Monday, July 30, 2012

Made it Monday - Melted Crayon Canvas!

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics again for Made it Monday! You will see so many great ideas if you head over there and check it out!

I've been seeing the melted crayon art all over Pinterest.  After a few weeks of debating on whether or not to try it....I finally took the plunge!   I am so glad I did this project!  It was so much easier than I thought it would be and I think the finished product is so cute!  

First I gathered all the supplies I needed:  a canvas (mine was 12"x16"), a 64 pack of Crayola crayons, black ribbon, wooden letters, my handy dandy glue gun, and a borrowed heat gun.   

First step was laying out all of the crayons in the order that I wanted them to be on the canvas.  I chose to go in rainbow order, but I've seen other people go completely random.  

Next I hot glued all of the crayons across the top of the canvas.  Because I knew I wanted my name at the bottom, I went ahead and taped off some space at the bottom of the canvas.  

Crayons glued on and bottom taped off. 

After this I was ready to use the heat gun.  You can use a hair dryer  too, but I figured the heat gun might be quicker and easier. 

It worked really fast and within 30 seconds of me turning it on, the very first crayons had started to drip.  

After 1 minute most of the crayons had started to drip!

It took about 10 minutes for the crayons to melt down the entire canvas evenly.  I was so excited.


Before the crayons dried completely, I removed the tape at the bottom.  Unfortunately some of the melted crayon seeped under the tape somehow.  
The tape came off easily, but........

This was not so pretty!!

Luckily I had an idea!  I used black ribbon and hot glued it across the canvas where the crayons had "leaked" under the tape.  After that I also hot glued my name in the space at the bottom of the canvas.  

The last step was adding black ribbon around the edge of the canvas so it could be hanged.  I also added some extra ribbon in one corner just to give a little pizazz.  

Overall this project was easy, fun, and I now have an adorable sign to hang on my classroom door.   I've seen some really creative twists on this melted crayon art...including this one here where she glued the crayons in the shape of a heart before melting them.  Too cool!!!

So now that you know what I've been doing......head on over to 4th Grade Frolics and see what everyone else has been up to!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Favorite Classroom Songs

I am linking up with Rachel over at Teaching with Z for a linky party about favorite classroom songs!  Click below to join in the fun and share some favorite songs that you use in your classroom!

I have two people that are my "go to" choice for music in the classroom:  Dr. Jean & Shari Sloane.    They are both fantastic and if you have never checked them out, you are totally missing out!

My favorite morning song to use is called "Hello Friend" by Dr. Jean.   The kids love it and it gets them moving around and shaking hands with all of their friends.  This song is on the CD called Dr. Jean in Espanol.   The awesome thing is that after we listen to "Hello Friend" in English, we then play the Spanish version called "Hola Amigo."  

This always makes my spanish speaking kids smile (because after all, they know all the words).  The other kids eventually pick up on the words and do actually learn how to sing along with the song pretty well.  On days when we were short on time, I always let them vote which version to sing--and they always choose the Spanish version.  :-)

My favorite alphabet song is from Shari Sloane.  "Letter Pop" is a song that helps kids learn letters and sounds.  It's set to the tune of the 50's song 'Lollipop' and the kids love singing it.  You can listen to a sample of it here, on Shari Sloane's website.  (you will probably  end up humming the tune for the rest of the's pretty catchy!)  

After my kids learn this song really well, I often use it as a transition song during the day.   Cleaning up seems to go so much faster when they know they have to finish by the end of the song....and since they love singing it, they really don't complain about the 'clean up' part.  

My favorite math song is also from Shari Sloane.  It's called "Bingo, Bango, Bongo" and is a skip counting song.  In this song kids learn how to count by 2's, 5's, 10's, and even 100's.   Any song that makes skip counting fun is a win in my book!!!    You can listen to a sample of it here.  This was one of those songs that the kids begged to sing over and over.  It's also one of those songs that will probably get stuck in your head.  :-)

So what about you?  Do you have some favorite songs you use in your classroom?  Don't forget to join the linky party and share your favorite songs to use in the classroom!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Class Rules

How many class rules do you have?

Last year I had three rules:  

  • Respect yourself
  • Respect others
  • Respect our school
At the beginning of last year, I sat down with my class and I asked them what they thought our rules should be.  If you've never done this, you should try it.  It's pretty interesting to see what they come up with!  

