Saturday, August 5, 2017

School Projects {Picture Post}

I passed my dissertation proposal defense on Wednesday night. It was the scariest thing ever, but it went very smoothly (probably because I practiced like a crazy woman!) and I did very well. Woo hoo! That means that I have three glorious weeks to think about back-to-school with no interruptions for grad work. And believe me, I am already taking full advantage!

Here's a showcase of some of my projects thus far:

Swag Stickers
When I moved to third grade, I ditched my prize box and jumped on the Brag Tags bandwagon. I LOVE the brag tags. They are super cute and there is one for pretty much everything you can possibly think of. But they are pricey to print and laminate and time consuming to cut, sort and organize each week. So while I wanted to keep the same concept, I wanted to find something a bit different. Enter Swag Stickers. I don't even know where I first saw them, perhaps someone else had mentioned them in a FaceBook group or something.

They are generally just like brag tags except they are stickers. I was instantly intrigued and looked them up. There are a ton of choices in the product I purchased and they print 63 to a sheet. That means, in a perfect world, one sheet could last two years if I only gave out one of each type of sticker all year. That's not a bad deal!

I found round circle sticker paper on Amazon for super cheap too and all in all, it's much cheaper than printing the Brag Tags (it was $80 last year to print them in color---then I have to laminate and cut which takes more money and time). They are super adorable and I'm excited to try them out.

Light Box
You may recall me mentioning before that I was showing self-control this year and wasn't going to be jumping on the Light Box bandwagon. Well, I have officially eaten those words! While were we supply shopping yesterday, they had them out and they were only $10 at Walmart. How could I resist that price? Not to mention, my teenagers were like "you HAVE to have this in your room" so I got it (and still stayed under budget...yay!). 
I've heard a lot of people say that you can't use the inserts that are available on TpT in the Walmart box because they don't fit. I bought some growth mindset inserts (one of which is shown in the picture), some Pun inserts and some general ones that say things like "Happy Fry-Day" and has a graphic of french fries and is super cute. They are all designed for the name brand box that everyone else owns....but I printed one out (for the picture) to test it and only had to cut a tiny bit extra off to get it to fit into my box, so still worth it if you have a paper cutter and can make sure you cut a straight line. And the TpT ones are SO CUTE. For real. There are so many to pick from. 

As much as I said I wasn't going to get on the bandwagon, I totally realize why these are so addictive. They are just fun! And even if the kids never notice the sign--which everyone assures me that they will, *I* will be cheered by it every day so I guess that is what counts, right? :)

Crayon Cases
 The one crazy I did join in on was buying the little snack containers from Dollar Tree to use as a crayon case. Some people in the groups I'm part of wondered why anyone would do this. Well, I don't know about your students, but mine are often not gentle when they put away their crayons. Those cardboard boxes don't hold up worth anything and by November some are already in shreds. When I heard about this idea, I knew I had to do it. 

I couldn't find any in my local store so I ordered them online. The only issue with that is you have to buy a case. But its 72 of the containers so I already have some for next year :) [This assumes that I don't reuse them...not sure if I will or not. We will see how they hold up with little hands on them for 180 days!]  Plus it leaves me about 12 extra (I always set up for 30, just in case) for other things like holding small manipulatives for centers or whatnot. 

I found these cute labels for them on TpT. Look how cute these are!

I'm pretty sure I am driving everyone on my FB feed insane because it's all been back-to-school projects or pictures of my grandson the last few days :) I LOVE how these turned out. I will write my students' names with a silver sharpie on the first day of school. [I never label beforehand because you never know who will show and who won't.] 

Math Centers
I purchased a math centers bundle from Not So Wimpy Teacher and am in absolute LOVE with it. It's so good because the format is essentially the same for every unit and there are 10 centers for each unit. So in buying this bundle, I got 90 centers! (And there are some geometry ones for third grade that are a freebie so you get 93 if you download that.)

We have a little variety shop where I live that has basic office supplies for pretty cheap. I bought a pack of these Bazic brand file holders with the string clasp. I am pretty sure they were 2 in a pack for $1.29 each. Then I got the smaller envelope style ones to hold the actual centers. Pretty sure I got those 3 in a pack for $1.29 also. Something like that. All in all, it wasn't super expensive and they are poly plastic so they will last long.

Not counting the freebie Geometry one (because I haven't made that was yet), there are 9 units. There is also a "Back to School" one which I really appreciate because it's all second grade review and you can teach the kiddos the routine for the centers with things they *should* already know. Each unit has 10 centers (except Geometry as mentioned before) and each center goes into its own envelope as seen below.

These are filled with the Back-to-School unit. I expect that it will take us about a month to get through them all. Then the centers will come out of these envelopes and be either paper-clipped together by center or put into small baggies and labeled so they can go back into their "home" envelope as seen above. Then they are all set and ready for the next year! I so wish I had these last year!

The idea is that you use the BTS one as you teach your first unit. Then whatever that unit is (place value or whatever), is the next one you put into the centers. So the kids aren't ever working on centers with material that they haven't already learned. It's all reinforcement and review. Brilliant!

Positive Affirmations
 The Teenagers (they are way too big for me to get away with calling them "The Littles" anymore!) went to summer camp this year. They were part of the service crew so they got to help out around camp. They made a new wooden trash can, helped replace wood at a volleyball net and more. They loved it. The last day they have a closing ceremony with parents and everyone. Then you can get your stuff, sign out and head to the camp store or home or whatever.

They had this window cling that had this very positive message on it and I absolutely loved it. So I adapted it for my classroom (see below). It wasn't laminated yet but I absolutely love how this turned out!
This is going to hang outside of my new classroom. There is a small entryway before the door that this will be perfect for. I am going to arrange it so "enough" is the last word. I think it's super important that kids hear positive messages, especially kids who are always told they won't be anything because of where they go to school or because their parents didn't go to college or finish high school or whatever other mean reason people have to say stuff like that.

I'm also a big advocate of not just having things be "wallpaper" so this will also be a topic of conversation at our morning meetings. I want the kids to know they ARE valuable and loved and all of those other adjectives. Maybe we will even come up with a few more to add.

New Furniture
 One of the things I always hated about Former School was the layout of the rooms. You've likely heard me complain about that  stupid bump out space. My rooms there were basically square and didn't leave a lot of space for extra furniture (especially not the times I had 30 kids!). But my new space is fabulous and has a very big, dedicated space for a meeting area. I wanted a rocking chair before but never had the room.

I have been hunting for one and came across this one on FaceBook marketplace.
 It's a little dusty and has a scratch on the seat, but otherwise it is in pristine shape. The seller was only asking $20! I couldn't believe it. Turns out, she is moving home to England and can't take it with her. It's old and heavy but with a little elbow grease it will clean up just fine. I just need to get a cushion for the seat. I'm super excited to bring this to my room!

And that's that for now. I've packed a lot into the last few days (this has all occurred since Thursday!). I can't wait to at least get my stuff into my new room on Tuesday. Then the real joy of unpacking and figuring out where to put everything begins.


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