Made It Monday: Book Hospital

I'm excited to link up with my very first Made It Monday! Thanks to 4th Grade Frolics for organizing!
I'll be honest, I don't get a whole lot done around here with an almost three year old and a nine month old. But when I saw this pin on Pinterest, I knew I had to do it! It looked like something I could whip up during the Littles' afternoon nap. Unfortunately, the image doesn't link back to a blog, but I think the idea itself is mentioned in the Daily 5 book.

Paperback books don't last forever, and that's especially true in a primary classroom. At least once a week I have a student bring me a book with a page (or ten) that is ripped or falling out. I tell them to put it on my desk and I'll fix it. The book usually ends up swallowed up in the abyss I call my desk under a mountain of "stuff" (I'm a self-proclaimed "Paper Queen," and therefore appear to be a disorganized mess. But I do know where everything is!:) This looks to be a great way to keep the books separate from my teacher stuff, with the hope that I can get it back to the bunnies sooner rather than later.

Mine is called a Book Hospital. I went to WalMart and got a gray dishwashing tub for 97¢ in the back to school/college area. They also had white, pink, and blue... I wasn't too crazy on the style or color options, but the cost won out over all those things. Then I went to the craft section to look for foam letters, except the ones they had were super small and not cute. I contemplated going to a teacher, craft, or hobby store, but I live in the sticks, and the nearest store is 45 minutes away :( So instead I bought red glitter glue for $1.97 and decided to look for a sign online.  I found this cute one here. I shrunk it down, taped it with clear packing tape, and decorated the rim with the glitter glue. Here's how it turned out:
Close up of the top:
I like how it turned out :) Stay tuned for next Monday... I'm working on a super cute activity for my son's birthday party!

The Survival Guide to Second Grade

A few days before school starts we have Open House.  I've heard of lots of ways of doing an Open House, but at my school, this is when the kids find out who their teacher will be for the upcoming year. Doors open at 5:00, and it's so fun to peek out the windows at 4:50 to see the crowd waiting to come in. I'm sure they are just as anxious to meet us as we are to meet them! They make their way down the red wing like a wave and split off to either the first grade or second grade side. And since my room is the last one on the second grade side, I get to see it all unfold. It's definitely an exciting time! The kids come with their school supplies to organize their desks, pick up their folder of information, meet me, say hi to their friends, and explore their new classroom.

Since we don't have a Back to School Night a few weeks into the school year (which makes me sad... I really wish we did!), I include a packet of information of what grown ups can expect during their student's second grade year. At first, it was a lovely boring 5-6 page Word document. Yes, I can only imagine that the parents were DYING to read it...  MAYBE they read a paragraph or two.... if I was lucky! I knew it needed to change. So I came up with this: The Survival Guide to Second Grade.

It's a flip book. I used the colors blue and white since those are my school's colors (Go Wildcats!). I hope this new format is more user-friendly and easier to read.

Each page is its own saved document. The bottom margin is 1/2 inch and size of the top margin increases 1/2 inch for each page. There really isn't a specific order that I give the information.  If I didn't have much to say about a topic, I put it on one of the smaller, first pages;  if I had a lot to say about the topic, then I put it on one of the larger, last pages.  There is info about all subject areas, plus how work is graded, classroom rules/behavior expectations, birthdays, snacks, etc.

How do you share the ins and outs of your classroom with your parents?

Here's my number... so call me maybe!

I'm seeing on lots of other blogs people talking about how school is starting for them soon... some of you in a few short weeks. THAT'S CRAZY!! Here in WI, we don't start until September 1st or the Tuesday after Labor Day, whichever comes first. Teachers usually start coming in to set up their classrooms around the middle of August and we have inservices that last week of August. 

So my second year teaching I wanted to make my contact info more readily available for my students parents, so I bought business card magnets from an office supply store, printed my info on card stock, cut them out, and slapped them onto the magnets. Let me tell you, they looked AWFUL! They looked so cheap and since I printed them out on my home printer, the ink smeared. It was a HOT MESS! Unfortunately I was so close to the beginning of the year that I just sucked it up and gave them to parents at Open House anyway... hey, it was better than nothing!

The following year I wanted to do it again, but I set out to see if I could order them. I had no idea how much it would cost, and I really didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on it. This is when I first heard of Vista Print. Honestly, I haven't really explored their site to know everything they do, but it looks like they can print on anything. And guess what? They can make business card magnets! SWEET!! Here's the one I made:
I changed my school/numbers/email address, but you get the idea! I paper clipped it to my first newsletter that went home at Open House. I asked parents to hang it on their fridge so they have my contact info right at their finger tips. I ordered 100 of these bad boys a few years ago for $35, because the more you order, the cheaper it is per magnet. Now I am seeing on their site lots more design options (I saw one with a cute school bus on it!), or for all of my super creative teacher friends, you can make and upload your own design.  AANNNDDD... I just saw Vista Print on Groupon the other day! I am going to need more for next year, so I'm super excited to create a new design.  Perhaps with a hippo on it?  I think YES!

What do you do to stay in touch with parents?
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