Monday Made It #3

My wonderful “Queso Grande” (principal) has a wonderful mantra that most risk-takin’ maniacs I know follow:  “Get out there and do it…and then ask for forgiveness later!”

Well…in the wonderful world of teaching, we are bombarded with all sorts of really terrific ideas…so many good ideas, in fact, that after a while, they all blend together and sources become muddled or forgotten.

It is never my intention to hurt another person by “stealing and profiting” off of their great ideas, but, as teachers, we do tend to run with somebody’s wonderful thinking and turn it into something that suits us best.

So…just like my Queso Grande…I’m running with an idea and then asking for forgiveness later!  I’ve seen something like this before, so I certainly don’t own this.  I just tweaked it to make it work for me.

I’m tipping my hat to those who have developed this idea and posted it…I had fun and have TWO Monday Made It’s to share!

Monday Made It…Flotsam and Jetsam Bags

I’ve seen a ton of “story bags” and the like out there…
From these humble beginnings, Flotsam and Jetsam Bags were born!  The idea is pretty simple:  purchase cheap-o pencil bags (I picked these up at Dollar Tree, but with the start of Back-to-School sales looming on the horizon, there will be plenty of opportunities to score your own) and fill them with rice, beads, beans, or whatever filler you have laying around.

I’m partial to colored rice.  Again…pick up rice in bulk or buy the 1lb. bags at Dollar Tree and you are already halfway there!

Never colored your own rice?  It’s pretty easy.  Just follow these easy steps:

1.  Place the rice you wish to color in a bowl.
2.  Completely submerge rice by covering with rubbing alcohol (Dollar Tree).
3.  Add a few drops of food coloring GEL or PASTE.  Plain old food coloring does not work well with this.  Gently mix to disperse the coloring throughout the rubbing alcohol.
4.  Let rice sit in coloring for an hour or so.
5.  When rice has the desired color, pour out the alcohol/coloring mix and put rice in an even, shallow layer on a foil lined cookie sheet.
6.  Let rice air dry for about 24 hours…do not bake!

I like to make large batches of multiple colors every time I color rice.  The whole house smells like a clinic, so I try not to subject the fam to this too often!

Once you have added the filler (the flotsam) add the jetsam.  Jetsam is really whatever you can find around the house.  This is the perfect opportunity to clear the toy box of all the “little stuff” like figurines, party favors and tiny Happy Meal toys that you find yourself stepping on and swearing at…

I found that liberating my home of these tiny terrors was quite satisfying!

Once the flotsam and jetsam has been added, seal the bag and hot glue it shut.  I added a fun little tag on the zipper pull and…

Now I have these four terrific little Flotsam and Jetsam Bags!

(They actually remind me a lot of the “Find It” tubes that you pay about $20 for!)

I plan to use these as a center for story writing…but they could be used for much more!  Common Core Standards love communication, so for younger students, they could also be used for a student to tell a story with mini props that are safely sealed in the Flotsam and Jetsam Bags.

I’m sure you could find plenty of uses for them!  I’d love to hear how you use these!

Monday Made It:  Magic Cubes

Again…I love the Dollar Tree for picking up the “ingredients” for cheap-o classroom center supplies.  They have an excellent teacher resource page that you need to check out!
One of my student’s favorite educational toys in our problem solving basket is the Rubik’s Cube.  The Dollar Tree version is called the Magic Cube and they usually have a ton of these babies on hand.
I’ve made these with math facts on them…just mix them up and have the kids solve them…it isn’t as easy as it looks but they really do spend a lot of time thinking while solving the cube!
My newest cube involves prefixes and suffixes:

I am including a short spreadsheet for recording findings if you are someone who really likes paper accountability.  I would recommend laminating these and including some Vis-a-Vis for recording versus killing trees.

Prefixes and Suffixes Magic Cube Spreadsheet

These are really cheap and easy to make, so remember…SHARING IS CARING!  I’ve already made a set for “the Wonderful Linda.”  How ’bout you?  Who can you share this with?

Also…these are the words that are included in on this cube:  unhealthy, prevention, embankment, unsinkable, preheated, telescopic, untruthful, previewing, understanding, unreadable, incompleted, unspeakable, unstoppable, precooked, delightful, ongoing, disloyalty, inconsiderate.

I do have addition, subtraction, and multiplication cubes that have worked out really well.  (I’m still thinking on the division!)

Have fun and make something great today!


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