Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Memory Tees

Happy Summer everyone!  Let me start off by saying I cannot take full credit for this idea, it is something I've adopted as I came to my new school just two years ago. They have done these shirts for quite some time and they have it down to a science. They are so cute and fun, I just had to share!  It's a great time to think about these kinds of activities as you get ready for the fall.

At the beginning of the year, we ask for 3 white shirts.  Hanes or Fruit of the Loom work just great as there are no pockets and the sizes are relatively the same.  When they get shirts from a brand name store, sometimes there are pockets or they are more of a fitted, gender-specific looking style.  You can determine the size your grade level would use and put them on your supply list.  You could also collect a few dollars from each student and buy them yourself so you are sure to get a more unified look.

**Very important: use a piece of construction paper or cardboard in between each shirt so the paint doesn't go through to the back.

We keep them in a waterproof container in our closet until we need them.  Unless the parents put their names on them, we just grab the shirts randomly.


Around the end of October, one of us gets fabric dye and stains the shirts over the weekend.  They are then handed over to the art teacher and she uses fabric paint and sponge stamps to decorate t-shirts for our Thanksgiving program and dinner. This is what they look like after being dyed and painted.
It's hard to tell in this picture but there is an orange tint to the shirt.
We then cut slits in the sleeves and bottom front of the shirt.  You may want to use a quilting rotary cutter for quick and clean cuts.  We send home the following to the parents:
*Zip-top bag of pony beads (colored plastic beads)
*Partially bent paper clip (pictured below)-to help in putting the beads on
The parents are responsible for putting the beads on the shirts and tying a not below each one.  You know your families, if you know a shirt won't return, ask a few parents to come in and help you or see if they will work on them at home.  I can always find someone that is dying to help me. Here are what the beads will look like when done:

That is the most complicated of the three and of course you can make adjustments to fit your needs.


Usually before Thanksgiving break (the last couple of days when we aren't doing very much), we begin our Christmas shirts.  When you get a good system down it really doesn't take much time.  I have the students take off one shoe and sock off and I get out the following:
*Package of baby wipes
*Tray of red paint w/brush
*Tray of brown paint w/brush
Once I paint their foot (brown) and stamp it down (make sure the shirt is facing the correct way), I wipe it quickly with a baby wipe and follow with both hands (red).  I send them with a baby wipe to do the rest. Anything left they can wash off in the sink. When dry, we glue on eyes and a pom-pom nose. The colors below are backwards, but you get the idea.  You may of course choose different colors.

End of the Year

The last is done at the end of the year. The students each pick a color of fabric paint and put their handprint on each shirt. We line them up around the room and they just move from shirt to shirt. They then use a permanent marker to write their names.  Each student will go home for summer with a memory of their friends.

I hope this may give you some fun memory ideas to do throughout the year. Here are some other ideas you could use the shirts for:

  • Apple day
  • Halloween
  • Valentine's day
  • Field Trips
  • 100th day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Mothers/Father's Day
  • Presentations
  • Field Day
I've also included the link for my Memory book that will take you through an entire year of memories to send home at the end. Best of all, it's FREE! It is simple and doesn't take much time but the results are very special.


Stay cool and enjoy the sunshine!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Planning by the Pool: Summer Blog Hop

Welcome!  Planning by the pool is a common occurrence down here in Florida.  It does make work more fun when you're sitting next to sparkling, blue water.  While I enjoy working outside, I usually use nap time at home to do most of my work for TpT.  It's quiet and air-conditioned :)
I work at a private school so we began summer break before Memorial Day. Needless to say I've worked several hours to try and put all my ideas down on paper. I can't work fast enough to keep up with my excitement! I know I'll only get a fraction of what I'd like to get done, but hopefully I'll put a dent in it.

All that to say here is one of my latest FREEBIES:

This {FREEBIE} includes:
  • Pledge poster
  • Pledge coloring page
  • Poster which shows correct hand placement for students to mirror
  • Pledge certificate (when they are able to say the pledge correctly

I am determined to continue saying the pledge every day with my students as long as I'm teaching.  We live in an amazingly free country, a privilege I do not want my students to take lightly.  I teach them proper respect for our county as they stand at attention to our flag.

I've become a big fan of posters.  They can be used in so many different ways:

  1. You can print them and post them around the room
  2. Make them into classroom book to place in your library (reinforce rules, pledges etc.) 
  3. Project them onto your white board and use as a teaching poster that doesn't take up any extra space
Follow my TpT store for some new items I'll be making this summer! Things like:
  • Numbers 0-10 pack
  • Thinking map lessons
  • A super Geography surprise!
  • Landforms craftivity
  • Going on a bear hunt
  • More classroom labels (let me know what themes you have in your room)

The list is so long I can't contain myself. Message me and let me know what YOU need in your class and I'll do my best to make it for you!  Until then, let these keep you busy as you plan for next year!

Thanks for hopping by!!  Hop on to your next stop for some more amazing activities! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Store: Where do I start?

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would have a Teachers Pay Teachers store of my own with more than 35 items in it and a blog, I would have said they absolutely have the wrong girl.  I remember years ago a friend saying she should post something to TpT that she had made and I thought how ambitious that was.  I never thought I could make anything another teacher would ever use.  And to start with I didn't.  It started because I wanted to make some extra income for my family and has evolved into a passion that has made me a more organized and better prepared teacher.  All that while connecting with educators around the world! I had made something for a friend and thought, "Hey, maybe someone might want this." But where to start? What does it need to look like? What comes with the territory of owning a store on TpT? A blogger? Me?  I'm living proof that ANY teacher can be successful on TpT when they put time, energy and passion into it.  Here are some excellent resources I used to jump-start my store.

(If you already have some products ready to post, click this link and open up your store! What are you waiting for?)

Video Tutorials

Betsy Weigle's Classroom Caboodle has graciously posted several videos to YouTube that will help you get started.  There is a program you can purchase, but the free videos are a great starting point.  Listen to the educators who have been successful and copy their experience. Click the picture to take you straight to her blog.

Click the You Tube picture and it will take you to my playlists. I have selected several other tutorial videos that will help you get going!

TpT School

An absolute gem!  I stumbled upon this site on accident and the advice I followed from author Chris Kesler has been invaluable. EVERY topic you can imagine including several list-type posts (I'm a list and bullet point kind of person.)  Click on the picture above and you'll be directed to http://tptschool.com/ .  Sign up with your e-mail and you will be sent the e-book you see above in your inbox.   A definite MUST in your TpT library.

Premium Seller Status

DO NOT WAIT TO MAKE MONEY BEFORE YOU BECOME A PREMIUM SELLER! That's pretty much it.  Here is my experience. From September to January (with the basic, free membership), I made $7 total...the whole time.  I invested some of my birthday money and became a premium seller. The first month I made my investment back and have made a profit every month since.  What business can you invest in where you have low investment cost and profit within a month? I can't think of any. While I can't guarantee your success will be equal, I have not heard of anyone who is serious about their TpT store that has regretted spending the extra money to become a premium seller. Try it for a year, worse case you're out $60, but I doubt that will happen.  

So what have you got to loose?  More importantly what can you gain? Incredible resources to use in your classroom, collaborating with educators around the world, and maybe some money on the side.  Go for it.  I know you can do it.  Click the picture below to get your store started!

See you soon!