Friday, July 29, 2011

Classroom Pet Peeves Linky Party



Alisha, over at the Bubbly Blonde, is hosting a Classroom Pet Peeves blog hop. I think we all have pet peeves – but some days, they just bug you more than other days. I love, love, love my job – I’ve been in the classroom 25 (yikes!) years, mostly in first grade, and it never gets old. But there are some things. . .
1.      First of all, I have to agree with Alisha: The janitors drive me crazy. Before school begins, my room looks like an earthquake hit it. This is a true story: There have been years when I’ve walked in my room (donating my time, I might add, because I’m there a few weeks before school starts) and the furniture is STACKED three high. In the corner. Precariously. Now, truly, how am I supposed to get those down???? Seriously? My husband, bless his heart, comes in and moves stuff for me now: If I waited for the janitor, it would never get done. Don’t EVEN get me started talking about the janitors during the school year!
2.      As much as I love first graders, they absolutely have no clue that they’re stepping on my feet. I actually will say to them, “You know, I like my feet. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t step on them.” They’ll look down and get the most amazed look on their face – I don’t honestly think they realize they’ve just stepped on me! Of course, they also don’t realize that they’ve just stood up in their chair while I’m behind them and crashed into me, either, but that’s another story.
3.      Finally, I agree with you all! Pencils are my biggest pet peeve – they’re either lost or broken – and I don’t know about other grades, but first graders will just sit there without a pencil and never say a word. When you ask them, “Dude, how come you’re not working?”, then – and only then- will they tell me that they’ve lost or broken their pencil. Oh my. . .
So, what are your pet peeves in the classroom? Join Alisha’s blog hop and link up! It’s a fun one!





Handwriting

Seriously Primary is having a Handwriting Linky Party! She wants to know how we teach penmanship. In first grade, when the children begin the school year, often they are still struggling to learn the basics of penmanship. I spend the first month of school modeling and teaching how to create the letters of the alphabet correctly. This continues throughout the school year, although not as intensively as in the beginning of the year. One technique that I use is to give each child a piece of paper, which is folder in half like a little book. We focus on a letter, write it correctly (both upper and lower case) and come up with little words that use the letter of the day. During the school year, when I notice that penmanship is getting less than lovely again, we go back to penmanship lessons. There are several really good books out there. However, at my school, I'm limited in the number of copies I can use, so I tend not to run them off. Regular paper is good enough.

Mrs. Bainbridge discussed a motto that she uses in her class. I liked it alot - and asked her if she would mind if I posted my creation for you all. I've attached it here. Do be sure to visit both websites today and check them out! Leave a link at Seriously Primary about how you teach handwriting and look at Mrs. Bainbridge's lovely site! As always, I hope you'll find this document helpful. Enjoy the day!

Handwriting Poster PDF







Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Punch Card for Classroom Management

A theme that I just love to do during the first week or so of school, is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It's fun for the kids - and for me and I have all sorts of little activities that I do during the first weeks. I made another punch card for my color card system, this time with Chicka graphics. I made two in color and two in black and white, so you can print them easily on the copy machine. I hope, as always, that you'll enjoy these and find them useful. I'll keep thinking about other possible themes and if I create them, I'll post them. 

Punch Card Chicka PDF

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Secrets of the District Office

Hi all! I recently discovered the Reprographics Department at our District Office. They offer all sorts of services, ranging from plain copying all the way to making posters and laminating. In June, I sent in my poems to have made into posters - the old ones I've had for. . .ahem. . . many moons, shall we say? They were in need of being rewritten so I just typed them into Word, added some cute clip art, and sent them off to the District Office to be made into posters and laminated! 

My husband and I went up to school this weekend to move furniture around (isn't he wonderful??) and they were waiting for me in a huge box! I brought them home and spent some quality time cutting them apart, while the concrete guys ripped up the side yards. (Yep, we're having concrete poured - my husband's greatest wish since we moved into this house. He LOVES to  "landscape with concrete.") I usually go up to school to prepare my room this time of year, but I'm staying home while the contractors are here - it's the least I can do for my hubby, who (believe me!) puts up with a lot with me as a teacher! 


Anyway, the point of this blog is that, if you haven't discovered your secrets of the District Office, you really should investigate! You might be surprised at the things they can do for you - and cheaper than the office supply store, too! Have a wonderful evening, blogging friends!




