Monday, August 4, 2014

First Day of School

It came and went in a flash. Friday (August 1st) was our first day of school. (I’m on a year round calendar.) I had my lesson plans filled out and ready to go. I planned on getting LOTS of things done. Most of those did not happen. So I removed the things that I did not get to so you can see what actually went down on the first day of school. I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch at 6 pm and slept until 10 pm. Then I stayed up until 12. Ha! I’m sure you can all relate! I can’t wait to start a new week with my kiddos on Monday!

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014-2015 Classroom Reveal

The night before school started I had everything ready to go as I was leaving school at 9 PM I remembered to take pictures! So please excuse some of the pretty poor quality pictures. I shot them in auto *gasp* and used my flash too. Sorry, it was late and I didn’t have time to mess with settings. :)

Here is my bulletin board outside my classroom door for student work! I used Schoolgirl Style’s By the Sea Theme. My mom cut out the waves from blue glitter paper from Hobby Lobby. I love the crabs! They are so cute!
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I love this sign that I made that says “this way to the beach”. The turquoise frame was actually a mirror that I think I purchased at either Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart. The mirror broke in it’s travels to school so I used the outer part as a frame. I really think that my room could use more details that make it feel more like a beach but every year I add a little something. It takes time. 
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This is the view from my door. It’s not that yellow inside, it’s the lighting.
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To the left I have a bookshelf that I put a turquoise sheet on, red chevron border, glitter clothespins (attached with command hook sticky backs) and then clipped on some cute starfish from Schoolgirl Style. I will use these clips to hang wonderful work from students.
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To the right I have my dry erase calendar which I  moved from the back white board to the front. I will use it to put all events that the students need to know. You can purchase your own sticky dry erase calendar HERE on Amazon. I also have my schedule cards from Ladybugs Teacher Files but I don’t have my times/clocks up yet because our schedule literally changed that day. Below the calendar I have a sign that says “we are happy to help” and then I usually put up two pictures of my students. (a boy helper and a girl helper) I used to use a big ole’ job chart but I don’t anymore because it was too much to manage.
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My white board continues on and you’ll see my alphabet which I’m thinking about going back to my previous alphabet. I also have my finger rules posted.
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Straight ahead is my desk.
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My walls seem really bare but we create a lot of anchor charts! 
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The lighting is so much better in this picture below! This is what it really looks like. That is our library to the left.
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Another picture of our library.
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I got this rod and the two baskets from IKEA. It hold our new iTouch, which is actually my old iPhone 4. (the other cup has the plug)
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Here is a peek inside my library. I love it this year because I finally created book bin labels that I LOVE. I keep a yellow stool on the bottom shelf so the students can use it to turn of the lamp and Christmas lights. The black bins on this shelf contain all pictures books. The clear bins on top are chapter books.
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The clear bins on top of this shelf are chapter books but the white bins on the bottom are all picture books. (except for Historical Fiction, it’s a mix of both)
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The books on the stool still need to be put into bins! I LOVE LOVE buying books for my classroom so I always have books that need to be put into bins! Don’t mind the empty frames on the shelf! I just got my first Groove Book order in and plan on taking some of the pictures out to put into the frames.  This shelf houses all pink bins which are also chapter books.
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The blue cart was provided to each classroom by our district with a mix of books in it. I have sorted all my books so that the only books on this cart are nonfiction.
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This white board in the back has our class Brownie Points pan. The students can fill the brownie pan with brownies and get class parties/rewards. You can read more about Brownie Points at What the Teacher Wants. I also created a Lunch Count “station” out of black electrical tape and black vinyl cut out letters using a Cricut. The numbers 1-4 and lunch count were cut out of glitter paper (also using the cricut).
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I bought 1 1/2 inch wooden circles, created the circles in PowerPoint and then hot glued them onto the wood. They look a little wavy and that’s because I didn’t take the time to laminate them before gluing them on. I just didn’t have time! :) Then I put a magnet on the back. I bought the magnets from Wal-Mart that have a sticky back.
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I love my back counter area. I have this really awesome orange bulletin board! (It’s not paper!) I love my new colorful drawer labels. I got them HERE. Students turn in box tops into the pink pail.
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Here is my small group table and my stacks of copies (aka MESS) on the counter. I love my new stools! I got them from IKEA. I think they were $4.99 each and shipping wasn’t bad at all!
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I bought these new FUN orange chairs online at Wal-Mart. These seats are reserved for my helpers of the week. This carpet is also light green even though you can’t tell in this picture.
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Here is the area behind my desk. I moved my desk back as far as I could so that I’m utilizing as little space as possible!
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I like for things to be as organized as possible!
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Behind my desk I have a sub tub and this three drawer unit that I also purchased from IKEA. The top drawer houses my favorite read alouds I use each year and the second drawer houses all my sticky notes. I haven’t found a use for the third drawer yet but I’m sure I will soon. I like to keep my pacing guides binder and data of my students within close reach. I also have a small addiction to sharpies and keep that tub full of them.
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I keep my year at a glance and reading levels charts close by. Along with a picture of the temple. It helps me keep an eternal perspective on life and to remember that my little sweeties are children of God.
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I bought another three drawer unit, in this I keep notebook paper for the students, markers for group projects, and sticky notes for Park It’s. Looking at that filing cabinet up close is telling me that I have a future painting project.
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This year I’m trying something new. Each table has a shelf that has drawers for pencils, blue pens for revising, red pens for editing, and glue sticks. There are also five white boards on the shelf for each member of the table. The second shelf has math toolboxes and writing notebooks. The third shelf holds their book boxes.
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I have some other things that I want to share in more detail but this is just the overview of my classroom. I hope you enjoyed a little tour around the place that I spend a majority of my time in. I like clean, fresh, simplicity, and organization. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Open House 2014-2015

