DIY Mandala Box

DIY Mandala Box

 

Hello and happy Saturday. I think you’ll really like today’s post because it’s very simple and you’ll get to solve two issues that at least drove me crazy. For this, you’ll need a box and all the coloring pages you probably have floating around your house.

Let’s start with the box. You can use contact paper, but I was feeling creative, so I covered mine with thick masking tape and then just drew and colored patterns on it with Sharpies.

Now, when the box was ready, I worked on its contents. I had about six coloring books, which I’d started but hadn’t finished and which were driving me crazy. I took page by page out, and as you can see, I even cut along the outline of some. I put the coloring pages in the box and took it to school for my students.

Like I said, this solves two issues. For one, you’re not going to have coloring books or loose pages flying around, and also, you’re going to give your students another option of something to do in their free time. Tell them about the box and set some rules with them on how and when to use it.

Do you have coloring pages in your classroom? How do you work with them? Let me know in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY Treasure Box

DIY Treasure Box

Hello and happy Sunday. Today I bring you an idea that could work both for a classroom or a house where there are children. It’s incredibly simple, but trust me, your kids are going to love it. I’m talking about a “treasure box,” which is a cardboard box I decorated and filled with small toys for my students to play with.

I used a medium-sized cardboard box, and the only alteration I made was that I cut it so that my students could open it just by lifting the top flap.

 

 

You know contact paper is my best friend, and I used this wooden-print one because it was the only one I had around and I also liked the idea of it looking like a wooden box…it helped with the whole “treasure box/ chest” theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were the toys I started out with. I kept each either in a plastic egg or a small box, and I labeled the outside with the name of the toy and my name. I did this to avoid getting the toys lost, although with kids and such small items there’s really no guarantee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How cute is my dog’s tail, huh? Okay, to finish up, I just decorated the outside of the box. Keep in mind that even if you secure the stickers with some glue, they might fall off (or be taken off).

And that was it, a very easy way to make something cute and magical for your kids. In my case, I had all the supplies I used already at home, so I didn’t have to buy anything, not even the toys. If you were to do this treasure box, how would you theme it and what would you put inside? Let me know in the comments.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY Book Crates

DIY Book Crates

Hello and happy Sunday. A few months ago, I was watching Real Rap with Reynolds on Youtube, and I saw that he had these book crates on his wall and I had an idea. I’ve always thought that teachers in the States pay too much money for things that teachers in Colombia (and I’m sure many other countries) do themselves for a fraction of the cost, and these book crates are no exception.

 

I thought that even if Mr. Reynolds’ crates look cute, I wanted something that my students could have access to, so I thought about making book crates that I’d have on the floor. Spoiler alert: they ended up serving a different purpose in the classroom, but it was so easy to make them that I’m still going to share the steps with you. I used a cardboard box, glue, masking tape, paint, and a piece of paper.

 

 

 

 

I took  regular boxes and removed the top. Then, I proceeded to painting, which is what probably took me the longest because I first went in with white and then I added a deep, vibrant purple to one box and a nice orange to the other one. Then, as you see in the picture, I secured the bottom of the boxes from the inside. I glued a piece of paper to the cardboard, and then put tape on the edges so the paper would stay in place.

 

 

 

 

And look how cute my book crate turned out! Like I said, it is now serving another purpose, but at least it’s doing something in the classroom, right? I think that there are many items in our house that we consider trash and that can be reused to make our lives a little easier without having to spend a lot of money on stuff that, to be honest, will just harm the environment even more.

What would you store in these crates? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY Movement Dice

DIY Movement Dice

Hello and happy Saturday. I like to re-purpose just about anything for my classes, and whenever I have the time and the energy, I like to get crafty. In today’s post I’m going to show you how I turned an old baby formula box into a dice for my science class with Kindergarten. Let’s get started, shall we?

The first thing I did was assemble the box. You’ll notice the bottom is a little bumpy and that’s because I didn’t really know how the tabs fit, but I fixed that later on with lots of tape.

 

I used this dice for an activity on types of movement, to complement the work on a booklet by Little Lifelong Learners, so I searched for pictures of the objects shown in the worksheet. At first, I was sort of lazy so I printed the pictures on a colored paper so I didn’t have to color them myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what I both love and hate the most of making this dice: the covering up. I began by cutting colored papers in half and gluing them to each of the faces of the box. The paper didn’t cover the whole face, but that’s okay because I then put decorated duct tape as a frame. The center, or rather, the part where the color paper is visible, is where the pictures go.

 

 

 

To make sure my dice was super sturdy and boy-resistant, I covered the edges with colored tape. This also created a nice frame.

 

 

 

 

I then glued the pictures to each face of the cube and added commands, according to what the worksheet indicated for each object.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, yes, I couldn’t resist and had to color the pictures. For extra protection, I covered each with thick tape, but contact paper also works.

