Monday, August 25, 2014

School is ON! The Room, the Plan AND the Tools!

  School is in session! I have the sweetest little class of one dozen little people.  Yes, I said one dozen, 2x6, twelve, as in one dozen eggs, etc.  It is so exciting to think about how far this little group can go during their kinder year.  I am so thankful.  
This year I decided to go with a sports theme for many of the things we use every day.  Our name tags, bus tags, journal covers, and outer hall reflect the T.E.A.M. spirit our class will be nurturing all year.  We have all seen the "Together Everyone Achieves More" T.E.A.M acronym over the years, and it is as important today as it has ever been.  
Here are a few photos from my classroom.  I will be displaying student work throughout the year in my classroom, so it is important to keep wall space available.  There are two primary areas for sharing work, while other wall space is dedicated to sight words/literacy/calendar.  
I am happy to highlight the BIC corporation who graciously sent writing products for us to try.  I am already seeing excitement over the variety of writing tools available.  Thank you BIC!
Also, do you see the cute foil stars and sports elements around the room? These are from Oriental Trading (the store EVERY teacher should get acquainted with--if you do not already shop there)! 
I also want to acknowledge Susanna of Whimsy Workshop.  She created the adorable sports figures around the room.  My students love their room!  
     Our library cushions are chevron covered sofa cushions that I repurposed earlier in the summer.
     The giant calendar is large enough to hold student photos, the date, birthdays and special days.
     Our whole brain rules posters and higher order thinking verb poster is on the right.

     Our writing and stamping centers are located just below our alphabet and sight word bulletin
     board.  This location was chosen for easy reference to letters, names, words and more!
    The table skirt is made from a blue vinyl flocked tablecloth cut to fit.  The buttons are
    assigned seating for small group instruction.  No more scramble to a certain seat!
    With a few scraps of pvc pipe from our house construction days, hubby made this chart stand.  I
     lawn furniture paint (for plastic) to make it a sunny yellow! LOVE!

My last entry is a picture of my new baseball scoreboard for our Whole Brain Teaching "whole class" behavior monitoring.  I love the scoreboard! check out for more information. 
And...if you made it this far, you may like the following freebie :)
Sports Themed Desk Plates and Bus Tags FREESports Themed Desk Plates and Bus Tags FREE
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's another Bright Ideas Linky! Whewww August!!! Tips

This month's Bright Idea is simple, but a real time saver if you want to make hanging projects with masking tape a cinch! Just pull out a long length of tape (we're talking about a 8-9 foot length), roll it inside-out with sticky side out, then cut in 1" lengths and stick to the top of your door facing! I have done this for many years (my team thinks it's inspired!lol), and it makes hanging class work really easy and really fast! 
Try it, you'll love it! 
Additional note:  I stick the end of the tape to my door facing and walk down the hall until I have unrolled a long length, then I cut the tape and begin to roll the inside-out tube.  People passing by may stare at you, but it's all good! 

Another thing I am doing this year is using my big wall calendar to highlight the student of the day (photos fit in the squares too!), the date, patterns, and much more! You can see my word for the week on the right hand side of the calendar.  This word is used by myself and the students all week during our morning meeting time or other times during the day.  The yellow tape on my calendar is actually masking tape with 12" ruler marks over and over! I love it! We will use it for measuring in our math unit on measurement later this year.  (note: the star had fallen down on the calendar--I didn't notice, lol)
If you like my ideas, wait until you see the others featured in this month's Bright Ideas Linky! Click below to see other great ideas to begin your year!

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Friday, August 1, 2014

THIS is IT!!! The BIG BTS Sale at TpT 28% OFF!

It's here! The huge Back To School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers!  

During the sale that only lasts from August 4-5 (my store is extended through August 6!!) you can get up to 28% OFF all items if you use the special promo code BTS14.  All of my best selling products are on sale at signifigant savings with the code.  
To start the year off, students need consistent practice writing and manipulating letters in their names.  I have several products for working with names.  Here are a few! 
My Name Toolkit  


Also, check out my "Magic Writing" activies, and a brand new product:  Mirror Match (there is a Mirror Matching activity for Journeys 2014 words too!).  When you finish visiting my store, go to this great linky featuring all of my friends from my facebook group, Wallflowers!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Are you an Early Starter? Back to School Next Week? SALE

If you are like me, you are readying your room for another early start to the school year.  I have been told by some teachers they will be going back next week! 
My school begins August 11 for teachers, so next week is my week to get it done!! There will be a before and after blog post next week, but for this week, I thought 20% OFF store wide might help you check off your wish list! Here is what I printed out today.  It's a Mirror Match set for matching the capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet.  The trick have to hold them up to you and look in a mirror to see if you have a match! FUN! You can find this product in my store along with lots of decor for your room, calendar journals for the new year, ccss math journals, themed "easy fit" rules posters, and much more! Check out the cute Year Long Photo Banners with a spot for you to put your students' photos! I also have several items aligned to the new Journeys 2014 series.  There is even a Mirror Me set for the first 15 lessons.  Take a look.  I may just have what you are looking for.  
 I hope you have a very happy beginning to the new year!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

TN's Christmas in July SALE and Back to School I Go! My favorite things...

