Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why I don't have a Pinterest-perfect classroom.

My classroom will never be Pinterest-perfect.  Forget the fact that I'm not a good drawer and I can't seem to copy all of those cutesy fonts.  I used to be intimidated by all of the cute Pinterest bulletin boards, anchor charts, folders, stickers, etc. because of my lack of drawing ability and because it seemed to be a competition to see who's classroom was the "Pinterestiest."  I always lagged behind in that competition.

I listened to colleagues talk about how many hours they spent making anchor charts, putting up bulletin boards, and labeling cute folders.  I felt guilty that I didn't put in that many hours spiffing up my classroom.  I was less of a teacher because I didn't make a Pinterest-perfect classroom.

Who am I trying to please when I set up and decorate my classroom?  My fellow teachers, my principal, the district administrator, parents?  They don't really care. I mean, they will comment, but it's just surface praise.  I had a great growth mindset bulletin board and no one gave it a second glance, including the adminstrator who came into my room for an observation.  Why work hard when other people don't value it and it doesn't help students grow?

I'll still put up cute bulletin boards.  After all, I'm an elementary teacher.  But I won't spend hours and hours on the process and I will keep them up all school year. Maybe I'll get some kids to help.  No sense in changing the boards if nobody really looks at them.

Also, I'm going to involve my students more.  They can write their own names on their folders and notebooks.  It may not be uniform and cutesy, but the kids will have more ownership.  Even the littlest kids who can't write yet can color a design.

I'm not going to make anchor charts ahead of time.  When we come to a lesson where one is needed, the students will help create it.  I am still somewhat of a control freak, so I will do the writing, but the ideas, with little nudges from me, will come from the kids.  Again, ownership.  Plus, if they help make it, they will be more likely to use it and remember the information.  I guess I'd rather spend an hour planning a lesson to facilitate student involvement in making anchor charts than five hours on making the perfect one myself.  I think I know which will help my kids grow more.

If other teachers feel the need to spend hours and hours on the Pinterest-perfect classroom, more power to them!  Enjoy yourself.  It's your choice and your style.  Me, I'm going to have my students help.  My classroom may not look Pinterest-perfect, but it will be student-perfect.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Flying Monkeys

Here is this week's challenge--Kelly's Flying Monkeys.  The PQ Challenge was to use the monkey wrench and flying geese blocks.  The geese are pieced as part of the yellow bar of the monkey wrench.  I call it flying monkeys because I was thinking of Wizard of Oz and Wicked while I pieced it.  It is 24" x 24".

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Through the eyes of a child

This week's Project Quilting challenge was Through the Eyes of a Child.  We were to be inspired by the artwork of a child.  I had my daughter have her two boys make some art for me to use.
I call it Martin Boys Mash-up.  The art is a combination of two pieces done by my grandsons.  The collage on the left is from Lucas, age 2.  The rocket on the orange is from Jacob, age 4.  He drew a rainbow in purple crayon on the rocket, so I quilted a purple rainbow.

Here are my inspirations.  The piece is 14" x 18"

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Road Trip Vacation

This week's Project Quilting Challenge is I Need a Vacation.  I wasn't sure what to do, until I remembered I had bought fabric with Viewmaster reels on it.  When I was a kid, we went on a major road trip vacation every summer.  Two weeks, four kids, a dog, a pop-up camper, and a station wagon with no air conditioning.  One of the souvenirs we always got were Viewmaster reels.  They weren't too expensive and all four of us kids could share them.  So, here is "Road Trip with Viewmaster Souvenirs."  43"x47"
The road section was my hubby's idea and it is just perfect!  I am so happy with the results and the memories this quilt is bringing me.  Below is an close-up of the Viewmaster fabric.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Thread and snow days

So, it's February (my birthday month, so let the celebration begin!) and we started out the month here in Reedsburg, Wisconsin with not one, but two snow days.  I got a lot of quilting done, plus some other things that needed doing.  I joined a Facebook group called Drop and Give Me 20, which is dedicated to quilting at least 20 minutes everyday in February.  So far, so good!

Anyway, on to the Project Quilting challenge for this week, All About That Thread.  I had an idea almost immediately.  I visualized a gray moon on a beige background with big-stitch quilting.  I thought about a gauze overlay (tea-dyed cheesecloth), so I gathered all the materials.  I found I had some Osnaberg (sp?) fabric in my stash and that made the perfect background.  I pulled some hand-dyes, cut some pieces and layed them on the background.  Viola!  Winterscape was born.
Are the long pieces trees or buildings?  I'll let you decide.

I ditched the gauze idea.  It looked neat in photos, but not so much in real life.  The moon and the trees/buildings are appliquilted down with a 20 weight thread.  The qduilting is done with perle cotton and big stitches.  It has a modern, yet primative feel.  Maybe I invented a new "genre" of quilting.  :)
I was going to bind it with a separate binding from the Osnaberg, but since I had the Osnaberg on the back, I decided to save myself some time by just folding the back to the front.  I stitched it down with big stitches.  It is 18" square.  This is my first attempt at big stitching and I really like it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Seasons Challenge

This week's challenge is Seasons.  I already had an idea for another challenge, Rainy Days, so I thought I would combine them.  I had a design consultant on this project--my 17-year-old son.  My design is based on the season of spring.  I call it Drat!
Poor Charlie Brown.  The tree ate his kite, again, and it's raining.  The umbrella is made from the challenge fabric for the Rainy Days challenge  The sky fabric is one of my hand-dyes.

This quilt is 20 x 22.  I got it done with just a little more than 12 hours to spare.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Project Quilting Season 7 Challenge 1--Confetti

It's January, and that means that Project Quilting is up and running.  This cool challenge is the brainchild of my friend, Kim Lapacek.  She posts a theme on her blog on Sunday at noon and quilters have until the following Sunday at noon to finish it.  Size doesn't matter.  :)

So, I had this great idea.  It came to me shortly after the challenge theme, Confetti, was posted.  Unfortunately, life got in the way.  We remodeled our bathroom and I had to spend some time getting all the junk out of the bathroom and in general clearing things out for the remodelers.  I tried starting the project this morning, but I knew I wouldn't get it done.  I got 12 blocks sewed and I will finish it for another challenge.

This is what I finally did.  I started at about 4:30 and finished it about 6:30.  Not my best work, but done is better than perfect.
I call it Let's Party.  It's 12" x 13".  I made a sandwich of the blue background fabric, then I cut a bunch of little pieces and laid them on the top of the sandwich.  I loaded some varigated thread in my machine and meander over the top, making sure I caught the little bits of confetti.  It was kind of a pain because I had to slow down and lift up my pressure foot to make sure I caught those little buggers.  Once I meandered over the whole top and caught all the confetti, I meandered over it again to make sure everything stayed in place. 

It's done and posted, so.....LET'S PARTY!