Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gettin' Crafty: Decorated Clipboards

I had a very productive weekend!  I was busy making thank-you gifts for the teachers I work most closely with.

It has been a tough year for everyone at the school, and I have had many hard days growing accustomed to being a full-time teacher.  I wanted to thank everyone on my team that has given me support this year.  I had seen a picture of cute decorated clipboards online somewhere, so I decided to make some for my colleagues.

Decorated Clipboards DIY

You will need:

  • a clipboard (any size, I prefer the wooden ones over plastic)
  • foam brushes
  • scrapbook paper (try and find two-sided, so you automatically have two coordinating patterns)
  • Mod Podge Matte adhesive (found at craft stores)
  • pencil
  • plain paper
  • scissors
  • cable ties (optional)
  • rounded corner punch (optional)

1.  First, I used a cable tie to secure the clip open, so it was easier to work around the hardware.  Otherwise, you'll have to hold the clip open every time you glue or adjust the paper around the hardware.

2.  Next, used white paper and a pencil to make a template of where the scrapbook paper should fit around the clip hardware.  I'll admit it took a lot of playing around, but I finally got a template that worked (thanks, Dad!).

3.  Use your template to trace the cutout shape onto your scrapbook paper.

4.  Cut out the paper and make sure it fits around the clip hardware.  Trim your paper to the width of your clipboard.  I did not make my paper the whole length of the clipboard... I used a coordinating paper for the bottom.  Cut your coordinating paper to the correct width and length.

5.  To be extra fancy, you can use a rounded corner punch to make the corners match that of the clipboard.  You can also do this by hand if you do not have a corner punch.

After cutting your papers, lay them onto the clipboard exactly the way you want them to look.  Now is the time to do any trimming (before you glue).

6.  Now it is time to glue.  Using the foam brush, apply some Mod Podge to the clipboard.  I started with the bottom coordinating paper, before moving around the clip hardware.  I used an old credit card to smooth out any air bubbles.

(Do not worry about being super neat with the gluing.  The Mod Podge dries clear, and you will end up putting a top coat on.  So if you get a little messy, it's okay!)

7.  Work slowly and carefully.  For around the clip, I first put glue directly on the clipboard, and then laid my paper on top.  I glued small areas at a time, and smoothed out air bubbles as I went.

Occasionally, my paper would not lay nicely against the hardware, so I used a craft knife to trim the paper closer to the clip.

8.  Once you have glued and smoothed your paper, apply a generous layer of Mod Podge to seal the clipboard.  Make sure to get the edges and corners well-glued!

Once your clipboard is completely dry, cut the cable tie (watch your fingers!) and enjoy your new fancy-shmancy clipboard!  You will be the envy of your office place!

What are you doing to say "Thank you" to the people you work with?

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sidewalk Perimeter

We did such a fun perimeter activity yesterday!

We drew different shapes on the sidewalk.

Students had to work with a partner to find the missing side.

They loved being outside and learning at the same time!

What learning activities have you done outside?

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Bright Side of a Rough Morning

Happy Friday!

I had a rough morning... I came to school to find that all of our beautiful scraps of painted paper had been thrown away.  I was so incredibly sad, because we had worked so hard to paint the papers and save all the scraps.

I spent most of the morning painting new papers for the kids to use.  I love doing it, because it allows me to let out my creative side, which I rarely get to do anymore.  They were engrossed in watching me paint.

The aftermath of re-creating papers.

The bright side was that it was Pajama Day for Spirit Week today, and the kids looked super adorable in their jammies.

And, during silent reading time, I overheard two students reading the same book together.  It made me so happy to hear them taking turns reading (especially since it was something I never taught them).  It validated why I buy more than one copy of books.  

Where did you find the silver lining today?

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Practicing Perimeter

We did a really fun activity in math today!

We were practicing finding the perimeter of a shape.  We used straws cut into 2, 4, and 6 inch pieces, as well as chenille stems cut into 2 inch pieces.  The students used the straws as the sides and the chenille stems as connectors to create shapes.

They then had to draw and name the shape, label the sides, and write a number sentence to find the perimeter.

The activity was very hands-on, and my students got practice with finding perimeter AND identifying shapes!

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memories, Memories...

Are you looking for a fun end of the year memory book for your students?  I found this one from Fourth and Ten.

