Sunday, January 18, 2015

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Okay, so We've have been doing this project in third grade YEARS before Frozen popped onto the scene!  But it does make for a catchy title for our winter bulletin board.  This is probably my favorite bulletin board of the year.  Not because the background is flashy or we used some pretty bunting off of Pinterest, but because I love to see the students' creativity explode on this bulletin board each year.  I have been looking at these beautiful snowmen for years and this year, since my son is in third grade, we finally got to do this project as a family!  We had so much fun!  I hope all the families enjoyed it as much as we did.

We usually start this project by announcing to our students that they will be having homework over their Christmas break.  As you can imagine, this is not met with excitement.  However, after explaining the project and handing out the papers, the kids go home super anxious to get started.  Here's the letter we send home.

As you can see, the kids aren't allowed to color, paint, or use markers for their snowmen.  They are to glue found objects onto the snowman to make him unique - like they are!  These have been some of the cutest snowmen I have ever seen.  One year I even had one covered in teeny tiny eggshell pieces!  Now that was amazing.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of that one.  It was YEARS ago!

The snowmen are the focus of this board, so we do very little to detract from them.  A simple blue background, some icicle boarder, a title from prefab letters, and a blanket of fake snow from an after-Christmas sale and we're ready to put the real stars on the board.  The kids always look forward to sharing their snowmen when we return from break and can't wait to explain what they used and who helped them.  Then we put them on the board outside our door and watch everyone stop to admire them.
Glitter makes everything better!

Who says all snowmen are white?

Rice and even seashells!
Hope you enjoy this bulletin board as much as we do.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Let It Snow! Winter Bulletin Board Idea #1

Wow!  I can't believe how long it's been since I posted!  I mean, yes, I was busy.  My husband came home from the Middle East, we went on a family vacation, there was this little holiday season...  But my New Year's resolution is to blog more frequently so here it goes.  Guess it's better than a diet!

Where to start?  Well, it's been REALLY cold here, so how about some icy bulletin board ideas?  Here are a couple of pictures of  one of my winter bulletin boards.  But first, my official disclaimer.  WARNING: Making the following bulletin board WILL cause massive glitter fall out all through your classroom and hallways.  Please remember to treat your custodial staff kindly.  You may want to leave chocolate...

This bulletin board is our very own little winter wonderland.  We started with a dark blue background, a simple corrugated white border, and some plain white bulletin board paper that I randomly cut into snowdrift shapes, swirled with glue and sprinkled with fake snow.  I used the plastic baggy kind of fake snow they call Buffalo Snow. You can buy this at WalMart or any other large department store in with the Christmas decorations.  It's hard to see in the pictures, but our's had the sparkles right in with it.  I've noticed that they have the plain white snow, too, but hey, sparkles make everything better!  Right?  I always pick this stuff up on clearance after the holiday and store it until the next year.  I have at least 3 bags of it in my cupboard right now. Here's a picture of the stuff in the bag and also one of the snow in the container.

Oh, and when I put the white paper up on the bulletin board, I didn't smooth it all out.  I let the snow drifts wrinkle and bend, and pop out to give it some dimension.  It looks better that way, and hey, it's a lot easier, too!

The trees themselves are actually little green hand prints that my students cut out of green construction paper and then glued and dipped in that same sparkly snow.  They loved tracing their hands and seeing how many they could fit on a 12" x 18" sheet of construction paper.  But the REAL fun came in their crazy designs with the glue.  Anything works here folks.  Let them be creative.  Some kids made squiggles, some painted fingernails, a couple even wrote their names...  It didn't matter once they all went up on the board.  Then I took the hand prints and layered them to make a forest of winter trees.  Start at the bottom of the tree and taper from there to the top.

The number of hand prints for each tree will depend on the size of your bulletin board.  Last year my trees were HUGE!  But this year the bulletin boards are short and above the lockers so so are the trees!  Yep, that's a super fun bulletin board to hang up, hanging off of a ladder and/or scooting your butt across the tops of the lockers with scissors and staplers and trying not to fall off!  NOT!  That's why I pick a winter theme that can stay up for months!

The snowflakes with the students' pictures on them are from the Dollar Tree.  I think they were 6 for a dollar and came in a variety of sparkly snowy colors.  I printed a picture of each kiddo on plain old copier paper and then used a 2 inch hole punch from Hobby Lobby to get the nice easy circles!  Then I glued the circles on blue construction paper and laminated the whole sheet.  After the sheets were laminated I used the fancy flowery 3 inch scallop circle paper punch to get the pretty shape with no scissors at all!  EASY!  Oh, and if you haven't downloaded the Hobby Lobby app to your smart phone, do it before your next shopping trip.  It always has a 40% off any regular priced item coupon on it!  That's always how I buy the pretty punches because they can be a little pricey.  Get the Hobby Lobby app here.

The big, clear snowflakes hanging from the ceiling are also from the Dollar Tree.  They were a buck a piece a couple of years ago.  The gold ones were actually supposed to be table top decorations that I got on clearance at WalMart.  I think those were 3 for a dollar after Christmas.  I  just hung them all from clear fishing line.  Don't tell my husband where THAT disappeared to...

Finally, I downloaded the pretty winter banner from my favorite blogger, Melanie Ralbusky over at school Girl Style.  LOVE her!  Here's the link to the banner.  Let It Snow Banner  Then I cut it out, laminated it, and strung it on some pretty silver ribbon.  These banners fold-up so easily accordion-style and store flat for the next use.

After we put it all together in the hallway the kids were amazed by what they had created.  We talked about how all of them 'had a hand' in making such an amazing display and that although everyone's hand print was unique and different, when they worked together they were even more beautiful.

That's about it for this one.  Easy, and it can stay up until March if you live in Pennsylvania.  Heck, maybe even longer!  I'll post my other winter bulletin board later this month.  The kids are still busy creating it!