Friday, September 20, 2013

My crafty spurt...

Wow, what an incredibly long week... Thankfully, our school only has one more week until fall break and then we're off for 2 weeks!! I am so excited to be able to actually spend some time at home creating lots of new goodies for everyone! So, before the weekend starts, I thought I would link up with Doodle Bugs for a Five for Friday post and show everyone what I've been up to. Be sure to check out all the other wonderful links:

So, like every other classroom on the face of the planet, my kiddos have difficulties taking turns during sharing time. I have been looking all over the place for a solution to at least cut down on the interruptions and decided that, because I teach such a young group (Pre-K), I needed something very visual. Raising hands to take turns was just not working (surprise, surprise) so I decided to go ahead with an idea that I had briefly contemplated over summer break.
We had gone to Colorado over break to see family and, while at the YMCA, we had the opportunity to make walking sticks. Of course both of my girls wanted to make one and, because my younger one is shorter than the average adult (I know, crazy, right?), they had to trim a stick down for her. Being the resourceful person I am, I grabbed up the chunk they cut off and saved it for what I call a sharing stick. I finally had the opportunity to make it this past week and put it to use. So of course I started out by sanding and painting it. Then I found some yarn I liked (I must have been going for a peacock look or something...)
This is my finished product. I just wrapped the yarn around the center to create a bit of a handle and knotted it after every few wraps so it would stay put. Then, when I got it as thick as I wanted it, I double knotted it, added some beads, and voila! We introduced it today and the kids love it! I think they are so excited to get to hold it and see it up close that they were OK with sitting quietly and waiting their turn. Plus, the few times someone tried to interrupt, I was able to say "Oh wait, who has the sharing stick?" and they were able to stop and wait their turn. Big hit!!
Then, for our cooking lesson this week, we decided to make pancakes. We had been talking about solids, liquids, and gases and, to finish up the 3 weeks we spent on it, I thought they needed a little treat. We of course talked about what state of matter each of the ingredients were and what we thought would happen if we mixed two solids with two liquids. Plus they loved to see how a liquid (the batter) can change to a solid (the pancake) when it is cooked.

So this was the sweetest thing ever... Being the first half of the year, we still do rest time in our classroom. These two actually fell asleep holding hands... Talk about true friendship! So cute I just had to share!!

Finally, I've been kind of venturing away from what I already can do crafty wise and found a tutorial for what's called finger knitting online. I think it is probably a technique meant for kids but I loved it!! All you need is a ball of yarn and your fingers. It doesn't even take a lot of time to do! I ended up making this chevron-ish infinity scarf in one night and I plan to list it in my Etsy shop (plus make a ton more!) so make sure to check it out!!
Enjoy your weekend!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lite Brite Love

My daughter got a Lite Brite as a birthday gift and, for a 7-year old, I'm surprised at how long she can play with it without getting bored. So of course the teacher in me kicks in and thinks "Hmm, how great would it be if my students were this engaged at an independent center?!?" Enter, my Monday Made It project of the weekend (yes, it took ALL weekend to make this).

(Be sure to check out other Monday Made It links to see all the wonderful creativity!)
So, being the OCD person I am, before I could even fathom the idea of using Lite Brites in my classroom, I had to conquer the issue of effectively storing all those itty, bitty, teeny, tiny plastic pegs. I just happened to have an empty one of those little plastic bead storage boxes sitting around that are usually only a couple bucks at the craft store. I simply cut rectangles of construction paper and taped them into the bottom to designate a space for all the pegs.
Then, I found a cute background and font because, of course, I needed a cute label for the lid of the box.
Then, I spent the rest of the weekend making all the pages. I even made sure to print them out and "test" them myself (yes, that would be my excuse to play with my daughter's Lite Brite).
Be sure to check out the set over at my TpT shop by clicking on the picture below:
Hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Slime, Cookies, Fire Fighters, Oh My!

I wish I had more crafty pictures to post for my "Five for Friday" and "Peek at my Week" instead of a bunch of pictures of my classroom but, honestly, 'tis the life of a teacher. My life is my family and my classroom and I wouldn't trade it for anything! (Except maybe an early retirement;)

Anyway, one of the many highlights of our week was making edible slime. We started with a drop of blue food coloring in a cup and added 1/4 cup of milk which obviously made blue milk. Then we added 3 tbsp. of instant lemon pudding mix. This is where the fun came in. The mix is obviously white and the kiddos were baffled as to how mixing white and blue made green. After quite of few guesses, one said "Hey, it smells like lemonade!". That's when we spilled the beans and told them that, although it is white powder, it is actually lemon which is why they mixed to make green. So after concentrating really hard and stirring for 2 minutes, the pudding went into the fridge and they were super excited to try it for snack in the afternoon. Thankfully they loved it!
To remember 9/11, we arranged for a police officer and fire fighters to come in and talk about safety with the kids. Plus, we just happened to be doing our "Community" unit so it worked out perfectly! I made some flame cookies for the fire fighters and these badge cookies for the police officer. Plus a card for each of them that the kids signed (great name writing practice!!). I found the card cover here and simply printed the first page of it with the 2 per page setting in Adobe so it was half the size.
One of the safety tips my kiddos learned was how to "Stop, drop, and roll". They were so cute!!
Their favorite part? The hats of course!! Plus the fire fighters were so sweet that, after they presented in my class and the Pre-K class next door, they volunteered to do an impromptu presentation for the upper grades in the auditorium!! Best. Fire fighters. EVER!
Finally, in the spirit of patriotism, I thought I would share my kiddos doing their "Pledge of Allegiance". They've been working on it since the start of the year and they get super excited when we have a few minutes and they can try doing it one at a time in front of the rest of the group. Love to build that self-confidence!!
Have a great weekend!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

