2015 Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit Giveaway

teacher emergency kit giveaway 2 bagsOne Lucky Winner Will Receive TWO Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!

I am giving away two (2) Teacher Emergency Kits to one (1) lucky winner! You can keep one kit and give one to a teacher friend (or make two teachers, friends, co-workers, neighbors… super happy and give both as gifts). Click HERE to enter. Giveaway ends this Friday, July 31 at midnight (EST). Shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada.

Winner will receive 2 cloth pouches and emergency kit contents. Each kit contains a $10 Starbucks giftcard, travel sized sewing kit, travel sized Aquaphor, travel sized Advil, Band-aids, and peppermints. See this BLOG POST for more details about the Teacher Emergency Kits.

teacher emergency kit giveaway full viewClick this RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY LINK and follow me on various social media and/or comment on this blog post to be entered to win!

teacher emergency kit giveaway open bag

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit 2015

teacher emergency kit contents

It is finished. This year’s version of the Teacher Emergency Kit. It is my favorite first day of school gift to a teacher. This year’s emergency kit pouch is smaller than my past choices, so I will not be able to add a bottle of wine, which is probably what my children’s teachers really want after the first day of school. But, it is a handy little bag to store in a desk or teacher bag for daily emergencies.

teacher emergency kit materials

The Cloth Pouch

  • If you sew, you can download the Loyalty Card Holder Pattern for free from Craftsy. You will need to register on the site before downloading the pattern. I followed the directions on the Lemon Squeezy Home site. Lemon Squeezy’s sewing skills are clearly superior to mine. After much cursing and ripping out of stitches, I did make all of the bags I needed. I am trying to ignore some of the wrinkly parts in the corners.
  • Lemon Squeezy used a magnetic snap, but I opted for an old fashioned button because I thought it would be a good decorative detail. After messing up multiple button holes, I was rethinking the magnetic snap decision. I think both options would have provided equal frustrations for my sewing abilities. The buttons do look prettier, so the buttons were probably a better choice for me in the end.

teacher emergency kit with contents

The Contents

  • Starbucks giftcard (The little bag is credit card size, so I figured it needed a coffee gift card. It’s what I would want.)
  • travel sized sewing kit
  • Band-aids
  • individually wrapped mints
  • Aquaphor (or any kind of chapstick)
  • travel sized Advil (In the past, I included individual Tylenol, Advil, and Tums in mini baggies with printed labels. I had “people” who clearly did not appreciate the cuteness of my packaging get all up in arms about my redistribution of the pills. I really don’t think the Advil police will come after me, but I went ahead and used untampered Advil to avoid any future problems.)

teacher emergency kit interior

Other Content Ideas

  • 4 quarters for soda money
  • safety pins
  • Tide to go stain remover stick
  • cough drops
  • Sharpie pen
  • travel sized hand lotion
  • travel sized Windex Wipes for Electronics (found these one time at Target)
  • travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • hair clip, hair tie, or rubberband
  • smartphone charger
  • ear buds

teacher emergency kit 2015

Other Packaging Ideas

  • Use a bead box from a store like Michael’s Crafts. Sew a potholder clutch or foldover cloth bag. Pick up a small cosmetics bag; I saw some in the bins near the door at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Fill a simple paper gift bag. Click on the images below to read about other versions of the Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

teacher emergency kit contents view

Click HERE to read about the GIVEAWAY to win two of these kits. Giveaway ends 7/31/15.

American Girl Goes to Work

American Girl office play scene

I love Miss Priss loves to make new play scenes for her American Girl dolls. She has a Tri-Fold Project Board Display, the kind used for science fair projects, that we periodically change out for different doll activities. So far, we have made a Restaurant, a Dress Shop, an Art Gallery, and a Hair Salon with the project board. Last week, Miss Priss asked if we could convert the background scene to an office space. You don’t have to ask me twice, so we loaded up and headed to Hobby Lobby where all of my great crafty projects start.

American Girl Office SuppliesThe Desk

  • We used a hot pink desk organizer and tipped it on its side. The openings that would have held pencils, paper clips, or Post-it notes became shelves across the front of the desk.
  • We found 5″ sparkly candlesticks and glued them to the desk organizer. I used E6000 Glue, which is a heavy duty craft glue. I did measure the distance from the edges of the desk organizer and center the candlesticks on each side of the desk organizer box before gluing to make sure the candlestick legs were evenly spaced.
  • In order for the scale to be about right, desks and tables should be roughly 9″ tall.

American Girl office deskThe Bulletin Board

  • Purchase a pre-cut mat for a picture frame. The interior dimensions of my frame mat is 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. I used the thin corkboard on a roll with adhesive back that I had from making Doll Sandwiches. Cut a corkboard piece a little larger than the opening of your frame mat. Run a line of glue around the front edges of the corkboard and press it to the back of the frame mat. The corkboard sheet rolls up a little, so I placed books on top of the mat and cork on a flat, hard surface (like a kitchen counter) until the glue dried.
  • Once the glue dried, we attached the framed bulletin board to the science fair backboard. I put the science fair backboard flat on my dining table and measured the placement of the bulletin board before gluing, so it would be straight and centered. You can remove the sticky back paper to attach the bulletin board to the project board or attach with craft glue or hot glue.

American Girl office background

  • Map pins work well for attaching notes. Your pins will go all the way through the cork and the backboard.

American Girl bulletin boardOffice Plants

  • Look for mini plant containers at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s Crafts, or gardening centers. We purchased a block of that green oasis material that florists use to make flower arrangements and some fake greenery.

American Girl office plant oasis material

  • Cut a chunk of oasis to fit in the bottom of the container.
  • Cut pieces of greenery and stab the ends into the oasis block.

