Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Working in my room, pictures, and a giveaway coming soon!!

If you've been following along with my journey, you know that Friday at lunch 
I left my almost set up classroom in order to get a larger one.  
I've worked really hard since then to 
"catch up" to where I was when I decided to move rooms.

Yesterday and today, my boys and I have spent full
work days in my room (read that as 8-5) in hopes of 
it being finished by the time I go back for inservices on Thursday.
How in the world is it already time to go back to school?!?!?  

With the exception of cleaning some more of my junk and 
decorating the last bulletin board (which is behind some stuff that needs
to be moved out of my room to another room, we are pretty much done with all that I can 
do before I get student names.  

Here's some pictures of what it looked like today when we left.....

This is going to be a student work board after school starts but I hated to leave it bare
so I put all of the encouraging monster posters
in the middle of it.  My banner across the ceiling is the same one 
I used last year.

On the far left is my schedule for each day.  Color word balloons in the center and my 5 WBT 
rules are on the right.  The red pockets on the right hold my papers for each day.

My calendar....I obviously don't do calendar time.  I've never felt that it was as beneficial to my 
students as it was time-consuming for me.  We do 
morning work in the mornings that covers both math and ELA as a review
but we do not do calendar time.  The white paper under my calendar is our "Strive 65" 
behaviors and the poster will hold my birthdays once I know who my kids are.  Oh yeah, you
thought I had gotten my kids right because I said last time I had 23 but we now have so 
many that we may have to adjust or add a teacher so I may lose some.  
The empty spaces under the birthday poster will hold our school monthly calendar and lunch calendar.

Off to the right of this one you can see the bulletin board that I have not finished.  My hall board is done but I am waiting on names so I will share it later.

This weekend I'll be celebrating my one year blogiversary and my 100 follower celebration!!  Someone will win my entire store as well as prizes from a few other fabulous ladies who have
been gracious enough to share with us!!!  Come back Friday for a chance to win!!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Surprise of the Week and a few pictures

I have been trying to go to school each day for a few hours these last couple of weeks to prepare my room and purge the extra stuff I had from last year.  Junk just seemed to grow in my room.  I was just about finished purging and was beginning to put stuff on my walls when......I heard that one of our "big" rooms was available.  

This room has its own a/c, 2 bathrooms, and is 1.5 times as big as the other rooms.  It's one of the rooms we drool over at our school.  So what does a good teacher do? Yep go to the office to ask to be moved!!!  


So, all my decorations.......

(I had chosen clown #2)

All of my decorations had to come down.  

My really organized teacher shelves.....all coming down.  

I started moving yesterday at lunch time and with the help of a super sweet facilities gentleman who stuck it out with me to the end, we finished a little after 4 yesterday.  It's all moved into the new room.  It is not however organized or decorated!  Did I mention that my kiddos come to meet and greet on the 5th??  

One last look at my old room.....it was nice and cozy (read: cramped) but it was home for the last year.  

Part of my new room....my four student tables are already set up.  The open door in the back left is the boys' restroom with the girls' restroom on the other side of the black bookshelves.  

The other part of my new room....excuse the coke machine!  This was going to be a teacher's lounge this year but we have too many students!  The small door in this picture is a "sink room".  I think this must have been some kind of art room long ago.  The "sink room" is about the size of a linen closet with a HUGE sink in it so it's completely unusable to me but this room is amazing!

The computers on the shelf are not mine so don't get excited yet!

A view of my his/hers bathrooms with my class library in between.  

I also got my class list yesterday and I have 23.  23!!!!!  I've honestly NEVER had 23 before in my life so that kind of worries me.  I had my centers all set up for 20 which is our "perfect class size" at our school but sadly I'm going to have to make more!  I also don't have an even number.  I hate odd numbers because someone is either left out of a partner for Whole Brain Teaching OR I have a group of three where someone really doesn't share as much.  How do you handle odd number classes?  I've asked for one more/one less but for now I have 23.  

SO that's where I am at in my classroom just one week before I meet my students for the first time.  I hope you have a great weekend!  I go back officially on Thursday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I think I'm ready......

Well, every good thing must come to an end.  My summer doesn't officially end until next Thursday morning at 8 a.m. but it's o.k. because I think I'm ready.   No, I'm not ready for summer to end but I am ready to see my kiddos.  My lessons are done.  My year is planned out.  My centers are prepared.  My room is NOT finished but getting there. 

