Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Important Thing...

Happy Saturday!  This week was the first week of school so I am super excited for this 3 day weekend!  The first week was great and my kiddos are amazing but I am TIRED!   We had such fun getting to know each other this week, learning the routines and setting up our classroom rules.

On Thursday, we read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and my cuties wrote about what makes them important.  They had some great responses so on Friday we just had to get creative and turn our writing into a craftivity to show off.

I loved the responses that my kiddos came up with.   Some of the other responses they had were:
The important thing about me is that I help people.
The important thing about me is that I play with my baby brother.
The important thing about me is that I love my Mom and Dad.

What is the important thing about you?  

The important thing about me is that I am a mom, wife, friend, and teacher who loves her life!

I hope you all take some time this weekend to rest your feet and spend some time with your friends and family!!  Remember all those important things about you...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Motivate Me Monday - First Day of School

Happy Monday everyone!  Today is the first day of school in my county so I am really happy to be linking up with First Grade Buddies and their Motivate Me Monday link party!  Hop over and check out some of the other motivational blog posts!

Since it is the first day of school today, I wanted to share a video with you.  It is a video of an amazing 10 year old boy who is giving a speech to a large group of teachers in Dallas, TX.  In his speech he asks the teachers if they believe in him, in his classmates and he asks if they believe in themselves.  He does a great job of reminding us all that our students need us to believe in them and in ourselves!

I hope you can take a few minutes to watch this video and maybe even share it with a few co-workers just as a reminder for us to believe in ourselves as much as we believe in each of our precious students.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Open House & Classroom Pics

Happy Friday everyone!  After a long week of meetings, planning, copying and classroom cleaning we had our annual open house, or Sneak Peak!  I am always excited and nervous for this moment; excited to meet all my new students, and nervous that I won't have the room ready in time!!
Welcome to 1st Grade!
This year was wonderful!  I created a treat for each student using Pop Rocks and a cute little label which was inspired by Mrs. Gilchrist!

I used my Ikea photo frame finds to create signs to show parents forms and sign up sheets!

The kiddos got to explore the room and find their seats, meet our class pets and of course their new teacher!!  :)

Here are some pictures of my finally finished classroom!

I am  super excited for this year!  I have 16 new friends that are almost as excited as I am to start this new adventure! Have a great weekend everyone!! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Huge TPT Back-2-School Sale!!

Just in case you haven't heard the great news, I wanted to pass this along!   Teachers Pay Teachers is having a HUGE sale to celebrate Back to School!  The sale starts Sunday, August 18, so go now and check it out!  Add items to your wish list or cart and then come back tomorrow and save 28% off ALL the items in my store!

Go and have fun shopping, just don't forget to type in the special promo code BTS13 before you checkout!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Made It Monday - Chalkboard & Writing Center Makeovers

Since summer is almost over, I have been working on school projects like crazy!  I am happy to be linking up once again with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics!

I really wanted to revamp my word wall this year but couldn't decide how to do it because the only space that I have large enough for it is my yucky old chalkboard.  At first I started by covering it with paper but then my words did not magnet through the paper, so that was a bust!  Then I had an idea to paint it.  I used tempera paint and tested a small area to make sure my magnets would still stick and they did!  I poured the paint into a paint pan and used a roller to paint it on the board.  It was just as easy as painting a wall and I think it turned out so bright and clean.  I added some boarder and these cute letter signs by Amanda D and now I love it!

I was so excited about my chalkboard makeover that I decided to move on to my writing center.  I love this center and plan to use the same Daily Writing Center Menus that I used last year because they worked so perfectly.  Students always knew what to do when they came to the writing center and I didn't have to constantly change the materials but I wanted to give the bulletin board and baskets a makeover.  I found this super cute zebra border at the teacher store and grabbed the glue gun, my zebra ribbon and got to work!  I LOVE how it turned out and so excited to have my cuties come to this center and work on their writing.

My last project for this edition of Made it Monday was to make a new sign for my class library.  I found these cute cardboard alphabet letters, covered them with scrapbook paper and decoupaged them!  So easy and so cute!

I loved them so much that I made another sign using the cardboard that the letters were cut out of.  I painted to cardboard red and put scrapbook paper behind the cardboard.  I hung this sign up next to my guided reading table.

Thanks for stopping by, I can't wait to go see all the other Made It Monday links this week.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Made it Monday - Trash to Treasure!

