Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made it- Custom Sign and Back to School Higher Order Thinking Activities

Linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for a Monday Made It!

My first Monday Made It was something I made for a friend who got married this year. I traveled to Ohio for the wedding and was racking my head for a creative gift. The bride is a teacher and the groom is one my closest friends since preschool.  I could make a teacher sign for her new name! 

I texted John to find out her favorite colors and then pulled out my canvas and crafted her a pretty sign. 

You can make your own!  If you don't quite feel like it and want one for yourself or a gift you can order one from me through my store!
My second Monday Made It is a product (and freebie!) I made for Back to School. These are Higher Order Thinking Activities designed to help you build your classroom community!

To see if this Activity Set is something you're interested in, download the freebie sample
What kinds of things have you made for yourself/classroom? 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Travel...Ish Book Link Up with Ramona Recommends

Well, I should probably be sleeping but I realized: I HAVEN'T LINKED UP WITH #TRAVELWITHRAMONARECOMMENDS YET!

Then, my mind started cranking and well, here I am. Maybe I'm still on Vegas time. Or maybe I'm nuts. It's really hard to say at this point.

At any rate, I'm pumped to link up with Courtney from Ramona Recommends because first of all, she's a sweetheart and second of all, I love children's literature. Courtney (and all the link-up bloggers) blog every Tuesday about books bought/given while traveling. FABULOUS!

I've been wanting to do a blog post on this special book and this seemed like the perfect time...ish. See, I didn't exactly get this book while traveling. It was given to me while student teaching in Ohio (eight years ago which means I'm getting old).

Since I live in Florida now I feel like it technically counts. (Plus, Courtney gave a green light).

I went to Ohio State for graduate school and during my student teaching my mentor teacher was the amazing Mrs. M. She was an incredible mentor and educator: full of vigor, incredibly intelligent, inspiring, and I somehow slightly adopted her Welsh accent by the end of the semester. Her lessons oozed with her energy and I can't imagine that any of my colleagues had a better mentor. Plus, she was kind of odd-like me (in a splendid way- who wants to be normal?).  

After a lesson, Mrs. M would kindly conference with me about how the day went, how my classroom managements was, etc. Not fully confident, I often replied with how I thought it went: "well...ish." When she would ask how the kids were, I would reply they were "good...ish." When asked how I thought I was doing I'd say "pretty good...ish." (Note: I grew in confidence as the year progressed and my dialogue did eventually get better).

After my student teaching came to a close, Mrs. M gave me a slew of books and I was thrilled because, well, I had none! Most of them were fairytale books because when I started we worked together on large Fairytale Unit of Study.
But also included in my pile was this book: 

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds (I wonder why it reminder her of me?)

"But! Bridget, what does this have to do with higher order thinking? Your blog is about higher order thinking activities!" you shout at the computer, shaking your fists.

Excellent question! This book is an amazing resource for getting kids who are uncomfortable taking risks to learn that it is okay to not be perfect. In the gifted classroom and in any classroom you come across students who fear to make art, to be creative, make a project, or even raise their hands because they can't get it "right." Perfectionism is a hindrance and a strength for many students. Acknowledging that fact, and beginning the conversation of support is so huge!. This book is a great resource to start that conversation. It's okay not to be perfect. In fact, perfect is boring! Let's all be a little weird! 

I've overheard my students referencing the book during projects. "It's okay if it doesn't look exactly like a spider. It's spider-ish and I think it's great!" (Yes, this is a real life quote. I double checked my "Student Quotes" notebook to verify).

I read this book at the beginning of the year every year and I believe it's so important for setting up my classroom community. It sets of tone of respect and reverence to sharing ideas and learning. Get it. Amazon it, start a Craigslist ad, whatever you have to do. It's also on Tumblebooks if your district has access to it. I wish I had a great product to promote that goes with it, however I do not. Maybe I'll add that to my TO DO list. 

Fun Fact: While we're talking about my student teaching...did you know I wrote a little diddy while student teaching called The Worm Parade? I later turned it into a book and was rejected by a plethora of fabulous publishers. (Yes, I still have my rejection letters). Anyhow, I eventually self published it on, and I looked to see if it was still there and voila: there it was! Please DO NOT buy this book. It is way overpriced! Thinking of revamping it into a TPT item somehow. Another thing for my precious TO DO list.

