Happy New Year! Are you excited and ready for what this 2016 will bring? We’re in awe over this last year we’ve had here at Ellison, from introducing a brand new member to our awesome group of diecutting machines, to some amazingly fun new dies, to getting to meet and connect with so many wonderful people and educators alike, all with a love of crafting and a passion for teaching. Buckle up! We’re about to take a “scroll” down memory lane.
In early December, we shared with you all our excitement about our new SuperStar Excel machine- and we are still enthusiastically die cutting away with this powerhouse machine that definitely lives up to its name as being a SuperStar. With its 12 inch opening, (allowing for multiple dies to be cut simultaneously), its sliding adapter pad (eliminating the need to remove it or store it separately), and its compatibility with all of the dies in the Ellison series, the SuperStar Excel is literally the SuperHero machine of Ellison this year!
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s our Super Hero dies! Our imaginations definitely took flight with these fun and endearing dies, taking us back to the days of reading comic books and daydreaming about being superheroes when we grew up. We loved seeing the projects that these dies were used for, especially seeing Super Hero dreams coming to life for kids and adults alike! (In this collage: Super Hero #1, Super Hero #2, Super Hero #3, Super Hero #4)
The Super Hero fun didn’t stop with the Super Hero dies though. We wanted to help our wannabe superheroes BE superheroes with some fantastical Super Hero Masks. We couldn’t help making masks ourselves at our Ellison Headquarters in Lake Forest, California- (it was the catalyst for our Art Department creating capes and masks, calling themselves the “Die Hard Die Cutters.) We had so much fun seeing the masks that were made by kiddos from across the world- absolutely AMAZING.
Following these Footprint dies led us straight into some learning love this lasy year, from covering Visual Arts with a Footprint Bulletin Board, to getting into some seriously fun, hands on Math Lessons. With a variety of ways to incorporate these little animal footprints into classroom curriculum's, the learning possibilities for students and kids were endless- not to mention just pure fun! (In this collage: Frog Footprint, Bear Footprint, Bird Footprint, Rabbit Footprint)
Cupcakes, Banana Splits, Hot Chocolate, and Lollipops- deliciously decadent treats, just picturing them makes us hungry. But when we saw these Sweet Treats Flashcards, our sweet tooth turned from making us hungry to making us want to craft. Visually appealing and perfect for for doing flashcard drills, these Sweet Treats definitely took the cake this year for classroom crafting and learning.
Imagination enabled kids to turn crafting into a playground of fun and exploration with our Fall die releases of 2015. It was so much fun seeing how students brought to life their own version of pixelated characters from video games using the 3-D Cube die. (The author of this blog went a tad craft crazy, creating zombie cube characters to decorate her desk with for Halloween.) Knights, Kings, and Queens were able to make their own Castles, and protect it from fiery dragons, (maybe invading zombie cube characters?) But we’re most excited to use the Heart Puzzle for Valentine’s Day this coming year- maybe with a secret message that can only be read when put altogether? Stay tuned...2016 is going to have SO many cool new dies and projects!
Our favorite part of this last year was getting to meet and connect with all of you! Attending events that took us to Rhode Island, Las Vegas, and here in Southern California, (one that we had specifically for our teacher bloggers at our Ellison Headquarters) we were so excited to share and participate in both teaching and learning at these conferences and events!
Our first stop was in Rhode Island to attend the Collaborative Summer Library Program, or, CSLP as it is also known. The goal of this organization is to engage children attending libraries over the summer. It includes much more than "just" reading - CSLP goals include making learning fun with hands-on arts and crafts activities, and helping students avoid "the summer slide". This year, we presented our award winning Prestige Pro, and several dies related to CSLP, to hundreds of librarians, and had the opportunity to show numerous attendees how our CSLP dies would work perfectly with their existing equipment to enhance their summer programs in countless ways. We loved getting to meet and interact with all the wonderful people at this event, especially the Super Librarian who used our Super Hero Mask to create a fantastic and hilarious costume for this awesome event!
We got the unique opportunity this year to participate in the Imaginology Event at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California, in partnership with the Southern California Chapter of CHA. The Imaginology event brings technology and the arts together through the STEAM program. (STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) With over 1600 people in attendance, including both students and teachers from the Orange County area, those that stopped by our Ellison booth were invited and encouraged to make a wide variety of fun crafts, our favorite of those being the Gear Goggle Masks.
Our trip to Las Vegas was a double whammy of events this year, one of them being the SDE National Conference, and the other (which we sponsored) was the 2015 Vegas Meetup that was organized and hosted by the Blog Hoppin' Crew. Being there for an entire week, we were able to meet with and demonstrate for thousands of educators the fun and unique ways they could incorporate Ellison Education products into their classrooms and lesson plans. The 2015 Vegas Meetup had around 1,000 teachers and bloggers in attendance, and we we so happy and thrilled to meet and connect with all who stopped to talk to us!
We were so excited for this Teacher Blogger Party, in part because we were hosting it at our Ellison Headquarters, but mostly because we got to meet and craft with 16 teacher bloggers from the Southern California area. After doing a mingling/meet and greet, we had lunch (as all teachers know you can’t craft and learn on an empty stomach) and then we got straight into making some awesome projects. Sandi Genovese taught us how to make magnetic bookmarks and Gate Fold Apple Card- perfect for using as a Back To School Night invitation. We had SO much fun eating, crafting and connecting with all of these amazing teachers.
We wanted to thank each and every one of you for helping us make 2015 a year of imagination, inspiration, and just pure fun. We cannot wait to see what’s in store for us for 2016- and hopefully we’ll be seeing some of you at CHA in a few weeks! What are your favorite memories from 2015?