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Friday, August 24, 2012

Sesame Street Font Hand-Colored

My nephew Jackson loves Elmo and Sesame Street.  I bought Sesame Street Font to make him some decorations for his room.  The images on the LEFT are just made using the Cricut.  Strangely, I noticed that some images are unavailable.  So I drew them in using a sharpie.  I decided that I liked it better.  I like the images outlined plus it was easier.   The images on the RIGHT are cut in red and hand-colored.  I had to use my chalkboard marker for the white.  The black is sharpie and the other colors are Martha Stewart opaque markers.  

Jackie also likes Cookie Monster.  I got him the one that eats cookies at Target.   Again, the shape is cut from blue Color Block paper ($5 at Walmart) and colored with markers.

I think the hand-colored images look better because they are outlined.  Another thing you could do would be to use the Cricut markers to outline after cutting.  They are pretty easy to use.  I don't know why they don't mention that in the manual though.  I just thought of it.

Here's Jackson in one of his Elmo shirts!  He is very proud to be able to see in a chair by himself.  Mom and Uncle Joe are pictured.

Jackson doesn't sit much but he really likes Aunt Bonnie's favorite chair.  

Here's Jackson first Elmo when he was a few months old.  I bought him the zipper/button Elmo before vacation.  He loves it. Today in the car we were feeding Elmo puffs!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

School Daze

This is a hallway information display.  I put the school bulletin here and other important information daily.

I love this DCWV Tie-Dye stack. I've already used all my favorite papers. I hope there is not an Imagine Cricut cart with tie-dye or I will have to go out and buy one.  ( I don't have an Imagine!) The font in TYPE CANDY.

I got this idea from Pinterest. It's an exit slip poster where students can stick a note of "where they are."  I used Mac Pages. The font I used is Chalkduster.

I cleaned out my closet and labelled EVERYTHING!  Half of the stuff is from Really Good Stuff.

I changed this but I wanted to put up some important posters as we discuss procedures.

I hate the desks in rows but it will be fine for a few weeks.

Front of room

Another Pinterest idea of exit slip post-it notes.  You can post the exit slip question on the top.  Each student will post their note on their student number.

More Tim Holtz

I ordered a Tim Holtz shadow box "thing" off of Ebay.  It is a bunch of different boxes that you put into the larger box. I painted it with chalkboard paint, then arranged the boxes how I wanted them. I coated with matte gel.

I used ultra matte gel to get my images in the boxes.  I used vintage family pictures and some found objects. After watching the Tim Holtz video on YouTube, I decided to use the tissue tape on the edges.  This looked better and kept all the boxes in place.

As I glued in objects, I also kept adding images.  Each little box has a different "theme."

The final projects and details are below.

This is my great-grandmother, an old nib, and a tile with sign language on it.

This is a picture of my grandfather during WWII.

Detail of a keyhole, a faux flower with a Tim Holtz pearl inside. The photo is a vintage woman.
This is the full box without the clear screen and lid.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

From the Beach-Magnetic Beach Frame

After our vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, I picked up a clearance blank frame and a damaged jewelry box.  I think the frame was maybe $2.99 and the box was .66.  I decided to use some of the shells we bought in Delaware to decorate the boxes.  After all, I have tons of scrapbook pages that no one ever sees.

Unfinished wood frame and the damaged box.  If you look closely at the box, there are two broken wooden parts that are jutting out.

I painted both using Tim Holtz Distress inks.  I think crackled the frame using his paint.

Inspiration struck when I found a magnetic poetry word that said "beach."  I ended up spraying magnetic paint over the frame.  I didn't realize that it was GRAY!  I don't know why I was thinking it was clear.  I tried to wipe the gray paint off the shells.  I ended up using E600 to glue more shells on the frame for some color.  However, you can still see the texture of the crackle paint.

I just moved some of the words around to say, "We love summer here" and "the beach."  We had pictures taken by one of those people who walk around the beach. Then you have to go and buy the pictures.  I got one of the those things you look through. I always wanted one of those!

I probably should have used the magnetic paint FIRST and then painted the frame.  Plus, the strength of the magnet varies.  I thought this would be nice for my desk for school but it wouldn't be. (First, I have zero room on my desk, the magnets would get stolen, AND I am in a bathing suit!  Bad idea.)

Painted box with Tim Holt distress inks and some cheap acrylic paint in whites and blues.  Glued beach glass and shells over those weird jutting wood chunks.  Put Tim Holtz's tissue tape in music on front.  Used Liquitex Ultra Matte Gel to cover all.

The inside of the box.  I glued in some beach glass, cloud paper, and a copy of the Mythic Tarot Ace of Cups.

