Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thumb Print Teacher Appreciation Cards

I think it's important to get the students involved in teacher appreciation week.  Getting all 24+ students to make cards for their teacher, though, would be a logistical nightmare and just having the kids sign one card seems too impersonal.  

The solution?  THUMB PRINTS!  No two are alike and after they are decorated each child's personality really shines through!  

If your school's PTO/PTA is interested in doing this, here's what you'll need:
  • some cute sayings or poems that little thumb/finger prints can be incorporated into. - the more puns, the better! (You're welcome to borrow mine.)
  • a 12"x12" piece of scrap book paper for the main part of the card and coordinating cardstock for the words.
  • a 1" paper punch to cut out a bunch of blank circles.
  • ink pads in light colors
  • wet wipes
  • fine point, felt tip markers
  • glue stick
  • some time with the students
  • Ed Emberly has some books with great ideas for thumb print critters
The trickiest part is finding time with the students without the teacher present.  Luckily for me, our school librarian is a wonderful lady who let me invade her library time.  I showed up with some stamp pads, blank circles, markers, and a few examples and had groups of 5 or 6 kids rotate through.  I gave them a simple explanation of what we were making and why and they went to town.  Even the kindergartners did a great job! 

Some kids even wanted to do more than one, which was great since I wanted to make cards for the support staff as well.  By the way, make sure you have them write their names on the front of their circle when they're done.

Assembling the cards was a snap!  Just print out the poem and glue everything into place! 

On the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week, we displayed all the cards on the wall in the teacher's lounge.  All the teachers and staff got to see every style of card and then take theirs back to the classroom at the end of the week. 

It's been a year since we did this project and I still see many of these cards proudly displayed in classrooms and offices! 

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Start This NOW! It's Almost May Day!

Okay, so this is last year's May Day project and I swore I'd post about it far enough in advance so folks would be able to use it for this year.  Then I promptly forgot all about it.  Rather than wait another year (and miss just the right posting time again) I'll put it out there now and let you do with it what you will. 

Perhaps those of you with a greener thumb than I know of some fast-germinating seeds that will be sprouting by May first.  Leave your ideas in the comments if you want to share!  Sunflowers?  Those seem to yield quick results.

Before I begin, inspirational credit must be given to a blog called The Magnifying Glass.  I just took their idea of using egg shells for planters one step further by incorporating it into a May Day basket.

I used a steak knife to puncture a ring around the top 1/4 of the egg, tossed the little cap in the trash (or fed it to the worms), used the egg for baking, rinsed out the shell and it was good to go!

After I collected a dozen or so shells I experimented with some leftover egg dye tablets.  (Just like dying hard boiled eggs for Easter, only more delicate.)

The pictures say it all.  They were very lovely at first.  So bright and cheery!  Not so lovely after a few weeks of sitting in the sun and holding damp soil.  Anyone know of a more permanent type of dye that could withstand the rigors of being a planter?

Get your daughter to help fill the egg shells with soil, insert a few seeds and spritz the soil with water until it's damp.  Make sure you fill it to the tippy top with soil because it will become compacted after watering.

Egg cartons are a perfect holder your planters and they fit nicely on the windowsill.  Spritz the seeds as often as needed to keep the soil moist.  If you're planting a variety of seeds, be sure to mark what's what.

We thought petunias would be perfect for May Day, but they took too long to germinate AND they were tiny and uber delicate - too delicate for the jostling around that comes with delivering May Day baskets. 

Luckily, we planted basil and cucumbers - which looked perfect sprouting in their shells!  Don't the brown shells look nice, too?  Au naturel.

Now, to May Day basket-ify our egg shell planters:  cut some egg cartons into thirds (three squares of four).  In the center peak of each square, cut a slit.  (I just jammed my trusty steak knife through there and it did the trick.)  One piece of an upended clothespin should fit snugly in the slit.  The pinchy end of the clothespin can grasp your label/tag.

This is the best detailed shot I have and I hope it clarifies how to assemble this simple contraption.  I would have liked to include four egg shell planters in each May Day basket, but alas, my petunia seeds did not turn out so we had a limited supply to work with.  Boo! for stingy May Day baskets.

The labels/tags that we used last year were more hastily created than these handsome devils that I made last night with Picmonkey.  You're welcome to use them if you can figure out how to resize and print them...not my strong suit. 

Isn't that a nice poem?  Apparently Ruth Stout was an author in the gardening genre who was best known for minimalist approach in that area.  I bet I'd like her.

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