Monday, August 20, 2012

50+ Followers--Freebies--and my Must Haves

Hey there!

Well, today was my first day back for in service, and it was...long.  I was there till about 6 this evening, but my room is getting close.  Very close!  Pics to come soon!

It was fun to see everyone today, but I saw quite a few people over the summer.  :)  In other words, I would've been ok staying home another week or two.  :)  Anyway, we had our meetings and all that jazz.  Our district's "theme" this year is "Operation Transformation."  As in...changes.  Lots of 'em.
YAY.  Nothing like adding all kinds of new expectations on top of already full plates.  Don't you wish they'd wait until at least the 3rd week of school to tell you about all the new things you have to do (on top of the old ones)?

Today I finished my "Bucket Fillers" area (on the inside of my door), and I think it turned out pretty cute.  I've never done it before, but I got my book in the mail and will introduce it next week when the kids come.  Those of you who do "bucket filling," do you usually read the book and introduce it on the very first day?  Just curious.  :)

My major accomplishment today, though, was cleaning up.  I went on a 10 minute spree before I left, putting things away as quickly as I could because I REALLY wanted to leave.

I'm linking up today with Blop Hoppin' to share my Must Haves!  Click the pic to hop on over and check it out!

1) My Smartboard.

Dude.  I cannot imagine my classroom without this guy at this point.  I only taught for 2 years without one and was the first one in my school to get one (I wrote a grant).  It is so convenient and engaging.  LOVE.

2) My Flair pens.  I use them for everything.  
They have such great color/saturation yet don't bleed through.  YAY.

3) An organized classroom library.  
Do they still put books in the wrong bins sometimes?  YES.  Do they still leave books on the floor instead of putting them in ANY bin?  YES.  But overall?  It works great.  And it makes it so much easier for them to find books they're interested in.  It took me FOREVER one summer to sort my library and label each book, but since then (about 4 years ago) my life has been so much easier (at least in that one aspect, haha).

4) My teammates.  
Seriously.  I don't know what I would do without them.  I've been on 2 different teams and worked with...9 different ladies, and they were all SO helpful and willing to share.  Let's face it: I SO do not know everything about teaching or have all the answers.  I love team planning, and I love being able to talk to them about my kiddos and bounce ideas off them (or even just vent).  YAY teamies!

5)  Post-Its.  

I use them myself.  My students use them.  We all use them.  Love them.

Be sure to link up over at Blog Hoppin' and let us know your own Must Haves.  :)

Anywho...onto the freebies.  Not sure how many people can use these, but I made some new labels for my library bins, and here they are in a couple different styles.  (Click on each one to view/download in Google Docs.)

Black and white dot labels

Teal design labels

Please let me know if you can use these or if you have any suggestions for changes or for future products since I'm new to making things!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Work Day #2

Well.  My lovely cousin, Melissa, and I worked in my classroom Monday from 10 am to almost 9 pm.  With a short mid-day break to buy more fabric and pick up food.  I'm exhausted, but the room is coming along!

Don't get me wrong, it's still an absolute mess, but I love how it's looking, decor wise.  I hope you like it, too!

partial view from the entrance to my room

the new Word Wall letters I made to match my new colors

Citizenship bulletin board with glitter wrapping paper

Listen to Reading sign (my listening center goes right under this board)

wall outside my door (I'm standing in the stairwell to take this pic--
no one else has this big wall to decorate except for us stairwell peeps)

My new Welcome sign in all its glory
(the backgrounds are paper plates from Dollar Tree)

My new door sign (made them for my whole team)

My cute new bulletin board area with awnings!
Left will be a focus wall.  Daily 5 in center.  CAFE on right.

Close-up (can't find the cards for the first 2 letters, agh!)

View from a side angle

How we made the awnings stick out from the wall
(used a box cutter to cut the cardboard roll from my glitter wrapping paper)
(never would have figured this out--PTL for my cousin!)

I like the aqua glitter letters, but they are so small!
May have to cut some plan aqua ones on my Cricut; we'll see.

