Friday, August 31, 2012

Classroom Recycling Center - Green Theme Day 6

Whether it's a standard or not, educating children about the why and how-to of recycling is SOOOO important... in my small, little, humble opinion.

You don't have to waste your money on recycling bins like I did. Just use copying paper bins and make it a class project to decorate them.

Some items to consider recycling in your classroom:

1) Glue sticks (I know Walmart will take them, but you may know of a place that will take them and pay you for them.)
2) Water bottles (Although I encourage kids to bring reusable ones, if they don't, they can feel good about recycling. We applauded two students the other day who recycled their water bottles.)
3) Crayons! Yes, I had no idea until my school's awesome Green Team leader Jennifer Hood (who will soon be posting here with me, yay!) shared this Crazy Crayon website with me that will take in mailed-in bits of crayons.
4) Paper. Check into your county's recycling center to see what kind of paper they will take. In my classroom, if a white sheet of paper has been used on both sides, they will put it in the large green bin you see in the picture. If it's only been used on one side, I have a tray where they will place it, so we can later use it to make books, write letters in Spanish, etc.
5) Obviously aluminum cans although I don't think we have too much of that in schools now.
6) I have recently come across the site TerraCycle  that looks pretty amazing and allows you to recycle items such as chip bags, sharpies, pens, etc. I definitely want to check more into this.

Anything else? Please let me know what I'm missing! A lot depends on your county.

If you'd like the two little circle posters above the recycling bin in Spanish or English, click on the image below.


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recycled Free Time Display - Green Theme Day 5

During summer cleaning, I came across this awesome business card holder/display that my husband was about to throw out. He really didn't want me to keep it because he didn't think I would do anything with it, but looky-here, I turned it into one of those fun, popsicle-stick free time displays!

I HATE wasting time, probably to a fault. I know all of us teachers are that way, and it's so hard to see students who are content to just sit and do nothing when they finish an assignment. Uuuugh! Do they not realize that when the blink their eyes they will be almost thirty-one!! Obviously not.

So anyways, I created a little phrase poster in Spanish. It basically says - "Take advantage of every moment of your life...That moment you just saw pass is not going to return." ¡La verdad que sí!

The wonky flower I made out of a plastic bottle and molded with a heat gun. I added Avery labels with task ideas to the sticks and brushed with Mod Podge.

To get the poster in two different designs in English or Spanish, click the image below.

Here's to making the most of every moment in our classroom!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Upcycled Candle Holder for Grouping - Green Theme Day 3

I wish I had taken a before picture to show you the fun transformation that this candle holder went through! This is probably my favorite piece of "greenery" in my classroom.

I found it at Goodwill and it occurred to me that with magnets, some kind of classroom cool could be created out of this.

What I Did:
1) Washed it
2) Primed it
3) Airbrushed it green (took a million coats!)
4) Created circles on the computer (with the right measurements), and printed them out on whole sheet sticker paper
5) Cut out circles and attached them and added Mod Podge and some enamel spray
6) Bought circle magnets and attached Avery circle labels #5408. They were a little big, so I had to press the overage around the sides of the magnet.
7) Mod Podged and enamel-sprayed the magnets
8) Made circle labels 1-12 using Avery labels #5410, maybe??
9) Attached the stickers to green bottle caps.
10) Cut squares out of adhesive magnet strips and hot-glued them to the bottoms of the green lids

How It Works:
* I have two classes - Homeroom Greenleaf and Homeroom Carro. Each child is labeled by the first letter of their homeroom teacher's name (C or G), and they also have a number. In the circles, you can see I split each circle in half and color-coded the two groups of students to remove confusion.
* I placed 10 hanging numbers around the classroom to mark the spots of ten different centers
 (Just a side note, the twirled plastic cables I actually made out of thin soda bottle strips that are curled with a heating gun. It is therapy making those!)
* Every day, if students finish their work early, they will go to a specific center. They will use the candle holder grouper to know where to go.
* The center they go to will change every day. This is easily done by the magnetized green bottle caps above. I already have a student who rotates the numbers at the end of the day for me.

So we shall see! We've tried it once so far. My centers are SmartBoard, iPad, computer, Qr code worksheets, and various math games. Students are given specific activities to do on the SmartBoard, iPad, and computer that correspond with what we're learning at the moment.

So, always think twice before you throw away or donate something. It could be a really unique learning tool in your classroom. And who knows what you might find at your local thrift store. Just carry your hand sanitizer and an open mind, and you'll probably find something too cool for school!