Here are some of my students' memories from this year...

We went on a Field Trip to the Old Log Theater to see "Little Red Riding Hood".  

"My favorite memory of our field trip was when the wolf sat right next to us, and when we shook all of the characters' hands."

"Science was my favorite subject because we got to go to the Science Museum and we learned about bodies."  
(If you ever get a chance to see the Body Worlds exhibit, GO!  My students learned so much!)

"A lot of cool things happened to me in third grade, but one thing I'll never forget about third grade is when my teacher had bad luck!  She fell and had a big bump on her knee and her lunch fell and she touched a mouse."  (Yes, it's true... all of those things happened in one day!)

What are you doing to end the school year?  

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Collage Day 2

Today was the second day we worked on our collage illustrations for our books.  Many of the kids wanted to spread out onto the floor, which made the classroom quite a mess!

I did let some of them start gluing, so they don't lose small pieces.

I love how the textured and multi-colored paper gives depth to the illustrations.

We worked for over an hour, and everyone was very productive!

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fraction Dice Game

Hello again!

Today we were reviewing for our NWEA Math test, which we take tomorrow.  One game we played was a "Comparing Fractions Dice Game".  Grab it at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

The kids really enjoyed it!

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

(More) New Books!

I had a successful trip to Goodwill yesterday... and left with a whole boxful of new books for my classroom library!

I even found some of the class' favorites!  I found some books from the Goosebumps series, the Junie B. Jones series, and some awesome nonfiction books about sharks and mammals.

Goodwill is tricky because you have to be willing to dig for good finds.  There are many, many books on a shelf and they aren't in any particular order.  I spent about 30 minutes searching.

I haven't showed them to the class yet... but I know they will be very excited!! (Don't you just love when kids get excited about books?!)

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Monday, May 20, 2013

Collage Crash-Course

Happy Monday!

As you know, we've been working on making books like author/illustrator Eric Carle.  First, we had to write our stories. Second, we painted papers to use in illustrating.

Today, we started using our painted papers to create collages to illustrate our books.  Ms. Meredith (our ELL teacher and former Art major) gave the students a demonstration on how to create collages.

The key was not to trace the animal as a whole, but instead to break it into pieces and assemble the pieces into a whole animal.

What a nice school of fish!

Aren't these jellyfish adorable?

It was only Day 1 of collages, and we will probably continue all the way until the end of the year.  Just after today though, the kids did great!  Stay tuned for a post about their progress!

I can't wait to see the final books!

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Books

During Friday's Carnival at school, there was a Scholastic Book Fair going on in our Library.  The kids were so excited to look at all the new books they could buy!

We went down on Wednesday with our "Wish Lists" in hand, so they could write down the titles and prices of all the books they wanted.  Then I told them to choose their "must-haves", because some of their lists got to be 20 titles long!

A few months ago, my class won in our school's "Book Bingo" game, and was awarded $25 to the Book Fair.  I was looking forward to getting new titles for our classroom library.  Look what I picked out!

The Book Fair was Buy One, Get One Free, so I really ended up with double the books!

Whenever I get a book order in, they get excited to see what I've chosen to add to our classroom library.  I am so excited to show them what I got on Friday!

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Friday, May 17, 2013


Today was the Carnival at school!  

My class has been looking forward to this ALL year.  For a few hours in the afternoon, the kids had free reign of the school to play games and win prizes.  Parents and other family members came, too!

Kids could get popcorn and mini donuts... Yum!

 They could create Spin Art...

...get their faces painted...

...try to get a basket, shoot a goal in hockey, and kick a soccer ball...

...get their nails painted or get tattoos...

... And so many more fun games!

Does your school have any fun celebrations towards the end of the year?

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Painting Time!

Yesterday, I posted about our current Author Study about Eric Carle.  Since we had finished the writing part, it was time for illustrating.  I didn't want to just have the kids draw and color their stories... I wanted it to be the way Eric Carle does his.

Eric Carle uses acrylic paint to paint tissue papers in different colors.  He then uses them to create collages for his stories.  Here is a brief look of how he creates his papers:

I planned to have one day where we would just paint papers to use.  I was really nervous, because I didn't know how the kids would handle such a large and messy project.  But, I'm happy to say that it went really, really well!!

