Christmas Craft - DIY Coasters

I always like to make a gift for my coworkers at Christmas time and this year I was very inspired by the coasters that I have been seeing all over Pinterest. I used The Cottage Home's tutorial to make my coasters. I had originally thought that I would make my own tutorial, but theirs is so good there is no need! So instead I will just show you how mine turned out!

First up we have the blues and greens -
 Next the neutrals -
 And lastly the pinks and reds -
I really adored how easy these were to make - though I did learn as a first time Mod Podge user, that it is rather odorous!! I sprayed mine with a finish just as tutorial suggested and they were done! Oh except for the felt...

This is the topside of one coaster...

and here we have my attempt at cutting felt for the bottom!
Not exactly Martha Stewart quality crafting but it still served the purpose!

My coworkers love them, as do my mum & I! My favorite part is always seeing what everyone chooses, and I must say a lot of times it is not the ones you would expect! 
Oh I wanted to mention that there are still 2 Days left in my sale at my TpT shop, 20% off all items from now till 1/1/13!

Do you make crafts for your coworkers? If so what were your projects this year? Leave me a note in the comments below!

A Winter Wonderland (the day & a game)!!

First off I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!  I wish everyone lots of rest and relaxation for the rest of their vacations and for the New Year!
I thought this name would be fitting for the game I made today as New England is enjoying quite the winter wonderland today! If only this had arrived a few days earlier we would have had a white Christmas! However, I am just happy that we are finally having some snow now!
As I was reveling in the beauty of the snow whilst drinking my morning coffee,  I made this penguin and decided he would be the host for my game!
Lately my third graders are having a bit of trouble with digraphs (I have actually had several sound out each letter!!!) I wanted to create a set of games to boost their awareness of these sounds. These games feature the digraphs ch/sh/th/wh as well as short, long and R Controlled vowels. (I know my students can not be the only ones who need more practice with the R Controlled vowels!!) There are a total of six boards - one for each vowel and a mixed vowel for review.
I included grayscale copies of the boards as well, to save on ink and to make them easier (and more affordable) for me to print and send home with my students!

This set is available in my TpT shop shop!

I also took our three black labs out for a romp in the snow today - sadly I am more exhausted than they are! What did all you other snow buried people do today? Anyone out and about enjoying the weather? Let me know in the comments below!

December's Nail Art

I love this glitter!!! It is China Glaze's Pizzazz and I looks good on every color polish! I used Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails for my base colors. I was going a for gradient glitter look on the pink and white nails, but it was my first attempt so it is not quite how I would have liked it to look. (Side Note: My sister often tells me that I need to stick with one technique for a bit so I can perfect it. I know she is right - but I tend to be a little spastic with my nail art and I am always amped to try some new technique that I find on on Beautylish!!) The black nail was supposed to have a glitter stripe running down the middle but the brush I used was a bit too it just came out odd looking!! I definitely want to try this look again...maybe for New Year's Eve, it is definitely sparkly enough!!
Reindeer nails!! I got this idea over at Polishpedia, she is awesome and was able to do it on all her nails. I could barely handle two! My students were obsessed with this nail, they did not believe that I painted it! (I am only showing you the good one, my right hand had the saddest/most confused looking reindeer ever. I showed them that one and then they were like " did paint it. Why is his nose crooked?" Perhaps my New Year's Resolution should be to only have nail art on my left hand since my right never looks quite right!!

I used Zoya's Ornate Holiday 2012 Collection for the red and green, I love the sparkles in that set! The reindeer is a mix of random tan and goldish polishes I have had for years. Please disregard the mess on my other nails. It was late and I wanted to take the picture before the reindeer got too beat up at school!

I have a Christmas Tree on one of my nails this week...however I neglected to take a picture before it became rather beat up. (Putting away oodles of laptops in the Computer Lab before vacation is a tad rough on ones nails!!) I want to try a few more Christmas patterns on my nails before the holiday, if all goes well (or at least better than the sad reindeer) I will upload them soon!

What is on your nails for the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

Christmas Sight Word Games

I love using the first 100 sight words with my first graders as it has really improved their word recognition! I wanted to create a Christmas version to use with my students this week. I am hoping that it will hold their attention a bit as it is beginning to be pulled by all things Christmas anyway! (Who am I kidding, all their attention has been there for at least a week now!)

