Saturday, October 15, 2011

the Creative Syllabus

My school requires a syllabus for every class, every term.  Since I teach on block, and usually have 3 different "preps" (classes) per block, that means upwards of 12 syllabi each year!  (Not really, I repeat 3 or 4 classes once!)

I've been doing a "creative syllabus" for a couple of years now.  I started doing this because otherwise they're BORING to read aloud to them, and they almost never read along, AND I would find them left behind after the first day on desks and tables.  Grrr. 

So... enter the Comic Strip Syllabus:

This syllabus was created using the Marvel Superhero Comic site.  They have an awesome comic creator!  I love that you can download and save or print your finished comic strip or comic book (yes, you can write an entire storyline with multiple pages and layouts!)  This syllabus is for my Imaging (graphic arts) class.  I'm fairly confident they're going to love it!

For my Fashion class, I created their syllabus using

This site is also free and you can download your finished cover (many, many different themed covers already set up to edit with your own images and text!)  I did pay the $1.99 fee to download a high quality version though, since I loved it so much.  I might even print and frame or laminate it for my classroom walls. 

The illustration on my Fashion cover is from a Deviantart artist Bree Leman.  This print was free to download from her DV site, but she has some lovely artwork for purchase too (higher quality/resolution prints).

One thing you might note is how concise the information is.  Due to the format of a comic or magazine cover, you have to be short and to the point.  At first I was worried I wasn't "covering everything".  Then I discovered...I was too wordy before.  The kids stop listening after a while, and besides what do I REALLY WANT THEM TO KNOW??

That's what I concentrate on for the info on my creative syllabi.  The really important goods.  The rest is fluff and unnecessary (and can be replaced with cool graphics and fun comic book SPLATS!)

I hope this might inspire some of you to try a new format for your boring old syllabi! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Days of the Week: Free Printable

I just bought these super fun book & binder bins from Really Good Stuff to organize my weekly lessons.  I really like the set of 5 from Lakeshore Learning, but feel like the primary colors are too juvenile for my high school classroom.  I bought the neon colors pictured below and the "earth" colors too.  Bonus: I have 3 extra tubs for other things! 
The weird thing is that they don't offer a set of 5 with a rack (like the Lakeshore Learning set).  It's a set of FOUR with a rack.  I bought the set without the rack, and I think it will be fine.  I'm not planning on storing binders or large items in them, just my copies and file folders, so they shouldn't tip over.  I have a place on the corner of my desk (against a wall) which will help sturdy them up too.

BUT...I need to label them.  Because I like labeling things!  So I made these:

Aren't they cute??  They are 2.5 x 3 inches each and should fit perfectly in the label/tag section on the front of the bin (with a bit extra for trimming if needed).  I made all of the background patterns in Photoshop and used a fun font from Kevin & Amanda's scrapbook fonts.  Should jazz up my desk nicely!

You can download your 1-page PDF freebie from my TPT store here!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Free Printable: Giant Wall Calendar

I have long wanted one of these!  Pottery Barn had a cool one for your office a few years ago, and many Etsy sellers have taken this idea and ran with it. 

I had some free time on my hands (and a blank spot behind my desk at school) so I made my own!

It's HUGE!  A full 24 x 36 inches, standard poster size.  I'm going to make a Hobby Lobby run in the next couple of days to pick up a pretty white frame for it (and some 3M removable hooks too). 

It's a perpetual calendar, with a blank to write in the month and nice big squares to write in all of your to-do's in each day.  You can use Expo or dry erase markers right on the glass from the frame. 

My name is only in the preview...that cute little tag (from the Coffeeshop Blog!) is blank on the actual printable I uploaded to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Feel free to open it in Photoshop or your graphics program and add your name if you like!

You can download your own Giant Perpetual Wall Calendar in my TPT store!

I think I'll use Walgreen's to print my poster, or maybe Vistaprint (which is a little cheaper). 

I took a picture of my Graphic Design student's Optical Illusion artwork from the Line Project I posted last month.  They turned out really awesome!  I'll have to download the photo from my ipod and share that in the next few days.  I have several other things I've been wanting to share and have just been too busy.  Can you believe how fast September flew by??

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Optical Illusions - a Digital Art Project

I ran across this fabulous art project on Runde's Room early this morning:

I was so inspired by it that I immediately sat down and created a digital tutorial for my Graphic Design kids!  We're doing the Elements of Design next week, and learning the Pen Tool in Photoshop; this was a PERFECT project for both!

Here's my digital version of Jen's project:

And here's the complete Tutorial:

LINE – Creating an Optical Illusion

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lesson Planning

I have lots of lesson plan forms I've tried over the years.  I'm still tweaking!  I have two favorites, one that shows the whole week - all classes in a 2-page spread (great for my binder!), and the other is a 1-page/1-class/1-day detailed plan.

