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DIY Tire Seats

This summer project has taken me awhile-- but I'm very happy with how it turned out! Here is the quick guide to how I made my tire seats (which I plan to use in my classroom as a form of seating). These would be AMAZING in a reading nook! Please note this post contains some affiliate links for Amazon. 

First, you must procure a tire (or tires). I found mine via Facebook marketplace-- I got both for $5. But I've also heard a lot of tire shops will give them to teachers for free-- so it doesn't hurt asking!

I rolled both my tires into the driveway and gave them a good wash with a hose and bucket filled with water/Dawn dish soap. You can also use a degreaser-- but I figured Dawn would do the job. 
Then you have to wait for your tires to dry-- including the water that got into the inside. 

After mine dried I decided to prime them using Kiltz (the best brand?) primer-- and a paintbrush. I quickly learned that if I wanted to get into every nook and cranny I should use spray paint. 

After priming (and more drying)-- I picked a color of spray paint and went to town. Make sure to do this on a drop cloth or in the grass-- I always stain my pavement on accident...
After 2 coats of spray paint my tires were ready to go! You could easily stop here and put some round pillows inside the tires (like bucket seats). I decided to go one more step and create cushion tops. 

To make the seats I had my lovely father (who has been so kind and helpful with all my classroom projects!) cut 2 circles out of a large piece of plywood. I already had this piece of wood in my garage because I am refinishing a table. The circles had 2 sizes-- one fit exactly into the middle of the tire-- and the other was about 2 inches wider around the outside. 
Next, we put wood glue between the 2 pieces, clamped them together, and used screws to attach them. Make sure your screws aren't long enough to go all the way through both pieces of wood and stick out. My wood was fairly thick-- so I used 1.25" screws-- and they worked perfectly. 

After a night of drying-- the fun par was left! Decorating! I picked out a 1 yard of thicker fabric (an outdoor fabric would do well) as well as some foam
I cut 2 pieces of foam to fit onto each wood top--
    Put the fabric over the top-- and stapled it to the underside. 
Now each seat fits perfectly into the tire tops-- and won't fall off or into it! I am so excited to use these this year! 
What is a summer project you've been excited about? Feel free to share or ask questions in the comments! Hope you're having a lovely break!

DIY Paper Succulents

Hey everyone! So as I've been prepping for my classroom this summer-- I've absolutely fallen in love with succulents! Not the cacti type-- but the fat, round, and colorful type. As a result every piece of decor I've been making lately has a shiplap and succulent theme! Take a look below:
Most of the items pictured above can be found in my TPT store-- you can find them by clicking here.

Now on to to the real reason you're here. Paper succulents. I'm not going to lie to you-- it is time consuming. And if you have a cutting machine like a Cricut or Silhouette-- you can save yourself some serious time (plus you can make larger sized plants). 

So here we go! Here are the supplies you need: Cardstock (I bought 2 packs of green cardstock from Walmart for $5 each), scissors, pencil (if tracing), and hot glue. Each larger succulent took about three 12x12 pieces of cardstock, and the smaller ones took two 8.5x11" pieces. 
This first succulent was made from a template I found online for free. I didn't really follow their directions-- so you can make them either way. First, I printed the 2 pages onto the color of cardstock I wanted.
Next, I cut out the pieces. I laid the largest piece aside as a base. Next, I cut all the other pieces in half (and I also cut an extra piece of the smallest size). Cutting them in half let me make a small slit along the bottom-- where I used a small dot of hot glue to press the flaps together (giving them more of a standing look). You can see my process below...
After that I began assembling my succulent: 
I tried to make sure the petals were overlapping in each layer as I glued the pieces together. The very middle is the hardest to explain because I usually played it by ear-- bending and gluing the smallest pieces (sometimes even trimming them) until I was satisfied. 

Succulents 2 & 3 were created using my Cricut-- but I was able to trace a template for any lovers of the "trace and cut" method. If you want to make them larger-- you could always set the largest piece down on some paper and trace a larger figure around it. 

Basically for succulent #2, I used the largest piece as the base and bent all the other pieces upward at the petals.
Then you glue and stack, glue and stack-- and make sure the petals alternate (so you should see the previous layer in between). Here is my finished result with my original: 
The last succulent is my personal favorite! 
Also the easiest (in my opinion). It's the same process as above: Cut out shapes, bend the petals, and stack and glue the layers. 
Here is my original and the new one side by side:
Hope that helped inspire you in your paper succulent making quest! If you have any questions or suggestions please leave them in the comments below-- and I will try my hardest answer them ASAP. Hope you have a blessed day!

