expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Made-It (NO SEW Curtains!!)

I am linking up with the wonderful Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made-It!

Do you like to sew?  Like with a sewing machine?  Well, if you do, that is great....and I am jealous!  The sewing machine and I do not get along!  I don't actually own one unless you count the teeny tiny handheld one that is still sitting in the box that I bought for scrapbooking.  I am afraid to use it because I just know that I will mess up that thread!  Actually, there was a sewing machine from the 1960's in our attic when we bought our house and I gave it to my sister.  My mom helped me sew curtains for my basement a year ago and she was a lifesaver but it took so long.

So, I did a little researching and read about people making curtains with a HOT GLUE GUN  See this site that gave me inspiration!  YES!

To make these four adorable curtains for my classroom, I needed:

1. fabric
2. scissors
3. hot glue gun
4.  ruler
5. pen

Here is the back view of the four colors I made for the valances.

Here is a preview of the finished product hanging in my dining room.  
I cannot wait to get them up at school!

Here is a short tutorial of what I did to make the curtains (it may not be the right way, but it worked for me:)  
I used only one yard of each color so I kept the side edges just as they were and did not touch them.  My windows are each 37" wide and the fabric is only 44" wide but it will work and it cost half of what 2 yds. would!  So, all I had to do was finish the bottom and top edges.  I started with the bottom edge.  I cut the fabric and then measured 17" from the top and made dashes with my pen on the back of the fabric every couple inches.  This was my attempt at "leveling the fabric" since it didn't have a pattern to follow.

Next, I folded the fabric up to my marks and ironed along that seam to make the fabric the same length all the way across.

Next, I hot glued the bottom seam in place.  I only glued a few inches at a time to keep the glue from cooling too fast.  This is important to keep the bond strong!  It was difficult to take a picture quickly:

 Next, I worked on the top seam.  I wanted a little ruffle above the place where the rod goes.  I folded the fabric over about 4" and ironed the seam making sure it was level by checking to make sure the  measurement was equal from the top of the curtain to the bottom hem along the entire length of the fabric. 

 Then, I marked one inch from the seam along the length of the fabric for my first hot glue line.

I drew a nice line along my one inch marks and then marked 1.5" from the 1" line.  This will be the place for my skinny tension rod.  The spot above is for the ruffle at the top.  I drew another line along the 1.5" line mark.  Finally, I hot glued along each line (the top line first and only a couple inches at a time).

Voila!  I have a place for my curtain rod!

I will post pictures of them hanging in my room when I get my room ready:)  It is getting close to crunch time!  

I also made a table skirt with this adorable owl fabric.  Again, I used the hot glue gun to finish the edges.  I made one skirt for the front (57.5") and two for the sides (27.5") and bought 4 yds. of fabric.

I applied sticky velcro tape and plan on putting the other part on the under edge of the table.  Keeping my fingers crossed that my measurements were accurate and the velcro works (since I noticed just before applying it that it states on the back, "not recommended for fabric").  I bought this at WalMart.

Picture of velcro along the top:

Both projects combined took me 3 hours.  Not bad for four curtains and 3 separate table skirt pieces.  I used pieces I already used as a guide for measurements to save time whenever possible.

I hope everything holds up!!  I will let you know if the curtains start falling down in a couple months:)

On a side note, we had a quiet, relaxing time in Cooks Forest with family and friends last week!  I only thought about how much work I wasn't getting done a "few" times:)  Here are my little loves on a hike:

Happy Monday everyone!  Fall is right around the corner....my favorite season:)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New School Year Resolutions Linky:)

I know many of you have already started school, but for us New Yorkers, students don't start until after Labor Day.  Since I discovered the blogging world at the end of June, I have spent almost every night stalking blogs, starting up my own, pinning, printing, buying goodies, and reading Daily 5, CAFE, and The Book Whisperer.  I have such high expectations for this school year and am linking up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness for her New School Year Resolutions Linky!