Hope you enjoyed my partial tour!  I'll be back with  more pics, but my room is a WRECK right now!  It amazes me how much work it takes to get the room put back together every year.  You'd think it would get faster with experience, but apparently not.  Sigh.  :)  

Only a few more days of freedom till I have to leave my little man full-time again.  *tear*

Linking up with Tara's Monday Made It for my cafe awnings (even though it's Wednesday, almost Thursday).  (Don't judge.)  :)  Oh, and I technically did all this on Monday, so it's cool, right?!  Lol.

Be sure to go check out everyone else's awesome creations this week.  I am always astonished at the creativity out there.  :D

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Classroom Work Day #1

I FINALLY got to work in my classroom today since (of course) they weren't finished cleaning it until Friday.  I was there for about 4 hours, and here's what I accomplished:



View from the door.

Looking to the left as you enter room.

Reader's Beach (Classroom Library)

Computers/my desk area

Front of room/Smartboard


This was how my bulletin board looked.  Well, it actually had stuff on it during the year, haha.
But anyway, I took it ALL down and will start from scratch with new black fabric tomorrow.  YAY!

Anyone else have 8 billion staples all over your carpet/floor?
I use these hardcore magnet hooks to pick them up quickly.  :)

See?  Works like a charm.

OK, now for the AFTER pics.  Please keep in mind, I am not close to being done AT ALL.  :)

Moved ALL the furniture.  Ugh.

The cubbies with open doors are the ones I still need to "unpack."
And of course the back counter is still full of crap useful teaching tools.

My sad, empty bulletin board.  That's my black fabric draped across the desks.
I hoped maybe some of the wrinkles would fall out by tomorrow.  :)

Changed my desk area.  Got rid of an extra table and turned my desk so it wasn't right
smack dab in the middle of the room.  Not sure if it'll work.  Time will tell.

Now I have no idea where to put my book display.

My new classroom library!  Sort of.  Not quite finished, but I do like my black baskets.
The shelf on the left holds our book boxes for Daily 5.

I'll post another update after tomorrow! My cousin is coming to help me, whoo hoo!  It's an annual tradition for her to come up, and she's the decorating/cutesy brains of the operation, so I'm excited.  I think she'll like all the things I've been making to go with my new color scheme.

Does it drive you nuts when you have a hodge podge of all kinds of different shelves that don't match?  It's driving me nuts.  But what to do?  I thought about spray painting them, but that would require a lot of extra effort, and let's face it, we've all got enough to do w/o recreating the wheel (anymore than I already have).  ???

OK, peace out.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Teacher Fashion?

I wouldn't call myself very fashionable.  Every now and then I'll pull together an outfit that I feel is cute and trendy, but for the most part, I'm pretty simple.  In the summer, I just wear shorts and a tee or tank top on most days!  (Who am I kidding, there are days where I don't even get out of my pajamas now that I have a little one!)

But I digress.

I came across this super fun linky party over at From Blood to Books (she used to be a nurse), and I have to participate even though I'm not a fashionista.  :)

You should definitely click the (adorable) button to head over and link up so I get more ideas of how to look cool at school.  :D

Here are the questions to answer when you link up:

Here are the guidelines...
1. Tell me your favorite store(s) that you like to get your "teacher's fashion".
2. What are some of your favorite accessories?
3. What type of shoes do you teach in? (i.e. heels, flats, wedges, etc.)
4. Do you have a "go-to" item in your closet? (i.e. sweater you wear weekly, shoes you wear daily, etc.)
5. Have you ever had a fashion "uh-oh" at school? (i.e. heel broke, button popped off of blouse)

Please feel free to post any cute items, sales, outfits that you have grabbed for this upcoming school year!

1)  FAVE STORES: to shop at for teacher clothes are, in no particular order: Target (danger zone, I never leave there w/o spending at LEAST $50!), Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Kohl's, Dillard's.  I also like Limited, Gap, and Banana Republic, but I try to find sales or go to the outlets.

