In the last few weeks, I’ve seen a passel (fun word of the day!) of great FREE or low-cost ideas and thought to myself, I should do a blog post about that. Hopefully, you’ll find something new and interesting in the potpourri collection I’ve assembled below!
First up, six art projects that caught my eye. For example, who ever thought of doing “stained glass” Halloween decorations? These ideas all have a unique twist that makes them stand out.
Falling Back in Space Portraits~ Students trace hands and feet, and then fill in their other features. Great anytime project! Check out this and other fun posts at Oodles of Art!
FREE Paper Chipmunk~ This cute critter is made completely from paper! Canon’s Creative Park site offers pattern pages and assembly instructions for dogs, cats, insects, vehicles, toys, a sundial, and a whole lot more. The downside is that you’ll be using a lot of printer ink and many of the assembly directions are best suited for older children. However, if your kids have some dexterity and patience, the final products are amazingly realistic!
FREE Coloring Pages~ This is my new favorite site for coloring pages. Each one has lots of details that make coloring so fun! Check out the ram, gecko, lion, and ocean scenes. Love these!
Halloween Stained Glass Creatures~ Make your own, or buy Pink and Green Mama’s art ebook ($10) for easy-to-use templates. Looks like she has a lot of other great ideas, too!
Animal Art Lesson~ Start with a magazine clipping and then let the students expand the picture. I thought about using animals from a particular continent and tying the lesson into a science or geography unit.
Snowflake Paper Craft~ Perhaps the coolest thing about this project is that the website it came from is in Finnish (I think!) and I was able to click “translate” on the top “Google translate” bar… and it did. At least well enough that I got the gist of this project. A pretty, not-too-challenging, low-cost craft!
Next up, a bunch of cool science resources. These experiments and activities could be used for class demonstrations, science fair projects, or at home– just for fun!
FREE Cloud Guide~ From time to time, everyone watches the clouds roll by. Now you can use this quick reference to identify (and pronounce) whatever weather comes your way!
Do-It-Yourself Sundial~ This simple yet effective sundial was made by placing a pencil in a ball of clay. Every hour a stone was placed to mark time. The sundial in the picture goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out this fun blog post, and more, at Otherwise Educating!
FREE Green Planter Idea~ Use recycled pop bottles to make self-watering planters. You’ll also need potting soil, seeds, thick string, a Phillips screwdriver, hammer, and a sharp blade to cut the bottle. These are great science projects, craft sale items, or holiday gifts. Cheap, easy, and fun!
FREE Video~ Learn how to make your own Seven Layer Density Column. Steve Spangler “stacks” liquids using a 9-oz. measuring cup, a tall, glass cylinder, and a turkey baster. Liquids include: light Karo syrup, water, vegetable oil, Dawn dish soap (blue), rubbing alcohol, lamp oil, honey, and food coloring. The preparation’s a little cumbersome, but the “WOW” factor makes it all worthwhile! Limited budget? Watch the video together, and then let kids make their own concoctions at home!
Constellation Keychain~ Even if you don’t teach science, find a way to weave this project into your curriculum. It’s that cool!
FREE Science Videos~ Disney presents short, interesting science demonstrations by Bill Nye. Each clip is 1-2 minutes, loads right from the home page, and is kid-friendly. Great resource for students looking for science project ideas or for introducing new concepts to the whole class. Demos include: floating a raw egg in salt water, static electricity, how atmospheric pressure works, making a periscope, and more. Fun, fast, and free!
Here are some great resources for character education and teaching children about good making appropriate choices. Included lesson plans, videos, and a great list of kid-friendly, random acts of kindness.
AMAZING, FREE Character Education Resource~ Westwood-Bale School provides five years worth of lessons and resources for teaching about trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. If you’re short on time, this “one-stop-shop” will provide multiple lesson ideas, links, and resources for EACH of these six character traits. Information is well-organized, concise, and diverse!
FREE Online Character Education Resource~ This catchy tune teaches children that being kind is the best way to “Fill Your Bucket.” Performed by The Learning Station, the video includes lots of examples and pictures that help make the concept concrete. The BIG IDEA: WE “fill our buckets” as well as those around us when we hold hands, share, and help others. A great lesson for all ages!
FREE Behavior Bracelets~ Check out this great behavior management freebie, or make your own. The download includes a recipe for an easy lick-and-stick recipe that makes earning these bracelets even cooler. Kids wear them home, and Mom and Dad reinforce their good choices!
35 Random Acts of Kindness~ For her 35th birthday, this blogger and her two children performed 35 acts of kindness. Each is explained and includes a picture. My favorite– leaving dollar bills hidden in the toy section of the local dollar store! Creative and inspiring!
These are the last, few ideas that recently caught my attention. If you’re a techy, ELA teacher, make sure you check out the final entry of this post!
Tagless Desk Name Tags~ Sharpie Paint pens are the secret to writing student names right on student desks. No picking, peeling, or rubbing off. A dry erase marker and tissue easily remove names at year’s end. Check out this and other interesting blog posts at Timeout and Tootsie Rolls!
Turn a vintage straw dispenser into a pencil dispenser. Clever idea! This one from etsy is already sold, but you get the idea!
FREE List of Authors Who Skype~ Kate Messner offers a long list of authors willing to make a virtual visit to your school. Connected via Skype with authors of their favorite books will make literature exciting for even the most reluctant reader. Best of all, these 15-to-20 minute Q&A sessions are free!
Hopefully you found a few “favorite things” of your own!