Sunday, August 24, 2014

Classroom DIY: Binder Clip Tabs

Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!

I have a confession:  I'm cheap...

I'm also creative...  and a problem solver... which makes for an interesting combination.  Sometimes I see things that I would really like to have but one glance at the price tag and...  YOWZA!!   Then the problem solving gears start turning and the creative juices start flowing.

This happened to me the other day while I was back-to-school shopping in Office Depot.  I came across these great binder clip tabs but the price seemed a bit steep to me!  That's like almost $0.70 each...  for a binder tab!  Crazy, right!?
I just recently purchased a Silhouette Cameo and thought to myself, "I can make these!".  

I started by gathering some mini-binder clips I had purchased a few weeks ago for a couple of dollars and some random card stock I had gotten on sale at some point.  
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
I measured my binder clips and my card stock to get an idea of what I was working with.  
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
The binder clips were about 5/8 inch and my sheet of card stock was 4 1/2 by 6 1/2.  I decided to make my tabs 1 in. by 1 in. square.  Using my Silhouette Design Studio software I created the shapes you see below to be cut out.  

I grouped the square and the slot that the clip will go through and then used the "row of..." option under the Replicate menu.  I'm really new to using my Cameo, so I just happened upon this menu.  It has a lot of great shortcuts!
As you can see, I had my tabs touching each other.  If I had to do it again (which I will) I would not have them connected.  The edges that were double cut didn't have the smooth cut I would have preferred.  

I went ahead and cut out the tabs using my Silhouette Cameo.  
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
I struggled getting the binder clips through the slots, and had to bend the tabs a bit, but I think they turned out pretty well! 
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
 These binder clip tabs can be used to hold papers that need copied or mark lesson plans or your read aloud book.
Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!

Save money with this classroom DIY tip:  Make your own binder clips!  An easy and cheap way to stay organized!
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There are a lot of great uses for these binder clip tabs!  

I made 24 binder clip tabs for pennies!  The cheapskate in me is doing a happy dance while the problem solver side of myself is patting creative me on the back.   

Thanks for stopping by!  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Classroom DIY: The "Clipboard Make-over

Classroom DIY - Turn old clipboards into a creative organizational tool for the classroom!

One week left... Yikes!  Only one week of summer left for me and I'm looking at my piles of paperwork, product ideas, and DIY craft projects and my heart is having palpitations!  Where did the time go?

One snag in my summer plans was an unexpected surgery a bit over a week ago.  Not fun and it totally ruined my big plans for getting my classroom in tip-top shape before I head in for a week of meetings and curriculum planning.  So, I'm stuck at home looking at piles.

Classroom DIY... Turn an old clipboard into a functional piece of art! Check out the one creative idea that makes this clipboard make-over different from the others!
With this forced week of relaxation I decided to dig out those old clipboards I had been meaning to redo.  I had attempted to Mod Podge one several weeks ago and ended up throwing the whole thing in the trash.  I decided to give it another go with the help of some colorful Duct Tape.

There are so many different clipboard make-overs floating around Pinterest that I decided to up the ante a bit and added a clear pocket for name lists, reminders, etc.
The first thing I did, besides gather some old clipboards, is collect my materials.  
 I like to use card stock scrapbook paper.  The heavier paper works better for me.  I also grabbed an old jar of Mod Podge, old paintbrush, and a scraper.  I used the one that came with my Silhouette Cameo, but you could use a credit card type hard plastic rectangle.

You will also need a transparency sheet cut in half to make the pockets.  On my clipboards, I made a pocket on the front and also one on the back.  

I picked some colors that worked well together and set to work.  
The first thing I did was cut my print paper to fit the front of the clipboard.  I just eye-balled it by turning it over and cutting around the board.  
Next, starting at the top of the board, I applied a thin layer of Mod Podge and used my scraper to press down and get rid of any air bubbles.  This also moves the adhesive down the board so that it is evenly spread.  
 I continued to apply the Mod Podge and use the scraper until the card stock was completely glued to the board.  I then turned the board over and did the same thing to the back of the board.
After the paper was glued down, I placed the transparency film toward the bottom of the clipboard and secured it with a strip of duct tape.  I then turned over the clip board and taped the second piece of transparency to the back with the same piece of duct tape folded to the back.  
Now comes the sides!  I used a ruler to make small marks about 1/2 inch from the sides.  This is the duct tape line.  
After adding a strip of tape to the each side, I trimmed the corners to curve nicely.  
Along the top of the clipboard was the most difficult.  I just kept adding duct tape until most of it was covered.  I made sure to trim along the way to avoid extra bulk on the corners.  
So here is the final result!  Much nicer looking than at the beginning and also more functional with the pockets!  

So, there you have it folks!  My take on the "clipboard make-over"!  I hope you feel inspired to give your clipboards a facelift!  

Thanks for visiting!  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sunday Craftday : Etching Glass

Hi Friends!