2)  FAVE ACCESSORIES: I have TONS of jewelry.  I like to wear a statement piece if I'm wearing a plain outfit to spice it up (usually a necklace, but I have a lot of chunky rings as well).  I'm not much of a bracelet girl.  I can't do bangles at all b/c my wrists are chicken skinny, and they just fall off.  (The bracelets, not my wrists.)

I have NOT been as good about accessorizing ever since I got preggo/had my son.  LOL.  I don't know; it's really all I can do to get myself to school in the mornings.  There were several days last year that I went to school with WET HAIR.  I know: for SHAME.  But you know, desperate times.  If you have children, you know.  ;)

I have good news.  This necklace from Stella & Dot is on sale for $106.00.  You're welcome.  LOL.  Kidding.  I do NOT have this necklace, but I like it.

3)  TEACHING SHOES: I go to school in flats, but I'm usually barefoot by mid-morning!  LOL.  I used to teach in slippers, but a few years ago I had a weirdo sub wear my slippers when I was gone (the kids told me ALL about all the weird stuff she did the next day!!), so I got rid of those slippers and keep forgetting to get some more "school slippers."  Yes, I keep forgetting for several years now.  Maybe typing this will remind me to buy some new ones.  LOL.  From August-October, I wear sandals/flip flops almost every day.  It's Texas.  It's still hot in October.  Evvvvvvery once in a blue moon I'll wear some heels, but my feet are always killing me by 9 am.  I have bunions, you see.  Anyone?  Anyone?  But yeah.  They HURT.  They hurt no matter what shoes I wear, but they REALLY hurt in heels.  Sucks for me.  TMI?

CUTE!  from Betsey Johnson.  I love flip flop slippers.

4)  GO-TO ITEM: I have this knit cardigan-ish sweater that doesn't close in the front (you know, it hangs down but doesn't button or anything?).  It's like a beigy color, so it goes with a lot, and it's very cute.  :)  I also wear my glittery zebra print ballet flats from Target a LOT.  They instantly jazz up a "boring black pants" day.  :)

Not these, but close.  Mine are more rounded and aren't sequins.  Just GLITTER.  :D

5)  FASHION UH-OH: I can't think of a fashion uh-oh at school.  The only oops I can think of doesn't have anything to do w/fashion.  I was pumping at my desk last year when I was still nursing, and the maintenance guy walked in on me!  (Yes, my door was locked, but he came in anyway!)  AWKWARD.  But yeah, there you go.

So there you have it.  If you made it this far, you get a virtual cookie--longest post ever!  LOL.

I hope you'll leave a comment (I love to read them!) and then go link up!  :D

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Past Classroom Pics

Well, I'm actually going to go do some work in my classroom tomorrow since they (supposedly) FINALLY finished cleaning our hallway today.  (fingers crossed.)  Dude.  I went up yesterday to empty my car (you can't imagine all the junk I've bought), and there were like SIX custodians sitting in the lounge.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE our custodians.  (Well, most of them.)  We have been lucky to have 3 AMAZING custodians in the 5 years I've been there, and I'm hoping this last one will continue to be with us.  They always move them around or run them off.  The kids LOVE them, so it's always tough when they leave.  Anyway.  SIX of them just sitting there!  LOL.  But yeah.  I knew they hadn't gotten to our hall yet because there were still roaches.  LOL.

Anywho, I searched through my files and found a pic of my old classroom and some before pics of my current room from last August, so I thought I'd share.  I  plan to take new "Before" pics tomorrow and then will update my progress.

It's fun to look back and see how my classroom has evolved over the past 5/6 years (this will be year 6)!

My old classroom (when I taught 3rd grade).  I think this photo is from my 3rd year teaching.  Must have been taken at the BOY b/c of the bulletin board with their names.  Names are written on surf boards and beach balls!  :)

I knew I wanted a beach theme from the get go.  I LOVE the beach.  I think it's the Pisces thing??  :D
I got that striped rug from Joann's (6 years ago, sorry) in their dorm/college section.  I remember it was 50% off.  I actually just passed it on to my student teacher from last year for her classroom.  But have you noticed how overpriced their dorm stuff is these days?  Even at 50% off, I can't usually afford it now.  

