Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Activity for Middle School Math

Hi everyone!

I don't normally have time to post during the week, so this is just a quick post to let you know of my newest product in my store for Halloween! It is a set of comparing and ordering rational numbers cards that you can use in so many ways!

Some options are:

  1. print out several sets and have students play war
  2. print out one set and give each student 1-2 cards. Group them with others to put in order from least to greatest or greatest to least. 
  3. have the students line up in the hall silently from least to greatest while holding a card in front of them
  4. have students draw cards at random and add the values
And those are just to name a few! Click the image below to view the product on TPT!

Rational Roundup - Halloween Activity

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Made It: Scratch Off Tickets

I finally had a productive weekend! I've had these two things on my to do list for over a month and I finally had time! I partially owe it to my new cleaning lady we just hired. I am so blessed to have some extra money every other week from tutoring that I can have someone clean my house while I am at work. Now I can actually spend time at home with my husband and puppy dog and not spend the weekend cleaning! Yahoo!

So, I have made these for a while, but have always forgotten to take pictures to show to all of you. These are super easy to make and are a HUGE hit with middle schoolers. They are scratch offs as reward coupons! The catch is that not everyone is a winner...just like real scratch offs! Now, only about 20% of the ones that I make sent winners, whereas in real life, it's way more than that. I'm trying to teach them about the real world. Baby steps. 

Anywho, start with a pre-printed card with any reward that would be appropriate for your class. I used bonus points on a test, quiz, homework, and then there are those that say "sorry, not a winner!" At least I say sorry, right? 

Ok, I'm getting off track. Print these on card stock. I can get 15 to a page. I usually do about 15 sheets at a time because that's about as much counter space I have at one given time. You'll see what I mean in a minute. After you cut them, you want to cut a piece of contact paper and place it over the typed reward that you want to hide under the scratch off part. 

See the contact paper? Not a huge amount. Just enough to cover. Then lay them all out. I use my entire island in my kitchen plus another small area. 

Now it's time to make the "scratch off part"

It's very scientific, so make sure you follow directions--1 part dawn dish soap (must be the original blue!) and 2 parts metallic silver acrylic paint. I want to try gold next. I wonder if that would work! You know me, always living on the edge. Okay, mix up the soap and paint and start layering it on the contact paper!

You may need two coats. Do one coat on all of them and then go back over to touch up. 

Let dry for a few hours. I usually do this at night and let it dry overnight. Then test it out!

It works! Huzzah! Now I just need to think about what else I can make into a scratch off...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Posters in my TPT Store!

Well, I realized that I had not actually posted a new product on TPT in a LOOOONG time. So, I remembered the Essential Questions Posters that I have been making for my class and posted the four that I have done so far. If you have purchased my whole store, they are already added to the dropbox account!

Here is a preview:

I also have them for Rational Numbers, Pythagorean Theorem, and Solving Equations. They are for sale for $1 a piece! What a deal :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Sweet Notes Sent Home!

I have wanted to link up for this FOREVER...but on the weekends I am so drained from the whole week of teaching, I can't think of anything that I do that is motivating! PLUS, I am beyond exhausted so I just want to sleep/watch TV/do nothing, etc. I don't know what has gotten into me today, but I was up early and getting things crossed off my to-do list! I am even going to set up as many blog posts as I can for this week. I literally miss blogging. 

ANYHOW--I am for sure not the first person to do this for my students nor am I the first to blog about this, in fact, this is the second time I have blogged about sending sweet notes home. You can read the other post here.

At my school, we are required to call/email home with 3 positive things each week. I have 180 students, so 3 calls/emails a week is easy! I decided that instead of an email, I would send a postcard. This is what they look like:

I decided that since I have 6 classes, I would send home 6 a week, one from each class. I know the easy thing to do would be to send them to the "better behaved" students, but I started with the students who are acting out or who never really had a positive bond with a teacher in middle school. So many of my students are really sweet kids when you sit down and get to know them. The first week of school, I was terrified that if some of them were this badly behaved the first week of school, what would my life be like in April? Or better yet, June?! 

Let me tell you something--the kids who have received a post card with just a simple message like "Johnny had a great week in math!" or "I am so excited that Sarah is in my class this year" have done a complete 180 and are now some of my top students! Everyone is competing to get a postcard...and I teach 8th graders! These are the 13-14 year olds whose hormones are so out of whack you never know what kind of students are going to walk into your room on any given day. I know. I am still shocked. BUT, I am knocking on all kinds of wood so that I can keep the positive energy in my classes going. Some days I just sit back and think to myself, "I can't believe that they actually learned something today!"

