Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Better Late Than Never...My Classroom Pics!

Hello lovelies!!  I am SO sorry for being gone for so long. School started on September 9th for me, and it has been a non-stop whirlwind of activity like I have never experienced before. I seriously cannot remember a more stressful start in my 15 years of teaching. There are so many changes to get used to. I am usually one who embraces (and actually likes) change, but this is just too much.

My new schedule is KILLER. My little loves have the first specials period of the day and the last lunch/recess so we have 2 and a half hours straight of strict academic time. That is a long time for those new little loves! They are still practically babies and we have so much to throw at them. They are exhausted by lunch time. Thank goodness the afternoon is short.

Another major change is the elimination restructuring of our AIS (academic intervention services) program. We used to have 3 reading teachers and 1 and a half math teachers who pulled out our most at-risk kids for more intensive intervention. They were all reassigned to classroom and we now have 1 reading "coach" and 1 math "coach" for our building. They will be working with teachers only, not kids. They are going to be helping us figure out how in the world we are supposed to provide Tier 1 AND Tier 2 intervention WITHIN our classroom without support from other educators or paraprofessionals. Piece of cake, right?

My final major change is more personal. My biggest little love started kindergarten this year (I know, OMG!) and she is coming to MY SCHOOL! While I absolutely love the extra special time we spend together each day, it is putting a bit of a strain on my productivity. She is a great kid and always wants to help. We are finally getting into a groove together, but boy is she ready to go home when we are allowed to leave in the afternoon. Most days she is asleep before we leave the parking lot.

I am really hoping to get back on the blogging train. I know I will have lots to share this year. I know its a little late, but I still want to share some pictures of my classroom. I am really pleased with it this year, but I am a horrible photographer...LOL. One of my colleagues came in today and told me my classroom looks like a birthday party...LOVE!
This is my back to school hall display. I LOVE how it turned out. I used an adorable free owl craftivity from Amy Lemons. Aren't they too cute?!?!  I sort of have two themes going on in my room - owls and the pink/green/purple color combination. My classroom is definitely more of my happy place then ever before!
 This is my job chart. I kept it the same as last year. It is actually the only board I didn't take down and do over. It is also the only board that doesn't match my color scheme, but I can deal with it! My little loves get a job every other week. I just move everyone over to the next spot when their group is up for jobs again.

 I am in LOVE with my new Word Wall. I used this same system last year, but it was nowhere near as beautiful as this one!  I used Erica Bohrer's Bright Polka Dot Word Wall Headers. I also have her matching editable word wall cards ready to go with our Fundations Trick Words. There is a curiously strong magnetic peg at the bottom of each circle. I use binder rings to hold the words for each letter. My little loves can just take down a ring and find the word they need. I used to have a giant word wall that displayed all the words, but I needed the board space for my essential questions and key vocabulary.
 This is my computer that is hooked up to the SMARTboard. Behind it is the start of my ELA/Daily 5 board. There is a lot more on it now, but I forget to take a new picture!  The Daily 5 posters can be found here. I wish I could give credit for my adorable class rules, but there is nothing on the file and I can't remember where I got them. Please let me know if you know who made them. I love them!
 I saw this sign at Christmas Tree Shops and HAD to have it. 
I think it is absolutely perfect for the classroom!
 This is a snapshot of part of my math bulletin board. I display the unit essential question and key vocabulary here. These are my Bright Polks Dot Number Signs by Erica Bohrer. I love the ten frames on them!  She has Owl Themed ones now, too. I might have to grab those for next year!