1.  Be Present  I need to improve on being present in the moment!  My days at school are filled with a never ending and ever expanding to-do list and I often find myself thinking of what is next on the to-do list instead of truly attending to what is right in front of me.  Fourth graders LOVE attention and telling their teachers stories.  I need to better manage the time available for students to tell me a great story and then give them my full attention instead of rushing them.  One idea I have is to offer more lunch dates with my students for that individual time with the kiddos:)

2.  Work Smarter, Not Harder  I am optimistic that my implementation of D5 will help me achieve this.  I usually spend so much time grading my student's reading and writing work, making comments, passing back, going over the comments (that don't really apply to everyone anyway), and the students still don't always listen.  I have printed the CAFE reading and writing conference forms and cannot wait to implement individualized conferences as the D5 gets up and running.  In a couple minutes with a student I hope to be able to check their writing and give them instant feedback tailored to them!  This will alleviate me having to lug all the journals home, write out comments, pass them back, and hope the students read the comments and understand what I meant!  I am very nervous about how I will have time to fit this all in my ELA block, but am anxious to try it!

3.  Don't Rush in the Morning  It is quite a challenge in the morning getting myself and my two kiddos (ages 2 and 5) ready.  It seems like we are always rushing and there is nothing fast about getting two young kids out the door.  This is when my fuse is short and when you factor in the over 200" of snowfall each year, it is stressful (very rarely are there snow days...last year we had zero)!  In addition, my daughter will be starting Kindergarten this year (breathe!) and I will have to take my kids to two different drop offs before making my way to my school.  So...my plan is to make sure I leave even more time to get ready and leave room for those unexpected days when things take longer than normal!

Well, writing it all out really does make me feel better:)

Tomorrow, I will be leaving to go to the woods for a week with my family where there is no internet or phone service!  We always go on vacation this time of year and when I come back I will have one more week to get ready for school.  I am looking forward to hiking, canoeing, relaxing, and spending time with my family.  

I have been working on some NO SEW curtains for my room that only require fabric, hot glue, scissors, and a tape measure.  Stay tuned for this post and pictures when I return from vacay!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made It (Laminator!! Yay!)

I am linking up again with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It!  This linky has really kept me motivated.  I love all that I am getting done!!  This week I did a lot of finding, stealing, borrowing, buying, printing, laminating, cutting, and adhering.  I guess when I put it that way, it kinda sounds like I made it!  Yep!
There will be many links posted below to my inspirations:)  Thank you to all these fellow bloggers!

I received my Scotch Laminator in the mail and everyone was right!  I DO LOVE IT.  It has become my best friend this past week:)  It was well worth the $30 to be able to laminate WHAT I want, WHERE I want, and WHEN I want.  Priceless!!

I finally figured out I had to feed the laminating pouch in the top (I tried feeding it through the bottom and wondered why nothing happened).  It took it right in and laminated pretty quickly!

Here it comes!

 I downloaded these Rules posters from 3rd Grade Thoughts who originally found them at The Polka Dot Patch.  I cannot wait to get them up in my room!

Next, I went on a laminating binge!  I got my Carson Dellosa owls for my door laminated...

I finally got the "WELCOME" letters laminated that I was inspired to make by 4th Grade Frolics (who got her idea from Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten).  I had my 5 year old hold them because I cannot bring my things to school yet...still waxing the floors:(

 For the ribbon, I just used my handy dandy scotch advanced tape glider and taped each circle to the ribbon.  If you look closely, you can see the tape on the back of this circle.

Back view of sign...

I laminated these ADORABLE owl subject headers from The Wise and Witty Teacher to use for my homework area.

Found these two great charts that I can hang once we do these lessons for the Daily 5 that I will be trying a modified version of in 4th grade this year.  I found this website (San Juan Unified School District) through Pinterest and they have a lot of Daily 5 resources.

These cute EEKK posters I downloaded from Kelli at Castles and Crayons.  Check out all her Daily 5 resources!

I (actually!) made these myself for my front board.  I will put magnets on the back of them and my teacher's helpers and math meeting helper will be changed daily below them.  The "recess" one is where I keep a list of students who owe work and stay back from recess that day to get caught up.

By the way, the lamination is nice and thick and I had no problems at all.  It is also the type that will be easy to write on with a wet erase marker.  My school has a cold laminator and the paper is funky.  It can't really be written on and I was worried about this laminator.  No worries!  I also just bought 200 laminating pouches at Sam's Club for $19 and change.

Next, I printed these Reading Response Labels for Interactive Journals from Rachel Lynette's TpT store.  I printed them on Avery 8160 and they didn't quite line up correctly, so then I printed them on regular paper and will cut them when I need to use them.