I wish I had started using these earlier!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Currently October

It has been stressing me out all week that I haven't put up my currently post for October! Not even sure if the linky is still available...but I am putting mine up all the same! I MISS blogging during the week...but I just don't have enough time right now. So, without further ado...I am "linking" up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade for her monthly link-up!

I am listening to The Voice...LOVE THIS SHOW! In fact, one of my friends from elementary school made it on to TEAM BLAKE last week and I am so excited to see how she does. Her audition was I hope she goes far!

I am LOVING this cooler weather. I live in cooler weather is anything below 90 degrees...walking the dog this morning was so nice this morning. It was 52 degrees! Talk about a cold front...fantastic! Now, if it would just be fall permanently...

I am thinking I need to take something off my plate. I am getting to school by 7 AM each day (school starts at 9) and leaving between 5 and 6 each night...that is just crazy. I am still bringing stuff home to do. And working almost all weekend. AND, I am not even doing 1/2 of what I was doing last year! I was head of social committee, coached the dance team, and helped with curriculum, had three preps, among many other things. Now, I am just teaching (one prep), and can't seem to get it all done. What happened?? Maybe things will all slow down soon.

This past weekend was my 10 year high school reunion. Time FLIES...After having a big hand in the planning process, I am so glad that it is over, but I am sad that it went by so fast! It was so good to see so many people that I have only seen on FB for the past 10 years. It's funny how you recognize the spouses from pictures and you've never actually met them before. So, after this weekend, I just needed one more day off...

Funny side note/story: In my economics class my senior year, we had a budget project and I was "married". Instead of just doing the project as the directions stated, we went a little out of the box. He "proposed" in the cafeteria with an aluminum foil ring, we went on dates, planned a wedding, apartment hunted, got jobs, went grocery shopping, etc. AND documented the whole journey in photos to turn into a scrapbook and turn in for our grade. It was SO much fun. We for sure got an A...and we referred to each other as husband and wife for the rest of the year even thought we were dating other people. Fast forward 10 years to this past Saturday night. He walks in, I am working the registration table, and he turns to his wife and says "Hey, my 1st wife!" I just about died. How cool that he remembered!? Now, just to find that "wedding" album...

Back to this :) I need a vacation. Good thing I have one planned. A great one actually. The hubs (current one, not high school...just to keep all my stories straight!) and I are going on a Thanksgiving cruise. I am ecstatic, except I think my momma is a little bummed that we won't be here for Thanksgiving...she'll get over it :) We are also talking to some friends of ours to see about planning a winter break hill country getaway. We LOVE going out to the hill country a few times a year. I love going in the summer...but bad things happened in August. Remember the sunburn from you know where? Good thing when you go in the winter, there are different activities. Like wine tasting. And shopping :)

Lastly, I HEART using edmodo in my classes. If you aren't using! go to and see all it has to offer. This is my 3rd year using it with kids and it is WONDERFUL!

Hope everyone has a great week :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rational Number Line Activity

Why am I so tired? Unlike most of you, I didn't have to work on Friday, so I should be completely well-rested! But, for some reason, I am exhausted. I bet you are wondering why we didn't have school on Friday. Well, in the great state of Texas, we LOVE our county and state fairs, and Friday was Fair Day. We haven't had Fair Day off since my first year of teaching, but we got a new superintendent this year and reinstating that was one of his first orders of business. I like this guy already!

I spent Friday organizing some things for my high school reunion which is NEXT weekend...can't believe it! 10 years has FLOWN by.

Anyhow, on to more important things: my activity from Thursday. When I taught 6th grade, I had cards with random positive rational numbers on them that the kids had to line up from least to greatest without talking. It was great fun, and they were mostly compliant. The different classes would compete against each other and the next morning they would all rush in to see which class was the fastest. Like I said, this was 6th grade. In case you missed things, I now teach 8th grade and they are way too cool for an activity like that.

So, I created new cards that are positive and negative rationals and put magnets on the back. Each kid got a card (some kids got two if there were less than 30 kiddos in a class) and they were put in groups of 5-6 students. Their first task was to order those cards in order from least to greatest. They all competed to be the first group done--yes! They were engaged! They were excited! They actually thought they would win something! Just kidding...there was a small prize!

Then, when two groups were finished, I had them combine their cards to order all of them from least to greatest. Just when they thought they were done...