I made flashcards for all 100 words (they are divided into the four sets of 25 words by pattern.) These cards work great for Go Fish or Memory too, so I included Rules of Play for both games.

I also made four game boards for each set of 25 words. I am looking forward to using the first two sets of cards & boards with my littlest Intervention kids this Monday! So I am off to stock up on card stock and laminate!

This set is available in my Tpt shop!

Have a great night!

Easy Skill Sheet Display

My 3rd, 4th & 5th grade Intervention students use Reading Plus in Computer Lab. It is a really great program that has helped them make some amazing gains over the years. My students love how they can keep track of their own progress, and they adore the certificates they get when they level up. I like to incorporate skills and writing into the block whenever possible. They tend to get burnt out if they try to do too many Guided Reading stories in one day. I wanted to find a way to display the skill sheets they need in a way that is easily accessible. I decided to modify The Homework Spot my sissy Kristen blogged about earlier this year.

It was so easy! I just taped some colored pocket folders up onto my bulletin board, slipped in the sheets for the week and I was done! Whenever the pockets start looking sparse I know that it is time to restock the skill sheets.

I started using it about a week ago and it has been working really great! I like how it is in a separate place from where we keep all our other materials.
I am going to take an updated picture of this shelf soon. The front side of this now has all their journals and materials. I decided to put most of the headphones in the desks - it cuts down on tangled cords, a definite plus!

Having these in different areas of the room has cut down on traffic when they are going to and fro getting ready for the next activity. We have a motto in my room "walking with purpose!" It is a bit of a pet peeve of mine when students wander all around the room when they are switching activities. Intervention is way to brief as it is - and many of their classmates are still working on their Guided Reading or Cloze Plus portions of the program. Keeping the skill sheets and journals away from each other has really cut down on distractions and unnecessary talking during the Work Period of our block. I really like how organized these displays keep the room too!

What do you do to keep spots from becoming traffic jammed in your room?

Dolch Words Bundle - Pre-Primer through 3rd Grade!

My students have been having lot of fun using these cards in Intervention these past few weeks! I am currently reviewing Pre-Primer words with my first graders and these cards are a huge help! My students spend half the Intervention block on Raz-Kids and the rest of the block working on skills with me.
This is the Pre-Primer set, which we have been mostly focusing on. I like allowing my students to choose whether we will use them for Matching or Go Fish. I divided each set into 2 colors to make it a bit easier to separate the words into smaller groups. 

After we have played whichever version of the game they prefer, I collect all the cards and use them as flashcards for a quick post-assessment on how quickly they can recall the words. I add in two or three new words each day. This has really improved my students word recollection. I am going to print out the Primer Words today so I can add those into the mix this week!

I wanted to bundle all these cards into one set to make it easier to print the cards needed for each individual group. This bundle includes Pre-Primer, Primer, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 3rd Grade Dolch Words - a total of 220 cards!

This set is available in my Tpt shop!

November's Nail Art

I have taken a minor break from nail art lately (this time of the year is too crazy for anything other than a paint and go!) I decided to break out my glitters and shimmers to take me through the holiday season. This is my most current set of nails: China Glaze's Whirled Away over Sally Hansen's Twisted Pink. I love the hexagon black and white shapes mixed up with the black bar pieces. I can't really call these pieces glitter they are a bit more matte. I love the geometric look they create...I'm thinking of trying them on teal and silver next time!
I recently purchased the Zoya Ornate Holiday 2012 Collection and I adore all the polishes in this set!! So far I have tried these two colors. The top one is Aurora, a gorgeous iridescent sparkly purple color. I could have gotten away with just one coat - but I went with two just to deepen the purple.
This is Zoya's Electra with Nicole by OPI Iceberg Lotus for a base. I had never tried a bar glitter before this polish, but I am loving how sparkly it is! I think Electra would look great on any nail color - I'm even thinking of trying it out on a nude nail!

I am looking forward to trying all the other colors from the collection - but I may hold off just a bit longer so I can save some of them for Christmas week! The red, green & gold will make a perfect holiday manicure!

Happy painting!

Number and Color Words Pack

I have a few first graders this year that are really struggling with number and color words, so I wanted to create a pack of games and skill sheets to help familiarize them with these words.