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Classroom Management

Photobucket
I was reading all your wonderful blogs this morning and I came across Management Monday at What the Teacher Wants. Rachel and Natalie use a chart exactly like the one I use in my classroom and they're right - daily stickers get very expensive after awhile! They designed a punch card that they'll use in place of daily stickers! I loved the idea, but the punch card didn't quite fit my pocket chart. So.......I designed one (with my pirate theme) that would fit in my particular pocket chart. I plan on making variations of these, with different clip art during the school year. Here's the best thing, too! I was at Michael's today (an arts and crafts store.) They have mini punches for - you guessed it - a dollar! They're really cute, too! I bought a butterfly, dragonfly, and a couple of others. Perfect for this project!  I've attached my version of the punch card here for you to use. Many thanks to Rachel and Natalie for a clever idea! Do stop over at What the Teacher Wants if you haven't before: They have marvelous ideas! What do you do in your classroom to help our little friends stay on track with their behavior? I'd love to hear your ideas. 

Punch Card Pirate PDF

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Five Finger Rule


The five Finger Rule


In first grade, as you all well know, you have children with wildly different reading abilities – and they all want to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Harry Potter. :) To help my first graders pick books “at their level” I introduce the 5 finger rule right from the first day of school. I got this idea from the Reading Lady and the Mosaic Listserv that the site runs. If you haven’t been there yet, I highly recommend it – they have a lot of information, including many resources for the book, Mosaic of Thought, which is SUCH a wonderful professional resource.
The 5 finger rule is simple and it actually does help students find a book that’s “in the ballpark” of their true reading level. I show the children how to use the rule and model it many, many times during the school year.  Here are the steps:
1.      Select a book that you think you want to read.
2.      Open the book in the middle of the book and find a page that isn’t the first page of the book or the first page of a chapter.
3.      Read the page.
4.      For every word that you can’t read or have to really sound out (and you’re not sure what the word is), put a finger up.
0 fingers – the book is too easy
1-3 fingers – the book is “just right”
4-5 fingers – the books is kind of hard so be sure to read it slowly.
5+ fingers – the book is too hard for now – come back soon and try it again.
I’ve created a bookmark on the 5 finger rule that I adapted from the Reading Lady to make it more usable for my first graders. I send it home on Open House with my parents (and explain it to the parents, of course) and I make a set for my first graders to keep in their desk. It’s worth the double set, because both home and school are on the same page and are using the same language. I’ve attached my bookmark here for you to use – and I hope, as always, that you’ll find it useful.

A New (School) Year's Resolution

I'm excited about a new school year beginning! I'm going back to a straight first grade - last year I taught a first grade/second grade combination class and I loved it but it was hard work! By the end of the school year, I'd run out of organizational inspiration. I'm a "piler", anyways, but add a second grade and, oh my, it was not up to my usual standards.

This year, I plan on making sure my room stays organized. I won't leave the classroom at the end of the day until the room looks the way it needs to and my desk is cleared off. I bought several new baskets and tubs to help me stay organized - the trick is, to use them effectively! 

This is my new (school) year's resolution. What's yours? Go to Clutter Free Classroom and link up your resolution. She's hosting a Linky Party on this subject.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back to School Bonanza Giveaway

Twelve bloggers have teamed up to offer one winner a chance at 12 different back to school activities! It sounds fabulous, and I'll bet you're as excited as I am! You can enter here:




Thursday, July 21, 2011

Using Post-it Notes in the Classroom

I use post-it's all the time, both at home and in the class. This time of year, my home office is a snowstorm of post-it's, with reminders about all the things I need to do to prepare for the school year. In fact, I even have on on my computer: If you run Windows 7, there is a sticky note feature that lets you put a post-it right on your screen to list all your to-do's! LOVE IT!

I use post-it's in the classroom constantly. My favorite uses are:
1. Writing notes to children: I write kind comments, encouraging notes, reminders - and parents will even stop in and leave a note for their child on their desk at lunch time, too. I encourage it, because it just makes their day to come in and find a note on their desk from mommy. You'd be surprised how many of those notes from parents and me are kept until the end of the school year - and then taken home as treasures.

2. Notes to me: I write doctor appointment and staff meeting reminders - which the kids read! I also write my to-do's at school, as well: Which also gets read. :) I always get a kick out of the kids who bring me a post-it and tell me that I've already done it, so I can throw it away.

3. Book critique: I put post-it's in the reading corner. Children write a short critique of a book and stick it inside the book. I don't take them out from year to year, so the kids get a special thrill out of finding a post-it critique from a former student!

