Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tin-Can Jack-o'-Lanterns

A fun and inexpensive fall/Halloween project is always in the works after September hits.  Here is one that I really love because it is made from recycled cans and left over spray paint!  It cannot get any cheaper than free!

What You Need:
Tin Cans (Various Sizes)
Spray Paint
Clean out cans that you have used, take off the label, fill with water, and put into the freezer.  Trust me...You do not want to skip the freezer part!  This makes it easier to make the holes in the side of the can, and also stop it from deforming. 
Take out the cans when the water is completely frozen.  Find a towel or bag of rice/beans to set the cans on for stability.

Keep on making a design, but robotic designs are easier due to the curves in the can.
Take out the spray paint, and lightly coat the cans a few times.
Add candles for a modern jack-o'-lantern!
This project was so easy and fun, I was able to get Chris to join in on the fun!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hopes and Dreams

At the beginning of the year, we discuss the students Hopes and Dreams for the school year.  By sharing their hopes and goals, it shows that they have a say in what they learn in the classroom.  We first have a group discussion about what we all hope to do in school.  Then, we talk to each student individually. 

There are many ways to record the goals, but I wanted to display each student's and also get parents involved.  Here is what I did (kudos to a former cooperating teacher!):

Hopes and Dreams Flowers
Cut yellow circles for the middle of the flower.  This is where you will write the student's hope and dream.
 Send home a green sheet of paper and instruction sheet for parents. 
 Parents cut out a flower stem and write their hope and dream for their child.
Make the flower petals with the students' hand prints.  Add the student hope and dream in the middle.
Add the parents stem to the flower and...
a beautiful display of your students goals make your room a welcoming and encouraging environment!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Art Wall

 A place where the students can display their art is important in a classroom.  Using clip boards makes rotating student work easy and fun! 
I also added personal paintings to the wall to give it an art flair.  You do not have to spend a lot of money or be an artist.  I made the 'Starry Night' paintings in middle school!  Goes to show, saving things from your past pays off!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bucket Filling Project

One of my favorite ways to teach kids about helping others and making others feel good is to read the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
I decided to make a bucket filling board for my students to have a concrete example of the concept.  First, we must gather our materials...
Small Plastic Cups (I found these at Target in the dollar section...4/$1)
Foam Board
Butterfly Clips
Small Drill

1. Drill a small hole into the back of each cup.
2. Evenly poke holes into the foam board, then use the butterfly clips to secure the cups.
3. Add Labels and names.
4. Hang up in your classroom for your students to enjoy.  Use a bucket on the side to hold hearts, pom poms, or other ways for students to fill buckets.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin desserts are one of my favorite treats to cozy up to on a cool fall day.  Of course, pumpkin pie is one of the most popular American picks, but this Pumpkin Spice Cake is the perfect mix of pumpkin and complementary spices: cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Making it a two layer cake gives the extra cream cheese frosting a kick in the middle.  Do not be fooled by the frosting because it is not just your regular cream cheese.  A sweet maple syrup surprise gives it a richer and more consistent taste and texture. 

To make this beautiful fall treat we first must gather all our ingredients...

unsalted butter
light brown sugar
canned pure pumpkin
vanilla extract
cake flour
baking powder
baking soda

Beat the butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

 Add the pumpkin and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and other spices.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating additions.  Begin and end with the flour mixture. 
Divide the batter in half and pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert and remove the cakes from their pans. 
While cakes are cooking and cooling, make this delicious cream cheese frosting...
Here are the stars of the show: Cream Cheese and Butter!
You will also need powder sugar and the secret ingredient...maple syrup.
Place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and mix until smooth.  Add the maple syrup and sugar and mix to combine.  Adjust syrup or sugar for consistency, or use buttermilk to thin the frosting.

Set aside about a cup of frosting, then place the bottom layer upside down and frost the top.  Place the top layer on top right side up.  Frost the entire cake.  Then let's make it fancy... 

Mix a small amount of reserved frosting with 6 drops of yellow and 1 drop of red food coloring.  Create an orange to your liking.  Grab a 1 gallon plastic bag and turn it inside out.  Pour the orange frosting into one of the corners of the bag, and then flip the bag back to normal.  Cut a small slit on the corner and you have a easy decorating tool!

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Fall Wreath

A new addition to my wreath collection that I made for my mom.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recipe Book

I needed to find a place to store all my favorite recipes.  I had several different cookbooks, magazines, recipe clippings, old cards written by my mom, and just plain old flithy cards that were just scattered and piled up.  So I came up with a solution.

1. Buy a photo book.  I got this one on clearance for $1.50! 

2. Type up your favorite recipes that you already have on a Word document on 4x6 cards.
 3.  Print the cards on cardstock (I chose a vanilla color cardstock) and cut them to size.  Then place them into your recipe book!
Now after you have your favorite recipes in the book, you can start to experiment with other recipes.  For example, I tried new Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipes.

If they turn out, type them up and put them in your book!  Such a quick reference for you to use later!

Click here for the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp and Vanilla Ice Cream recipe cards

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall Wreath

I love fall, and I could not resist starting a fall project!  This is a great and inexpensive way to fancy up your entry.  I got all the materials for less $10 from Michaels (do not forget to use your 15% teacher discount, and get it for close to $7!).  So, get your glue gun ready to make some autumn inspired decorations.
Here is what you need...
  • Grapevine Wreath
  • Felt (various colors of your choosing)
  • Fall Berry Picks
  • Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue

First, cut out the rosette shapes from the felt.  The first photo creates a one color rosette and the second creates a multicolored one.  Begin by rolling the end toward the middle.  For a bigger rosette, roll loosely, and tighter for smaller.  Hot glue the end to the bottom of the rosette to secure it.  Create as many as you need/want.  I made 9 for my 18" wreath.
Next, glue the rosettes to the wreath.  Feel free to play around with placement.  I also added buttons to a few of my rosettes to bling it up a bit!  This is also a cute wreath if you did not want to move onto the next step (it would only cost about $4!)
Finally, arrange berries around the wreath.  Use hot glue to secure them and arrange them to your liking.
 And Tah-Da!  It is a beautiful fall decoration for your door!