First we have three game boards, a Number Words, a Color Words and a board mixed with both number and color words for reviewing.
Directions are included as are grayscale versions of these games. I like to print these copies so my students can work on the skills at home with their siblings and friends.

Next we have some skill sheets featuring word scrambles, counting, coloring, labeling and word searches. I included answer keys for all of these sheets as well.
Then we have the matching cards. I included four sets of cards, two for each skill (numbers & colors.)

The first sets, the pink and purple, are for matching the word with the word.  For example: red to red, eight to eight.

The second sets, the green and blue, are for matching the word to its representation. For example: the word orange with the orange colored square, the number seven to the card with seven stars. Students can use these cards for Memory or Go Fish. Rules are included for these games as well.

Lastly we have 12 bingo boards; 6 boards with Number Words and 6 boards with Color Words. These are a great resource for centers, stations, Reading Groups, tutoring or Intervention. I like to have my students play these in a small group while I am testing or working one on one with another student.
This set is available in my TpT  shop!

Have a great day! 

DIY Hair Elastics inspired by Pinterest & the Blogs!

I bought a set of ribbon hair ties over a year ago from one of my favorite online shops. I adore them and they lasted me a little over a year, however they were $8.00 for eight elastics!!! I stumbled upon about a zillion versions of these on Pinterest and I was intrigued! Then I saw them on several of my favorite blogs and websites (Oh So Pretty The Diaries, Love U Madly, and Simple Medicine.) These lovely ladies made it look so fun & I easy that I decided to give it a try!

I got my elastic from the Sunshine Shoppe - I purchased a yard of four different colors (turquoise, hot pink, eggplant and black) for a little over $8.50 including shipping and I was able to make 16 elastics!!
Step 1: Fold the yard of elastics into four parts, cut in half once then cut the remaining two parts in half again.
 Here we have all my colors chopped into fourths and ready to go!
 Step 2: Fold one of the pieces in half.
Step 3: Twist and tie in a knot - then hold the looped end and gently tug the knot towards the open end to tighten it up.
 Step 4: Cut the excess elastic at an angle.
Step 5: Lightly burn the edges to prevent fraying - I only had to pass the flame over them for about a second before they sealed up. (Notice I have no picture of this as I am a bit too klutzy to attempt to take a picture whilst burning something!!)

Presto! Finished elastics!
They were so easy! I was done in a matter of minutes!! I ended up with twice the amount of elastics for just about the same price. You cannot beat that!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I hope you and your families have a wonderful and relaxing holiday!

Sight Word Wall

My first grade Intervention group is working on increasing their sight word recognition, so I wanted to create a word wall that would catch their eyes!

I included the Pre-Primer and the Primer sight words in this set. 

For the word wall headers, I used pink for the background on all the consonants and green for the background on the vowels to help my students with isolating the vowels visually on the wall.

My students were very excited about the wall when they came in today, a few of them even used it already! 

This set is available in my Tpt shop. Click the pictures above for more information!

Thanks for stopping by!

Updating a Necklace Flop

This necklace is one that I made about 3 years ago. It was Gossip Girl inspired and I was so excited to make it! I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like - so I went to Michaels (and spent about $30ish dollars on it) and voilĂ  my necklace!

Or see this thing is heavy and by heavy I mean ridiculously heavy! The clamps would dig into my neck leaving pink dents after a long day of school. In fact it even broke twice! Once last year whilst I was standing in the hall waiting for Intervention to start. (It is not at all embarrassing to have your necklace fling itself from your body for no apparent reason when you are talking to your coworkers!)  And then again this year when I wearily sat down to eat my lunch. That was the moment when I decided that it need a facelift!

Step 1: Disassemble the offense necklace.
Step 2: Realign the necklace into two smaller - and less heavy necklaces!!

Step 3: Gather beads and clasps (from my fabulous bead drawers courtesy of Kristen!)
She even got me this awesome bottles! It is so much easier to find all my bead pieces now! She is the best sissy ever!
Step 4: Mangle and force wires to cooperate, stick new clamps on and presto! Two new necklaces!

A close up of necklace 1:

A close up of necklace 2:
Step 5: Cleanup the mess! (The least fun part of beading) But at least I have two fabulous new necklaces to wear this week!
Beading is definitely my most relaxing hobby, even more so when my results are successful!  Does anyone else make their own jewelry? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!