22 July 2013

Where Am I? magnetic board & a FREEBIE

With the beginning of my week-long orientation starting TODAY, I had to keep up with getting some last-minute projects finished as I knew my time would be quite limited this week - now that my vacation is OFFICIALLY OVER!  Anyway, I'm excited to be heading back and cannot wait to begin teaching in this district!! I mean I student taught there - I spent my elementary years being educated there - I am meant to be here (it's just a shame I had to wait 5 years since there was a hiring freeze when I graduated in 2008)!!

Enough of that, let's get to the goods...

#1 - Where Am I? [magnetic check-in board]
I'm sure you've seen these guys on pinterest so far this year.  During a mid-week trip to Wal-Mart I grabbed a 92 cent flat cookie sheet since the ones at Dollar Tree were ALL warped and I could not find one that would lay flat for the life of me -- thank goodness because this was more inexpensive anyway!!  Then, I headed down to the fabric aisle to see what goodies might catch my eye and I found a lime green/white floral pattern in the pre-cut and pre-packaged sample swatch section.

My favorite part about it is the magnets! I picked up a bag of black decorative stones when I was doing a major haul at Michael's in hopes that I could use them for Student Number magnets if I hot-glued them to some round magnets I had lying around.  Then, I used Silver Sharpie to write the numbers on these smooth stones!  Something about their texture is so much more appealing to me than more laminated paper magnets - besides I was already using that anyway with the labels I've created.  Which brings me to my freebie: Where Am I? labels.  Feel free to use these for your creations (I've included two heading options: Where Am I? OR We're All Accounted for: and six location labels: I'm in the classroom, bathroom, library, office, nurse, and a BLANK one for you to customize)

I plan on attaching this using power magnets to the metal window/doorsill as you leave the classroom because it's right next to the door and where I hang the hall passes.  However, if needed to be hung on the wall, I would simply hot glue a black ribbon to the back of the board and secure with pushpins or command hooks.

P.S. - Make sure you use fabric shears when trimming your fabric to size to avoid any scraggly looking edges that regular scissors leave behind!

#2 - Paper Plate Welcome Sign & Bulletin Board Letters
When I saw Miss Nelson's post showcasing how she uses paper plates to make certain words on her bulletin board display "pop" I thought it was ingenious and absolutely something I had to try out.  After trial and error, I realized that using the regular bottle of school glue (no matter how thin of a layer was used) left those visible glue bumps behind.  Therefore, I suggest using either glue dots or perhaps even glue stick!  Again, while at WalMart in the party section where they keep all sorts of themed plates for whatever festive ocassion you're celebrating, they sell a small pack of 24 plates for just 97 cents!  I picked up a turquoise and a black thinking I could always come back for more later!

After playing around on the computer for the font I'd like to use for my WELCOME banner and then tediously cutting out each letter I decided there must be a better way to do all this.  I hit up pinterest again and discovered that iTeach5th actually has created and generously decided to share her dot labels with us which fit perfectly inside the Walmart plates I had purchased.  Instead of making my own for my "Science" wall, I just printed the letters I needed and cut an easier pattern - even stacking to make multiple cuts at one time!  WOOHOO!
Then, I ran into the dilemma of finding out the best way to hang this.  My hope is for the plate to lie flat against the wall but not pinch down any of the edges in the process so my first thought was to staple directly to the wall in the inner circle of the plate (where the letter's attached).  But, here's my concern: what if I need to move them at some point and want to be able to reuse the cute circles?  Wouldn't stapling perhaps tear the paper circle in the process?  Then, I thought - Velcro circles (that should keep the plate secured and allow me the flexibility to remove the letters safely if needed.  In the end, I used Velcro - I'll let you know how that holds hope during the year!

#3 - Back To School "You're oFISHally in ___ grade!" Student Treat Bags
With my classroom not finished and orientation consuming my "get it done" time during the day, I had to check another item off my To Do list and make my student treat bags for Meet the Teacher night because I still don't know the little things like my room # or telephone # to make my refrigerator magnets yet.  Anyway, I used the miniature plastic bags found in the craft section at Dollar Tree to create my goldfish gifts last year - but this year I'm thinking that snack-sized Ziplocs will do since they're already in the house anyway.  If you need the bag topper labels, they're on sale at my store through the end of the month, here!

#4 - Student Name Plates
As a teacher, I've found that I prefer my classroom to be a serene place and too much color tends to distract me or make me feel anxious/overwhelmed.  Therefore, I've found the mantra I tend to go by when it comes to classroom decor has become, "less is more!"  This is why I love using black & white since it matches easily with everything and isn't too striking (color-wise).  Also I gravitate toward turquoise, yellow and green - typically it's lime but that color is LOUD so I am only using it in small touches/accents around the room like in my Where Am I? board above.
This is why I've created some original student nameplates because I find that looking at all that color on student desks tends to get me anxious.  What can I say?  I have self-diagnosed myself with OCD and ADD & it doesn't help when you add a Type-A personality to that mix.  Also, I know what I like and that is black & white polka dots with blue and green accents.  I decided to add some inspirational quotes at the top of each nametag because they really don't need a number line or the alphabet staring back at them in 4th grade!  I LOVE THESE!! Get your own set of my nametags and you can print/laminate as needed w/out ever investing another dime into store-bought nameplates again!

#5 - Flower Pens
Finally, knowing that I can't handle lots of color in BIG doses, I knew when I saw these flowers from across the aisle while on my way to the check-out register at Walmart that these yellow dahlias were going to go with me even if I had to pay $3 retail for them!  (Surprisingly they rang up $2.75 so they were slightly discounted - SCORE!!)
Don't they look gorgeous in my black tin from Target from their dollar section last school year?? I just love the way black and yellow look together but yellow needs to be the accent otherwise it can become too overwhelming.  They make me happy and I hope they continue to do so all year long!!


  1. WOW! you have been busy. Thanks for the ideas. I start on the 12th...and I was feeling sorry for myself with it such an early date until I read your post. Have a great year.

  2. I love all of your made-its! They are so cute! I just bought some paper plates to do the same with some of my wall signs!

  3. You had a busy week! All that PLUS orientation! Wow, makes me feel lazy! They're all such cute made-its!


  4. Love the bulletin board idea! Thanks for sharing! Hailey from Autism Tank

  5. LOOOVE the magnet board and your student gifts!

    Rowdy in First Grade

  6. WOW! Thanks for sharing! The girls at my school have all done the paper plate stuff. I guess I need to jump on board. :)

  7. Wonderful made its! I bought paper plates and also saw all the cute pins of the dot letters and searched and searched for those letters. I was going to buy the ones from Creative Teaching Press but I like your find sooooo much better! Great post!

    The Gemini Teacher

  8. I really like your magnetic board! Thanks for the idea! I'm co-teaching in the fourth grade classroom this year, so I signed on to follow your blog!
    Crafting Connections

  9. Wow! You are really very creative. I love all those stuffs you made. But I especially love the Where Am I magnetic check in board. It is so cool.