 AND....the one that tells me every year that we are ready for school, 
my boys are fighting hourly.  Yep that means even they are ready for a distraction from each other.  This year they will be at different schools and that really scares me!  In fact, I almost cried the other night when I realized that they will never be in the same school again. 

I went up to school again today to work in my room like I do just about every day now.  I'm down to the last layers of trash and I can honestly see the end in sight.  I am very excited about this year and the potential to be organized!!!  

My two goals for this year are:

1.  I want to work on writing daily with my students to make better writers.

2.  I want to incorporate meaningful centers in my everyday classroom.

Before I leave you for the evening, I have a design question for you.

Which clown looks better?

Clown #1
Yes I know that the balls are a little crooked.  I could fix that.

or Clown #2??

I know which one I like but I wanted to see if everyone agreed with me! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It and a Freebie

Well I've been very busy getting my things back in order in my room this past week and it seems crazy to say that next week I will be back at work.  The students don't come back until later in August but we teachers start August 1.  I sometimes think our summers are on warp speed while the school year itself is on super slo-mo.  Do you ever feel that way?

Today I'm linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  As you may remember I've been working on my sewing room for a while now.  Although the walls and floor are finished, I haven't found the perfect affordable furniture for it yet. 

First up, a look at the before......

I could not take that puke orange peachy orange any longer!!  

And the after......so far......

Excuse the leg....my poor father in law was working so hard to get that floor in.  I'm sure he cursed me for buying the cheapest floor possible! 

I would really like to build something like this to go in there.

It's a bookshelf screwed to the top of a small table.  I think I would like a wider table for my sewing machine but it looks neat.  Still looking for the pieces....

I did find this tall drawer set at a local resale.  I plan to refinish it pure white with no distressing to match my walls.

Enough of my sewing room and dreaming, so what did I make this week???  

Well, I made one of these.....

It's an itty bitty baby onesie for a sweet preemie!  Isn't it adorable? 

We also made a tent for my youngest's bed.  It was DH's idea and he built the setup but needed me to sew the fabric.  I just used a queen sheet and made a new seam in it.  Definitely NOT perfect but DS loves it and that's all that matters!!

This last one is my Pinterest FAIL of the week!!  Ever try something that will be "soooo cute" and have it turn out awful?!?!?!  lol....I had this "brilliant" idea that I would paint Mickey heads on the walls of my boys' bathroom since it's done in a Mickey theme.  How hard can that be right?!?!? WRONG!!! 

So after that failure, I ordered some wallpaper border and we are covering those little guys up! 

My one school related made it is for my job board.  Since my room is a circus theme, my job board is a clown juggling balls with the jobs written on them.  The title is "Juggling Jobs".  Well I made each of the balls this year all pretty and colored in but then I got to thinking about my current ink situation (Read that to mean little to no ink left) and I came up with a different idea. 

 I simply made a black circle outline with each job printed in black inside.  This way you can put ANY kind of paper behind it to print out on and it doesn't use colored ink.  If your room is chevron, print on chevron paper.  If you want solids, print on solids.  You can usually get the regular sized paper cheap at Michael's or Hobby Lobby or any local craft store.  

Pick it up here in my TPT store!!  Thanks for reading along!!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Smorgasboard and a Request

Today I'm linking up with Fabulous in First for a Sunday Smorgasboard.

What a week it has been.  If you remember, a couple Tuesday's back my poor pup got loose and was hit by a car.  Quite a few hundred dollars and a few vet visits later and he is doing great.  He seems to be healing nicely and is back to enjoying life again. 

This past Tuesday we found out that someone very close to me, someone that I love dearly, has cancer.  What a scary word that is!!  No one in my family or my husband's immediate family has ever had to deal with that so this was quite a shock for both us.  YES, we've been very blessed to not be affected by cancer for all this time.  It seems that with the diagnosis your whole world changes.  Life seems to fall apart and you are left picking up the pieces.  

This is a verse from one of my favorite songs because no matter where I've been in life, through good times and bad, I've never walked alone.  I know that my God is faithful and He will see us through this.  I'm thankful for His constant love and protection. 

