Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Classroom Reveal 2014

The first day of school is tomorrow!!!

I can't wait to meet my new class!

I THINK I'm ready.  So ready, in fact, I am now getting nervous about the fact that I am NOT nervous.  #teacherproblems

So without further ado, check out this year's classroom...
(clearly I have a problem with taking far too many pictures)

View from the front door... 

Small group meeting area...

Still happy with my computers up high with file cabinet storage underneath.  One computer is hooked up to my Smart board and the other is for teacher use.  The iPad tower sits in the middle.  LOVE my iPads!!!

My easel came from a Donors Choose project from last year...

This counter holds my Writing Workshop materials...

I just love this easy birthday board!

My classroom job chart...

I'm trying out book bins this year instead of book pouches.  Hopefully this will keep my books in better condition!  (I number a lot of items in my classroom and 4th Grade Frolics has a great free set of numbers that I use!)

My desk area...

 A neat and tidy desk is a beautiful thing!

Love my storage bins for my daily materials!

Check out that brand spankin' new carpet!  All of K-2 found these waiting in our classrooms this year.  So cool.  My "First Day Feelings" graph is ready to go tomorrow!

Front board with scheduling information, compliments, and calendar...

A few daily management materials...

My lunch choice chart - the kids simply put their magnet on their choice for the day!

Secret Star display from Cupcake for the Teacher - so excited to try this out this year!

I like to have my Word Work area set up and ready at the beginning of the year.
Can't wait to begin Daily 5 instruction!

My (empty-for-now) Focus Wall...

Still have my ribbon word wall hanging...

Can't forget my class rules...

Phew!  I'm exhausted just looking at it all again!  Time to turn in and start dreaming about the perfect first day of school, haha!

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

Happy September!  

September in Upstate NY for teachers is always bittersweet... the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.  In my district teachers go back tomorrow, and the kiddos arrive on Wednesday.

Of course, a new month always means it's time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's Currently...

Listening - I just love Bachelor in Paradise.  ABC brings all the crazies from past seasons together and it's fabulous!  Total train wreck and I'm addicted.

Loving - Today was an unexpectedly gorgeous day outside.  I spent my last day of summer soaking up the sun and relaxing on the boat.  It was glorious!

Thinking - I'm so excited to meet my new batch of firsties this week!  I will have 23 new kiddos walking through the door on Wednesday and I can't wait to meet them.

Wanting - A new school year is always exciting, but with it brings the stress of getting ready.  And when I'm stressed, I can kiss sleep goodbye.  Hopefully I'm feeling prepared enough to rest well tonight and and tomorrow night.  We shall see!

Needing - Nothing.

3 Trips - Hawaii, Italy, Greece.  Do these places need any explanation?  When do we leave?!!

What are you Currently up to?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Writing Workshop - Help from Home {Freebie}

If your Writing Workshop is anything like mine, your little ones need a LOT of assistance in becoming independent writers.  And let's face it, as teachers, we'll take as much help as we can to get them to the land of independence!

At the beginning of the school year, I send home this form for parents to fill out.  It asks for information that I might not yet know about my firsties.  Once returned, it helps them to spell names in their writing and gives them a few ideas of things they've done with their families to help them get started.

Once my families returned the form (and ALL of my families returned them - wahoo!) I put them in page protectors and then into their writing folders.  My kids can refer this helper all year long!  When they get stuck in writing, I can guide them to this page and we can talk about what they might choose to write about.

As a bonus, reading these helps me to get to know my kiddos.  Win-win!

If you would like to try using this with your students, just click on the links below for your freebies!

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Birthday Bags and ANOTHER Sale, Wahoo!

Back to School is closing in on me.  Must.  Get.  Ready.

I have been hammering away at my to-do list and I'm actually seeing some progress (wahoo!).

But before I share what I've been up to, you need to know that TPT is having ANOTHER back to school sale!  Can you believe it?!  This is perfect timing for teachers like me who are going back right after Labor Day and are really getting things ready right now.  Even though I scored big during this month's earlier sale, my wish list has magically grown again, haha!!  Be sure to check out my TPT Store for any items you may need to kick off the new year.  And of course, use the promo code BOOST during check out!  This sale is only one day - so don't miss it!!!

