Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hoarders: Teacher Edition

Have you seen all those hoarding shows on tv? These are people who collect mountains and rooms full of garbage, but insist that the items have meaning/purpose. These people are CRAZY!! They're like, "I can't throw away that mcdonald's bag from 12 years ago, it has sentimental memories." WTF?

Then the other day I was putting something away in my laundry room/closet when it hit me. I am a teacher hoarder. I collect random things that other people would throw away, but I can use in my classroom. Take a look:
I bet you don't collect empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Or old egg cartons.

Or old oatmeal canisters. You would throw them away. Or better yet, you would recycle them. Well, I'm doing my own version of recycling. What am I going to do with this trash? Well...

egg cartons- can be used for sorting, made into caterpillars for our insect unit, or used to hold beads
toilet paper rolls- 2 can be glued together to make "binoculars", 1 can be made into a harmonica, or a small rainstick
oatmeal canisters- used to hold extra crayons, small blocks (legos), possibilities are endless

So yes, I am a teacher hoarder. But, these things have not taken over my house! If they do, I'll let you know and you can come stage an intervention.

p.s. funny story- last year I was in Charleston visiting my friend (and fellow teacher) Hillary. We were out at a bar when I stopped to use the restroom. She asked me why I was laughing when I came out. My response: "you know you're an elementary school teacher when you want to steal the empty toilet paper roll from the bar!"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Here's a pointer

Literally that is! These are an essential tool in the Kindergarten classroom. I use one during my morning meeting to point out the words in our morning message. The kids use it when they lead the class in the "days of the week" song. I only had 1 of these last year, and wished I had more for when kids are reading the room. So when I was at Michael's last week, I decided to get crafty!
Ta da! 3 super cute, super cheap reading pointers! I have a rocket ship, bee and a frog. Each shape was 59 cents and the dowel I used was about $1. So for under $5 I have 3 new pointers. Can't wait to use them!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Moving Day!

This past week I got the go ahead to get back into my classroom. Yay! Except that everything got packed up at the end of the year so when I walked in I saw this:

And this:

And this:
It's kind of hard to unpack boxes when all the shelves are either stacked on the lockers or the window sill! Or crammed into the bathroom! yikes.

Thankfully our awesome custodian was super nice and got them down for me, so I was able to make some progress. I still have a LONG way to go before school starts, but it is making me excited for the school year.

Since they all got jumbled up, I decided now was a good time to organize my books:

In the past I haven't really had a very good system, so I'm working on it. It'll be nice to have books sorted by category: math, rhyming, ABC books, school books, etc. I'll show you the final product, but here's what I have so far:
Now all I need are some students!

*** please excuse the quality of these photos, they were taken on my phone!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Mary over at Adventures in Kindergarten is hosting a book giveaway. 1st place is a $25 card to Amazon, 2nd place is a "back to school" book. Her blog is super cute and always has great teaching ideas. Check it out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Letter Search

I know it is still summer, but I am just itching to get back to school! Am I totally crazy? I'm just really looking forward to meeting my new kids, getting back into a routine, etc. And I'm really excited because I have spent a lot of time this summer creating new activities, re-tooling old ones, etc. I recently saw these online and ordered two sets:

They're refillable dot painters! So then naturally I was thinking of how to use them in my classroom. And I came up with this:
The kids can use the dot painters to mark where they see each letter, and it makes a trail down to the end. What do you think? I'm pretty proud of it and it was surprisingly easy to make! I've already made ones for m, p and s (the first 3 letters we study). They will be out as one of my literacy centers. You can see it in my Google Docs here. Now I just need some kids to try it out on!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What's cookin' in the kitchen?

My Kindergarten classroom is lucky enough to have a "home living" center. It has a small refrigerator and sink, and I've gotten a few toy foods, pots, etc. for the kids to play with. They LOVE this center and I love that it helps them expand their imagination and vocabulary.

It's super cute, but a little boring back in the home living corner (doesn't help that it's right next to the bathroom). I decided to make some curtains to jazz it up. You can't see, but to the right of the toy sink is the real classroom sink that needed some curtains to hide the pipes underneath. I got some super cute cloth to make very simple curtains to hide the pipes. Then I set to work on this:

They are curtains to go in the home living center over the "window" (which I'll make out of posterboard or something) that's over the little sink. The ruffle fabric is what I used for the big curtains, so they go together. Plus, they're adorable!! I can't wait to get them in my classroom. Until now, here's a visual to help you see what I'm talking about :

What do you think? Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty proud of how they are turning out. And I'm impressed with myself that I figured out how to do the ruffle without my mom's help. Makes me want to do more sewing projects. In a few weeks I can get into my classroom and you better believe these are the first new things going up!

A reminder

This afternoon, I needed a few things that I had left at my townhouse (I'm still staying with my parents while I recover my strength from surgery) so I stopped by after church. Right when I opened the door, I saw it. A balloon. Floating around the ceiling in my living room.

Not so special really, unless you know that it's a "get well soon" balloon AND that one of my students gave it to me AND that she gave it to me 8 weeks ago. It was still floating. It was a very poignant and visual reminder of what I hope is my lasting impression on my students. They've moved on from Kindergarten and have been enjoying the summer off, but I hope they are still holding on to the things I taught them from this year. It actually brought a tear to my eye as I realized just how much I miss those kiddos and it reminded me (yet again!) of why I love what I do. And how I can't wait to get back!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Smarty Pants

Since I have a lot of time on my hands this summer, I decided I wanted to try and be productive this summer. Sure, there are days where I don't change out of my pyjamas and just lounge around the house all day. Then there are days where I am super productive. Today is looking like a mix of the two- part productivity and part laziness/enjoying summer. Today's project of productivity was making a pair of "smarty pants". I got the idea from a blog I saw and knew I had to do it! Here's the how-to tutorial:

1. Start with a pair of small jeans (I got these for $1.50 from Salvation Army).

2. Sew the leg holes shut- make sure to use a jean/heavy duty needle. I also use jean thread so it blends in.

3. Next, use small scissors or a seam ripper to cut the back belt loops free.

4. Sew belt loops closed over a hanger.

5. Print a cute sign and tah-da! Smarty pants!!
These will be filled with Smarties (the candy) and hung in my classroom. When a child does something extra-smart, that means they are a "Smarty Pants" and can get a piece of candy. They turned out super cute!! Can't wait to hang them in my room.