I did just add a huge Fairytale Clip Art Set to my TPT Store, if you're into that sort of thing.:)
But most importantly, what should I name my flying pig in the picture? Start thinking, because this will be a contest IN THE FUTURE 
(I put my words this way as a nod to my brother, standup comedian Mike Hilinski- he often leaves shows saying he will see everyone IN THE FUTURE echo echo echo. Anyhow I get a kick out of it, I hope you do too!)

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Made It: Swirly Apple Necklaces

I've given a few Swirly Apple Necklaces away in giveaways and I thought I'd share how I make them!

First, I gather my supplies: Sculpey Clay, Green Wire, an exacto knife, and a chain (all from Michael's) 

Next, take some clay from a dark and a light color. Take a chunk of clay in two colors (one light and one dark). The chunk should be about the size from your top of your thumb to the first knuckle. 

 Start working with the clay and flatten it into rectangles. Use your exacto knife to make straight edges.

Lay the two rectangles on top of each other. Roll them hot dog style until you get a long roll of clay like this:  

Set those aside. Take a ball of clay and roll into a ball like a bouncy ball.

Next, carefully slice the swirly rolls into small slivers. 
Once you have enough to cover your "bouncy ball" start carefully placing them on the ball.

Now, roll the ball in your hands until there are no bumps. Don't over-roll because it will smear the colors too much! 
  Now, form it into your apple shape! 

Now you're ready to add the stem!
I used this strong bendable artistic wire. Cutting off a couple inches and sticking the stem and the pendant holder into the clay.
Follow the baking directions on the Sculpey package(or whatever clay you use). They will burn if you overbake!


After they are baked, I paint on a thin layer of glaze to protect it, string on a chain and Voila!

Don't feel like making one? $10 in my Etsy Shop!

 Don't feel like making one, but still want one? Right now, they are only $10 in my Etsy Shop!

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TPT Conference- New Friends & Exciting Things to Come!

 Linking up with A Burst of First to share my Las Vegas Experience! 

Before the trip I stopped by Barnes and Nobles and picked up #Girlboss which I highly recommend! Its the story of sassy Sophia Amoruso and how she turned a tiny ebay store into a $100 million business with 350 employees.

All packed up I was ready to go!

I had an incredible time at the TeacherspayTeachers Conference in Las Vegas this past week. I met so many wonderful people. I was super nervous because I was attending the conference by myself and when I got there it seemed like everyone already knew each other!

It didn't take long to meet some friends. :) I first met the sweet Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher! I recognized her right away! She was really friendly and I met some other friendly faces, so it eased my nerves!

It all took place at the Venetian in Las Vegas where we first heard from Deanna Jump, Amy from TPT, and Paul the TPT founder. It was so moving and inspiring. Deanna was adorable in sharing her story. I even got to meet Paul!

Shopping at the Forum Shoppes  I found this tee at H & M
and it totally reminded me of my lunch with Nicole Shelby and Joey Udovich. They were so sweet to let me join them for lunch! I had a great time chatting with them and our lunch was delicious! (Doesn't it look like I'm holding an orb in the photo? Weird!)

Other highlights from the conference were meeting Rachel Lynette, and Lindsay Perro from Beyond the Worksheet. I'm still glowing from the whole experience. :)

On Saturday I enjoyed spending time exploring Vegas with Ashley Schroeder from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Courtney from Ramona Recommends. We went on a little adventure looking for a book for "Travel with Ramona Recommends" and we had a tricky time finding a Vegas book! Read more about the wild goose chase this Tuesday on Ramona Recommends blog!

Stopped by the fabulous Paris Hotel"for a cappuccino on a break from book hunting!

I left Vegas with a bunch of new friends and some great ideas! Look forward to starting a new blog link up that my followers will enjoy! It's called "Giveaway Groupies" and it will start this Saturday! It will include giveaways and tips around a seasonal theme! Check back and look for this image:

P.S. In Vegas, checking out the Bellagio Conservatory is a must! (Thank you Aunt Ellen for the suggestion!)

Bye Vegas! See you next time!

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