If You Can Read This blog, Thank a Teacher!

Okay, it might be a slightly cheesy bumper sticker quote, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I’m in awe of what teachers do every single day. If you’re a teacher, stand-up and give yourself a pat on the back. Go ahead, I’ll wait! If you’re not a teacher, well then go find one and pat her on the back.

Getting to meet awesome educators all over the country is one of the best parts of my job. Kenny and I have always celebrated teachers, but now we get to do it officially as online content producers for the International Reading Association’s website. “Celebrating Teachers” is the theme of the IRA’s convention this year, so they’ve asked us to go interview amazing teachers for their Convention Insider segment.


To see the video, click  HERE.

(Our spot starts at 8:55.)


For our first piece, we interviewed Linda Marlow a second grade teacher at Lighthouse Elementary School. In addition to being an awesome teacher, Linda is a children’s book author, and she shares this passion for writing with her students.

If you’re looking for an creative way to get kids excited about writing check out today’s article about Altered Art. Then follow the directions below for an easy way to make a different kind of book!


Do you remember Apple’s Think Different Campaign? TherJim Hensone were posters and ads featuring innovative thinkers. (my favorite was the one with Jim Henson and Kermit). I think that campaign sums up creativity in two words: Think Different.



You don’t have to create a major installation to be creative, you just have to look at the world in a slightly altered way. Step back, tilt your head, squint your eyes and see what you come up with.


Some people are born creative, but it’s also something that can be nurtured. Altered Art is a fun way to help kids exercise their creative muscles.  altered art

Altered Art takes very day objects then re-imagines and transforms them into something else entirely.

Anything can be used to create altered art: Altoid tins, picture frames, old board games, cigar boxes, and children’s toys (to name a few).

altered book twighlight


But my favorite alttered objects are books! Specifically, board books.


The stiff pages make a great base to work from and they often come in unusual shapes and sizes. If you don’t have any old board books lying around, ask your local dollar store if they have any damaged books they’d like to get rid of. You can also find a treasure trove at garage sales.

altered book 1


The directions for creating an altered board book are below, but before you start make sure to step back, tilt your head, squint your eyes and…Think Different!

This is one of those projects that works really well with a wide age range. They also make great holiday decorations and gifts.

Altered Book 3




Old Board Books


Sand Paper


Modpodge or


Watered Down White Glue




Acrylic Paint


Markers (optional)


Extra Materials: See Below




1. Using the sand paper, rub off the finish from the board book


2. Paint the pages of the book with acrylic paint. Let Dry.


3. While waiting for the paint to dry, find, assemble and cut out images, quotes, photos, etc.


4. Glue the images, quotes, photos, pretty paper, etc. onto the pages. After gluing on the picture, go over it with a light coat of watered down glue or modpodge.


5. Allow to dry (make sure the pages aren’t touching)

Altered book 1


6. Attach embellishments with glue.


Ideas for text


Write a story


Write a poem


Copy and print someone else’s poem


Print out your favorite quotes


Cut words and phrases from magazines


Ideas for images

Altered Book 2

Draw or paint your own images


Use ink pads and stamps


Rip* images from magazines


Print out photos (make sure they aren’t originals)


Find images

Old birthday/holiday cards

Pretty stationary

online http://karenswhimsy.com/public-domain-images/

Ideas for embellishments

Pretty papers, Wrapping Paper, Beads, Game pieces, Broken Costume Jewelry,  Buttons, Feathers, Scrabble Tiles, Old Keys, Nuts and bolts, Glitter Glue, Puff Paint, Scrap booking stickers and goodies…The possibilities are endless!

*Ripped paper tends to work better than neat edges when you’re using decoupage.