Wednesday, February 10, 2016

(Not so) Bad Kitty & Puppy Valentines Bags

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No longer being in the classroom, I am able to volunteer as my youngest boys room mom. He is in the 2nd grade, and after much coaxing, has finally starting reading chapter books.  So yesterday, when I was looking for a super quick idea for making a classroom set of Valentines bags, he threw a little wrench in my plan.  I was scrolling through ideas on Pinterest and came across this picture of some cute bags on the blog, Buzzing About Second Grade

It immediately reminded him of the book by Nick Bruel, Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big Day.  Since this is his favorite series at the moment...I was on a mission.  The Puppy pattern comes from The Glyph Girls on TPT.  The Puppy pattern is here, and I also modified their Splat pattern from here, after all, Bad Kitty is a cat.

I ended up printing the puppy pattern on cardstock on brown kraft.  I printed two to a page of each of the patterns so that it would fit on my white handled sacks I got here.  I added the names onto the bones and cut my hearts and 1" circle noses out with punches.  I am not a fan of scissor cutting, so I tried to eliminate some of it with these punches:

Now for the Splat/Bad Kitty bags.  Since I couldn't print on black cardstock, I made one pattern and traced it with the silver metallic marker by American Crafts.  I used the puppy standing body and the Splat head for the pattern.  I drew in the legs with the silver marker, but for the ears and mouth, I used the American Crafts Galaxy Marker in Pink.  I punched two eyes out with my 3/4" circle punch and used a Sharpie to draw in black circles.  I used the I used a heart punch for the nose. For the names on the kitty, I used the heart pattern page that was included in the puppy pattern (again printing two to a page), and added text on the computer.  I printed them on pink cardstock. I told my kiddo that the "Bad" Kitties had to look a little happy for Valentines...he wasn't buying it!

Using a glue stick, I glued everything together and down on the bags.  To put the teacher's name and year, I used a DJ Inkers heart from this collection

These bags were inexpensive to make. It took a little time to cut all of the pieces out, but I enlisted my second grader to cut the puppy ears out for me.  If I were still in the classroom, I would have had the students do this in class.  I like it when their projects are unique, so I would have let them choose their own colors. 

My second grader is truly excited to take these to school for his classmates.  I did make him one kitty that looked more like Bad Kitty.  See why these couldn't be on Valentines bags...cute but grumpy!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Super Cheap Dry Erase Boards & Erasers!

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As a teacher, I often used TONS of my own money for my classroom.  It is hard to get by when you are trying to teach kiddos concepts, yet your school budget just doesn't allow for you to get what you need.  One thing I needed was individual dry erase boards for my students. 

Since a class set of dry erase boards were so expensive, I ended up using plastic plates instead! You know, the kind you get in a pack at the grocery store.  I did have to do a little trial and error, however, because with certain plastic plates, the dry erase marker would sort of etch in and you couldn't erase it.  Jodi at the clutter free classroom upgraded a little and got a more durable plastic plate set at the Dollar Tree!  See her post HERE . 

Another alternative to the plastic plates is getting shower board.  You can get sheets of it pretty inexpensive at your local home improvement store.  I ended up inheriting a set of these from a retiring teacher. Her husband had cut them for her, but I hear you can get the store to cut them for a fee. They are not as light weight as the plates, but they are definitely more durable. They can double as a hard surface for students to write on if you do not have clipboards.  On the blog, Simply in the Middle, she used colorful duct tape as a border (see left). 

Another thing you need for dry erase boards are erasers.  I know that some people use white socks as a sort of mitt.  I have to be honest....since kiddos aren't the best hand washers, this kind of grosses me out.  I was never a fan of the socks.  One thing that I stumbled upon that is absolutely FREE are USED dryer sheets.  I know what you are thinking...used dryer sheets?! That is worse than socks.  Think harder.  You use dryer sheets with clean clothes, so a used dryer sheet is clean and usually still has a little smell to it.  You get a free eraser and little deodorizer!  I got students to bring these in and gave them a ticket (tickets went with my reward system).  I stored them in an empty wet wipe container.  You can just shove them in there.  Since they are free, you have no worries to throw them away when kiddos need a new one.  Also, if they lose theirs, no biggie, they just get a new one.  It really worked out great for me, and we never ran out of them! 

Hope these ideas help you!  Do you have any cheap alternatives for dry erase boards or erasers that I didn't mention?  I'd love to hear them!