Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monday Made It - Puppet Stage

Once again it's time for Monday Made It with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics. I get so excited over seeing everyone's great classroom projects. I incorporate those ideas into projects around my school, my library, and now my niece's classroom. A couple weeks ago I was inspired by  Mr. Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten. Greg had made a math tub center from PVC pipe. Now I don't need a math tub center in the library, but I did need a puppet stage.
I was so excited! Off to Lowes I went. Now the sweet little guy at Lowes tried to help me, but looked a little confused when I said I was shopping for parts to build a puppet stage. I should have taken a picture. His reaction - priceless! Must not get many requests for those in the plumbing section.  I should probably get a prize at my local store for asking the oddest questions. (Yes, Mrs. Brown, you can build a puppet theater from PVC pipe!)

After a little experimentation, my finished project!

Just in case anyone wants/needs a puppet stage, here's how I did it.
From Lowes:
Purchased 55 feet of PVC Pipe (5 - ten foot pieces and 1 - 5 foot piece) 8 elbow joints, and 2 T joints. I only need 50 feet of pipe, but after cutting realized I would have 2 odd pieces and be short.  So I purchased one extra short piece.

When I got home, (And yes you can put 5- ten foot pieces of PVC pipe in a Camry!) I sweet talked the oldest teenager into cutting the pipe for me.
 5 - 4 foot pieces
6 - 2 foot pieces
2 - 3 1/2 foot pieces
2 - 5 1/2 pieces
Then came the assembling! All joints were elbows except for the two middle joints in the front. For now it's strong enough. The kids can't swing on it or do chin ups, but should be fine for a puppet stage.

 I went to Hobby Lobby, found some material I liked and added curtains to the front and sides. I purchased 7 yards of the black and white. Could have used a little more..... 1 yard was plenty for the red. (My sweet mother-in-law did the sewing for me!) Basically, just sew a seam at the top and slide on the pipe like a curtain. Yes, she hemmed all the sides except for the bottom of the front. (I'm a little spoiled!)  I should have purchased a little extra of the black and white.

As for the cost, my Lowes ticket was around $21.00  I spent another 45 dollars on fabric. Yes, I spent a little over $60 on my puppet stage. But, I like it! Love that it's portable. I can easily take it apart when I don't have the puppets out and store it in the library.  If you want a more detailed set of instructions, email me at easttennesseebookworm at and I'll be happy to send you a set - with pictures!
The kids are going to laugh. It matches my chair perfectly! (Ignore the paperwork, I wanted to get my stage done.) Can't wait to see their faces when they see it this week.
Have a great week and don't forget to check out other Monday Made It's on Tara's blog - 4th Grade Frolics.

Keep Reading !!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

#IMWAYR August 11th

Like most teachers in East Tennessee, I'm back to school full time. My reading time has decreased over the last week, but I managed to finish a few. This list includes what I've read for the last two weeks. I didn't get my post written last week. Check out other reads with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Rickie & Kellie at Unleashing Readers to see what others have read for It's Monday! - What are You Reading?
This past week I started reading The Chronicles of Prydain by Alexander Lloyd. I finished The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, and The Castle of Llyr. I'm almost finished with Taran Wanderer. (Should finish it tonight.) Hopefully I'll finish the series off with The High King later in the week.

I will admit I had not read them. Really until Harry Potter, fantasy had been a hit or miss with me. I'm such a mystery girl! Fantasy books are started to grow on me. I felt my literacy knowledge was lacking without reading a little Lloyd. I can't recommend books to my students if I haven't' read them.

Also finished reading the Dreamhouse Kings by Robert Liparulo. I had read Book 2 and Book 3 earlier. Book One stayed checked out.

My older students love these. They're just creepy enough to be perfect for my upper middle grade students. In case you haven't heard of this series, the King family moves from LA to an old house in a small town. Things quickly become horrifying when mom is snatched by a time traveler. Come to find out, Dad lived in the same house when he was a small boy. The Kings must save the future by fixing the past. This one is full of historical tidbits. There are elements of horror that will keep the older students on the edge to their seats.

Can't wait to see what makes it to my stack this week.

Keep Reading!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Monday Made It - Bulletin Boards

I survived the first week of school and managed to finish a couple bulletin boards for Monday Made It. Thank you, Tara! I always get great ideas for my school from all the great teachers who link up.

For the past couple of weeks I've been getting the library ready for back to school and helping the my niece with her new classroom. She was hired the day before school started. Her school is about 20 minutes from mine. Last week got just a little crazy. For her owl themed classroom, I created a student work display.


I placed Velcro strips on the fabric and attached to the wall for the foliage. I plan on changing it with the seasons.  The owls were placed in chip clips from the Dollar Tree, just in case one moves or she gets a new student. The tree was made with packing paper. I've made a couple trees on bulletin boards, but this is the first time I've attached one to a block wall. I'm not sure who I should credit with the scrapbook paper idea. (THANK YOU!) I've seen this in several classroom reveals. It turned out really cute. I went by her classroom last night. The students already have work displayed. She has open house this week.