The palm trees were made by my cousin, and she also helped me rig my beach umbrella to hang from the ceiling.  :)  I still have both of those in my room.  

This is my class from 2 years ago.  This picture was taken right after I read "My Teacher is Having a Baby" and told them I was pregnant.  :)  This is a view of our whole group area in front of the Smartboard and the entrance.

You can see that the door to my classroom is open.  I am a big fan of keeping my door open all day (unless we are doing a science experiment or other noise-inducing activity).  Unfortunately, with our new safety measures, we are asked to keep our doors shut and locked at all times!  :(  Sometimes I forget, but for the most part, we are shut off from the rest of the world.  Oh well.  It's a happy little world we live in.  :)

To the right of the door is my Listening Center for cds and cassettes.  Do you still use cassette tapes?  If so, isn't it funny how the kids have no idea what they are or what "rewind" means?!  LOL.  Above that you can see my giant flip flop with hooks that hold my bathroom passes.  They are the keychain sized "Ugly Dolls."  Oh, they don't take the bathroom passes with them to the bathroom.  ICK.  They put it on top of their desk so I know who's out of the room.

Typical conversation in my classroom:

Me: Where's ______________ (insert student name)??
Students: He went to the bathroom.
Me:  Well, he sure didn't ask permission!
Students:  Yes, he just asked you, and you said yes.
Me:  I did?
Students:  Uh huh.
Me:  Oh.

LOL.  Please tell me this happens to you!

This is a view of my classroom library last August when it was *almost* finished.  I ended up changing the layout a couple of times to accommodate the book boxes for Daily 5.

This is a "before" pic from last August.  I left that May for maternity leave, so my amazing long-term sub packed up most of my room for me.  The bright little squares you can see on the cubbies on the left are where she labeled what she packed in each cubby! See?  Amazing!

Another "before" from last August.  Please know that I do not like my teacher desk/computer in the middle of the dang room, but that's where the "drop" is for the network connection, and they refuse to move it.  So I'm pretty much stuck.  Though my teacher area gets a little smaller each year b/c I HATE that it takes up so much space right at the front of the room!

"Before" pic from last August.  Yes, that's my car seat and my mom in the background holding baby boy when he was about 2.5 months old!  Poor little guy, but those were the days when he could sleep anywhere!  (Miss those days.)

"Before" from last August.

"Reader's Beach,"  AKA our class library.  (The fire marshall made me take down the hanging lights.  Boo, hiss.)

My "wall of clocks."  A parent gave me the 4 small clocks a few years ago, and I finally came up with this as a way to use them!  Each one displays the time of a city in another time zone.  We know what time it is in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Texas, New York, and London.  When the kids leave at the end of the day, you can hear them all ticking, LOL!  I can't tell you how many of my co-workers come in to talk to me and are like: "What is that SOUND?"  LOL.

"Before" from last August.  This year, I think I'm just going to have a boy helper and a girl helper each day.  I'm so tired of keeping up with the jobs.  I always have one or two kids who are ALL OVER their jobs, but the others forget, and I am tired of reminding them constantly.  :)  The clocks are different now; they are labeled with Recess, Lunch, and Specials, and the clocks are "set" to the appropriate time for each.  They hang next to my "wall of clocks."  :)  My listening center is just below this bulletin board, so that's what the Tic Tac Toe is for.  Can't wait to recover this board with the aqua glitter wrapping paper I got at Michael's!  :D

I really wish I had some more/better photos!  I know I do; they must be on my computer at school.  I'll see if I can dig some up.  :)  I hope this at least gives you a little view into my classroom.  Can't wait to get in tomorrow and get to work because I'm excited about all the new stuff I've made!

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