Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Painted Coasters

I'm always looking for simple yet sophisticated DIY projects to work on to liven up my living space. These coasters are the perfect project for anyone. Don't tell me you're not artistic, this DIY project is so easy you don't need to be. You can make them as personalized as you would like, and the design as intricate as you want it to be.

My dad has instilled in me an obsession of keeping drinks on coasters, and these are the perfect solution. I love the bright colors of these ones that I made, but I think using muted tones, or even spray paint would be a great way to get the perfect color and accent for any house or apartment decor. These are also an easy and inexpensive gift idea, especially as a housewarming gift. Just stack and tie with a ribbon - and gift them with a bottle of wine, because of course they will need a beverage to put on the coaster.


cork coasters
painters tape or masking tape 
acrylic paint
paint brushes


1. Create lines on the coaster with masking tape or painters tape. 
2. With a brush apply acrylic paint to the coaster. Make sure to be careful and paint in strokes away from the tape so that the paint doesn't get underneath.
3. Let the paint dry, and carefully remove the tape by pealing at an angle away from the paint. 

Share with us your favorite DIY project! We would love suggestions for future DIY posts.

Monday, June 8, 2015

End of the Year

Today was the first Monday of my summer vacation. While I am grateful for a break filled with sleeping in, vacations, bonfires and other adventures, I can't help but reflect on the school year past. I sit here staring at this amazing, hand painted Dr. Seuss chair my head is flooded with memories. This chair at the beginning year was filled with potential moments. Moments of sharing personal stories during morning meeting, reading authentic read alouds to spark memorable conversations and children developing their love for reading. Now the chair is scratched, has discolored paint and one wobbly, unstable leg . To me, this shows that this chair holds unforgettable moments. Moments where three tiny first graders fell in love with the book, The Day the Crayons Quit, moments of first graders sharing small moment stories with their peers, moments where stories came to life and moments where struggles were overcome.

As years come and go, memories quickly seem to fade. We remember those students that made us learn to appreciate the world a little more, those students that allowed us to be a little more innovative, or those students that simply put a smile on your face when they walk in the classroom door. However, we don't always remember those defining moments in a child's education. To help myself cherish these moments as a teacher, we created these original collages to allow these memories be preserved.

 We created one for each student in my classroom and printed on card stock. We have uploaded an editable version to my TpT store that can be used as a first day gift, a holiday gift or an end of the year gift. Click HERE to access it! We would love to hear how you celebrated the end to a successful school year.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Favorites

Favorite Team: The Blackhawks

If you are a Blackhawks fan, then this should come as no surprise. In honor of the Blackhawks facing the Ducks in game seven this Saturday, I felt it was only appropriate to showcase them in my Friday Favorites list. After seeing their performance this last Wednesday, game seven is sure to be one of the most intense games of the playoffs.

Favorite Scent: Fresh Lavender

Flowers these days are in full bloom, especially the row of lavender that lines the side of my house. Throughout my house you can find little bouquets in vases or mugs. Lavender is so soothing and calming, it instantly relaxes me and makes me feel at home.

Favorite Refreshment: Pineapple infused Water

I recently discovered pineapple infused water, and I don't know how I can go back to regular water. I decided to try out brunch at Standard Market in Naperville a few weeks ago, which could honestly be a Friday favorite in itself, and was amazed at their little water station with different flavored waters. Pineapple was hands down my favorite, and it's so easy to make!

Favorite Quote: "Being positive in a negative situation is not naive. It's leadership."

In my opinion, positivity is a mindset. Being a positive person in any aspect of your life will not only make a good impression on other people, but it will make you feel good as well. The ability to be positive in a negative situation isn't always easy, but it is something we should all strive for. 

Favorite Recipe: Indoor S'mores

Let me make this simple, I love s'mores. I tried out this recipe from Dessert for Two with my family and we absolutely loved it. When I found it on Pinterest I knew I had to try it, and it is definitely worth keeping around. 

Let us know your Friday Favorites in the comments below or send us an email with suggestions for next week's Friday Favorites!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Very Merry UnBirthday

The first graders have been completing an ABC countdown for the last 26 days of school. Today was letter, U, Unbirthday Day. It was originally intended for those students that have summer birthdays and do not get the opportunity to celebrate their birthday in school with their friends and teachers. However, as I was preparing for the day this morning all I could think about was the scene from Alice in Wonderland, with the MadHatter singing A Very Merry Unbirthday To You! 

