Thursday, July 5, 2012

The "Date Night" Jar

So here’s what I did to make the “Date Night” jar.

Materials: Small recycled plastic container (Crystal Light container), popsicle sticks, permanent marker, sticker sheet, address label.

     1. Write all of your date ideas on popsicle sticks. I colored one side’s edge pink so that we could turn it over and know which ones have been picked. That way we are not doing the same thing over and over. I also used an asterisk to mark the “weekenders.” They'll take a bit more planning.

     2. Use decorative sticker paper to cover the plastic container. I used leftover sticker paper from my clipboard DIY.

     3. Decorate an address label with the title “Date Night.”


Here’s a list of our date ideas:
One-Day Activities
Wii Olympics
Outdoor Activity (anything from walking downtown to sledding to kayaking, etc.)
Coupon Date (everything you do has to have a coupon)
Art Gallery
Pool, Foosball, or Ping-Pong
Mini Golf
Flea Market or Garage Sale
Play Guitar Hero
Local Soccer Game (This would mean Columbus Crew for us)
Dinner (in or out)
Photo Tour (go out and take random pics of places in your hometown)
Scavenger Hunt or Geo Caching (geo caching is using a GPS device to locate different places in a search)
Free Factory Tour
Take a Walk or Hike
Make Something (I saw a great idea to go to a hobby store, pick something out and make it together. If we don't want to keep it, we can always give it to the kids in class for a prize. You can also go to a pottery or glass blowing place or cook...Just make something together. =)
Board Game
Farmer’s Market
Comedy Club
Make-Your-Own Pizza (you can add going to the story and each of you gets to pick a certain number of toppings)
Movie (In or Out)
Hang Out in a Public Place
Picnic in the Park
Sporting Event
Metro Park Program
Museum or Attraction
Historical Landmark
Paddle Boat or Canoe
Bike Ride
Progressive Meal (drinks at one place, apps at another, main course at another…)
Walk the Dog
Buy Flowers and Give Them to Random People (give a flower to those who look  like they need a “pick-me-up." I love this idea.)
Frisbee or Frisbee Golf
See a Local Band or Concert
Go Out for Coffee
Go to a Park
Mud-Whomping (go out in the rain and stomp in the puddles)
Explore a Cave

Go to the Lake
Visit a National Park
Bed and Breakfast
River Cruise
Visit Another City in Our State
Visit Another State

If you have any ideas to add to the "jar" let us know. Thanks. =)


Friday, June 29, 2012

Decorative Clipboards for the TEACHER

So, I tried the whole decorative clipboard DIY with the scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. I have to say that I didn't really care for it. It worked out well with maybe a bubble or two, but the finish felt tacky, and I couldn't see myself using them on a daily basis in my classroom, especially since the room temperature is always unpredictable. Mod Podge is a glorified glue, so heat will make it melt. I was thinking body heat might even make it stickier. The clip also sticks a little, so I thought there would eventually be a nice (ugly) dent in the finish where the clip rests. So rather than "wait and see" about the whole stickiness theory, I tried again and came up with my own solution for the clipboards because I really liked them. Here are the finished boards, front and back. Instead of Mod Podge, use sticker paper!

The first one with the trees and stripes was one I did with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. I am going to keep this one and use it on a minimal basis, like as my drill clipboard. You can see it turned out alright, so if you like the idea of using decorative papers go ahead and try it. The last three with the animals are my own design that I think are more durable and less tacky.

For those I used digital scrapbook designs that I downloaded from the internet and purchased off of Etsy (love the site!). I created my own pictures using those materials and then printed it off on sticker paper! I use sticker paper for lots of things in the classroom. My favorite is to stick them on the covers of their interactive notebooks and writer's notebooks. Then they have a cover they can design themselves. I let the kids know that it should look good enough so that they can recognize their own notebook right away. It helps when passing them out (I don't let them keep them in their desks because we know how much they love to shove things in there!) here's what you will need for the clipboards:

1) MATERIALS: clipboards (obviously, Staples sells them in 3-packs, and they're just as cheap as from a dollar store, but they have the clip style shown in the picture, which I like better), sticker paper from your local office store (I noticed Staples has it but Office Max does not. Also, be sure that you get the correct paper for your printer, laser or inkjet.), digital scrapbook designs, photo editing software, scissors, paper cutter, corner trimmer, and a hole punch.

