Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Projects & Freebies

Yes, it is summer.  But who has time to relax?  This is when I have time to get everything done, stress free.

I have been a busy little bee.

Finding all these wonderful kindergarten blogs has been wonderful for my classroom, it's going to be cuter and more organized than ever next year, but bad for my bank account and time management skills.  Who needs sleep when you can stay up till 2am working on fun projects?

So what have I been doing?

First of all, I have a new love.  He came in the mail yesterday and I lovingly refer to him as Hot Stuff.

No, no, I didn't meet some rich awesomely handsome guy.  Hot Stuff is my new laminator and I think I'm in love. (Sorry for the horrible picture)  Why have I not heard about these laminators before?  Instead I have been at the mercy of the school laminator who I have a love hate relationship with.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it leaves wrinkles or peels apart, but most of the time, it's just plain broken.

This baby was only like $30 something at Amazon.  Yes, you have to buy the laminating pouches to go with it.  But it's worth it in my opinion.  I'm debating whether or not I want to bring this little baby to school or buy another one to leave at school.  Hmm...

I didn't think the laminating pouches were too pricey either.  But then I don't really have anything else to compare them too.  Oh and the laminating pouches make everything nice and sturdy.  Have I mentioned I'm in love?
Last picture, I promise.  For now... Let me look around the house and see what else needs to be laminated.

Okay, on to what I've really been doing.

I started selling items on TpT last July, on a whim, right before school started.  I decided right away that I was only going to put things on there that I personally wanted/needed for my own classroom.  That way if no one else wanted my creations it wouldn't be a big deal because at last I wanted them.  So I made a few things between July and September, then decided I was too busy and kind of forgot about making new things.  Instead I just bought them from everyone else on TpT.  (There are some really awesome center ideas out there)  Then in May of this year I decided that making things for TpT was actually fun, so I started creating again.  Then, I became an addict.

I am a clip art addict.  For me, the best part about starting any new project, is getting to shop around for the clip art I want to use.  I know, its a serious problem. Haha, not really.  But who knew clipart could be so much fun.  So then I wanted to make more and more things, just so that I could justify buying new clip art.  That totally makes sense right?

Anyways... I have been spent the last 3 weeks, my entire summer so far, making as many things as possible for my classroom next year, using all of my fun new clip art of course.  I've been creating new products as well as updating old ones.  An organized, colorful classroom makes me happy and clears up my mind so I can focus on more important things, like teaching!

So here are some new products in my TpT store.  Oh, did I mention that all of these are FREE!!  So get on over there and download your freebies.  They're too cute not too.  Just click the pictures to go to my TpT store and download.

I don't know why I have become so obsessed with subway art.  I have always loved using a black background on a bulletin board because it makes all the colorful posters really stand out.  I think the black background subway art reminds me of that.  Either way, I'm a little obsessed.  I saw some really cute subway art rules posters on TpT, but my school follows PBIS, so we have 3 specific rules for our entire school.  These posters were actually made with my school's rules.  But they were too cute not to share.  I also made a white background version in case black isn't your thing.  You can print them on regular card stock or if your county has one of those awesome poster making machines, like mine does, you can blow these up to poster size.  We did and we're going to hang them in the kindergarten hallway.

Last week my kindergarten team and I met to plan out our reading and math units for the entire year.  Our first unit in math is position words.  I decided it was time to make some posters to go on my new Anchor Chart bulletin board. (I'll post pictures when I actually make it, right now we are banned from the school building until the floor waxing is finished)  First up for position words is definitely left and right.  My kids struggle with this every year.  So I decided to make some posters to help remind them which side is left and which is right.  There are actually 3 posters in this download.  2 full size posters, one for left and one for right, as well as 2 half size posters that you cut apart in case your bulletin board space is limited.  I decided I was going to make anchor charts this year as I needed them, so keep checking back to see if I've made any new ones.

The next thing I made were signs to go on the girls and boys bathroom doors.  I have 2 bathrooms in my classroom, so I plan on hanging these on the doors.  And yes, there is a black background and white background version.  So you decide which ones you want to use.  I just love the clip art for this set.  I think the little kids look like cabbage patch kids, and since I am a child of the 80's, cabbage kids will always have a special place in my heart.  If you don't have bathrooms in your room, you could always post these on the bathroom doors in the hallway.

I actually posted this next freebie just this morning.  I love celebrating birthdays in my classroom.  I don't know why, I just love that each child gets their own special day.  I even celebrate the summer birthdays during April and May because it's just not fair to leave them out.  Can you tell I have a summer birthday and that's happened to me a time or two?  So back to the freebie.  This is a birthday book that you can make with your kids.  There are 2 colored covers (1 boy and 1 girl), 2 black & white covers (1 boy and 1 girl) so your birthday kiddo can color in their own cover, and 1 insert page.  Copy one insert page for each student in your room, except the birthday kid.  The other students, and the teacher if you want, will draw a picture to show what they want to give the birthday boy or girl if they had all the money in the world.  Then they fill in the sentence by writing what they would give, and sign their name at the bottom.  Next you compile all the pages into a book.  I've used binding combs and strung yarn through holes to keep the pages together in the book.  Either way works fine.  At the end of the day, the birthday kid gets to take their book home and share it with their family.  This has always been a huge hit with my kids.  They can't wait to take their book home.  I've also had many a parent tell me that their child will look through their birthday book over and over again.  So special.

The last freebie I'm going to share with you today are daily work drawer labels.  I use 2 Sterilite 3-Drawer units to organize my weekly classroom work.  I label each drawer with a day of the week and put all items needed for that day into the drawer.  I even put the work in the order that I'm going to use them.  This makes life so much easier.  All I do is put the next day's drawer beside my rocking chair before I leave each afternoon.  In the morning, whatever I need first is on top and ready to go.  This is also very helpful if you have an unexpected sick day.  You can just set out the drawer for the sub.

I decided my drawers were a little plain.  So I jazzed up the actual drawer frame with some awesome purple spray paint.  This was my first spray paint experience.  Other than the fact that it got all over me, it was so much fun.  So I've been making a list of all the things in my room that need a little color.

Then I printed the labels.  I made stripes and chevron so you can decide which ones you want to use.  And then I used Mod Podge to adhere the labels to my drawers.  I actually give step by step instructions on my drawer project in the download, and I included pictures.  The 6th label is blank and editable.  Which means all you need to do is click on the text box and type in your own label.  I give instructions on how to make your text match the rest of the days in my download.

They turned out so colorful and pretty, if I do say so myself.  Too bad the other set of drawers (Thursday, Friday, and Extras) are still at school.  I may have to sneak in tonight and get them.

So anyway.  That is what I have been up to.  I hope you enjoy these freebies as much as I do!