How to Make Birthday Cups

This idea has been around for awhile-- so it's totally not my original idea-- but I thought I'd share what I bought and how I assembled my "birthday cups" last summer! Especially because I plan on making more this summer! (Please note this post contains some affiliate links for Amazon.)
Materials needed: 
1) Plastic coffee cups (with lids)-- I ordered mine from Amazon. It was a little pricey--but I really got enough to last 2 years! I've also heard that some coffee places will donate these cups to teachers for free-- so it may be worth inquiring! Just make sure it's the kind for iced coffee and has a hole in the lid! 

2) Shredded white crinkle paper-- I bought a few packs from my local Dollar Tree. You can still find this on Amazon though. You also don't have to use white, but I wanted mine to resemble whipped cream. 

3) Suckers-- I used different colored Tootsie Roll Pops (because a bag of just red cost a little more than I was willing to pay). You could easily use Blow Pops too. I bought my suckers in a large quantity from Walmart. 

4) Pencils-- I use pencils to look like the "straws"-- I found some cute rainbow ones at Walmart for very cheap! 

5) Whatever you want to use as a filler-- This is where you can be as creative (or not creative) as you please! Here are some ideas for your cups:

  • Candy (if you are making these during the summer keep in mind that some candy lasts better than others over time-- like bubble gum)
  • Erasers
  • Bookmarks
  • Emoji pencil sharpeners
  • Emoji bracelets
  • Glow bracelets
  • Play-Doh
  • Packet of Koolaid (or other drink mix)
  • Stickers
  • Brag tags-- My kids LOVED these last year (click the pic to see in my store)

6) Full page label paper (or sticker paper). I purchase mine from Amazon-- but I believe label paper is cheaper than sticker paper. You will need this type of paper to make the stickers for the cups! 

7)Labels for the cups-- I have created a set with 19 different labels-- here are a few closer up:
How to assemble:

  1. Fill each cup with desired goodies/candy-- leave a little space at the top for the white crinkle paper!
  2. Top goodies with white crinkle paper and put on cup lid
  3. Use a hole punch to punch a hole in the cup lid (for the birthday pencil) and put pencil in-- I had to almost do 2 punches side by side to slide the pencil in more easily
  4. Put a sucker in the top hole of the cup lid
  5. Choose your birthday sticker label and put label paper in the printer (make sure you put it in the right way-- I had to put mine in upside down)
  6. Print birthday cup stickers on the labels, cut out, peel, and stick onto cups
Now you are ready for the year ahead! Here is a quick post about how I keep track of student birthdays-- if you need help remembering! Plus it's a fun way to store birthday gifts! 

I hope you found this to be helpful! Best of luck in preparing for next year! 

How to Manage Student Rewards

Hello everyone! I don't know about you-- but I LOVE rewarding students for good behavior, positive attitudes, effort, and other fine qualities all teachers admire! Today I want to share some ideas for managing the rewards you give to students! (Please note this post contains some affiliate links for Amazon)

First off, make sure your reward system matches your management style. For the past 5 years I've used ClassDojo in my room-- and I love it! Here is a post I wrote a few years ago about how I use it in conjunction with a classroom economy. Basically I hand out "Dojo Dollars" every Friday based on how many points my students have earned.
Then they can use those dollars to pay for prizes and rewards.

I had to decide what types of rewards to put on each poster-- you don't want your best rewards to be worth $5! Make them save for it! I usually switch the prizes up every year based on popularity or if I get tired of it... Here are the posters I use:
Sometimes I forget what the student has paid for-- so this year I am going to give them a coupon after they pay. Then they can trade the coupon in whenever they want to use it! Here is how I will manage my coupons:

1) I bought an "Iris Photo Keeper" from Amazon (you can also get them from Michaels and other craft places). I created labels, printed, and hot glued them to the boxes to help me keep track.

2) I had to figure out how to sort my coupons...

3) I decided to stick with the point system-- so I sorted the coupons by my point system:
Below you can see an example of some of the coupons that will go in the "10 point" box. The best coupons go in the "50 point" box!
I also love the holidays-- so I provide a "holiday tub" for students to purchase a prize from (I usually made this cost 5 Dojo Dollars) I store them in small sterilite tubs with latches (found also at Walmart, Big Lots, Target, etc.)
Then, whatever was leftover I could easily save for next year. Also, after each holiday be sure to stock up on the little toys, pencils, erasers, etc. that go on sale (Hobby Lobby, Mardels, Walmart, Target are excellent places to look) and save them for next year!

