Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to School - Superhero Style!

We are getting back in the swing of things, and I'm exhausted! A new schedule this year has my head spinning...We went from three 85 minute blocks and two preps to four 70 minute blocks and three preps. It's taking some getting used to!

Add this super exciting personal news, and a goal for a March wedding, and I am looking at a whirlwind of a year! (Isn't my fiance handsome!?)

Our theme at school this year is "Superheroes." We are going to have spirit days for teachers and students to wear their favorite Superhero gear. Our first Superhero Day was the third day of school. I have a navy skirt with white stars that I got for the Fourth of July. I really wanted to wear it as part of a Captain American outfit, but all of the Captain America shirts are blue and didn't match.

So, I did what I do best, and I made my own with a red t-shirt and some felt from Michael's! While I was wandering around Michael's I found a blue bow. I decorated it with some puff paint I had at home to add another touch to the costume! (The socks are from Target.)

I used a printed picture of Captain's shield to help me measure and cut out layers for my shirt. I hot glued the felt together, and then I used fabric glue to attach it to my shirt.

One of the other teachers on my team had the same Captain America idea!

Teachers ARE superheroes!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Keeping It Organized

I think one of the best ways to love my students is by staying organized. I am a much better teacher when everything is in its place! Here are some simple ways I keep things in their place!

1. Here are my markers organized by color. I got the cups at the Dollar Store - 4 for $1! I then used Modge Podge to attach strips of scrapbooking paper around the tops!

2. My supply cabinet is my favorite place in my room sometimes. I love how organized and easy to find everything is! #TeamLabelEverything 

3. I always end up with leftover bulletin board letters that I don't want to throw away. I decided to use a shoe organizer to keep all the extras organized. It hangs on the inside of my supply closet.

Polished Look!

As seen in the pictures below, I'm nowhere near finished unpacking, organizing, and decorating my new classroom. Just a week away from teachers' return to school, I'm feeling that "back to school" overwhelming anxiety that I get every year.

To help combat that anxiety, I often find myself working on projects that aren't really necessities but give me a sense of accomplishment. One thing I did this week was put some border up on my walls. We have a long wooden strip that covers the length of one wall in our classrooms. I don't use it to hang anything, so I like to put border up to give the room a put-together look. Here are some before and afters...ignore the chaos everywhere else!

Side note - My back to school wreath found a perfect home between my windows!

If you take a closer look at the walls, you might notice that the left side also has some dowel rods held up by command hooks. I'm going to use them to hang anchor charts for each of my classes. I am going to connect the anchor charts to the dowel rods with metal book rings!

Patchwork Project

For Christmas last year, my dad gave me two bookshelves for my living room and some gray chevron wall paper from Target that I wanted to use to cover the backs of my shelves. It was so easy to do, and it turned out just how I pictured.

I had about half a roll and lots of scraps leftover, so I wanted to try to use it in my classroom. I decided to cover the tops of my two trapezoid tables to add some color to those dull tables.

Unfortunately, because I was patching scraps together, this project wasn't quite as easy as the bookshelves were, but I managed! 

I started by taking the largest pieces I had leftover and piecing them together on top of the table. I used a book and yard stick to help roll the paper out flat as I peeled off the backing. I still ended up with some bubbles, but it isn't too bad. 

Hint - Once you stick the wallpaper on, if there are bubbles, just roll with it. It gets way worse when you try to peel it back up and restick it. 

It isn't perfect, but I still love the way it turned out!

The only thing I wasn't super excited about was the look of the unfinished edges. (Ignore all those bubbles, ha!) 

To cover that up, I got some blue duct tape (only $2 with a 50% coupon from Michaels!) to place around the edges of the table. 

 I am so happy with the way it turned out!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome Back!

I like to have a wreath on my classroom door for decoration and to add a bit of a home-y feeling. This year, I've decided to create wreaths for the door that match the unit of study we are doing (ex. our first thematic unit is on survival, so the wreath will be survival themed). I didn't want to leave out a more home-y (not to be confused with homie) bit of decoration, so I decided to create some wreaths to hang between my two windows in the classroom. I made the first one tonight!

I didn't take pictures while I was working on it (sorry!), but all the materials came from Michaels. The frame is a basic green metal wreath. I wove burlap and ribbon first and used brown pipe cleaners to attach the burlap to the frame. The wooden bus was already painted when I bought it, but I painted the wooden apple and added my name with a thin tipped paint pen. I painted the wooden letters and hot glued all the wooden pieces to the wreath. Simple! All in all, it took me about 30 minutes total to complete!

The "No Sew" Pillow

It's been a while since I've posted...but I'm back!

This year I've decided to remove all the desks from my room and embrace "alternative seating" options. I'll have a few tables with stools and fun chairs from Ikea, but mostly I plan to have low, small tables with crates and pillows. We'll see how it goes....I told my principal that my type A & OCD personality may absolutely hate it and need my desks back asap, but I wanted to give something new a try.

At the end of the year last year a coworker gave me two throw pillows she was getting rid of from her classroom. I figured I could give them a fresh look with some new pillow cases. With only (sigh) two-ish weeks until we're back in action, I decided to get going on the pillows.

I am NOT a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, so when I saw these No Sew Pillows on Pinterest, I thought, "That can't be too hard!"

I found some fabric at WalMart that matches my color & pattern scheme (navy, yellow, gray, & chevron), and I guestimated that I'd need a yard for each pillow. Because the pillows have a dark and busy pattern on them already, I also got a yard of white for each pillow to act as a color buffer.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I should have measured the pillow and read the Pinterest directions a little more before heading to the store. Once I started folding the fabric per the directions, I realized a yard was not enough material. So, I had to do what all great teachers do - monitor and adjust! 

I first folded the pillow in the white fabric like I would wrap a present. Once that was folded, I placed it in the center of the chevron fabric. I folded the top and bottom of the chevron fabric to meet in the center of the pillow like shown above. 

Next, I folded the corners over like I do when wrapping a present. According to the directions I was attempting to follow, this would be the stage you bring both corners to the center to tie a knot. Unfortunately, my corners weren't long enough. 

I decided I could at least sew a button, so my "no sew" pillows became "almost no sew" pillows. I found these large wooden buttons at Michaels for .29 each. (P.S. They have a teacher discount and always have a great coupon on their app!) I painted them yellow and used them to connect each of the corners I folded into the center of the pillow. Just a few stitches, and I have two new pillows!