 

What other activities can you think of involving a giant dice or a cube? Let me know in the comments and I might try them out!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

 

 

DYI Book and Supplies Tray

DYI Book and Supplies Tray

Hello and happy Saturday. Recently I was helping out a colleague with something and she told me something along the lines of “I don’t know how you do it, I’m not crafty at all.” She’s a second-grade teacher and I honestly can’t, for the life of me, understand how an elementary school teacher can admit they’re not crafty. If you’re not born with it, experience is a great teacher. I became super crafty because I literally had to make every poster, bulletin board, and sometimes even worksheet with my own two hands.

I know, though, that not everyone likes to cut, paste, and color. I know that not every teacher has a box full of markers, pens, and colors in storage. And I know that there are easy ways to do things for your classroom that look super elaborate. This is why today I’m showing you how to turn a cardboard box into a book or supplies tray using only tape.

I’m not exaggerating; I only used two types of duct tape and spent about ten minutes or less on this DIY project. You see, I believe things arrive at your doorstep the precise moment you need them, and so when I got my September Book Case Club I decided the box was perfect to make a book tray for one of my pre-k classrooms.

First, I cut the lid off to get the tray-like shape. I put thick duct tape from the Dollar Tree on each side. It has that deep blue design because I followed the blue theme from the inside. Those letters go perfectly with the book vibe of the box. I then put solid blue duct tape on the tops and bases of each side, and that’s literally it.

This little project was intended to show you that you don’t need to spend a ton of money, time, or effort to have nice things in your classroom. You don’t need to be the craftiest to add cool details your students will appreciate.

If you know of any other easy DIY project for decorating a classroom, tell me about it in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY “Magic Words” for Bulletin Boards

DIY “Magic Words” for Bulletin Boards

Hello and happy Saturday. The other day I was getting ready for school and decided to organize some of my stuff.

You see, I have this box where I keep all the flash cards and other resources I’ve created throughout the years, including some “magic words” I’d probably kept to decorate a bulletin board someday.

I decided to take those words to school to place in my Pre-K boards. Of course, I needed more words because I had two classrooms to decorate, and I thought it would be a good idea to write this post and share with you how I’m using them. Let’s get started, shall we?

I got the words from Doodle Art Alley  and selected my favorite. I printed them in a smaller scale because they are the size of a whole page, then colored them using markers, glued them to cardboard, laminated them and then cut the outlines.

Personally, I love these “magic words” because I feel they can go in a bulletin board that you can just add to throughout the year. The words are very powerful and I think they can generate a discussion in the classroom, especially if you’re working with older kids.

The fact that they’re laminated will allow you to keep them and use them over the years, and you can also have each of your students color one word and it’ll be cooperative work.

What “magic word” would you add to our board and why? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY Bingo Poster

DIY Bingo Poster

Hello and happy Saturday. As a teacher, I’m often asked to do crafty stuff even if it’s not for the classroom. A few weeks ago, for a party at the institute where I take Portuguese classes, I was sent this picture to make a Bingo poster. I wasn’t sent a source so I have no idea who came up with the original poster, but in all honesty, I think it looks plain tacky.

I know non-teachers can see this and think “wow, there’s a lot going on,” but if you’re a teacher, then you know that the key to make an elaborate poster is to go step-by-step. I decided to keep the original idea of the poster, but to make it classier, you know? The elements would still be there (except for the giant head on top), but they would look better. In today’s post I’ll show you how I made my own Bingo poster, and of course, I’ll share with you the end result. Let’s get started, shall we?

The first thing I did were the letters, which I got from Life Over C’s. I colored them using jumbo markers. Now, when I say I did everything step-by-step, I mean I actually worked on each element and once I had everything ready, I glued it to a cardboard. That way, I avoided stuff falling out or getting wrinkled before the big Bingo day.

 

I went for a whimsical, multi-colored themed for this poster because I think part of the problem with the original one was that the colors were too opaque.

I printed these two cards from myfreebingocards.com and colored them using India ink markers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the remaining paper I made the chips, using the same colors I did for the cards.

 

 

 

This here is the end result. I think the light blue background makes the other colors pop. I added some banner-like thingies in the corner to make it look more like a fair stall, and kept the multi-colored vibe.

I think it keeps the elements of the original poster, but it’s a lot friendlier because the colors are way more vibrant, and it looks like something I’d make for one of my classes, so I’m pleased with the end result.

Is there any poster you’d like to re-create or simply make from scratch? Let me know and I might help you with it!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

DIY Scratch Paper Tray

DIY Scratch Paper Tray

Hello and happy Saturday. Today I want to show you one of my latest DIY projects, which will require very few supplies and little time, and the best part is that it’s eco-friendly.