 They worked really hard on this and were so proud when they called me over to check their work. Then, I had them order them on the board. Remember those magnets? That's what they were for! They could easily move these as more cards were added.

 As they were finished, other kids would come up to correct mistakes. It was awesome to see them all help each other!

Just about this time, my building principal and assistant superintendent walks in. Let me set the the outside observer, it is absolute chaos in my room. Kids are everywhere. Yellow cards are everywhere. Some students are so competitive that they are paying more attention to the timer than to the actual task. BUT, everyone was participating, and was able to explain the task. I call that a win!

How was your week?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

4-touch SMARTboard activity

Y'all. Teaching is hard work. And what's even harder than that is creating engaging activities that my 8th graders won't find too elementary and will still learn. I am not a big fan of the worksheet. I am, however, a big fan of repurposing worksheet questions into an engaging activity. 

When I moved to my new campus, I saw there was this huge SMARTboard in the hallway (kind of in a common area). I thought it was weird and assumed that maybe teachers didn't have them in there rooms as I had last year at my old campus. Nope, I still get one in my room. What is fancy about this one is that four students can "write" on the board at one time! Now, we can illustrate multiple ways to solve problems, race each other in a review game and so much more!

I decided to reserve the board for our first test review this past Thursday. I created a simple smart notebook file that had the problem with a line down the middle if the screen to reserve space for each team to work the problem out. Because of the unit we were in, I decided to just have two teams. It worked great! 
The original rules were that the whole group worked out the problem before sending a representative up to work out the problem. They could bring notes or whatever they needed. However, as they made a mistake, teammates would come up to the screen to help and before I knew it, half the class was trying to answer the question. Of course, they were working and I certainly didn't want to stifle that. 

There were several times that I had to stop the game because they would get SO into it that there would be actual shrieking. Now, while this didn't bother me so much, we were surrounded by several other classrooms and had to control our noise or we wouldn't be allowed back!

Gotta love teamwork! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

I'm BAAAACK! & a freebie!

You know what has me stressed out lately? No, it's not the beginning of the year chaos...ok, maybe it is a bit. But, really, every day I constantly think about how long it has been since I have blogged. It has been FOREVER since I blogged and since I put a new product on TPT! Seriously, I have been in a rut! I bought so much stuff for my own classroom during the big sale, that I haven't had to make anything for myself! Until now...

I realized on Monday I will be teaching the real number system, and then comparing and ordering rational numbers the rest of the week. My kids (for the most part) know how to convert rationals, but not so much when the decimal is repeating. So, I typed a short step-by-step list of what to do. I tool Jennifer's idea from Teaching High School Math and put them on a label so that the kids would be able to just stick it in their INBs and we could spend more time practicing!

Want to see how I did it? Don't worry...they are NOTHING fancy...but are available for free from TPT!

Click here to download. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently September

Y' is September...and it is still super hot outside! So much for fall, right? I am linking up with the Fantastic Farley from Oh Boy, 4th Grade for her monthly CURRENTLY!

Listening: When I started typing this, I was watching America's Got Talent...but I got distracted, and now I am watching Love It or List It on HGTV. LOVE this show! It stresses me out every time because there is ALWAYS something that goes wrong...but it mostly has a happy ending...which I love. 

Loving: I am SO thrilled with my decision to move to a new school. Besides being closer to home, the people are great, I love my classroom (reveal coming this week!) and my students are awesome. It sure is nice only driving 7 minutes to get there! I just can't wait to get into a routine so that I don't need to be there at 7 AM. Our contract hours are roughly from 8-4, and I just can't bring myself to leave the house at 7:45! 

Thinking: I have been teaching for 7 years (this is my 8th) and I am blessed to have a student teacher this year! She starts on Wednesday and I am super pumped. Will post more on this after I meet her!

Wanting: This is a no-brainer and I bet every one of you out there reading this agrees with me! This weekend has been glorious...except for...

Needing: A NEW AC UNIT! We came home Friday after a week of work and just wanted to relax. It felt warm in the house, but our AC is essentially turned up during the day and cools down when we get home. We just attributed the warmth to the hot day it was outside. We went for dinner, and when we got home, it was 84 degrees! Our poor dog! After making a few phone calls, we set off to my parents house to stay for the night. Our dog, Banjo, was delighted! He loves going to grandma and grandpa's house and he's never been allowed to have a sleepover!

