Monday, July 2, 2012

Watch Out! Kinders With A Driver’s License?!?!

I am excited to announce Sprinkle Teaching Magic’s fun in the sun summer book winners!  Congratulations Shannon, Jennifer, and Pam!  I will contact you shortly with all the details.

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Mr. Winemaker and I just got back from a weeklong Oregon family vacation.  We enjoyed horse back riding, pinot noir wine tasting, family dinners, Oregon rain, bizarre ice cream flavors, and loads more.  Click on this link, She Said G Said, to see the latest post on our Oregon adventures!  Also, I put a new post up on ‘A Teacher’s Quest For Balance.’ 
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Fun Part 2:
I love kicking off the year with a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme.  This photo collage showcases a creative Chicka Boom Boom art project kids love.  First, students make the palm tree trunk with their footsies.  Students are shocked that they take off their shoes and socks at school!  Students use bright colored paints and fingers to make the palm tree pop off the page with alphabet fun.  Foam letters, sparkle paint, alphabet stickers… the possibilities are endless.
PicMonkey Collage
At the end of the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week, students make palm tree hats.  We head out to the blacktop and write alphabet letters with chalk.  Upper grade buddies stop by to help us form our letters and remind us of tricky alphabet letters we may have forgotten. 

A Fun Way To Get Kids Walking In A Tidy Line Year Long!
I spend the first few weeks of school exposing my cuties to classroom rules, routines, and expectations.  We practice until our classroom runs like a well oiled machine.  All teachers know that little cuties tend to have a hard time walking in a straight and quiet line.  There are the wanderers, the talkers, the pokers, the drifters… you know.  I start by brainstorming with students the importance of car safety.  Then, I pass out laminated wheels to my students (I make these out of construction paper)  and I tell students that we will practice driving our cars in a straight line around the school.  While driving our cars around school in a line there is no talking.  Students must look at the head in front and keep their car driving straight.  Students receive a license when they can follow these line rules.  This is a BIG deal! Students bring in their favorite wallet and their new driver's license goes inside.  If a child breaks line rules their license is removed and must be earned back.  Students take this very seriously.  I beam as I walk the halls with my little ducklings following close behind in a nice neat line. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

50 Post Giveaway and Alphabet Water Bottle Fun!

Good Morning Teacher Friends!  As I was laying in bed (at 9:00 this morning soaking in every ounce of that feel good ahhhhhhhhhh summer vacation feeling) I realized that I am a few posts shy of 50 on Sprinkle Teaching Magic!  Why is this a big deal you may ask?  Well...awhile back, before this blog was born,  Mr. Winemaker and I had a conversation about starting blogs over a glass of vino.  Mr. Winemaker was encouraging me to start this blog and gave me some tips.  See, Mr. Winemaker reads a lot of wine blogs and though it may be a different more yummy sort of blog he knows his stuff.  I remember him saying, "To build a blog you need content!  50 posts.  50 posts is when you know you have arrived." I took his tip to heart and here we are!!!!   During this same blog talk with Mr. Winemaker we discussed my fears of follow through with a blog. I have a tendency to get really excited and go pedal to the metal and burn myself out.  We brainstormed ways to work through this and keep my passion and love for blogging a constant steady.  He is such a support! I am glad I jumped in and I am so proud of myself that the 50 post mark is within reach.  I think this calls for a celebration and giveaway don’t you?
I rounded up some of my favorite blogger books!  You have a chance to win one of these!  Here is some background on the books I have chosen:

Back in 2005, before teacher blogs as we know it even existed, I started following the Nie Nie Dialogues.  At the time my dear friend Shannon and I were Mormon blog obsessed.  Neither of us are Mormon but we found blogs created by Mormon women to be better then Martha Stewart, HGTV, and Food Network combined!  These blogs were filled with recipes, gorgeous photography, how-to-guides for amazing crafts, wholesome family values, and just made (still do) us happy.  My closest friends know I can’t live without my Mormon blogs and teaching blogs … and now the secret is out on Sprinkle Teaching Magic!  You have a chance to win Nie Nie’s first book!

The Pioneer Woman is another blog I have followed forever!  To me she is the blog guru! I drool over her recipes and learn so much from her photography tips.  This giveaway includes her latest cookbook.

