For a few years, I've seen those cute frames that students hold up to their little faces and use to mark a milestone in their lives - their first day of school! Parents use them as well as teachers and I always LOVE looking at the transformation of that little one from the beginning of the year to the end! I have thought about making one for a while and as I mentioned in my Five for Friday post, it was a rainy day recently and I thought, why not make a frame now? I wandered my way over to Michael's for a "quick" trip which turned into two hours - you know how it is - and I found some great materials for this project (and several others).
I had already purchased the bulletin board letters at Staples in anticipation of this project. At Michael's I bought the frame (on sale), the ruler ribbon, Mod Podge and the scrapbooking flowers. I had the vision, but had to get started!! First, I took all of the contents out of the frame and threw them away. Then, I measured out the ribbon to go around the frame. I used craft glue to initially stick it on, but knew that wouldn't be enough to keep it still after 23 sets of little hands hold it on the first day of school. After the craft glue dried, I covered it with a coat of Fabric Mod Podge.
I not-so-patiently waited for TWO hours for the frame to dry (as directed on the bottle) and looked over it, making sure all the sides and edges were firmly in place. After this, I went ahead and started punching out the letters I needed. I knew that with a 14x18in frame there was no way I could get the entire word "kindergarten" on there so I settled for the abbreviation, K. I also began placing the scrapbook flowers (which are made out of book pages) in any place I saw imperfections I didn't like on the frame.
After placing the objects where I wanted them, I glued them down using my lifesaving Elmer's CraftBond Dual Tip Glue Pen - it's great for projects like this because it has a fine point tip for things like the flowers and letters, but a broader tip for things like the ribbon. Worth. Every. Penny! It takes a while for the flowers to really stick so I had to leave it alone for another hour or so before I could pick it up and move it around.
This frame is now hanging, patiently waiting to help capture the first day of Kindergarten for all the students coming SO soon!
In years past, I have mostly used the method of a pocket chart for my attendance and lunch choice. Although this idea has been great and easy for the kids to do, it takes up a LOT of space in my classroom! I wanted to find a way to better utilize those big spaces and to shrink my attendance chart in some way. I decided on using a skinny wall space near my classroom door that would be hard to use otherwise. I started thinking of things that could fit into such a small space and I came up with a cookie sheet! I looked up some ideas and liked many of them, but wanted to put my own spin on it.
I needed to find some cookie sheets for my magnetic letter activities during guided reading as well as for this project and found some on sale at Kroger if you use your Plus Card (only $2 each!!). I decided to use a 10x15in sheet for this particular project. I wanted to limit the chart to one cookie sheet given my limited space, so I opted to get something a little longer than the standard 9x13.
I thought about using contact paper to cover my cookie sheet, but realized quickly that it would be a real hassle to get around all of those curves and edges. Instead, I used Scotch Expressions Washi Tape that you can find in most places, but I got mine at Staples. I used the tape to divide the sheet into thirds. A tip - make sure you measure the sheet after you've lined the sides with tape (after I outlined my sheet with the Washi tape, I had about 8 inches left of usable space). I also got two different types of tape and layered them to add a more textured effect to the chart. Also, I couldn't originally decide which tape I wanted so used both! It turned out nicely because the tape is slightly transparent so with only one layer, it was still a little darker than I wanted. With mixing the two patterns/colors, it made the border more interesting!
After outlining and dividing the entire cookie sheet, I wanted to cover up the tabs at the top and bottom so that it looked a little more finished. I have a ton of leftover chalkboard tape from several organizing and crafting projects, so I decided to use that. I found this tape at Target in the scrapbook and craft aisle. I have found dozens of uses for it, including my DIY library divider project. Since the tabs are a tricky shape, I included some step by step pictures below so that you can see how I tackled the small, curved space.
After these steps, I labeled each tab with a Permanent Chalk Marker. I used the chalkboard tape and marker to label each section of my divided cookie sheet as well. The last step was to label my magnets.
Always looking for a bargain (as I know we all are), I found these magnets at Staples and for 24 magnets a pack, they're pretty cheap! I decided to label these with a black permanent marker - if the writing doesn't stay, I plan on sealing the magnets with clear nail polish. We'll see how long they last as is! I use numbers to label my chart so that I can reuse the magnets year after year. After all these steps, I ended up with my finished product!
I plan on tacking down the corners of the tape with some hot glue to ensure that little fingers can't easily peel it up. I'm hoping that this will be an quick, easy and independent check in process for my students. Hopefully you find this helpful and can put your own spin on the idea to make it fit in your own classroom!
Are you looking for some cute, inexpensive ways to decorate your classroom this year? Great news, you've come to the right place! Since I moved classrooms this year, I'm redoing everything in my room. This includes my decor! My colleague left me some extra shelves that she had built in years ago. These shelves are pretty high up on the wall, which would make it pretty difficult for my 5 foot frame to reach extra items located on them. I gave a lot of thought as to what to do with these shelves. I finally decided on using them for decoration - what teacher doesn't love some extra decorating?? My brain clicked on at 7:00 this morning and as soon as Target was open, I was there, raiding the dollar bin. If you haven't discovered this gold mine yet, I highly suggest you go... right now! I found some sweet quote boards along with painted mason jars and a mini apple chalkboard to help me get inspired. I wanted to find a way to incorporate my love for teaching reading on at least one of my shelves. While speaking to a friend, she suggested that I find some beat up book jackets in my room and transform them by putting them on display in frames. Brilliant idea! And FREE if you have some old picture frames lying around. I unfortunately did not have extra frames so I bought some on clearance at Target.
Later this afternoon, I worked on my classroom and focused on mostly organizing, avoiding throwing things away as usual and unpacking the last of my boxes with my friend Danielle, a professional organizer (pictures are coming soon!!). I decided to bring home part of my shelf project. I picked three book jackets that represent not only the books I love, but the messages they send my students.
If you haven't read these, they all focus on friendship, accepting and embracing the unexpected or loving yourself for who you are. A great display for primary students! These book jackets can cause confusion with students not knowing how to put them back on the books they belong to and as a result may end up ripped or bent. That's what happened with my poor Pete the Cat jacket, there are rips and tears all over it! Book jackets are probably all over your room and are just waiting to be repurposed!
I used the paper insert of the frame and centered it on the book jacket. I traced around the paper to make sure that I would get the perfect measurements for cutting the jackets out. I get so frustrated when a picture/paper doesn't fit perfectly into the frame and I've found that using the insert is the simplest way to make sure you get it right! After (painstakingly) measuring and tracing, I cut out my jackets and put them in the frames.
I'm so excited to include these frames in my decoration projects! They're colorful, meaningful and will hopefully help to instill that love for reading in our students that all teachers strive for. And as you can see, Pete looks good as new! The trimming and framing helped to eliminate all those little bends, rips and tears that would have been otherwise seen around the book.
As school gets closer, I'll be posting many more pictures of my DIY projects, organizing solutions and activities I'm creating or finding! Stay tuned! For now, I'll leave you with a picture of the least helpful, but one of the sweetest helpers in my classroom this summer.