The next morning, we headed back to our house to meet the AC repairman. He told us that a few things needed to be replaced and then he would be on his way! Music to my ears because it was SO disgustingly hot outside and inside. I was watching the Aggie game when the power went out throughout the entire house! When he flipped the switch, the power tripped! GREAT. Low and behold, he was wrong, and we needed a new compressor. However, our house and unit is 10 years old and because it uses an older kind of freon, it didn't make sense to replace an expensive part. SO, we had to purchase a BRAND. NEW. UNIT. Who knew they cost so much?!? I did...but I thought we would have moved before having to deal with it! Because it is Labor Day weekend...the SOONEST it could be replaced was Tuesday. Awesome. So, we have been at my parents house all weekend long. Technically, we went out of town for the weekend since they live in the next town over :).

I can't wait to go home tomorrow after work! Luckily my hubby will be home to oversee the repair. I'll be in my air conditioned classroom :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Marshmallow Challenge - Day 2 Activity hat goes off to those of you who blogged regularly throughout your first week back to school. I literally was lucky to make it home without falling asleep at the wheel! Teaching procedures to 8th graders is SO much easier than teaching them to 6th graders. In fact, since I am new to the school, many of them were super helpful in telling me how things are done there and so on. The bell schedule is a little different than the one I was on last year, so I have new dismissal times to memorize. I would just ask my kids how much time is left and wouldn't you know...most of them ACTUALLY know how to read a clock!? Amazing.

I was so impressed with how my students behaved all week. These are some of the most polite kids I have ever taught. My classes are widely diverse, but the kids don't even acknowledge it, which is awesome. I am so privileged and blessed to have these kiddos to call my own.

After our first day of getting to know you activities (I actually saw all of my classes for about 30 minutes a piece that 1st day!), I knew we were ready for team building on day 2. I had already gone over my syllabus on the first day which I hadn't ever done before, but I felt like I could since I didn't have to give a school tour, etc. I am the one who needed the school tour! (True kids walked me down to the textbook room so that I could issue them textbooks!)

I know I have COMPLETELY rambled, so let me get right to it! I read about The Marshmallow Challenge earlier this summer and KNEW that I wanted to try it in my class! If you want to read more about The Marshmallow Challenge, click here.

I spent about $10 on supplies for 6 classes which equates to about $0.06 per student. I am so willing to spend that on any lesson that students are going to get something out of. Here is the basic challenge:

Students use the following materials:
20 pieces of spaghetti
1 yard of tape
1 yard of string
and 1 marshmallow
I also include scissors for easy cutting

The challenge is that students must create the tallest freestanding structure out of these materials with the marshmallow on top--in 18 minutes or less. It is super easy to do this, but the marshmallow is the key to keeping it upright. Many students build the structure as tall as they can and then put the marshmallow on top...and then watch it collapse before their eyes. We all think of marshmallows as light, airy, and fluffy, but in this challenge, they might as well weigh as much as a brick!

I did have several groups that were successful, but sometimes I was too excited that I forgot to take a picture! The tallest one was in 7th period and it was 22 inches. I did not let the students tape anything to the desks and that is what was harder as well. Here are some of the successful groups:

This was the first one done in 1st period, and they were so proud. They had started doing some large contraption that of course fell right over after putting the marshmallow on top. This must have been Plan B. Or Plan E. Either way, they were only 1 of 2 groups that were successful in that class!

This was the winner in 1st period at 18.75 inches. They said their inspiration was the Eiffel Tower!

I was so shocked that this one stayed up! This one was the 3rd period winner.

This was the winner in 7th period and overall! 22 inches...super proud of these boys!

I can't wait to see what else I can throw at these kids to do this year. They are all begging me to do this again so that they can fix their mistakes--I promised that we would do it in the spring to see how much they had improved!

The best part was the recap at the end of the challenge where we discussed that most everything in life has a "marshmallow aspect" to it where it kind of throws a wrench in the plans and how we can overcome it in math. Did I mention I love my kids?!?

If you made it this far in my post...thank you! If you are looking for an easy way to incorporate this into your classroom without much setup, you might be interested in this product that can be found in my TPT store:

Looking for more Back to School activities to use in your math class? Check these out!

Be sure to drop me a line and tell me how it went in your class!

Monday, August 26, 2013

First day!

I had a GREAT first day! I'll post more about this week later, but I wanted to share with you this activity I did with my kids today. We were with our first period class for two hours this morning while 6th graders got situated in the new building and we went over first day procedures. Teaching 8th grade, that went by pretty fast and I am glad I had this activity on the back burner!

