Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ask and Ye Shall Receive...Sometimes

This summer while working on our library remodel/redesign, I completed a word cloud in a large picture frame that is attached to the wall with the worlds strongest glue.* Since the frame isn't going anywhere until the apocalypse, I decided I might as well make use of the space. I've always wanted to create a word cloud graphic, but never had the resources or time to do it. I made some social media pleads with a few friends, and Michelle (kindergarten teacher) volunteered her time and Silhouette machine to help me cut the vinyl and stick it to the walls. She cut, I stuck.

It ended up taking about 6 hours total. I did the design using Google Drawings. If you've never used Google Drawings for posters...or anything...seriously, you're missing out. Easiest quick design program EVER. Our 4th graders used it last year for their Famous Scientist Posters.**

The Silhouette machine doesn't have the exact fonts that I used, but we were able to come close. Beggars can't be choosy after all.

Left: frame with random squares that were glued with industrial glue forged from the fires of hell...except that one rogue square that fell off every 2 days.

Right: Frame without random squares. I ended up painting the inside of the frame with white Kilz since we were priming all of the painting surfaces that color. The walls are an off-white/ecru/eggshell color, so the white makes the words really POP!

While working, several teachers made their way through to the laminator, just to stop in and say hi, to grab books for their classroom. Each commented how cool it would be to have one for various things. Many of our teachers have personal cutting & crafting machines like Silhouettes or Cricuts.

As you can see, the word cloud isn't exactly like my drawing, but I think it turned out great! We also ended up adding "connect" and "share" into the frame to fill in some spaces we thought were a little to open. "Connect" is in yellow above the word "Books".

I proposed that we purchase one for the library for teachers to use for their classrooms. My principal asked that I justify the purchase. Below are 12 Ways a Silhouette Can Be Used at School. Trust me, there are way more possibilities that just 12.

I also included this little note along with my 12 reasons: Silhouette machines can be used to cut paper, card stock, material, vinyl, and more. It does require an online program, which makes the features and designs truly unlimited, especially with the scan and cut feature which allows the operator to scan any printed design into the machine to be manipulated and cut. It can run on a computer in the library or computer lab. Teachers would be required to supply their own materials to be cut. Several teachers that own a personal silhouette have stated that they would be happy to show us the “tricks” of making it more efficient and easier to use. The only materials that will need to be replaced on the machine regularly are the cutting blades and cutting mats.

My request was approved, and my Silhouetted starter kit bundle was delivered last week. Software has been installed, and I've been playing with the program some. I have two super awesome teachers who have agreed to stay late one day after school to show me some tips and tricks to get started. The P.E. teacher has already ordered vinyl and has a list of some things she would like for the gym! I'm so excited to get started helping our teachers better organize their space and create fun displays, work areas, and more for our students!

If you have a Silhouette or Cricut in your library, I'd love to know how you and your teachers use the machine. Leave me a comment! Great minds think alike. Greater minds share their ideas! (quote by me)

*Which makes me wonder why toothpaste becomes instant epoxy in my kids' bathroom what do they do that causes gobs of it to stick so firmly to the sink basin that I need a chisel and hammer to clean it?

**Watch for a post about this. It's easily one of my favorite collaborative lessons we do each year.

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