Monday Made It - DIY Map Coasters

Oh, it's been so long since I've linked up anything decent! I can't wait until I have some time to create again this summer.

Today's Monday Made It is DIY map coasters. I got the idea from this pin:

I decided to make these coasters as Father's Day gifts. Instead of one city chopped up into four coasters, I was thinking of making a coaster per city where they had traveled or lived.

First, I headed to {this site} to see if I could score free paper maps. Turns out, I should have thought of this idea earlier as many of the state tourism sites took a few weeks to get something sent through the mail. Ahh, snail mail. How I've missed you! However, a quick post on FB gave me more maps for the surrounding states than I could ever hope to use.

While I was waiting for those, I made a trip to Lowe's for some 4" tiles and bumper pads. I decided to go with tumbled marble instead of the shiny smooth tiles so it had more of a manly, natural look. I had to dig into several boxes to swap enough decent tiles.

Once maps started arriving, I decided on four locations for each father that had some sort of significance to them. I cut out 4" squares for each location.

After wiping down the tiles to get rid of the dust and chalkiness, I Mod Podged the maps onto the tiles.

After that dried, I sanded the edges of the maps to give them that rough look. I imagine this step would be optional. If you are going to leave a clean edge, then you're going to want to cut your maps slightly smaller than a 4" square. The left coaster in the picture below is post-sanding, and the right is before. Obviously, I did this step outside on my deck.

I stuck a bumper pad on each corner of each coaster at this point because I knew that I wanted to add a coat of Mod Podge to the top and sides, and the bumpers would raise them up a bit. I opted for the clear ones instead of the felt ones. I thought that these would hold up better.

Then I applied said coat of Mod Podge to the top and sides.

At this point, I didn't know if they were done or not, so I test drove one to see how it did. Would it seal out condensation? Would all of these be ruined on the first use? So I loaded up a glass of ice and Crystal Light, and put one to the test. And it left a ring. Boo. But then the ring dried. Yay! So then I put on some OUTDOOR Mod Podge and gave that a whirl. I figured if you put it on stuff that gets rained on, maybe it would work for condensation. Tried with a glass again, and I guess it's important to read the directions and let it dry 72 hours before using. So I peeled off that layer, and put two more coats on. Hopefully that will do the trick!

I am also linking with TTT for their Monday Meet Me.

Here is a list of three things for which I'm thankful. I think they're self-explanatory :)


Let's Play Hopscotch! {Freebie}

Get your exclusive freebie {here}! It will be taken down at the end of the day on Wednesday, July 2!

Click on the button below to get your freebie from the fabulous Jennifer Findley!!


What I'm Wearing Wednesday - Stitch Fix #7

This top is actually from {Twice}. If you want to learn more about that, click {here}.

If you are interested in learning more about Stitch Fix, visit {this post}. If you are ready to try it out for yourself, here is my {referral link}.


Wordless Wednesday and Friends of the Fives - 6/25/14

Any jobs you're dreading this summer?

And now I'd like to welcome my guest blogger, Lucy from Kids Math Teacher!

Hi Fifth in the Middle readers!

I'm Lucy Ravitch at Kids Math Teacher.  I started my blog in April of 2013 in hopes to give great resources for Elementary School Teachers and parents.  Here are possible questions you may be thinking...

Who made your awesome logo?
Great question!  I designed it, but I hired a person on Odesk to digitally make it.  He had made a logo for another friend that turned out amazing as well.

What has been your most popular post?

At 1500 views it would have to be my post More Fractions with Egg Cartons.  I really love doing fractions with egg cartons.  It is a strategy I learned in my teaching courses at college and I love to teach it!  I'm very happy it's my top post.

Any posts that surprised you with popularity?

Yes, I did not realize how many teachers are searching for info on composite shapes!  My Math activity Thursday post with composite shapes has had almost 900 views... Who knew?

Any posts you thought were awesome but haven't had much attention?

Yep.  My kids loved doing this activity!  The picture says it all!

What are some of your favorite products you've made?

So happy to share... One of my favorites is my original story Trouble with Monkeys: A place value story.  
It teaches the ones through millions place with a boy trying to pack oranges at his Dads packing facility.  Oranges go from singles into bags of ten, to boxes of a hundred, and so on until they ship off a cargo ship of a million oranges.  They are really mischievous monkeys!  I even made a video of me reading it : )

My favorite FREE product I made was probably my ice cream scoops...

I like drawing food... I know, that might be weird.  It turns out it may also be helpful : )

I have a collection of children's novelty books that I have been working on for several years that are pretend menus, kids play with them by ordering from each other and playing with money.  It's a great hands-on math experience!  I plan on independently publishing it and running a Kickstarter campaign for it this coming January.  I'd love for anyone interested in updates about Kids Menu Books to sign up for my monthly newsletter on Kids Math Teacher.  You can also check out right now and print off free play money to use (I call it 'menu money').