I printed off 6 different statements and had the kids respond in groups on sticky notes. I was unsure of whether they would take it seriously, but they totally did. And, they had some answers that I didn't even think of! 

Some of the questions were: 
What do you want to learn in math this year?
What do you need to do to be successful?
What do you want your teacher to be like?
School is important because...
And a few more that I can't think of because I am so gosh darn tired!

I was fully prepared for the sarcastic "we hate school and we wish it was still summer" answers...but I never saw them! I think this helped them to take ownership of what they need to do to be successful this year. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pre Back to School Traditions

Every year since I started teaching in 2006, I have spent the day before relaxing and getting a pedicure! Since my husband is a teacher, too, he started joining in the festivities! So, I love being able to wind down after a crazy week of meetings and feverishly setting up my classroom (which, by the way, is not quite ready for a reveal just yet). 

Can I also say that I love being able to blog from my phone? How fantastic to not have to wait to get home and sit at a computer! 

I am pretty excited about my first day back tomorrow. It's my first year teaching 8th grade and I am at a new school. I absolutely adore everyone in my department. Everyone is so supportive of one another and is so willing to help with anything you need. I love that. 

I'm also super excited that the second week of school I will be getting a student teacher! I can't wait to work with her.

So, what are your back to school traditions? And, if any of you have experience with student teachers, any advice you can give me would be awesome. I hope you all have a GREAT YEAR!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

P&G Teams Up with Dollar General for a Product Giveaway!

It has been brought to my attention over the past few weeks that more than just a few people read this blog. Boy is it stressful to keep things interesting! I have been MIA for a week or so since this past Monday was my first official day back at work...the kids come on Monday and I am excited/nervous/stressed/anxious all at the same time. I am sure there are a handful of people who can relate! I am going to try to do a much better job at keeping up with this during the year. I seriously don't know how some of you seasoned bloggers do it!

Anyhow, the main reason for this post is that I was contacted by P&G (Procter and Gamble) and was asked to giveaway this awesome prize pack to one lucky reader. I LOVE LOVE LOVE febreze and can't get enough of this was amazing to receive in the mail. Dollar General and P&G have teamed up to put together this prize pack. Did you know you can use P&G coupons at Dollar General to save $$$? I honestly haven't ever been to a Dollar General since there isn't one that is totally local to me, but I just may have to check one out!
If you win this pack, you will receive:

A $10 Dollar General Gift Card
CoverGirl Black Ink Eye Pencil
Tide PODS Spring Meadow (sample size)
Febreze Fabric Refresher Gain Scent Spray
Febreze Air Effects with Gain Fresh Scent
A Dollar General reusable shopping bag

I have used the Tide PODS before, and they are super awesome for when you don't feel like measuring things out! Just pop one in and you are done! Perfect for HE washers and washers of all varieties. Like I said, Febreze is one of THE most awesome products on the market and you will get 2 of them! 

What are you waiting for?? Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 17, 2013

While you are shopping...

I am so excited about the Back to School Sale, I just can't stand it! I have so many great products that I can't wait to get to shopping!

Anyhow, here is a little promotion that I am running the days of the sale (Sunday and Monday)...I will be giving away a winner's choice item ($5 or less) to a lucky shopper in my store! Here is what you have to do to enter:

  1. Purchase at least 1 item from my store
  2. Leave feedback!
  3. After the sale, I will use a random number generator to pick a "winner" based on the feedback. 
  4. Be sure to check my Facebook page to see if you are the winner on Tuesday!
Any questions? Enjoy shopping the sale :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ready, Set, SHOP!

I have been waiting for this announcement for weeks since my wishlist is SO full! I'm sure many of you have heard from other blogs/facebook posts, but here is the news again:

Teachers pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School sale this Sunday & Monday, August 19-20. Everything in my store will be 20% (except the buy my store option!) + you can get an additional 10% by entering the promo code BTS13 at checkout.

Don't forget, the promo code is good on EVERYTHING, so you can use that to get a discount on the buy my store option if you would like :)

What are you waiting for? Go fill up those carts!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Homework

A lot of people have contacted me about how I do homework, so I am bringing back this post from a few months ago when I think I had about 10 people following my blog! I'll be sure to answer any questions you have :)

Originally posted on May 5, 2013:

Every year, my teaching team and I wrack our brains discussing what we will give for homework and how it will be graded. I do believe that students need practice outside of the classroom, but I don't like giving textbook homework--it's extremely monotonous. Besides, with textbook homework, the kids have a myriad of excuses: I left it in my locker, I was at my Dad's house last night and my book was at my Mom's house, I forgot the page number, etc. We have an online textbook that works *sometimes*, so I tell them not to rely on that. Also, we have about 60 more 6th graders this year than we have had since I started at my not every student has one! Then, there is the other issue of who is really doing the homework??

