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April 28, 2011 Open House, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, OH MY! By Nancy Jang
Grades 1–2

    The end of the school year is around the corner, and there are still so many events to prepare for. In our school district, we have state testing the first two weeks in May. So the next month or so will be spent preparing for the state test as well as wrapping up the school year with Open House. Read on to find great crafty ideas for Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts as well as instructions for creating an easy Open House slide show.





    008I begin preparing for Open House by planning my room arrangement and deciding what student work will be displayed on the bulletin boards. I collect work all year long in a large file box. Some of these items were on a bulletin board, and some I am collecting for end-of-the-year portfolios. I utilize every available space to display this work, from the whiteboards and ceiling to the cabinets, windows, and doors. When parents come into our room, I want them to get a sense of what we spent our year learning. I try to have each subject area represented as well as part of every unit. So, for example, for the social studies bulletin board, I have student work displayed from the units Producers and Consumers, Our Government, and Our Families. How do I fit all that work on the wall? I choose eight student samples for each unit. That way each student has work displayed, and I've showcased work from units from the whole year.

    DSC00570In addition to planning the spaces around our room, I have the students give their parents a fun little quiz modeled on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? called "Are You Smarter Than a 2nd Grader?" The parents find the answers by touring the room with their chidlren and looking at all the displays. I make up ten multiple choice questions that parents have to answer. If their parents do well on the quiz, the students get a small prize. The kids have fun, and the parents get to see every part of our room and chat with me at the end.

    We also have a slide show of our school year projected on the ActivBoard. The parent volunteers will get a copy of the show as part of their end-of-the-year gift.




    There are some wonderful free programs that you can use to create your slide show. If you have a Mac, iMovie and iPhoto are great programs to use. On the PC, I have Movie Maker and Photo Story. All the programs are easy to use and very intuitive and have great tutorials online. If you are looking for additional tutorials, Atomic Learning is a great resource. Some easy, QUICK, and free Web-based programs include Smilebox, One True Media, Slideroll, MessageHop, Animoto, and  Photo Peach. I prefer to use Movie Maker or iMovie because you can insert photos, videos, and downloaded music, and it doesn't limit the length of the video. Many of the free sites allow you to make a short video for free, but you have to pay for the unlimited version. The free versions also come with an embed code for your Web site or blog, but you can circumvent that with iMovie and Movie Maker by uploading slide shows to YouTube or playing it on your computer and using Jing to do a video capture.

    Below is a short version of the end-of-the-year slide show I made using Movie Maker. When I was first getting used to technology, I used iPhoto for every slide show. With iPhoto, you can put together a slide show in under five minutes. You put all the photos into one folder in iPhoto and then go to the file menu and choose Slideshow. When I used iPhoto, I generally chose random transitions and set it so each photo stayed up for five seconds. Then I chose the music from iTunes and set it so the songs and photos looped continuously.

    This year I am using Movie Maker to create my slide show. I am relatively new to Movie Maker for PC, but it has a very intuitive, easy-to-use format. One of the reasons I am trying out Movie Maker is that it has a sharing feature built in so that you can upload to Flikr, Facebook, YouTube, and several other sites. You can also put together a play list for your slide show and visually see where the pictures begin and end in relation to the songs. I used Movie Maker for the first time a few weeks ago to create the book trailer for The Tiny Seed.


    In addition to Open House, Mother's Day and Father's Day are around the corner. It's a nice break during the weeks of testing for students to work on their parents' gifts. Here are a few ideas for you to use in your classroom.

    Postitnote holderPost-It Note Holder

    This adorable post-it note holder was designed by Dawn at Dawn's Stamping Thoughts (see the video tutorial on her Web site). I modified her design a bit by adding the child's picture to the frame where the birdie is located. Then the kids write "I love you, Dad" in the blank space. I have used this for both Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts. It's easy to make and useful, and the 4x6 plastic acrylic photo frames are inexpensive.



    Shrinky Dink Key Chains   Keychain
    I also use Shrinky Dinks to make gifts like a charm for a bracelet or a key chain. There is something so nostalgic about watching those things shrink down in the oven. :) I die cut a shape using the school's Ellison die cut machine. Then the kids use colored Sharpies or colored pencils to color in the designs. I punch the holes in for the jump rings before shrinking them. Shrinky Dink material is sold in sheets at Michael's and Hobby Lobby. They also have jump rings and ball-chain key chains in packages. I love this gift because it's easy, fun, and inexpensive. Photo courtesy of Hotcakes.


    Tie cardFathers-day-cards-to-make-finished-2

    Shirt and Tie Card

    I love the card pictured at left from Art With Mrs. Smith. It's personalized and easy. We have made a similar version, at right, using printed paper and a template, but I am going to use the kids' drawing version this year.

    For our Mother's Day cards, I usually do a directed drawing lesson on Georgia O'Keeffe for our card fronts.

    Join me next week for a post with a Mother's Day and Father's Day booklist and lots of FREE printables as well as some poetry writing and a video of my kids reading their poems!

    Happy teaching,



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