There were 42 prompts available to print and I just picked out about 10 to start with:

Then, I knocked off the sharpened/unsharpened pencils and Box Tops container on my to do list.  I have seen these all over the blogging world!  I started with 2 Folgers containers for the pencils and a taller container for the Box Tops.

I just wrapped each container in scrapbook paper and adhered it with my handy Scotch Tape Runner!  The cute labels are from Lil' Country Kindergarten.  

Back view of pencil holders...

Finally, I decorated this binder cover template to fit my needs.  The binder cover template is from Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts.  They are fully editable! Yay!

The only item that I used to keep in this binder (with a not-so-nice cover) was the record of books read by each student (independent reading chapter books).  I keep track of where the book is from (home, library, or teacher library), the date they finished the book, AR test score, and if the book was returned.  I don't have an elaborate way of checking out my teacher library books and this system works for me to check if students have checked out books.  Every student in my homeroom and ELA class has a tab.  

In addition to the form below, this year I will be adding the CAFE reading and writing conference forms for each student under their tab in this binder.  I also will put calendar and keeping track forms in the front of the binder.  Check back soon to read my blog post about this as I get more organized.  This is all new to me and I am nervous that I won't be able to keep up with the paperwork for D5 (or D3 in my case:)

The border is from the Hello Literacy blog.  If you would like a free copy of this handout to keep track of your students reading, leave me a comment with your email and I will send it to you!

I am looking forward to reading about all your great projects too!  See you soon:)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And The Winner Is...

And the Winner of my 100 Follower Giveaway is....

Congratulations, Chanda!!  Thank you to everyone who entered and I really enjoyed reading your comments:)  Here is to another giveaway in the future!!  Cheers!

By the way, this was my first time using Rafflecopter and it is A.MA.ZING!  It managed everything and I just hit "add a winner" and voila!  There is also a spreadsheet where you can manage the entries and I just made sure people did what they said they did.  So easy!!  I highly recommend it if you are wondering about your first giveaway:)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It (decorate journals FREEBIE!!)

I just got back from our weekend long reunion!  Think...cabin in the boonies, pond with paddle boat, bonfire, games, fishing, corn on the cob, hot dogs, games, pot luck, bingo, raffles, and more games!  It was a little challenging in the rain but we still had so much fun.  The kids don't mind playing in the rain:)  

Here are a few things on my to-do list that I accomplished this week.  I am linking up again with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics!!

One idea I love is having the students decorate the covers of their writing journals.  I saw this idea on the Love 4th Grade blog.  So, of course I had to decorate my own as an example for the students.  I cut out images that represent me in some way and added a couple pictures of my family.  Then, I mod podged the cover.

Above the cover is wet and below it dries nice and clear.  I love this stuff!!  I cannot believe I just discovered it a month ago!!

I made this handout describing the decorating notebooks process with a sample picture of mine.  I am planning on giving some time to look for pictures from magazines during class but will assign students to finish gathering materials from home.  This handout will be nice to have students take home to show their parents what they need to look for and serve as a helpful reminder for the students too.

Click Here to get your editable copy of the document below for FREE from my TPT store!

Next, I glittered a bunch of clothespins (using mod podge, of course, with a coat of mod podge on top).

Then, I saw this idea on pinterest (see here).  I hot glued flat head thumbtacks on one side of the thumbtacks.

I tried them out at school on a bulletin board with sample student papers that I just put together with my owl theme.  I cut the letters out with my Cricut (storybook cartridge).  

I wish I could fit more papers on the bulletin board and I am not too confident about how well the clothespins will hold up.  I like to have students help me with my student work board (they LOVE putting up their work) but I think they will be a little rough with the clothespins.  We'll see...

The last item I accomplished was getting a better organized with some labels for these messy bins:(  Aren't they awful?  Embarrassing...

So, I didn't make these labels (but I did tape them on...haha!).  I got them from the wonderful Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts and her TPT store.  She was so awesome to work with and really helped me out with a question I had about adding my own labels for tangrams, hundred cubes, and flashcards (hey, I guess I DID make those...using her template:)

Much better... (they are on the counter because floors are not waxed yet:)

 I will leave you with a little picture of my little man helping Daddy mow the lawn on our HOT Saturday.  It happened to be mixed with my other pictures and makes me smile:)

Oh, and don't forget to checkout my 100 Follower Giveaway!! $25 Amazon giftcard!  Yahoo!  It ends 8/10.