Last but not least my home girl Tori Spelling.  I am not ashamed to admit it but I am an avid watcher of Tori and Dean’s reality tv show.  In FACT,  I own the first two seasons of ‘Tori and Dean Inn Love’ on DVD.  Yes, I had to special order them through Amazon!  I LOVE HER!  Last year she came out with a blog ediTorial and a new book!  Mr. Winemaker gave me ‘celebraTORI’ for my birthday this year and it is filled with crafty and party throwing ideas plus gorgeous pictures. 

Now I know these books are not teacher related BUT it is summer and we need some fun summer reading!  This is also my first time using Rafflecopter so I am excited to try it out!  There are lots of ways to enter so be sure to check it out!  The giveaway ends on July 2nd! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now on to more teaching related photo fun!
I love making homespun signs to hang up on the first day of school.  Here are some examples of my favorite signs!  To make them I use fun wrapping paper and then mount tag board centered to the front.  After I decorate my sign I run it through the laminator to stiffen it up. 
The first week of school I usually start off with a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme.  Parents send in empty bottled water containers and I get them all cleaned up. I buy the foam letters from Michaels and use silver glitter.  Students stuff their bottle with the alphabet and a spoonful of glitter.  We fill the bottles up with water.  Each student receives a laminated card with the alphabet and goes on an I Spy a letter hunt!  We even pull out the Vis A Vis overhead projector pens (remember those?) and as students find letters they check them off their laminated alphabet card.  Love this because we can wipe the check marks off and do it all over again!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Long Time No Blog

The end of school and the start of summer vacation is a whirlwind blur of packing up my classroom, putting on a class celebration, saying goodbye to my dear sweet kinder class, a fancy dinner out with Mr. Winemaker to celebrate the end of school, his New Jersey family flying in, and then adventures to the coast/wine country/bbq fun/shopping and much more!  Head over to my other blog “She Said G Said” for a picture journey of our adventures!
It feels good to be back in the blog state of mind and back in the blog world.  I missed you!   
It feels like the last week of school was years ago!  What was I up to those last weeks?  Putting together gifts for my volunteers, principal, secretaries, and a gift for my students. 
I decided to put a different spin on volunteer gifts this year.  Instead of heading to a store to purchase something cutsie (that usually adds up and ends up out of my budget) or spending hours on Pinterest getting sucked into cute crafty ideas which would require computer ink and printing, I headed to my small outdoor garden.  Let me preface this by stating I have a love boarder-line obsession with succulents and over the years via gifts, thrift stores, and Ikea I have collected quite a few little pots.  The beauty of succulents is you can cut off parts of the plant and viola they grow a new plant.   Succulents are also incredibly hardy and require very little water.  Seriously,  no-green-thumb-no-worries succulents are user friendly.  My kinda plant, I tell ya!  Plus succulents are becoming quite popular especially as favors, bouquets, and even cake toppers at weddings!  Check out my Pinterest board devoted entirely to succulents!  Back to the volunteer gift… I took a scissors and snipped off succulent parts, planted them in soil, and I was done.  Easy as that.  I got so into it; I made a new succulent table centerpiece for my kitchen table, and I made my fantastic principal and secretaries their very own succulent collage. 
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Final Product:
  IMG_1221         IMG_1223

These gifts were a hit!  The special touch, they came from my garden, which made the creation even more special. 
As I thought about a gift for my students, I really wanted to give them a special memory of our kindergarten class that they could hang in their rooms.  When I first joined Pinterest, melting crayon art was the craze.  In fact I think melting crayon art was my first pin ever!  In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to try it out some day, and finally my seed of an idea/pin has come full circle. 
With the help of my fantastic volunteer moms, we purchased small canvases from Michaels.  Using leftover crayons from student’s crayon boxes and a few extra purchased crayon boxes, we used a knife to cut the crayons in half.  We taped two colors to each side of the canvas at the top.  This way students could pick their own colors and arrange them on the canvas the way they wanted without crayons rolling off.  Crayons were then hot glued to the canvas.  The blue painter’s tape was used at the bottom so the melting crayons would go over the tape.  This way we peeled of the tape and had room for students to write “I Love Kindergarten”, their names, and the date.
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Now for the best part of the entire art project!  Students came outside and helped melt their crayons with a blow dryer.  The colors were AMAZING!
Here are some snapshots of the finished product! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We have a winner!

