Friday, August 16, 2013

Teacher Week '13 - The Finale! (Where Things Get Tricky...)

Happy Friday! What a great week! Thanks so much to Blog Hoppin' for hosting this fun and informative Teacher Week blog hop.  I don't know about you, but I've discovered new blogs and LOTS of great ideas. Kinda bummed it's ending, actually, lol. 
Today the hop is all about teacher tips 'n tricks. This is one of the best parts about following other teacher blogs, the amazing "why didn't I think of that?" tips that work wonders!  So here is my #1 tip for a great start to the year:
Do something special that bonds your class right from the start.
In my class, we make class shirts during the first week of school.  I wish I had last year's shirts to show you, but I am on vacation and only have my personal laptop - the newest pics are on my school laptop.  So I will show you my class' cutie patootie owl shirts in a few weeks when this year's kiddos make them!
In the meantime, I did manage to find pics of the shirts we made before my theme changed to Wise Owls, when my theme was Mrs. Brooks' Busy Bees!
This one is actually unfinished (like I said, not many pics here)... I always write the class name and the child's name and school year on it. 
Here's a super quick How-To:
(ps - It's VERY helpful to have a few parents in to help! Fabric paint doesn't come off of clothing, so I station a few parents at the painting table, and a few at the sink. I usually ask one to walk a painty child to the sink to be sure that nothing gets touched en route! It's also a great way to incorporate parents right from the start, I make a lot of good relationships that way!)
1. I ask my students to bring a white or very light colored shirt with their beginning of the year school supplies.  I make it clear that we will be painting on it and it will be a class shirt that they get to keep. I always run to the dollar store and grab maybe 5 plain t-shirts in case anyone forgets.
2. I go to Michael's and buy the colors I need of fabric paint.  For Busy Bees, I used brown for the hive and yellow and black for the bees. I also pick up a black fabric marker for smaller details.
3. Be sure to Sharpie student names on the shirt tag before painting.
4. Slide a piece of cardboard inside the shirt before painting. The paint can go through to the other side.
5. For this beehive design, we painted large-bubble bubble wrap and pressed it onto the shirt, then let it dry for a day. Don't skimp on drying time!
6. Then I had the kids fingerprint with yellow paint.  Another day of drying time.
7. Finally, I added black dots (for flying trails, maybe you can see them in the pic if you squint lol), antennae, and the words with black fabric marker. You could also do this with paint, but my kiddies didn't want to wait to bring their shirts home! :)
My Curly Jones making her own Busy Bee shirt! She was only 5 at the time, so you can see it's easy!
We take a few individual and class pictures right off the bat in our cool new shirts, and the kids bring them home. I encourage them to wear their shirts on school spirit days, field trips, etc. and then again on the last day, so we have really sweet pictures as well as a nice "bookend" experience as a group.
*Note: Always keep supplies on hand for new, incoming students.  My district is highly transient, so I can easily get 5 or more new students as the year progresses, and lose several as well.  Our shirts help the ones who leave feel like they will always be one of us, and help the new ones to feel like they belong with us right away!
I can't wait to show you the owl version, they are totally different than these!  Link on up and share your own teacher tips by clicking on the button at the top of the post! :)

Here is something new I will be using in my owly classroom this year:

Don't forget the TpT sale August 18 & 19! 
You can get up to 28% off with the TpT discount code BTS13!
Click here for the Forever First Grade Store.
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  1. Those shirts are too stinkin' cute! I'm excited for the sale, too...I've been filling my cart ahead of time :P I'll be sure to pop by your store!

    Fun With Firsties

  2. Love the shirts and love anything that is owlish!
    Paula from Paula’s Place and iSURF Maths

  3. Thanks, guys! Wish I could show you the owl shirts... but that will be a new post when I do them this year! :)



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