Sunday, July 31, 2011

Opportunity Knocks!

Today I received the most FAB-U-LOUS emails from Rebecca and Tara at 4th Grade Frolics asking me to be a Contributor to the blog

and I must say that I am soooooo flattered and excited to be posting on this awesome site!!!  Please come by and check out what the other 5 very creative teachers are making for their class and home!

You can also catch them on their regular blogs:

Create Teach Share

Primary File Folder Games

I am sure I will crafting and posting away...mostly inspired by YOU ALL and all those amazing Pinterest pics that make me say "Duh!!! Why didn't I think of that??"

I am so excited about this opportunity and cant wait to begin blogging on another site!!! Come along and join the fun at

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Inspired by Letters... Making Numbers

Today as I was surfing around I came across this wonderful site:
Which had this awesome picture of what they call "letter bubbles."

I've seen these all over Pinterest which I am soooooo happy to be doing now!! Thanks to all of you who were offering me invites!! I puffy heart yall!!!!  
Anyways... I love these little bubbles... only problem is.... I'm teaching math and science- I don't really need letters.

{Enter light bulb over my head}  I can make these LETTERS into NUMBERS!!! Duh!  So that's what I did today.  You can check out the post about how they made the letter bubbles but I'll tell you how I made them anyway :)

First you need scrapbook paper and small sticker numbers.  Mine were 3/4 of an inch.  You can not use card stock (tried it... it was too thick).
I used scraps of scrapbook paper from when I made my notebooks... which you can read about here.
Anyway... first I tried to trace the little clear beads- which you can buy at Hobby Lobby... you usually see them in vases or beta fish glass jars-- but the size of my circles were a little to big.  So I just winged it and cut a whole bunch of little circles. 

 Then I used my little stickers and placed my numbers on the cut out circles.
 My advice is to cut out all your little circles and place all your numbers... or letters if you are doing ABC's... and then break out the modge podge.  At first I did batches, and my fingers became so gluey that I had to stop and wash up and then get gluey again. 

After you get the numbers on, find your Craft BFF... Modge Podge and a paintbrush.
I placed glue on the little paper cut outs so I would make sure it get in all the little crevices.  It didn't work to well when I placed the glue on the glass bead and then tried to place the paper.  There just wasn't enough glue.  After you put glue on you little circle cut out, place it on the flat part of the bead.
Let them dry a little upside down. 
Then I put a layer of Modge Podge on the back side of the scrapbook paper and made sure all my edges were pressed tight against the glass bead.  After I put the layer on the back, I placed the bead face down on some freezer paper (I was out of wax paper).
Now find something fun to do while they dry. I took a nap:)  The Modge Podge that is on your sticker side takes a little while to dry.  It will look a little white, but don't worry; it'll dry clear soon.

In the end, they look like this

Aren't they cute!!! I can't wait for my kids to be able to use them in different games and lessons that we will play :)

Happy Crafting!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home Sweet Second Home... Classroom Set-up

I am OBSESSED with color.  No specific color, just all of them.  So logically my classroom looks like a rainbow blew up in it.  And no... I am not teaching kindergarten or even elementary where this would be most appropriate.  I am teaching 6th grade... I think the kids are supposed to be maturing, but I'm sure my classroom will bring back nostalgic feelings of years long ago.  Hopefully they are good memories :)  I am praying they don't say "Mrs. Johnstone... what grade do you think this is???"  I'll have to get my "smart" replies ready. 

So is my new room.  I am moving from a school that had TONS of storage!! Now I just have 1 cabinet.  Talk about "Make it work!"  By the way ... Project Runway started tonight!!!

In the beginning, it looked like this:
This was actually after a few days... I had to buy that little table in the middle of my room.  Who doesn't mount projectors to the ceiling?!?!  Oh well... I had to be able to face my class.  Ahhh yes... you can see my ONE cabinet.  But did you know what you can do with a shoe rack organizer???
Now all my Vistaprint creations are easily organized and accessible.  How can I forget where the homework passes are now??

Here are a couple more shots of what it looked like to begin with.

The one bulletin board at the back behind my desk is made from a sheet of Styrofoam board.  I didn't have any boards.

  And check out this double door closet.  Be careful when you "walk in"!
 The fortunate thing about this "closet" is that it happens to be the most perfect size for holding all my poster boxes.  I guess that's what they were thinking when they installed it. 
I don't have bulletin boards but I turned this nasty ugly, half concrete, half sheet rock wall into one. 

Did I tell you that Hot Glue is my BFF???  It's probably not my Principal's though... it might take off a little bit of the wall, but my walls needed repainting anyway. :)  I am leaving the open space for my Science Word Wall.  Here is my Math bulletin board made on a concrete wall.  It will have all of our math words

Don't you just love how the AC thermostat breaks up the space?? (sarcasm)  At least its Math related... it does show the temperature.   Gotta look on the bright side! :)   

Now after a solid 4 days... 8 hours a day... I finally have my room where I  mostly want it... Except I'm waiting on another white board and I'm making my math stations poster tomorrow :)

Classroom library

I still don't know what I am going to post on this board.  Any ideas??