Anything else you think teachers would like to hear about?

I did start a Google + community about a year ago.  It is called Elementary School Teachers.  I made it so teachers could share and support each other.  Teachers can share their blogs, pins they love, teacher store products, share stories or teaching tips.  I was hoping there could be some great relationships made by matching up teachers from all over the web.

Thank you so much Diane for hosting me and my blog!  I hope everyone has a wonderful summer!

If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please complete this form:

Bright Idea - DIY Screenprinting

It's time for another Bright Ideas linky! I look forward to these every month because I get a ton of great, product-free ideas. This month I'm going to share how I made class t-shirts for our track and field day.

A few weeks in advance, I asked the kids to bring in a plain white t-shirt. Most everyone already had one at home, and I suggested to those that didn't that maybe they would want to pair up with someone who wears the same size and split a multi-pack. And since there are always a few kids that really don't have the means to get one, I found a deal at Joann's for $3 shirts (BEFORE the teacher discount!) and just asked them to give me their sizes. In fact, I offered to shop for others if they wanted to just give me the $3.

In the meantime, I designed the logo that I wanted on the shirts in PowerPoint. I tried to think of something that would connect so that I would only have one piece to deal with.

Then I printed a few copies out on cardstock and cut them out. I wanted something thicker than regular paper so it would hold up a bit and not get soggy. I also wanted more than one copy so that they could dry a bit between uses.

These have already been sprayed...
While at Joann's, I found this great spray fabric paint. I got a variety of colors for a decent price, and of course, I had a coupon.

I took a piece of construction paper and put it inside the shirt (which is the dark area you can see in the picture below) and laid the template on the shirt. In a few squirts, the shirt was done! I will tell you that the edges aren't totally clean and crisp because the template wasn't heavy enough to be completely flat against the shirt, but it worked for us! Then it was a matter of letting the kids use Sharpies to sign the backs of the shirts :) Easy peasy for this OCD, don't-get-my-room-dirty teacher!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on {Facebook}, {Pinterest}, or view {last month's Bright Idea} for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


What a Week and Solstice Sale

To say this week has been insane would be an understatement. For those of you who are impatient and maybe have a gazillion blogs to catch up on today, I have a new job! For those of you with some time, keep reading the get the story.

I am a creature of habit. I hate change. When I did my student teaching, it was in my home district, even though I had to drive 45 minutes to get there. When I subbed that first year our of college, it was mostly in my home district. That led to a full-time job there. When I got married, we moved slightly closer, partway between my job and my husband's job. Still, it was a 30-minute drive. Living in Iowa, winters can get pretty rough, which made driving conditions horrible. And with my oldest starting school, I just wanted to be closer to home since she wouldn't be attending. So I started applying other places whenever I could, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to leave the good thing that I had at my job. Didn't matter, though, since I had a lot of experience and my masters, which made me expensive.

A couple of years ago, things started shuffling around internally in my district. Change was coming whether I liked it or not. That's when I started this blog. Anyway, the change has been okay. I did two years of one section of ELA and three sections of SS. As many of you know, I was supposed to do three 90-minute blocks of math since things were shuffled again due to budget cuts and staff that got pink slipped. (I believe that most, if not all, of them got called back because other staff members ended up getting jobs in other districts.) I like math fine. I actually like it a lot. And with my 15 years of experience and my masters, I was too expensive to go elsewhere. Or so I thought...

When we got back from Disney last week, there was a message on my machine from a different school from a district in which I applied. It's clear on the other side of the district, which is a half-hour away, but it was for fifth grade, so I gave it a shot. I interviewed on Tuesday, and the first thing that I was told was that it was a one-year position, and then I would be transferred to the other side of the district, ie. within ten minutes of my house. Later that day, I started to get messages from my references that they had been contacted, and I was offered the job the next day. Needless to say, I accepted. One more year of driving, but this district is good about calling snow days and late starts because of their location. I feel so incredibly blessed to have been given this opportunity.

So what does this mean for you? I will now be sharing ideas and experiences about all fifth grade subjects - ELA, SS, math, and science (which I have never taught before - so those posts may be amusing). I'm trying so hard to not let this consume my summer, but my brain has been buzzing since Tuesday. So wish me luck with that...

In celebration, I decided to participate in this weekend's Solstice Sale. My {ENTIRE store} (yes, even the bundles) are 20% off on Saturday and Sunday.

You might be interested in my {Everything Bundle} for ELA centers. Right now, it includes six ELA center products, but I will be adding more as I make them, so snatch them up now! The price will only go up, and my bundles won't be on sale during back-to-school.

If you want to find other stores on sale or add your own, visit {Deb's blog}.


Wordless Wednesday and Worksheet Wednesday - June 4

Last day of school! Love these shorts to show each class since you don't have to worry about showing the whole thing! What are your go-to movies?

I don't have one to share today, but don't forget to go to {The Teaching Tribune} to stock up on free worksheets today!

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