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Friday, February 22, 2013

New Design..New Products..Thank You Winter Break!

Well, I'm nearing the end of my much awaited and deserved Winter break here in North Georgia. I am so glad our district allows us to have this midwinter break to revive and recharge. I have absolutely loved staying at home with my little one, playing barbies, and working on some new and FUN TPT stuff for my "at school" kids. I've been all over the place this week, working on clip art, math games, grammar games, and task cards. Here are just a few of what I have recently added to the store.

The bunnies and Duck Dynasty eggs are both clip art collections in my store as well. I think I may have gone a bit overboard this week--my hand hurts!! I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! I'm actually going to take a break now that I've finished up my little to-do list.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Classroom Upcycling-DVD Dry Erase Offices

Wow! What a week it has been here in North Georgia...All I can say is that I'm super excited about having the next week off of work. It will give me time to get housework done, schoolwork done, and spend some quality time with my little one. I just love lazy days at home. Before I left on Friday, I managed to snap a couple of quick shots of a handy little tool that I use in my classroom. I thought I would share!

Back at the beginning of the school year, as I was passing out my seven year old (showerboard) dry erase marker boards, I noticed they were uber crusty. The edges were chipping where my not so perfect sawing attempts were made, they were stained and dark, and some of them wouldn't erase anymore. I was getting ready to head back to the old Depot to buy more showerboard. Lo and behold, as I grab my keys I notice my husband taking our DVD movies out of there cases for storage in a binder. And it hit me like a TON of bricks..THOSE THINGS ARE DRY ERASE!! The cases I mean...you know, the plastic kind with the cover insert on them. I grabbed those babies away from him as fast as I could and went to work. 

To get started, I removed all of the movie title inserts. I thought I would have to cut new paper to fit them but... What! They are white on the backside! I flipped them all around and I was set!

Once I had all twenty five of them swapped out to their pretty white covers, I had to decide what to put in them. Standard dry erase markers wouldn't fit, but the thinner ones did so I chose to purchase those with my back to school supply money. And then I had to find erasers...socks were too bulky, paper towels just shredded, tissues...forget about it. But guess what I found...DRYER SHEETS! They erase cleanly every time, don't leave a residue, and freshen the inside of a student desk like nobody's business.
Once the dryer sheet epiphany had passed, I decided to put other things in the mini-offices that my students would use regularly. I use a lot of quick response questions to check understanding on a whim during my lessons, so I chose to put in a set of my quick response cards. 
And about a half stack of mini sticky notes...for ticket out the door activities, etc. I would've liked to have had room in there for one of those small legal pads but they were a bit too big. The thing I like is that the clips hold the response cards and dryer sheet eraser in place. The sticky notes are well...sticky so they stayed in place. Then I stuck a tiny piece of velcro to the pen and the inside of the case so that the marker wouldn't pop out every time it was opened. 

Once I had completed all 25 of them, I vowed to never again touch another piece of velcro or dryer sheet. They weren't too difficult to make..and my kids were extremely excited to get their mini-dry-erase offices. They keep them in their desks and we use them just about every day for one thing or another. They have held up nicely and I've only had one get broken this year..when one of my Messy Marvins stepped on his.
Overall, they have been awesome to have this year. It has kept me sane by helping my students keep up with their materials. Most of them are ready to go within five seconds of being told to get out their dry erase kits. If you've got a pile of empty DVD cases, all you've got to do is grab em up and run with it.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Grade Level? Yeah Right!

Greetings and Salutations from The Peach State!

Is it just me or has the weather brought out the crazies in your classroom?  Last week was quite treacherous at my school! But, alas, the weekend is over and I'm revved up for another week of wide open Common Core instruction. We don't have a spare minute in the day!

Anyway, to get on with this little post, I'll start with a story.My school has a FABULOUS leveled book room. You step into the room and all you see are brightly colored baskets with their fancy little Lexile labels and just know that you are going to find exactly what you need. And then reality kicks in..You are in a room, with over 500 little baggies of books and somehow you are supposed to find that one set of guided reading books that will meet the needs of your students while providing grade level text that they can actually READ. 
And my story ends there.. I didn't find what I needed. Yeah sure, there were lots of texts on the subject I needed (Famous Americans) that were specific to Georgia Standards, but cracking those books open gave me a shocker. 

Not a single text that I looked at was at the ability of my students.

Really and truly, what I wanted was a text that my students could interact with, write on, color, etc. I wanted something that they could keep as a review tool too. So I went to work..and ended up with a fun little series of books that served my exact purpose. Here is a peek at my creation! Click on the first image to head over to my TPT store for a better look!

And teachers...you can make books like these too. All it takes is a bit of work in Microsoft PowerPoint. 
Or, if you'd rather..I do take on some custom work as well!
Have a great week!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sunday Super Sale! 28% Off Entire Store

So in celebration of this weekend's big game, TeachersPayTeachers is throwing a site-wide sale! Everything in my store will be listed at 20% off--then if you use the coupon code above you get an extra 8% off as well! Make sure you stop in and check out the new additions to my store!