That's when I realized this was an opportunity to celebrate all students in my classroom. Birthdays are about celebrating what makes each individual unique. Celebrating all the good they bring to the classroom. To help make our day about celebrating my students, we started the day by reading one of my favorite birthday books, Happy Birthday To You, by Dr. Seuss. 

We then shared our favorite memories from the year, sung happy birthday to each and every student and spotted our birthday Elf on the Shelf! 

Today made me realized how important it is to not only celebrate our students on their special day, but each and every day. My first graders light up my day and teach me something new! Without them my days would have a lot less laughs and smiles, have a lot less sticky encounters and be a lot more boring. 

To help make celebrating birthdays in your classroom a little brighter, we have provided self-created birthday tags to give students on their birthdays. Tape these to the top of a silly straw or pencil or print on stickers! This will surely bright up their special day.

Find the birthday toppers HERE and birthday certificates are soon to come!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

June Calendar Download

Just like every month, I can't believe that May is already coming to an end. It's already almost June? Unbelievable. Each and every year goes by faster and faster. But this year is absolutely flying by. I can not believe that summer is upon us. 

In excitement of the warm weather and summer festivities I've created a printable calendar. Enjoy June with a stylish calendar to spruce up your office space or home decor. New designs for each month will be uploaded at the end of each previous month. Collect them all! 

I'm extremely excited to debut my new Etsy shop. Although it's a bit bare at this stage, I look forward to creating some awesome designs over the next few months. Make sure to take a look in a few weeks to check out all the new additions to the shop.

If there is anything in particular you would like to see on my Etsy Shop I would love to get input and feedback. Contact me!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Appsmashing to Compare Numbers

When asked to recall details from our own elementary school experience, the details seem to be far and few between. However, one of the few things remembered is the alligator to compare numbers.

As I approached the topic of comparing numbers, I wanted a way to engage my students in their learning. Sure, I could simply just teach how the alligator eats the bigger number, but I wanted a way for my students to grasp WHY the alligator eats the bigger number while using mathematical vocabulary.

As a first grade team, we had decided that students would create a project where they would choose two numbers and place their self-created alligator between it. I wondered how they would explain their knowledge though. While walking down the hallway to pick up the printed alligator templates, it hit me. I would use technology to make the alligator come to life, through appsmashing! Appsmashing is when students use two or more apps to create an engaging project. This allows students to share their knowledge and understanding. I will post more on appsmashing soon!

The students began by using the app, Chatterpix Kid, to give the paper alligator voice. Here they recorded if their alligator was the greater than or less than sign. I then wanted my students to place their video into, Explain Everything, which is an interactive whiteboard. They would choose two numbers and explain why the greater than sign was facing towards a specific number using their knowledge on place value. Our previous unit focused on place value to the tens and ones place. By combining content from two math topics, I figured this would be the perfect activity to assess student's knowledge and learning.

Below is an example of a student's comparing numbers video.

To have the alligator speak first, the students clicked record and then played the video. After the video was down recording the student's explained their knowledge on place value and comparing numbers. 

Want to try this in your classroom, click HERE!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Open Faced Avacado and Egg Toastie

I wish I was one of those people who come home from work and prepare an entire delicious meal. But realistically that just doesn't happen for me. I'm more of a breakfast and lunch kind of girl, and tend to just forget about dinner. This tends to leave me ravenously starving at 6:30 when I get home and desperate for any edible morsel that I can get my hands on. This little recipe is my go-to for a healthy and delicious last minute dinner that is also extremely simple. I hope you love it as much as I do.

1 slice whole grain/whole wheat bread
1/2 ripe avocado
1 hard boiled egg
salt and pepper to taste

Put the bread in toaster, and set to desired toasty level. Cut the avocado in half, carefully slice into cubes in the rind. Once toast is ready, scoop out and spread the avocado on the toast with a spoon or knife. Next, sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Finally, peal and slice the hard boiled egg and carefully place on top of the avocado spread. Enjoy!

What is your go-to last minute dinner recipe? Share yours in the comments below!