppers on my computer using PowerPoint, laminated them, and then attached a straw cut in half with some gorilla tape (that stuff is amazing, btw) and viola! Easy cake toppers!

I saw this next made it in the Target Dollar Spot and didn't have a use for it right away, but knew that I wanted to spend $3 on it. Anyone else notice that the Dollar Spot has morphed into more of a $3-7 Spot? Still a great place, but I miss all the $1 deals. Anywho.

This little sign will go outside of our classroom. 

It had the word "note" written in the corner, so I used some of my fav fabric washi tape to cover it up, added a little sign to the top and done! The white part is dry erasable, so I can describe what they are looking at a bit more. There's lots of ideas I came up with for using this: showcase student exemplar (with the students name written above), show off a skill we are working on, announce a class goal or that we reached a goal, display student of the week, show clues for future learning... lots of options. 


The last thing was something I made and blogged about earlier in the week. I am loving the adhesive pockets from the Target Dollar Spot (are you sensing a pattern here...). This project was inspired by it. I'm currently working on another one that I need to finish before I share about it (hopefully next MMI). If you haven't checked it out, hop over to the post here or by clicking on the image below. There's a freebie!

I'm co-leading a training this morning for those that are teaching summer school in my district this morning. I hope my little Felix will let me check in and read up on the other fantastic ideas!



Using Instagram Accounts in the Classroom

Hey! I got an idea that I'm pretty excited about introducing in my classroom next year. It started with my love of Instagram and those super nifty adhesive square pockets from Target Dollar Spot. Below I have some of my favorite Instagram accounts for educational purposes and then options on how to include them in your classroom.

And this list continues to grow. There are so many accounts that offer educational opportunities to bring the world into your classroom. Here are just a few that I've found recently that have sparked ideas on how to enhance my students academics in a range of content areas.

These awesome accounts have countless photos of the world (and beyond).  Nasa's account has awesome photos of space-great for science units. EarthPix is one of my favorites! It has a great mix of natural beauty, tranquil locations, and exotic spaces. Both DiscoveryChannel and Discovery HD have amazing images, including a lot of up close and personal shots!

I clumped all 3 of these national geographic accounts together. The main one, NatGeo is filled with glimpses into different cultures and climates. NatGeoAdventure has great shots of people interacting with the world. Nateocreative  has a mixture of intriguing and amusing photos from around the world.

The last chunk are accounts that revolve around current events and historical events. Any main new source, like ABCNews include impactful images from events going around the world. Time and Life have images of past and present that can give students a glimpse into the world.  I love how the History account often features "This Day in History" posts, while HistoryPhotographed has candid shots from the past. 

My main plan for using these images is for a writing inspiration wall using the adhesive square pockets from Target.

Writing Inspiration Wall

I can't put it all together until I get into my classroom, so I'm just showing the pieces now and will snap a picture when I'm back in my classroom after it's cleaned.

I envision it going something like this: I put 3 different headers on my cupboards (or a bulletin board I don't ever use). Underneath, I place these pictures from the Instagram accounts. When one is overused or not inspiring enough, I can just hop onto Instagram, find a new photo, and insert it into the pocket.  The headers are two parts- a question and then an explanation on what they are supposed to write about.

Once I figured out my questions, it helped me in my quest for photos. I even started creating stories based on the images once I found them! Since there are so many awesome images, it helped to look through them with a particular lens.

This did not take me very long- maybe 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram on my computer, taking screen shots, and adding them to PowerPoint. Since these images are not my own, I will not be posting this in my shop to respect the work of those who took the photos. However, you can find the headers here and can purchase these awesome icons for an amazing price here.

I added the icons to the corner of the images to help me keep them organized and as a prompt to remind students, as the icon corresponds to the headers. Again, you can snag these icons for a great price over at Hidesy's Clipart. I love her simple icons and most of her shop is only $1 for sets.  Hop onto Instagram and search for images then on your favorite accounts that could promote writing ideas for your students. Add the icons to the corners to help you stay organized!

Other Ideas with using the Wall:

RAFT Writing Matrix

Turn it into a RAFT grid/matrix. RAFTS are great supports for young writers. 

Each letter stands for something:
R- Role- What's your role as the writer? Are you a kid? A parent? A magazine article writer? You give them a list or assign one (great for differentiation).
A- Audience- Who are you writing to? Same deal as the role- lots of options. 
F- Format- Are you writing a friendly letter? An article? A persuasive essay? Great if you want students to practice a certain format or give them the option. 
T- Topic- Here's where the images come into play. Post an image as the topic and have students write away!

Options are endless with RAFTS and can add additional support if your kiddos require a bit more guidance with writing or to reinforce a skills you've taught.

Current Events and Research

Use the ABC News (or another news source) to post a few images (with the description or a hashtag) and have students research using other technology (iPads, laptops...) Then, they can report on it and share it with the class. I'm working on developing this more as I really want to incorporate current events into our classroom this year.

