How to make homemade tic-tac-toe games with your students

Hi! And... HAPPY SUMMER! I am officially on vacation and I am so excited to have time to myself, to relax, to rewind... to attend summer institutes and do professional development, to get through my massive to-do list for TPT and for my new house... haha. But in all seriousness, I am very happy that summer is here. In fact, this is what some of my co-workers and I looked like the moment we pulled out of the school parking lot:
I'm on the left!
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Father's Day and my ideas for our Tic-Tac-Toe game gifts. Well, they worked out even better than I expected, and I have been working on a little how-to blog post for you guys for next year, since I couldn't find one when I wanted to make them!

I am going to write this post in English, because I have some new followers who don't speak French, even though I made our game with the letters P and A (which spell PAPA in French). But, if you don't teach en français, you could make this game with any combination of letters and colours for any holiday! D and A for Dad, M and O for mom, hearts and circles, or X's and O's like original Tic-Tac-Toe. It makes a perfect parent gift!

- cardboard cut into squares of desired size (I used some of my collection of Scholastic boxes)
- liquid paint (I used the kind Scholar's Choice sells in the big bottles)
- Model Magic - white (my original plan was salt dough, but we were very short on time. The Model Magic worked even better than I expected, though!)
- Washi tape (I have a massive collection, but most came from Michael's or Staples)
- Mod Podge (optional but strongly recommended)
- sponges (I bought rectangular dollar store sponges and cut them into thirds)

First, I covered all my tables with newspaper/recycled chart paper. An important first step when sponge painting is involved! Each student was given a sponge. Because I am not the MOST organized teacher, I lined up all available paint colours on the counter and asked my students to think about which one their father would like best. Then I asked "Who would like.....?" and if I named their color, they raised their hand and *patiently* waited for me to come around and squeeze a blob directly on their cardboard. I personally don't like wasting paint (I don't have a budget for it), and it was important to me that they pick just one base color instead of going paint-crazy. They have many opportunities throughout the year to go paint-crazy. :) So, for this activity, I did not put out multiple dishes of paint on each table.
Some students "sponged" their paint, some rubbed. Whatever, it's their project!
We did both sides with this base color.

Once they were dry, we repeated the process with a second color. A sponge, a blob on the cardboard, and they were good to go! I encouraged sponging rather than rubbing a little more strongly for the second color.
The blue on green was my favorite! 
Once they were dry and my students were occupied with working on their Father's Day books, I called them over one by one to select from my massive collection of Washi tape. I MAY have succumbed a little bit too much to my Washi tape addiction last summer... and was happy to find a use for a bunch of it! We were super short on time, so I put the tape on for them - but they would definitely be capable. Then we Mod Podged! Modge Podging is optional, but I recommend it. It ensured that the tape stuck well with no peeling edges, and gave it a great shine. 

... I had a LOT of Washi tape options!
To make our letters, we used Model Magic. I have used it before, but for this project, it surpassed my expectations! It was a great texture and held together really well. All my students were successful in forming their letters after I modelled how to make a snake and then form it into the right shape. It dried quickly, and was nice and light. If a student dropped a letter on the floor, no harm was done - I am not sure the same could have been said had we used clay or salt dough as originally planned. It is also nice and white, so no matter the paint color students chose, it looked great. When we painted these, we used to same kind of paint as the boards - one colour for the Ps, and another for the As. I did pass out paint in dishes this time. ;)
Our fingers got a little dirty :)
We Mod Podged our letters, too, to give them a nice shine and protect them from having the paint rubbed off. We only had time for one coat of paint, but in future years I would like to have them do two. I gave each child a gallon-sized Ziplock bag and a big label that they decorated and we put the game and all the pieces inside. We worked on this project over the span of 4 days, but we were rushed - next year I will not plan for it the same week as our class trip, and I will get them to make their letters on a Friday to give them more time to dry over the weekend.

Well, that's all there is to it! Let me know if you make this project with your students next year - I would love to see their finished projects! :)

Spotlight Saturday!

Today I am linking up with Kindergarten Dragons for Spotlight Saturday.
For Spotlight Saturday, teacher bloggers get to link up and share some of our favorite products, activities, resources, and ideas! 

