Friday, June 27, 2014

Food, Facebook & a Tiny Human

What's up teacher friends?
I'm kinda in love with these summer days.
Sleeping in, doing a lil summer PD and lounging around in pajamas for as long as I want.
It doesn't get much better than that.
Well...unless I had a pina colada in hand.
...
 
I've been pretty MIA here lately.
I wish I could say that I've been a busy bee creating goodies for classrooms but the truth is- I kinda have zero energy these days and a daily nap is required.
 
Say what?!? I know- it's pretty freaking amazing. Still.
There's a tiny human inside me.
BLOWS.MY.MIND
 
With a little nugget on board, I've tried to cook more from home.
So when my girl Tamara over at Mrs. Russell's Room wanted to host a Facebook foodie hop, I jumped on board to join some of my fave teacher friends!
https://www.facebook.com/thelearningtreeblogspot
 
You'll get to hop across our FB pages and grab some delish recipes like this one. ;)
 
It'll run June 28th- July 5th so don't miss it!
You'll also get a chance to win a 31 bag stocked with yummy goodies too!
Swing by Facebook in the morning to join the foodie fun!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We{HEART}Teachers DAY #3!

It's DAY 3 of...
 
 
 
 Here's what's up for grabs my friends!

 
AWESOME, right?!?
 
Here's how to enter!
  

But wait- there's more!!
Today's the last day for the TPT sale too!
So go stock up before it's over- but don't forget to use the code for extra savings!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Learning-Tree
 
HAPPY SHOPPING & WINNING!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

We {Heart} Teachers

So I've got some exciting news!!
My sweet friend Leigh from The Applicious Teacher is throwing one of the greatest teacher appreciation events of all time!
Not even kidding ya'll- it's HUGE! Check out all the amazing contributors!

It all starts tomorrow so don't miss it!
Every day she's got amazing giveaways!
From product packets, to gift cards, to classroom goodies- you'll get the total hook up as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, blogger style!
 
Don't forget, TPT is hosting a site wide sale Tuesday and Wednesday also!
My entire store will be 20% off!
 
So get your shop on friends and stock up on those end of the year goodies!
And here's a little something to help get that party started!
Leigh has organized a fab GC giveaway just in time for the sale!
I have really smart friends ;)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 
 
Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kitchen Makeover for $100!

Completely classroom unrelated post, however, a happy wife makes for a happy teacher.
So just go with it ;)
 
I uploaded my little Spring Break project on Instagram last week and my email exploded with questions! I guess I'm not the only one with orange oak cabinets in desperate search of a makeover.
It's okay- I feel your pain.
I'm here to help.
 
Before I begin explaining how you too can bring your oak cabinets into this decade, let me just say that I do not know everything. I only know what worked for me.
 
 Here's all the details my friends.
It was easy peasy and around $100- win win!
I found the General Finishes gel stain at a local woodcraft store.
If you can't find it near you, it's also available on Amazon.
I had 16 doors and 4 drawers to cover and I used 1 quart of stain.
If you have more surface area to cover, you may want to get more.
 

I used painter's tape to label all the doors and frames with matching number sets so I knew exactly where each door needed to go when it was finished.
I swept and used the blower to clean out the garage so my work space would be dust free.
After you sand each door it's SUPER important to use a tack cloth and remove all the dust from the doors before adding stain.
You really don't have to sand until your arm hurts.
You just need to buff the surface.
 
There are lots of online tutorials on how to use this type of stain.
I tried using a glove with a sock over it and decided I couldn't get down into the edges and corners very well so I tossed that out pretty quickly.
I used the poly brushes for 90% of the project.
Instead of throwing them out or trying to wash them, I put them into a plastic baggie until I was ready to use them the next day.
They stayed moist enough throughout the entire project!
 
If you google how to apply gel stain, you'll find that there are multiple ways.
You can paint it on and leave it or you can rub it on and wipe off the excess.
I tried rubbing on and wiping off for the first coat.
 I think I wiped off too much stain and if I were to do it again, I would paint it on and leave it to dry without wiping it off at all. I probably could've done 3 coats instead of 4 if I hadn't wiped most of it off on day 1.
But you live and learn and then blog about it!
 Because gel stain sits on top of the wood more like paint and doesn't actually soak into the grain, it doesn't require you to wipe off the excess stain.
 
It took 5 days to paint and 2 days to seal with polyurethane.
I used an osculating fan in the garage to help with dry time.
It is Florida after all.
If you're not blessed with our humidity then you may not find a fan necessary.
 
I'm really happy with how it turned out!
Even after 4 coats, you can still see the texture of wood grain!
LOVE. 
 
We reinstalled the doors, added new hardware, and called it a day!

I'm in.love.
 