After I had written all of their suggestions, we reviewed them together.   I guided them into the realization that each rule they came up with, could be represented by one of the 'respect rules'.   For example,  "be kind to your friends" would fall under the  Respect Others  rule....... "don't write on the walls" (LOL) would fall under the Respect our School  rule, etc.    

My kiddos did not understand the word 'respect' at first, but after discussing several ways they could show (or not show) respect, the concept became much clearer to them.  

I got the idea for my classroom rules from Angela Watson at the The Cornerstone.  Here's a link to a great post by her about the differences between procedures and rules.    It was always hard for me to distinguish between rules and procedures in my classroom, but after reading her post it made a lot more sense.   (her entire site has tons of great information...I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already!!)

I now think of my rules as guides for my classroom, while my classroom procedures are steps that students should take to be successful at keeping those rules.   Does that make sense?

This year I want to incorporate Whole Brain Teaching into my classroom, so I've been doing a lot of  researching on their website.   WBT has their own set of rules that are part of their program, but there are a couple that are just not my favorite.   I think I am going to use my own rules (probably the three above) and blend them in with the rest of the whole brain teaching program.   I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching

Have you heard of Whole Brain Teaching?

According to the official Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) website--"at the root of Whole Brain Teaching is a large amount of highly structured, educational tomfoolery". 

Ha!  Sounds fun, huh?

I've been reading a lot about it lately and am very intrigued.   I love that it gets students so engaged in each lesson....but I also LOVE the fact that so many teachers are raving about the positive effects WBT has had on their classroom management.  The WBT website is really good and has tons of testimonials, information, and printables.  I've also found that YouTube has lots of great WBT videos.  Did you know that whole brain teaching can be used all the way from preschool to college? 

Two of my favorite WBT videos are below. If you aren't familiar with whole brain teaching, it's definitely worth looking into!

This is a video of a Kindergarten teacher using WBT to start the morning.

This is WBT being utilized in a first grade math lesson.

I think I am going to try to implement parts of it into my classroom this year.  I think the easiest things to implement will be class-yes, hands & eyes, teach-okay, and the scoreboard game.  

Have you done WBT in your classroom?  How did it work?  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank you again!

Stephanie over at Mrs. A's Room sent two more awards my way and I am very grateful.  She is a new blogger like me, but already has some great posts up!  Head over and start reading!

The first is the Versatile Blogger Award which has 7 rules:

1.  Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.  (Done!)

2.  Include a link to their blog.  Go visit Mrs. A! 
3.  Include the award image in your post.  (Done!)

4.  Give 7 random facts about yourself.  (Done!)

  • I am absolutely terrified of bugs.  Anything that crawls, flies, or hops will get shrieks of terror from me....I may or may not also be prone to running and flailing my arms (just in case it's on me) LOL
  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE the tv show "Little House on the Prairie."  I'm envious of how simple things were back then and how strong the community seemed to be.  Naturally my favorite character was always Ms. Beadle.
  • When I was about 6 or 7,  I was Chewbacca for Halloween.  My sister was Princess Leia.  I still have some ill feelings about that one.  ;-)
  • I have been doing weight watchers for about 10 months and have lost 40 lbs during that time.  I still have about 40 more that I'd like to lose. 
  • I am a perfectionist in my classroom.  It bugs me if things do not match or are not in order.  
  • My kindergarten teacher is my Facebook friend and I think that's so neat!  I hope one day that I will be able to keep up with my grown students in some way too!
  • I am an iPhone junkie.  If my phone is not in my pocket, it is usually right beside me.  I take it everywhere I go.  Everywhere.  Seriously.  

5.  Nominate other bloggers for the award.  
 I am nominating these great blogs:


6.  When nominating, include a link to their blog.  (Done!)

7.  Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.  (Done!)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - 

The second award is the Liebster Blog Award.  

For this award you will need to:

1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you. (Done!)
  Go check out Mrs. A's blog.  You won't regret it!!!

2.  Post the award to your blog.  (Done!)

3.  Give the award to bloggers with less than 200 followers. (Done!)

I am nominating the same awesome two blogs for this award as 
well.  They are both full of information and I'm sure you 
will want to follow them once you visit!


4.  Let the bloggers know they have received the award. (Done!)

Thank You!!!

