Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Making Writing Prompts with Photos

Have you ever been to a dollar store and found items that you liked, and purchased even if you didn't have a specific purpose for them yet?  That's me.  I love perusing my local Dollar General, especially during season changes, and at the holidays. Even though a lot of what they sell there is cheesy, sometimes there are dollar items that can be incorporated into a lesson or project.

Prior to school starting,  I came across a big display of calendars at Dollar General.  There were large calendars as well as mini calendars. There were a lot of different subjects/themes.  I chose barns, horses, cats, dogs, and butterflies as those are all subjects that I like to work with.

There are a lot of different ways you can use these little calendars.  In the past, I have used the large photo calendars for room decor when covering different themes.  The students enjoyed seeing all of the different animal pictures.  What I like best about using calendars is that they are inexpensive, and the colors are generally very vibrant and clear.  The mini calendars pictured above were on display for $.50 each, but were marked down 50% so they were actually .25 each.  {Averages out to .02 per image} WOW!    

I decided that these images would make perfect writing prompts.  I liked the idea of using the mini calendars for this purpose for a few reasons:

1.)  Calendar images are small, making them easier for children to handle.
2.)  Cost effective, so more than one set could be made with little expense.
3.)  Conserves printer ink.
4.)  A lot of options for subjects/themes
5.)  Can be laminated in desktop laminator!

Making Writing Prompts from Mini Calendars

1. What I did first was remove the 2 staples in the center of the calendar.  This made it possible for me to spread the pages part so I could see all of the different images.  

2. I cut the calendar pages in half so that there are 12 images for me to work with.

3. Write a prompt onto the top of each image (if desired).  You don't have to write anything on the
    images if you wanted the students to come up with their own ideas for each image instead.

4.  Laminate!    (I did not show the lamination process....)

5.  Store laminated images in an envelope or folder!

Making Writing Prompts from Photos

I don't know about you, but I take A L O T of digital photos.  Many of which feature my animals.  Animal pictures make great writing prompts because there are no right or wrong answers. 

Using photos for writing prompts can be inexpensive too.  There are several companies that offer an online service where you can upload your digital images, and they will process your prints and mail them to you. This is an affordable option not only in cost per print, but also the time you save having to hunt down images.  They can be mailed right to you.

Snapfish -  Snapfish offers a variety of photo processing options from prints, posters, framed prints, books, coffee mugs and much more.  Snapfish offers 100 free 4x6 prints, after that they are .9 per print. That's an amazing deal!  I have not tried their service, but I am going to.  I will update this article as soon as I do!

Walmart Photo & Gift -   Walmart offers a lot of different digital processing from prints, posters, coffee mugs, photo cards, to apparel.  Walmart periodically runs specials providing a new customer free prints.
They currently are offering 25 free 4x6 prints when you sign up!   I have purchased prints through Walmart several times including photo cards.  I've only had one occasion where the photos were messed up, and I contacted them and they reprinted them no problem.  

Once you have your photos,  you can choose to write prompts on them or leave them blank so that the student can use his or her imagination.  Photos CAN be laminated for use as writing prompts.  Another idea is to purchase inexpensive photo books.  {You can pick them up at the dollar store for $.50-$1.00}

Using real photos can be as much fun as using images from calendars (or catalogs, etc).  I have included three different prompts here of my own animals.  You're welcome to save them and use them if you'd like.

Maggie might think she's in trouble, but she's not.  Peering through the yard gate, she is actually looking at the barn cats that are laying on the other side of the gate. Ssshhh don't tell.  Wait to see what the students write about Maggie. 

Max the barn cat was actually taking a nap and I disturbed him.  He's a big ol' cat that likes to laze around the barn.  His favorite place to snooze is on the deck, and sometimes on the railing below my office window.


This is Millenium, or Milly for short.  She is a Missouri Foxtrotter horse.  And you can probably tell that she is also going to have a baby (March).  She is currently in the pasture right next to my house.  I took this picture because I thought it would be useful as a writing prompt. 

I hope that you have enjoyed this Blog post.  I would love to hear about your frugal ideas for creating learning resources!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Whether or weather?

One of the things I enjoy most about Fall is that the weather changes.  Where I live in Arkansas,  we generally have sunny, wet springs, HOT summers, and pleasant fall.  Our Winters are a mixed bag around here.  Some years they are severe with lots of snow and ice, but sometimes (like last year) we didn't have any harsh weather.

