Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Why Didn't I Think of That?!"

Have you ever seen a project, craft, or work of art and said "That is so awesome! Why didn't I think of that?!" I personally have had this moment a lot. I usually have this moment when I'm on my favorite "visual bookmark" website Pinterest. Not too long ago I saw this creative idea.

I knew that I had to have these on my Exploring Table. I know many teachers anticipate the words made famous by elementary artist, "I'm done." Most of the time, when I hear these words, the student isn't actually done. They have missed a step, could do a step with better craftsmanship, have a random floating object in space, the sky isn't touching the ground, etc. I address the issues, offer suggestions and corrections. In some cases though the student is really done with the project and there are several minutes left in the period. This is when I direct the students to my Exploring Table. I have different puzzles, tangrams, how to draw books, and a small but growing library. I have already started making the Velcro sticks and I hope that my students will enjoy them.
I made my sticks a little differently than the ones pictured above. The quantity pictured appear to be made for one child. I wanted to make enough for two to three students to work with them at a time. I have forty sticks. That means I would need 160 Velcro dots. The dots came in packages of twelve at $3.99 a pop. After dividing and multiplying, the answer to my math problem was = I'm not paying that much for Velcro. What I did instead was buy 5' a roll of sticky sided velcro for $7, cut individual squares and put four onto a stick.

For me it's a matter of more time than money. I'm not done yet and have about 30 more sticks to go, but I really think my students are going to enjoy them. Here's what mine look like.

Do you have extra activities for students that get done early? Share in the comments. That way others can read about them and have a "Why didn't I think of that" moment.


  1. I have an activity table where the students can go to choose different " I'm done" activities. Drawing books, books to read, free draw,tesselation and symmetry stencils, rubbing plates and various imagination sheets. I rotate in and out different activities so there is always something new to do. I'm always on the look out for something new! Good luck finishing your sticks!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Will you share more about the imagination sheets? What are those composed of?

  3. I draw up sheets that include partial drawings, shapes or lines and add a prompt. I change them out for different seasons, months of the school year. For example: October, I will draw an evening sky with clouds and crescent moon with the prompt to draw a picture of themselves trick or treating. At Christmas I draw a mitten shape and prompt them to add patterns to the mitten. New Years I draw the year in bubble numbers and let them add their own designs to the numbers and background. Sometimes it is just a shape or line and I prompt them to turn it into what ever they imagine. I put 2 -3 out each week. They are by far( next to rubbing plates ) the most popular thing on the table. I have many that I have made over the years and save one original in my file cabinet so I don't have to keep re-drawing them if I need to make more copies. The kids will also use them as a starting point for creating their own original pieces. They are welcome to use anything from the scrap box to also cut and glue. :)

  4. Love your inspiration sheet ideas! I can't have an activity table (I don't actually have a room, but travel from school to school and work in undercover areas with fold-up tables so I have to tote everything with me every day) so I have an activity folder - it's tough finding new sheet work for the early finishers that still allows for some creativity ... Thanks!