By the way if you've never heard that song, you can check it out by clicking here.  

I know that none of that has anything to do with teaching but it's honestly where my heart is on this lazy Sunday and I felt like sharing it!  

Well, my first anniversary as a blogger is coming up as well as 100 followers, it appears.  Since I will likely be hitting them both around the same time (August 1), I would like to have a giveaway on my blog to celebrate.  Please check out the form below (I hope it works!!!) and let me know if you would like to join my giveaway.  As part of the rafflecopter, I will have guests like your blog, store, and facebook page in order to get entries.  

Thank you for reading along!!!  I hope you have a great week!  

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a classroom freebie!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Working in my room, Planning for the year and a FREEBIE!!!!

So I've been working in my room this week and let met tell you it needs LOTS of work!!!

I spent most of Monday just cleaning out manipulatives and sorting them.  You see,
our math manipulatives did not come in until about five weeks into the year so even though 
I used them every day I never really had a good storage place 
other than the cardboard box that they had come in last year.  

I also got another bookshelf this summer for a total of four sets!!  This makes me super
excited because I can spread out my classroom library.  Our school doesn't have a 
school library.  Different huh?  Yes, no school library at all because they believe that books should be in the classrooms where they are accessible to kids every day.  SO.....
I have LOTS of books on a variety of levels in order to accommodate all of my students.

Well that was way more information than you needed to know wasn't it?  On with 
the pictures.......

YAY!!! A schedule!!! I was so excited today when our principal gave me the times for enrichment, recess, and lunch.  My schedule is finished now and no, that isn't a typo for two different times for reading.  I teach two different types of reading so we have it at two different times during the day.  The first section is strictly to teach HOW to read and the second reading time is for reading comprehension skills, language, and spelling as well as center time.

My calendar is all set for August!  Geez that seems so far away but it's only 2 weeks from tomorrow.  The purple paper is for the school's monthly calendar and the orange 
paper is for the lunch menu for the month.  Another project finished!!!

I've debated all summer about my alphabet train and where to put it/how to use it.  I've seen all the cute ideas on pinterest where they place the alphabet side by side with ribbons hanging down to make a word wall.  Well, ribbons don't look right hanging from the bottom of a train.  BUT....my poor train doesn't fit across the front of my room right over my white board because my room is narrow so..... I've decided to put it on a side wall and use it as my word wall header without the ribbons.

That's all the room pics I have for now.  The only reason you can't see the ground in any of my pics is because you can't see the ground in my room just yet.  lol....it's definitely a work in progress but it's getting there.  

While at home, I'm busy planning what to teach each month and how to cover all of the standards that need to be covered as well as adding in some rigor to my lessons.  I also want to be able to chart what each student has mastered as we go through the year.  I need to know where every student is at in their journey to second grade and I would like for each parent to know where their child is as well.  Therefore, I created a document listing all of the common core standards for first grade with a box on the side named "Date Mastered".  This will help me keep track of each skill that a student has mastered and it will be a great addition to send home with their report cards for parents to see. 

You can grab my checklist for free at my TPT store until tomorrow night.  If you download it please leave feedback!  THANKS!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


It's not exactly my giveaway but it is giving away my products.  I'm giving away my Pirate Writing Center Pack.

Jessica over at The Teacher Tallk, is having a 200 follower giveaway!!  

Click on the picture to go celebrate with her and sign up for her giveaway.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday and a flash FREEBIE!!!!

I know it's late and it's almost not even Friday anymore
 but I wanted to link up with First Grade Parade 
to share my favorite pins of the week!!

My Five Favorite Pins of the Week - 

1.  A recipe which is kinda funny because I CAN'T cook.....like not at all......

Click on the picture to go to the site. 

This is for Bourbon Chicken.  We LOVE Bourbon Chicken from the little restaurant at the mall.  I am just not sure we would love it if I cooked it.  Besides it has about 20 ingredients so this is probably a "pin and never do".  Do you have any of those?

2.  For my classroom decor - 

You can click on it to go to the site but it doesn't go to the how to, just to a main page.

I have two old TV stands like the top and I hope to be able to redo them before school starts to look cute and stylish like the bottom although I may leave the wheels on it.

3.  For my home decor -

Sadly, this link is for a session at a store on how to make it and not instructions.  

