Monday, August 17, 2009

Math Class Decor

This upcoming school year I got to move to a different classroom. It was basically a blank slate and I was excited to get to decorate it. I have 12 feet of shelves just begging for something to sit on top of them. So I started thinking.

My first idea was to create the symbol of pi out of wire and then wrap around that flowers on a vine. To each side would be circles made from the same wire wrapped in ivy. This way the pi would really stand out from the circles. I wanted to use pi because all the kids I teach from 7th grade to Seniors know that symbol and most even know how and where to use it. I wanted circles near the pi to help jog the memory of some. But then I ran into a problem. I couldn't find any flowers on a vine that were in my budget or small enough to really work. So I kept thinking.

In the meantime, I bought some purple (a school color) material to make "curtains" to hide all the manipulatives (fancy word for teaching toys) that were now on the shelves instead of in a cabinet. I also started looking for funny quotes to print out on different colored papers to staple on the walls around the room. I wanted to find some that the Middle schoolers would get, some specifically for the Geometry class, and some that only the Calculus class would understand. Here are a few examples I found that I liked:

5 out of 4 people have trouble with fractions. - for the Middle schoolers

Hey baby, what's your sine? - for Geometry class

Even calculus has it's limits. - for Calculus

Back to the pi project. I had my inspiration. It was basically the same idea but I would use styrofoam instead of wire and then I could pin flowers into that. I took pictures along the way.

Here are the materials: green styrofoam for flowers, ivy on a vine, flowers, and wire. All my supplies came from Hobby Lobby. Missing from picture are the pins which came from Wal-Mart.

First, I shaped the styrofoam with my hands, squishing it, and tearing off pieces I didn't want. It was very messy and flakes like dirt. This was my start, but I decided I wanted it wider and taller, so I kept on squishing and tearing.

Next, I glued the pieces togther. Now it is ready to start pinning on the flowers. I used hot glue to put the pieces together which, in my humble opinion, could have worked better. More about that later.

For the next step I started pinning on the flowers. I was very happy to see that the flowers would cover the seams and that the pins went in very easily, especially since I was going to have to put in so many!

After a full box of 450 pins, this is how many flowers I had left. I had just estimated how many I thought I would need at the store, so I was glad to see that almost half of the flowers covered almost half of the pi.

Coverage after 450 pins.

Of course, you know Pan had to help! He even picked off a couple of flowers from the steams for me, it was in the middle of the night, but still!

Here is the finished pi! I like it. A friend said it looked like cherries, so it must be a cherry pi. : )

It wasn't all fun and games though. At one point a leg did break off after I had all the flowers on, but I was able to fix it with more hot glue and fortified it with wires too. I was so mad when it broke. It was good I was home alone. I screamed at it and scared the poor cat. But then I got over it and fixed it. So I guess I can have slight short-term drama queen tendencies. : /

Then later another part broke off. I didn't scream, but I did get mad. I fixed it with more hot glue and wires. Like I said the hot glue could have worked better.

But then the big trauma. It was done. It was perfect. I had glued it to a piece of foam board so that it would stand. I got it out of the house. I got it in the car to take to school. I got it out of the car. I got it all the way to my classroom with no trouble. I was so careful.

Then....then....oh my gosh...then, I tried to put it up on that high six foot shelf with my short five foot (and 1 inch) self. I didn't take the time to use both hands or to even get a chair....oh no not me! I just reached it up there with one hand because the other hand was holding things and that is when disater struck. It fell. It tipped forward out of my hand and fell. It hit me in the head (didn't hurt) and then down to the floor, breaking at almost every joint.

I was devestated and extremely ticked off! That stupid hot glue wasn't worth snot! I calmed down put the wreackage in a box and came home. A friend suggested Gorilla Glue, which I bought that day. I was able to salvage my pi and the Gorilla Glue did make the structure feel much more secure. God bless Gorilla Glue!

I took everything back to school and got the ivy up. The ivy is a whole other story that I don't care to go into. Let's just say the wire and ivy did not want to play together nicely. I did what I could with it and here is the complete finished look.

Pi's permanent place

I am going to threaten the kids to within an inch of their little lives if they break it! They can look... but NO TOUCH!

