Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Murals, "Give Me Five" and a Giveaway!

I have always loved painting.  Pre-kids, I painted on canvas and tried to capture Matisse and other amazing artists.  Once my kids came, I turned my passion into painting pictures and murals in my house.  We have a space between our kitchen and living room with a small area of "teachable" walls on each side of the hall. 
We painted each side of the hall with two layers of magnetic paint.  (We used "Magnamagic Magnetic Receptive Wall Paint" three years ago and it is still going strong.  I have no affiliation with them, I just really like the paint!)  Then, we painted the white paint over top.  I use one side of the hall as a magnetic white board and on the other side of the hall I painted a coconut tree.  Great for playing "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and all kinds of things.
In these pictures, we used "Molly the Monster" and her magic wands.  We chose a letter wand out of Molly's mouth and then found the sight word or name that begins with the same letter.
 Such fun!  The magic wands are just tongue depressors with letter stickers on them.  You can have students find words that begin with each letter, or have them use the letter sticks to build sight words or CVC words.  So much more fun than just writing them! 

Here are a few other sticks that I found laying around.  I have used these as "focus wands" where students search the room for specific things.  I have also used them as "reading sticks".  Students can use them to follow each word while reading.  They can also be used as spacers, when students are learning to write.  They are versatile and kids seem to love anything that has a little "flair" to it!  Everything pictured below was either a foam sticker, felt, or plastic decoration.  You can really use anything you have lying around.
While I am sharing wands, I have to share my absolute favorite "focus wand"!  I love these hand wands.  They are made by hot gluing two foam hands to a tongue depressor.  You can use them with or without a hole in the middle.  I prefer the hole, because it allows students to frame and focus in on whatever they are finding. 
I really love the hands, because unlike fly swatters or other wands where you are swatting or hitting the letters, words, etc., with the hands kids will give a "high five".  It takes away the negative connotation of hitting and replaces it with the positive experience of giving a "high five".  Kids love it, because they are using a fake hand to give "high fives".   I  love it, because in my experience kids tend to be a little less rough toward each other when giving "high fives".

Below are a few other "focus wands" that I use and kids seem to love them.  There are colorful fly swatters, sparkly light up wands (I got them from Target or Toys R Us), homemade fly swatters (I made these once in the winter, when the stores did not stock fly swatters), and colorful flower wands (from the dollar store).  As you can see, I love to cut the holes in my wands.  It is especially helpful for kids who have difficulty focusing.
Thanks for looking at my collection (obsession) with focus wands.  As you can tell, I find them very useful and fun.  My husband does not feel the same way :)  He calls them "my junk".
This week Kelly, from My Fabulous Class, is hosting an awesome Valentine's giveaway!  You can win my "Put Your Stamp On It" literacy pack and a bunch of other awesome prizes.  You do not want to miss this!!!  While you are there, check out her fabulous blog.  She has tons of useful and fun ideas.  Plus, she is just fabulous!
 Have a terrific Tuesday!

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