First Five For Friday

Well, I'm taking the plunge and doing my first Five for Friday and linking up to Doodlebugs!! (I sure hope I'm doing it right!!)

It sure seems like it would be easy enough, so here it goes...

We've been working on states of matter in my classroom and, yes, I teach Pre-K, so trying to explain the difference between solid, liquid, and gas have been... interesting :)

So we started out with a little cooking/science activity that the kids seemed to LOVE.

We started it out by making lemonade and blue ice cubes (of course they had to predict what would happen when the blue water was put in the freezer). Then, when snack rolled around, we pulled the lemonade out of the fridge and the ice out of the freezer and talked about how the fridge isn't cold enough to freeze things but how, in the freezer, the molecules (yes, I'm teaching them the word molecule!) group so close together and move so slow that it turns into a solid. Then they got to put lemonade and an ice cube in their cup and predict what would happen. Of course they said melt but, what they hadn't counted on was what would happen when it melted... the blue ice cube mixed with the yellow lemonade to make green lemonade!!

They were a little weary to try it but, after a few brave ones did and realized that it was the same, they loved it!

Then we talked about where we live (we're working on our My Community unit) so the kiddos had to write their city, state, country and planet on paper (the words were already there, they just had to trace), cut them out, and glue them in order on each of the colored flaps with the smallest (their house) on the red flap all the way to the largest (their planet) on the blue flap. It was pretty time-consuming (like one day activity turned into two) but they got it done and they were adorable! So adorable, in fact, that they took them home that afternoon before I got a chance to get any pictures :(

On of our biggest things we've been working on is our number of the week. I have a set of laminated tagboard posters that I hole-punched and hung from a curtain rod on my wall so we could reuse them each week and, one of my favorites is my number poster. Each week, when we introduce our new number, we use our number poster and the kiddos help me fill out the poster with the various representations for the number (ten frames, base ten blocks, tally marks, objects, numeral, number word, number before, number after, and addition sentences equalling 4). They are getting so good at them!! We then of course use the corresponding number booklets to reinforce the info (found here).

And the best part? It was a payroll Friday for us which means... payroll breakfast!! I have a sign-up genius set up for all the staff in the building and, each staff member signs up for 2 different payday dates (there's 5 slots for each date so they're not on their own) and then, each payroll Friday, we all get breakfast!! Not a bad way to end an INCREDIBLY long 4-day week!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wow, it's September!

So, it's a few days late, I know. But somehow, I missed the beginning of the month. Might have been because it was a Sunday. Might have been because it was Labor Day weekend. Be that as it may, I figured it was better late than never to link up with Oh Boy, Third Grade for the monthly "Currently":

Yep, I spent the whole day (about 12 hours) cleaning the house. Thankfully I have an awesome husband that served as referee to our girls so I could try to keep my motivation up and actually get something done. Why 12 hours of cleaning? Well, I used to have a crafty room in our spare bedroom and never actually went in there to do crafty projects so I figured, if I moved it out onto the tile area in our girls' playroom, I could keep an eye on them and not feel so isolated being in a completely different room. Plus I could at least watch TV with them. So I moved most of the stuff out of the spare room except for my fabric which basically needs a room of its own. Unfortunately, after moving all that, the spare room turned into a storage room and I found myself still bringing stuff into the living room to work on so I didn't have to watch the Disney Channel for hours on end. So the goal of the day was to clean up both areas and make the spare room a spare room again. The results? I'm about 75% of the way done :( Oh well, better than nothing, right?

As for the changes, we were super excited to find out that my husband got a promotion! He's been working at a prison for the past 3 1/2 years and, in a few weeks will officially be a parole/probation officer which is what he's wanted to do since he was in high school. I just hope he loves it! At least his commute goes from 1 1/2 hours a day to 30 minutes a day and he can sleep until 6:30 instead of getting up at 5:00.

Also, I finally was able to open up an Etsy Store to put all my Random Craftiness creations in. I've only had it open for about a week but I've already made a sale so my hopes are pretty high. :)

There are also a few other changes going on but I don't really want to jinx them just yet. ;) Hopefully by the next Currently, I'll be able to share a few more!!