Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School Read Alouds

Good morning world! Today I'm linking up again with The Teacher's Chair for another "Show us your...." linky party. First let me say, though, that I really enjoy reading her blog. If you haven't already, take a minute to check it out. She's got some really great ideas.

Here is today's theme.
A lot of upper elementary teachers don't read books aloud to their kids anymore {sad face!} Last year I taught 4th grade and got them hooked on read-alouds! They initially thought they were "too big/cool/old" to listen to picture books, but they grew to love them. Read-alouds, when used properly, serve an important purpose for any grade. There are a lot of rules and procedures that students learn during the first week of school, and picture books are a great way to reinforce these principles. Here are my go-to stories.
Can't wait to read these in a few weeks!!!!!

post signature

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It and a New Link

Many of you that I follow are going back to school next week, and I just have to ask....What's up with THAT!? I still have 3 1/2 more weeks people. That's 3 1/2 more weeks of crafting, procrastinating, and just being plain lazy. Ok, I'd be lying if I said that I enjoy being lazy for that long. I'm actually looking forward to school starting so I can get back into a solid routine. I loove summer, but I'm ready for some hustle & bustle. 

Alright, time to link up with Fourth Grade Frolics for some Monday Made Its.
Library Helper Book Bags
Next year I am implementing a new classroom job: Library Helpers. I had one of these last year, but their only purpose was to keep our classroom library organized & clean. Confession: I was NOT always a good role model for proper library etiquette. There were many times when we were rushing out the door and I would throw place a book in some random basket to save time. But this year will be different! I read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller this summer and have a completely different perspective on my classroom library.

Our Library Helpers will have an important job. Not only will they keep our classroom library organized, they will also be responsible for taking everybody's books to the library during Specials on Thursday. Instead of wasting time for the kids to get out their library books on Thursday {which is usually panic mode for a few because they can't find them in their black hole of a desk}, the kids will drop off their books Thursday mornings in these books bags. 
And the library helpers will carry them to the library :) I got these bags for $1 each at Michaels and dressed them up with some leftover ribbon from my small group bins
Monster Themed Daily 5 Posters
Here's a freebie for all you monster lovers out there. It's a pack of Daily 5 posters for your room. There are two types in here, depending on what system you use: full-size posters for a clipchart and smaller cards for a rotation board. Click the picture to download.
I'm also linking up with The Teacher's Chair today for something new :)
Today's theme is lesson planners. This is actually the first product I ever made for my TpT store! Since then I've completed another planner, so I'm attaching both of them. The first is a gray/pink chevron theme and the second is rainbow/bright colors. Click the pictures to download a preview and/or purchase at my TpT store.
Make sure you check out both blogs for some last minute inspiration. Enjoy the rest of your week!

post signature

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Suggestions Please!

I'm going to be adding some classroom theme packs on TpT in the next few weeks, but I need some suggestions on some ideas. I've got a growing list of obvious themes (e.g. jungle, circus...), but all opinions and/or suggestions are welcome! 

What are unique themes you've seen?
What are "must have" items in classroom theme packs?
What are items that you haven't seen in packs, but wished they were there?

Thank ya!

post signature

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Those of you who stalk follow people on Pinterest have seen dozens of fabric bunting ideas, if not more. One of my summer projects was to make one of these for my classroom. Here are some of my "Pinspirations":
See this one {here}

The first pic is pretty ordinary, but I absolutely L.O.V.E. the second one! This person made it from scrap fabric. How cool is that?! My favorite part is that none of the fabrics match, which oddly enough make it all go together. Or is that just me? Anyway, back on track...

I decided to go ahead and make mine today since it was pretty gloomy outside {what else is new}. To start, cut a triangle from a piece of cardstock. Ready for a brief math lesson? This is an isosceles triangle because two of the sides are the exact same length. The shorter side measures 6 1/3" while the longer sides both measure 8 2/3". It really doesn't matter how big/small you make the triangles, as long as it is isosceles. Make sense?
Then get your fabric situated. Lay the fabric on a table with "ugly sides" touching. The "pretty sides" should be showing on the top and bottom. Then lightly trace your triangle template.
Cut the triangles with regular fabric scissors first. {I will explain why as we go through the steps}. Continue cutting out triangles until you have your desired amount. I decided to cut 2 triangles for each print, but the cool part about this project is that the design and pattern are completely up to you! 
Pin your triangles like so to hold them into place.
Ok, so here's when I explain the purpose of cutting with regular scissors first, rather than your pinking sheers. Prior to doing this I practiced on some scrap fabric from my black hole storage box. I cut my triangles with pinking sheers first, like most tutorials say to do, but when it came time to sew, the zig-zag edges looked a little...funky. The edges weren't lined up and it didn't look polished. That's when the idea hit me. {Cue inner dialogue} If I cut with regular scissors first, and then sew a straight stitch, the fabric will be secured in place. Then I can trim the edges with my pinking sheers!
I highly recommend doing it this way. It was so much easier! 