Historical Reference

Pick an image from one of the history accounts and just like the current events idea, have students research based on a description or hashtag and the photo. 

Geography and Culture

Studying a certain part of the world? Kick off your study with a series of images. Have groups of students pick one of the photos and have them learn more about it. You can pick landforms, cultural events, daily living or more!

  • Teach how to cite: give credit where credit is due. Teach your students that whenever using someone else's work to give credit to them by citing. I added the name of the account on each image. Also, a lot of these accounts have people who submit their photos, and they are often credited in the captions. Consider doing this as well and letting your students know what that means. 
  • Think about access- I'd recommend you have the account and pick images, as some may not be suitable for your age group. 
Do you have other accounts you enjoy to follow for educational purposes in the classroom? I'd love to hear them so I can check them out! How might you integrate Instagram into your classroom? Share below!



Monday Made It #3

This linky is the only thing keeping this blog alive! I have so many ideas, but I still haven't felt that I've had the "time" to sit down and blog about it. I still have a lot of summer so hopefully I'll get into the mojo of things. Thank goodness for Tara and her Monday Made It as it leads to inspiration, motivation, and creativity- just what I'm looking for in summer.
As I said early on, this summer, I'm balancing my projects. Now that we have a house, I'm loving putting my stamp on the different rooms. The most recent room to get some TLC was the dining room. This room was the first room I painted in the new house back in August... and it's the first one to get a new paint color. I liked the old color, but after we bought our table, I didn't like how it went with the wall. So the room got some new paint and some new wall decor! Most of it is from my new obsession Hobby Lobby. A new one just opened 5 miles from my house so I'm going a little overboard. However, my first made-it was actually a pretty lazy project: staining.

I got these shelves/shadow boxes from Michaels like a month ago. I stained them using the same stain we used for the long shelves in our living room. I forgot how messy staining can be. I still have stain stained to my skin from flicks of the paintbrush.... which I barley used. I'm more of a "stick in an old t-shirt and rub away" kind of girl. Anywho, here's the finished project:

Good thing I'm going for the rustic look! That makes it much easier to not care how even the stain is. I then filled the shelves with little fake succulents from Target and Hobby Lobby and some drawer pulls from HL. The full wall looks like this:

The mirror, arrow, wood print and frames were also from HL- hey- it was their grand opening, everything is 50% off pretty much sale. I also loved the look of the botanical prints so I searched for free prints I could print at home, printed them off and put them into these frames that were $2.50 a piece! These lovely prints can be found here. You can also search on Pinterest and you'll find a lot of others!

I also put together this little candle thinga-majig. Don't mind the finger smudges. #reallife

Here's our newly set up dining room that will soon have guests to enjoy it!

I also worked on my new light box this week! I seriously had the same thought of using transparency sheets to make designs when I hopped onto Instagram and saw Learning in Wonderland already 15 steps ahead of me making beautiful designs and taking the guess work out for measuring (she is a genius when it comes to that kind of stuff)! I obviously bought her pack, which included a ton of awesome designs already and started to use her template to make some of my own.

The one on the left is one of Learning in Wonderland's designs. I tried out my first one (and made a few printing errors, but we'll go with it because the kids won't notice right??) for independent reading time. 

I had to use my custom clip art set from The Organized Plan Book to make an inspirational quote (or two). Did I mention how much I love how these look even when the light is not turned on?

Last year's crew loved talking about pickles and pizza. So I made this one for those that are looping with me next year.

The last design I'll share will actually get some use in the next few months before the light box comes to school with me.

Meet our new golden retriever puppy, Felix! You'll be seeing a lot of him on instagram (#sorrynotsorry). Here he is on our first night with him, which was Saturday. I'm going to change out the weeks/months and need to make some #s, so don't mind the makeshift-use a sharpie marker on a piece of vellum-8. Yes I know this is not a real baby, but he's my first furbaby and I want to keep track of how fast he grows!

Can't wait to see what others created this week!



Monday Made It #2

It's my first official day of summer in my books... the first weekday where I have off. Except guess what?? I'm not off! This crazy lady signed up for a 4 day Teacher's College Writer's Workshop training with a culturally responsive twist this week. I don't get paid for it, but I also don't have to pay to attend, so I thought I would take the opportunity. Plus, come Thursday, I will have the rest of summer to enjoy, relax, and recharge! So I'm back to share a quick thing I made for next year with Tara's Monday Made It Linky.

As you may know if you've followed me recently, I am moving to a flexible seating approach next year. I still wanted to have name plates for students to mark their work place and for when we have guest teachers, so I had to find a solution. Introducing...

A binder clip. But wait!

It also can hold a pencil.