Congratulations Angie from Rulin' the Roost it's your lucky day!!!  You just won yourself a $80 Blog Makeover from Cutest Blog On The Block!!!! 

(Angie, I will be connecting with you sometime this week!)

Have you checked out my other blog She Said G Said???  Be sure to check it out!   I posed Mr. Winemaker the question:  What is it like to date a teacher?  He has answered in all his honesty and glory and it is up on the blog.  A must read for teachers and more importantly spouses, boyfriends, and anyone else that is very close to a teacher.  I love this comment a reader left after reading his post:

"Found this blog from "your teachers" comment on another teacher blog and I loved this! I want to leave it open on the computer for my husband to read because he would enjoy it!"

If you get a chance to check out our other blog please leave Mr. Winemaker some comment love and consider following.  

While you are at it you may want to read this post I did on She Said G Said awhile back on teaching kinder. Click HERE!

What's happening in my kinder room?  Craziness...utter end of the year craziness I tell ya!  We are currently gearing up for Father's Day.  This year my mom and dad moved out of my childhood home and 50 + cigar boxes were dumped in to my classroom with hopes that I could put them to use.  Well, I did triumphantly!  Father's Day here we come!  I pulled out my gigantic bin filled with art bits and bobs, and I pulled out my magazine bin, and finally I put on some fun working music.  The kids were engaged for THREE solid days no joke!  In fact with the extra boxes left over students are creating treasure boxes for themselves.  

Check out my cuties hard at work:



We made some cute Father's Day Dress Shirt/ Tie Cards.  

It's all about the hearts in kinder right? 


What I learned from this project:  

The kids LOVE free reign in decorating and letting their artistic creativity go wild.  The messier the tables became while doing the project meant the more fun that was being had!  This project is hilarious and I was shocked at how well students know their dad ("My dad loves beer so I am cutting out this beer for him.  See look!"  When I looked closely they had cut out a soy sauce bottle.  LOVE!)  Students were so very proud of their boxes that I let each of them wrap their gift in bright green wrapping paper.  Everything about this project was homespun.  I hope when the dads or grandpas see the wrapping paper crumpled, smushed and taped slapped on everywhere their hearts melt a little.  Cigar boxes, oatmeal containers, shoe boxes....really anything would work.

Have a great weekend teacher friends!

Oh and don't forget to join my link party fun!  I have loved reading the links posted so far!  Click on the picture below to join in.   Keep Calm And Blog On!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You are cordially invited to my first Linky Party!

My summer vacation officially starts in 7 days!  I.can't.wait!!!!!  Right now I am running around like a mad woman trying to put the finishing touches on the school year buuuuuut my mind keeps wandering to teaching blog land.  Recently, I have been stalking my favorite blogs and getting tons of end of the school year ideas.  Thank you blog friends!   As my mind wanders away from stressful end of the year preparations and towards blogin' summer days I picture myself looking a little something like this...

and this....

Carrie Bradshaw is my FAV!

There are some technical difficulties though... technically I don't live in a swanky apartment in Manhattan and technically I don't write a saucy column in a New York newspaper.  What I do have is my mac laptop, my tiny cottage, and my blog Sprinkle Teaching Magic.  I started this little blog back in February and can't believe how fun the blogging journey has been thus far.  I have learned so much about blogging these past months thanks to online tutorials but there is still so much to learn AND try AND so many new blogging friends to meet AND blogging adventures to be had!   This summer along with vacations, bbqs, and setting up a new classroom, I am looking forward to extra blogging time (time to brainstorm blog post ideas, time to set some blog goals, time to connect with fellow bloggers, time to read and watch blog tutorials, etc)  With all of that being said now is the perfect time to host my first LINKY PARTY that focuses on Blog Love!  Come celebrate the end of the year with me and summer kick off; join the linky party fun! 

Summer Blogging Bonanza Linky Party!
Keep Calm and BLOG ON!

All you have to do is tell the blog world about your personal blog journey and post about it.

