Monday Made It - The Pencil Sharpener is CLOSED & Charlotte's Web

It's really hard for me to blog during the school year. I tend to do a lot of "insta-gramming" instead. Just little blurbs about what's happening each day in my classroom. Follow me HERE if you want to see what I'm up to. Anyway, I've decided to set a goal to blog at least once each month. I figure if I set this goal now, I won't have to make it one of my New Year's resolutions, right?
So, I've decided to join in for 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. 
{NOTE: I actually made this a couple weeks ago, but haven't really shared it.}

It all started with the beginning of the school year. I teach fifth grade, but we departmentalize so I have four classes throughout the day. I have a standing rule that no one is allowed to sharpen their pencils after the 8:00 bell rings. Students are trained from day one to be prepared by sharpening MANY (at least 5) pencils in the morning. This way there are less interruptions during instruction. In the past, this has been a rule most students were able to comply with.
This year? Not so much.
I have a couple students who feel their pencils need to be sharp enough to draw blood in order to write. I tried modifying the rule a bit to allow students to sharpen pencils ONLY if it is during independent work time. For some reason this was next to impossible for them to follow. 

Out of desperation, I took a plastic Walmart bag and tied it over the pencil sharpener one day. Students thought the pencil sharpener was broken, so they borrowed a pencil, used their not-sharp-as-a-needle pencil, or suddenly "found" another sharp pencil in their pencil pouch. Hmmmm.
After about a week, students started asking if I was going to get the pencil sharpener fixed. I had to come clean. I told them that it wasn't broken, it was just closed. So I started uncovering it at the end of each day so students could get prepared for the next day. One of my sweet girls took it upon herself to tie the ugly Walmart bag (no offense, Walmart) back over the sharpener when the 8:00 bell rang. 

Miraculously, the world did not end. Students still had pencils to write with. They still completed their work. They even started THINKING AHEAD (shock, faint) and sharpening several pencils "just in case". Lalalalalala! I was singing songs of joy. No more classroom interruptions, because students knew not to ask me because the pencil sharpener was "closed" during class time.

But that plastic bag started driving me nuts. It was so UGLY! (again, sorry Walmart)
Which brings me to the "made it" portion of this blog post.
I started by making this super cute tag to hang by the pencil sharpener. 
Click HERE to download a free copy.

I figured that when it was there, it would stop students from using the sharpener since it was a visual reminder. Then I decided that I wanted to make a little slip cover for the sharpener. A much cuter version of the Walmart bag solution. And here it is!
All I did was make a small cover and add elastic to the inside of it. That way it can easily be slipped on and off of the pencil sharpener. I'm super happy with the results. And my favorite part is that my homeroom students have started asking me "Is the pencil sharpener open yet?" at the end of the day. Too funny!
Halloween was Saturday, and I didn't dress up. It was cold and rainy out and I just didn't feel like it. BUT, the week before I was in FULL HALLOWEEN SPIRIT MODE so we attended the Boo Dance at my school with the kiddos. It was really loud, really dark, and really long. But it was also really FUN! Especially since my awesome hubby likes to dress up too.

This year I struggled to come up with an idea for our costumes. Actually, that's not really accurate. I struggled to decide which of my many ideas I was willing to make. I finally ended up settling on a Charlotte's Web theme. I was Fern and my silly husband was Wilbur.

Yes, a six-foot tall pig. I had to make his piggy costume out of A LOT of pink fleece. It turned out so funny! The curly pink tail made me laugh every time I saw it! If only I had remembered to grab a fake spider to be our Charlotte...

Thanks for visiting.
Hopefully it won't be another full month before I write again.

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