Classroom Lighting Alternatives

I detest fluorescent lights...and as a result I create children who do too!

When I worked as a pullout teacher in computer lab, we would shut them off everyday. Mostly because we were all staring at computer screens and the lights just made it too bright. As the year wore on my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders would just know to shut them off when it was time for their Intervention groups. I was out one day and the sub was not pleased when they shut them off...perhaps I should have mentioned that in the sub plans!

Now that I have my own class this year, and due to the fact that the projector is running all day, the no lights policy has started yet again! We tried just shutting off one set each day (they are panel lights) but no matter which set we tried it was just too bright! Shutting them all off was a solution on bright sunny days, but when winter started it became too dark.

I have two small lamps
that I got last year from Walmart, but they only use 40 watt bulbs, so that is not very helpful!

I went on an endless quest scouring the internet and I finally found these!
They are at Bed Bath & Beyond and cost $39.99. I love how the shades are on arms that let you move them around, and I truly love how each one uses a 60 watt bulb! You can have all five lights on, or just two or three depending on how you turn the switch.

I bought one to start with, but ended up getting a second one a few days later. I put them on either side of my chalkboard and they are amazing! Now it is bright enough that we can have the lights off!

I tried to snap a few picks before I left for vacation but in my haste they came out too blurry! I will share some when I go back. I am so thrilled with how well they are going to work! For now I have the Instagram pic I took in my room when I set up the first lamp!
What kind of lighting do you use in your classroom?

Student New Year's Resolutions

My students and I have been having a lot of discussions about resolutions and goals for the new year. The biggest areas we need to focus on are being responsible for your work and cleanliness.

I have a few students who always go above and beyond to clean our room, but most times it isn't even their mess they are cleaning! Of course I, like all teachers I am sure, have several students who misplace work or frequently forget to pass in assignments.

Rather than just having my students brainstorm a goal, I decided to make a pack that would help them to organize their thoughts and self-assess to see what areas they need improvement in.
There are two checklists in this set - one for school goals and one for home goals. First they will read through and check off any goals they have already met.
Next, they choose 1 goal that they did not check off. If they have more than one, they will look closely to see which is the most important at this time.

Included are 2 graphic organizers, one with a sentence starter and one without. 
Lastly there are 2 writing templates; 1 goal and a 2 goal. I like to differentiate writing assignments by giving my class the option of completing a graphic organizer, or a writing paper for their final copy. 

I made the organizer and the writing paper coordinating, so they can be displayed on a bulletin board with the 2014 sign! I think this will be a great way to help my students to narrow down the areas of school and home that they can improve on. 

If you are interested in purchasing this item you can find it in my shop here, or just click on the pictures above!

I will be giving one of these sets away, using the random number generator, to anyone who leaves a comment below telling how it will help their class. Don't forget to include your email address! I will choose a winner this Saturday!

Student Christmas Craft

I truly adore those glitter ornaments that are all over Pinterest during the holiday seasons. I especially love them because the glitter is only on the inside. Whilst I am smitten with all things glitter, like everyone else, I detest when it ends up everywhere.

I wanted a simple craft to make with my students this year. Something easy that they can give to their families on the holiday. I figured I would give these a try!

Here's what you need:
Ornaments - I got these plastic balls at Michaels for 70% off! I love the flattened circle look!
 Glitter - I went with Martha Stewart's, it is so fine and sparkly!!
 Pledge floor care, so the glitter has something to stick to!
Clear bags and iridescent star garland to wrap them up.

I made my sample last night and it was wicked easy. All you have to do is remove the top of the ornament and pour in a little bit of the floor care.

Then, I covered it with a paper towel (the mouths on these ornaments are a bit wider than the traditional ball shape, but I love the style of these!)

I swirled the liquid around until the entire ball was coated and then drained the excess back into the bottle.

Next, I poured in the glitter and rolled/shook the ball until it was coated. If you have any excess glitter you can pour that back into the container too. I did mine in small bits, so I didn't have any extra.

Here is my finished result!
I would recommend letting them dry for awhile before putting the top back on. I put mine on a bit too soon and it scratched off a bit of the glitter near the tip.

I wanted to keep the wrapping simple since they are so fabulous looking!
My sister Kristen suggested the stars to tie them off and I must say, as usual she has fabulous taste! They look so cute, I know my students and their families will love them!

What is your craft project for your class this year?

Nail Art - Christmas Lights!

I decided to be brave this year and try Christmas lights. I was obsessed with all the pictures I saw of them on Pinterest last year, but I never thought I could make it work.

I chose to do it on my left hand only, my right hand was red with a red and green statement nail. I knew I had a chance of painting the lights using my right hand - but there was no way would it work with my left!!

For this manicure I used: (click for links)
Zoya Ornate Holiday Collection 2012 - Ziv, Blaze and Logan 
Maybelline Color Show - Porcelain Party
Maybelline Color Show - Onyx Rush

I used art brushes for the cord and my dotting tools for the light bulbs. After I put on a drop of the red, green or gold, I just dragged the dotting tool down a teensy bit to give it a bulb-ish tip.

Today I am going to give the Reindeer another try. I really loved how it came out last year.

What's on your nails this holiday season?

Nail Art - Nude with Glitter part 2

I have been a bit lazy about my nails lately. My new job has kept me busy - so I have been taking the easy way out most weeks. As in a lot of crackle and statement nails!

This week I wanted to try out loose glitter again. I adore sparkly nails, but, like everyone else I am sure, detest removing glitter polish! It takes way too long.

Last time I tried loose glitter it lasted the whole week and was extremely easy to remove! I decided it was time to give it another try.

For this manicure I used: (Click the name for links!)
Maybelline Color Show - Canary Cool
Loose ultra fine glitter from Michaels

I loved how the glitter came out this time, and I finally found a way to be a lot neater when using it! I put a teeny bit in the cap I store my glitter in and then shook it over each nail. It was much easier to control how much glitter came out and a lot less messy!

What's on your nails this week?