I hope I have inspired you to be creative even through my pain. If I have comment and let me know!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tornado Dream

I don't normally get up at 6 AM if I don't have to. I am soon going to have to since school starts back for the teachers on Thursday here. Which leads me to why I am up to begin with.

I had a bad dream. : ( It was about tornadoes. : ( I am scared of tornadoes. : (

I very rarely remember my dreams or that I even dreamed?...dreamt?...dreamed so I am going to document this one.

The dream started out with Frankie and I getting ready for work. Frankie was doing something weird with his hair, which he has buzzed to the scalp, so I can't even begin to explain or really remember what it was. Both of our dogs were in the house laying on dog beds and were acting normal. We were getting close to being late and were about to walk out the door.

I looked out the window and saw that it was very windy and that a storm was coming. Then I told Frankie that the storm was coming extremely quickly. That is when I saw the funnel cloud drop from the rest of the clouds.

There were only three houses in the vicinity and they were spread out from each other. There was ours, a neighbor to the right and a house diagonal from us both. We were at the corner of a large parcel of plowed farm land. The tornado had dropped from behind the diagonal house, which was a lovely yellow house. It went through the yellow house and twisted half of it with destruction then stayed in the same path heading towards the left.

It ran parallel to our house, but didn't really kick up any of the plowed field. Frankie told me to come away from the windows and into a more interior room, but both of us ended up peeking around the wall to watch out the window. Slowly and without realization we moved back into the room with the windows so we could watch.

As that one passed by us, another came down going the same direction but moved closer to our house. They were not going exactly straight and tended to weave slightly. At any moment the new tornado could have veered off and come straight towards our house. Then another one came down with the same pattern. Then another. Each one getting closer and closer to our house. None of them were going back up into the sky. Looking left I could see the first one still out there and behind it the second one and so on.

There were about four or five that I remember and the whole time Frankie and I stayed in the room with all the windows watching. I was praying out loud to God to please make them go away. Please let them go back up. Over and over I would repeat those phrases to God.

To me they seemed like soldiers dropping from a plane and moving on to where ever they had been directed. I don't know why I had that impression in my dream, but it is one thing I remember thinking. It was so scary.

Once the fourth or fifth one was on the ground that is when I woke up. The cat was curled up beside me and I was close to my husband, just like normal. But I had the tight burning sensation in my chest of fear. It was right before 6 AM. I laid there awhile calming down and decided that I might as well get up.

I put the dogs outside and looked at the sky. I do this all the time anyways. Wouldn't you know it looked a lot like the sky in my dream did right before the first tornado dropped. But there was a lack of wind so I knew I was safe.

What is a scary dream you have had? Comment and let me know.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Priceless Memories

In my last blog I talked about cleaning a room in our house. There were things in there that I had not seen in almost a year. These two pictures show items that are very special to me that were in that room.

Several years ago my mom created this shadowbox for me. It is one of the most precious items I own. It contains memorabilia from World War I and II along with pictures. The top two pictures are my great grandfathers on my mother's side. They were both in World War I. I never got to meet them but I do think they look very dashing in their uniforms.

The picture in the bottom of the shadowbox is of my grandfather on my father's side. On August the 13th it will be one year since my grandfather passed away. It was good to see these and to remember him. There is small American flag bag in the bottom of the shadowbox. It was another thing that I found today when I cleaned the room and immediately opened the box to add it to the memories. It has three gun shells from the 21 gun salute from my granddad's funeral.

The picture below is contains my grandfather's dog tags. I have had them for several years and framed them with the flag. I love the way it looks and it makes me feel very patriotic every time I see it. With all these good feelings and memories maybe I should clean more often? :)

Do you have items that you love to look at because of the good feelings it brings? Please feel free to share!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Room We Never Use

We have a room in our house that we very rarely used. It became "the dump" after we moved eight months ago and has fought long and hard to retain that title until today.

Because today, you see, I conquered "the dump"!

Ready to see the before shot? Please don't judge me too harshly. The rest of the house doesn't look this way...well except the kitchen sort of does now because that is where most of the boxes went until we take them to the trash tomorrow.

But my friends, fear not, for here is the after shot. Keep in mind there is still work to be done. But at least now it CAN be done!

As you can see, the clean-up job did get the Pan approval. Next step is to build a frame for that mattress on the floor and we are in the home stretch!

Psst....Just don't look in the closet! ROFL!