When the summer ends and fall begins, you can feel it in the air.  The coolness of the nights, the hoots of the owls, and the color palette that changes from green to a blend of yellow, orange, and red in the Sumac.

This week,  I am sharing with you a simple, mini file folder game for weather.  Featuring weather pictures, and weather words for the different weather types.  The folder portion of the game fits nicely on one piece of cardstock.  The game pieces and label fits on a 2nd piece.  I have included both full color and BW for your convenience.

Click the picture to download the game.

I will be adding some new features to my Blog this week.  I've been busy participating in different events. With the holidays coming up,  I want to make this Blog more of a "home" to come to.  By that,  I'd like for you to learn more about me, my family, and the materials I create.

I've received several emails requesting help with their Blogs, Facebook, or various "techie" things.  While I am not an expert, I am happy to help when I can.  Feel free to email me (Email tab above) when you have questions and I will do my best to help out.  

Have a great Monday!   Be sure to stop by Manic Monday (link below) to download some amazing freebies.  

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Monday, October 14, 2013

Boo likes Halloween ?

Click picture to download freebie!

I don't know about you, but I cannot believe that it's already mid-October.  I have so much on my "to do" list.

With Halloween a little over 2 weeks away, I thought you might like another freebie!  This is a ghost matching game that I made for a magazine project. The ghost cards contain numbers 1-12, and there are corresponding ghosts with number words. The game cards fit in the pumpkin box (template included), and the kids are to shake them up and then match them.  It's a simple game that can be used for Halloween treat bags, or for a party activity.

*NOTE*  This would be a great activity to use up recycled construction paper, cardstock, or scrapbooking paper.  Have fun with it!

Crayonbox Learning Newsletter -  When I scheduled my first newsletter to go out, I didn't remember that Columbus Day was Monday.  I'd like to make sure everyone has a chance to sign up.  If you haven't, add your email address to the space provided (right sidebar).  I am working on the presentation of the newsletter. I am using MailChimp for the delivery, if for some reason by late Tuesday, if you haven't received your newsletter please let me know.  This will be the first one going out using this system, and I want to make sure that everyone is able to read it, and doesn't hit spam folders.  I look forward to sharing more with you!

Tutorials:  I will be adding some more tutorials to my Blog in conjunction with the newsletters.  There has been such an overwhelming, positive response to the tutorials I made for Woo Box/Facebook, and Google Docs that I plan on making more.  If you have a topic area that you would like me to cover, please email and let me know.  I am happy to help where I can.

Last but not least,  I was curious how many of you cook with your students?   I've been watching Master Chef Junior, and I was just AMAZED at how talented these young people are.  In the past, I have cooked with my students.  Not only does it help with learning how to measure, and to learn about chemistry, but cooking projects can also foster teamwork.  You can assemble healthy snacks as part of a cooking segment in your room if you don't want to work with or don't have the ability to use a cooking facility.

P.S.  Crayonbox Learning is participating in a HUGE Facebook Frenzy starting this Friday.  There are over 40 different creators that are participating!  Each stop in the link up will have a freebie for you to download.  I'll post a note here on my Blog when the Frenzy is ready to go on Friday.  It's an awesome way to collect some neat Halloween, Fall, Harvest materials!!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Halloween Freebie...

I created this Halloween freebie today, which is a spin off of the "Read Across America" punch cards that I made in March.  The Halloween punch cards feature the similar design, however they feature kid-friendly Halloween characters.   A cute incentive either to promote reading, or positive behavior.  They can be used as an alternative for handing out candy as well.

~ Click the image above for download ~

The Halloween punch cards can be prepared in advance of use.  Print out onto cardstock, cut out, and then laminate for durability.  You can punch a hole in one corner to use with a lanyard if desired. 

Coming up this week:   I am starting of the new series on creating classroom resources on a shoestring budget!  This will include "Dollar Store" finds! :)
Crayonbox Learning Newsletter:  Have you signed up for the Crayonbox Learning Newsletter?  If you look in the sidebar to the right, you'll see an email sign up box.  I will be publishing a newsletter twice a month with the first issue coming out October 15th.  You won't want to miss it! :)
If you have a subject /topic that you would like covered in the "Techie" section, please let me know.  I've received a lot of feedback regarding the various tutorials I have written!  I have a couple new tutorials coming out soon!  If you are following me on Bloglovin (link in sidebar), you'll be notified when I post something new.
Be sure to pop by Classroom Freebies to check out all of the freebies on Manic Monday which is hosted by Charity Preston from The Organized Classroom!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday