Wednesday, 28 December 2011

10 Tips for Laminating your Printables!

Laminating and packaging your printables such as worksheets and card games are so much fun! If you are an addict like I am, here are a few tips that can make it quick, easy and safe.
  • Printing Ink: Your printer must have medium to high levels of black and colored ink. If you print in color and your color cartridge is low on only one color, say blue, it cannot use other colors to make more blue so all color levels (the little bars) must be 'up'.

  • Paper color: The color of paper is really important. I love these for printing large and bright bulletin board letters, then I laminate them. For write-on-wipe-off worksheets that are 'black and white', you can print on colored paper, even the bright fluorescent ones! These are especially great for posters, name tags and things that you need to POP out visually. It's a cost-effective way of having color without needing colored ink! 

  • Paper thickness: For all of my printable card games, I print them out on Astrobrights cardstock. Why? It's not just for adding durability, it also helps to prevent the printed side from being seen from the reverse side. So students can play, without having to try to conceal their cards from their opponents' view. 
  • Laminating machine quality: It is preferable to use a machine that has multiple heat settings for different paper thicknesses. Older or cheaper machines may have limited options for temperature adjustments and this can lead to either under-heating or over-heating. If your laminator is too hot, it would cause the paper in the pouch to come out wrinkled with folds and dents. If it is too cold, it could lead to air pockets. The solution to both scenarios is to re-laminate it (pass it through a second time) at the right temperature setting, according to the paper thickness. This would iron out the wrinkles and seal out the air pockets.  For A4 sized laminating of large classroom posters, use a large laminator like this one.
  • Fire Safety: A good laminating machine should also have a safety automatic shut off (like a curling iron does).
  • Cutting: I recommend the use of a guillotine (if you are handy with it) because it really saves time on cutting.

  • Student safety: Laminating and cutting a page leads to sharp corners. You can either stack the pages three at a time to nick off the sharp corner with a scissors in a curving direction for a smooth round off or you can use a nail file to round off the edges so that it does not seem obvious e.g. for playing cards.
  • Even more durability: For super durability, when cutting out your cards or posters, do not cut along the edge of the paper or within the paper area, instead cut beyond the edge of the paper where the two sheets of the laminating pouch touch.  This creates a truly airtight and waterproof seal!
  • Using Velcro: For sorting activities and games, if you need to stick one card to another, use little strips of Velcro (the kind that's already cut into little dots with sticky backs) so students scan sort with ease. I do not recommend tape because it leaves a sticky residue on your cards, it takes up more time for peeling, cutting and sticking, and it is tricky for younger students to handle. 

  • Storage for easy access: Store your printables in labelled transparent 'Ziploc type' bags for easy identification and so that they can stay clean without little fingerprints and juice-spills all over them!

Sometimes laminators can get jammed. This is a really important tip: How to prevent jams - 
When feeding the laminating sheet into the laminator, always insert the sealed end, not the open end, or else it could cause your laminator to jam. Sometimes you may just have small piece of paper to laminate and you decide to cut out a nice rectangular section of the laminating pouch (because you don't want to waste the whole thing). This is okay as long as you cut from the sealed end. But then again, what do you do with the remainder - the part that is not sealed? Use it another time? No. Throw it away or else it could jam your laminator! I have learned the hard way that the best way to be thrifty with my pouches is to use them to the full extent. So if I only have a small piece of paper to laminate, I find other small things to add to the pouch so that I don't have any wastage.


So now that you know my laminating secrets, I hope you have a fun creating and laminating for your classroom!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Do you have a New Year's Resolution as a Teacher?

I made two resolutions last year and now I've learned that I should only make one! I can't believe I thought I could start a school choir on my own in two months with at least two well versed songs. I was optimistic, yes... but not realistic.

So my realistic goal for 2012 (and hopefully it will become permanent) is to do more inductive science experiments no matter what obstacles may come my way! I promised myself that I will teach 'quality' not 'quantity' so it's not going to be about racing against the clock to 'finish the syllabus'. This year, I'll be focusing on the Do's and Don'ts of... the inductive method. I think I'll use a Sherlock Holmes theme (that was just by-the-way).

I'll save the choir idea for 2013!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

My Students are Authors and Illustrators!

Last week, my students handed in their term projects. They created their own stories about a butterfly's life through each stage of development. Beautiful books were surrounding me as they all clamored for me to read theirs. I was really touched to see the effort and care that went in to creating these works of art. The instructions were simple.  I wanted them to stat off with a store bought construction paper book which is just colored construction paper that's already binded for you. Some replaced the generic cover with one of their own, others simply ripped of the generic cover and made the first page into the cover by just decorating it. The rules about content were strict: they had to portray they character at each stage of the life cycle and this had to be in the correct order - egg, caterpillar/larva, chrysalis/pupa, butterfly/adult. I loved them, I let them read their books to the class one at a time and while the stories were similar they were still unique in style and some even had hints of an impending sequel! lol. 

I felt very pleased at my choice of assignment for them because my students really felt like they got the experience of being an author or illustrator. And this should make them see more of their real potential.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Back to School Sale!