One of my summer prep projects that I've marked off my to-do list is making my Birthday Bags for the year.  I've seen a lot of other teachers make these and they are such a great idea!  I mean, what first grader wouldn't want a lil bag-o-fun from their teacher on their birthday?!

The best part is that they don't cost a lot of money (phew), they are easy to assemble (put mine together during an episode of Big Brother), and they are ready to go for the WHOLE YEAR!  So when one of my little darlings has a birthday, I just pull out a bag and a crown and we're ready to celebrate!

Finished product - so festive!

Assembly line - ready to go

Bags (from Party City) and labels to seal the deal

Birthday bookmarks (from School Speciality)

Bracelets - the BEST item in the bag, in my opinion!

Gotta have a pencil and a neon eraser!

Mini-notebooks (from Target's party section)

Mini-kaleidoscopes (from Target's party section)


How do you celebrate birthdays?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gearing Up for Back to School with a TPT Sale

It wouldn't be Back to School without a SALE, right?!  My wish list is primed and ready to go!  

My entire Teachers Pay Teachers Store will be on sale August 4th and 5th.  Be sure to use the code BTS14 when checking out for maximum savings!

Here are a few samples of what you'll find in my store...

Happy Shopping!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Currently

August!  Some of you are back to school already.  I would feel sorry for you, but you've been out since May, haha.  I luckily have one full month of summer left - and I sure need it!

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

Listening - I love me some real housewives.  And this season Tamra is really stirring the pot.  Naughty, naughty!

Loving - This past week I was in Chicago watching my nieces while my sister and brother-in-law took a much needed vacay to Mexico!  Luckily my best friend came along to help me.  I needed it!  My nieces are certainly a joy... and very, very busy so the extra hands were much appreciated.  I can't stop thinking about all the fun times we had over the past week.  Of course I took a million pics and video so I've been looking through those missing them already.  (But don't feel too sorry for me - I'll see them again in two weeks, haha!)

Watermelon cutie

Just chatting it up with princess Sofia

Aunt Colleen loves to buy the girls matching outfits!

Thinking - Bright and early tomorrow I start my training for the October half-marathon - eek!  I'm totally nervous and excited.  Though it won't be easy, I know I can rise to the challenge.

Wanting - It's August and I still don't have a tan.  Not cool.  (And yes, I know that the sun is very bad for me... but I just want a little glow!)  I think a few pool days are in order this coming week...

Needing - I'm pretty sure this was my same "needing" from July... clearly I haven't made much progress.  Seriously though, I need to get cracking!  There isn't much time left before I'll be in my classroom setting up.  Yikes!

1st Day - We go back on September 2nd and the kiddos come on September 3rd.  Not much time to prepare, so like many teachers, we do a lot on our time.  Good thing those firsties are worth it!

What are you Currently up to?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cha Cha Changes... Math Modules

Well it wouldn't be a new school year without new curriculum.  Am I right?!

This year our district will be using the EngageNY Math Modules.  These were created by teachers to meet the Common Core Standards.  They have a very sequential scope and seem to focus more on the WHY than the HOW of math.  They challenge students to think deeply and {gasp} WRITE about math!  

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about using the modules, since I absolutely fell in LOVE with Math Workshop over the past two years.  You can read more about my math workshop {HERE}.

The NYS Math Modules are whole-group and rather lengthy.  They take a full 60 minutes... and then some!  That's a lot to ask of six year olds, especially in the beginning of the year.

Despite my reservations, I am embracing the change.  In fact, I tested out Module 5 with my class this past spring.  This unit focused on geometry, fractions, and time.

I found that my students did gain a deeper understanding of geometry than I have previously taught in the past.  They were making great connections and encouraged to really explain their thinking.  It was TOUGH, but they persevered!  

So in preparation of using the modules full-force this year, I created vocabulary cards that align with the modules for First Grade.  I'm sure many of the cards can be used in Kindergarten and Second Grade as well.  I plan to update these as I go this year, as I am sure I'll come across more terms I'd like my firsties to know!

Check out my Math Vocabulary Cards.  They will be on SALE through Friday!!!

I'm sure I'll be posting more about the modules throughout the year.  And who knows... maybe I can even combine the modules AND my beloved math workshop!!!

Are any of you using the Math Modules in your district?  I would love to hear your ideas!