I'm excited to share with you a craft project I worked on yesterday:  Glass Etching.  

I bought myself a Silhouette Cameo a few weeks ago along with a "Glass Etching Starter Kit".  I have been playing around with the Cameo here and there.  It is a pretty easy machine to figure out how to use.
Yesterday, I decided to try out the etching materials. I watched a couple of good videos on Youtube and then went in search of some glass.  I found these cute little jars for $1 each at The Dollar Store!  SCORE!
These jars are great because you can either use them upright or they can also sit at an angle.  
Because I am in  Back-to-School mode, I decided to make jars to put my paperclips, pushpins, and eraser caps in.  
Of course I had a helper on this project.  This is Cricket.  She loves to be in the middle of the action!  
When I was all finished (at about 12:00 last night) they weren't perfect, but pretty good for my first time etching!
All-in-all the project cost me $4.  The jars were a dollar each and the round borders cost me about $1 in the Silhouette store.  Not bad for a practice project!

Thanks for letting me share with you!  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Word Smarts: Instilling a Desire to Spell Correctly

Good Morning, Friends!

Sometimes spelling errors can be funny, but as a teacher one of my biggest struggles is to motivate my students to spell correctly in their daily work.  They study for their weekly tests and put effort into their final drafts, but in every day writing many students don't see the need to do their best spelling.

So, how do you instill a desire to spell correctly in your students?

I posted this question on a forum for teachers.  I wanted to hear what other professionals do in their classrooms to bring out the best spelling in their students.  Here are some quotes:

"Model, model, model.  If kids see you thinking about your spelling during your work as a writer and can listen in (think alouds) to what you are thinking about when it comes to spelling they will begin to take these habits on.  Keep this in mind..."If I'm not modeling it, I'm not teaching it."  It takes repeated modeling and gradually releasing responsibility over to them. " ~Roots and Wings

"I've seen teachers give their students their own personal "dictionary" (it's just a blank packet with lines; each page has a letter). They stick it in their desk or writing folder. Every time they're unsure of a spelling, they can look in their dictionary, and if it's not in there, they can get up and ask the teacher. The teacher writes it in there (or tells them how to spell it and they write it) and then it's there for future use." ~The Pioneer Teacher

"I haven't tried it, but I think it would be really cool to have a class blog with students' writing.  When they finish a piece, they get to post it on the blog.  In order for for their work to be considered, all spelling and grammar has to be correct because it will be published in a public place.  I think this makes the work more authentic because it's for an authentic public audience.  This way, students can take ownership of the content and format of their writing and will be more motivated to do it correctly!  This is just an inkling of a thought in my mind, so I have no idea if it would be successful or not.  But it makes sense to me!  I'm doing it with my next class!" ~Wyckoff"s Workshop

"With older students, I tell them that something needs to be fixed and that there are lots of resources that can help them do it (a dictionary is the last resource that they should be reaching for) - There are anchor charts hanging around the room, other pieces of writing that this student has available to look at, notes of spelling strategies that we have studied, and peers.  Then I send them on their way to fix it.  This makes me sound like a grammar Nazi, but it also models for the student that I value correct spelling and they should too.  It also helps the student to understand that there are many ways to solve this problem. When students discover for themselves, that learning is more solid than if I had told them how to fix that word. ~Vermont Teacher

In my own classroom:

  • I model for students my "spelling consciousness" daily.  I am constantly circling and thinking aloud when I come to a word I am unsure I spelled correctly.  
  • I make sure students understand that their spelling grades are based, not only on their weekly spelling, but also on their spelling on daily work.
  • I edit a lot of their writing and give them lists of words to add to their personal spelling journals and their weekly individualized lists.  
  • I try to publicly praise, encourage, and give positive comments to students who show that they value spelling correctly to the best of their ability. 
  • I try to value spelling consciousness as much as spelling correctly.  I want students to show that they are working to become more AWARE of when a word is spelled incorrectly and make efforts to use a resource to spell the words the right way.  
  • I've tried incentives on weekly spelling lists, but haven't yet tried them on daily work.  Since it is daily work that I am most concerned about, I am debating if and how an incentive system might work.  Of course I want students to be intrinsically motivated to spell their best and be conscious of their spelling, but sometimes a bit of incentive helps.  
As you can tell from this series of blog posts, spelling is a real conundrum for me.  I would love any advice, comments, or insights into how spelling is handled in your classroom.  Please leave a comment below.

Here are links to the other posts in the "Word Smarts" series:

1.  Word Smarts:  Managing Individualized Spelling in the Classroom
2.  Word Smarts:  Developing a Spelling Consciousness in the Classroom.
3.  Word Smarts:  Managing Partner Spelling Tests in the Classroom
4.  Word Smarts:  Instilling a Desire to Spell Correctly

This post is the final post in the series.  I hope you'll go back and check-out the other three.

Thank you for visiting!