One of my major end-of-year projects this year was to reorganize my classroom supplies.  I was prompted to do this because I had to pack up every little item in my classroom to be stored on a ginormous palette in the cafeteria while my room gets gutted for asbestos removal (GROSS!).  The upside to packing up my classroom was that I was really able to see what has been hiding in those cabinets for so long!  It felt so good to purge stuff I didn't need!  I organized everything I decided to keep into fabulous plastic bins from Wal-Mart and I can't wait to put all my bins away neatly in my cabinets in August.

I made these cute lil' labels for my bins and drawers.  Click on the link below to see them in my TPT Store!  See a label that's missing that you need?  Just leave me a comment with your email address and I'll update the file with what you'd like added.

I also finished my updated Daily Schedule cards.  I laminate mine and put them in a pocket chart (of course!) that I got my first year of teaching.  They may just fit the pocket charts in Target's Dollar Spot.  You could also put magnets on the back and put them up on your white board.  

Click to download Daily Schedule Cards

I am not crafty.  I repeat:  I am NOT crafty.  I have very little patience when it comes to crafts.  I find it to be messy and frustrating.  I can't stand glue of any kind to sticking to anything and everything around me!  And due to my organizational OCD, when I'm done with a craft I usually find fault with the finished project.  That letter is crooked or those pieces aren't the same size, etc.  So, I'll repeat again, I don't craft.

That being said... I attempted some "crafts" this summer.  Maybe I've had too much sun, or I've spent far too many hours blog-stalking and pinning.  I became inspired.  So much so that I went to Hobby Lobby... and AC Moore... and JoAnn Fabrics... several times, because I had no idea how many supplies go in to crafting!!  But glue gun in hand, I attempted to make things pretty for my classroom.  Here are a few of the beginners craft projects I've been working on...

I started small and bought a paper tray from the dollar spot at Target to create my new Work Bin.  I made a little label and added some polka dot stickers.  Lovely!

I downloaded these great files from 3rd Grade Thoughts and A Cupcake for the Teacher.  These blogs are AH-MAZ-ING!!  I made these Brain Breaks sticks from 3rd Grade Thoughts (can't wait to try these movements with my firsties) and Pick Me sticks from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  Never again will I have to label popsicle sticks with students' names. Numbers all the way!!

Then I made a Notes for Teacher bin after seeing something similar on Pinterest.  I picked up this bin at Hobby Lobby, along with the ribbon and letters (in the scrapbooking section).  I seem to be on a polka dot kick right now!

Finally I finished with my marbles jar and Team of the Week placemats.  My students sit at tables of six and earn marbles all week for excellent teamwork, smooth transitions, and general good behavior.  The table with the most marbles in their team's cup is the new Team of the Week.  (I made the cute jar below to hold all the marbles I give out during the week.)  Each student at the Team of the Week table gets a placemat and seat cushion for the week as recognition.  They love showing off and sittin' in comfort!  I used to buy plastic placemats each year, but realized this year that I could make them myself by laminating a sign on a 12x18 piece of butcher paper.  DUH!  Not sure why I didn't think to do this sooner!!  If you want to make your own placements, just click on the link below the pic for a freebie!

Daily 5 is one of my favorite parts of the day!  My kids are engaged in literacy activities of their choice, and I get to work with my small groups for reading.  My kids love it.  I love it.  Win, win, right?!

Word Work is one of my most popular choices during Daily 5.  Over time I've changed the activities, and I finally think I've found the right mix.  One of the many things I love about first grade is that I can take the most simple of tasks and make it fun, while keeping it a meaningful learning opportunity for my kids.  My Word Work focuses on sight words and word-building activities.

I always keep 4-6 choices in the Word Work area.  Some are independent and some allow for partnerships.  I tend to keep some activities in rotation all year round (changing only the corresponding word cards) and switch out a couple of the other choices each quarter to keep it fresh.

This week I took some time to streamline my Word Work documents and really add the "cute" factor to the directions and recording sheets.  I really like how colorful they are and I can't wait for my new batch of firsties to use them!

Have you seen the Boggle boards making their way around Pinterest?  I was able to download the letters and recording sheet for FREE from the blog Create, Teach, Share.  Don't you just LOVE when teachers share?!!

(mine looks slightly different, but I don't have a picture, sorry!)

Magnetic Letters - A tried-and-true activity!

Sunken Treasure - Amazing how fun a highlighter can be when you're 6!

One of our favorite games!

The kids can always choose from Magnetic Letters and the partner game Roll, Say, Keep.  My other activities include: Rainbow Words, Stamp It Out, Sunken Treasure, Boggle, Alphabet Soup, Bananagrams, Scrabble Spelling, and Type It Out.  I put together a packet of some of my Word Work activities.  Check it out in my TpT store!  ((If you are interested in some activities that I listed but didn't include in the packet, just leave me a comment with your email address and I can send you more info!))

Even though the first day of school is two months away I've been working on some mini-projects to get ready for the first week.  I like to tackle things on my to-do list that are quick, so I can get more done and feel accomplished.  I then save the hard stuff for the week before school, when I'm completely stressed out!

Summer allows me the time to actually take a look at the 3 million ideas I pin on Pinterest, and I'm having fun actually putting some of those projects together!  I've seen many versions of the "picture frame" for the first day of school.  Each year I take pics of my kiddos on the first day, but using the frame below will really jazz it up a bit.  The project seriously took less than 10 minutes to put together and cost about $10, too.  Score!

I bought a pre-made mat board ($4) in the framing section of Hobby Lobby and some 2" foam letters ($6).  The foam letters were peel-and-stick.  EASY!!  My model below is so excited for the first day of first grade... but she'll have to wait about 5 more years until she gets there!

My beautiful niece, Taylor

Super easy, woo woo! 

Our curriculum night falls on the first full week of school, yikes!  On Pinterest I saw a very cute idea of a bag of candy to give out to parents.  Buy some Nestle Treasures chocolates and some Extra gum, put them in a clear gift bag, tie it with a ribbon, and you have a cute take-away for parents!  Below is the label I made to attach to it.

Click HERE to get this FREEBIE

And I even completed my binder cover for my lesson plans this year.  It's all about polka dots!  Love, love, love them.  Yay for checking things off the to-do list!

Click HERE to get this FREEBIE

Welcome to my blog!  I'm so excited to start my teaching blog adventure.  I've spent so much time on other teacher's blogs and I thought to myself, why not start my own?  So follow me to see what I'm currently obsessing over in my classroom!

Shout out to my sister, Kate, who helped me create the title for my blog, "Fun and Fearless in First."  I think the title really rings true in my classroom.  I heart first grade and every day we take risks as learners, all while having fun learning!

Now that summer has arrived, I can relax and reboot.  I'm enjoying my fun in the sun, especially on the boat!  Then when the sun goes down, inspiration seems to hit and I find myself creating teaching materials well into the late night hours.  So glad that alarm clock is off for the summer!

Last night I was hard at work on my new classroom rules.  Have you discovered Whole-Brain Teaching yet?  Oh-my-word, it is an amazing site!  I came across it from a link on, where else, PINTEREST!  I was hooked.  Whole-Brain Teaching is based on the goal of creating peaceful classrooms full of orderly fun!  They incorporate a lot of kinesthetics into their management strategies.  I tried a few of them in the late spring and fell in LOVE!  With the addition of movements linked to learning concepts, I found my students were able to retain new information better.  This year I really want to incorporate the strategies from the start.  So where to begin... the rules of course!  I adjusted the Whole-Brain Teaching rules slightly to meet my own needs.  Click on the link below to get your own free copy from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

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