I set up all of the expectations before we started, and I had three other teachers in the room for help.  I had gathered all of the art materials we would need, and set up tarps and butcher paper on the desks.  I put together many different painting "tools" they could use to create textures on their paper.  I found sponges, forks (for scratching at the paint), and paper towel tubes (to use as a circle stamper).

Before we started, I had them think about their story's characters and settings, so they would have an idea of what color papers they would need.  I also did a demo to show all the different tools and techniques they could use to create their papers.

Once we let them work, it was (surprisingly) a very calm environment.  They were very focused on their work!

We let them paint for about an hour and a half (they would have gone longer, but we ran out of drying space!)  After we filled the two drying racks I borrowed from the art teacher, we used every spare corner of the classroom to dry papers.  

Cleanup was a breeze.  All of the kids really pitched in to pick up the butcher paper, clean the brushes and sponges, and wipe down the desks and chairs.

The next step of our book making process is to let the papers dry and then use them to create collages on their final drafts.  I'll keep you updated!

Have you done an Author Study before?  What sort of project did you do for it?

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Author Study: Eric Carle

After we were done with our state's MCA testing, I wanted to give the kids a fun project to do as we wind down the year.

I decided to do an author study on the beloved Eric Carle, author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I thought this would be a big project to take on, but it really came together quite easily.  Here's how it's gone so far:

Day 1:
We started by talking about authors.  We made an anchor chart that described what authors do, and listed some of our favorite authors.  I introduced Eric Carle by reading his book The Grouchy Ladybug.

Day 2:
We read a biography about Eric Carle.  I took it right from the internet, so it was above grade-level for the majority of my kids.  Since we had just finished the MCA's, we used our decoding skills to dissect the article.  We learned that:

  • He was born in 1929 in New York.
  • When he was six years old, his family moved to Germany.
  • The first book he illustrated was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • The first book he wrote and illustrated was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into more than 50 languages.
  • He is inspired by the times he spent with his father in the forest, exploring nature, animals, and insects.
Days 3-5:
We divided into groups and read different Eric Carle books.  At each book "station", they filled out a story map for the book, and added it to their "Eric Carle Books" table (I will add it to my TPT store soon!).  After about 15-20 minutes at the book "station", they rotated to a new book.  We continued this until they had visited all the stories.

The seven stories they read now rest on my white board ledge, and they are quite popular for silent reading time!

Day 6 and on:
We started writing stories like Eric Carle.  I planned on having them write, illustrate, and bind their books into a keepsake.  After each step of the writing process, they needed to check in with a teacher before going on to the next step.  Because my students are ELL, writing stories is difficult for them.  Our ELL teacher, Ms. Meredith, suggested I use a "Story Board" to help them lay out their ideas.

The kids came up with really cute stories!  They even used lots of animal characters and repetition, just like Eric Carle does in his stories.  I think being able to write and draw at the same time really helped them.

This is what the Story Boards ended up looking like:

The next step was writing their rough drafts.  We use lined paper and put an X on every other line, to leave room for corrections.

The last step of our writing process was to take their rough draft and make it into the final copy.  I provided the kids with some printed lined paper.  I made some pages horizontal and some vertical, depending on what the students wanted.  This student chose horizontal pages.

After they did their final draft in pencil, they were allowed to use a fine tip permanent marker to trace over their words.  Last, they erased over the marker to remove the pencil marks and leave behind the nice-looking marker.

The rest of the page will be filled with their illustrations... done with collage, just like Eric Carle, of course!  (Stay tuned for a post on illustrations!)

I'm super excited that the kids have become so interested in the Author Study!  I can't wait to see how their final books turn out.  :)

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fraction Beads

The last few days for math, we have been focusing on fractions.  We started with the typical "Fraction Pizza" project, to show fractions as part of a whole.  But today we wanted to do fractions as part of a set.  My team and I came up with this project: 

(I remembered to take a picture of the final product!)

Students had to choose a chenille stem and string a set of beads on it in a pattern they chose.  Then, they had to figure out what fraction of the beads each color was.

They loved choosing the colors and creating any pattern they wanted!

And, SURPRISE!  I have the template (cuter than the one I used), available to download for FREE in my TeachersPayTeachers store!

Click here to get the Fraction Beads writing template!  Happy beading!

Until next time,
-Miss Woodward


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