Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two more days!

I finally did it!  I went from this 

to this

Beanie Baby reading strategies

The reading nook - pinterest inspired!  

My word wall!  I love it!

My new calendar "wall" takes up most of my whiteboard, but that's ok!  I've got two whiteboards now!!

My t.v. is not yet hooked up, but will be great for whole class instruction!

The library is still waiting on the bookshelves, but look at that natural light!  Speaking of natural light, this "Green" classroom has sunlights!  I haven't turned on the LED lights once, except to demonstrate the difference to visitors!  The natural sunlight is beautiful and makes me so much happier!

I can't wait for my kiddos to get here on Tuesday!  I'm so excited to meet my new class of firsties and give them a tour of their new classroom and their new school!

Check out the rest of the campus:

This is the "garden" area outside my room.

Newly painted volleyball court and hopscotch and four square courts in the background.
The climbing structure is on hold until October, but will be placed in the area beyond that hopscotch!

The gym is still under contruction until November!

The bathroom is right next door!

Wow!  I'm so excited for the school community!  We have waited a long time for this and it's finally a reality for our little charter school!  YAY!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

400 Followers Giveaway!!!

Wow!  Thank y'all so much!  I can't believe we have hit the big 400!  Please join our celebration and enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guess where I've been?

I'm back in the saddle...almost!  We have been under construction since the middle of last year, and now all the displacement and moving is paying off.  Our new school is wonderful!  It is gorgeous and it is a 21st Century Green classroom!  It has skylights that let in so much light, I don't even need to turn on the lights.  The thermostat adjusts itself based on the body heat and movement in the's wild.

The new classroom doesn't have as much storage as the old one, but that's ok.  I'm taking the opportunity to PURGE again.  I purged for the first move and I purged before summer and I'm purging big time now.  I don't want to bring anything ugly into the room just to store my junk.  If I haven't used it in a year, then I really don't need it.  The only thing I won't get rid of is books!

The school ordered two book shelves which should be here right before or after school starts.  I already have one in the room that is cool and has deep shelves and some display shelves too.  I also just got my Donors Choose project funded for a big book storage cart and large book display shelf for my thematic books.  I'm stoked!  I can't wait for it to be all set up!

I'm going in again tomorrow to tackle organizing my craft supplies...YIKES!  Then we have Tuesday and Wednesday to work some more before meetings start on Thursday!

When I'm not able to be in the classroom, I'm doing everything I can at home to get ready!  I've numbered supplies and am packing the pencil boxes!  This year they are getting a western themed eraser and pencil included in the pencil box.  This will get them excited about our "Got Grit?" schoolwide theme!  I'll tie a bow around it for their back to school gift!

And let's not forgot that teachers are parents, too!  I have four girls starting new school years, too.  We have always taken our first day of school picture, of course.  This year, my Sophomore in college drove home the day before her sisters' first day of high school to "pose" a first day picture!  (Her idea! :)  I love that it was that important to her.  She helped pick out the first day outfits and gave good advice to her sisters!  The next day we took another.  I love these girls and the young women they are becoming.  They love each other and are kind, good people!  I'm a lucky mom for sure!  It's been nice to have an extra long summer this year.  I've been able to be there for them as they start high school.  It's been great to be home and hear about their days.  I hope they are still excited to talk about their day when I get home later than them.  
And don't worry...they really are happy in the picture...even Ally in the middle!

And just a reminder that even highschoolers are still daughter can't give up on summer.  She's constantly practicing gymnastics and enjoying the sunshine!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Searching for Inspiration!

I don't go back to school for a couple of weeks and I'm itching to start planning for my new group of firsties!  Since I can't get into my classroom, I've been browsing TpT for some new inspiration!   So today I'm sharing a wonderful activity from Pam at Mrs. P's Specialties!  These are just two activities from her Apples and Pumpkins Bundle.

Since I don't have students right now,  I had to borrow a neighbor to help me out!!  He loved it and was proud to show off his penmanship...pretty good!  Anyway, these cute little pumpkin cards feature all the letters of the alphabet.  This activity is perfect for my Word Work Tubs!  Choose a card, write the letter in the box, then write down the next two letters that would follow in alphabetical order!  Great hands on formative assessment!  (Also included is a pumpkin number sequencing activity perfect for math tubs while I'm buiding routines!)

This bundle also includes an adorable emergent reader for the beginning of the year or RTI!  This little book reviews the color words and will be a great first book for some of my little firsties who need the review and to build their confidence!

You'll definitely want to check this out for your students. Just print, cut and place in your tubs.  The emergent reader is easily copied and assembled by the students!  Now that's teacher friendly and hands on and engaging for students!

Be sure and visit Mrs. P's Specialties while you're searching for inspiration!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Printer INK and a LINKY!

Wow!  I don't know about y'all, but my printer is working over time!  I found some great things during the TpT Sale and have been having so much fun looking through my purchases!  Here are some of the great products I purchased:

I was going to make an alphabet strip this year since we are getting our new classrooms.  I wanted to start fresh!  But, heck, why create it when Katie Mense did all the work for me!  It's beautiful!  To save a little ink, I'm printing 2 to a page!  This is going to be sooooo adorable in my room!  I've decided not to laminate since we change our theme every year and the glare is hard on my firsties' eyes!  
This adorable product was created by Jennifer Knopf and coordinates perfectly with the alphabet above.  I'm so lucky to have come across these great finds.  Again I'm planning on printing 2 to a page and not laminating!
That's just a couple of the things I found!  How about you?  Link up and share one or two things that you found during the sale!