For my school I finally finished the welcome display in the main hall.

I'll leave it up for a month or so. The students enjoy seeing their pictures and  the teachers' pictures displayed. When possible I try to incorporate all the school staff into my displays. This fall I have most of the staff driving race cars. Of course I took a picture of the principal for the lead driver.

Check out other great Monday Made It's on Tara's blog - 4th Grade Frolics. Hopefully I'll make it to the fabric store this week. My new puppet stage is almost finished. I want to post pictures of it next week.

Keep reading!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It - It's a Traffic Light!

It's time for another Monday Made It. This week I made a traffic light for the school's welcome bulletin board. Be sure and check Tara's blog 4th grade Frolics for other great "Made It's".

Saturday I went over to school to work on a couple things for the school's welcome bulletin board. This year the welcome display is going to have a racing theme. “Racing off to a great year!” I have a few more things to make, but those will have to wait till the teachers return. (I need their pictures!) I'll post a picture of the finished display as soon as it's complete. As part of the display I wanted to make a traffic light. I checked the teacher idea box – otherwise known as Pinterest – and found a few ideas. Of course I had to change it up a little. Got to use what’s one hand. My light:



To make my light I used:

3 ice cream buckets from Wal-Mart. The rectangle shape worked great.

White Christmas lights

Black construction paper

Black poster board

Small piece of red, yellow, and green tissue papers

A boat paddle

Bucket of rocks

Lots of hot glue

Duct tape –

Carpet knife and scissors


 Step One:

Duct tape the 3 ice cream buckets together. It doesn’t’ matter what color you use. With the carpet knife I cut hole in the back of the top bucket to feed the Christmas lights into the buckets. I also cut small holes in the bottom of the top and middle sections of the traffic light. The carpet knife sliced the plastic like butter.



Step two:

I took the black poster board and made the front and sides of the traffic light. To make it look like a traffic light, I glued tissue paper on the inside to make it look like a traffic light. I hot glued the poster board to the ice cream tubs and had the top part of my light.

*Hint* If anyone else makes one of these, don’t glue to front of the light on until you have already attached the light to the stand. I had to take it off to connect it to the boat paddle.


Step three:

Create a light pole! I used a boat paddle. That’s what I had. Didn’t figure the boys would use it in the next month or so. If you are going to use this for a long time, use a piece of wood or thick PVC pipe. Mine was meant to be temporary. I wrapped the paddle with black construction paper and scrapes from the bulletin board paper in the library.


Step four:

 I placed the stand (boat paddle) in a bucket, filled it with rocks to make it sturdy. Another mistake I made was attaching the light to the upright paddle.* Hint* I would advise attaching the traffic light to the stand before you place it in the bucket of rocks. I almost burnt a couple fingers in the hot glue. Ice cream buckets are made of very thin plastic. I could feel the hot glue melting the buckets as I attached them to the paddle. Make sure to watch the placement of the cords to the Christmas lights. You want to be able to plug them in after all this hard work. My finished traffic light!!!  I'll tape the extension cord to the back. It will only be on during open house or special occasions. Don’t want to get into trouble with the fire marshal.


Go check out other great Monday Made It’s on Tara’s blog! Might find something you just have to make for your library or classroom.

I need to go by school and shelf those books. That was my "read it"  stack from last week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's a Fabulous Friday! And the winner is....

My Friday has started off to be fabulous! I have a winner for the Genre Subway Art! Giving things away is so much fun.

Congratulations to Karen B! Look for my email. This was so much fun I might have to have a giveaway more often.  I'm actually working on my Monday Made It. What about a little fun for the weekend? Who can guess what I'm making for my latest bulletin board? I posted this picture last night on Instagram.
*Hint* 3 ice cream tubs, Christmas lights, poster board, duct tape and of course it will involve the hot glue gun!

 Leave me a comment and I'll send a $5 TPT gift card to whomever guesses correctly first. Your guess must be posted by Midnight (Eastern Standard Time) Saturday. My MMI usually goes live Sunday night.

Monday, July 21, 2014

#IMWAYR July 21st

Once again it's time for "It's Monday - What are You Reading?" Check out other reads with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Rickie & Kellie at Unleashing Readers.

This past week I caught up on some newer picture books. I love going by Barnes and Noble or any other bookstore and preview picture books. I did find a few I want for the library. Found a couple I'm not purchasing.... WARNING!!! There are several. I was waiting out a rain shower/storm.


Duck and Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hill I love Duck and Goose. If you haven't read any of Tad Hill's books you are missing out. They are perfect for the little guys. In this one Goose follows Duck on an adventure to the beach. Once at the beach Goose has to convince Duck to enjoy the adventure. 5 Stars

Pardon Me! by Dianel Miyares What happens when a little bird keeps complaining while others share his perch? Would be cute to pair up with Little Big Mouth Frog.

Don't Push the Button by Bill Cotter Would be a great read aloud! You know the kids are going to want to push the button...