I need to find instructions on how to make this and make myself one for my front door.  This is perfect for fall!!  I would change the green ribbon at the top to more green mesh stuff though.  

4.  For my classroom lessons - 

Oh my goodness!!!  This is the cutest game ever!!  Mrs. Prince tells you all about it on her blog if you click the picture.  I can't wait to play this game with my kiddos this fall!

5.  For my classroom lessons during the first week - 

Oh isn't this the greatest thing ever!?!??!?!?   I want to make one and leave it up on my wall YEAR ROUND to remind my students of how a great classmate acts!  

Thanks for hanging out with me tonight as I looked through my pins this week!  

As promised, your flash freebie is my Apple Alphabet Bingo!  It will only be a freebie until tomorrow night around this time so hurry over to TPT and grab it. 

This game comes with 26 alphabet bingo cards for the students to use as well as 26 apple cards with each letter of the alphabet on them to use when calling.

If you do download my Apple Alphabet Bingo, please leave me feedback!  THANKS!!! 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Liebster Award

I was nominated by Meghan over at First Grade Hugs and High Fives. I was very excited to be nominated but with all the craziness in our lives this week I hadn't been able to accept my nomination until today. 

So according to Meghan, here are my "rules" for accepting this nomination:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me

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

Meghan's questions for me

1. Why did you become a teacher?

As far back as I can remember, I have "taught".  My mom says that I used to line up stuffed animals and I would teach them.

As I grew older, I found a deeper calling and purpose in reaching children that  others couldn't reach.  As such, I teach in a school that is high poverty and high minority.  We ensure that they succeed and don't slip through the cracks.

2. What is your favorite children's book?

Oh this is a tough one.  I love love love The Giving Tree but I think it's a bit too deep and dark for young children.  It's definitely not something I would read to my students.  

For my classroom, I think anything at all by Dr. Seuss is great!

I love the way these books rhyme and use language that is easy for children to read. 

3. Who designed your blog?

Well I used bits and pieces from all over!!  I used a circus kit from DigiScrapKits to make my cover as well as a background from HotBliggityBlog.  

4. Where is the coolest place you've ever visited?

I'm definitely not a world traveler by any means but the coolest place I've ever been is DisneyWorld.  I'm slightly obsessed with the ability to go there and leave the whole world behind.  It's a yearly must for our family to "get away from it all" at Disney.

5. What is your favorite TV show(s)?

My new favorite TV show is Once Upon a Time.  I didn't start watching it when the series first began, but once I found it (in March of this year) I was hooked!!

6. Did you have a favorite toy or stuffed animal as a kid?

Hmmm....that's a hard one.  I don't remember having anything that was a favorite.

7.  Do you have a favorite exercise you do regularly (or not so regularly)?

My favorite form of exercise is a tie between walking into my favorite restaurants or walking around Disney.  Other than that, sadly, I don't exercise much.

8.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

I love mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, and chocolate chip cookie dough (just not mixed together!!!)

9. What is your favorite way to incorporate technology into your teaching?

I love to use my Promethean board with my kiddos!  There are so many games, videos, interactive manipulatives out there that your students can get excited about!

10. Are you a Mac or PC person?

I'm a PC person!!  I've used Mac's in the past but I rather a PC.

11. What is your favorite sport to play or watch?

At our house we are major soccer fans!!  My DS11 plays goalie on a travel team and we love to follow him around.  We also love our Houston Dynamo who finally came out of their recent slump to win a game recently!!  

Facts about me

1.  I have been teaching for 12 years now.  

2.  When I first started teaching, I taught 7th-12th grade math for six years.  I still LOVE to teach math and would gladly do it all day long if they let us have departmentalized first grades!!

3.  I love sewing, embroidery, applique and digital designing.  

4.  I'm not much of a clothes or purse shopper at all.  In fact, I have been known to use the same purse for a couple of years before replacing it.

5.  My dream is to live by Disney and work at a school near there so that I can visit Magic Kingdom on the weekends.

6.  I have a sweet pup named Fudge who was hit by a car earlier this week.  No worries, it looks like he will make a full recovery luckily.

7.  I have two sweet boys.  Here they are in our favorite place!

8.  Even though I started blogging last year, I've only really kept up with it for the last month and it has really grown.  

