Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Important Book

I went to a cute little children's book store the other day while visiting my brother in Toronto - Mabel's Fables.  It was the perfect little book store, like the one on You've Got Mail.  Owning a store like that has always been my dream!  I had a lot of fun browsing and choosing books to buy.  I was ecstatic when I saw this one:


I bought The Important Book when I was student teaching in 4th grade.  I read it in 1st grade before, but always thought it was a little too old for most of them.  I was so happy to find this one.  It talks about all the important things from being one all the way up to being a six year old (perfect for 1st grade).  When I get back to my own computer, I'm going to make an activity to go along with this book to use the first few days of school.  Until then, go buy it if you don't already have it!  :)  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Blog

I decided I want to update my blog before school starts this year.  My good friend is helping me design it and come up with a new name... but I need your help!  I want to change it to a more creative/universal name.  Meaning I can teach whatever grade with it, or change my last name without having to change my blog title.  I also want to make sure that none of the titles are already taken.  So please help me out by voting for your favorite title (to the right), or leaving a comment with a better idea.  Also, please let me know if you have seen a blog with any of these titles.  And if you have a great idea for a title that I don't have, please leave a comment to suggest it!  You never know, if I pick your suggestion, you just might win a secret surprise!  :)

Thanks!

The Sharpened Pencil
The Hoppy Place (I usually do a frog theme.  The only problem with this one is that I would have to change it if I ever changed my theme...)
Lessons from the Playground
Raise Your Hand... if you love first grade!
The Crayon Box
The Teacher Lady


Monday, July 11, 2011

Chair Pockets


Happy Summer everyone!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’m enjoying my summer up in Canada visiting my family. I have a few school projects I want to work on, but for the most part I am enjoying my vacation! My mom and I finished my first summer project: chair pockets. I have to give a shout out to Mrs. Merchant for introducing me to these. She made a few sets for the first grade to use the last few years. I have LOVED them. They help keep my class and kiddos clean and organized. My favorite. The ones I had started to get a little dingy and worn out (4 years and 85 kids later…) so I wanted to get new ones. Since I don’t sew AT ALL, I was just going to buy the ones from Really Good Stuff. I was going to save my summer money to pay the big $150 for a class set. Then my wonderful mother (who is an awesome seamstress) offered to help me make some. So long story short, for under $50 we have made some super cute chair pockets! If any of you are interested in making your own version, I tried to include a tutorial of how we did it for you. It’s hard to explain in words how to make something, so hopefully with the directions and pictures, you can figure it out. :)

First we bought 6 ½ yards of blue twill (54 inches wide), 1 yard of 8 gauge plastic (3/4 would have been plenty, but they were only sold by the yard), and matching thread.

We needed two sizes of the fabric – a small piece (10 inches tall 14 inches wide) and a large piece (21 inches tall 14 inches wide). This size fits perfectly over our little school chairs. I used the measurements of a Carson-Dellosa desk plate to decide how big to make the plastic name tag. We cut the plastic 10 inches by 4 inches. Once everything was cut, we taped the plastic pieces in the center of the small piece of fabric.



The plastic was the worst part. It moves around like crazy. We taped it down on all four sides, and then sewed around three sides using a zig zag stitch. A longer stitch seemed to help. It still wasn’t perfect.




Next, clean finish the top edge (the 14 inch side) however you want. We turned and zig zagged. Then, take the longer piece and clean finish the 14 inch end, as well.



Lay the shorter piece over the longer piece with the plastic on the inside. Line them up along the bottom, with the two finished edges face up (as in the second picture below).  Clean up the sides. 




Pull the longer piece down behind the shorter piece, about 3 ½ inches. Pin the sides.




Sew around the three open sides. Be careful not to sew over the folded side.


Miter the bottom two corners (or if you are a non sewer like me, basically cut them at an angle, but don’t cut over the sewn part).



Flip it right side out.


Iron the edges flat. Top stitch the final edges on the top sides.


Insert the super cute name tag of your choice, and voila!



Don't you love my homemade name tag and over sized chair?  :)  I don't have any of my school stuff here, but I'm going to order the frog ones I linked to at Carson-Dellosa above.  Just one more thing to add to my frog themed room... 

*I ended up with 28 completed pockets and a few scrap pieces*

If you have any questions or comments about the pockets, let me know.  Good luck if you try them!