Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It

I was recently reminded of Lakeshore's Mystery Box by Sharon at Teaching With Sight, who mentioned it in her post about the five senses. Love it...but at 40 bucks a pop, I definitely don't have this cool box in my classroom. I've done the Mystery Bag thing using paper lunch bags, though. Love the opportunity to get kids exploring with their sense of touch, using descriptive words, etc.  I decided my paper lunch bag thing needed a bit of an update, though. Enter Monday Made It!

Those DIY t-shirt bags are all over Pinterest lately, and I think they're awesome...but I'm not a sewer (um, person who sews, that is). Like, I really, really don't sew. I can reattach a button to a shirt in a pinch (if I remember where my needle and thread are...and even then, that's iffy). But seriously, people, that's it. This past winter a hem on one of my dress pants came out. I re-hemmed my pants using duct tape (on the inside - I'm not that fashion-impaired!) and proceeded to wear them to work for a few weeks until I could get to my mom's house and have her sew them for me. To her credit, she didn't laugh or roll her eyes too much.

So, I needed a mystery bag that involved no semblance of needle and thread...machine...anything that would require me to venture to the 'sewing' aisle of the store, really. I thought about jazzing up one of those reusable shopping bags...and then I stumbled across the Ten Minute No-Sew Recycled T-Shirt Bag!

Here is the original source's awesome Sonic the Hedgehog bag:
Leethal has an amazing, easy-to-follow tutorial complete with lots of photos on their blog, so I'm not going to tell you how to make this yourself - check out the post for the step-by-step. Trust me, this takes less than ten minutes. If I can do it, you can do it!

Here is the first bag I made - using an old t-shirt with our school mascot on it, which I thought was definitely appropriate for our class' Mystery Bag:
 I used the three-slit method as described on Leethal's blog, so this is what the bottom of my bag looks like:

I liked how it turned out! But, then I thought an adult-sized bag/shirt might be a bit too deep for my kiddos to reach down into the bottom and really be able to explore the mystery object only using touch. So, I found this great kid-sized tie-dye shirt for 99 cents at Goodwill and voila:
I love it!! It's going to work perfectly for our Mystery Bag. We will still use the Lynx bag for when my kids have to run errands/make deliveries throughout the school building.

This project was so fun - the hardest part was convincing myself I should not convert my entire t-shirt collection into cute totes for the farmer's market...the beach...I need something left in which to sleep, work out, or paint in! And the best part - it's completely FREE! (Okay, so I spent 99 cents on the Goodwill shirt. But it definitely could have easily been free!) Also...completely machine washable - always a plus with my students!

And of course, I've still been doing the printing-cutting-laminating thing in prep for next year. One major thing I did was make up my kids' notebooks for circle time. I'm totally redoing my morning circle (in format, not necessarily content) so I needed something different. They have never had notebooks for circle before; I think they'll like them, and it'll be a better way to fit some individual work in our whole-group time.
The 3-ring notebooks were 79 cents at Walmart!!! Cover and sign graphics to go with our pirate theme are from Scrappin Doodles. The blue bin to hold the notebooks I already had in my basement and it happened to be a perfect fit!
Inside each notebook (I didn't take photos) is a pencil pouch with their needed supplies - label stickers for patterning, a crayon and a pencil) and then, so far, pages for days of the week, patterning, tallying how many days we've been in school, and the weather. I used some of the materials from Mandy's Weekly Weather Graph (great! check it out!) and some I made myself. More will be added as we add skills throughout the year. I'm excited about this change after years of doing the same circle time!

Go link up with Monday Made's my favorite part of Monday!


  1. Very cute bags! I think I am going to have some journals for our calendar/morning meeting time. I think it will make them more engaged.

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  2. I love the bag, how fun is that. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kara, I love the t-shirt bags. Too cute! Also, I have also been contemplating using circle time notebooks with my kiddos this year. I'd love to hear more about how you conduct your circle time. I've been doing practically the same circle time format for 7 years. Ready for a change! :)

  4. That bag idea is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing...I will be attempting to create some as well I'm sure...Lol!

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