4. Instant graphs: Post-it's make wonderful instant graphs! Put your question at the top and pass out post-it's for them to answer the graphing question and stick up! They love it!

Create, Teach, Share is having a Post-it Linky Party about uses of post-its. There are a lot of create ideas.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Too Cool For School Linky Party

I Love 2 Teach is having a linky party, and she's asking for our coolest tips to make school easier. I don't know how original these are, and I'll bet a lot of people use these, but it works for me.

1. I laminate my name tags before I write the children's names on them. Then I use a sharpie and write their names. I don't know about you, but in the beginning of the school year, it's hard to get to the laminator: So I squeeze in when I can, and don't worry about names anymore.

2. I always create baskets for each of my kids. I put a box of crayons, a pencil, and a dictionary in it. They're also great for keeping little books that we make during the year.

3. I always make a couple extra baskets, and in it, I put a blank name tag: Then, when I get a new student, I don't have to search for another name tag! It's ready for me - and my trusty sharpie. 

4. I assign numbers to each child, by their first name. I train the kids to write their names and numbers on all their papers. Additionally, I label all their textbooks with little label dots, that have their numbers on. When I find a textbook on the floor, I can open it up, and instantly know who it belongs to. I also make a class chart with their names and numbers that I post in the room.

5. Finally, I give each child a plastic folder to keep their school work in. It has a label on the front with their name and number and inside, each pocket is labeled: Done and Not Done. Right from the first day of school, I train the kids how to use their folders. I collect them daily -by number - and after grading, the papers get filed in their mailboxes - which are also numbered/named. in order. Easy Peasy! 




Let's Help a Friend Out!

Alisha, over at The Bubbly Blonde, has been given a challenge by her hubby: If she can get 100 followers by Friday, he'll buy her the camera she's just dying to have. Sounds like, "game on!" Why don't we help her out - go to her site (you can click right from this site) and become a follower! I love a good challenge, don't you? Good luck, Alisha! 



Pigeon Covers - and a Bit of Randomness

As promised, here are the Mo Willems book covers for the two books that I posted a couple of days ago. Sorry it took so long to post them! Sorry they're in two separate posts: Word was giving me FITS today and I just finally gave it up! 

I went to go see Harry Potter (yay!) yesterday with all my girlfriends from school. We have made it a tradition to go to all the Harry movies, starting with the very first one "way back when." We even stood in line for that first one, accompanied by the boy scouts from our school. They dressed up as Harry characters and looked so darn cute! Now, those little guys are all grown up! We enjoyed the movie tremendously and even went to dinner afterwards. It was good company, good memories. 
The Pigeon Wants Cover PDF

Don't Let the Pigeon Cover PDF




Monday, July 18, 2011

Giveaway!

First Grade Awesomeness has a cute shoe unit that she's giving away: It sounds marvelous, and just perfect for the beginning of the school year. Click on the link to go there and learn all about it!


First Grade Owls is having a giveaway! You can choose any item from Miss Will's TPT store and a Target gift card. Sounds great, doesn't it? Click on the link to go there!

My friend, Kelli, from Castles and Crayons is also celebrating with a giveaway! You can win her three items in her TPT store! They all look adorable! Click here to go there!




Castles and Crayons


Oceans of First Grade Fun is celebrating 1000 followers with a big giveaway! You can win a product of your choice from her tpt store - and you know how great her things are! Click on the link!

Back to School Author Study: Mo Willems

I'm slowly planning what my first month of school will look like. I'm a huge fan of Mo Williems but I've never done an author study on him: What better time of year than the beginning of the school year? I'm busy searching and rewriting his biography, finding cute little art projects, AND I found a font that "kinda" looked like Mo Williems used in his Pigeon books!

Using that font, called Alley Cat, I wrote two very simple books suitable for first graders at the beginning of the school year. I added no graphics, because I plan on teaching them how to draw the pigeon. Mo Williems has cute instructions on his website, which gave me the idea. (The whole website is adorable - I can't wait to take my new first graders there!)

I've attached the two books as one file to make it easier for you to download. One book has been created so that you can get two parts of a book per page. The other book is designed with only page, so the drawing space is bigger. I haven't decided what book I'll use or what format I'll choose yet. 


What things do you do when you do a Mo Williems author study? This is my first time doing him as an author of the month, so I'm designing the unit from "scratch".  I'd love ideas from all of you creative people out there! Jodi, at "Fun in First Grade" is having a Back to School Linky Party. Be sure to stop by and visit to get lots of great ideas.