No Dogs Allowed! by Linda Ashman and Kristin Sorra Cute nearly wordless picture book about the opening of Alberto's restaurant.

Ninja! by Arree Chung  Cute Cute Cute  I could see several of my students acting out this story. Even my teenagers boys wanted to be ninjas when they were little.

Pigs Make Me Sneeze by Mo Willems  Gerald starts to sneeze whenever Piggie is near. He's convinced he's allergic to Piggie. I just adore Mo Willems.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce Follows Morris's life jouney of loving books. Somehow I missed the short film.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen Another great hat story. Great illustrations.

This is a Moose by Richard T Morris and Tom Lichtenheld   The director gets upset when Moose doesn't act Moose-like.

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins I'm going to have to get this one for my science collection. Loved looking/reading about the different birds' nests. With Steve Jenkins it's usually a hit.

Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood Story of a little boy who is sad about moving but realizes the new house is better.

Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood When the little girl sleeps at night, she dreams about being a princess and all kinds of adventures. Cute. I've got to get this one for my girls who want another princess story.

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won Liked this one slightly better than This is Not My Hat. The elephant finds a hat and discovers he can cheer up his friends by sharing.

Neutrals: (Didn't dislike them, just wasn't moved by them....The kids will enjoy them.)

Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star by Maria van Lieshout
Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall  The two pets compete for top spot.
The Dark by Lemony Snicket Laszlo must overcome his fear of the dark.

The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair by Kate Bernheimer When the little girl refuses to brush her hair a mouse moves in.... I was grossed out right there. Hate Strongly dislike rodents. The kids would enjoy this one. Great for teaching the importance of good hygiene.

Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos Cute just not my favorite. Maybe it will grow on me....The book not a mustache.


What does the Fox Say? by Ylvis, Christian Lochster, and Sevin Nyhus
It was better as YouTube video... Unless you're a huge fan, save your money and get a great book instead.

As you can see, I found several to add to the library's wishlist. If only BTSB had a buy one get one free...Hopefully I'll have a great fall book fair.

Keep Reading! Have to finish Champion by Marie Lu...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monday Made It - Genre Display and a Giveaway!

I'm so excited to have another post for Monday Made It. Check out other great creations on Tara's blog 4th grade Frolics.  Yes, I know it's Sunday, but this is going to be a busy week.

I went by school and fixed a new display for the library. (This idea could easily be used in a classroom reading corner.)  My students are in a reading rut! They like to read the same old stuff over and over. I want my students to branch out to new authors and genres. To help them do this I'm going to have a genre of the month club.

New bulletin board and genre display! I didn't have a bulletin board on this wall, so I faked it! Hot glued black paper up, added cute boarder and instant bulletin board. If  this program is successful, I'll order a real bulletin board for the wall. I even added a place for the students to recommend books to other students. Hung some dust jackets and pictures of books for cheap decorations. I'll change those monthly with each new genre. Going to start the year off with Mystery. Yes, those clips are the cheap ones from Dollar Tree. (Supposed to chip bag clips.... They are strong enough to hold paper.)


(Might have to switch this basket for a black one. My red's don't match... I'm probably the only one who notices.)

I wanted some cute letters for a heading and had a "brain blast". My READ banner is just a few feet over what if I had a genre banner to match? Duh... I created a little banner to hang above the new display. I thought it turned out great. Added two black poms for a little pop.

I  saw a cool mini anchor chart stand on "Falling Into First's" blog. (Thank you, Stephanie!) The post included directions. Insert big gigantic light blub! I had genre posters hanging in the library. These are from Primary Paradise's Spectacular Story Elements. LOVE THEM! What if I displayed them on a stand? Maybe my students would actually read them. trip to Lowes, little help from the teenager in cutting PVC pipe, little duck tape (redneck engineering teacher creativeness...) = cute anchor chart stand.  I had to add some red or black, hence the red duct tape. I did change the feet to make mine sturdier.  

Side note: I liked it so much, I picked up supplies to make another one for behind my desk.

Finally, my display would not be complete without some art from Catherine Reed - The Brown Bag Teacher. She has this amazing subway art set featuring - you guessed it - GENREs! They look great on my new genre display. Instead of laminating them, I hot glued a page protector to the wall. The florescent lighting in the library puts a glare on anything hung near the lights. Now I can just swap them out each month. Wouldn't they look great in frames or mounted on colored cardstock? Would you like to win a set? The wonderfully sweet Catherine has donated a set for me to give away. Enter below!!!
I think it turned out great! Can't wait for the students to see it. Ignore the glare. I was on the dumb phone which won't let me remove glare. I so need an upgrade....

Don't forget to enter for a set of genre subway art from the Brown Bag Teacher! I'll announce the winner on Friday. What a way to start the weekend!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure and check out other great Monday Made It's on 4th Grade Frolics. I have less than 2 weeks to get everything ready for the new school year. I'm back full time July 30th. (That's what happens when you get out on May 23rd.  My district tries to end the year before Memorial Day in case of extra snow days.)

Take a break and read a book,


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