It’s finished! Open House was Tuesday from 4-6 pm and I met almost all of my 19 students!
(I shouldn’t say that too much because I might jinx that low number.)
So I thought I would give a little run down of how I do Open House and what is in my folders on my student desks.
First up, I like to provide some little treat. Last year I did a pencil and the kids didn’t seem as excited about it. Ha. So this year I decided to give them gum. You can find the free printable HERE made by The Happy Teacher.
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I loved using folders last year to keep all that paperwork organized! The things in the “Fill Out and Leave” side include all documents from the school that must be signed (emergency card, health forms, etc.) but I also include some of my goodies.
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The first document I like to include is the Volunteer Sign Up sheet. There are so many different ways to have volunteers come and help in our school so I like to see right up front who is willing. One year, I had SO many that wanted to be homeroom mom that I actually had to choose just a couple. That was so hard because some got their feelings hurt. Last year, no one really wanted to be homeroom mom but they marked a number that showed me that they “didn’t mind” so I put together a small group and they worked together wonderfully! You never know what your group of parents are going to be like. Some stay home more than others and some are single parents who work many hours but I like to give the option to everyone to help in some way if they want.
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The next form I LOVE to use each year is this parent survey. I did not create this! Someone else did and she created all grade levels but I can’t remember where I found it! If you know please let me know so I can include the link.
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On the “Take Home and Read” side there are also TONS of school documents (the yearly calendar, the handbook, common core documents, etc.)
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I like to include a sheet that tells all about me. I borrowed this wonderful idea from Cara Carroll. I also made a template that you can use to create your own HERE. (Sorry the turquoise color stays the same in the template)
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I also LOVE using a program that used to be called Remind 101 but now it’s called Remind. So I always include a little “how to” start receiving the class text messages. I have an explanation in my parent brochure that tells what it is for but my parent brochures didn’t make it home for open house so I’m sure the parents have no idea what this is for right now but they will soon. :)
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I have signs posted for my parents when they come in so they know what to do.
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Steps 4 and 5 were on a back table in my room because my front table didn’t have enough room so these stations got overlooked easily so I had to keep giving reminders as they were completing the steps.
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I had about 9 sticky notes out requesting things like white copy paper, Clorox wipes, Kleenex, and dry erase markers. All are gone but one. :)
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I loved leaving a little gift for the parents this year! I've never done this before and I think it was a big hit! Only a couple of bags were left. :) You can get the free "popping in" printable HERE.
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Open House was a huge success! I will be posting classroom pictures soon so come back soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

“Meet the Teacher” Hand Out

About four years ago I discovered educational blogs and fell in love. The First Grade Parade was the first education blog that I stumbled upon and found SO many great ideas. I instantly fell in love with all the cute an informational hand outs that Cara had ready for her parents at the beginning of the year.
I basically just copied her. I think there’s a teacher phrase called “beg, borrow, and steal”. I like copy better than steal. It sounds better. But yes I stole her idea and edited it to fit my style and colors.
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I just finished my new one for this year and had someone ask for a template. It’s not my idea so I’m not selling the template because it’s my idea. I’m selling the template because I purchased graphics and fonts that I in turn used in the template. I hope that makes sense.
You can get the editable PowerPoint HERE at my TPT store.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gearing up for the 2014-2015 School Year

Y’all. Seriously. I feel like this school year has snuck up on me! It’s been on my mind but really. I’m looking at today’s date. My first day of school is in 10 days. TEN! We aren’t even allowed in our buildings until Thursday. Thursday!! Leaving me with nothing short of a couple of days to prepare for Open House which is next Tuesday. YES!!! Next Tuesday! Can you feel the anxiety with me?!

Deep breath IN! Deep breath OUT!

I just got back from a wonderful girls trip with my sweet friends! We spent a week in Salt Lake City Utah and enjoyed every second! I’ll have to do a separate post to capture all the fun we had!

In the days right before the trip and now following the trip…I have been preparing for school! It’s been so much fun! I’ll be starting my fifth year teaching and I’m glad that I get SO excited about it! If you follow me on Instagram then these pictures won’t seem new but…

I got this year at a glance completed.

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Then I typed up my schedule for next year. Any one notice that 55 minute RTI block? Yeah…me too…

I’m still wondering what that is going to look like. (Last two years have been 30 mins.)

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I found these adorable MINI binders at Target and had to get the turquoise one because it’s my favorite color. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet but I’ll let you know when I do. Ha!

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I finally got to visit this store in person! I wish wasn’t traveling when I did. I’m pretty sure I found a zillion things I could have brought home. They wouldn’t all fit in my suitcase but I did get a few things that I will be using in my classroom!

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These beauties arrived in the mail while I was on vacation. I ordered them from IKEA. They are 4.99 a piece and my sweet husband put them together for me! They will look great around my reading/group table.

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A few days ago I got these writing binders put together! (Inspired by Teaching Maddeness) So excited!

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I’ve got so much more to do and so LITTLE time. Isn’t that all of us? I can’t wait to share my classroom after my sweet mom comes to help me on Thursday! She is pretty amazing! Every year she helps me get my room ready to go for another set of kiddos. What a blessing she is!