Angry Birds

So. . .  my best friend (who happens to be retired and has all KINDS of time on her hands) told me about a game she plays on her cell phone called "Angry Birds." Google Chrome now has an online version of the game -and it's hysterical - and I officially hate her for telling me about it. I have not laughed this hard since FOREVER and I just know it's going to be a terrific, huge, amazing addiction waste of time ever! I'm sorry this blog entry is so short but I have to go do school stuff play Angry Birds! I will be back soon with a new printable!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Did You Know You Can Fill Up the Windows Recycle Bin?

I didn’t! However, I did it twice this week when I organized my hard drive to prepare for a new school year. (In fact, she (my computer) even had a little ATTITUDE about the whole thing. One time, she (it, whatever…) even said, “This file is too big to be recycled! It will be PERMANENTLY deleted! Click “Ok”. Well, EXCUSE me! I’m just trying to help here… the computer was seriously slowing down…but FINE, have an attitude.)

My hard drive has been defragged and organized – and I may never be able to find a file ever again. No, seriously, hopefully, this will make it EASIER to find files, instead of saying to myself, “I THINK it was called “Long I sorting” … or maybe “sorting for long i…” Now, everything vowel related is in a file called, “Vowels”, with sub folders labels “short vowels” and “long vowels.”

I discovered that I had thousands (and thousands!) of documents – mostly all related to school. I KNEW I had downloaded and created a lot of documents but who’d have guessed there was this many? I’ll bet you all have a lot of files, too. Have you kept your files organized all along or are you like me, and decided to “think about it later!”? 

For me, later was now – and it’s surprising how much faster the computer runs! Hey, I can download and create files faster now! J



Friday, July 15, 2011

Ladybug Teacher Files Giveaway


Kristen, at Ladybug's Teacher Files is celebrating over 1000 (gasp!) followers! Isn't that awesome? She is celebrating in a big way, with four winners. The first name drawn will win a new Mix and Match Template; the next three names will win a premade template. It's exciting news for Kristen, so be sure to check her two blogs out.

A Few More Graphs

I guess I have graphing on my mind lately but here are a few more daily graphs, suitable for first graders. I hope you'll find them helpful! What other daily graphs are you interested in? Let me know and I'll see if I can create them for you. :)

Daily Graphing for Blog5 PDF

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Back to School Postcards

A new blog, "First Grade Frame of Mind", is asking for some help. She is a new teacher to first grade and is wondering what to write on her Back to School postcard to children. She's started a linky party to get some ideas.

I'm in a unique position at my school. I literally don't get my class list until the day before school begins, so I don't send out postcards to my new students' homes. Instead, I write a personal note and put it on their desks so that it's there when they come into the classroom on the first day of school.

In addition, a letter goes home to my parents, that details my classroom management policy, helpful hints, and classroom supplies that are needed and appreciated. The letter also explains sharing and birthday celebrations. There is also a questionnaire for parents to fill out about their child. It's a rather long letter, but since we don't have Back to School Night for a week or two after school begins, I feel better that my families know this information.

This year, I'm starting with a "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" theme, so the attached postcard is on that theme. I created it in Word and I'm leaving it in that format so you can edit it if you need to. The rest of the document also includes a sample note that I write to each child. I try to make each note just a little different: It doesn't take a lot of time, but I know the kids appreciate the extra touch.

What things do you do to help your new class feel excited about starting the  year with you? I'd be interested in your ideas!

Chicka Postcard


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Data Back Up Linky Party

Laura, at Kinder Kraziness, is hosting her first linky party about data. I use an external hard drive by Western Digital called a Passport. When I bought it a year or so ago, it was 350 GB, which I thought was a HUGE size and that there was no way I would fill it up. And then. . . I started blog stalking! I also started buying and downloading graphics at a startling rate - so maybe 350 GB isn't unrealistic after all! LOL!

I back up my hard drives onto my Passport every couple of weeks or so. I use Outlook and have placed a reminder in the Calendar to remind myself to back up; It's so easy to forget, you know? The Passport isn't the fastest backup out there but it's reliable, so that's all that matters. I can continue to work while it's backing up, too.

Back to School Poetry and Anchor Charts

Tonight I have for you my back to school poems and a couple of number charts that I post in my classroom during the school year. I'm fortunate because our District Office has a reprographics department that can print posters so, as we speak, these poems are being "blown up."  During the school year, the children and I read the poems and  big books during Shared Reading. We search for various grammar or phonetic items throughout the school year, the focus changing as we develop our skills. The first couple weeks of the school year, I'll focus on beginning sounds, punctuation, and capitalization.