Get out your sewing machine and sew a straight stitch about 1/3" from the 2 long edges. Don't worry about sewing the short end closed. You will do this at the very end with bias tape. Now take your pinking sheers and trim the edges! Here's a close-up:
Look at those edges...mmm mmm!

Arrange your finished triangles in the order you want them sewn.
Unravel your bias tape. I accidentally bought the wrong width, so pay attention to that when you're shopping! I got 7/8", which was waaay to thick for my size triangles. But no worries! I simply folded it in half once and it worked perfect. And I apologize for not having any pictures of this step, but I couldn't hold down the fabric and snap a pic at the same time ;)
In other words, make sure your bias tape is an appropriate width for your size triangles.
Before you start sewing, decide how you want to hang the bunting. I've seen people tie it to things by making a bow/knot, pin it in place, or loop it onto something. Whatever method you decide will determine how much tape to leave at each end. For example, you will need to leave more tape if you're planning on tying it rather than looping it. 
I am planning on looping mine above my blackboard, so I sandwiched the first triangle between the folded bias tape, about 6" from the end. The edge of the fabric should line up with the crease in the fold. Straight stitch across. I left about a 2" gap between each triangle. Continue sewing your triangles, sandwiching them between the fold. When you're done, cut the tape 6" from the last triangle {or whatever length you used on the other end}.
Here's a close-up of my color palate.
And here it is hanging up! Pardon the not-so-pretty background. I will be getting better pictures tomorrow. 
If you would like a custom set for yourself, a friend, or your classroom, visit my Etsy shop for purchasing information! My button is also on the sidebar.
**{posting will be available by tomorrow}

post signature

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Staples Sales

Today I'm linking up with Ladybug's Teacher Files to share a FABULOUS deal at Staples!

Most of you have already started back-to-school shopping to receive those awesome sales, but please check out Staples if you haven't already. While I was there Monday they were having a clearance on these portable file carriers. {The ones I purchased had clear tops though}.
They normally go for almost $12 each, but they are on sale for $5!! Two of those = BIGI Free, plus $2 savings! I posted here about using one of them for filing graded papers each week, but I don't know what to do with the other one. Any suggestions?? There's no such thing as "too much organization storage", so any/all ideas would be helpful :)

What are you doing to organize your classroom?

post signature

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An Award and a FREEBIE

I'm suuuper excited to announce that my blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award! This is an award that goes to new-bloggers with less than 200 followers. Obviously I want to have way more than that eventually but, hey, this is a start! Thank you times a bajillion Gemini Teacher!
When you get nominated there are a few things you have to do:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

Sounds simple enough.

Here are the questions posed for me by The Gemini Teacher!
1. Favorite subject or topic to teach? My favorite subject is BY FAR math {if any family members ever read this they will scratch their heads and/or laugh hysterically}. Ironically enough, math was never my best subject in school, but I really enjoy teaching it! 
2. What are two things in which you would say you are skilled? I'm skilled at crafting things and cooking/baking. I'm not professional by any means, but I'm not afraid to try new things in the kitchen.
3. What is a weird habit you have? I wouldn't say it's weird, but my husband gets really annoyed by it...I HAVE to have the bed made before getting into it each night. Rarely do I make it in the morning, so each night, as a weird ritual, my husband stands beside the bed while I make it crisp and neat :) Ok, yea after reading what I just wrote, that's pretty weird.
4. What is the most adventurous thing you have done? I went ziplining in Jamaica last summer!! It was really high up in the jungle and I don't think our tour guides were "all there," haha.
5. Who is your longest friend and why? I met my best friend Allye when we were in 9th grade. She moved into the house right behind me, so we were always a quick hop away from each other! Allye has the same sense or humor/personality as I do and she has always been loyal. She's a trooper :)
6. Do you have any "catch phrases" that you always say? In my classroom I always say, "Easy Peasy.." and my students reply with, "Lemon Squeezy!" 
7. What do you consider a challenge as a blogger? Learning & understanding all this HTML coding!! Yikes! And figuring out ways to network can be difficult.
8. What are 3 adjectives you'd use to describe yourself? Outgoing, reliable, and stubborn ;)
9. Best piece of advice given and/or received? Growing up my dad always told me, "Your word is your bond." I have to remind myself of this before getting involved with extra curriculars. I hate telling someone I'm going to do something & not following through.
10. What do you remember from your very first day as a teacher? On my first day one of my students {sweeeet girl!} gave me the nickname "Mrs. Pooh Bear." It was actually really sweet, haha.
11. Do you have a bucket list? One thing on it? It's more of a mental list...I guess I should write them down. Something I really want to do is travel the world and learn about my heritage.

