Saturday, September 26, 2015

Back to School Generosity

Back to school is often a time when teachers spend A LOT of their own money on supplies for the classroom. 

This year I was so blessed to have some amazing donations to my classroom stash!

First there was a fantastic contest by McGraw-Hill.  They filled a RedCube with tons of goodies that I wanted!

Please note the Amazon gift card in there. I cannot WAIT to attack my wish list - there are a TON of new mentor texts I want to purchase for writer's workshop. 

I can't wait to dive into these books!

My firsties were so excited to see these card games being put in our indoor recess area. 

You can never have enough glue sticks.  Am I right?!  Plus dry erase and Mr. Sketch.  Yes please!!!

I may or may not have opened the Milky Ways immediately.  Just.  Saying. 

I also took part in this years Reddit Teacher Exchange.  What a cool idea this is!  You should definitely check it out next year.  It takes place each year in August.  I got these amazing supplies from an anonymous donor.  What generosity!

Clorox Wipes - because first graders love to share their germs!  I go through Ziploc bags like water, so these will be particularly helpful.  So excited about the thin dry erase and Mr. Sketch markers. Now I don't have to be so stingy when their markers run out, haha.  There are also some Ticonderoga pencils on the way.  Every teacher knows the value of Ticonderoga!

You may not think that page protectors are a hot item in first grade, but I use them a ton!  We are using binders in writing workshop this year.  There are a lot of resources I like my writers to have at their fingertips so they can be independent.  They each need at least 10 page protectors in their binders.  That adds up quickly!

Thank you so much to Tim at McGraw-Hill and my Reddit donor for these generous donations to my classroom!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Almost Time... Back to School Freebie

Just a quick post to check in... it's almost back to school time for me!  I know many of you are already well into your school year, and so many schools around me started this week.

I still have some time to get ready... and I need it!  It seems as though no matter how much I cross off my to-do list, I add twice as much more.  Anyone else ever feel that way?!

Thought I'd share one of the items I recently checked off my to-do list... Picture Directions!  I am really excited about these!  I've already laminated mine and put magnets on the back.  That way after I give my students directions, I can put up the matching cards on the whiteboard.  No more "Do I need to get this checked?" or "Where do I put this when I'm done?"

This is a freebie in my Teachers Pay Teachers store so feel free to download and share away!

I'll be back next week with my classroom reveal... but for now, back to the to-do list!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

SitSpots Goodness and a Giveaway

I'm sure you've heard about SitSpots.  If not, you are in luck with today's post (and a giveaway!!).  
These babies are AMAZING!

Anyone's classroom rug ever look like this?
What a great solution to keeping kids in their own personal space.  

BUT... tape on the carpet can be a nightmare.  I know my custodians get very grumpy when they see tape on our carpets.  Not only is it hard to clean on top of, the tape ruins the carpet and leaves marks when you eventually take it off.

But as elementary teachers we know how important it is that everyone have their own space on the carpet.  It completely helps manage your little angels and keep them engaged on the teaching... and not their BFF twirling their hair next to them.  Am I right?!

Then along came...

These are SO much better than tape!  You put them on your carpet... and they STICK.  I mean, really stick.  The custodians can even vacuum over them and they won't come up.  Seriously.  My custodians have tried!  And when you want to take them off at the end of the year, or change them up, you can.  I've even washed mine to keep them fresh for the new school year.

Be sure when putting them on your carpet you have your rolling pin!  It's worth the extra effort to make sure your spots stay put.

There are a TON of colors and shapes you can buy.  Your carpet can match virtually any theme or decor.  I have a set of aqua blue and neon green circles that match my classroom colors.

As soon as I saw the shape SitSpots I imediately thought of Twister.  How fun will this be when we are working on our geometry unit in math?!  Get those kiddos up and moving.  
Right hand rhombus?  Yes, please!!!

(I took these pics in my apartment since it's summer... and I'm not quite ready to go back into my classroom just yet, haha!)

SitSpots offers a free sample if you visit their website so you can check these out for yourself. 

Even better, Joyce, the creator of SitSpots, generously donated a couple gift cards for me to give away!!!  I'm so excited to spread the SitSpot love.  These really are such a lifesaver in the classroom.

The giveaway ends next Sunday so make sure you get your entries in ASAP!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August Currently & a TPT Back to School Sale

August and a major sale!!!

Time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently...

Listening - I'm a little behind on my Netflixing, but I'm finishing up Season 3 of Orange is the New Black.  Love those crazy prison girls!

Loving - I know many of you are going back to school this week... but I still have the month off.  I would feel guilty about bragging about this, but y'all were kicking off summer in May, so you've had your fun, haha!

Thinking - I'm heading back to Chicago this week to spend time with my sister's family.  They just moved into a new house so there is much more space for fun, fun, fun!  Can't wait to get my snuggles on with my lil' nephew and my nieces.

Wanting - I want start my new book about Whole Brain Teaching!  I have dabbled in Whole Brain methods, but this year I really want to do it up right.  I can't wait to get started on this book...

