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Monday, August 1, 2016

Monday Made It: Refresh Edition

Three. Weeks. In three weeks, I will be starting my fourth year as a first grade teacher.  I swear it seems like I've only been on summer vacation for three weeks...but I digress. Today I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.
It's been a while since I've "made it". Actually, setting up my classroom this year has been pretty stress free so far (knock on wood) because my amazing custodian lets me keep a lot of stuff where it's at and because I'm finally content with my theme/color scheme/etc. that there really isn't much to do until I get my class list.

However, there are a few things in my room that I felt needed a bit of jazzing up. So I put my DIY pants on and went to work:
Oh, seat crates. How I love you so. These were one of my first projects when I got my job as a first grade teacher. A brief run-down on why I began to despise them:
  • The pattern. It doesn't match anything in my room. Plus, the fact that it was linear made it super obvious that I didn't put in the effort to make sure everything was straight.
  • The staple job. If you could only see the backside. It's terrible. And from the front, you can tell - the fabric is all baggy and lopsided.
  • The stains. After three years in the classroom, these seats began to look very well-loved, with marker splotches and other mysterious stains abound.

Even though my kitty friend Whiskers McMittens didn't seem to mind the above, I decided to "reupholster" my seat crates this summer. After a quick trip to Walmart, I was ready to go!

Here's how they turned out after. The fabric was in the bargain section at Walmart and only cost me seven dollars! I think the new pattern looks better, and a darker color means little "accidents" with our writing utensils won't show up as easily. I love how it's a thicker material, too! Plus, I clearly am a bit more skilled with a staple gun than I was before.

Okay, so my newest obsession is spray paint. Have something you wish you could use but you just can't stand the color? Or maybe you're like me and the color would be okay for a normal person but it doesn't match the color scheme of your classroom and therefore drives you crazy...?

Spray paint it. Spray paint all the things. Like this bookshelf that was originally some sort of light wood color but was kind of falling apart.

I saw this idea somewhere on Pinterest and decided to give it a try (after passing up the coral drawer liner several times at the Target dollar spot). It's definitely not perfect, but I like it, at least for now!
I also had a chance this week to put together my students' take home folders. Isn't this color gorgeous? Walmart actually earned a brownie point with me on this one.

Here's what the inside of the folders look like. One side is for things "Left at Home" and the other is for stuff that comes "Right Back to School". At the beginning of the year, I usually just call it the "house side" and the "apple side" for my non-readers. To save labels, I printed two on each and cut them in half. A version of my old full size labels are available as a freebie in my TPT store.

And of course my one cat couldn't have all the fame in this blog post. Here's Jingles, who didn't seem to mind me covering her in the backing from all the labels I used.

After years of owning a Cricut (and after impulse-purchasing the newest version this past June) I decided it was time to finally get my vinyl on. My old reading center tubs were too big, took up too much space, and simply had colored construction paper circles on them to denote which basket held which group's materials.

My new ones match my classroom color scheme, will take up less space, and are labeled for each of my reading groups. Definitely a lot cuter. But yes, it is driving me crazy that my vinyl sampler pack didn't come with orange. Hopefully I'll get over it...

As part of our new school-wide behavior plan, we're implementing "cool down spots" this year. The idea is to convey to students that we want them in our classroom and that it's okay to have strong emotions - we just need to recognize when we need a quick minute to calm down.

In my cool-down spot, I wanted to have some materials that students can fidget with or that they might find calming. So far in this bucket, I have two squishy creature ball things, a twisty tangle, a mini-slinky, and a bendable flower. I plan on adding a timer and possibly some calming glitter water bottles, too.