If Al Gore an Charlie Sheen spoke at the same time, it would probably sound like this - GREENING! :P

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bottle Cap Word Wall Labels - Green Theme Day 3

My husband and I drink a ton of Tropicana and they each come with such neat, little orange caps. So, I took these along with other caps and lids to create labels for my Word Wall.

I'm sure there's a much better way to do this, but what I did was: 1) cut popsicle sticks to match the size of the diameter of each cap, 2) hot-glue each end of the stick to the rim of the cap, and 3) hot-glue circle magnets to the center of each stick.

I tried those adhesive magnetic strips and that was an epic fail, so I resorted to the more costly circle magnets (Hobby Lobby has a very strong brand of magnets that are 6.99 for 50 and they always have a 40% off coupon). Walmart also sells some for $6 that are a little weaker, but I think would still do the job. Amazon also carries some for about the same price as Hobby Lobby, I believe.

I made the letter circles on the computer and printed them out on full sheet sticker paper. I did not use Avery, so I had to hand cut each circle. Then, I added a coating of Mod Podge, so hopefully they'll last for more than this year.

If you'd like the alphabet stickers, you can download them for free here at TpT.

Bottle caps and lids are AWESOME!! Use them everywhere you can - as counters, bingo markers, manipulatives, etc. 

I also used them for our lunch count.
The students have been creatively placing their bottle caps around their lid choice in a circular fashion like flowers. So cute!

And here's my partner teacher's owl lunch display for some extra adorableness!

I also used bottle caps on my magnetic objectives board.

I'm just making sure, but have you heard about my free bottle cap math games? If not, just click one of the links below and start saving your caps!

Math Facts Bottle Cap Game
 In my math facts bottle cap game, students will time each other and write their times here. Did you notice? More bottlecaps!

Keep it GREEN my friends!

Recycled Cookie Sheet for Groups - Green Theme Day 2

So here it is, my upcycled cookie sheet. :) I had seen how you could use cookie sheets in the classroom on Pinterest since they're great with magnets, so I was super happy when I got my hands on an old one at Goodwill the other day.

What I Did:
1) Washed it of course
2) Primed it white
3) Added masking taped strips evenly
4) Painted the lines without tape with acrylic green and let dry
5) Removed the tape and airbrushed the rest a light mint green color
6) Designed four large circles on the computer using JW Illustrations HippieChic Papers (I made sure to take measurements. My circles are split through the middle because I teach two classes - my homeroom (Carro) and my partner teacher's homeroom (Greenleaf). Hence all the Cs and Gs.
7) I also created numbers 1 through 4 for my four different science groups. I pasted them onto the board and then added Mod Podge - BIG MISTAKE! I still keep trying to use Mod Podge on copying paper. It always wrinkles it. I need to remember to use card stock.
8) Made Avery labels for each student's number and stuck them to thin water bottle caps.
9) Attached magnets to the opposite sides and now I've got changeable grouping!

I do science groups, so I'll be using this for that. I attached the cookie sheet to one of my metal doors using strong circle magnets.

 Stay tuned. More green theme stuff to come!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Recycled Door Signs - Green Theme Day 1

I have been so preoccupied with getting my classroom ready, that I have totally abandoned my blogs (my apologies!). But I do want to share some things I have done, so this week, I am going to try my best to share one post every day about how I have tried to be more green in my classroom.

Today's post is all about door signs! There are so many items out there than can be reused without having to give Hobby Lobby a third of your paycheck!

 This one I made for my partner teacher. She is so awesome and such a help that I have to do what I can to make up the difference. Here's what I used: a dish from Goodwill (primed and painted), bottle caps (painted white), plastic packaging, bubble wrap foam packaging, used buttons, straws (the eyebrows), twisted soda bottle strips (molded with a heat gun), and soda bottle leaves (cut out and heat gun molded).
 I also made her a large sign for the outside wall of our portable. First, I painted corrugated plastic (not recycled), printed out and laminated her name, attached and covered everything with outdoor Mod Podge. Then, for the recycling, the flowers are all an assortment of different soda bottle ends, cut and molded with a heat gun. I used bottle caps and buttons as centers. I used a combination of acrylic paint that was painted by hand and also airbrushed. The small flowers are actually bottle caps I cut open with heavy duty scissors. Everything was coated several times with a clear enamel spray. So far, so good!

 Here's mine.

 And here's my door sign. It contains used buttons, bottle caps, soda bottle, and a used dish from Goodwill that was primed and painted.

Here's a sign I made for my mom as she enters the classroom again after surviving cancer. Includes: soda bottles, candy wrapper, a pan from Goodwill, and hole punched circles from some old business cards.

So, here's a look at the outside of my green-themed classroom. Hope you'll stay tuned to see the inside this week!

Keep it green!
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