First off, may I share the finished product of what my dad made me?
The finished bench. He made me three, actually, and would not let me put them on the grass for the picture because he did not want them "mucked up". Which is fine. I don't want them mucked up either. This is the Kolbster modeling for you, so you can see a kid-sized person on it. 4 milk crates zip tied together, bolted a board on top, ran two boards down the center and zip tied them for anchorage. Dollar plastic shoe boxes turn this marvelous seating into an eight storage bin piece of organizational magic. And since I have three, this gives me 32, yes! I said THIRTY-TWO storage spaces. My trampoline also went belly-up recently, so I used the padding that went around the springs as my seating. And then my Mummy gave up some of her fabric for the upholstrizing. I believe that I'll be covering the zip ties with ribbon.
I'm very excited to use it this year. Each classroom in my school has a large light blue carpeted area that we use for meetings. My plan is to put these babies on the three sides, leaving the middle open. I can get twelve kids on the benches and then the remainder can sit on the carpet. That of course creates a bit of a sticky situation, doesn't it? WHO will be the lucky ducks that get to sit on the bench? And when will it be my turn?! He sat there twice already!! I've NEVER gotten to sit on the bench! Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh!
Yeah. Maybe that sort of thing only happens in my room.
But I've solved it, see? They'll never complain again, see? Hardy har har! I made up this little system to pick partners randomly, and it turns out it'll be perfect for bench seating as well. Yes, I know it LOOKS complicated- but it's actually very easy, since I already did the complicated part of figuring out the dispersal of the numbers/colors/symbols so that in all three potential match-ups you don't have the same partner. And that took some time, kittens. Yep- two entire episodes of Sesame Street, and I made little cut-up cards to move around and help me- and Babyzilla had plenty of ideas to aid in my creativity (since "Melmo" just wasn't as distracting as he should have been), let me tell you.
My system creates six possible groups of four, as well as determine who partners with who. And since it all ends up random, I never get fussed at for the Hand of Fate. I can group by number and partner by color. I can group by color and partner by shape. I can group by shape and partner by number. Same card all day long and I can change it up to have three different group and partner combinations if I realize that the Hand of Fate was cruel to me the first round. The wheel is for picking who gets to sit, or line up, or go first, or whenever I need to determine a larger group of people. Spin the Wheel of Fate and see if it lands on Warm/Cool colors, odd/even numbers, or curvy/straight line shapes. I feel smug smug smug.
Aaaaaaannnnnnddddd they are just the right size to slip inside I.D. badge holders. 50 of which I just ordered from dear sweet Walmart. And I just adore things that do multiple jobs, so I'm also using these for my class jobs. I set up my room in tables that seat five. And I have specific tasks that need to be done at each table each day- so rather than come up with 20 some odd jobs so everyone has something different and then I have to deal with who hasn't gotten to do what yet- I made up five. They pull a badge as they enter the room from their table's job jar and clip on the badge. That is their solemn duty all day. When we pass out the partner cards, they just put that in behind the job card facing the opposite direction, and then they can be partnered up at will for the rest of the day. End of the day, just pull the partner card out, put the job badges back in the job jar, and we're ready for tomorrow.
I can't get it to turn around. I don't know why. It's frustrating. But ANYWAY. I put the job title along the side of my Meek Moose picture. And they are the perfect size for the badges. I have five solid table jobs, and then three extra since I have the potential of having 23 students.
Environmental Engineer- this will be the job of whoever the first person from each table comes in the room in the morning. They put down all the chairs for their table, and are responsible for making sure everyone deals with their trash and recycling throughout the day.
Human Resources - the second person from each table: They handle attendance. They check off the name of all their table mates and bring me the list at the last bell.
Food Service Management - the third person in. Gets everyone's lunch order and money and brings it to me at the last bell.
Travel Coordinator - fourth person in. Is the "head" of their table when we line up to go anywhere. They become responsible for monitoring hallway behavior, holding doors, leading lines, and accompanying anyone who needs to leave the room for the nurse or office, etc.
Logistics - the last little cherub. Will pass out necessary materials when called upon.
If I end up with three extra kids, which is completely possible, I have added Meteorologist (weather report/graph), Tech Support (turning the computers on/off), and Ambassador (handling visitors and diplomatic missions to other areas of the school).
I didn't do "jobs" last year, because I thought it was a pain, and I actually think I caused myself more problems not having them. So this will be my attempt. I think it will go over well mostly because of the badge. Kids looooove to wear badges and feel important.
And the last little treat I've been working on are these here mini bowling games.
I found these at Dollar General on sale for 75cents each. I've seen the pinterest pin on the kid's bowling set turned into sight word bowling, and my son does have a set that he never used, so I am definitely taking that in to the classroom- but when I saw these I got to thinking. For one, I was able to pick up five of these. And then I thought what if I made up differentiated question cards to go along with the pins? I label the bottom of the pin with a color code so the kids know which set of cards to choose from, and then they bowl, and whatever they knock over is how many questions they have to answer. Each correct answer is a point. I can make the cards for sight words, spelling words, math facts, and content vocabulary. And actually, now that I think about it, the only reason to color the bottom of the [ins is only to keep a set together. I really only need to color code the cards. These were some quick ones I whipped up for basic ten facts. I'd really like to print them on business cards. I think that would be the right size for what I'd like to do. My local print shop took down my contact information the other day and are going to call me whenever they have misprints or scraps from cutting. It's pretty cool how people are willing to help you out when you tell them you're a teacher and using the materials for your classroom. It helps when you can tell them what you're going to use it for specifically as well, so they can envision how they are helping.
Ok- my second linky then. I hope I made something interesting for everybody.