Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Room is Ready! The Meek Moose Dresses the Nest

It's time to make the target face- my room is D.O.N.E. Basically.  I have to put some bandaids out in a cup, but that's nothing.  If you've been following me on my facebook page, then you've been catching the videos of my progress.  Why is it important to follow the facebook page anyway?  Because if you're not- then you're missing stuff like this:

This is what happens when your sister is a costume designer and she needs a cheap model.  I rock that dragon head like nobody's business!  What do you think, kittens?  Future profile pic?  I'm sure to attract the *right* sort of man this way.  Everyone knows rich organic strawberry farmers play Dungeons and Dragons in their basements, right?  Sheesh. #single4evah #imokwithit #mostly (and YES, I did play Dungeons and Dragons once upon a time ago in college- I strike you with my +5 hand of righteous indignation.  I'm all grown up now and stick to the Webkinz, alrighty?)

Anyhow- if you missed the videos you can check them out again on my Youtube channel.  Plus some chicken footage, by the way.  I know that's a huge draw for everybody.

Now- without further ado- the reveal! Um yeah- it's 12 minutes.  Go get some popcorn.

I'm pretty thrilled.  I got rid of a lot of furniture and it has opened the room up.  I'm excited about my engineering area and hope this becomes a dynamic space for my kids this year.  In love with my dining room area, though I believe I will be wanting to get a table cloth for that one table that has my core book sets under it.

I was successful in getting rid of many items that were cluttering up my space.  I went in with the decision that it it had no where to live then it couldn't stay- and I made this apply also to an area of my supply closet that I used to stack boxes up in.  I have to say, I feel really proud of myself.  I have two whole empty cabinets right now as well.  That has never happened in twelve years of teaching.  An empty cabinet! Holy cow.

Why did I choose the colors I chose? Why do I even want the plants and the natural materials anyway?  It's because of a course I've taken with Sally Haughey of FairyDust Teaching.  She offers a course Learning Spaces and it's amazing.  People comment on how peaceful my room is all the time.  I even got an exceeds expectations in room environment last year- and I really owe it to Sally for that.

In another course I took with Sally a year ago about finding my teaching mojo- I discovered that I was more of a Naturalistic learner than I had even considered- so I began to but the elements of nature into my room and it has made it a much happier place.  I bring in class pets- our two betta fish will be our water element in the room this year.  Last year I had the wild turtle, and after we released her in the spring, I  found that I missed her.  A lot.  But I'm not ready for a 100 year commitment yet, and I don't believe I'll pick up another wild turtle.

I also keep two mice. Frisby and Ages.  My students generally don't have the experience of keeping pets in the home- and I don't want them to miss out on these experiences so many of us take for granted.  Caring for pets helped us develop empathy in our younger years.  And I will- OF COURSE- hatch chickens again in the spring.  Hopefully I'll be able to do caterpillars again as well.

My color scheme is based on ground, grass, sky.  I use it for EVERYTHING.  A few years ago I had found an alphabet frieze based on sky grass ground and loved it.  But I have since learned that the site offering the frieze has affiliations with child pornography, so I don't want to use it anymore (obviously).  So I made my own:

click to see it in the TpT store

I also decided to redo my IBPYP learner profile posters.  I transferred the English and the Spanish that my counselor had made onto posters with my school kids clip art.  Our counselor had done an awesome job with the posters- but I wanted something that was more consolidated and more in tune with my decor.  I'm going to make them into a book for the kids to have in our library as well.

click to see it in the store

By far- the most favorite area of my room is my dining room. The armoire now does double duty for storage and chart space. I got rid of the traditional guided reading table and traded it out.  I wanted to make sure my kids enjoyed the experience of sitting down to the table to get their work done.  Not everyone has that luxury in life.  I am looking forward to sharing with you the magic of this space this year.

I hope you enjoyed the video- good luck to everyone on Tuesday!

Monday, August 18, 2014

No Way! ~ The Meek Moose Might Have Actually Made Something!


Iiiiiiiiiiii kinda made something.  That wasn't a total fail, either! *shocked face*

 But, I know you love the carnage- so here- my first "Made It":

I have an ugly foot.  I'm admitting it freely, so you don't have to be all "OOooooooo- does she know she has a nasty foot?"  Yes.  Yes, I do.  I soaked it in the Listerine/Vinegar thing that is all over Pinterest and Facebook. Claims that the dead skin just "falls right off"
Ummmmm, no. No it did NOT.  What it *did* do, was dye my foot blue.  Listerine blue.  And I had to scrub it off with a Brillo pad. - THIS, my friends, is probably the part that makes the skin "fall right off".  Two days later, my foot is back to the right color, except for my toe nail.  That, is still blue. And my foot is still ugly.
There.  I satisfied all of you yearning to watch the train wreck.  Moving forward...

I attempted Mod Podge again with some glitter clips I am making for my teacher buddy and I.  We detest having to change bulletin boards constantly, so last year we covered one side of our hallway with sunny yellow craft paper, pretty scrapbook paper squares, and glittery clothespins, one for each student.  They could just go out and put their work up and we never had to mess with it.

While I was out for six weeks after the car wreck and near death experience, and she was out on maternity leave- some kind soul "helped" us out by taking down the whole thing and throwing every bit of it away!  EVEN the clothes pins.  Sounds bitter and angry if you ask me.  Somebody was clearly hatin' on our display.  But whatevs- kittens!  I braved the *podge* and made some more! - I'll show you our new display once I get it up this week.

OOOOoooo- didn't I mention?  I got to go into my classroom today and start setting it up before Teacher Week next Monday.  You should like, *totes* follow me on Facebook to get up-to-the-second snark, yo!  Click that moose track up there with the FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF for fabulous.  Or click right *here* and it'll take you right there.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program... check this out:

I used a laundry basket to dry my pins.  It was perfect! Also a hot day with relatively low humidity worked in my favor as well.  I painted the clips first with craft paint.

Then I "painted" on liquid Elmer Glue (Elmer, you redeemed yourself!) to shake the glitter onto.  I am using the lid to a Sterilite plastic container as my work tray.  This lid is going to save my life during this glitter fest!

I found this plastic bin lying around, and used it turned upside down as a "glitter drying station".  Also a stroke of genius.  And if you don't want to be waiting around for my irregular posts- then you need to go find me on Instagram- and get the genius as it's happening.  Which- just to be upfront here- isn't all that often.  Mostly it's pictures of chickens.  But you know every once in a while you NEED a good chicken picture.  Back on track...

While the glitter was drying, I needed to RECLAIM what had gotten shaken out all over the tray.  Good glitter is expensive!  I am not wasting this stuff, especially when I hardly use it because it makes me upset when it gets all over my hands and my palms are sweaty and it just sticks there and never comes off and I touch things and it's like I'm effin King Midas of the glitter touch and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Seriously.  Glitter is out of my comfort zone.  Just wear gloves you wuss! Ummm, ew.  That's so much more sweaty than just my normal level of dork.  No thank you.

That Sterilite Lid was PERFECT.  I just had to tappy-tap the glitter to the sides and lead it down the channel back into my glitter tube. Majority of the glitter reclaimed.  Some casualties of course, but nothing major.

Then it was time to Mod Podge- and my genius luck had run out.  As soon as I opened the stupid jar I spilled a great big glob of it on my pants. #@%#HJGSGD$#$%#$%.  Anyway.
Dried glitter clips back on my work basket from painting, and I painted on the Mod Podge. Aside from my pants, there were no other mishaps. Keeping it in a small container and using a reallllllly long brush apparently helped me avoid other catastrophes.

And then I put them on the laundry basket to dry and went inside to further pursue the crafty arts with some scrapbook paper.

Now- I have NEVER done back to school treat bags.  At least, I'm pretty sure I never have.  But I don't know- I got possessed or something this year.  I'll first blame the Target Dollar Spot.  They had cute Crayola tissue packs. Crayola is one of my celebrity crushes.  If they come out with some sort of Brawny towel man frontman- or Mike Rowe, I am DONE for. Take note, Crayola! (I vote Mike Rowe all the way!) 

Target also had cute pencils and apple erasers and stickers.  It became a bit of a scene.  I ended up using snack size ziplocs to put the little treat in.  But you know what doesn't fit in a snack size ziploc?  Or any ziploc really except for a gallon size bag- the dang pencil! 

As it luck would have it- my "addictive" personality had latched onto scrapbook paper recently, and I had these neat little six-by-six squares.  Did you know that when you fold them in half they perfectly cover a snack size ziploc?  Who knew?  NOT me!  But now I do.  I ended up making myself some sticker labels as I imagined that I would use these to attach the pencil.

But- no.  I didn't like how it looked.  So OUT comes my new Fiskars paper punch!  Wowza!  I used my wrist- A LOT to make little tent toppers for my treat bags. 

 But- this meant that I could slide the pencil through after a couple of precision placed staples and....VOILA!  I'm actually pretty proud of them.  I *may* even try to make birthday treat bags. But  I'm not promising.

Alright- I'm wiped, kittens.  I moved furniture today and watched my bestie Karen hang wrapping paper for me with a flawless seam and glue gun like nobody's business!  The utmost compliment was bestowed on me when she said, as we wrapped up around 3:30 - "You know, when we got started I would not have believed you would have gotten the room to this state by the time we left."  And she meant it in a positive way- nonbelievers!

Make sure you follow the button below to hook up with Tara for Monday Made It!

I'm off to bed because I have a "Coding- Not Just for Nerds" class tomorrow.  And that title probably means it is for nerds, doesn't it? Whatever.  I own it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Ruin Perfectly Good Notebooks ~ A Meek Moose Mis-Adventure with Mod Podge

It's another mostly disastrous Monday Made It- just to be upfront about it.  Read on to enjoy the train wreck and laugh at me.  Or skip to the end and hear about a whole lotta giveaways going down this week!

Our story must begin here- with Mod Podge.  I know for sure, that back in the 80's- I thought this was really difficult stuff to use. I know I got that impression from my mother.  I don't remember exactly what was happening, but there was some sort of conversation about "decoupage".  And this in my mind was something extremely difficult to do. And I'm not promising to have changed my mind on that- but I am willing to amend my thought that perhaps my Mother's qualm at the time was over the expense of Mod Podge, and not actually the use of it. Then we fast forward just slightly to the latter 90's where I saw Tori Spelling using it on some sort of craft show.  To frame this out completely- I was a bit busy wearing a lot of black and combat boots at the time, and therefore Tori Spelling using anything sort of became like, so, totally uncool. {Insert derisive lip curl here}.  So why the eff was I watching a craft show anyway?  Because I'm a total dork, that's why.  You think I carried off that look?  Gimme a break. Anyhow. This stuff here. Yarp.

It was once upon a time, circa 2012 that I first read a teacher blog to know they existed.  And began to use Pinterest.  Don't be gasping- refer to the above paragraph where I said "Because I'm a total dork, that's why."  Anyway- I was caught up like Jeff  Bridges in the original Tron movie into a whole new world.  A world of polka dots and sugar shocked owls and Mod Podge.  Everything down to a person's shorts was being mod podged.  So, obviously, after two years of creeping on the crafting, I figured, "How hard could that be?" (FYI- it's in quotes because I say things out loud to myself. #itsnotweird #totallynormal)

So here we are- today.  I've got eight big 3 inch binder like notebooks that all have different ugly fronts, and some adorable scrapbook paper. Clearly, they are perfect for each other.

Obviously, all I need to do is mod podge this.  I look wicked cool with my dollar store sponge brush. I'm digging the smell of the mod podge.  Painting is fun! And then this happens: 

I'd be cool with this if I were still 12 and hanging out in the upstairs bathroom trying to make android skin out of caladryl lotion and Elmer's glue.  In fact, in that light- you suck Elmer! (sorry, dude) Mod podge would have so made that android skin! Dang.  But I am not making android skin. (today)- Today I am trying to cover these notebooks so I can make student assessment record keeper things that I supposedly need now to keep track of paper work that philistines don't want to see on the computer.

I want the paper to lay flat and look pretty.  like it does when it's inside the scrapbook package.  But there's bubbling and tearing and holy Baby Moses I'm gluing myself to my bed I think. 

Super bad words, a lot!!!  And the paper started flat and then add mod podge and it's wrinkly.  I do not want wrinkly notebooks.  I want flat paper notebooks.  I don't want notebooks that look like my 3 year old did them.  Although I'm going to tell people he did.

There. I made six eight, dang it.  Why can't I count?  I suppose I'll find some way to cover up the flaws.  But I KNOW they are there! Bah!

Be sure to link up with Tara with your SUCCESSFUL Monday Made It, and tell her she should probably ban me. I suck this much.

I'm great with chickens though.  I'm not a total loss. Just sayin'.  I just won't be mod podeging them anything anytime soon.

As promised- FOUR different giveaways you need to go check out.  Not only because they are super duper all on their own- but also because each of them will be offering a Meek Moose pack at some point during the week! Click the pictures to go straight to the winnin'.

First up:  Kristy at 2 Peas and a Dog

Carla at Comprehension Connections

Rachel at Mrs.O Knows

 and last but never least:

Sarah at Beyond the Gradebook

Good luck one and all, and careful with that Mod Podge, kittens!

p.s. I just realized I've been calling it the wrong name my entire life. Mod not Modge. Dear God I am hopeless. Anyway, I edited it all up so you won't know until you get to the end that I'm even more of a train wreck than you first thought.  And I even spelled the title wrong.  I am awesome at 12:42 am I tell you.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Pinkalicious ~ The Musical! - A Meek Moose Adventure at the Thea"tuh"

So my pal Andrea at Reading Toward the Stars does this Book Talk linky every Thursday.  Which is fabulous.  Because I love talking about books!  But I'm not so awesome ~ I haven't been fabulous at writing blog posts lately, and have never managed to link up with her.  Well! Today is the DAY!  Even though it's Friday.  And her linky is for Thursdays.  Baby steps, kittens!  At least I've got this in within 48 hours of her original posting.

Annnnnnd, her recent post is what kicked me in the butt.  I have had this post sitting in my drafts section since mid-June.  Andrea did a post about a new Pinkalicious book that is great for Back-To-School.  Back in June my sister was doing some freelance costume help working as a over-hire stitcher for Pinkalicious ~ The Musical!!!

When my sister, Traci, first told me about the musical, I was sort of "How can they make that book into a musical?" And this was foolish- because we all know anything can be made into a musical once you've seen the Simpson's episode about Troy McClure's comeback with the Broadway version of Planet of the Apes.

I don't know what this has to do with Mad Men.  But it was the only one I could find that actually had moving video from the episode.  So I'm gonna roll with it.

Anyway- my daughter has always loved pink, and Pinkalicious- so we decided to take her to go see it. She and I discussed the possibilities of how they could have changed this short picture book into an hour and a half musical the entire three hour car ride. (yes- THREE HOURS- three hours of NON-STOP TALKING- where is my Mother of the Year award?)  We were at a bit of a loss.  I just didn't know how they were going to manage it.

Prior to the show, which was at Adventure Theater in Glen Echo Park in Maryland, we went to dinner at an Irish Pub on the grounds before the show. Glen Echo park and Adventure theater are the cutest park and theater EVAH!  The park reminded me of parks you see in movies - carosel horse ride, dancing stage, bright bold colors! I'd like to go again.  Just not drive.  If a limo want to take me, I'm game.

Bangers and Mash, baby!

Just before the show, I was able to snap this picture of the set.  But then I found out that was a real no-no.  Otherwise, I would have filled my camera- everything was super "adorbs".

Which, honestly, is one reason why I don't read Pinkalicious to my kids at school.  I have it in my library, but it never makes it to the read-aloud basket. I try to pick books to read aloud that both my boys and girls can get engaged in.  And I always fear instantly turning the boys off if I sat down in our Living Room area together and said, "Let's curl up together and read this super adorable book, Pinkalicious!

The musical ended up shaming me enlightening my perspective.  It turns out that what the musical DID add in to the story line (and we knew they'd have to add something) was a call to arms against gender profiling. Amazing, yeah?  Ok, maybe I'm stretching the depth of the water here. But! stick with me for a sec.

There's this whole part to the plot line about the younger brother, Peter, and how he is being suppressed by his Dad's old-fashioned convictions on how pink is for girls and not boys.  And of course, little bro deep down LOVES the color pink. So much of the plot is about Peter's transformation into being honest about how he feels and embracing his love for the color. This also ties in to the end of the book where Peter eats so many cupcakes that he turns pink.

I realize from watching this musical that there is a way to get the boys involved in this story just by adding in some global awareness. Thereby opening up the doors for a discussion on being open-minded, taking risks, and challenging social conventions (when appropriate, of course).

Shaaaa- how are you going to manage that, Heather? Like, as if. Whatevs.

Trust me, kittens! Look- Global awareness- There are other countries that do not consider pink a feminine color. India for example.  There pink is a very manly color.  Other Eastern countries do not necessarily feel that pink is feminine.  In fact, it wasn't until after the 1940s that America and England started feeling that pink was feminine.  Up until that point, it was opposite.

Using the simple story of Pinkalicious as an opener for a discussion on whether or not the students think there are some things only boys or only girls should do would be eye opening- and also an opportunity to research those topics to see where the belief could be dispelled.  I remember being younger and hearing only women should cook- but look at all the male chefs on TV today? Art, design, business- all have held some gender bias, but there's so much out there that proves otherwise.  And the inquiry does not have to be bent on girl power- but balanced out so that boys can feel like they are free to explore different avenues as well.

I never really thought that this story could be something I could ever use to promote social change in seven year olds.  But there it is- just because I saw the musical.  I really hope that Victoria and Elizabeth Kann consider putting the musical on film so that it can be shared in classrooms.  In fact, I think I just need to ask them if they would.

I've gotten a little bold since joining Twitter if you haven't noticed.  It was having my tweet favorited by Dave Burgess (TWICE as a matter of fact) and a personal reply from Susan Branch that has clearly thrown me over the edge.  Now, if only Mike Rowe would acknowledge me- it would be all good.

Here were some photo ops with the cast:

Mr and Mrs Pinkalicious
Alison and Peter

Pinkalicious herself!

So, what do you think?  Did hearing about the theme of the musical get you to see Pinkalicious in a new light? What else do you think you could add to the discussion in your classrooms?  have another book you'd like to talk about?  Go link up with Andrea- EVERY THURSDAY (or Friday if you have time management issues like me)

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