11 Facts About Myself
1. I'm 24
2. I married my 1st grade sweetheart <3
3. I have a Puggle named Laura
4. I'm from a coastal town in Georgia
5. I just finished my first year as a teacher...and SURVIVED!
6. I love traveling
7. My favorite snack is a popsicle
8. I love Hersheys with almonds
9. I've never been to a funeral
10. I'm the middle kid. I have two brothers, 19 and 26
11. I never planned on being a teacher! Initially I was a Pre-Med major {that clearly didn't work out, haha}. Even though it wasn't planned, it was without a doubt meant to be!

My Nominees

Questions for My Nominees
1. How many years have you been teaching?
2. Have you taught more than 1 grade? If so, what's your favorite?
3. Why did you start a blog?
4. Where do you get most of your classroom inspiration from?
5. What are two qualities that you think every teacher NEEDS to have?
6. What is your favorite holiday and why?
7. If you could visit one place for an entire year, where would you go and why?
8. Name somebody who provides you with encouragement.
9. Describe your teaching style in 5 words or less.
10. What are you most excited about for this upcoming school year?
11. Do you have a favorite joke? If so, share!

If you are reading this, that means you stuck around and made it to the end of another long post! Yay! And since you built up your reading endurance, I'm going to reward you with a FREEBIE! I've had several people ask me about my drawer labels from yesterday's Monday Made It post. 
If you "like" my Facebook page by 5:00 pm tomorrow, I will send you a FREE copy!

post signature

Monday, July 22, 2013

MANY Monday Made Its

Today was the first day that I went back to school to actually work. I got SO MUCH done! I love the feeling you get when you can scratch off 5+ things from your to-do list. For a while it seemed like it was growing longer & longer without actually getting anything done. Definitely feeling better after today. So get ready a handful of Monday Made Its! Really...I'm not kidding...I have 7 of them!
Paper Organization System

I desperately needed something to file papers, other than manilla folders that get crinkled and dingy looking. I've seen this idea all over the internet. These adorable pencils are by Creative Clips. Really cute and they come in several different colors. I'm really happy with how it turned out!!
MMI 2:
Graded Papers File

I got this idea from Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics, but I made it to match my paper filer {see above}. Last year I kept the students' graded papers in individual mailboxes in the back of my room. It's a great system, but 1) I wasn't able to take it home if needed. I get try to get all my grades done as we go, but sometimes things get a tad busy ;) And 2) some of my students have sneaky eyes that "accidentally" notice that bad grade someone else got on their math quiz. Having this portable filing system will *hopefully* prevent that!
{flower frame by Ashley Hughes}

MMI 3:
More Paper Bins

These were totally not planned, but they were on sale at Wal-Mart for $1 each! There was no way I was leaving without a couple. Turns out they make great bins for homework and Thursday Folders! To read more about Thursday Folders, check out The Clutter Free Classroom

MMI 4:
Crayon Organization

My wonderful mom got me 10 of these cute flower pails at Michaels for $1 each. Six of them are going to hold crayons for each group. The other four will be used to hold other random things/manipulatives around the room.

MMI 5:
Multiple Choice Rings

Another awesome idea from Fourth Grade Frolics! Tara used large popsicle sticks for hers, but I only had the skinny ones and was too lazy to trek through Wal-Mart again. So I whipped these up, printed on cardstock, laminated both sides, and clipped on binder rings. I can't wait to use these during small groups!

MMI 6:
Pencil Bins

This is a MMI with a little extra somethin-somethin. At the very end of last year I started realizing that I was going through a box of pencils every week. And by "box" I mean "box of 80!!" At least four times a day I kept hearing the dreaded, "I can't find my pencil!" This lead to me giving out pencil, after pencil, after pencil until they were all gone. Don't get me wrong. I have NO problem giving out pencils to students who need them. It only becomes an issue when my pencils are 
1) sharpened to a tiny nub, and
2) lost

Maybe this new system will prevent those things from happening. Here's the plan: Each group will have a green bin with 8-12 pencils {depending on group size, 2 per student}. These pencils are for them to use during the school day, but must be returned before they leave (**obviously if a student doesn't have pencils at home I am willing to make an exception). One person from each group will be responsible for counting pencils at the end of the day to make sure they're all accounted for. I know what you're thinking...how will they differentiate between "my" pencils and their own?
BAM! My pencils have colored duct tape around the eraser! I adapted this idea from Ladybug Teacher Files. I almost didn't buy this tape at Hobby Lobby, but I'm glad I did. It's perfect for pencils. This is seriously going to save time from students getting up to sharpen pencils in the middle of the day. And the bins came in a pack of 3 from the Dollar Tree! I love that place.

MMI 7 (last one):
Group Buckets

These will be used to keep art supplies/random things whenever we have group work. I got the green bins at Hobby Lobby when they were on Clearance. I think they were .50 each. And the pink ones are from Wal-Mart, $1 each. I dressed them up a bit with turquoise chevron ribbon and big chalkboard frames {Graphics From the Pond}

Phew! That was a lot, but man does it feel good to have it done! Can't wait to see what you all have accomplished!

post signature