2) Use your photo editing software to create your design. The animal pictures, I created. The patterned paper, I just printed as is, so if you don't feel like being "artsy" by making your own designs... The pictures were sized to 8.5"(H) x 9"(W). If you create your own pics, don't get anything too close to the edge because you might need to trim. (Back to the "artsy" comment, if you ask me, if you're going to make these clipboards, you are "artsy" even if you don't make your own designs and you don't feel like an artist, just so you know. "Art is what you make it", and "Stick people are people, too." Save those phrases for when your kids tell you they can't do art.)

3) After I was finished with the pictures, I inserted them on to a word document so I could play around with the positioning on the paper and the size. If you do that, be sure the picture maintains its original size (see above dimensions). Use landscape orientation. To get the pictures to the original size click "reset picture" in the formatting menu. Click "in front of text" in the formatting menu under "text wrapping" so that you can move the picture around. Position the pic and print. I let the printer create the top and bottom margins.

4) Trim the paper to the size you need for the clipboard. You'll need 2 stickers for each side. For the back, I used a hole punch to go around the metal fasteners. That way there are no bubbles or dents in the sticker. For the front, trim a space for the clip. I rounded the corners of the paper to match the clipboard. For a standard size clipboard, you can keep the height of 8 inches. You'll have to trim the sides to about 8 and 7/8 inches.

5) When you've done with the trimming, peel and stick. You're done!

I didn't use any finisher. It makes it too permanent, and I wanted to be able to peel the stickers off and make a new design when I get bored with the current one. It also gets rid of that tacky feel, and, I thought, for as much as I use clipboards in the classroom, the finish will only make the clipboard last about a month longer, then you have to sand it down to do it again (but in reality, I'll just throw it away). With the stickers, just peel them off and do it again (Much easier! I can do that in my "oh, so much spare time," lol). They're durable, and most importantly, usable! Enjoy!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Photoshop Your Students

Take pictures of each of your students and then create new backgrounds.
·         Pictures of students
·         Solid colored fabric
·         Photoshop or another type of photo editing software
·         Picture of a themed background
At the beginning of the year, take pictures of your students with a solid-colored background. I used a solid blue fabric as my background. Use Photoshop or your photo-editing software to superimpose your students’ pictures onto the themed background. I used Photoshop, so my instructions are for that particular software.

Pull up the picture of your student. Go to the “Image” pull down menu and click on “Magic Extractor.” Click on the marker icon with the “+” sign. To change the size of the “marker” go to “Brush Size” on the right and increase the number. Start clicking on the photo to place random red dots on the things you want to keep in the picture.
Now, click on the marker with the "-" sign. Start click on the background (the solid-colored fabric) to tell the computer the things you don’t want to keep in the photo. Now click “Preview.” The program should eliminate the background and leave the student behind. It may take a minute or two to complete. If you’re satisfied with the outcome, click “OK.”
When Photoshop goes back to the main screen click on the “Rectangular Marquee Tool.” It is the one with the dotted rectangle as its icon. Draw a box around your student, then go to “Edit” and select “Copy.”

Next, pull up the picture of your themed background. Go to “Edit” and click “Paste.” It should place your student in the picture. If you cannot see the student, click on the “Move Tool” (the one with a triangle and 4-way arrows like a compass). Zoom out and you should see a boxed frame around the “student” even if you can’t see the kid. You will have to resize the box to fit the picture in the new background.

If you can see the student and he/she is the right size, click on the “Move Tool” and drag him/her to where you would like him to be placed. Once that is done, go to “File” and “Save As…” Type in a title for your picture and be sure to change the format to “JPEG” before you click save. When the “JPEG Options” menu pops up, just click “OK.”
You’re done! Now you have photos of your students with a themed background. You can use these for anything. One of the first things I do is print all the pictures out and then assign each student a spot on the bulletin board in the hallway. That way, People can SEE who did the work instead of searching for a name. Another thing I do at the beginning of the year is make “trading cards.”  I come up with a title like “Team Jayne’s Forest Friends.” I put that title and the themed photos on one side and a “Bio Poem” or “I Am Poem” for each kid on the other side. (You can get free poem templates from Then I laminate them and hang them from the ceiling in my classroom. It makes a great visual display for Open House. If your Open House is before the kids start school, you can set up a “Photo Studio” in your classroom to do the night of Open House.
The possibilities with these photos are endless! =)

Desk Name Plate

I made this for under $10.00. =)
I used 2" terracotta pots and 1.5" wooden blocks. Everything else is paint. No glue required. Just set the blocks in the pots when you are finished painting them.