Interactive notebooks are all the rage right now- and I’m trying one out for the first time this year, too! Ellison Education gave me a chance to try out their All-Star machine, and it is PERFECT for truly making those notebooks interactive.
Every school I have EVER worked at has had an Ellison machine in the workroom- and most have had them for years. It’s clear to me that they’re the best in the business and that their machines and dies are high quality- but I have to admit, when I thought of Ellison, I thought of bulletin boards… and that’s about it. Imagine my surprise when I looked through their dies and saw that I could create things like this:
I mean, a 3-D T-Rex skeleton model? CRAZYTOWN.
So Ellison sent me this incredible All-Star SuperStar machine. It’s a lot like the die cut machines you’ve probably used before, but it’s smaller, lighter, and more portable. I’m keeping ours in our grade level storage (much to the happiness of my team!)- easy access for any of us or our parent volunteers, but it doesn’t have to sit out in the hallway. This machine would be great at home, too, because it really doesn’t take up much space… and I can move it to somewhere comfortable instead of standing in the work room at the end of the day.
One of the dies I had to get was this tiny envelope. It cuts out one piece, and it’s simple to fold and glue the sides to make an envelope. It was smaller than I imagined at first, but it would be perfect for holding vocabulary cards in an interactive notebook. The tiny envelopes could also be great for adding a little excitement to the classroom. Just imagine if the Elf on the Shelf, the Desk Fairy, or leprechauns left tiny notes for the class!
With washi tape and a Sharpie, I made some cute tooth envelopes, too. These are easy to make, and it would take no time at all to make a batch of these in the summer to have for all year.
Now that I have one of these, I’m also planning on using some scrapbook paper or even wrapping paper to make the cutest gift tags ever.
I mean… tiny envelopes!
So what else can an Ellison AllStar do?
I am in LOVE with this wheel. The two openings are offset so that the things you write or draw in the window never overlap with the outside edge words. And the “window” is perforated to fold or to be torn off. With one cut and a brad, you are all set!
These would be amazing in interactive notebooks, especially because they’re fast to make- I could probably get a class set ready during one of my DVR’ed shows, easily! The little window is great for self-checking, too. If your kids had a multiplication notebook, they could use a wheel for each fact, like the 5’s… and then they can spin the wheel to study! And decoding using word families works well, too. A picture will help even kindergartners check to see if they decoded correctly.
And they have SO many uses, especially for me as a science teacher. Think of all the cycles!
I would love to use cardstock on some of these, attach them to cardboard, and create centers. The kids would enjoy them because they’re interactive- and being able to check their answers means that it’s hard for your students to practice it wrong.
But none of these prepared my students for THIS.
Using 3 separate dies (and punching one of them out a second time), I had a dinosaur model.
This was my sample, made with just regular paper. I made another on bright cardstock (which worked better for construction) and let my kids “find” the bones in dirt. Then my early finishers got a chance to work on building it. Even with the directions, it’s a little tricky at first- but having a sample nearby really helped. It was a great culminating activity to our fossils unit and I loved seeing my kids problem solving together. These would be so great in a diorama!
And I just read that I can use the Ellison machine to cut anything from thin sheets of balsa wood, to an aluminum can or compressed sponge! So… maybe a thin craft foam or balsa wood could make this model even more resilient to be used over and over again. (And if a piece breaks, you’d just need to cut a new one!) The only trouble you’ll have is that if you don’t make one for every student, they will BEG you to let them take it home!
Even my husband (whose college nickname was T Rex) loved it! He insisted that my sample T-Rex stay at home to “guard” the Christmas cards.
The best part of this is that the machine and dies are a LOT more reasonable than I expected. It would make a great holiday gift or a PTA request, too. And even better? Ellison is letting me give away an AllStar SuperStar cutting machine to one lucky reader- AND these dies, too! That’s a $200 value!
Do you want to win? Enter below and Rafflecopter will help me randomly choose a winner. Happy holidays from Luckeyfrog Learning & Ellison Education!