Here's a peek at the 2-page plan.  It has a colorful shaded heading for each day of the week, and a column on the right for notes/reminders.   There is also a narrow column on the left to add class periods/class names.  I teach on a 4x4 block schedule, but for my TPT store, I modified my template to include 6-period and 7-period days.  All three are included in one free download HERE.

This second --very detailed-- template is perfect for new lessons or activities (or just new classes!) when you are afraid you'll forget little details.  It has sections for pretty much EVERYTHING, including vocab, chapter/page numbers, warmups, materials, Kagan/Cooperative learning activities, homework, assessment, technology...  Everything!  I uploaded a no-color and a colorful version of this detailed template today and you can download it HERE.   (Free of course!)

Hopefully one or both of these might be helpful to you!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Classroom...

A little background...  we were lucky enough to move into a brand new school this year, so my room is wonderful and shiny new!  It's huge's taking me a while to get used to making my voice carry ALL the way to the back!

(Btw, I took these photos with my iPhone in the late afternoon, so they're not the BEST photos, haha!)  This is at the front of my room, my SMART board and white board, and bookshelves where I'll keep my class sets of textbooks:

The XL weekly planners are attached to the whiteboard with magnetic strips.  I made those...I'll upload the freebie to my TPT store soon and link them here on the blog!  Right now they're individual files, so I need to add them to one long document first.  Also...I'd like for them to be a wee bit bigger; I might just resize too before I share them.  They're working out really well for the kids to see what we're doing/the week at a glance.

Next, the left side of my classroom...

I made the bunting/banner by sewing triangles of scrap fabrics in fun colors to a length of grosgrain ribbon.  It was actually a fast and easy project!  Cutting the triangles was the longest part, but I used a rotary cutter & mat with a clear ruler.  The B&W posters are from Hobby Lobby.  You can see a corner of my cute bulletin board peeking in from the far right.  I'll show it next.

The background paper on the bulletin board is 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.  It was from a matched set but I don't have the package here to tell you who the designer is!  It's feedsack and vintage farmhouse prints.  Very cute!  This bulletin board is now my Word Wall.  I added a cute hanging sign from one of the hooks a week ago, so I'll have to snap a new pic!

The art cart rolls around the room as we need it.  It's full of large format paper in the bottom storage area, my paper cutters and hole punch in the middle storage shelf, and the end shelving holds my scissor, glue, crayon, and marker boxes.  This is an awesome cart!

Looking to the back of the classroom, you can see my tables & chairs for classroom seating, and the back wall.  This room is HUGE!  The tall shelving unit at the back right hand corner, isn't permanent, it was just in my room while we waited for a closet to be cleaned out.  The posters on the back wall were from Hobby Lobby; so were the hanging lanterns.

The right side of my classroom has windows (yay!) and more bunting.  Posters are from Hobby Lobby, except the large yellow one in the back.  That was a free printable from Joy's Hope (sorry, I've lost my link!)  It says... "What you write might just change the world..."  The kids love that poster! 

On the far back table, I have two cubes from Hobby Lobby or Target, that I decoupaged with polkadot gift tissue in red/white.  They're so cute!  I painted the back of the paper storage cube with rainbow stripes to match the bunting. 

The drawer unit is used for rulers, punches, decorative scissors, and other miscellaneous things we used in class for portfolios and projects.  We're hands on project people here!

That'll do for pictures now.  I have made a few changes in the first few weeks while we settled in.  Not to anything above; just things I've added.  I'll try to snap some pictures of the new stuff next week and upload those too! 

Welcome...and our first freebie!

Welcome to my teacher blog!  I'm excited to start sharing ideas for the classroom in this space!

I'm a Business & Marketing teacher in Arkansas, and teach grades 9-12.  This year my schedule includes Interior Design, Advertising, Fashion Merchandising, Computer Business Applications, and my favorite classes, Digital Layout & Design and Digital Graphics.  In my room, it's a fun day, EVERY day!

My goals for the blog include sharing all the awesome, fun, teachery things I find on the net, as well as downloads and things I make for my shop over on Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers.

To start off the fun, here is a set of colorful damask blank tags that I use in my classroom for name tags, seating charts, and computer numbers.  They're a PDF file and were handmade by me in Photoshop.  You can download them in my TPT store HERE.

I created the damask background tile.  The adorable dotty swirl frame is a freebie Photoshop brush from Pixels and Ice Cream.  I love her brushes!  She's very generous to provide a free commercial/personal license for freebies too.  Go visit if you love PS brushes!

I hope you'll favorite my teacher blog and join the sharing fun!  I make a LOT of printables for myself, and most of these are applicable to ANY grade level, not just highs school!  I finally decided...why not SHARE!  Besides...I get some of my best ideas from my favorite elementary teacher blogs! So I hope you'll join me here, even if you teach at a different level.

Next up... I'll be sharing photos of my classroom!