And if you place the name plate in the top and remove the little metal wings, you have
A name plate holder! I made up these little name plates (and put my new puppy's name on it for a demo) and printed them 3 on a page. 
My students will place these at their spot for work time. When not in use, their pencil can be slid into the binder clip for safe keeping. To jazz up the clip, I added just 2 little strips of fabric washi tape. Guys. I am LOVING the fabric washi tape! I decorated a whole journal using it. It's addicting I'm telling you. But it was the perfect width for these clips.

But, I didn't just stop there. I started to think: How else can I use these name plates and holders to support my students in their learning spaces?

Mini charts of course!

To test out my idea, I made up a few mini charts and put them back to back with the name plate. I can change out the chart to suit my students' individual needs. Slight draw back however is that you need to put the little metal wings back on in order to open and close the clip to change out the charts. It's not hard at all; you just need to make sure you have some of the wings on hand.

You could leave them on... they would cover up part of the name and charts but if you are looking for a bit more convenience this would definitely work.

I'm so excited at how easy this solution worked out for my need. But it got me thinking. What if you had desks, could this still work as a way to replace taping name tags down on the desks? Or how else could you use these clips in this way?

Want these reference cards? It'll be a growing pack, so snag it now while they are lower in cost! Click on the image below!

Add a little velcro to the desk and to the bottom on the binder clip. That way, when the top of the desk is opened, the clip will not fall over. You could also attach some ticky-tac (my favorite) to the clip for extra security. You could also  make direction signs for centers, turn in signs for paper collection... you name it! Cheap, yet effective.

I can't wait to grab a glass of wine after my training and enjoy reading the other ideas! Make sure you go check out the awesome creations.



Monday Made It

This little lady is still in school. Last day with students is on Thursday and then we (the teachers) have to report on Friday.  Maybe you are like me... when it's the school year, I just want to create and do things for my house, family, friends, etc. But then when it's summer, all I want to do is create things for school. Maybe it's a way to find some balance? I don't know. But now that we have a house, I'll be sharing more about all of our little projects...because they make me happy... and they are helping me to find a balance in my teaching... so alas, I will share them on this here blog too so hopefully you are ok with that. I'm so glad Tara will still be doing her weekly Monday Made It linky, with a little twist of guests bloggers! Nicole from Rowdy in Room 300 started it out and you should definitely check it out! I'm warning you that none of these are teaching related really... #sorrynotsorry

First thing I've been up to lately is decorating my shelves. My husband made these shelves and I stained them. I love them and want more of them around the house. I've had a blast shopping and changing them by the seasons. Here's the summer look I've got going on now!

Some of my favorite shops to find the little trinkets include Michaels, World Market, Pier 1, Kirklands, and Home Goods. On a Saturday or Sunday, you'd find me boppin' around to all of these stores trying to find the perfect little addition for the shelves. But things are about to change because... WE'RE GETTING A HOBBY LOBBY LESS THAN 5 MILES AWAY! June 13th. I'm so excited! Although my bank account might not be.

We've also been busy trying to clean up our landscaping. In the fall, we ripped up a bunch of overgrown plants and we reseeded this spring, so we are patiently waiting for that to grow in. We have stumps that need to be ground in the next week or two and we got rid of a bunch of white rock and rose bushes and replaced them with picture on the right! Our first peonies have bloomed! I didn't kill them yet! We also bought some new outdoor furniture and that is where I'm typing this little post from. We bought that big, lovely planter from Home Depot and I planted my first planter! Don't ask me what everything is I put it, because I don't know. I'm just glad nothing is dead yet in it! I'm finding how awesome planting is for my soul (when it isn't too hot and there aren't too many bugs). It's a whole new way for me to be creative. I look forward to more planting.

Last thing I'm sharing is a notepad I made. We are getting a golden retriever puppy in a few weeks (eeeeekkkk!!!) so it is helping to get us motivated to finish a few projects we've been putting off. To keep track of them all, I decided to make a "honey to do" notepad. It was real simple!

  1. Make up your list template. Mine aint fancy.
  2. Print and cut. I printed 10 copies to give me 20 lists.
  3. Find some cardboard around the house and cut out a rectangle that is the same size. I used a clothing box, but I also could have used our Leine's box from all the glorious Summer Shandy we now have in our fridge.
  4. Grab some paper clips and binder clips and clip them at the top of your pile of lists and your piece of cardboard on the back.
  5. Take rubber cement and add a few layers on the top edge. Let it dry in between coats.
  6. Put some magnets on the back (I went a little overboard but I just used up all my extra peel and stick magnets from a previous project and VIOLA! You're done! Hang it on the fridge and get to work (or in my case, don't and have a bowl of ice cream).

I'm hoping once school is out for a bit I'll get my creative juices for school flowing, however, I'm not rushing it. I only do it when I feel productive and I want to. And my first week of summer will be devoted to a Teacher's College Writer's Workshop training- it'll either inspire me at the time or lull me... we'll see! Can't wait to be inspired by all of you!


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