The number charts are part of my math bulletin board that stays up all year long: I add my vocabulary words to them as they're introduced in the lessons. However, these two charts stay up all year long, as well as numbers to 30 across the room.

I hope you enjoy these poems! My favorite is the first one by Groucho Marx:

Outside of a dog,
A book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog,
It's too dark to read!

It tickles my funny bone and that of the first graders. It's a fun poem to start the school year and then, I post it on the door as a memory of the first day of school. It stays up all year long. The rest of the poems end up on a ring chart for the children to reread - but it's this first poem that they ALL read.

Enjoy your evening!


August Classroom Poems PDF

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shop Here, Not There

I went to Staples yesterday. They had a bunch of school supplies advertised on sale, and I (and about 50 of my "closest friends" - teachers) went there bright and early to scoop up supplies for our classrooms. When I got there, I discovered that many of the items that they'd advertised had severe restrictions: You could only buy 2 at the advertised price, whether you were a teacher or not.  Well, frankly, what is 2 going to matter, when I need 30? For example, the plastic folders were on sale for 25 cents for the first two and then $1.00 for every other one after that. YIKES! I subsidize my classroom enough, thank you very much - we all do - and I just can't spend thirty dollars on folders. I - and every teacher there - was just a little bit ANNOYED.

They told us all that we could have 24 PAPER folders for 25 cents a piece but have you ever seen what a first grader will do to a paper folder? I'd need triple the amount so I could replace them every couple of months or so! It seemed like a classic Bait and Switch Tactic to me!

I'm crossing my fingers that Office Depot will offer them soon.  I have noticed that Staples has become less and less teacher friendly. I, for one, will direct my money to companies that SUPPORT teachers, which Office Depot certainly does.

I went searching to find out who owns Staples, so I could fire off a letter expressing my disapproval. I was surprised to find out who the major shareholder was. It took a bit of searching to find, unlike Office Depot, who very clearly lists their owners. Why don't you give it a try? I think YOU'LL be surprised too.

I work very hard and have no intention of supporting corporations who do not support me and my chosen profession. Thanks for letting me vent tonight.




Monday, July 11, 2011

Plus and Minus Posters Freebie

Last  year, I taught a first grade-second grade combination class and had two math bulletin boards, one for each grade. I created these posters to put on the first grade math bulletin board to help my first graders remember "key words" that signaled whether it was addition or subtraction. The kids constantly referred to them and would get "twelve kinds of excited" when one of those words would show up! I hope you'll find these helpful. The graphics are from DJ Doodlers.
Plus Minus Posters PDF

Giveaway!

Oh my goodness! The Lesson Plan Diva is having an AMAZING giveaway right now to celebrate 500 followers. She has several freebies to download, and you can win an Amazon gift card as well! Hurry over to her blog by clicking here:


Tales of a Teacherista is having a giveaway to celebrate her third anniversary. You can enter by clicking on this link: http://teacheristatales.blogspot.com/2011/07/tpt-giveaway-3-winners.html?showComment=1310480962137#c6218188032298494848


Hi all! Little Literacy Learners is having an amazing giveaway to celebrate 500 followers. You can win a year's membership to the Graphics Factory AND her unit on individual sounds. It sounds fabulous! Click on the picture below to go there!




Little Literacy Learners

Sunday, July 10, 2011

More Graphing Freebies - I'm on a Roll!

Hi, everyone! I hope you're having a marvelous weekend. It's hot here in Southern California, so I'm blogging and creating more free activities for you! I hope you'll continue to find these useful: As always, if you have other graphs that you're interested in having me create, let me know and I'll do my best. Enjoy!

Daily Graphing for Blog3 PDF

Friday, July 8, 2011

What? I'm Only Third On Your List?!?

If you've read my last entry, you'll remember that one of the Ten Things About Me was that I loved (X3) my husband and that he blog stalks my blog every day at work.

So, he came home from work this evening and the first thing out of his mouth was, "What? I'm only third on your list?"

HA!

I laughed so hard I cried! And then I had to tell him that the entries were in "no particular order." Don't you just love it?


