Monday, August 22, 2016

Teacher Hackin'

You would think with a long summer at home I would be
bloggin', bloggin', bloggin'.

But nope, I got busy with stuff around the house...

... visiting with family...

... meeting celebs...

... celebrating birthdays...

...and eating donuts.  Lots and lots of donuts.

But a friend gave me a nudge, and here's a quick and easy
teacher hack I came up with and wanted to share:

the part-part-whole tray for manipulatives.

I started with the Ziploc little square thingies and the longer ones. 

(No pic of the packages, because I went delete-crazy with my files.
But, look! They even have those dang little Box Top coupons on them!)

I turned the lids over, put tape to hold them in place...

.... put a piece of duct tape sticky side up, so there wouldn't be a sticky bit
to catch fuzz and stuff...

... made a duct tape cross...

... and reinforced it with more duct tape.

I hot-glued a square of felt to make it a little more fancy...

... flipped it over,
 and voi-freakin'-la,
a little tray for kids to use when learning about
the part-part-whole math strategy!

(The paper mat can be found for free here.)

The containers nest nicely in the lids, but aren't glued down,
so they can be easily stored.

So.  Back on the blogging horse.
Let's see if I can keep it going.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Gettin' My (Teacher) Craft On

It is a truth universally acknowledged that upper grade teachers
 have a lot of correcting to do, 
and lower grade teachers have a lot of fiddly prep work to do.

Which is great, 
because I loooove fiddly prep work!

A recent lesson began, as many do,
 with a find in Bullseye's Playground (formerly the Dollar Spot) at Target.

Hmmm... what could I do with these cute but cheap li'l clothespins?

Well, I could do a matching idea on a piece of paper...

but is there something even more engaging I could do?

Claudina Thinking


I printed out six hedgehog drawings found on the internets, 
laminated them, and wrote uppercase letters on the hedgehog with a Sharpie.
 On the clips, I wrote the corresponding lowercase letters,
 so kids could practice matching them.

Is this as adorable as all get out, or what?

But, I can hear you say,
 "Dang It Minnie, isn't that a lot of work for one fifteen minute lesson?"

Yes, it is.  But fortunately, a sister teacher taught me a neat MacGyver trick.

To remove Sharpie marker from a slick surface,
 just write over it with a dry erase marker...

... and it will wipe right off.

Now I can use these hedgehogs for number matching, word completion, etc. 

Who knows? 
 Maybe if I get transferred to middle school,
 I can even use them for Periodic Table practice.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Remembering Sierra

I wrote a couple months ago about my dear niece Sierra,
whom we lost this summer.

I wanted to make some special gifts for Christmas this year
to remember her by.

I saw some luminaries
on the ThatsWhatCheSaid blog...

... and went to work making some of my own,
with pictures of Sierra. 

I also had some of Sierra's t-shirts,
which I planned to use to make a quilt.
However, there were several shirts left over,
so I decided to use them in another project:

I searched Pinterest and found instructions;
here's what I did, with my modifications.

carefully cut the front of the t-shirt from the back.
Iron a generous piece of interfacing to the area you are planning to use.

I just used, I dunno, whatever interfacing they had on sale at Joann's.

I decided ahead of time what size pillow I wanted to make,
and trimmed the piece to that size.

Important!  If you have a 12" square pillow form,
you don't need to add seam allowance.
So your finished t-shirt piece will be 12" square.

As you can see from my photo,
I ended up adding borders to make the front the right size.
Go nuts with this!
Maybe you just need borders down one side.  That works!

If you're doing several (and get distracted by the Great British Bake-Off, like I did)
you might want to do all your math-ing and label your pieces with Post-Its.

Now, for the back.
I will do the math for you!

Whatever size your pillow form is,
you will cut TWO pieces:
the size of the form for one side,
and  the size of the form,
divided by 2,
plus 2 1/2 " for the other side.


Well, for a 12" pillow,
you will cut two pieces, 
each 12" along one side,
and 12" divided by 2 (which is 6")
plus 2 1/2" (which is 8 1/2") for the other.


You will end up with the front,
which is 12" by 12"
and two back pieces,
which are 12" by 8 1/2".

Along one side that is the pillow length,
(the 12" side, in this example)
turn under 1/4" once, then again, and iron it.
Sew along the ironed part.

Now, you're going to add the back to the front.
Pin one of the pillow length pieces to one side of the front...

... then do the other side.

Now you can just sew all around the outside edge with a 1/4" seam.

After you sew,
turn the pillow right side out, 

and you'll be ready to stuff your pillow form in!

As you can see,
the two back pieces make a nice pocket,
so you can remove the pillow cover to wash it, etc.

And how did my sister like the pillows?

She liked them quite a bit.

Monday, December 21, 2015

AUGH! Christmas Is Almost Here!

I always make an ornament for my kids
and an old high school friend.

What should I do this year?!

Welp, while checking out Autostraddle to see if they've got another
Orange is the New Black recap, I saw this article on making ornaments.

These ornaments caught my fancy...

A great way to upcycle your old flannel shirts into holiday decorations.

...but I couldn't find the required plastic candy canes.

I found cardstock gift tags at Target!

I tore strips of pink-striped fabric,
 glued a little bit at the tricky end curved parts......

... secured the end with hot glue,
 wrapped the strips tightly around the cardstock...

... hot-glued the end, 
and poked the sparkly thread through the hole to make a hanger.

It was speedy-quick,
and I love the end results! 

Wouldn't these look great in a variety of bright candy colors,
scattered all over a tree?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

What Do We Have Here?

I was checkin' out my Little Free Library, when...


There's a Little Free Library label on this book,
but it's not my address!

I know there are other Little Free Libraries in my city,
but this address was not familiar.

So I headed over, and look what I found!

Isn't it cool?

Of course, I dropped off a book,
(and my card)...

... and picked up a book to take home.


A hardback copy of Stink!

If you're in the neighborhood,
check it out!