You can use these questions just copy and paste them in to your post:

1. Why did you start blogging?

2.  What blogs do you stalk?  What blogs inspire you? (These blogs can be teaching blogs, non-teaching related or both.  Make sure to link them so we can check out your blog favs!  Hello!?!?! We will certainly all need new blog reading material this summer)

3. Blogging tips, tools, and great ideas you have learned along the way

4. Blogging and balance

5. What are your blogging goals for the summer?

Then, come back here and link up!  Enter the exact link to your post. (see very bottom of this post)

Add this Keep Calm And Blog On Button by right clicking on the button and saving it to your computer. Insert the image at the bottom of your post with a link back to this party! 

My Blogging Journey

1. Why did you start blogging?

I played with the idea of starting a blog for a LONG time.  I kept putting off starting a blog and came up with a million excuses such as: a blog would be hard, I would not be able to keep it up, I don't know how to set up a blog.  When another year of pink slips hit I realized there was not much I could do to control job uncertainty, moving classrooms, grades, and schools.  What I could have control over was a blog and what I love most is my passion for teaching.   With encouragement from Mr. Winemaker and my mom I decided to start this blog that would give me something to look forward to during job uncertainty and a way to share my fun curriculum ideas.  I am officially a Teaching Blog Addict and I love it!

2.  What blogs do you stalk?  What blogs inspire you? (These blogs can be teaching blogs, non-teaching related or both.  Make sure to link them so we can check out your blog favs!)

Click on the banner above that says Blog Love.  This link will take you to my FAVORITE blogs that I read daily. 

3. Blogging tips, tools, and great ideas you have learned along the way.

One of the best purchases I made was the Blogging 101 event on Virtual Teaching.   I especially loved the Blogging Basics presented my Hadar Maor.  Hadar's tips really helped start me off on the right foot.  I also did blog research on Erica Bohrer's, Cara Carroll's, and Teaching Blog Addicts blogs.  (click on the names listed to see the posts that helped me)

4. Blogging and balance

When I first started blogging balance was hard.  My brain was constantly spinning about what to post, who was following the blog, did I have enough followers, do people like my blog, how to get my blog OUT THERE...  the excitement of blogging quickly turned in to a frenzy.  As much as I admire/adore/ and am inspired by Deanna Jump's success, I realize success like hers is not going to happen overnight.  Patience, letting go of control, and seeing what happens has never come naturally to me so blogging has helped me face this character flaw head on!  With much practice I now step back and enjoy the ride and am more patient letting things happen in their own time.  Amen!

5. What are your blogging goals for the summer?

-Get organized and put together a blog binder.

-Hopefully meet up with some fellow bloggers!

-Try out teaching ideas I have pinned on pinterest and share how they turned out on the blog!

I am excited to hear about your blog journey! 

Stay tuned for these upcoming posts: 

-Crayon Melting Art!  An end of the year student gift!
-A Father's Day gift idea!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Drom roll please.... Sprinkle Teaching Magic Makeover! What do you think friends?

Teacher Friends, I have missed  you!!!! Welcome to Sprinkle Teaching Magic's makeover episode.  Ok so maybe this is not an episode of What Not To Wear, but seriously I am SO excited about the new look for the blog and an unveiling is in order.  Ta Da (with jazz hands)!  Please poke around and tell me what ya think!  Now here is the scoop.  School is almost over, my blog is revamped, my kids are zany, and I am too, and tomorrow is FRIDAY!  I think this calls for a GIVEAWAY!  And you know I LoVe  a giveaway!!!!  Not just any giveaway, but a stupendiferous giveaway.  Ya, that's right; I am just making up the words today.

I was lucky enough to have Erica over at Cutest Blog On The Block do my custom blog redesign.  She took my vision and made it come to life.  Thank you, Erica!  How would you like to win an $80 gift certificate to Cutest Blog On the Block and turn your blog from drab to FAB?????  Maybe you want to finally start that blog you have been thinking of starting for ages.  With summer vacation around the corner it could be just the perfect time.  Or maybe you have a blog that needs a makeover; well the essentials treatment could be right up your ally.  The essentials package includes a custom background, matching header, custom 2/3 column template, and labor, revisions, and installation.  Or maybe you LOVE your blog, but want to add some extras to spruce it up.  The extra package could be just the ticket for you.  Just think, you could have your very own post signature, your own buttons for your TPT or Teacher's Notebook site, a custom blog button with grab box, custom  favicon....seriously the possibilities are endless.  Check out the Cutest Blog On The Block menu by clicking HERE.  Regardless of your blog makeover needs you will have $80 to spend to your hearts content!  Woot Woot!  I know, I know great, right?  You want to huuuuug want to loooooooove want to smooooooooch me... (maybe not smooch but imagine me saying this in my best Gracie Hart, Miss Congeniality voice)

How can this fabulosity of a blog makeover be yours you may ask???

