Friday, May 29, 2015

Need an Awesome End of the Year Student Gift? Kids LOVE These!

As the end of the school year approaches for most of us, it's always sad to see them go.  But it makes me happy to see how they've grown!  So this time of the year is bitter-sweet for me.  Would you agree?  I like to send them off with a little gift and today I have an awesome student gift to share with you!

These are very easy to make and don't really cost that much, which is nice if you have a class of 30!  These splash balls are fun in the tub; my Son loves to play with his splash balls during his bath time.  They're also fun when playing with the hose on a hot Summer day!  So I know your students will just love them.  

Here are the steps to making your own splash balls:
I got my sponges at the Dollar Store so they weren't as expensive.  Try to get the sponges that come in a variety of colors if you can.  This is make the splash balls more festive!  You'll also need some kind of string... fish line, twine, or even dental floss might work in a pinch!

Cut the sponges into strips going along the longest side of the sponge.  I cut my sponges into 4 strips per sponge.

Gather the strips into your hand.  I used 5-6 sponge strips per ball.  Don't forget to gather different colored strips!

Tie the strips in the middle; tie them very tight and in a knot.  Cut the ends of the string, as close to the knot as you can.

Fluff out the strips to make the "ball" shape.  And there you go!  You've made a splash ball!

Repeat the process with the rest of the sponges, until you have the number of balls you need.

To make them extra special, I wrapped them in plastic bags (also bought at the Dollar Store) and tied them with curling ribbon.  I attached a tag, signed with my name and it looks great!

If you'd like to make your own splash balls, you can download the tags I used here.

I'd love to hear what your favorite end of the year student gift you like to give... Are you the type of teacher that prefers to make your gifts, or save time by just purchasing something?  I tend to swing in the middle of the two!  Let me hear from you and have a wonderful day friends!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5 Easy Steps to Transfer Your Kids' Artwork onto Canvas!

Hello my friends!  I had some time to look through my photos today and discovered that I had a variety of crafts that I hadn't shared with you yet!  Today I want to show you 5 EASY steps to transferring artwork onto canvas.  This craft is fun because you can keep any memory of your students or your own children forever.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE crafts and being creative, so sharing with you is fun for me!

The materials you need for this project is a pencil, blank canvas, paint or markers, a paint brush and your child's artwork.  In the example above, I used a note my Son wrote to me when he was in Kindergarten.  I've saved it forever for the memories and this project was a way to make it even more memorable!  But you can also use a drawing that you want to keep forever.

Now, most of you probably don't have a blank canvas hanging around your home... But I do just because I might do something with it like this AWESOME craft!  But no fret... You can buy blank canvases at Walmart, Target, or any craft store.  I recommend Walmart because they will be the cheapest there most likely.  

As far as the paint, I used acrylic paint that comes in little bottles for about 50 cents per bottle.  You can find the paint at the stores above also.  Just choose the colors in your child's artwork or any that will match your decor.

Ok, so you have your artwork and supplies!  Now let's get started!
This is the original artwork that my Son made for me that I chose for the project.  He wrote it in pencil, so I went over his writing with a permanent marker.

Next, turn the artwork over.  With your pencil, trace over the artwork as best as you can.  This is why you need to trace over it with permanent marker in step 1.  Otherwise you might not be able to see it through the paper.  Make sure to trace it really hard; it's ok to make the lines thicker with the pencil.

This is what it looked like after I finished step 2, tracing the back with my pencil.  Notice how dark I made it; even though it's not exact, it still captures the childlike writing.

For step 4, turn the artwork to the right side.  With the BACK of the permanent marker, trace over the lines you made with the permanent marker in step 1.  Push really hard because you're transferring the pencil to the canvas underneath.  This is how you're putting your child's artwork on the actual canvas.

This is what the canvas looked like when I lifted up the paper.  You can see the image is now on the canvas ready to be traced over with marker or paint!  Tip:  While you're transferring in the above step, lift the paper slightly to make sure your pushing hard enough.  If you don't you will lift the paper and may not be able to line it back up correctly!

This picture shows the final product!  I painted over the lines I had on the canvas with the acrylic paint.  You can see that the lines are much thicker than my Son's original artwork.  But you can still feel the love he wrote me in the note!  If you're doing this with a drawing (not words), I would suggest going over it in this final step with a marker instead of paint.  It's hard to get the line really fine with a paint brush, especially if you don't have a steady hand.