Happy Monday everyone!  Since it is Monday, I just have to link up again with Tara over in 4th Grade Frolics for another edition of her Made it Monday linky party!  

Summer is winding down so of course that means that all my craft projects have to get done and quick!

A few months ago I found this coffee table on the side of the road.  Seriously, someone had put it out with the trash and even though it was raining, I just had to do a u-turn right then and there to check it out.  My husband thought I was nuts but I saw some potential, so I hopped out and snagged it right up.  So I finally got it to my classroom and started to work some crafting magic to turn it into the vision I had that day in the rain. Check out it the before picture:

The first thing I did to make the table over was to paint the top with dry erase paint that I bought from Walmart!  I am going to use the table as a word work table so I think it will be great for kids to be able to write on the table.  I hope it works, I am afraid to try it but it looks nice and bright so even if it doesn't work I am happy!

The next phase of this project was mentally challenging!  It had a hole in the center for a piece of glass and I thought it would be easy to find a little box to replace that glass with and then I could keep supplies for the kids in the box.  Simple right?  Not!  The opening is 10"x10" and let me tell you that finding a square container is not easy and then when I did find squares they were either too small or too big.  I was getting frustrated and starting to think my hubby was right about this table, then my good friend stopped by and saw the perfect solution.  She said, "why not use one of your table group supply bins?" Duh, they were right there in front of me and I had been all over creation trying to buy something new!  Almost perfect! The bin was just a hair too small so I had to get creative with balsa wood and my handy glue gun and then POOF the bin fit just right! 

Then all that was left was to make the whole thing cute!  My husband had the idea of using the zebra duct tape on the legs and I think it turned out great!  I painted the edge of the table neon green and the edge under the tabletop black.  I popped over to Ikea and got some stools to use at seats and I think I am all set for a really great word work table!!

When I was at Ikea getting my stools, I spotted this really cute shoe storage/hanger and just had to buy it for my reading buddies!  I really didn't make anything except the cute reading buddies sign but I wanted to share it since I "made" the reading buddies area in my classroom.  LOL

My last project was so super quick and easy that it seems like cheating to say that I made it.  I found these letters at Michael's on summer clearance and snagged the last A that they had!  I traced it on some scrapbook paper, cut it out and then glued it down.  I finished the edges with ribbon I found at JoAnn Fabrics that was only $1 and came with sticky stuff on the back.  I am pretty sure the ribbon is meant for scrapbooking but I think it looks pretty dang cute on the edge of my A!

Thanks for stopping by to check out this week's edition of Made it Monday!  I can not wait to go the the linky party and spend the next few hours checking out all the cool things you other all have made!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reading Language Arts center rotations/management made easy

How do you manage your Daily 5 or Reading centers?  I finally have a fool proof way to manage my kiddos AND keep myself on track to meet with each guided reading group every day!!!   I have tried all kinds of management techniques for centers.  I used to have "Must Do/Can Do" contracts with open centers and that worked ok when I had older students and then I switched to using magnets and moving them around to the different centers.  I was always forgetting to switch the kids on time and it really became a problem for me so I came up with a new system! 

Now, I use a powerpoint presentation to rotate the kiddos around to each center and guided reading.  I love it!!!  Everyday I start the powerpoint and it automatically rotates the kiddos to their next center after a set amount of time.  When there is 1 minute left the screen changes ever so slightly just to give me a heads up, and then after that the screen changes again to a clean up slide with sound to let kids know to clean up and change centers.  It keeps going for 75 minutes but one of the cool things about the powerpoint is that it is totally customizable and I can change it to a 60 minute rotation or even a 45 minute rotation if I am really short on time.  I have created several different themed versions and my kids love it when I switch them around month to month. 

The pictures above show the Owl themed, cute animal themed and monster themed rotations.  The pictures below that show what the first page of the presentation looks like.   All you have to do is create the groups and then enter your students names for each slide and you are all set.  When I am ready to go, I use the F5 button on the keyboard to start the slideshow and then I head back to my guided reading table and students know exactly where to go and what they should be doing.  

How do you rotate your students through centers?  Drop me a line and let me know.  Also, don't forget to head on over and check out my TPT store for more details and pick up a version for your classroom this year! If you want more information or help getting this set up for your classroom, just email me and I am happy to walk you through it!!

Thanks for stopping by!