Here's what you need to enter....  There are 7 ways to enter PLEASE leave a comment for EACH ENTRY.  Don't forget to leave your email! 

*Become a follower of Sprinkle Teaching Magic (see the sidebar on the right above)

*Follow me on  Pinterest 

*Check out my other blog, She Said G Said and follow me there!  We just redesigned (not professionally just in house)  our blog and will be posting content SOON!

Spread The Word

*Blog about this giveaway on YOUR fabulous blog and comment with a link to your post!

*Blog about this giveaway on your Facebook page!

The giveaway ends on Thursday, May 31st.   I will announce the winner on Friday June 1st!!!

I wish I had classroom photos and juicy curriculum stuff to share, but alas this week has been assessments, report cards, moving my classroom into storage (boooooo teacher pink slips), applying for teaching jobs, and end of the year fun kinder shenanigans.  Thank you for your continued support, blog love, and for being you! 

Cheers to the weekend!  Annnnnnddd break! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Open House, Community Week Continues, And Teacher Appreciation Fun!

Open House and Appreciation For Teacher Curriculum Innovators!

Tomorrow is Open House!  One step closer to the end of school.  This year my Open House is very different.  Usually I stick to a theme like Farm or Ocean and then all of the displays in my room relate to that theme.  I like to call this year a little of this and a little of that.  You will see what I mean as we start the Open House photo journey.

Students filled out this Open House writing page.  They drew the friends they play with at recess, made a list of important things they can do (sing, work, help, read, sound out words etc.) drew a picture of their favorite memory from the year (field trip to the farm, Coconut Day, Andy Z concert, etc) and students took their papers around on clipboards and had classmates write special words describing them.  Click the picture below to head to my TPT store and get your free copy of this)

Here kinders sit and think about what special word to write on their classmates paper.  After students wrote their word (nice, silly, smart, caring, hard worker...) they wrote their name.  I could tell students were beaming when they heard a classmate give them a compliment.  Warning:  before I had students do this part we brainstormed a list of words to choose from when giving compliments to classmates.  

Our Open House writing is proudly hung on the Writing Wall.  When parents read the paper they will really get a sense of their child's experience in kindergarten.  This writing activity was also a great reflection for me to see what the favorite events of the year students remember most vividly and to see what students can do.  Sometimes my perception is very different from what matters the most to them.  For example, one student wrote hula-hoop at the very top of his I Can list.  I can think of many other more academic ways this child has succeeded but to him hula hooping is the ultimate success.  Every day he practices hula hooping at recess and has become a hula hooping champion.  I am glad he can write this celebration on his paper!

I am extremely appreciative to the teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook who are creating amazing curriculum!  Here are some of my TPT favorites that will blow the socks right of the parents at Open House!  The kids loved these activities and cannot wait to show them off to their parents.

The Handwriting Fairy by Rachelle Smith.  Click the photo below and head to Rachelle's TPT store to pick up your copy of this cute activity! 

Students enjoyed reading the Handwriting Fairy story.  We then wrote letters to the Handwriting Fairy showing her that our handwriting is ready for first grade.  I have never seen my students more tuned in to their handwriting then they are now that the Handwriting Fairy is checking out their work at night.  We have spaces in between words, capitals in the right places, and writing that stays in the lines.  Love it! 