I just got home after a long day of working in my classroom and was so surprised to be nominated for an award!  Special thanks to Ms. Pasqua's Kindergarten for my very first blog award.  :-)  

For receiving this award I have to....
1.  Follow the person who gave me the award.  Done!
2.  Link back to the person that gave me the award.  Done!
3.  Pass to 15 new bloggers and let them know they have received the award.....

So without further adieu, I would like to pass this award to these wonderful sure to check out their blogs for some great ideas!  (There are so many great blogs out there and finding ones that have not received this award was after much searching (lol) I am giving this award to 10 bloggers)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Made it Monday - under the table storage!

If you're like me, you probably never have enough storage space in your classroom!  No matter how many shelves, cubbies, or bins I buy, I always have trouble finding a place for everything in my room.    

I saw a great idea on Pinterest where a teacher had used Sterilite storage drawers under her small group table.  Check out her pics at Fabulous in First!   This idea got me thinking about ways I could add storage to my student tables.....I brainstormed all summer and finally came up with something I wanted to try.  

After purchasing the sheets of wood (I think it was MDF) we starting cutting.  Actually it was less "we" and more just my boyfriend....He did most of the hard work here.  

After cutting & sanding & nailing.......we finally ended up with something that looked like this.  The idea was to have a large shelf at the top (big enough to hold folders, journals, etc.) and a smaller shelf at the bottom.   

The next step was painting them.   This was probably the longest and most frustrating part, simply because painting is hard I am impatient.   Each one needed about two coats of paint.  

I also added felt "legs" that screwed into the bottom of each shelf.  These allowed me to adjust the height so that they fit right up against the bottom of the table.    As you can see above, there is no top on the shelves....I figured they didn't need a top since they were going to sit flush with the table anyway.  

This is what the finished product looks like under my student table.  I color code my tables, so each table will have a different color shelf.    I am hoping that these provide an easy and convenient way to store things that students need quick access to.....folders, journals, whiteboards......I'm still trying to decide exactly how best to utilize them.  But overall I think they turned out great!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Top 5 Teacher Must Haves!

What are some of your favorite classroom "must haves"?  Join up with Rachelle at Life is Sweet in Kindergarten and share your Top 5 things you just can't live without.  

Here are my Top 5 Teacher Must Haves....

1.  Seat Sacks--I love having the extra storage right on the back of my kiddos' chairs.  Seat sacks (or chair pockets) are a great place to keep notebooks, journals, folders, and any other small items you want to be handy to your students.  If you sew, or know someone crafty, you can make your own and probably save some money!

2.  Plastic tubs, trays, and boxes--I LOVE organizing and for some reason organizing in brightly colored plastic bins makes me sooooo happy.  The Dollar Tree is one of my favorite places to find all kinds of plastic boxes and bins, along with (of course!) the Dollar Spot at Target.  
3.  Any CD by Dr. Jean--Not only do teachers love Dr. Jean, but kids adore her music too.  It's fun and upbeat and many of her songs cover basic skills such as letter sounds, counting, rhyming, etc.  She does have some "just for fun" silly songs too.   Her CD's are always great for a rainy day or for that occasional brain break in between lessons.

4.  Dry Erase Sleeves--I love dry erase markers and am so thankful that someone invented the dry erase board!  I mean, really....what a great idea!!!  With dry erase sleeves you can take any printed page and turn it into a practice page for your kiddos.   Simply slide your printed page into a sleeve....then your kiddos can complete the page using a dry erase marker.  When finished, they simply erase.  I used these a lot last year for early finishers and it worked really well.  A couple of weeks ago the Dollar Spot at Target had these for (gasp!)....a dollar!  You can't beat that!!!! 

5.  Student mailboxes--Having a way to organize and keep up with student work is an absolute must.   This will be the first year I've used the Classroom Keepers mailbox system (shown below).  I'll let you know how it holds up....fingers crossed.  My last set of mailboxes lasted for 7 years and probably would have lasted several more if there hadn't been a leak in my classroom ceiling.  Unfortunately, cardboard mailboxes and water just don't do well together.  

So there are 5 of my Teacher Must Haves.  Be sure to join the linky party and share yours!  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop

Yay for being a new blogger!  Janis over at Grade Three is the Place for Me is hosting a linky party for new bloggers and I am linking up.  Hopefully we can all learn a little bit about each other AND find some new blogs to stalk follow.  Sound like fun?  Then go ahead and link up....Here's what you will want to tell everyone:

1.  what state you are in 
2.  your current teaching position
3.  your teaching experience
4.  when you started blogging
5.  share a blogging tip or blogging resource

As for me....