Monday, August 4, 2014


For many teachers and kids across the country school is beginning any day now.  I'm one of the lucky teachers that has a few more weeks of summer!  This summer our school is being rebuilt, so instead of starting school in August, we don't start until after Labor Day!  Yee Haw!!  It's been a nice long summer!  Let's not think about how short next summer will be...

Just because I don't head back to school for awhile, doesn't mean I'm not thinking, planning and working to get ready for the upcoming year.  This year our school wide theme is "Got Grit?" We will be digging deep into the idea of grit, teaching the kids all about perseverance and passion.  My first grade colleagues and I decided to take this theme in a western direction for our classrooms.  We've been searching high and low for cowboy decor and have been hard at work "countrifying" lots of our necessary school items.  One thing we will all need is our Daily Five anchor charts.  I've gone ahead and made some cute western charts.  If you'd like to have your own copy of these cute countrified cowpoke anchor charts, please download them!  Head over to our TPT store by clicking below and download your free copies! 

While you are there, check out our other great products and pick up some great things for Back to School while everything is on sale!  The Back to School Sale is on now!  Look for these new products that are sure to be a hit with you and your students!  If you enter the coupon code BTS14 you'll save even more!  Enjoy!!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

No More Behavior Clip Charts!

As I'm getting ready to head back to the classroom, I'm giving some thought to classroom management.  I don't use "Behavior Clip Charts"!  I see many shared on pinterest and blogs, so I know lots of teachers continue to use this for behavior management.  I didn't find much success with them when I used to use them years and years ago.  It always felt negative!  I am truly all about the positive!  I love to catch kids doing what they should be doing and going above and beyond.  So, I wanted to share what has worked for me the past few years, and I plan to use it again this year.

It's all about the positive!

Individual incentives for positive behavior in the form of reward coupons.  This system has helped my students become more responsible and aware of their own behavior, and no one is singled out for misbehaving!  Everyone has a chart on his/her desk.  It is not a competition.  It is not displayed for all to see.

The coupons are good for such things as lunch in the classroom, taking your shoes off in the classroom, special supplies, and other very simple, no cost rewards!  I'm telling y'all it works!  I fell in love with the idea of offering "no cost" rewards to my kiddos for positive behavior.  These "extrinsic" rewards encourage my students without being "junk" from the prize box.  And it seems to be a great way to tranisition kids away from physical prizes.

After some tweaking over the past few years, here is what I have found works for me.  (Of course, I haven't met my new students yet, so I hope it will work for them!)

Each student gets an incentive chart on his/her desk!  The chart will look something like this, but I like to change them up for our themes.

As the teacher, I hold the stamp.  I found some Crayola markers that had cute stamp images on the tips. These are great for carrying in my pocket as I walk around the room.  
Whenever I see a student off task, I simply find several students on task and stamp their charts.  I make sure and give lots of verbal praise.  Other students hear this praise and get right back on task.  I wait a bit and then catch those kiddos who are now on task.  Once a student completes a chart he/she gets to choose a prize from our catalog!

After filling up the chart, in this case 10 stamps, the student earns a trip to the prize catalog!  Now you'll see why I LOVE this!  Everything is free!  I don't have a prize box or treasure chest!  My kiddos don't miss it either!  They love the novelty of these reward coupons!  

So my fabulous teaching / blogging buddy, Käri, created these awesome coupons for our Western Theme this year!  I'm so excited to use these! 

Both of these products will be on sale during the Back to School Sale!  You don't want to miss it!  Our entire store will be 20%!  In addition, if you enter the Promo code BTS14 you'll save even more!  

Thanks for stopping by!  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back to School!

I'm getting that anxious, nervous, overwhelmed must be August!  Luckily I've had a wonderful summer and have been able to spend lots of time with my family!  But today I met with my grade level team and I had a flood of emotions come over me...overwhelmed for sure!

I'm also finishing up some new things for my store (and my classroom) that I hope to have ready for the Back to School Sale!

My  latest is a complete set of reading logs.  I've changed the title to "Reading Logs - Growing Collection."  I plan to add to this as I create more reading logs.  My students really enjoyed these.  We give monthly homework and our kiddos are responsible for reading 10 minutes each night.  Instead of having their parents write down the titles or pages read, we put the kids in charge!  I tell them:
Set a timer and read for 10 minutes.  Color one picture for every 10 minutes.  If you want to read more, then set the timer and keep reading!  
They love the responsibility and the parents love the ease of recording minutes! I also have a version of the reading log that allows the kids to add up their own minutes simply by counting by 10s!  It's perfect!

I change the theme depending on what we are learning about at the time and also have plenty of extras available and they love it!  You can read more about my reading logs here  and grab a holiday freebie!

So if you've already purchased these, please be sure and re-download the updated file!  If you haven't purchased these, they will be on sale during the TpT Back to School sale!  Check them out!

Stay tuned for more product updates and new products coming soon!