Mystery Reader

I started having Mystery Readers in my classroom last year.  Have you heard of it?  A fellow teacher did it in her classroom and I decided it was a great idea.

I invite all parents to sign up for a day to be our class Mystery Reader.  When they sign up they give me 3 clues about themselves.  My students try to solve the case prior to the reader coming in.  It was so fun watching them deduce who it was.  I even invited staff from around the building to join.  The kids were thrilled when that happened!

I love these collages because you can see the joy on both the parent and students face!  I am helping to create a memory that will last a lifetime!

Last year, I invited people through email and they signed up using a Google Doc.  I liked the Google Doc because people could see what dates were taken immediately.  The problem was a lack of participation from parents due to them not reading their email.  Shocker I know!

Most of my schedule was filled up with staff, such as the Dean of Students, Librarian, Secretary, and Art Teacher.  It was loads of fun seeing another side of them.

The Mystery Reader is in charge of choosing and providing the book to read.  Our Secretary shared a book about snowflakes called "Snowflake Bentley".

The kids were entranced by the different snowflakes and how they were so difficult to be photographed.  

Our Art Teacher's old neighbor published a book about the area where she grew up.  She ordered it online and shared it with the class. 

Our Dean of Students read "Skippyjon Jones".  He did the voice perfectly!  Lets just say that the students weren't the only ones cracking up!

I think your class would love to add this new tradition to the classroom.  I created a Mystery Reader Pack this year to encourage more participation. 

I will be handing out the invite letters at Meet the Teacher night.  I also included a thank you card in the pack that can be signed by the whole class.  There is a space inside of the card to print and attach a 5x7 photo of the Mystery Reader with their child or the class.  They will love the memento!



Crate Seats...Easy as 1,2,3!

Today I am going to share with you how I made my crate seats.  There are many blog posts about this very topic, but in case you haven't seen them I will share my way.  

Teaching Ever After

These crate seats have got to be the easiest project my husband and I have tackled!  Keep in mind that there are different dimensions for different milk crates, so I will not be giving you cutting dimensions.

You will need milk crates, fabric, sturdy wood, padding, a staple gun, and tools to cut the wood.

Teaching Ever After
I seriously got over 2 yards of fabric for $13!!
I purchased my milk crates from Target a few years ago.  When I was there a few days ago they did not have green, but had pink and another color.  The fabric came from Joann Fabrics.  I got a yard of each color and that was MORE than enough.  

Step 1: May or may not have started with my husband dumpster diving for wood.  We live in a developing neighborhood and there are tons of scraps.  I am not advising you to do this, but it is an option. Hehe!  I don't have a picture of him doing it unfortunately.

Teaching Ever After

He was able to score some 3/4" plywood.  It wasn't perfect, so he had to square it off with his circular saw.  

Step 2: He took the dimensions of the inside lip of the milk crate.  The wood will sit on the lip.  I am sure this project could be done in a different way if the crate does not contain a lip, but the crates I purchased from Target had the lip.

Teaching Ever After

Step 3: Using the circular saw (and all of the proper safety gear) he cut the plywood to the proper dimensions.  When he was done we tried to fit it in.  It did not work because the corners of the crate were rounded.  He took off a small amount off of each corner of the plywood to make it fit.

Step 4: We used foam mats to pad the plywood for a more comfortable seat.  It isn't like sitting on a comfortable couch, but it did the trick.  We trimmed the foam mat to size. 

Teaching Ever After

Step 5:  This is where I had some fun.  Up until this point my awesome husband had done all of the work.  I laid out the fabric face down and put the foam mat and wood face down on top of it.  I decided to cover the whole bottom portion of the plywood with fabric to prevent splinters.  I used my husbands air nailer that shoots staples with 18 gauge 1/2" staples.  I am sure that you could use a regular staple gun.  We just didn't have one at the house.  I stapled one side at a time being sure to pull the fabric tight each time.  When I got to the last two sides I wrapped it like a present.  

Teaching Ever After

That is all there is to it!  Easy Peasy!  I hope I explained this clearly.  If there are any questions PLEASE feel free to comment below.


Quietest Pencil Sharpener GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey everyone!!  You may remember my post a few months back about the most awesome pencil sharpener by Classroom Friendly Supplies.  If you did not catch that post you can read it {here}. Trust me you will want to read it!

Well, Classroom Friendly Supplies contacted me and asked if I wanted to give one away to my readers.  Um....yes!!!  So here it is my friends!  Complete the rafflecopter below and good luck!  If you are not the lucky winner you can still get a 5% discount on your very own sharpener using the code below by September 6th.  School starting soon?  No worries they arrive really quickly!  



Christmas in July Sale!!

Can I just say that we could not be holding this sale on a better day.  It is FREEZING in Indiana!  I can't handle anything below 75 degrees.  I am not kidding you!

I am linking up with some friends of mine for a dollar sale.  I love any excuse to shop at a bargain price, so lets celebrate Christmas in July!

I have 4 of my favorite beginning of the year items on sale for $1.  Trust me it will be the best 4 bucks you have spent. :)

My Classroom Management Tools has everything you need to get started off on the right foot this year.  I blogged about it {here}.

Monthly Writing Journals are a fun way to spruce up your writing station and an exciting way to have students share and collaborate.  I have a great way to organize them.  Check it out {here}.

My kids totally love the Groovy Cat.  So why wouldn't they be motivated by a Groovy Cat Clip Chart.

Fall Fun! with Nouns and Adjectives is one of my favorite products and I look forward to expanding on it soon. 

Be sure to check out all of the other awesome deals going on!
Happy Shopping!


Boogie Board Review

Have you heard of Boogie Boards?  I am not referring to the board that you used in swim class to practice kicking.  I am talking about LCD eWriter by iMPROV Electronics.  

I have been using them around the house and with my own kiddos this summer.  I love how durable they are.  My 2 year old has done about everything she can to it and it has held up.  She is not a dainty 2 year old.  She is rough and tough, so that is saying something.  Have I mentioned that it is scratch resistant?  Perfect!  

My son is starting Kindergarten in the fall, so we have been practicing letter formation with him.  You may or may not know that he has Cerebral Palsy, so fine motor is a challenge for him.  I love that the Boogie Board Original came with magnets, so I can easily attach it to any magnetic surface.  This is key for him because he has more control on an elevated surface.

I love to use the Sync 9.7 with him too, so we can track his progress.  I can easily add notes to his work before saving with the date and how the board was positioned.  It becomes a quick way to save his work and to track progress. 

So what is a Boogie Board and why do I NEED one in my classroom?
As I said before it is an LCD eWriter.  It is a great alternative to paper practice and it also takes away the pressure of getting it right the first time.  If you make a mistake you just push erase and it is gone!  I am so excited to use this in my classroom for Daily 5 Word Work practice among other uses.  I know my students are going to love the alternative to paper pencil practice and the excitement of using technology.  Really the possibilities are endless with the Boogie Boards.  I have been talking mostly about the Original, but the Sync is even MORE amazing!  You can actually save your work, hook it up to a computer, and retrieve your file.  How great would that be for documentation of progress or for accountability of independent work?!

I have to be completely honest!  I have been using the Boogie Boards for my own personal use around the house too.  I have one hanging on my refrigerator with a "to-do" list and the other by my desk with a TPT creation "to-do" list.  I love that I am not wasting paper with my endless lists AND the Boogie Board Original is small enough to slip in my purse to go to the grocery store.  

I am truly in love with this product and can not wait to use it in my classroom full of first graders!  I see more than one in my future!  Do you??


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