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quilts, school

Teacher Gift – Quilt with Student-Made Blocks

In November, our school hosts the Great American Teach-In where they invite parents and members of the community to be a teacher for a day and share about their jobs.  In 2014 I helped out when my husband’s aunt came as a nurse from Shriner’s Hospital and it made me think that I could share about quilt making the next year.  After much thought I decided to do it for the 2015 Teach-In.  Now that the 2016 Teach-In is only a couple months away, I thought I’d share how I went about this.

I thought a lot about how I was going to share my hobby with the students.  I wanted to show them all the different stages of a quilt going together but I also wanted it to be interactive.  I cut out a 6 1/2″ square for each student and ironed it to a piece of freezer paper to stabilize it.  Then I collected all my Sharpies and bought a few packages of Tulip fabric markers so the students could create their own design on their block.

Teacher Quilt with Student Designed Squares

 

 

I knew there was going to be quite a bit of preparation to get the fabric squares for two classes (my son’s and my daughter’s) together.  I also had a secret plan to add those student-designed squares to a quilt as a Christmas gift for each teacher.  I even cut blocks for the rest of the quilt so I could start sewing them together soon after the Great American Teach-In.

Then, I was told that I would be teaching to a combined classroom – both my child’s classroom and its sister classroom.  I was immediately overwhelmed with the idea of making 4 teacher quilts and decided my plan would have to change.  I still wanted all the students to be able to create their own fabric so I added about 40 more white blocks on freezer paper to my existing stack of 40.  And then decided to play it by ear.

Wall Hanging Quilt for Teacher

I shared and taught about making quilts to my son’s 4th grade classmates first.  They were all very interested in the process and how I put things together.  When they finally got their squares and the markers we were running out of time.  I needed the markers for 2nd grade but I promised I would send the markers back so they could work on their squares the next day during “fun Friday.”

2nd grade was a little tougher audience than 4th.  I sped through the process a little more quickly and then doled out the markers and fabric.  Some of the 2nd graders did not want to color on the fabric and others could care less what they put on the fabric so I decided that they could all keep their fabric squares and take them home.

On Friday afternoon my son brought home a fabric square from each of his fourth grade classmates and I decided that I would make a wall hanging with them for his teacher.  But not for Christmas as I had already moved on to table runners as teacher gifts.

Silver Polka-Dot Binding

Originally I planned to have this quilt finished some time in the new year but it always got pushed to the back burner.  I completed it in April 2016 and decided it would be a great gift for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I brought it in to class at the end of the week and the students gave it to their teacher.  The students were super excited to see their blocks in a quilt and their teacher will have a great memento of the 2015-2016 4th grade class.

Quilt Details:

Size: 25 x 25 inches

Sashing:  A solid grey I had on hand…any pattern I tried took away from the blocks

Quilting:  Straight lines, both vertically and horizontally in the sashing and horizontal lines at the top and bottom.

Binding:  Super fun silver polka dot – I will use this again for binding!  In the interest of time, I used a zigzag stitch to sew the binding down to the backing.  I also added a pocket on the back for hanging.

Backing:  (Not shown) Leftover grey and white sheet from another project

 

 

 

organization, school, Tampa home

Simple Desks for Elementary Students

It’s been about two years since the kids and I went on a fun trip to get desks.  We had a lot of room in our craft room/office and I wanted them to each have their own place to do homework.  But, I didn’t want to spend too much on furniture that might not fit into the next house.  Since we already had a lot of storage for school supplies, I wanted a simple tabletop for each of them.

Since I’ve moved to Tampa and been near an Ikea, it’s become my go to store for furniture and storage items.  You can’t beat the prices and I’m not as worried about it becoming damaged in a future move.  There are still areas where I want nice furniture but there are a lot of places where Ikea is just right, such as these desks.

For under $100, we were able to buy two tabletops, two sets of legs and two swivel chairs.  The most difficult part of our adventure was choosing the chairs.  I had a vision for chairs that was a little different from the kids.  They both wanted different colors and different styles and I eventually steered them towards a single color, single style even though it wasn’t exactly the color I wanted.

Originally I set up the desks in the middle of the room and they faced each other.  This worked okay but they would easily distract each other and the desktops seemed to be constantly messy.  This prompted furniture move #2 in the craft room and their desks went up against a wall.

It turned out that the scrap book supply cubes I bought years ago were the exact same height as the desks and helped to contain some of the clutter that had spread over their desks.  And, I finally put labels on the drawers and it really helped with keeping things organized!

 

Elementary Study Area with Ikea Desks

I tend to get a project to 95% finished and call it good enough.  Labels are usually part of that last 5% that I don’t get to.  In the last year, I’ve been much better about adding labels and I am seeing why it is so useful.  Not to mention cute!  I still give myself a pat on the back every time I realize how helpful they are.

School Supply Storage

Each of the kids has a drawer to stash anything they’d like to help keep the clutter off of their desks.  Then I have places for glue, string, stamps and crayons.  There is a drawer for paper, a drawer for random craft supplies and a drawer for cards.  I recently went through and went through the cards.  There were a lot of good intentions in there…that never got mailed.  I decided if I hadn’t sent out the Thanksgiving cards in 5 years, I probably wasn’t going to get to that!

I bought each of the kids a desk calendar in an attempt to help them stay better organized.  I was mostly thinking of my son, who I thought could benefit from a monthly overview instead of the weekly planner he brings home from school.  My daughter was self motivated and has hers all filled out with special dates and homework due dates and his is still pretty much blank!

