Monday, August 18, 2014

Easy DIY Gift: Decorative Clothespin Pushpins!

The past few years, I've made something small as a "welcome back to school" gift for my teachers. Two years ago, I made Rollo pencils, and last year, I made flower pens. This year, I went for something easy and useful! Decorated clothespins with thumbtacks on the back!

They're so easy to make, too. I made a couple hundred- enough for all of our faculty and then some - in just a couple hours. Basically, my husband told me, "You should really watch that last Wolverine movie. It was really good," and I watched it with one eye while doing this will all the rest of me. 

I started out with a ton of clothespins and some washi tape. I went a little crazy here and chose waaaaay too many styles. Couldn't help myself. Tape across the top of each clothespin and tear off the tape after the edge.

Then I flipped them over and used scissors to snip off any excess. Some tape is exactly a clothespin
s width, so it fits beautifully! And some tape has to be trimmed not only at the ends, but along the sides as well.

Then I glued a thumbtack to the back of each with a glue gun and cut a million little cardstock cards in a few different complimentary colors. I clipped three clothespins to each card.

After that, I used a permanent silver marker to write a little signature and I was all done! 
Easy Peasy!

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Idea: Response Rings to Check for Understanding

It's that time again! Time for all the little people to come and ruin our endless summer! Just kidding. Hopefully you're as excited as I am for this new school year because it's coming whether you want it to or not. Heehee. And here's a Bright Idea to help you be ready!

Have you ever taught a beautifully, meticulously planned lesson, delivered it to perfection, and then watched in horror as all of your kids proceeded to butcher their assignments? What happened? you thought. Where did I go wrong? 

This happened to me...a lot... especially my first year or two of teaching. And then I realized what I was missing.

One of the most important things about teaching a great lesson is constantly checking for understanding and making sure students are engaged in the thinking of your lesson on an individual basis. To help do this is a quick, easy way, I created these simple and affordable tools! 

Response Rings to check for understanding!

Response Rings are so versatile and easy to make. I take five index cards for each student, in five different colors. 

I label each index card with specific responses that I anticipate I might want students to use during a lesson, and then I laminate them.

This side I labeled with A, B, C, D, True/False, and Yes/No.

This side includes mathematical operations and their corresponding visual representation that I want kids to use in their problem solving.

Then I hole-punch them and put them on a ring.

Each student has a ring during every lesson. I ask them to take out their Response Rings and then I pose a specific question. This could be "What operation are we going to use to solve this problem?" or "Which is the better answer? A, B, C, or D?" or "From the details in the chapter, is it reasonable to predict that the Nick will follow this new rule?"

Then I ask them to "flash" me the answer! They hold their response card out in front of their chest (not waving it in the air- this discourages copying) and I get a quick check of who's with it, who's lost and what I need to do next! You can quickly scan the room and, because they're color-coded, get a visual picture of how the kids are responding! It holds all kids accountable for thinking and deciding on a response to your questions.

Easy Peasy but it makes all the difference!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, follow me on TPT, facebook, or instagram for more great ideas!
For more bright ideas from more than 100 bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that insterests you! Happy browsing!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wishlist Blog Hop

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I am so excited to be participating in the first event this great group of bloggers have put together! I met these awesome ladies in Vegas and we've had a blast since then putting together our first Blog Hop Giveaway!
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 My product for the giveaway is Community and Citizenship Pack, designed for grades 2-3 to learn about types of communities and traits of citizens. It's the most wishlisted item in my store! 
I spent a day revamping this product this summer using some new clipart and some simple, clean borders! It should be even more readable and usable than before!

To enter the giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter options below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click over to Mrs. Russell's Room to collect even more entries for the Wishlist Giveaway! 

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Wedding DIY: Etched Mason Jar Candle Holders

For our wedding last October, because we had the dinner and party outside, I knew I didn't want flowers as centerpieces because my mother's backyard is already full of green and flowers! So I hunted around for ideas to make a simple candle centerpiece unique and special.

These jars were a huge hit and easy (and better yet: cheap) to make! To start, I had my family and friends collect as many jars as they could. Spaghetti, jelly, salsa, olives and more come in jars! 

Once I had a large box full of jars, I filled the sink with hot hot hot soapy water and scrubbed the labels off witha steel wool scrubber. Sometimes this took some hard work, but those jars were free so you know I was going to find a way to use them!

After the jars were clean and dry, I used some handy dandy materials I bought from Michael's to etch them. Martha Stewart produces an etching cream that works very well. It comes with a little brush. Separately, I purchased some Martha Stewart sticky vinyl stencils. The stencils were surprisingly durable and lasted for over 130 jars. 

I stuck the stencils on several sides of the jars and painted over them with the etching cream. Then I let them dry and stuck them back in the sink. I used a sponge to clean off the jars with the stencils still on. Then I peeled off the stencils and laid them out on a plastic sheet. 

And then I cleaned the jars again, making sure I took off all of the residual cream

It was some work, but they were awfully affordable centerpieces and they turned out lovely.

For more great ideas, check out the link-up at Fourth Grade Frolics!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wedding DIY: Old-Fashioned Card Box

So you've probably seen these wedding card trunks all over pinterest because they're so cute! 

I knew my mom had this little piece of luggage in her house, so I stole it.


And I cleaned it! It was quite old.
I cut the letters for the word "Cards" out of the fabric in our wedding color - blue- and 
I used these little canvas bunting flags to spell out the word. Thinking I would be slick, I layed the letters down facedown and hot glued the backs. Then I stuck a bunting flag on each one and glued a ribbon across the top of the bunting flags to make a little banner. After that, I flipped it over.... and realized I did it backwards. Duh.

So I cut the flags apart and glued them back together the right way.

To add some sparkle, I used some glitter and Elmer's glue to fancy up some tiny clothespins. 

Then I clipped one on the top of each bunting flag! Easy peasy card holder box!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wedding DIY: Chalkboard Welcome Sign

Our wedding was back in October, and I've had this huge pile of pictures and DIYs that I wanted to share with you readers! I finally put them together this week and so I should have posts ready for the next seven Monday Made-Its! The first one I'm sharng was a fun project! I bought a simple chalkboard from IKEA and fancied it up for our wedding to greet our guests!

 I cut a piece of fabric to fit in the chalkrail that matched our wedding colors. I used string, hot glue and scrapbooking paper to make a little bunting to drape across the top, and in one corner I glued some paper flowers matching our wedding colors.

Then I found these little jars and popped fake daisies in them to match my bouquet. I printed out the text I wanted on computer paper using fancy fonts and spent about forty-five minutes recreating the lettering and the little bride and groom outfit underneath. It's not perfect, but when I look at it, I'm kind of amazed I did it at all lol. Considering it was the night before the wedding!

Then I wrapped the top part of the chalkboard in saran wrap to protect the chalk from smudging while we transported it to the church. We placed it in front of the church and later in front of the house for the reception and party to greet our guests!
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