Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to Make the Perfect Tie Dye Shirt!

After 15 years of doing tie dye t-shirts with my kinders and second graders, I can officially say I have it down to a science!  Each year, I still make my own shirt and currently have more shirts than someone over the age of 10 should have.  If you are taking on the task of tie dye, read below and I hope these tips help you!   

I usually have 2-3 parent volunteers help out- although it’s not necessary, you’ll want them for your sanity.

What I’ve learned:

  •         I always use the Jacquard kits and even though they say it makes 15 shirts, I always buy between 2-3 kits (for 25 shirts) otherwise we run out of dye.  If you use the 40% coupon found at most craft stores, they aren’t too expensive and the kits can be found online as well.

  •             Even though the kit comes with gloves and rubber bands, I always pick up dishwashing gloves and rubber bands at the dollar store because the gloves cover a lot more and the rubber bands are easier for the kids to stretch around the shirt.  You'll need about 3-4 rubber bands per shirt.

So here it goes

You’ll need the following supplies:

You will need 2-3 Jacquard Tie Dye Kits from A.C. MOORE, Micheals or any other craft store. 
1 set of dishwashing gloves for each volunteer. *Even though they have gloves in the kit, you’ll be happier and cleaner with these!
1 large plastic tablecloth to go over the table.
3-4 large aluminum trays (ex. lasagna/roasting size)
1 bag of rubber bands
1 container baby wipes
1 roll of paper towels
Ziploc bags (labeled with child's name) * get the real-deal- the cheaper versions might not seal well.

Prior to tie-dyeing:

You’ll need to size up your kids for the t-shirts.  I always go bigger since the shirts are 100% cotton and they’ll want to wear them next year (my 2nd graders got mostly larges with a few mediums).
I buy the 100% cotton (very important) Hanes undershirts as they always hold the colors the best.

Put the child’s name on the inside collar with a sharpie prior to soaking in the soda ash.

Next, send home the t-shirts and the soda ash (from the kit) with a parent (or do it yourself) to soak the t-shirts for at least 20 minutes. I always leave it in longer. Wring them out and bring them back to school damp. They will feel a bit slimy.

                          For tie-dyeing:

I mix the dye colors with very warm/hot water and shake them up quite well (they’ll cool down while the kids are twisting the shirts).  Sometimes the nozzle gets clogged, so keep a paper clip handy to unclog it. The DVD is great to watch if you've never done it before.

I partner up my kids- one kid will twist the shirt and the other is responsible for opening up the rubber bands for them to put around their shirt.  Make sure the table you twist the shirt on is really clean!  Any marker residue will go on your shirt. The kit has a great video on the different styles- spiral, bullseye, etc.  

We do the 'pinch and twist' technique.

Squish the ends in.  

  I usually make sure their name is visible to make it easier when I call them to dye it.
We use three rubber bands to hold it in place. We make a 'plus sign' with the first two and add another one diagonally.

I usually have all the kids twist and rubber band their shirts and then work on an activity until I call them one at a time to dye their shirts.
Next, put the tablecloth on the table, put the shirt in the lasagna tray and have the child apply the dye.  Make sure the dye goes into the shirt, as well as on the outside, otherwise you will have a white middle.  It's a great time to discuss how to create other colors  such as green, orange and purple. 

Make sure you do NOT squeeze/wring the shirt as the dyes will combine and make a lovely brown =(   We do one side and flip the shirt over to do the other. Put the shirt in a labeled Ziploc and put to the side.

Clean the tray after EACH shirt with a paper towel or wet wipe. If you don’t, the dyes will pool and ruin the next shirt. 

No matter how you apply the dye, each shirt will come out unique and fabulous!!  I send home instructions (they are in the kit) with the parents so they can wash them. They need to wait 24 hours before washing them!

We wear our shirts on class trips and for class events- they look great! Here are some shirts we've made.

The next day I have my kids complete the How to Make a Tie Dye Shirt packet. We brainstorm what we did and try to make it into 6 steps. They did a great job using their temporal words.  Grab your own How to Packet for FREE here.  If you found this helpful for creating your own shirts, please let me know!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Persuasive Writing and a Freebie!

We started our persuasive writing in March and the kids are becoming experts at it.  Now, they try to persuade me to give them extra recess and free time!  

Our first persuasive writing was done with the story, Hey, Little Ant.  

It’s a story about a boy who was planning to step on an ant since all of his friends were doing the same. The little ant tries to convince the boy not to step on him and gives him a multitude of reasons why he shouldn't be squished. The best part is that the book is left open-ended with the choice of whether or not the boy should squish the ant being left up to the reader. This is also a fabulous story to teach point of view- but that’s for another time. 

Here’s a cute Hey Little Ant Song that you can watch with your kids and you can get the book on youtube as well.

The kids used the opinion writing graphic organizer to help them with their writing.  Then, after a conference, they created their final draft.  Below, they are creating their final project.

When finished, they
read about ants and completed a Venn diagram..

You can grab everything you need for this project  here and I've also included a total NO PREP version for those of you that need a quick project or a sub plan- just print and go! 

You can even follow this activity up with a fun treat. Here are some options. 

                                                                Click here for original post
                                                                      Click here for original post

I loved the next two ideas my colleagues shared with me. The first idea was to write a letter to a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day persuading him to give them some of his gold, so I created this paper for them to write their letter.  Some of their letters were hysterical- such as this boy who asked for the leprechaun's gold or Euros (since the leprechaun is clearly from Ireland and deals in that currency).  

My kids thought it was important to butter him up so all the letters started with greetings such as Dear Handsome Leprechaun, Dear Clever Leprechaun, or Dear Kind Leprechaun.  Clearly, my kids know how to schmooze and pull at some heartstrings. 

 In the end, the leprechaun did share some of his treasure because he was obviously ‘persuaded’ by them!

The last persuasive writing we did was with the story, I Wanna Iguana. The students wrote a letter to their parents asking for a pet. They had to state what they wanted, why they wanted it, and what they would do with their pet after they got it. 

You can grab the whole activity here which includes graphic organizers and an assessment piece.

You can grab this paper for free here. Enjoy!

Some kids asked for the typical pet -a fish, cat, dog, hamster and then, the not-so-typical pet- a snow wolf, a horse, and a dragon. 

Here are some of the letters:

Here's a favorite of mine- this student wants a fish and would feed it and give it water to drink =). 

Afterwards, I sent home another sheet and a note to the parents explaining the project and asked the parents to write back.  

The next day, some of the kids actually got the go ahead to get the pet!  The responses were so creative!  It was great that when the parents gave their answers, they backed it up with reasons to support their answer.

These are some other great books we use in our classroom:
I Wanna New Room by K. Orloff
Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by M. Willems
Earrings! by J. Viorst
Click, Clack, Peep! by D. Cronin
Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type! by D. Cronin
Just a Dream by C. Allsburg

For a list of other great books for persuasive writing, click here!