Wednesday, October 7, 2015

5 Facts About Me!


So, throughout this wonderful blogging and TPT journey, I have met many wonderful people who have challenged me to become a better teacher, helped me to strengthen myself, and just generally boosted me up in many different ways. One of those amazing people is Nikki, from Teaching Autism (you should totally check out her blog if you haven't already!) and she is hosting a link up!

I have shared many different fun stories about my shenanigans in the classroom, but I feel like I haven't really shared much about myself or my personal life. So here I am...sharing five random facts about me! I hope you enjoy.

1. I am a shoe-aholic. I confess it...I totally am. I have a problem with shoe shopping and if I'm not monitored I'll spend every last penny on cute shoes! At one point in time (before I was married) I owned 63 pairs of shoes!!! When I moved in with my lovely husband I had to cut down. I am down now to 20 pairs of shoes total. 6 pairs of heels, 2 pairs of tennis shoes, 5 pairs of flats, 3 pairs of sandals, and 4 pairs of boots. It was so hard to cut down, but I did it and now live by the rule...if I get one I have to give one! It has saved my life! (If only I could apply this mentality to my clothes now...hmmmmmmm...)

2. My heart breaks when I see dogs in an over crowded shelter. I know exactly what happens to dogs when shelters get over crowded and many dogs don't have a fighting chance to find their forever home. I want to cry when I think about it. My biggest goal is to open a non-profit dog rescue to rescue loving dogs that are not adopted for whatever reason (be it breed-target legislation, age, health issues etc.) I hope to not just open a rescue, but I'd love to have different "sectors" of this rescue to help out many areas of the country with over crowded shelters. 

3. I am newly married. I will be celebrating 3 years of marriage with my husband (7.5 years together total) this November, and I cannot believe how the time has flown. He is my best friend, my other half, and even through our rough times, he does everything he can to show me loves me and I'm appreciated. I love him very much!

4. I write stories for fun. Usually with people, but I write stories for fun. Through high school I wrote 4 novels (over 300 pages each) and countless short stories. I would love to get these stories published, but I'm too insecure about my writing, I don't think I could EVER send it in for editing and to be considered for publishing! Eek! The idea is terrifying. 

5. I would LOVE to travel! I want to travel the world! I want to visit every country on the planet before I pass on. I don't know if I'll get there, but I want to do my best. I've already visited Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, and 20 of the 50 states in America. It's not a lot yet, but it's a start for being only 26. I would love to see more of the world once I'm settled into my job, maybe after the kids (who are not born yet) are in college? I don't know. I don't have a plan yet...just a deep seated desire!

Well, that's it about me! Those are my 5 random facts. I hope you found them interesting? Maybe...just a little?

Thank you for reading, and always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

Friday, October 2, 2015

Glue sponges!!


So we've been busily working through our year, getting used to classroom norms and routines. I've been POSITIVELY SWAMPED! I logged on to my blog to check how things were going with my redesign...and I realized, I hadn't posted since mid-August!! I'm horrible! 

I wanted to give a little update on some fun things we've been working on in my classroom and the wonderful tools that have helped with making that possible! Now, a good portion of my report card focuses on motor skills...and I've been doing {these} wonderful guided art lessons by TLC Lessons that I purchased (they are AMAZING) but...they require A LOT of glue so the construction paper sticks. My solution? GLUE SPONGES!! 

Now, I can just about HEAR you all saying, "But Nichole...what about glue sticks!? They're less messy, and easier to use!" and I completely agree...they are less messy and easier to use, but the glue sticks we get from our supply closet seem to be construction paper repellent. It takes A LOT of glue stick to make the construction paper pieces stick. Back to my solution: glue sponges. Last year I was able to use glue bottles, but I found my kids still used  a ton of glue no matter how I tried to remind them not to. I taught them "dot, dot, not a lot" and I told them that "we don't want to make our papers cry." Yet still, every time I did an art project I was wiping up glue off the tile in my classroom.

This year, my kiddos are younger, and in need of more time to grow and mature with our materials. I didn't want to waste a lot of glue while trying to teach them the different methods I'd used. I did a lot of research and decided to try out glue sponges. I already had these cute little orange containers that I bought at the dollar store (2 to a pack) that I used for "piggy banks" a couple years back!

I numbered them for my kiddos so they could keep track of their lids.

I went to the store by my house and found sponges on clearance! CLEARANCE! A pack of 4 for $1.35! Did I mention these were massive sponges that I was able to cut into quarters?? Yeah. So one pack of 4 got me 16 sponges! I bought another pack of 4 (smaller) sponges that I cut in half and viola! I had 24 sponges cut to just the right size for my little containers. 

These were the last few left that I didn't cut up.

Now I have to put a disclaimer out there...I didn't actually READ a lot of how-to's on how to make glue sponges...I just assumed toss a sponge in a container and cover with glue. WRONG! After I made a complete mess of the first one, I went back and did my homework. I found out that I'd skipped not one - but two crucial steps to help make glue sponges work! *Sigh* This is why you do your homework kids! 

So day 2...this was how I made my glue sponges. I started by taking my sponge pieces and dropping them all into my sink in my classroom. I filled the sink with a little bit of water just to dampen the sponges and get out any chemicals that might be in the sponges. Then I went to the containers and put a thin layer of glue along the bottom. I grabbed a sponge and wrung it out. You do not want a ton of water in your sponge because it will not soak up the glue! You just want it damp. I placed the sponge in the puddle of glue and then put another thin layer of glue on top of the sponge. I placed the lid on it and then walked away. I'm so glad I walked away. The next morning there was no glue in the container! It had all soaked up into the sponge. I put another layer of glue on top of the sponge and left it. The glue settled around the sponge and viola! My handy-dandy glue sponges! Here is the finished product!

 I love them! The kiddos just have to press down on the sponge and it deposits just the right amount of glue on the paper. There is no spilled glue, no wiping glue off the tiles! I did a little happy dance after our first art assignment when I noticed there were no crying papers!! 

One draw back is, I do have to fill them once a week, but I typically pour a little glue on top of the sponge on Friday afternoon before I go home for the weekend and then by Monday the glue has settled properly. It's just amazing! I don't think I can ever go back to glue bottles again. 

Did I mention that they're the perfect size for students to share? I put one down between two students and they can each use it! It's just perfect. It teaches the kids about taking turns and sharing, while also teaching them the appropriate amount of glue to use. Did I mention perfect? (I did...oh. Ok.)

Anyway, I hope some of you find this helpful and maybe you can make your own glue sponges for your kiddos! Always remember that every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,

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