 It's that time again...time to return to the classroom to prepare for the new year.  I have many new things I have crafted for my sports theme, and can't wait to begin putting things in their proper place.  Centers are going to be ready to go the first day too!  As most teachers, I begin to plan during the summer and have a good idea of what needs to be included in my centers.  I have new things to try thanks to Mrs. Hoffer, Differentiated Kindergarten, Teaching With Love and Laughter, and a few things I have made to help me do a better job teaching from our reading series.  
I am more than a little excited about the spinner activities from Marsha at A Differentiated Kindergarten.  Here is the set I will begin the year with (click on the pic to see them in her store):
Mrs. Hoffer has some great matching games in her store.  Just look!

And my wishlisted item...the one I heart so...
TeachingWithLoveandLaughter's Interactive Notebooks!
 And just today I finally cranked out this beginning of the year set that is aligned with WTK (welcome to kindergarten) through Lesson 15 of our Journeys 2014 reading series.  Click the pic to see in my store!

Did you know I have had a store at Teacher's Notebook for a few years? Well, they are having a Christmas in July SALE and with your purchase you can get bonus points to go toward other products! It's a great sale! My entire store is on sale.
And if you haven't stumbled upon this "gem" of a blog post today, by all means go read it! Jennifer at SimplyKinder 
will rock your world with her post about Kid President and the role he can play in teaching your students tolerance and common decency! Love it so much.  Go read!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

A little about Twitter...#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat is Tuesday!!!

To clear up time zone confusion, here is a little map I made too! 
I have met so many wonderful people since our #TeacherFriends twitter chats began, and this Tuesday will be phenomenal!!! Debbie Clement has lined up a surprise guest (#Smorgie, #MrGlitter, #Presenter) who will knock your socks off as usual!  I hope you can join us! Here are a few tips to help you tweet more effectively.  We are striving to hold meaningful chats that stay focused/on message.  The following information may be of some help:

To read MORE about tools that make tweet chats more user friendly, go to Kristen's blog and read about Tweet Deck and other useful tips! 

Blog Button 2014 photo blogbutton.jpg
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another "Cushy" Bright Idea! It's time for July's Bright Ideas Linky!

Here we are again, and the summer is quickly flying by! We will be in the classroom very soon! Sigh...
This month, I want to share another repurpose idea that is so easy.  Reading Center cushions.
Do you have some old ratty pillows lying around from sofas that have long left your home? I just sent
the last of my living room set, which, by the way, I loved with some nice guys from our local sheltered workshop! It was called the Chesapeake Collection, and the piece I will miss the most is the huge ottoman that was host to many little diaper changes when our grandsons were newborn. I was so sad to see it leave because it was the first set of furniture we purchased after building our new house seven years ago.  Sob...I know, I digress.
I decided to keep the throw pillows because they are large, and perfect for repurposing for my reading corner at school.  And...they are FREE!!!
You can find pillow "blanks" for stuffing into your covers, but if you have old bed pillows that you can cut to fit (1 king size pillow will make 2 pillows), then I recommend saving your money.  After all, these pillows will have little people sitting on them--that is all.  :) I will post photos of my new improved pillows next week after the big anniversary celebration at my house is over (hubby's parents' 60th!!!), but for this post, I am sharing a wonderful how-to video from youtube, and a pic of the colors I will be using.  LOVE! 
Now, as part of a 12-step program that I call "Be Proud of Your Old Stuff", I am clinching my teeth and showing you the "horribleness" of the old pillows I will be making new again.  You may need eye protection! Beware!
As you can see, this was a really popular fabric during the "traditional" style furniture phase a few years ago.  Now, clean lines and color blocking are the thing, so modern.  The replacement for my furniture is from Wayfair, and it is also traditional.  I cannot cross over to the modern side, at least not yet.                                                                          

Because I have had a sewing machine since age 16, I will be making simple slip covers and sewing the ends--my own way.  The following video is a very polished, easy way to accomplish the same thing.
My pillows will be blue/white and orange/white to pair with my sports themed room.  The fabric comes from Hobby Lobby.

Ok, if you survived viewing the old pillows and are ready to go find something old to repurpose, take a moment to see what else is possible by visiting one the following blogs participating in our Bright Ideas Linky.  I hope you enjoyed my post!
 See the top of my blog page for links!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

How to Go Home Management, Monday Made-It, and a Freebie!
So, how do you get your students ready for departure each day? Is it handy, and can it be changed out quickly? Here are my Monday Made-It tips for easy management of departure time:
I make three signs with a ribbon width of laminated card stock hanging from each, then I hang clothespins that are labeled with student names (for this pic I used my numbered clothespins--don't want to share my class list yet!)from it.  The secret to making it quick is to use a pretty ribbon to hang the signs, but use stiff laminated card stock to attach clothespins to.  One hand action is much easier.  Ribbon is too flimsy. 
If a sudden change happens at the end of the day, for instance, if a bus student is going to be picked up by a parent, I can easily move the clip to that sign's ribbon.  It makes line-up time way easier, and I can write an extra label and stick it on the student really fast as we leave if need be! Keep peel and stick labels close to your classroom door.
   Items used in this project:  x-large clothespins from Walmart (thanks hubby), and the cute freebie signs you can download below!
 The companion packet that I use along with this management system is my Editable How to Get Home Packet that you can find by clicking on the pic below.  Just add your own information, print, laminate, punch a hole and attach with a mini-ziptie from Dollar Tree to the handle of the student backpack.  My kids like to collect these tags through the year as the seasons change :).

And last but not least! My friends from Freebilicious have put together this massive, did I say MASSIVE packet of back to school items just perfect for your classroom centers.  Print and set up, and you're done! Love this! If you want a closer look click on the picture!
  Now, go over to visit the Monday Made-It Linky for more wonderful ideas!!! (button at the top of this post)

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