More Projects for the Beginning of the School Year, and Declaring War on Glue Bottles!

 

Well, I have spent this week getting my room ready for school to start on Monday, and going to meetings.  This is what I have learned:

1.  The ideal curriculum is the one that comes with only one teacher’s manual and zero boxes of supplies that must be stored in my room for the next seven years.
2.  There must be dozens of places to set a stapler down in a classroom.  I have left my stapler in all of them, and then spent a good five to ten minutes searching for it each time.
3.  Papering a bulletin board with a thermostat in the middle of it takes at least twice as long as papering one without it, even if it is much smaller than the rest.  (For some unknown reason, our district builders decided that the most logical place to put the thermostat was in the middle of the bulletin board after we went through our renovation a couple of years ago.)
4.  It only takes our district a few hours to patch up a window that has been shot out by a bullet, and only one more day to replace it!  (It was probably just a BB gun.  I hope no one was aiming at ME!)
5.  I would rather be in Hawaii!

Heidi in Hawaii
 

So it has been an eventful week!  But my window is repaired, my air conditioning still works, I finally have my class list, most (but not all) of my friends are still employed and so am I, and I am looking forward to meeting my new students on Monday!  And now here are some more beginning of the year projects that I have been prepping.  They are very simple and easy to make.  But I am going to start with some tips on getting your glue bottles ready to go!

 

1.  Declaring WAR on Glue!
Few things are more frustrating than having a great project ready to go, and then having it derailed by a bunch continuously clogged glue bottles.  One of the readers on my HeidiSongs Facebook page commented, “Glue is the arch-nemesis of Kindergarten!”  So I decided to do some research on how to make those glue bottles keep from clogging up.  I found that if you remove the small caps on the very top, and spray them with Pam cooking spray, the glue does not stick to them.  I also learned that if you coat the “threads” of the lid with petroleum jelly before replacing the small cap, the glue will not stick to those, either.  BUT- it makes sense to me that the glue lids must be completely clean first in order for this to work, so I decided to soak them in cleanser before beginning.  I used a mixture of water and a little bit of the liquid “Scrubbing Bubbles” cleanser.  For the rest of the procedure, see the picture.  If you would like to download it so that you can print it out, read it, and save the directions, click here.  
As a side note, this “Scrubbing Bubbles” brand cleanser works great to dissolve glue off of tables.  Just spray it on and let it set for three to five minutes.  Sometimes, I spray a little water on the table as well.  Then I use a scraper that I bought at Home Depot, and all of the glue just slides right off as easy as pie.

As I was trying to figure out how to do this and discussing it on my Facebook page, there was a little bit of teasing going on, with people saying they were worried about me and my obsession with glue as I posted my pictures, etc.  It was pretty funny.   My posts kept finishing with the phrase, “Stay tuned…” because I was still trying to figure out how it would go.  But the conversation culminated in this quote from Erin Lyons, which I thought was absolutely HILARIOUS:  “I have an imaginary video running in my head. Close your eyes and join me: It’s the first project in Heidi’s class.  “The children are about to squeeze “just a dot (not a lot!).” Suddenly, chaos breaks out when projectiles shoot across the room from the highly-lubed glue caps, and children become part of an unintentional, but hugely creative mass-media sculpture formed of tissue paper, hair, furniture, carpeting, pom-poms, clothing, and pipe cleaners. I AM staying tuned… glued to my seat!”  When I read that one, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing!  Good one, Erin!!!  That’s MY kind of sense of humor!!!

Also, the conversation also inspired another reader, Krissy Miner, to create another free download which she posted on Teachers Pay Teachers!  It is called “Top Secret Gluing Techniques for Beginning Gluers.”  I think what she has here is a great idea, because she’s got the children practicing making small glue dots and glue frames ONLY- they are not actually gluing things down at all!  They are just practicing squeezing out the small amounts of glue.  This makes sense because what we should do when teaching is do a task analysis:  That is, break down a task into the smallest possible steps, and teach each one.  When you skip a step, or assume that they know it, that is where the problems arise.  But I never thought about thinking of the gluing part as a separate skill.  Bravo, Krissy!!!!