One of my FAVORITE TPT teacher curriculum creators is Babbling Abby.  I adore her materials and everything I have done in my class from her TPT store has been a huge success with my students!    Abby's 'Let's Get Pop-Rockin' comes with lots of great writing activities.  One thing I never want my kinders to feel limited by is thinking their words have to be correctly spelled.  VOICE in writing is huge to me!!!!  I make sure my kinders know that if they are thinking of a big juicy word to add to their writing but can't spell it, they should not choose a less juicy word that is easier for them to write.  We talked about how easy it would be to write Pop Rocks are cool, good, fun; but how boring that would be to read. Boy, once those pop rocks went in their mouth, they thought of a bunch of juicy words to describe pop rocks and used their fishy lips to sound out the word the best they could.  When a student only captured the first sound that was ok with me, and I took dictation for them.  This lesson is another reminder to me to NEVER underestimate a kinder, their vocabulary, and their imagination.  We had pop rocks exploding in mouths like volcanoes, and popcorn popping, and bubbles bursting.  AMAZEing.  Click the picture below to visit Babbling Abby's shop. 

Of course the fantastic Deanna Jump MUST make a cameo in this post if I am blogging about my appreciation for teacher curriculum innovators.  The day after Maurice Sendak died we read the book, Where the Wild Things Are  and enjoyed Deanna's Wild Thing craft and writing activity!  I made sure to put them up all crazy and wild!  Roar!!!!  Click the picture below to find this in Deanna's store!

We completed our symbols unit so our work will proudly be on display in an American Symbols folder.  I used Deanna's America Math and Literacy Fun unit and student's completed the Bald Eagle and Statue of Liberty.  The flag uses dot paint and oil pastels for the 50 stars.  

I love love LOVE Erica Bohrer!  Last week I brought my rabbit, Molly Sunshine, to our classroom.  Nibble nibble nibble.  Since we are getting closer to the end of the year I am reminding my kinders more and more how they are almost First Graders and how much they have grown and blossomed and become such amazing students.  Before I brought the rabbit in to school, students had to show me all the ways they are First Grade Ready!  I was desperate to find curriculum online about class pets and then Erica pulled through!!!!  She had a FREE TPT packet all about having a pet in your classroom.  I highly suggest checking it out if you are thinking of introducing a pet to your room next year.  We read Erica's Classroom Pet Rules.  We read books about rabbits and students completed Erica's Can, Have, Are rabbit paper.  After all of this hard work Molly Sunshine came to our room!  I hole punched and attached the papers to her cage so students can show their parents at Open House!  Students who continue to make good first grade choices get to feed Molly a carrot at recess.  WOW THIS IS WORKING!  Hello amazing rewards system for the end of the year! One day I will have to share more stories about Ms. Molly Sunshine.  She is quite the rabbit. (she even survived the year when a little boy duck taped her to the side of her cage and found my sticker stash and put stickers all over her.  Yes, this was when I was absent, and yes this story will forever live in infamy, and yes this happened WAY before I knew about Erica's Classroom Pet TPT pack!)  Click on the picture below to check Erica OUT!

Here is our classroom reflection board.  Students reflected on ME and our kindergarten classroom!  We have been practicing self portraits and labeling all year; now was their chance to try their skills out on their teacher!  After they drew a picture of me, they labeled words to describe me.  We brainstormed ideas using: Ms. Chako is...... With that simple start, students thought of lots of words (silly, big, happy, a teacher, my friend etc.)  The index cards you see around the pictures are words to describe our kindergarten class.   This was done on a separate day.  We thought of all the words that pop in to our mind when we think of our kindergarten room.   I love how this bulletin board is through the kinder's eyes and paints a picture of our classroom.  

I can't wait for Open House!  My students have been practicing their tour guide skills all week!  They are taking their tour guide job very seriously and are going to make sure their parents see and learn about every nook and cranny of our classroom.  

Community Fun Continues!

Rhyming Fire Trucks

 Short Vowel Apartment 

Police Badge Syllable Sort

 And my favorite is when the Community Book Homework projects are turned in!  I love to see the creativity, uniqueness, and hard work go in to these community books.

Check out my Community Unit.  Click below to find these activities!

 And last but CERTAINLY not least this week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my school.  Students brought in flowers from their garden today and one of my most amazing moms made this cute vase.  She hot glue gunned bright colored pencils to the outside.  The perfect gift for a classroom that brightens up the room.  LOVE IT!  

Have a great week, teacher friends!  Happy Open House! Thank you for reading this long post.  I just couldn't wait to share all this juicy stuff with you.