What types of rewards do you use with students? Click here or on the picture below to visit my reward coupons in my TPT store. The preview has a full list with explanations-- most of the rewards don't cost anything!
Download also includes black and white versions-- which look amazing on Astrobright paper! It's a great way to save on colored ink!
Lastly, I included the labels for a photo keeper-- as well as an editable version of the coupons-- so you can make your own!

Hope you have a blessed day!

Student Gift Idea (Perfect for End of Year!)

Isn't it amazing how quickly the school year always flies by? I am already planning the last few weeks of school! One thing I love to do during the last week is give my students a small gift from me. I originally saw this idea on Instagram-- and I'm not sure who was the original creator-- but you can find some another example here.

First thing I did was check my local Dollar Tree for plastic water bottles. I was in luck! They had enough for my 24 students-- and a nice variety of colors left. 
If you cannot find them in store-- try online. You can order a case of 30 for $1 per bottle-- and they have many more style options online. Be sure to order early enough to allow for shipping time. 

Now, if you do not own a Cricut or Silhouette machine, the next step will be a bit tricky. You could always invest in letter stickers from a craft store or Amazon-- but it will definitely take a lot longer. You could also get a paint pen and write student names! Using my Cricut was cheap since I already had white vinyl-- and it was speedy. The entire process only took me 1.5 hours. 

I measured my bottles. I could make the names about 1.25 inches wide and 6 inches long. Next, I typed up all my students name using the font called "KG Shake It Off Chunky". This font is free for download on TPT-- but you cannot use it for commercial use unless you purchase the license. I made sure the names fit the size parameter-- and then I hit "cut". 
After the name were cut out, I took some time to cut them apart and weed them (take out all the extra pieces). Next, I cut some pieces of Walmart contact paper. I love this stuff because you get a huge roll for a great price-- and it isn't too sticky. 
I used the contact paper to transfer to names from the vinyl sheets to the water bottles: 
Then I pressed down firmly and peeled the contact paper away. The names stuck perfectly! 

I will have to tell the students to try and limit how wet the letters get-- and to never put them in the dishwasher. Although the vinyl I used is "permanent"-- nothing will last forever. If you don't have a Cricut or Silhouette, I highly recommend investing in one. They can be pricey, but I have found it so useful for my classroom! 
There you have it! Easy gifts that are personalized-- and they only cost $1 per student! If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below. I hope you have a blessed day! 

The Teacher's Assistant

This blog post is short and sweet! Sometimes you just need 5 minutes to finish grading tests or work with struggling students-- but it's hard to find time when your other 25 students are constantly coming up to ask you questions!

Thus-- I created the position of "Teacher Assistant".
I choose 1-2 responsible students (usually ones who follow directions, listen, are good at explaining things, etc.) and let them wear a badge for the day. I created these badges to fit into a plastic name badge holder (I found mine at Walmart) and attached a cute lanyard so it wouldn't get lost.

I even let my assistant give out Class Dojo points while I was conferencing with students about their writing pieces! It was amazing! I highly recommend trying it!

Click HERE or on the picture below to snag a free copy!
If you give it a go let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by!

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 8 (Kindness Day)

I think today was one of my favorite days so far! We had a great day discussing how we could show kindness to others in school, at home, and in our community!

First we read this book:
It's an adorable story about this kind hedgehog who is traveling to see Badger-- and along the way he stops to help other forest animals. His kindness is repaid in the end. My kids definitely enjoyed it!

After reading we wrote about the lesson we learned in the story and how we could apply it to our own lives. I had the kids come up with a list of people in our school we could show appreciation to (I told them it needed to be an adult). We came up with a list and them I had students (in about groups of 3-4) volunteer to make a Christmas card for that person. After we created our cards we delivered them! The kids loved it!

Here is a FREE template for the cards-- all I had the kids do was color the words and tree-- then we used paint on our fingertips to make the "lights" and "ornaments". We filled out the inside with our thank you's-- and we were all set! It was fun and easy!
One of my sweet girls surprised me with a card she had made for me! I happily hung it up on my personal bulletin board!
I hope you have a very "merry and bright" week!
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