 I found these cute owl bookends at CVS of all places. I couldn't resist!  This is my large book display in the reading corner. I usually put books that I've read aloud to my little loves on these shelves so they can revisit them later. The READ letters were my first experience with Washi tape. I think they came out pretty cute!
 The back (or maybe side?) wall of my classroom is all windows with cubbies underneath. There are about 36 cubbies. I have a basket full of books in EVERY. SINGLE. CUBBY. Yes folks, I have a LOT of books. I also have a bookshelf with 9 smaller baskets of chapter books. The purple baskets are my leveled books A-L. The green baskets have themes (insects, marine life, poetry and song books, favorite characters, authors, etc.) The end of the row has orange baskets with even more categories. You can also see my glorious new crate seats with the perfect owl fabric from Hobby Lobby.

I hung purple, green, and pink curtains on every other window along the wall. It makes the room so pretty and "homey" (is that a real word?). My wind chime is in this corner. I use it for transitions and as a quiet down signal.

Well, there you have it! I should've taken pictures of my tables but of course, I forgot!  I don't have desks, I have rectangle tables that I group together for 4 or 6 students. Every group has a desk with a large pink or green bin to hold workbooks, writing journals, and book baggies. Each student has a pink or green little supply box for pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue sticks. I'll try to grab a picture soon!

Hope you enjoyed my classroom tour. Please leave me some love and let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Firsts for My Kinder {Five For Friday}

This has been an amazing week over at My First Love's house. My own Little Love, who recently turned 5, has been busy getting ready for Kindergarten. We are exactly one month away from the first day of school!  Well, my little kinder-to-be had a week of many firsts!  I'm including some of them into my Five For Friday. Lots of LOVE to Kacey for hosting this lovely little linky party! I'm using my new adorable Bright Scrappy Numbers from Graphics From the Pond. You can get your own {here}.

We went on our first family vacation to Cape Cod. I am totally IN LOVE. It was such a awesome few days away with my loves. We stayed at a hotel right on the Nantucket Sound. My girls absolutely loved playing on the beach and swimming in the pool. We had New England Clam Chowder EVERY night with dinner. I have never known any other 5 and 2 year olds who love clam chowder, but my girls sure do! My Littlest Love had a little case of droopy drawers most of the time we were on the beach. It was so cute!
When we returned from our relaxing getaway, my lovely mother treated us girls to a day in New York City at The American Girl Store! Oh. My. Goodness. It was completely insane. Every little girl's (and big girls) dream. We had reservations at the Cafe. It was so fancy!  My girls were treated like little princesses as they dined with their American Girl dolls. My lovely cousin graciously passed down her two dolls to my girls when she went away to college. My Littlest Love has a Bitty Baby and my Bigger Little Love has Samantha. Samantha is a discontinued doll, but she is so completely loved at our house.  Here are some pictures from our fabulous day!

Another first this week at our house...
Santa brought my five year old a bike for Chrismas this year. Living on a mountain, we don't really have a safe place for her to learn to ride. After we returned from our fancy feast in the city, we went to Mr. First Love's parent's house. We finally had a chance to start riding that new bike!  Do you see who is buckled into the seat behind her?  That's Samantha in her new outfit from our shopping spree!
Our last "first" for the week...
My big girl learned how to tie her shoes!  I just know her kindergarten teacher is going to love this! She made up her mind one night that she wanted to learn. We practiced for a little while and then called it a night. Her daddy helped her the next night, and don't you know? She did it!  She is now tying everything she can get her little fingers on. We are so proud!
My final Five For Friday is school related. I have been busy finishing the rest of my crate seats this week. Since Mr. First Love cut all the plywood for me, so I made some for his classroom, too!
I also had my first Washi Tape experience. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing...LOL!  I found these cute wooded letters at KMart and found the tape at Walmart. I covered the letters, but now I think I need to do something to cover the tape!  If ANYONE can tell me what I should do next, I will be your best friend!  Seriously. I'm desperate. My tape is already starting to lift off:(
Well, that's a wrap!  Have a wonderful week everyone! I am HOPING HOPING HOPING that the hallway floors are done being cleaned and waxed so that I can get into my classroom next week!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I've crossed over to the BTS Zone!!! {{Monday Made-It}}

Let me start by thanking everyone who visited My First Love last week. It was my best week EVER:)  As my Littlest Love's favorite character would say, "That makes my heart feel super happy!" As a thank you, please check out the giveaway at the end of this blog post!