I’m the kind of person who saves sheets of paper whenever only one side is used, and in my previous job I used to have a folder of scratch paper I’d keep to give to my kids for drawing. The folder, however, was not practical at all, and when I received my first Book Case Club box, I found it was the perfect size to make a tray out of it. You can use any box you have, obviously, as long as you’re sure it’s the right size for your papers.

I then cut the lid off. This particular box has a very nice design all around, although I think on the sides it has the Book Case Club logo and Twitter and Instagram handles, so I’d still cover that up. Anyway, if you find a box and you like the design, you don’t have to go through the following steps.

 

 

 

 

I used Contact paper on each of the sides, making sure I didn’t touch the rims (I’ll let you know why in a sec). You can use any design, but keep in mind that if your paper is not opaque enough, you might be able to see the design or the lettering of the box underneath.

I finished my little DIY scratch paper tray putting washi tape on the inner rims. I got mine in an OwlCrate and it’s from Simply Gilded. Honestly, design-wise I didn’t have a theme in mind, so it’s kind of mis-matched, but I totally love how the Mickeys and the letters and the mermaid scales look.

Do you have a scratch paper tray or bin in your classroom? What system do you use when it comes to re-using paper? Let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila

PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

 

DIY Bookish Treasure Box

DIY Bookish Treasure Box

Hello and happy Wednesday. Today I want to show you how to make a bookish treasure box because I think it’s a great gift. This is actually what my mom, my sister and I got my dad for his birthday, and he loved it.

The first thing you’ll need is a box. Now, before you start wrapping it, make sure that the books or other stuff you’ll put inside fit and that there is some available space to ensure that once they’re wrapped, they will fit in the box.

Now, I think step two is super annoying, but it’s what makes your box go from ordinary to treasure box. What you do here is cover the box in contact paper. We used this wood-like design, which you can get here, but there are other design choices you can go for.

 

 

 

Once the box is done, it’s time to wrap the presents. Now, I think this technique I use only works for rectangular-shaped objects, but it’s my go-to technique.

First step is to measure the paper. Please don’t roll your eyes at me, this piece of advice seems stupid, but then again, it’s better to measure and cut it before starting to wrap than having to stop halfway through and risking messing up. Trust me, I’m a teacher and I spent a while working as a gift-wrapper at this cute little bookstore.

 

 

Now what you’re going to do is fold one side of the paper towards the center of the book and place some tape there.

 

 

 

 

 

You’re going to do the same folding process with the other side, this time, though the paper must overlap the other one. Press the edges and put some tape there.

 

 

 

Make sure everything is smooth, and well folded before moving on to the next step. Also make sure there’s no air left inside because that makes the package look puffy and we don’t want that. What you’re going to do now is take the corners at either side and fold them inwards. You should get a trapezoid-like shape.

 

 

Now here’s where you test whether you folded the paper correctly in the last step because you’re going to make two folds towards the book or whatever you’re wrapping.

 

 

 

 

The second book should end on the book. Make sure there are no pointy corners because that looks bad. If there are, unfold and fold again, don’t use your scissors to remove them because that’s going to leave holes in the paper. Put tape on each edge and smooth out the paper. If it looks too puffy, that means the paper was too long. I would suggest that you unfold it and cut it evenly, then fold and tape again.

Finally, put the books inside the box. I added a quote to the top of the box using a Sharpie, and there you have it, a bookish treasure box.

Again, you can change the paper and the contents to personalize the box now that you know how to do it.

What are other bookish gift ideas you know of and love?

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

My TBR Jars

My TBR Jars

Hello and happy Wednesday. Have you ever experienced a reading slump? I’ve been on many, and I think that’s because I get easily bored of pretty much anything and everything, so it’s easy for me not to feel passionate a book I’m reading or not to feel motivated to start a new one.

I’ve come up with different strategies to deal with my reading slumps, but I think the one that’s worked the best is having TBR jars. I say “jars” because I have one for books in Spanish, and another one for books in English. The small one is the Spanish one, and I’ve had it for almost two years, I think.

I made my TBR jar for English books because I had a ton of titles to read (the ones in the jar and not even half of them) and I was sort of getting overwhelmed when I had to decide what to read next. I needed a system that worked better than the list I have written down in my super handy bookish notebook, and so I decided the best system was to just leave the choice to randomness and luck.

Doing your own TBR jar is easy and fun. I used an old Yankee Candle jar, and made sure I removed all the stickers around it. I got my super long list of books I want to read and wrote each title down in a lined paper I then cut in strips. I folded each strip and put it inside the jar, and that was it!

I have to admit that I haven’t yet used my jar because I still have a list of books I started and want to finish, but I can’t wait to put it in practice because I think this is a cute and fun way to pick new books to read without having to sit down and make a conscious decision, which is sort of what bores me and gets me to go into reading slumps. Hopefully, it’ll work.

Do you have a TBR jar or any other system to pick the books you’ll be reading? Tell me about it!

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila