June 2012 | Peace, Love, and First Grade


Have you ever watched 30 Minute Meals with Racheal Ray?
If you have, you know she always has a trusty garbage bowl
 on the counter to throw away the trash.
Manage the classroom trash

Classroom Trash buckets and garbage bowls

Well, Racheal's kitchen garbage bowl inspired my classroom trash bucket. 

I keep a stack of trash buckets on the shelf,

and whenever we work on an activity that requires cutting,
we break out the garbage bowls. It's that simple.
The kiddos know where they are,
 and the table helpers for that particular week grab the bowls.
 I love an easy solution!

Now, you don't have to buy an official trash bucket.
You can buy a popcorn bowl from DOLLAR TREE like I did.
Much cheaper and very colorful!
Classroom Trash buckets and garbage bowls

My trash bucket rules: NO food and NOTHING sticky.
Just paper. That's it!

Classroom Trash buckets and garbage bowls
Take a look at the little bit of floor you can see.
 No Paper! Hallelujah!!
Classroom trash buckets and garbage bowls

 If you decide to get these particular popcorn bowls,
be prepared for the many ways your kiddos will think of to use them.
They're great hats and so much fun to balance on your head.
Classroom Trash buckets and garbage bowls
This one is hiding from the camera.

Classroom Trash buckets and garbage bowls
This sweet one thought she was in trouble. She was not!
I complimented her on her balancing skills, instead!
Love the look on her precious face!

Classroom Trash buckets and garbage bowls
Finally, we have, grinning for the camera. 
I already miss these faces!!

After a while, the novelty will wear off,
and the bowl will be used for its original purpose.
Thank goodness!

Love, love, love these garbage bowls!
You will love it, too!


How to melt crayons into fun shapes

You've all seen this Pinterest pic or one like it, right? 

Well, I wanted to make fun crayons for my students, but my house plan is open, and my kitchen is small. Sooo, if I tried this, my entire living area would smell of melting wax. Hmm, what's a girl to do?

How about, I live in the hot, humid South, and it's summertime!!! I thought I would try a little outdoor experiment. 

Let me start from the beginning.
One of the rainy, last days of school, my sweet kiddos got busy sorting all the leftover crayons.  This was AFTER they took home crayons for themselves! 

Once the crayons were sorted, the munchkins began tearing the paper off the crayons. I wish I had pics of these activities.

After the paper was off, the kiddos broke the crayons. This actually became a competition for some of them to see who could break them into the smallest pieces. Whatever works!

These are a few of the bags that came home with me.
Recycling crayons
And the experiment begins...
I waited for a 95 degree/100 degree heat index day.

I found my holiday ice trays I'd been collecting for just this purpose. 

I placed crayon bits in each individual section of the trays.
Then I set the trays outside on a black metal table,
 and I went back inside.
Recycling crayons
I checked on them about an hour later,
 and lo and behold, they had begun to melt!! 
Melting crayons in ice trays

I got so excited, I brought my jack-o-lantern ice trays out, too!
Melting crayons in ice trays

Before I knew it, I had all sorts of holiday trays full of melting crayons!
Melting crayons in ice trays
There are pink crayons on the bottom of the hearts. Fun!

Once they were completely melted, I took the crayons inside.
After about 10 minutes of cool time,
 I placed them in the freezer (another 10 minutes).
Then out of the freezer they came.
Melting crayons into fun shapes

At first, I tried to pop them out immediately,
 but it worked better to let them sit for about 20 minutes or so.

Melting crayons into fun shapes
I seriously screamed with joy when I saw them!
I love the hearts and stars!

 I was not happy with the way the jack-o-lanterns turned out.
You can't really see the faces so it makes it hard to tell what they are.
I'm going to melt them again!

Melting crayons into fun shapes

A few tips:
1) If you want contrasting colors, place the lighter colors in first-   on the bottom of the tray.

2) If you want to speed up this process, place the trays on a cookie sheet and place in your car. Your car WILL smell of melted wax, so get ready.

3) The black metal table was hot and helped the melting process.

4) I found the star and heart ice trays at Dollar Tree in the seasonal items for 4th of July and Valentine's decor.

Happy crayon making!!


It looks like all of us are working hard this summer!

So, our school has air for a few hours twice a week during the summer. 
This gives teachers the opportunity to work in comfort. 

Tuesday, my partner in crime and I went to school to work and found, 

seriously, 9 other teachers working, also. 

We are all so dedicated! 

Actually, we are just not foolish enough to come work when the air is off...

How to make a scrunchy border

What did I do? 
I changed the paper on this bulletin board
and made a scrunchy border to go around it.
I had already taken the border off the board before the pic.

How to make a scrunchy border

Several people have asked me about the scrunchy border,
so I thought I'd share.
This is what you will need:
How to make a scrunchy border

butcher paper, scissors, and a stapler with LOTS of staples

This is what you do-
I'll be using transition words, here! (even in summer)

First, find the color butcher paper you want to use.
The amount you will need will depend on how big the board is.
Next, cut strips from the paper. I make mine about 3-4 inches. 
You do not need to measure here. Just cut.
How to make a scrunchy border

Then, fold the strips accordion style.
How to make a scrunchy border

See, mine are not straight.  No need to measure.
How to make a scrunchy border

After that, scrunch the accordion strips.
Don't be shy here. Scrunch away! 
How to make a scrunchy border
Looks like a scrunchy mess!

Once the strips are scrunched, unscrunch them,
and you are ready to place the border on the board.
I don't think unscrunch is really a word. 

To attach to the board, simply scrunch and staple, then repeat.
Scrunch and staple until you run out of border.
EASY! Be as creative as you like!

How to make a scrunchy border

How to make a scrunchy border
I love the 3D feel it gives the board.
I've also twisted the strips before which is just as easy.

Here's the final product!
I really like the bright border with the black paper!

How to make a scrunchy border

How to make a scrunchy border

Have fun scrunching!