Casey's Desk

They each have a caddy on or near their desks which corral some of the junk that flows in.  We clean them out every once in a while when they start to overflow.  We’ve had them for years and they have always been useful in one way or another.

student desk with desk calendar

And finally, we have a lot of pencils!  I bought this divided copper container at Homegoods once and have been searching for a good place for it.  It’s a little short to store my kitchen utensils but it turns out to be a great place to store markers, pencils, scissors and rulers.

Copper Storage for School Supplies

The wall that the desks are on is a 16 foot wall and it was overwhelming to figure out what to put on the wall.  Originally it was going to have our college degrees on there but I thought it was a little boring.  When I moved the kids’ desks to this wall, it would have been cute to add bulletin boards and some of their projects but we just left it as is.

Desk Area

Now that my daughter’s room has been updated, she wanted her desk upstairs, so this area just has my son’s desk.  A few other things have been moved around and as soon as the new shelves are decorated, I’ll post the whole craft room/office!

family, school, Uncategorized

School for Casey

Casey started school too!  …two weeks ago.  Then she promptly got sick and missed a few days.  But she is back on track and set to enjoy the third week of school…her first full week of school.

She goes to preschool at a very nice Baptist church down the street.  (In Tennessee, there’s a very nice Baptist church every mile or so it seems.)  It’s five days a week and on two days she stays a couple extra hours for “Stay and Play.”  She gets to eat lunch with her friends and play for a little bit.  Last week was her first week of stay and play and it’s the longest time I’ve had to myself in quite a while.  Although I have to admit I was a little lonely at lunch.

So far she is having a great time at school and always has something to tell me and show me when I pick her up.  She is even doing made-up “homework” in the afternoons when Jack has to work on his homework!

family, school

1st Grade!

Jack started 1st grade on Monday!  He was very excited about going to school and riding the bus.  He didn’t seem to be nervous at all.  I guess I need to try not to project how nervous I would be if I were him onto him 🙂  New school, new teacher, new friends, new bus experience…and it didn’t phase him! 
 
After pictures and getting to the bus stop nice and early, he hopped right on the bus without a second thought.  The driver had to get him to turn around for a picture.  Casey and I had a nice long day together and then walked up to the bus stop to get Jack.  We waited for 20 minutes before we even saw a bus in our neighborhood.  It drove back and forth on the cross street below ours a couple times like the driver didn’t know where to go.  Then I saw some people walking from the other end of the neighborhood towards us.  It turned out to be Jack and another family from the bus stop where he decided to hop off the bus.  He got off about 3 stops too early.  The nice family decided to walk with him to make sure he got to our house.  When I asked him why he got off so early he said, “I didn’t know how close it was going to get to our house, so I just got off!”  Brave kid!  It didn’t upset him in the least.   
There’s since been a week of school and I’m not quite sure what he’s doing for 7 hours a day.  There’s “early bunch” in the morning which means they color until everyone gets there.  There are announcements, two bathroom breaks, lunch, and recess (if everyone is good).  I think maybe the learning starts this week? 
He brought home some homemade play-doh that his teacher made and he said, “It’s just like regular Play-Doh but it tells the future.  Isn’t that great?  This one said we are going to have a great year.”  
I think he’s made a few friends but he’s iffy on the names.  He said, “The one boy that I expected was going to be my best friend said he didn’t want to be my friend.”  It makes my heart break and makes me laugh all at the same time.  I’m not sure why he “expected” someone was going to be his best friend…it’s kind of cute.  And I’d like to hope he just misunderstood the situation and that boys are not that mean.  Luckily it didn’t seem to bother him too much.  And then we talked about making sure he was nice to everyone and friends with everyone. 
So far he’s enjoying the experience but he said the homework starts this week.  I hope he still likes school after this week 🙂 

family, school, Uncategorized

School Registration

Today was registration day at Jack’s new school.  He starts school next Monday!  August 6th is pretty early but he gets done around the 3rd week in May.  That’s why we had to miss International Festival and our two weeks of August in Maine and visit earlier.

Pat asked Jack if he was nervous about starting school and he said, “A little bit.”  When pressed further, he said he is nervous because he hasn’t really done as many worksheets as he should have done this summer.  Not because he’s going to a brand new school and has no idea where his classroom is or who his teacher is and not because he doesn’t know anyone at the school!

I’ve tried to get him to do a few worksheets and some reading this summer so he doesn’t completely forget how to read.  He’s been very resistant to it for the most part so I may have tried to guilt him into it by telling him he needs to remember what he learned last year or he’ll be behind.  Then I read something on Jack’s 6-7 year checkup from the doctor that said not to push them into reading because it can interfere with his interest in learning.  So I backed off.  Mostly I really want him to love reading like I do but I think that will come in time.

Anyway, I was probably more nervous for his registration day.  I had all my questions written down so I wouldn’t forget anything.  I had the most questions about the bus system.  The only elementary school experience I have is my own and I had 10 students in my class, there were 4 classrooms and only one bus.  This school has seven classrooms of 1st graders alone!

After driving home for a few more pieces of paperwork, Jack is officially registered for 1st grade.  He met the principal and despite our coaching, when she asked him a question he responded with his typical “Yeah.”  At which point she said, “He’ll be saying ‘Yes, Ma’am!’ in no time!”

I was really looking forward to back-to-school shopping but the school puts together a box of all items required for his class and it’s one-stop shopping.  I think Jack would have enjoyed the scavenger hunt of finding all the things on his list and filling the shopping cart, but Pat convinced me this would be much easier.  We still have to go out and find a lunchbox though.

Thursday night is parents’ night for Casey’s school although she doesn’t start until late August.  It is also a movie night at Jack’s school.  He should find out his classroom and teacher then.

And so the school years really begin!!!