At this point, I have a few things I can do with the canvas.   One option is to paint a "frame" around the canvas so the edges have some color.  OR you could paint the edge of the canvas on the sides, which would give a dramatic effect!  You can even add other pictures your kids have made in the blank spots on the canvas using the same process you already did.

After thinking about it, I really liked the simplicity of the canvas all by itself.  I thought that if I added anything else, it would take away from his backwards writing and lettering as a whole.  His writing style is what makes it so cute, so I wanted to keep that as the focus.

If you choose to do this project, I'd LOVE to have you send me a picture of what you made.  I will add it to this blog post if you don't mind so we can share our creative love with each other and share different ideas.  

So my challenge to you is to make a project using this transfer process and send me the picture of your final product!  I'd love to hear your comments about this project and maybe you have some ideas of how you could use it in your classroom!  

I'd love to hear from you...

Monday, May 25, 2015

4 Do-Nows So Vegas is Ready for YOU! Plus a Giveaway!

Hey Y'all!  I've always wanted to say that...   I'm from Michigan, so y'all isn't even in our vocabulary, but it just sounds so stinkin' cute when I hear other people say it.  Especially, when it's all twangy sounding!  Any hoo, Cara here, ready to share with you

All teachers across the nation are either down to day zero or on the countdown to the all important day.  Don't get me wrong, I'll miss the kiddos too, but saying goodbye to them means saying HELLO to...Vegas!

I apologize for any reader out there that isn't associated with TpT; I'm not sure how any educator couldn't have come across Teachers pay Teachers some time or another!  But, I'm apologizing to those that aren't Sellers that are attending this year's conference in Las Vegas, July 9 & 10!  

Please, please, please, squeeze all the turnips you have around the house to scrounge up the funds to make it there this year.  I know we only earn a teacher's salary, but this is one trip you won't regret.  TRUST ME!

I had the opportunity to attend last year's conference in Vegas and have some oh-so-valuable information to pass along to those that are on the countdown to the conference also.  I have 4 "Do-Nows" that you can help you prepare for your trip, so let's get this party started!

1.  Make sure your camera's working!
Due to the magnitude of Vegas and its awesomeness, you just might come across the Man of Your Dreams.  As you can see from the photo above, if my camera wasn't ready at this VERY moment, I wouldn't have been able to snap this pic when I did.  Even though, he was made of wax and probably not going anywhere, I know his heart was melting in the Vegas heat when I showed up.  Or, was it the other way around?  He It was pretty hot that day!

2.  Purchase some business cards for yourself to network!
Because I had my cards with me at that special moment above, I was able to give my "Man" my card with all my info.  He's still calling me to this day; all because I had my cards on me!  But seriously, you'll be meeting all kinds of new friends and colleagues at the conference.  So you'll want to be able to reconnect if need be.  

This year, I wanted to find something different that the regular business cards that everyone has.  So I searched around and found a company called moo.  Yes, moo!  Not sure what it means, but their products and service are AWESOME!  

If you look closely at my cards above, they are square!  The beauty of this company is that they do have a 50 card minimum, which is very low for most.  But you can have all your cards be different if you want, at no extra cost!  Because their prices were so cheap AND I could design my own, I splurged and got a special kind of paper that is more like a very, very heavy cardstock, like cardboard almost.  The edges of the cards are so thick, you can choose any color EDGE you want!  Isn't that cool? 

They have all kinds of other business cards to choose from, along with holders to carry your cards in.  If you want to check them out, their site is .  I have a special referral code you can use should you plan to purchase any cards or whatever: that would be awesome if you wouldn't mind using!

3.  Get your feet ready (not by taking a picture of them!)
You'll most likely be doing all kinds of walking when you're in Vegas; if you've never been there, cars aren't really something you need to have fun!  You're feet can get you almost anywhere, so prepare them ahead of time...  I just got these two new pairs of shoes yesterday so I wanted to "break" them in before I actually got to Vegas.  Last year, I wanted to save all my new clothes and such for when I actually got there, and my toesies were regretting my decision to do so.  So put on those new shoes and start walking today!

and last but not least...

4.  Start your planning now!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but there will for sure be things you didn't think of that you should have done ahead of time!  Like having spare ones for tipping, putting your networking cards in each of your purses, you get the idea.  