I'm loving this back to school vibe that's in the air. Do you feel it too?  I'm so excited to get back to class on Monday, don't get me wrong, I loved the holidays but now I'm just eager to get back with my students. I prepared some new stuff for them and I hope they like it. I know many teachers are already back out to school and the rest of you are going back soon.  So I'm throwing a back to school sale on my printables at TpT and TeachersNotebook - 20% OFF!


Monday, 5 December 2011

Valentine's Day Cards!


I decided to have my students do a quick card making activity for Valentine's Day. I did one for Mother's Day last year and it was a hit! So this Valentine's version consists of eight cards. The decorations on the cards are really cute and they vary to appeal to different age levels. Each card comes in both a color-print version and a black and white version. Grab it at TpT!

Valentine's Day Cards to print   Valentine's Day Cards

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Using a Word Wheel for Phonics!



What is a Word Wheel? It's simply two rotating cards that allow the reader to cover and hide parts of a word and to share these word parts with other words. For example, if the card above has the beginning sound 'd', then the card below will have middle and ending sounds for simple words that start with the 'd' sound like 'og' for 'dog' and 'ip' for 'dip'. This is a fun way of using a reading drill. Word wheels can be created to focus on short vowels, long vowels, the silent/magic 'e' and blends as the beginning or ending sounds.

Word WheelI taught a remedial reading class last year, but could not find any word wheels that focussed on a specific skill. So I created these CVC Word Wheels for my little readers which focuses on the beginning sounds of the three-letter CVC words. It is okay if students just want to play with them at first, they are usually intrigued by the way the word wheels spin. It is through this 'play' that the students will understand how the wheels work and see that the letter at the top gives the starting sound for all of the word parts below and this way, learning becomes fun! Here's a free sample!
My Whirly Word Wheels are available for purchase as instant digital downloads at TPT and Teachers Notebook.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

End of Year Certificates and Awards

Editable Awards and certificates

This term I've been given the privilege of having a class all for myself. We usually have two teachers to a class but one is on maternity leave and my teaching partner has taken her place.  I'm enjoying my new class, bonding with my students and their parents. The only catch is that time is really flying and it will be the end of the school term!

I've never seen a school term fly by so quickly, it's almost gone. We have only two more weeks of teaching time, then we'll have a  revision week, followed by what we call the 'Christmas End of Term Test'.  I realize that every teacher really needs an assistant because even though I'm getting things done, there's always more to do. I'm correcting papers, books, and homework in the morning, during break time, lunch time and especially after school. So, I want all of the teacher aids and assistant teachers out there to know that you are so very much needed and appreciated!

Anyway, I have these End of Year Certificates and Awards for kids: kindergarten and primary grades. This one is an editable certificate of achievement that can be used for any class, or any other type of accomplishment. The others are not editable but they are specific to class level. Just click on any of the pictures below to see them at TpT. They all come on color and black and white, and they also include matching graduation invitations.

Kindergarten graduation certificates: These are graduation certificates for kindergarten students who are being promoted to first grade. These certificates state 'Certificate of Promotion' to 1st grade and 'Certificate of Achievement' for successfully completing Kindergarten.
Certificates of Kindergarten

 Certificates for Kindergarten printable  Classroom Certificates to print

First Grade graduation certificates: These are graduation certificates for 1st grade students who are being promoted to 2nd grade. The certificates state 'Certificate of Promotion to 2nd grade' and 'Certificate of Achievement for successfully completing 1st Grade'.
Certificate of Achievement for 1st Grade
Certificate of Promotion to Second grade First Grade Graduation Certificates to print

Second Grade graduation certificates: These are graduation certificates for 2nd grade students who are being promoted to 3rd grade. They state 'Certificate of Promotion to Third Grade' and 'Certificate of Achievement for successfully completing Second Grade'.
2nd Grade Cetificates

Certificate of Promotion to 3rd Grade  Certificate of Achievement for 2nd Grade

Third Grade graduation certificates: These are graduation certificates for 3rd grade students who are being promoted to 4th grade. These certificates state 'Certificate of Promotion to Fourth Grade' and 'Certificate of Achievement for successfully completing Third Grade'.
3rd Grade Certificates End of year

Third Grade Certificates  Certificate of Promotion to 4th Grade

Fourth Grade graduation certificates: These are graduation certificates for 4th grade students who are being promoted to 5th grade. These types of certificates state 'Certificate of Promotion to Fifth Grade' and 'Certificate of Achievement for successfully completing Fourth Grade'.
4th-Grade Certificates End-of-Year

Classroom Certificate of Promotion to Fifth Grade  4th Grade Certificate

Fifth Grade graduation certificates: These are graduation certificates for 5th grade students who are being promoted to 6th grade. They state 'Certificate of Promotion to Sixth Grade' and 'Certificate of Achievement for successfully completing Fifth Grade'.

classroom Certificate of Promotion to Sixth Grade Fifth Grade Certificate

Classroom Awards:
Editable Certificate Templates  classroom awards to print on border paper
 If you could chose only one type of certificate, chose an editable one like the first one above because you can change up the words as you like to suit your class.

classroom award certificates  Awards for positive traits

Classroom Awards-Animal-Print-theme-end of year

About Me

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As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!