Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sun Catchers Plus a FREEBIE

Well, you can certainly tell that I'm back to school. I haven't blogged in a month. Insert sad face. My goal was to be better once the school year started. Looks like that goal isn't going so well.  So here's to being positive and trying to do better since the madness of the beginning of the year has is quickly dwindling down and the monotonous routines of the school year have commenced.  Can I just say that this is my 7th year teaching and this may have been one of worst, and by that I mean busiest, start to a school year yet.  Seriously. It's been fifty shades of cray-cray.  Thank goodness all of "my shows" have officially come back for the year. I mean it's almost been 5 months since an episode of Scandal.  I was seriously starting to shake from withdrawal (not really, of course). But you feel my pain I'm sure.

I've been fortunate enough to have windows in all of my classrooms.  Some let in more natural light than others, but it's still so nice to be able to see the outside world with a turn of my head.  I've learned from blogging that this is not always the case for all of you. I don't know how those of you that don't have windows in your classroom do it. It really should be illegal to not have windows in a classroom.  Getting back on track,  I like to use as much space as possible in my classroom to hang any sort of educational posters and/or decor.  I love crafts, especially seasonal crafts.   I always have clothespins hanging from the ceiling so that I can hang different student work throughout the year.  I've found a way to use that beautiful natural light and still be able to liven up the room with some seasonal crafts and decor.

Enter my sun catchers.  They are easy to make and the kids LOVE them.  Plus, once you send them home they make great keepsakes for parents to hold onto to show their kids when they get older.  I know my parents did that for each year that I was in school and then gave it to me at my high school graduation as one of my presents.  It was SO fun to go back through each year and look at some of the work I did, both cute and hilarious.  It was surprising how many of the actual crafts that I actually remembered doing.  Honestly the hardest part about the sun catchers is the time consuming part of cutting the contact paper down to size, especially since each student will need two pieces, and cutting the tissue paper into small squares.  But if you have an eager parent that would love to help out that's the route I usually go.  I will typically cut one piece to the size that I need it to be and send the roll of contact paper and number of pieces I need home for the parent to do there.  I would just be sure to send it home a couple of days before you really need it to give them plenty of time.

The easy part is left to you. Just copy the template onto colored construction paper and you're ready to go.  The kids can cut out the template on the outside and the inside.  If you want the kids to add some additional features to some of the templates you can provide other colored pieces of construction paper for them to draw and cut out they own.  For example, I usually cut small green squares and a small black or brown square for each child to draw their own leaf and stem to cut out and add to their sun catcher.

So here's a breakdown of the actual making process.
The kids cut out the template.  Kids peel back one piece of contact paper and lay it sticky side up on their desk (some of your kiddos may need help with this). Lay the cut out template on the sticky side of the contact paper. Fill in the empty space on the inside of the template with tissue paper squares.  Once the inside of the template is filled in, peel back the other contact paper and lay on top of the template sticky side down.  Flatten out and press out air bubbles as much as possible.  Then cut the template out again from the contact paper. Then voila! You have a beautiful sun catcher to pretty up your room.

I have added 4 packs of sun catchers to my TPT store: a fall, December, winter, and spring pack.  I'm working on a couple more templates to add to some of these packs and hope to have those done by the end of this weekend.  I'll also be working on bundling all of the packs together.  You can see each of the packs below.

And finally for the FREEBIE! I'm sure many of you are familiar with this cute little phrase.  I've seen different versions on Pinterest, but wanted one to match my color scheme in my own classroom.  Of course I couldn't make up my mind as to which background I liked best, so for all you other indecisive teachers out there I went ahead and included all the different backgrounds in the freebie pack.  Hopefully you can find one that works for you!  Enjoy!

P.S. Tomorrow is the first day of October! Ahhhhh!  Because we all know what the topic of student conversations will be for the next 31 days.


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