American Girl office plantCharts

  • We went through the art supply section at Hobby Lobby and found a 6″ x 8″ watercolor paper notepad with the spiral binding on the top (portrait orientation).
  • Using Sharpie markers and a ruler, Miss Priss and I drew a few different graphs.
  • We set the notepad on a small tabletop art easel.

American Girl office sales chartStationery

  • Using my paper cutter, I cut notebook paper, printer paper, and colored cardstock into 2″ x 3″ pieces of paper.
  • Using mini rubber stamps and ink pads, we stamped designs and monogram initials onto the top of the papers, so it looks like personalized stationery.
  • I also found colored paper clips that are smaller than standard size, and we clipped assorted papers together.

American Girl office stationeryAdditional Accessories

  • Hobby Lobby has plain craft boxes with lids in a variety of sizes. We bought 2 boxes that measured 2″ x 3″ x 1 1/2″ and separated the lid from the bottom. The bottom parts of the boxes fit in the desk like a drawer and hold some desk supplies. I used an X-acto knife to cut a small half circle out of one side of each lid and then sanded the rough parts down with a nail file. The lids look like in/out desktop file boxes. Miss Priss has papers in the file boxes.

American Girl in out file boxes

  • We used a sparkly candle votive for a trashcan. Miss Priss wadded up scraps of paper to make the trash can look full.
  • We found small folders (about 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″) that have the string to tie the folder closed like an interoffice mail envelope in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.

American Girl interoffice envelope

  • We pulled several of our items from the American Girl School crafting binge like the pencil and pencil cup to add to the office play scene as well.

American Girl office

Miss Priss likes the office so much, we needed a second science fair backboard, so this scene can stay up permanently, and our second backboard gets traded out for other scenes. We have also recently become the proud owners of an original Samantha Oversized Book of Cardboard Scenes and Settings. The American Girl village happening in our TV room is quite extensive. I may need an intervention.

Books with a Summer Setting

justin case shells smells

I keep seeing articles about how to encourage children to read throughout the summer. All of the articles make the same basic suggestions. Set a daily reading time. Establish a specific amount of time to read each day. Get involved in a reading incentive program at a local library or bookstore, and provide good book choices.

Ultimately, if your child/student likes to read, he or she will continue to read in the summer as long as there are books available. If you do not have a child who is an avid reader then you (or another adult) have to support the reading habits if you want any reading to happen. You will need to provide reading material or opportunities to choose reading material; model reading (that means read yourself); read together, and have book discussions. Even though we often think of reading as an independent activity for older kids, a child will develop better reading habits if reading is treated like a group activity, and all participate.

I wish there was a pill to magically make a child a reader but there is not. If you need a little kick-start finding a book to help your child get over the reading-when-not-at-school hump, try a book that takes place during the summer when the characters in the story are also not attending school.

summer setting pin

Upper Elementary (~3rd grade to 6th grade)

  • The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
  • Under the Egg by Laura Max Fitzgerald
  • My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  • Summer Pony by Jean Slaughter Doty
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders
  • Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
  • Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom by Rachel Vail
  • The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford
  • Ten Good and Bad Things About My Life (So Far) by Ann M. Martin
  • The Bread Winner by Arvella Whitmore
  • The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey

Middle School (7th grade+)

  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
  • The Summer of the Swans Betsy Byars

For younger readers, try The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner specifically #2 in the series. I could not remember for sure, but I think some of the Ivy and Bean books by Barrow take place during the summer as well as some of the Judy Moody by McDonald. Now that Mr. Star Wars and Miss Priss are beyond the early chapter books (sniff), my radar is not as good for these younger titles.

summer of my german soldier

Making a Masterpiece

make your masterpiece one and only ivan

I spend a lot of time in the summer reading (even more) kid lit. I am always on the hunt for books I can use in my classroom. I have a core group of novels that I teach each year, but I like to rotate one or two out of the line-up and bring in something fresh. This year, I am adding The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I have spent the past week designing new materials to use with my students. While there are some materials I like to have for all novels I teach (chapter vocabulary lists and a character chart), I pretty much start from scratch every time I design a unit so that the activities are unique to that specific novel. Developing the ideas and wrapping layers of language skills into a unit of study are probably my favorite part of teaching.

  • I read lots of books for pleasure until I find one that catches my interest.
  • Once I choose a book I would like to teach, I read the book a second time and make notes. I circle key words, write notes and questions in the margin, underline important quotes, put stars next to interesting passages, and jot activity ideas at the bottom of the page.
  • Next, I set up my basic handouts that I use in every novel unit. I always add chapter vocabulary, and I always have a character chart of some kind.
  • After that, I often implement an ongoing task. I call this an anchor activity. Students might have to find figurative language in each chapter, write a summary “gist” statement after completing each chapter, or re-tell the chapter from the point of view of one character.
  • I add in activities that are unique to the themes, story, and writing style of the book. For The One and Only Ivan, students recreate the “puzzle” drawing Ivan paints with his message to save Ruby, the baby elephant. Based on evidence from the text, students draw and color their version of Ivan’s masterpiece. They cut their drawing into pieces, and a partner has to reassemble the drawing just like the character, Julia, did in the story. I want to keep the flow of the story going, so I won’t plan for these unique activities at the end of every chapter; I sprinkle them throughout the book.
  • Ivans masterpiece cuttingI also like to incorporate at least one non-fiction reading selection that supplements events in the story. In the Ivan story, students get to compare the book version of Ivan to the real Ivan who lived at Zoo Atlanta after spending 27 years in a glass enclosure at a mall.

One and Only Ivan real v book

Typically, the first year I teach a book, I am creating the items I need the night before I will use them with the students. Thanks to the TpT Seller Challenge, I had motivation to get a head start on my new novel for this school year. I also had a great editing buddy, DocRunning, who offered great suggestions for improvements.