Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Operation Garage Organization :)

Now that Spring Break is here (although you wouldn't know it since it is actually SNOWING outside), I decided to get myself in gear and get some things more organized. My first job to tackle: the garage. Let's just say the garage has been a special place reserved for...well...anything and everything. We had the usual garage clutter offenders: auto items, outdoors equipment, tools, etc...but there were also things like boxes of electronic equipment left over from my husband's business or my piles of clothes/old shoes that needed to be donated. Let's just say the garage was, well, pure and utter chaos. Until now. The best part? I only had to buy a few hooks and the paint!

Normally I buy my paint from Home Depot because I really like Behr paint,  but I had this gut feeling to check out the selection at Lowe's (which is also a great store!). Whenever possible, I browse through the "mis-tint" paint section and wouldn't you know the exact color of orange was there as a paint and primer for $5.00! It was meant to be!

For whatever reason, my computer didn't allow me to turn this picture, but these hooks are AMAZING! All you need is a screwdriver (not even a drill), and they install in a matter in minutes. You don't even have to locate the stud-just put them where you want them!

Here are my left-over cans of paint, spray paint, and caulking. They took up too much space for my shelving, so I placed it here. Paint brushes and other painting tools were stored in a tin can.

The bright lights kind of mess with this picture, but here is our "outdoor" section. Chairs, golf bags, radio, coolers, ladderball, water balloons, roller blades, etc...

Although small, this does the trick for our "auto" section. Windshield fluid, oil, and cables are all in one neat little area.
This is quite possibly my favorite area of the garage:) We already had these handy drawers, so I spray-painted them and put cute labels on to easily organize them. Before I actually pulled everything out of the garage, I could not tell you what tools we had/or where it might be lying. Small items were stored here. Hammers, screwdrivers, sanders, and drills are on the shelves below (in black cabinet).

We also have 3 large white tables that I stored behind the black cabinet. Now all I have to do is paint the door and put a curtain on it. I started to label the items where our hanging tools are using a stencil, but that turned out to be an epic fail. Spray paint was not the best idea for that one. I repainted my mess up gray again and will return to that later. :) At least the garage is finally organized.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trapping Leprechauns!

Well it's that time of year again! Time to go Leprechaun Hunting! We started the week off by brainstorming things we knew about leprechauns (what they look like, what they wear, etc...). Then the conversation turned to how AWESOME it would be to actually catch a leprechaun...I'm not sure what we'd do with one once we got it, but that's beside the point;)

Students designed a plan to build a Leprechaun Trap using items from our room. Some were quite interesting...for example: "Let's get a plastic Easter egg. Put a piece of gold in it, and then when he comes, we snap it shut!" I then asked who would be stationed here all night because I sure wasn't staying all night! Then we came up with the design shown above, which of course we tested out. We put the pot of gold (yes, real gold not the plastic coins. If you were to use plastic coins, though, I'm sure putting rocks at the bottom of the pot to make it heavier and more believable would work just fine-not speaking from experience or anything;) It might also help to  tell the kiddos that if you touch the gold it takes away the real gold's smell, thus making the scent not as strong for a Leprechaun to detect.

 We put the gold out on our counter to let him know that he had it here for him, and Lennox the Lucky Leprechaun actually visited our room and wrote us a note! He said he could smell the gold but couldn't find it yet. Then we found our Leprechaun book out. He must have been catching up on his reading!
 He also pulled out my green blanket that covers my chair. We thought it looked like he had tried to climb the blanket to get closer to the counter where the gold was...
The day that we set our Leprechaun Trap, students wrote Lennox all kinds of notes! I had to go to a meeting that afternoon, but this is what I came back to:) They wanted to make sure he saw ALL of them, especially because Lennox wrote back to students who had written to him the day before. There was even a cheez-it sitting in with the trap in case he got hungry! Sidenote: this leprechaun has TERRIBLE handwriting! My students giggled when he said that he was just learning to write in cursive:)

We decided that we should all enter the room at the same time in the morning to see if our trap had worked. I promised that I would lock my door as soon as I got here, but that I would not peek in. It drove me crazy not to get to school early, but I kept my word. I did not come to school early. When we tip-toed into the room, this is what we saw:

Prepare yourselves! (especially those that are OCD!)


Sometime during the night, Lennox golfed, hopped through my cabinets, tossed desks and chairs around, sprinkled Leprechaun glitter around, and who knows what else!?

It was a CATASTROPHE! My kids were shocked, but we had to find out: Did we catch Lennox?!!

I took a video of the whole thing, but sadly, no, we did not catch our Leprechaun friend. However, Lennox did leave green mints, gum, glow sticks, and chocolate gold coins for all of my students. I guess I'll forgive him for giving me a mild heart attack:) My students KNEW this was the real deal because "Mrs. Watkins would NEVER EVER do that to our room!" (their words).

The chaos lasts for a little while but eventually everything gets picked back up (and re-organized right before Spring Break!) and gets back to normal. This is one of my favorite days of the entire school year:)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chop Stack Challenge!

We earned our Mystery Message today entitled "Chop Stack." Using chop sticks, my kiddos were challenged to pick up chap stick and try to stack it one on top of the other. This was a pretty difficult task; I couldn't do it in the one minute! We also made another challenge using cups and chops sticks. The students really enjoyed attempting to stack them or make a pyramid. They are begging for more tries! I think I'll use it as a motivator to get other tasks done. ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Help Wanted Area in the Classroom!

 I have created a "Help Wanted" area in my classroom:) The idea came to me after going through a few of my books, and noticing a few that were damaged or in the place. I have seen the idea to use a "Book Hospital" on Pinterest (where else?!) and decided to incorporate that into a job for a class librarian. The jobs I chose to post are shown below. I also decided to make this kind of like a real application process, where applicants have to fill out a form to be considered for the job. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of responses I get. :)
This job posting (for a student editor) says:
If you are a person who likes writing and helping others, then this job is for you! I am looking for people who can help revise other students’ papers.  To apply for this job you must have your rough draft and final copy completed. Please complete the following questionnaire and return it to Mrs. Watkins.
Name _______________________________ Date _______________
You may answer with a yes or no.
Does your paper have 5 separate paragraphs? ________    
Does every sentence have a capital letter to begin the first word? ______
Does every sentence have a period at the end of it? ________
Did you expand your facts from your organizer to make a longer sentence? _______
Can you help someone without distracting others? _______

This ad is for class librarians. It says: Our class is in need of 2 librarians this week. There are books that need sorted and neatly put away. Some books might even need to visit the book hospital. If this is a job that you would like to apply for, please fill out the form below. The deadline to return applications is at 12:00 p.m. today.

Name:________________________       Date_______________
Are you responsible? ____________     Can you keep the library neat and organized?_____
If there are books that need repaired, will you take them to the Book Hospital? ______
Why would you be a good candidate for this position? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________