There are also lots of little rhymes out there, I’ve discovered that while helping children remember how much glue to use.  I came up with one myself!  I am planning on recording it as part of a Classroom Management CD that so far at least, exists only in my dreams and in the shower!  But here is the “Glue Song!  (Sorry, I don’t have a tune yet.) *UPDATE* The Music for Classroom Management CD & DVD is finished and this song is on it! Check it out here!

Heidi’s Glue Song
(© Heidi Butkus 2011)

Just a dot, not a lot!  One dot!
Just a dot, not a lot!  One dot!
Just a dot, not a lot!  One dot!
Just a dot, not a lot!  One dot!

 

 

2.  Traffic Light
The traffic light is part of our unit on safety.   When we make it, we also read books about signs around town and safety when on the way to and from school, etc.  It is very simple to prepare and does not require any patterns.  Each child needs the following construction paper cut:
1 black rectangle  6” x 9”
1 yellow square  3” x 3”
1 red square  3” x 3”
1 green square  3” x 3”

To make the traffic light, show the children how to round the corners off of the colored squares to form circles.  I always have them sing me the color songs from Sing and Spell Vol. 2 while we cut.  Then point out to them that they do not need to cut the black rectangle at all, but they will need to think about where to glue each colored circle.  Red goes on top; green is on the bottom, and yellow is in the middle.  To help them remember, consider singing this simple song, sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star:”  You may even wish to print out the words to the song and have them glue these lyrics onto the back of the light.

The traffic lights we see ahead are sometimes green and sometimes red!
Red on top and green below!
Red means stop and green means go!
Yellow means wait- even if you’re late!
The traffic lights we see ahead are sometimes green and sometimes red!

 


 

3.  Stop Sign
The stop sign is another project that I always do with our unit on safety.  All you do with this one is copy the sign on red construction paper and then have the children try to color in the letters of the sign with a white crayon and cut the whole thing out.  Then they glue it on to a tongue depressor and have fun holding it up and saying, “STOP!!!!!” to each other for the rest of the day!  The Octagon Song is also a natural for this project, as well!  It’s from Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ ShapesFor the master, click here.

 

 

4.  September Calendar
All of the Kindergarten classes at my school have the children make a calendar at the beginning of each month, and this is the calendar that we will be making for September.  To make it, the children take some large shape stencils that we have had “forever” (sorry, I don’t know where they came from!) and they use these to draw whatever shapes they like with crayons.  We usually sing the shape songs from Jumpin’ Numbers and Shakin’ Shapes while I demonstrate the tracing of them.   The large colored shapes are pre-cut for the children out of different colored pieces of tissue paper, and they can glue them down wherever they like.  Sometimes, we also give them a small amount of water to paint over the top to make the colors bleed.  Later, you can remove the tissue paper when it tries to see what the remaining paper looks like without it- but I really like the way it turns out best when you leave the tissue paper on, so we don’t do that anymore.

 

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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. I wish you were in Hawaii, too! I would love to visit you. :). Thank you for the nifty ideas, as always. I was freaking out about having to teach 4-6 year olds to count to 100, but with your song I actually feel like it is do able. Thank you again x 1000.

  2. Any ideas to help solve the problems with glue sticks? Kids "squish" them down. They almost never cap them on correctly. Ahhhhh, school supplies. It's a love- hate relationship.

    Have a great day on Monday.

  3. Have you tried "tapping" glue tops? They only let them "tap" out a drop of glue at a time–you can get them on-line. Mine have lasted for 4 years and are going strong!! Love your CD's!!

  4. I have found adding tempra paint to the glue helps too. Often when students are using white glue on white paper they cannot see the contrast of where they have glue. This process unfortunately does not allow the glue to dry clear, but helps with other issues. It would be helpful to the dab will do you activity.

