Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crafty Classroom

Teachers are very creative people. We have to be considering the materials we need to teach and decorate our classrooms and the money available to do this. I'm heading into my last year of teaching this month before my retirement next summer. I decided that I wanted to make my last year a colorful, cheery place for my students and for myself. And, even though my new 6th graders will never have seen my old posters, I've been looking at them for years and frankly, I don't want to do it again.

Our 6th grade Open House this year has a beach theme, so I decided to extend this into the year with beachy decorations. I didn't want to spend a fortune, but at the same time, I'm having a ball with my Cricut Explorer, especially the vinyl setting, so I've found ways to cut some corners while investing in paper and vinyl.

One idea I had was to purchase some $1.99 calendars from Michael's and to add vinyl lettering to make mini posters. This has worked really well, thanks to Pinterest and the quotes sections. I also found a suggestion to use scrapbook sleeves instead of laminating. The jury is still out on this as it adds a little glare when viewed from across the room. But, when considering the size of the posters, the sleeves fit perfectly and will be extremely easy to change out later if I decide to do this.

Today I cleared my cabinet of eight soup take-out containers and added words in vinyl. Henry and I eat a lot of soup and these just build up. I don't like to throw them out as they are not recyclable.

These will be filled with markers, pencils, scissors and small plastic rulers - one per group for my group work assignments. Students will be able to just pick up a container to take to their groups rather than scrambling through containers and arguing over colors. Quick, organized, simple. The way I like to teach.

An empty tissue box became a container to hold plastic bags, often requested by students. I accumulate these at school from taking my lunch. It's surprising how many bags will fit in one of these. 

I got ideas from a another teacher for assigning classroom jobs this year. She's used this system for years and it works well, builds responsibility and makes her job easier. Each child applies for a particular job and knows what to do as soon as he/she gets to class in the morning. I can't wait to try this out.

I'm moving on to lesson plans and although I still have some wall space to cover, I feel pretty good about starting school. What are some of your classroom ideas?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Doug Welburn, 1941-2014

Doug Welburn, owner and creator of Welburn Gourd Farm in Fallbrook, California passed away Friday, July 25. Doug will be missed by his friends and family as well as his loyal customers. His memorial page is: http://www.welburngourds.com/doug-welburn/