Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Literacy Centers 101: Felt Board

How many of you fellow teachers acutally use (or even have) a felt board?  I've had one in my class from my first day of teaching.  Problem was - I didn't have any sets for it!
I bought a few felt board story sets at my local Dollar Store.  They were terrible!
Very small pieces, didn't relate to a story we were reading, and they DIDN'T STICK!

That's when I decided I needed to do something about this!
I planned on making my own felt sets!
The felt board center is so important during my Literacy Center time.  After we have read a story in class (and have acted it out, talked about beginning/middle/end, reviewed the characters, setting, plot, etc.) I put the pieces out at my Felt Board to have students retell the story. 
*I usually include the book too, but I like to buy board books since they are much more durable with those little hands!*

Here's a step-by-step guide to making your own felt board sets....stay with me....it's actually not as hard as you may be thinking.
I found this method online a few years back and have been doing it ever since.  But if you do it a different way (maybe even easier!) please let me know.

Here's the thing...I can't draw!
Really!
Have you ever met a Kindergarten Teacher who can't draw?
Well, you just did!
So this is my {draw-free} way to making these sets.

Step 1:  Choose clip art that you want to use.
Here I am using a Goldilocks set I purchased at Scrappin' Doodles.

Step 2:  Enlarge the clip art on your computer to the size you want your felt board pieces to be and print them.

Step 3:  Cut the pieces out.  Think about the colors you want to use.  Start with the bottom layer (the largest) and tape the clip art directly to the felt.

Step 4:  You will need a VERY sharp pair of scissors - mine are fabric scissors from Michael's.  Cut on top of the tape - YES, you need to cut through your clip art, don`t be scared.
You can see how cutting out the piece this way matches perfectly!
Step 5: Cut another part of the clip art out and tape to another color of felt.  Cut it out.

Here is the face using a different color.

Step 6:  Repeat cutting pieces of clip art, taping to felt and cutting.  The more detail and colors you want, the more times you have to do this.

Step 7:  Using a hot glue gun, glue the pieces onto each other.  Add google eyes and glitter if you`d like.
{I tried using Felt Glue when I first started.  It was terrible once the kids got their hands on the felt pieces!  Trust me, hot glue sticks much better.  Although I have heard from others there is a super glue out there, something 6000?  Haven't tried it but I should look into it!}

This is Papa Bear.

Voila!

This is only one bear in the set, and, of course, I plan on making the other bears, bowls, chairs, etc. 
It is easy!  Maybe a little time consuming but easy!

I have a couple (literally 2!) Lakeshore Learning felt board sets.  They are amazing....but expensive!
My school bought those and I wish I had the whole set but I am not going to pay $35+ for each set.
And besides, sometimes they don't have sets for the books we are reading!

I have made about 25+ sets over the years. 
Once you start, you will not stop!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Take a Mouse to School
Here's another tip:  take a picture of all the pieces of your set on the felt board and tape it to a Ziploc bag.  When the kids go to put the pieces back in the bag, they can make sure all of them are there!

I`d love for you to check out my good friend and teaching partner,
Ann-Marie Parisi`s new TpT store!
She posted the cutest Kindergarten Memory book....that you start making in September!
Go and check out her store and follow her while you are there.  She should be starting a blog really soon and posting pics of her fabulous classroom!

I`m off for a family trip to Jamaica tomorrow but while I am gone I will be having some amazing guest bloggers.
Be sure to check back this week and see who they are!
You will not be disappointed!

Happy teaching!


4 comments:

  1. I too, use felt boards with every story.

    I print out colour clip art for the story I want to do (often times you can find free clip art of story characters), cut and laminate them (with my laminator, the laminating paper at school isn't heavy enough) and hot glue felt to the back of them.

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  2. Hi there!
    Thank you so much for the wonderful post! I have a couple of felt boards in my room, and I was not able to utilize it due to not having the correct materials that really worked with our stories!!
    This helped me so much!
    I hope I am as successful as you!
    Thank you!
    Robyn

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  3. Your felt sets are adorable. :) I have just put felt on the back of pieces printed on colored cardstock. When I was a kid, I had a feltboard and the pieces were paper with little rough strips on the back. I may have to try your way now.
    Jenn

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  4. Hello Alessia love! This is a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing! Although it looks like it takes a lot of time, I totally want to do it! Hopefully I'll have some eager parents that want to help out. Have a wonderful time in Jamaica! Hugs, Adrienne

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