    Virginia

  5. To C:
    Yes, I have tried the Tap and Glue bottles, but I found them far more trouble than they were worth. By the end of the year, the and fifth grade book buddies had all cut the tops off of every single one of them. The problem was that every person that helped out in the classroom need an inservice on the caps. They probably would have worked alright if it were the adults in the room that did not understand how they worked.
    heidi

  6. Thanks for the tips on glue bottles. They drive me crazy. I often go out and buy more and throw the old ones away because the kids cannot use them.

    If you use shaving cream on your tables and let the kids create pictures with it, the shaving cream will clean the glue off the tables and the kids love helping!

  7. I prefer to use stick glue. We made our first craft this week on the 3rd day of school with 24 students. The hardest part was to slow the students down so I could model each step including how to use the glue. I actually demonstrate what happens if you turn the glue too high and how it breaks. Then I model the correct way to glue around the edges. We did a traffic light too, but I copied circles for them to cut along the lines. It is a great way to informally assess fine motor skills. They all turned out great!

  8. I prefer to use stick glue. We made our first craft this week on the 3rd day of school with 24 students. The hardest part was to slow the students down so I could model each step including how to use the glue. I actually demonstrate what happens if you turn the glue too high and how it breaks. Then I model the correct way to glue around the edges. We did a traffic light too, but I copied circles for them to cut along the lines. It is a great way to informally assess fine motor skills. They all turned out great!

  9. My only trick with the glue sticks is when the tube is gone, do not throw the lid away! I throw it back in the glue stick tub and the kids know that if they lose the cap, they can always grab another. This works for dry erase markers, regular markers, whatever it may be that has a lid.

  10. How funny, Heidi! I was just checking email before leaving to do more prep at school (AGAIN) when I saw the notification that your blog was updated. I have a bag packed with Pam, Vaseline, and Scrubbing Bubbles. I may tease, but I hate stuck glue, too! <3 Erin

  11. Hey Heidi! I always LOVE getting your new blog and discovering whatever your free downloads are!

    Just thought I'd point out that while your directions and song indicate how to make the stoplight, your PICTURE is inverted! You have shown it with the GREEN on TOP and the RED on BOTTOM!! I'm sure this is just an over-sight, but it should probably be fixed….
    just a suggestion anyway!

  12. I've been using the Tap N' Glue lids for nearly 20 years (and am still using some of the originals!)but I am going to try putting vaseline on the "plunger" to keep them from clogging up. Hope it works!

  13. Heidi, I was thinking about your glue song. If you alter the lyrics a bit, you can use the London Bridge tune and get the same message across. Just a thought. 🙂

  14. I've put glue in lid and have the kids apply the glue with qtips or their finger. When finished with art project just let the glue dry and peel it away for easy clean up.

  15. Another school tip for scrubbing bubbles-you know how sometimes (especially red) you get that left behind color when using dry erase markers. The spray can be expensive and doesn't always work. Just a bit of scrubbing bubbles and those dry erase boards are good as new.

  16. I have 7 struggling kinders. Would you please share with me the ways you suggested to parents to work with their child at home during your parent conferences? I've copied your ran boards and am going to use them. Thanks for your insight.

  17. To Anonymous,
    I suggested to the parents that they use the techniques that I described in my blog post on Sept. 23, 2011! I showed them the different little mnemonic tricks that I have for helping kids remember the alphabet, and I showed them the RAN boards, etc.
    🙂
    Heidi

  18. We sing a glue dotting song to the tune of "Row row row your boat". It goes like this-
    Dot dot dot the glue, that is what we do.
    Dot dot dot the glue, that is what we do.
    Catchy and to the point. 😉

  19. I love the glue songs and I LOVE cleaning the glue. It is amazing how many glue bottles still have that little piece of plastic. I wrote about it and you in a blog post today. I hope it was okay to give you a shout out and link back to your post. I want to give credit correctly. You can read my post here

    Terri Izatt
    KinderKapers

  20. Pingback: Kindergarten Lesson Plans: Week Two! | Heidi Songs

  21. Pingback: Kindergarten Lesson Plans, Week One! | Heidi Songs

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