First Day of School Book

As I've been reading the various blogs that I stalk, I've noticed that some of you are already going back to school. Here's a book that hopefully you can use. I created this book for the first day of school, but it certainly could be used any time during the first month.  The idea was one I found on the internet but it didn't come with the actual book so I created it. The children always love it and I hope you do, too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

10 Things About Me Linky Party

Mrs. Owens is hosting a "10 Things About Me" Linky Party and I thought I join in.

10 Things About Me

10. I am a quilter: I love fabric and design and quilting appeals to the artist in me. My best friend and I are both quilters and it's great fun to bounce ideas off each other - and fabric shop!

9. I love to read: I read many different genres, but especially love fiction and mysteries!

8. I'm a huge NASCAR fan! I have a group of "my guys" that I follow and root to win! (They haven't been doing great this year. . . they all need to get it in gear!)

7. I love to garden! I have a small garden in the back yard, filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, herbs, and onions. There's nothing like a homegrown tomato, you know?

6. I love blog stalking and blogging! It has become an obsession! I just love them all and my Google Reader must have 150 different blogs that I follow - and every day, I add another to the list!

5. I love my Camaro! It's one year old and the best midlife crisis I've ever had! It IS a traffic ticket in the making, though, so I have to be careful of how fast I go! (The first piece of equipment I learned how to use (after the radio, OF COURSE!) was the cruise control - that little button gets used EVERYWHERE, believe me! :)

4. My husband and I walk - a lot - around our neighborhood. It's not unusual for us to walk 5 miles a day. (It sounds exhausting but we've lost enough weight equal to almost a whole person between us, so I guess the results can't be beat!)

3. I love, love, love my husband of 31 years. (Isn't that the sappiest thing you've ever heard? My husband "stalks" my blog every day - I bet he's rolling his eyes right now! :) Love ya, honey!)

2. I love to teach! I'm proud to admit I'm a workaholic and think about teaching and my kids all the time. It honestly is the BEST job in the world - even in this current economic/social climate we're all enduring right now.

1. I am a perfectionist and a tiny bit (okay, a lot) stubborn.

This was a fun linky party!




More Daily Graphs

Here is another set of daily graphing activities for our first grade kiddos! I hope you'll find them helpful! Please let me know if you want others made; I'll be glad to give it a try!
Daily Graphing for Blog2 PDF


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jenn, at Finally in First, is sponsoring a Favorite Fonts party. I'm having quite the issue showing you my favorite fonts, but I finally (think) I've figured it out. I've certainly gotten to know a lot of new fonts, so this has been a fun party to "attend". Thanks, Jenn!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quilting in the Classroom

I love to make quilts with my class! I try to make one every year on a different theme. It's lots of fun and the children just love it, too! I started this with my best friend: She taught with me in a different grade level and we decided to do "Study Buddy" activities throughout the year. The annual quilt was one of those activities. When she retired, I just kept making them! Here are some of the quilts I've made with my classes.

This was the first one we did: We nicknamed it the "ugly quilt" because we'd asked parents for donation and I swear, the fabric they sent in was some of the ugliest fabric we'd ever seen: But it made the cutest quilt! We started off with simple applique patterns. Eventually, as you'll see, the process changed. 

This quilt was the one we made after 9/11. Every child was given a small square of their own at the end of the school year. . . so we'd never forget.


We made a picnic quilt another year. Of course, when it was done, we had to go have a picnic. We walked to one of the parent's houses and ate sandwiches, watermelon, chocolate cake, and lemonade! We all had such a good time!

I personally sewed every one of these little books (enough for 55 children, two classes) so they could create their own book about their favorite book. Both classes anguished over what book they should choose to write about and spotlight - by the end, I was happy to see those little books finished! But it sure turned out cute, didn't it?

Then, one year, I taught a combination class, with high first graders and high second graders: The principal decided that it should run like a GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) class, with accelerated curriculum. It was great fun, and very challenging! I had the children design their own bug to put in the jar and they selected their own fabrics from a choice that we offered. We applied for (and got!) a grant that year to purchase the fabric and materials. This was the turning point: From then on, each year, the children designed their own pattern on a specific theme. 

 We did two garden themed quilts in a row, one each year: One was a flower garden, with the children creating their own flowers; the other was a vegetable garden. Our school has a Master Garden program so we thought this would be really appropriate.


The last quilt I have to share with you today is the zoo quilt! The children chose their own animal, drew it, and selected their own fabrics: Some of them even use different fabrics to make their stripes and spots. Really cute!

I'm missing some pictures of the other quilts we've done: I'll try to find them and share them with you!  I hope you enjoyed seeing them today! Leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!