Needing - I am in need of a snack and a nap... preferably in that order!

B2S RAK - Who doesn't want a few sweets to kick off the year?!  I know my sugar cravings are high when it's time to go back to school, and so are my colleagues!

What are you Currently up to?!

And in money saving news... Teachers Pay Teachers has done it again... they've gone and thrown a HUGE sale to celebrate Back to School!

Luckily for me, I don't go back until September 8th, so I still have LOTS more summer to enjoy.  But I've still got school on my mind and a very long TPT wish list!

EVERYTHING in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store is on sale.  Be sure to use the code BTS15 at checkout to receive the maximum savings!

Check out a few items you might need for the new school year...

Classroom Labels {Editable}

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Remind" Parents this Year

My absolute favorite fast and easy way to communicate with all my parents is with Remind!  With the new school year coming up, it's the perfect time to check it out...

You might have heard of it.

You might have even downloaded the app to your phone.

But if you aren't USING it, you are truly missing out!

I have been using this consistently for the past two years and it has been SUCH a lifesaver!  It's a quick way to blast out a message or reminder to parents.  

And it's FREE!  Seriously.  FREE.

After you sign up, you can add your class.  I like to date my class with the school year so that I can add my new class each year.  (Obviously this pic is of last year's class name!)  You can also delete old classes if you want.  

Remind will then direct you how to get your parents registered after you've set up your first class.

Below you can see a few of the messages I sent to last year's class.  One of my favorite things about Remind is that you can schedule messages ahead of time.  This is particularly helpful during those busy months (can anyone say September?!  December?!  June?!).

It elicits an immediate response from your parents.  My reminders help me to get things to school on time.  I have seen a dramatic rate of improvement in getting important paperwork returned to school.  And it saves me from making individual phone calls after school to parents!  

I typically send my messages around 7 or 8pm.  That way, if parents need to send something to school, they remember to put it in the book bag right away that evening.

You can use the app or the website to send messages.  You are limited in the number of characters you can use (140 to be exact), but I haven't found that to be a problem yet.

Remind has a form letter/email you can send to parents.  I created my own letter for parents.  I introduce Remind at my Curriculum Night at the beginning of the year.  I even encourage parents to take their phones out right during my presentation and sign up.  Last year I had every parent registered!

This year I'm excited to try the new feature - CHAT!  You can "text" back and forth with parents.  You can also control what hours parents can chat with you.  I set mine for 9am-7pm on weekdays only.  You can also control whether you are the only one that can initiate a text, or if your parents can initiate a text, too.  

I love that I can text with parents without them having my phone number!

Remind is a must have for every classroom.
How do you like to communicate with parents?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Currently

Summer is FINALLY here!  (Though you wouldn't know it by the cold and rainy weather in Upstate NY...)  I'm so excited for July.  It's one of my favorite months!

Time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently...

Listening - Gotta love a little daytime TV when you are on vacation!  Kathy Lee and Hoda keep me laughing.

Loving - I thought summer vacation would NEVER get here!  I kicked off summer vacay with my best friend's wedding on Saturday.  It was quite a party!  She was a gorgeous bride and the day was just so perfect!  Now it's time to relax and enjoy this amazing time off.  

Thinking - There are so many possibilities in the summer!  I have so much more time to get things done that I've been wanting to do!  I plan to get ready for the new school year, work on many TPT products I've been thinking about forever, and work on my photography.  Did I tell you how much I love summer?!!

Wanting - My teacher bag goes everywhere with me.  So it's no wonder why I'm a little sick of the current one I have.  I'm in the market for a new one and I found this adorable bag on Etsy.  It even has a matching lunch tote... which of course I want, too.  Chevron print, naturally!
Both can be found at Ooh Baby Infinity Designs.

This bag is reversible!  Polka dot on the inside.  So cute.  Love the pocket for the water bottle.

This lunch tote looks like a great size for all my snacks, haha!  You can customize the inside polka dot part.  I think I would make mine green on the inside.

Needing - I am in need of some snuggle time with my nieces and nephew!  I haven't seen them since the first weekend in June.  We are all meeting up at home in Rochester in two weeks and I CANNOT WAIT!!!

Seriously how cute are these three?!!!

All Star - It's a well-known fact that I am an All Star at organization.  It's quite an obsession of mine. I just LOVE to organize.  Life is good when everything is put in its proper place!

What are you Currently up to?!

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Toobaloo Love

Looking for classroom must-haves for next year?  Definitely check out Toobaloo's.

I absolutely LOVE my Toobaloo's from Really Good Stuff.  They have saved my sanity in small group reading!

When all my kiddos are whisper reading it can be really distracting for some group members... not to mention the teacher!

Toobaloo's allow the kids to hear themselves reading, which is great for their accuracy, self-correcting, and fluency.

They LOVE using their "telephones" during reading group.  While they are all reading at the same time, I can lean in to an individual and ask them to read directly to me.  It's a win-win for everybody!

If you don't want to buy these, you can even make your own.  There are so many versions on Pinterest (check out these Pins) that you can create using PVC pipes.

Happy Reading!