No finished but I am trying to keep things simple. There is a clear blue circular tile that says beach.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Guidelines, Recess Cart, and Michael Listin Website

As the summer draws to an end, I am finished up some of my new bulletin boards.  One I really needed to make was my *revised* classroom guidelines.  I've become a huge Michael Listin fan.  He wrote a book called Dream Class and has a fantastic website.  I wish I would have been able to read his articles ten years ago before I started teaching.  If you are a teacher, go to his website: here (  It is a must-read!

Anyway, here's what I have so far.  I haven't been into school yet but have laid out the bulletin board on my dining room table.  All four images are from Recess Lite for the Cricut.

My basic five rules did not change.

I revised and cut back on my rewards.  I used to do a weekly contest for the best class for candy and prizes.  I am not going to do that anymore.  I'll miss it but I am turning over a new leaf. Here's an article about why.

Hmm, now that I look at this, it won't fit on the bulletin board!  I'll have to continue to put the rules about the board.

I am going to fix the lower right hand corner of this "final" product by adding tie-dye file folders to hold handouts.  For now, I put a "How to Open Your Locker" handout because I really need that on DAY ONE.  I could never open up my own locker so it is hard to help kids open their lockers.  The post card and rack card were made from Vista Print.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Poetry Break Magnetic Chalkboards Under $20

UPDATE: Students love the poetry break board.  They have been "writing" their own poems all week.  I put it on a desk in the back with the letters.  So far, students have been happy with their poems. Some students have written their poems down or shared them with the class aloud.  The one thing that I feel like I need to address is the "random" concept. Some have been searching for specific words instead of using the random words they choose.  I would love to make more of these. Next time, I will use more magnetic paint.

Uh-oh, I'm in trouble.  In addition to my chalkboard paint obsession, I have now started using magnetic spray paint!  I have more magnets that any normal person should have.  I constantly use my Xyron to turn everything into a magnet. (My favorites are the magnets of each month of my adorable nephew's life. He loves to play with them and tries to destroy them but they endure.) Now, I can make ANY surface magnetic to use those magnets on.  This is overwhelming!  I wanted to experiment so I decided to use a hard canvas board to start with.  I bought these to paint with oil on.  However, I haven't been painting lately. No time!  

When I was in grad school, one of my elementary education  professors told us about the poetry break idea.  All it means is that sometimes when class gets too heavy and dull, a student might grab a sign that says poetry break and will read a poem to the class.  This is only supposed to happen when students need a break not like every five minutes.   Okay, I think this idea would get abused in middle school but I like the idea.  I really wouldn't care if someone finished with his or her work would "play" with words and write a poem anytime of the year.  This would also be a good activity to work on with a partner.  We don't officially study poetry until January but we still read poems all year.


Step One-
I covered my surfaced with paper, shook the can for two minutes, and started spraying.  The paint color is gray.  I did get some on my deck before I added some more paper.  I don't get a newspaper so I use junk mail.
I let layer one dry. Then, I sprayed two more layers. I tested each layer with a rather weak magnet until was happy with the strength of each layer.  It took about three layers for my magnet to work.

Wear a mask!  I got this one for free when I got routine blood work last year.  However, sometimes I put a bandana around my face if I can't find a mask.  The fumes for this paint aren't that bad but I felt light-headed when I took off the mask.
I got this at my local Michaels.  I think the key is to shake it upside down for at least two minutes.  You need a screwdriver or something pointy to get the lid off.
STEP Two:  I probably should have waited but I started spraying the chalkboard paint as soon as the magnetic layer looked dry or not shiny.  I only did one heavier layer as the green spray paint really covered.  This was a lot easier then using the black chalkboard paint in the can.  However, I think some still got on my deck due to the wind.

Tip: The color on the lid is the color of the paint.  Since I was rushing around Michaels like a nut, I didn't realize that. However, I really like this color. 
STEP Three:   After letting the chalk layer dry (mostly!) I busted out my new favorite possession: Neochalk Liquid Chalk marker ( which I got on Amazon.  I wrote "Poetry Break" on the top and put some of those Magnetic Poetry words all around. (I used to get the Magnetic Poetry calendar every year.  I also can make my own words by using the magnetic tape on my DYMO label maker.) This way kids can take the board to their desks.  I also have a few plastic containers of more words.  If the students wants to, he or she just jot the poem down on the board in chalk.

First poem!

If I want to use this board for grammar or as a really cool interactive student response board all I have to do is wipe off the chalkboard paint with a wet cloth.  However, I would love to make a few more of these.  I don't want anyone fighting over these.  I think these would be great for younger kids, also.  I think the whole project would be under $20. Plus, you can make more if desired. You could use those plaster frig magnets instead of words.  Also, you can do this on a wall or door instead of a board.