9.  I can't cook!  Nope not at all.....can't do it.  

10.  I'm a messy person.  I try very hard to be organized but more often than not, it just seems messy.

11.  I love stalking other people's blogs!

The blogs I want to nominate
The Teacher Talk - OOPS! She was already nominated.

My questions for the blogs
1.  What is your favorite subject and why?
2.  Do you have any pets? Any children?
3.  How long have you been blogging?
4.  What is your favorite food?
5.  What teaching resource have you found the most helpful?
6.  What is your best vacation spot?
7.  Tell about your best lesson ever.
8.  What do you do when you are not teaching?
9. What's one thing you would change about schools in general?
10.  What is the most frustrating thing about blogging?
11.  Do you create your own classroom items or do you buy items from other teachers?

Thank you again, Meghan!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Warning: Completely Random Thoughts with a little of school, home decor, and real life

I could really use a "Sunday Smorgasboard" linky today.  I really want to blog but my mind is a bit crazy and I haven't done anything really school related all week except actually going to school.  

On Monday, I went to say hello to everyone at school and scope out my room for next year.  I'll be staying in the same room so it will be nice not to have to wait for all of my stuff to be moved.  The floor wax LITERALLY stopped AT my door's threshold.  The hallway outside my door was waxed.  The classroom inside my door was not.  Since I can't touch anything until they finish, I figured I would take my before pictures and dream about what I want my room to look like this year.

Yes, this is what it looks like right now.  An island of tables, chairs, and boxes.....  Oh yeah, see that purple circle?  That's  a new bookshelf!!!  I now have 4!!  Not sure how I got that lucky but somehow I keep getting new ones.  AND NO, I didn't steal anyone's.  The janitor (sweet guy) was very proud and came to show me that he had given me a new bookcase! lol...

More of my "junk".......bare bare walls......oh boy, do I have a lot of work to do.....

Whew, excuse my finger....my kidney table is at the bottom left.  More of my junk in this picture with a view of the back corner.  My other "full" bookcase is right under my finger.  That makes two tall bookcases and two short ones.  I really need to figure out where to put them.

So since I couldn't get rid of my energy by working in my classroom at school, I decided to tackle a remodel project in my office at home.  We just purchased our home after renting it for two years so we are finally able to redo it and make it our own!  

My poor husband left on Monday morning thinking that everything was normal and all was well in the world.  He came home to stuff all over our bedroom and living room with the carpet and padding pulled out of this room.  He was a WEE bit shocked to say the least.  After the shock wore off (I even moved a 6 foot tall hutch by myself), he was happy that it was done and he didn't have to worry about it.  

The before pics.....I really didn't like the pepto bismol pink on the walls.  I'm not a "pink girl" to begin with but this was too much!

It looks different depending on which light you are standing under......pink or peach??  Either way, it's now gone!

After my husband climbed over numerous piles in the living room and bedroom, this is what he saw.   

More of the end of day 1 pics.....

I painted the first coat of new paint yesterday and LOVE it but yesterday was a disaster so I have no pics of that. In the middle of painting, our pup got loose and got hit by a car.  He survived but ran away for about 6 hours.  We thought he had died because we could not find him and he would not answer our call.  

After spending a couple hours looking for our dog, my oldest started complaining of not feeling well.  He's not one to complain so I knew something was really wrong.  Yep, fever and all so off to Urgent Care we went.  

My boy is 5 feet tall at 11 years old.  He's going to pass me up in NO time.  This makes me sad!  Look at those feet people!!  He's going to be a big'un!!   lol.....

Hubby texted me while at Urgent Care that our pup returned home and looked fine.  I was so excited!!!  When I got home from Urgent Care, I took the pup to the Emergency Vet clinic.  HELLO DOLLAR SIGNS!!!  Geez louise!!  They think he will be fine and that he didn't even break a bone!  We have to watch him for three days to make sure nothing inside is "leaking"....yuck!

I took this picture at about 2:30 a.m. this morning on one of my many scheduled wake-ups to check on the dog and my older boy.  The dog was actually sleeping on the side that got hit so that he could rub his nose on my youngest son's face.  It was so sweet!!!

Well that's all I have for today!  I wish I could tell you that I had these great new products or that my classroom was ready but that's not the case......for today at least!

Have a great rest of Wednesday!! See you tomorrow!