1.  I'm in middle Tennessee.

2.  I am currently a Kindergarten teacher.

3.  I am about to start my 8th year teaching; all 8 of those years have been in K.  

4.  I started blogging 1 week ago, so I am totally a newbie! :-)

5.  Google is my friend!  If there's something I don't know how to do related to my blog, I simply google it.  Usually I am able to find a quick tutorial that gives me the information I need.  I've also found that bloggers are super friendly and always willing to help out us don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it!

If you're a new blogger, be sure to link up to the Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop.  You never know who you might meet....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Teacher Toolbox

Make your own teacher toolbox!

Sometimes I wonder how I ever taught without Pinterest.  LOL  It has really become the "go to" place for finding ideas & inspiration!

So I kept seeing ideas for creating a "teacher toolbox" to house all of the tools teachers use on a daily basis like tacks, expos, tape, etc.  I found the perfect 22 drawer organizer at Lowes.....well perfect except for one thing--it was a boring gray color.
So I proceeded to spray paint it a bright blue.  Then I decided the blue didn't quite match my classroom decor, so I proceeded to repaint the whole thing black.  Yeah...I like my things to match. :-)  

The next step was deciding how to create labels for the outside of the box.  After considering scrapbook paper, fabric, and paint.....I finally decided on contact paper.  I had  a lot of left over colored contact paper from another project I had been working on (involving ugly white pipes on the wall of my classroom but that's another story entirely).  Colored contact paper has become my new favorite thing!  I have a feeling it is going to be making several appearances in my classroom this year.

Did you know you can PRINT on contact paper?  Well you can!  
I was using a laser jet printer and it worked great!  If you have an ink jet printer, you may want to try it out first to make sure it prints correctly.  All I did was cut out 8.5"x11" pieces of contact paper, tape them to a regular sheet of paper for stability, and run them through the printer.  YAY!

Overall I think my new desk accessory turned out pretty neat. The cool thing about this project is you can customize it to match your classroom decor or theme!  It's pretty simple and it should keep you organized all year long!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kindergarten Memories

Do you remember your Kindergarten experience?  I sure do!  Jennifer over at Simply Kinder is hosting a linky.  Hop over there to link up and share your own experiences about Kindergarten!

I remember my Kindergarten days quite vividly!   I attended a half day Kindergarten in Minnesota and was assigned to the morning class.  My teacher's name was Ms. Lueck and I remember thinking she was the prettiest woman in the whole world.  She was so nice and sweet and was always smiling.  

Our classroom had these great cardboard bricks that we used to build things.  Actually my classmates and I preferred to use them in a different way.  We would empty all of the blocks off the shelf so that someone could climb into the shelf.  Then we would stack all of the blocks back up so the person was "hidden" inside the shelf.   Our teacher would then come looking for the missing student and naturally would be startled and surprised when that student would burst out from behind the blocks!  I'm pretty sure we did this several times a day.....and I'm pretty sure Ms. Lueck would act surprised and startled each and every time.  She was a good sport!   

You can see the red "brick" blocks on the left in this picture.   
I am sitting just to the right of the blocks proudly wearing bright red pants. 

Just so you can get a better view of the bright red pants!  :-)

 One of the other things I remember clearly was getting to color one of those cats that you can see on the wall in the photo above.   I have no idea why this memory stuck in my head....but I remember getting to choose my favorite color (I picked blue) and being so excited to color that cat.  I remember tracing the outside of the cat very darkly and coloring the inside of the cat very lightly.  I was so proud of that blue cat and I loved seeing it on the wall every day when I got to school.  

I have always credited my first year of school with being one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher.  It was my first school experience and I LOVED it.  After that, I was hooked on school.  This is why I think my job is so important and why I strive to make school fun and meaningful for my students.  I want them to love school as much as I did!

Jumping On Board!

After spending so much time reading other teachers' blogs I decided to jump on the proverbial bandwagon and start my own!   I am about to start my 8th year of teaching Kindergarten and I couldn't see myself teaching any other grade!!

Special thanks to my good friend Michelle over at Kindergarten Stars! for encouraging me to join the rest of the blogging world! :-)  Go check her out and see what she's been up to in her Kindergarten class!