Something happened to me this week. I can't exactly explain how, why, or when...but it happened. I suddenly went all BTS. I figured I better take advantage of it because with me, that BTS feeling can disappear as quickly as it shows up!

I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her weekly Monday Made-It linky party. I love this linky because it has really motivated me to GET IT DONE! Beware - this is a LONG post because I actually made a TON of stuff for my classroom!

Click {here} to check it out!
This week, my newly-turned-5 year old joined in on the action. She has become OBSESSED with my laminating machine. She practically demands that I print out more stuff for her to laminate. So...there has been a lot of downloading, printing, laminating, and cutting this week. Here are some of my favorites:

Aacckk!  I love these!  But I have no idea where I got them from! If you know who these belong to, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

Owl Birthday Signs from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade
Owls on Dots Clip Chart
Even and Odd Owls

I am totally IN LOVE with these!!!
Picture Direction Icons by Miss Kindergarten

Large Bright Owls and Polka Dot Word Wall Headers by Erica Bohrer

Bright Polka Dot Number Signs 0-20 by Erica Bohrer

Nouns Around Town by Faith Wheeler
Now onto the BIG stuff!  I have been so inspired by everyone's Monday Made-Its, that I just had to jump on the whisper phone and crate seat bandwagon. Mr. First Love and I headed off to Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, and Big Lots the other day to pick up our supplies. Our garage turned into this:

First up...whisper phones!
We started with a 3/4 PVC pipe and a hack saw.

We cut the pipe into pieces that were approximately 5 inches long.

We got 3/4 90 degree elbows and some rainbow colored duct tape.

The two elbows got pressed onto the pipe piece. It was such a snug fit that I decided not to use any sort of adhesive.

I covered the pipe part with the rainbow colored tape. Viola! 10 new whisper phones!

My own Little Love had a blast playing with one!

Next up... SEAT CRATES!!!  I am so excited about this one. I have been dreaming of making some of these for a long long time. I was at Big Lots last week and saw these adorable pink and green crates for 3 bucks!  Then, at Hobby Lobby I found the perfect Owl fabric and knew I had to give it a try. I only made 1 so far, because I wanted to make sure I could really get it done right. There are 7 four coming next week! No, they are not all for me. Since Mr. First Love is helping me, we are making 4 for my classroom and 4 for his. Did you know he teaches first grade, too?  {{{LOVE}}}

The nice man at Home Depot measured my crate and cut 1/2 inch plywood into strips for me. He said his big machine is not square and precise, so he didn't want to try and cut the actual rectangles:( I was totally hoping Mr. First Love could help me with the rest!

This is the strip we started with. I have 6 of these big boys. Each one can make two crates.

We use this scary saw and a cardboard template to cut the rectangle for the crate opening.

Since the crate corners are slightly rounded, we had to notch out the corners of the plywood just a bit. It's a perfect fit!

I bought 2x12x12 foam squares at Hobby Lobby. I was intimidated by the idea of using filler to make my own "cushion", so I decided to try this instead.  For my next crate, I might cut a strip from another foam square to put next to the foam square so that it is the same size as the crate opening.

I used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the plywood and added a little ribbon pull for easier opening. I am in LOVE!

Well?  Did you make it to the end of my never-ending blog post?  Thanks for sticking with me til the end!  I hope you have a terrific week. Good luck to everyone starting school this week (I'm sorry...but I can't even imagine!). I am off for a little vacation in Cape Cod with the family for a few days. School for me starts the day after Labor Day, so I still have a lot of summer to enjoy. Love ya!

I think ya'll deserve a little giveaway for making it this far!  How about one of my all-time favorite products!
This packet is jam packed with POPCORN word cards and activities! I really think you and your Little Loves with ADORE it!

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