My table has a skirt now... Hot Glued of course.

unsightly mess trying to hide under my $20 from Lowes

Now it is really hidden. :)

Absent work holder on left.  Bucket Filling on Right

I have a door to my teaching partner's room.  The kids never have to line up in the hall! :)

My desk area...I puffy heart Garfield.  He speaks the truth right here

Brainiac Challenges posted on the poster holder closet door.

Bulletin Board made from Styrofoam and nailed to the wall.  Thank goodness that one wasn't concrete!!!

Well that's where I'm at right now... just a couple more things and I should be completely done.  I love coming home...

Mission Organization: Dice and Card Games

A week ago... was it a week ago... yes... well a week and a half ago... I went to CAMT - a math conference for Texas teachers.  I went to a workshop hosted by Box-Cars and One-Eyed Jacks.  They have FANT-A-BULOUS  ideas for games with dice and cards.

Since I am starting at a new school, I needed dice and cards for this new station I am going to implement.  So I went to the most logical place...DOLLAR TREE!!!  I puffy heart that place.

I stocked up on cards and dice.  Each package was only $1.00.  The cards came 2 sets of cards for $1.00.

I am going to use the colored dice as negative numbers.  We cover positive and negative integers in 6th grade so it will be an easy way to add or even subtract numbers. Well, I bought at least 6 packages, and then I bought some weird, fun dice at the conference.  Then the next question that popped into my head was "How am I going to organize this??"

Enter inspiration from pinterest... By the way: Can anyone tell me how to make an account???  I REALLY want to pin stuff!!! Thanks!  :)

So I went to Wal-Mart on the hunt for one of these craft organizers... but I found something better... I think anyway.... I lure box for $4.00 in the fishing area. Here's a pic with the label on it.
The AWESOME thing about this box is that it had dividers you can insert where you want.  So after I organized all my dice it looked like this:

You can see a 30-sided die, some 9 sided ones 10-sided, one die has another inside of it (great for fractions) and on the second row from the top all the way to the right is a die with 3 dice inside of it (great for making mixed fractions or number sentences...order of operations...)
Last but not least, a label:

Now for cards...

I use to teach 4th grade math and we used Everyday Math. We had a ton of cards and I colored each side of the different decks with different permanent markers.  That way if one fell on the floor I could say "Who has the yellow deck?"  Instead of "Who is missing a 4?"  Made life pretty easy.

Well at my workshop, the instructor said that if his kids weren't playing games in 30 seconds, then they weren't really interested... he had to make it happen QUICK... so he suggested for teachers to organize all their cards into 2 boxes.  One box 0-5 (king becomes 0) and a 6-12 box (jack=11 queen=12).

This way when you are just beginning a concept, the kids can grab from the 0-5 box.  When you are ready to challenge them, have them get 6-12 or some from both.  He also suggested that the students just get a handful of cards, shuffle them by mixing them all together on the table, and just saying here's half and here's half and letting the partner choose which half he wants.  This takes like 20 seconds or less... no more ... one for me... one for you... takes forever.  So here are my 2 boxes which I labeled later.

This will drive me  a little crazy for awhile since I am PSYCHO about organization and balance... I was starting to freak out when I was getting all the cards mixed up... and started to panic when I drew in permanent marker on my cards.  :)  Still makes me cringe a little looking at the pics.... but I keep telling myself... Leslie--you are saving at least 5 minutes of teaching time... breathe.....

I'll keep yall posted on whether I really saved time or had a organizational breakdown... whichever comes first :)

Wanna learn about more dice games?? Head on over to Little Miss Kindergarten's Dice Linky Party!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm done... Now what?? Answer --> BRAINIAC CLUB

Last year I stalked researched Mrs. Renz website and borrowed a ton of her ideas!  She is a SUPER teacher who has won many and major awards for her dedication for teaching. 

One of her great creations is the "Mastery Club".  This is a club that kids can "join" as long as they finish one task. There are 86 different tasks, and on her website there are web addresses for hints to help students find the answers.  I did not include them on mine, but check out her site!

My club is called the "Brainiac Club."  With the help of Vistaprint, I created a banner:

This is also the pic I used for the front of my postcards.  I will use the postcards to keep track of how many challenges the student completes... You can see the back side below:

Here are my rules that I will have posted along with the 86 tasks:

I also had certificates printed up using Vistaprint.  I said that they were flyers... either way they came out looking like certificates :)

I am really excited about seeing how much my kids can do.  Mrs. Renz had a student who completed 62 challenges!!! I hope my kids can compete with that!

You can see more of her Mastery Club info here.