Happy DIYing on a dime!
 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday FREEBIE Style

I'm excited to be a third wheel this week ya'll!
I'm joining two AMAZING ladies for some freebie fun!
It's Fern & Michelle's Throwback Thursday and that means you get an "oldie but a goodie" and it's also a FREEBIE (for today only)!!

 
Each week, Fern & Michelle give away one of their normally priced packets for free each Thursday.  This is their way of showing a little appreciation to followers who have loyally followed their amazing blogs.  As an added bonus, they are inviting a different blogger friend each week to join them!
 
(that's me, that's me!!)

  Not only will you get free stuff from all 3 of us, you might get to "meet" someone new and want to follow his or her store, too.  
How great is that?!!!
 
So here's my freebie for ya!
It's my editable awards- just in time for the end of the year countdown!
But who's counting?! ;)
 

 
Click HERE to download.

 
Just a reminder:  You will not be able to leave feedback after our products are changed back to paid products.



What are you waiting for?
 
Ready, set go!!!!

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas




Saturday, February 1, 2014

5th Grade Chalk Planets

My 5th graders have struggled all year to gain an understanding of the very basics in art class.
This is. after all, the first year our school has offered art since these guys were in Kinder! So it's been a grueling push to get them up to speed. This week I wanted to try out some advanced shading techniques to get a good feel for how much growth they've gained so far this year.
And I gotta be honest ya'll.
They did not disappoint!
Each student chose a planet card. 
Since shading and form concepts of a sphere are the same regardless of what planet they choose, I encouraged them to select different planets so we had a variety of pieces.
Here's what you'll need:

Full color photo examples
9x11 Black Sulphite paper
Chalk pastels
White tempura paint
Spray bottle

We watched two different videos to help give them an idea of the basic concept and steps to shading a sphere. 

I love using online demonstrations because it frees my hands up to provide support at each table while the video is going. 
It's almost like having a clone.
Love it!


Having two videos really helped for this lesson- some kids needed the verbal guided tutorial while others preferred to just see it in action.

Either way the results were amazing!


To add depth and space to their final piece, we created super easy stars.
I added white tempura paint with a splash of water into a plastic spray bottle.
Just your average spray bottle- nothing fancy.
The kids stood back about 6 feet and gave their work a little spritz.
Next time I may try silver or gold paint just for giggles.

Since not all spray bottles are made equal, I would recommend trying the spray bottle on a sheet of colored paper at different distances to test the results before letting the kids do it.

Good luck and may the force be with you! ;)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Valentine Heart Art


So, I'll be honest.
I was not the biggest fan of printmaking until a week ago.
It was just never a technique that I fell in love with in art school.

The joy of children's art is in the exploration so I figured I should step out of my comfort zone and give it a shot with my 3rd graders. 
If you're a novice to printmaking, don't be scared.
It's not so bad, actually.
This is an easy lesson to get your feet wet.

Here's what you'll need:
Sulphite Paper {9x11}
Liquid Tempura
Pencils or Q-tips
Laminated template

We used a simple heart template that I printed and had laminated.
If you don't have access to a laminator then there are easy alternatives you could use such as a plastic page protector, overhead transparency sheets or even plexiglass.
Just attach your template underneath with tape.
I prefer to use a laminated page because you don't run the risk of the template shifting during painting.

Ultimately, you just need a surface where the paint won't dry too quickly.
I've seen teachers let the kids paint directly on the table tops before.
It's whatever floats your boat, really.

I always take 5 minutes at the start of class to demonstrate the technique and explore different ways to problem solve common mistakes.
Then we got right to work.
I put out red, purple and white paints in plastic egg cartons so the kids could easily mix new colors into the empty pits.
They used the eraser end of a pencil to create the dots.
No water needed!
Double loading the paint was half the fun!
 Once their perimeter was complete, the kids were free to fill in the heart.
I encouraged them to fill in as much of the interior as they could.

Once they were ready, they used the sulphite paper to create their final print.
They lined up the paper over their pointillism heart template gently pressed the clean page onto the plastic.
I encouraged them to rub softly and evenly over their entire paper to help the paint transfer. 
Be sure to caution your kiddos not to squish their design too hard.

Then came the exciting part- separating the two pages!
The prints were so beautiful ya'll!
As each kid began separating their prints, other kids began to gather around to see how unique each one turned out.

We let them dry overnight before outlining all of the paint edges with permanent black markers.
This was the most time consuming and tedious part of the project- but it really gave a fabulous finished look to their prints. We used the full second class to outline.
Even though there were a few hand cramps, not one kid gave up.
They were simply too excited to see their final product!

Some kids decided to cut theirs out and paste it to black paper, others preferred the white.
I'm in love with both.
Pun intended.

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