This is my first Spotlight Saturday, but there was no question about who I would like to shine a spotlight on today - Claudia Loubier from Art with Claudia Loubier Creations. Claudia is someone who has made my Art classes 110% better than they were prior to this year! I think that art is really important, and I LOVE creating things. However, that doesn't always mean that I know the best way to go about creating gorgeous art pieces with my students, that also teach them important techniques. Pinterest can be very helpful in this regard, but sometimes directions are incomplete or unclear. Anytime I purchase an art lesson from Claudia, I know that I will be receiving a thorough, well-prepared lesson, specifically designed with my grade in mind. Her projects are so well outlined that I have even succeeded in completing some of her more difficult lessons, meant for older students, with my primaries. And boy, were they ever proud!

Here is my favorite project that we completed this year: 
It was wonderfully simple (only uses 3 paint colours!), but taught my student about mixing colours, painting circles and lines, and was a lot of fun for them. 100% of my students were successful in this project. Here are some examples of our work!
And, a close-up of my personal favorite!

Claudia offers her lessons in both English and French. To purchase them in French like I did, click either of the pictures above. To check it out in English, click HERE

Another of our favorite lessons (meant for grade 2+), is this one: 
This project taught my students (and me!) a really cool pastel technique. Here are some examples of what my kiddos accomplished: 

To check out this lesson in French, click either of the pictures above. For those of you who teach in English, click HERE!

Claudia has projects for all ages, as well as posters that show different techniques. You should definitely go check her out!

Thanks again to Kindergarten Dragons for hosting this link-up! Looking forward to checking out who else has been Spotlighted this week :)

La fête des pères!

Is it just me, or are classroom Father's Day gifts WAY harder to come up with than Mother's Day ones?? Especially en français - all those cute puns in English just don't translate. Luckily, I have a couple ideas up my sleeve this year!

First, I saw the most adorable Tic-tac-toe game on Pinterest that uses the letters P and A instead of X and O, to spell "papa". Here is the picture that sparked the idea :
It comes from this blog, but I can't find the actual post where they make them! So, here is hoping that my salt dough and cardboard plan works! I use salt dough all throughout the year in my classroom, and that is what we are going to use to make our letters. I get my recipe from That Artist Woman's blog (an incredible blog full of art ideas for all grades!), and I always make it with my students in our classroom. A great way to throw in some science and have a discussion about how the appearance and texture of each ingredient changes when you mix them all together! There is an oven in our school that any teacher can use, so I will pop them into the oven the morning after we make them, and we will paint them the following day. When we made our dinosaur bones with the salt dough, I let them air dry, and it actually worked pretty well - but it took about a week to fully dry. Fathers Day is fast approaching and we have a busy week next week, so time is of the essence and we will definitely be baking these! For the game board, I have a bunch of boxes from Scholastic orders, and I plan to cut the cardboard into squares. My students will sponge paint them, and we will add the lines with some of the millions of rolls of Washi tape I bought last summer (I may or may not have a slight Washi tape addiction...).

We have already started Part 2 of our gifts. Instead of just making a card this year, I decided it would be cute to make our fathers a little book! I always get a kick out of what kids draw and write when you ask them to describe why they love their fathers, their favorite things to do with them, etc. So, I put together a little 10 page booklet for my students to work on throughout this week and next. It includes prompts like "Voici ce que j'aime faire avec mon papa", "Mon papa est comme un Super-héros parce que...", "5 raisons pourquoi j'aime mon papa", etc. I love this time of year when almost all of them are able to read prompts on their own - and are willing to help the few who aren't quite there yet! I have a lot of evaluations to do for report cards, so this has been a nice way to keep them occupied yet productive. I printed out and assembled the booklets before passing them out to my students and let them work at their own pace. The grade one teacher at my school is doing the same activity, and she gave them one page at a time to work on. You can do all the prompts, or just a couple. Whatever works best for your kiddos! Here are a few photos of what they have accomplished so far :
"J'aime jouer sur l'ordinateur avec mon papa!" (my little primary who wrote that 100% by himself is definitely one of the smartest 6 year olds I have ever taught!) "J'aime jouer au hockey avec papa" "C'est le spaghetti" (le repas préféré du papa)

"Mon papa est super parce que tu m'amène à la plage" "Je joue à cache-cache avec papa" "J'aime jouer à deux ballons" "J'aime jouer tigre balançoire (?!) avec papa"
The book is available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. Also included in the download is a book for Grand-papa and a book with a blank space where a child who may not have a father figure currently in their life can write a name of their choice! You can check it out in my store by clicking either of the following pictures.

PS - I am currently sitting at 99 Followers on TpT!! Once I hit 100, I may just have to throw a little sale, so stay tuned!!! :)