WELL...  I just got done making the perfect planner-slash-memory-book that you will just love to have before, during and after your trip!  It comes with two editable pages (cover and All About Me page) and 35 or so other pages!  Mine is at the printer as we speak, so I'm sure you'll love one for yourself too;)

Here's a glimpse at all of the pages included:

Inside you'll find two pages that I wish I would have had right on hand with me last year...  Your Flight Info and Hotel Information right in one place!  This way you don't have to keep checking the time of this or that, or where you need to be when!  It's all right there!

I included an 4-day Agenda that you can keep down-to-the-minute track of where/what/who you need to be and when!  There are also extra pages in case you need to change/add/edit any of your plans.

There are pages for you to keep notes of each session you attend, along with a Summary page.  Just copy the number of pages you'll need for each session you'll be attending.  There is also a page you can write down new contacts you'll be meeting while there!

The remainder of pages you see above include a variety of must-haves like an expense tracker, new web sites and projects you want to start and what to remember to do for next year's conference.  

This year, I'll have my planner ready on the Autograph page, when I meet up with my boyfriend from the first picture!  He'll be so happy to know I'm coming back, his hand won't even be able to sign his name when I get there.  Hee, Hee.

There are also some pages for you to insert any photos you may take while on the trip.  If you'd like to check out the planner, it's on sale right now for only $2.50!  But only for one more day!  You can see all the information in my TpT Store here.

I'd love to give away two of my planners for special winners!  Just enter the giveaway below and good luck my friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting today and I can't wait to see you in Vegas!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Squaredy Squirrel Directed Drawing...Yes You Can! I'll Teach You!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Drawing is one of my passions... I don't know what I'd do without having this hobby in my life.  It's calming to me and one of the ways I can express myself freely.  Drawing is a great way to build confidence within your students, build motor skills, and help them to give more details in their writing!  

One way to bring drawing into your classroom, especially if you can't draw, is to do Directed Drawing lessons.  These are drawing lessons, broken down into very easy steps.  These allow all your students to be successful, and it makes you look like Picasso!

So let's give it a try!  I'll give you a second to go get a pencil and paper...

Ok, here we go!

The first step is to draw the ears and the top of the head.  But if you're doing a directed drawing lesson with your kids, I would say this:  
"Ok, let's start with the head.  To draw the ears, first draw two hills.  Then connect them with a frown."

If you just tell the kids to draw two ears and the top of the head, you may get something that doesn't even look like this, but still may look two ears and a head.  Wording it like that just makes it more visual and auditory for your kids, especially those that learn like that.
For the rest of the directions, I'll word it as I would with my students.

The second step is to draw the entire head.  Now watch me first. (You draw the head on board or projector, as students watch.)  To draw this, you'll make two half circles, one on each side of the face.  Make sure to pay attention to how you draw the chin!  The chin should look like a small happy face.

For step 3, we're going to add 3 parts to the squirrel's head.  Let's start with the ears.  You're going to draw 2 L shapes; one of them will be backwards.  The second thing we'll draw is the eyes.  Notice that the eyes are really far apart and almost touch the outside of the head.  Don't forget the eyebrows, which look like two frowns!  And finally, the nose.  This is a unique shape. (I wouldn't try to describe this.  I usually draw it and make some silly sound.  For some reason, this helps the kids.  After I do that, you will hear 20 of the same silly sounds while they're drawing it on their own paper!)

The next step is to draw the teeth.  His teeth are a bunch of little rectangles, touching each other.  But instead of drawing each rectangle, lets draw the big one on the outside first.  Now let's go back inside his mouth and draw straight lines down to make the teeth.

(I was using this for a product, that's why it's white;)  Ok, now let's color in a thin rectangle on each side of his mouth and color them in black.  Then you'll make a frown, hill, frown over his nose.  Watch me do it... Frown, hill, frown.  Now you try!

The last step is to color it in.  You'll only be using four colors really... Brown, tan, black and pink.  But you may color it how you wish!

Ok, now I'm back;)  See, look at your own drawing...  It's pretty good right?  I told you I could teach you how to draw!  

I've put the steps to make Scaredy Squirrel together on a printable for you!  If you'd like this FREEBIE, click on the printable below.

Click on the picture above to access this directed drawing FREEBIE!  

Once again, Happy Teacher's Appreciation to you and thanks for all you do! I'd love to hear how you like the Scaredy Squirrel directed drawing or any other comments you have!  Make sure to leave me some love in the comment section below;)

Until Next Time,

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