Monday Made It: Better Late Than Never


I’ve been working so hard making things, that I haven’t had time to post them! So I’m going to do an all-in-one pinterest show! I’ll try to make sure I give credit to where all my ideas came from . . .

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My hallway display–scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, and the use of my cricut! (Click here and here for the pinterest-inspired posts)

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My parking lot–I love it! It really cuts down on random questions! (Click here and here for the pinterest-inspired posts)

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Flipped labels–they go so well with my classroom! (click here to find them)

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I got the rods and clips from ikea for $2 each! (Click here for pinterest-inspired post)

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Clipboard refurbished with duct tape! (click here for the inspiration for this project)

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Mini clipboards made with chipboard and a binder clip! (click here for directions)

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The highlighter cup–from the dollar bin at target & click here for the sign

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Our “scoreboard” which we use for transitions– made with smiley faces from melonheadz illustrating and my cricut (from whole-brain teaching)

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Personalized binder clips–they really help keep me organized! (click here for the pinterest-inspired post)

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These have worked out great! Click here for directions.

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These have come in very handy when kids turn in their lunch money! (Click here for the pinterest-inspired post)

Here are a few of my own ideas that have come to life . . .

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Happy DIY decorating!!

Monday Made It DIY #3: Discovery Journals and a Color “Wheel”


I’m a little late this week because we’ve been out of town, but I did make some things before we left! Thanks to Monica at the Schroeder Page, I discovered that office stores can cut composition notebooks in half!

Office Depot only charged me $3 to cut 12 composition notebooks in half (which gave me a total of 24 mini notebooks). Staples wanted to charge me $3 per book!

This is good news because my 2nd graders NEVER use the whole book. They are usually intimidated by the number of pages in the book and the lines that are so much closer together than in 1st grade. Some kids ignore the lines altogether and write all over the place! I’ve had 2nd graders flip to random pages to write things down, and then they never find it again. Needless to say, I’ve learned that 2nd graders need explicit instruction about how to use a composition notebook! So here is how I plan to use these mini notebooks that will be so much more manageable for my 2nd graders.

First, I thought they looked kind of funny cut in half, so I covered them with duct tape. This should make them nice and strong too! (I picked a color that I thought boys and girls would like, but there are a TON of varieties to choose from!)

Walmart had the the cheapest tape that I could find at $3.50(ish) a roll. It is called “Duck Tape,” and it comes in a variety of cool patterns and colors!

Next I made a label for the front and directions for organizing the notebook that I pasted on the inside cover. We will go over how to use our discovery notebooks in class, but I thought a reminder would help! (Click on the picture of the directions to pick up your freebie!)

We use our notebooks to make notes, observations, draw pictures, etc. in all subject areas, so we divide our notebook into different sections. I’ve tried using sticky notes to do this, and it doesn’t even last a week for most students. They get torn off or they stop sticking, so I’m trying something new this year. I’m going to modge podge labels onto foam tabs, and I duct tape the tabs on. I hope these will last all year — I’ll let you know! Has anyone ever tried anything else that lasts?

I did another project for my son that he won’t be able to enjoy for awhile, but at least that gives me plenty of time to put on the finishing touches! I saw a really cool way to display crayons and colors on pinterest, and I knew that would be the perfect addition to my art room! (I am planning on making a section of my art room kid friendly.) I started with gathering buckets for the colors.

I got my buckets from the dollar bin at Target and from amazon.com, but I don’t suggest it! Ikea has galvanized buckets that are MUCH sturdier and cheaper too! I had already bought mine, so it was too late, but I wish I had gone to Ikea first.

Ikea had this REALLY cool lazy susan that I decided to use for the color “wheel.” I spray painted the lazy susan white and each bucket a different color. I am going to modge podge color labels on next. I also put bigger buckets in the middle to hold paint, pens, pencils, etc.  My husband bolted each bucket down, so you can spin it to the color you want! I’m so excited to put it in my art room and let my son use it (someday)!

Monday Made It #1: Sight Word Bottles and Letters to our Son


Oh Pinterest, how you inspire me! (Click here to see my Pinterest Pages.) So many teachers have a DIY (Do It Yourself) list they’re working on this summer for their classrooms and homes, and I’m excited to start on my DIY list too!  The picture above is my “art room” in the basement. My handy husband built it for me, and I’m ready to use it! So this summer I will be posting a new DIY project each week (hopefully), and linking it up with the “Monday Made it” linky party!

My first DIY project is sight word bottles shared by Classroom DIY (click the link for directions on how to make them). I love these! I already had everything I needed at home in my “Art Room,” so it didn’t cost me a thing. I used baby food jars, letter beads from my scrapbooking stash, pony beads, confetti, and old overhead manipulatives. (I have had a doc camera for years now, and I was going to throw away those see through circles for the overhead, but they were perfect for this project!). I added water, a little hot glue, and WA-LA! A new sight word literacy work station.

I did make a few additions to the original directions that I followed. I made enough bottles to have  2 different pages of sight word bottles, so I spray painted the lids to coordinate with the color of paper I printed the list on.

DIY Tip: If you don’t need a whole can of spray paint (which can be expensive) Krylon makes 3 oz. cans called “short cuts.” (Stores like Joanne’s and Micheal’s had the best prices –under $4.) For small spray paint projects like this, cut one side off of a box and spray inside the box. This will keep you from painting more than the lids!

Because I teach 2nd grade, the words in my jars were longer and a little more difficult to figure out. I was going to use a reusable write and wipe pocket until I found out how to make my own DIY dry erase boards! Using this and a dry erase marker, students can narrow down their choices when using this work station. When they see a letter in the jar, they can check each word on the list for that letter. If a word has that letter, they will cross that letter off. If a word doesn’t have the letter they saw in the jar, they will cross off the whole word. They will continue crossing off letters until they find the matching word. Here’s an example:

I think my students will really like this! Have you ever made sight word bottles? Are you going to? Leave me a comment and/or a link to your blog and let me know!

Teacher Mama DIY project #1: Letters to Our Son

I plan on spending as much time on projects for my new son as I do for my students, so here is my first Teacher Mama project! The original idea was called the ‘mama and me’ journal (unfortunately I couldn’t find the link). This idea was to write letters back and forth to your child. I actually made my notebook before my son was born. Using our maternity photos, I personalized the cover of this notebook using shutterfly. Because I had pregnancy brain, I didn’t want to forget all the fun pregnancy stories! So my husband and I began writing letters to our son about all the sweet and funny pregnancy stories. We plan on continuing to write to our son about fun and important things that happen. When he becomes a parent himself, we will give him his notebook so he can read about what parenthood was like for us. My parents and grandparents have also written to him in his notebook, so he will have letters about his childhood from his family in their own handwriting. (This also makes a great baby shower gift!)

I’d  love to hear about your DIY projects for inspiration!