Enter the solution: last summer we went to CAMT, the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching, since it was in Houston and it was close. We signed up for it in March...and it seemed like a great idea at the time...until the day came. We had to be at the convention center (a good 35-40 minutes away) by 8 AM for our first session! What were we thinking!? Well, I am glad we went! We sat in a session led by Brad Fulton who is an excellent speaker! He suggested we do this:

Homework is given on Monday and is due Friday. It can either be one assignment that will cover the material for the time period, or it can be shorter assignments for each night.
  1. Students must show all work to receive credit, and if they turn it in Friday, no weekend homework. (Let me clarify, no extra homework is given to those that don't, they just have the weekend to complete it for a late grade).
  2. On Thursday night, before it is due, I post just the answers to the homework so that they can check their answers and know if they need to make corrections.
  3. On Tuesday of the following week, we give the students a homework quiz. We modified this a little bit from Brad's class.
    1. We "grade" the homework ahead of time for a total of 40 points if work is completed and effort is there. No credit for just answers without any justification. 
    2. The quiz itself is worth 60 points and here is how it is broken down:
      1. 5 questions are questions from the homework
      2. 5 questions are questions from the previous week's material (that if they completed the homework should not have a problem completing).
    3. The rationale is, that if a kid is trying and does the homework, they will get a minimum of a 70, where if I actually took homework up each day for a grade, the grade would be much lower. Whereas, a kid who doesn't do homework at all, still has some way to get some points. (Hey, a 30 is better than a 0!)
Let me clarify a few things...I am a middle school teacher. I am not saying that this will work for everyone. And, 99% of the time, 99% of their kids do very well and turn in their homework. And, for those that never turned in homework before, now do. I do this with my 6th and 7th grade classes and will do it next year with 8th grade. Some of my 7th graders who I had last year were hit or miss with homework and it hurt their grades...this year, I don't have that problem. 

It also provides stability for parents. They know that each week homework is assigned and they know the expectation of when their child needs to turn it in. It eliminates the excuse of, "Well, Johnny told me he didn't have any homework..."

How do you handle homework in your class? Let me know what you think of this process and if you are willing to try it and want more information, I can help you get started!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It - No Name Board

I wish I had blogged about this last year after I made my no name board...but I needed to make a new one since the old one didn't totally go with my classroom decor. And, we ALL know how important it is to have things coordinate!

I found this pin last summer and thought it was a genius idea. How many times do kids leave your room and there are either papers on the floor that should be in binders OR a test was turned in without a name!? Too many to count I bet! This puts the accountability on the student. I don't grade something unless it has a name, so, if a student wants a grade and didn't get his/her paper back, they check the no name board.

Here is how I made mine:

Start with a wooden plaque (or you could use a piece of foam board that you have laying around) and some acrylic paint. I knew I wanted to paint mine a teal-ish color, but couldn't find the right color. I mixed mine to get the perfect combination. Paint the top and sides completely and let dry. I did 2 1/2 coats or so. You don't want any wood showing through.

While the paint was drying, I made my letters using my cricut and some adhesive backed vinyl. Don't fret if you don't have a way to do this. You can use any sticker letter that is available at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn's or any craft store. You could also use cut paper, etc. So many possibilities.

Mark the center of your plaque so that your letters end up being centered. Ideally this is what should happen. Pay no attention to the fact that mine are completely of center because I measured incorrectly. It's going to be fine. In case you are wondering, I used washi tape to mark the center so that it was easily removable and wouldn't leave residue. 

Ok, they aren't SO badly off-center, right? 

Once, they are where you want them to be, apply a layer of mod podge on top. Let it dry completely!

Remember these from the other day? I made 7 of them by taking regular clothespins from Walmart and covering with washi tape. They look designer!

When the mod podge is dry, glue the clothespins to the wood by using either hot glue or wood glue. I used hot glue because I didn't want to wait for it to totally dry... and I kind of wished I had. 

I'll be sure to post a picture of it in my classroom when I finish setting it up!

Can't wait to see what everyone else who linked up with Tara at 4th grade frolics made!