Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made it & a Linky

 Happy Monday. . .Made-it Monday, that is, or that's what MB calls it & it has stuck around here. On Saturday, his first words to me were, "So, what are you doing for Monday Made It?"  I really look forward to this every week, and am thankful to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for starting this! :) I really hope it continues because it gives me the motivation to do something every week.
 So, I go back to work tomorrow ~ which means, I have to actually be a grown up, wake up at a decent hour, and go to work.  I'm super excited to get back in my classroom, see all my friends & colleagues, and get back into the routine, but I am not a morning person . . . at all ! Never have been, truthfully. I remember when I was in college, people used to tell me, "Oh, that will change when you start working full time".  12 years later, and I'm still a night owl with a disdain for mornings.  Sorry, I got sidetracked ~ now on to what I made :)

 My new teacher stool !!! :)

I don't have "before" pictures, but I'm sure you are all aware of what this looked like before I painted it ~ plain, wooden stool. It's been sitting in my room for years, and I finally did something with it! MB spray painted it, then I took to the duck tape. :)  I free-handed the white circle and the monogram on the top so it's a wee bit off-center, but after all the mod podge I used, I figured I liked it as is. Gives it more character, right? Yeah, that's what I thought,too.   I L.O.V.E. it !  It may be a little sad that this makes me as happy as it does, but hey, what can I say?!

Anyway, this prompted project #2 ~ re-upholstered teacher chair:
Again I have no befores . . . but it was that blue "standard-issue" teacher chair.  Again, black spray paint + some scrap upholstery fabric (wears better than the cotton) + a fancy, schmancy glue gun, & Voila !  Yay.

And lastly, I found this trash can at the Dollar Tree & had to do something with it to match. So, since my room is black, white, pink & green. . . . with LOTS of polka dots, I did this!

Thank you, handy dandy glue fun (and MB for being the creepy shadow holding the basket in the air!).  Oh, and just an FYI - I had to go buy black spray paint for my projects. First stop was Michaels (because Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday .. . .and that's always when I want to go! haha). Their stuff was like $8 !!  We then went to Lowe's, and they have their own brand of stuff right now for 99 CENTS a can!!  Yes, please :)

I just love projects & can't wait to link up and see what all you have made this week !! 

And now...the LINKY !
 Amanda at Teaching Maddeness  has this new linky celebrating New (School) Year Resolutions . . . you know, the things you tell yourself you are DEFINITELY going to do this year.  I thought, "What a great idea!" and decided to link up!

Here are mine:

1)  Go to bed at a decent hour, and wake up Ready to Teach!!  I absolutely love my job, but I absolutely loathe mornings.  After growing up in the Central Time Zone, I now live in Eastern . . . which means my TV shows (yes, mine...all mine! haha) don't go off until 11.  Then, it's time to make lunch, get clothes together for the next day, and wind down.  I'm never in bed until about 12:00 and the alarm clock SCREECHES goes off at 5:30.  So, this year, I will rely more heavilly on my DVR, and just go to bed !

2 )  Learn more about Whole Brain Teaching. I have seen some posts about this, and some amazing videos of how this works in the classroom.  I am in love with what I am seeing so far, and can't wait to learn more.  Here's the website. Very cool.  Oh, and a good video if you want to watch that, too.

3)  Do an independent (maybe Grade Level Team?) book study on the Daily 5! It's everywhere I look & I really want to learn more ! :)

4)  Lastly, get more organized at home. I'm super organized at school, and then I come home and am like "Ehhh... I'll do that later!".

So, link up & tell us what YOUR resolutions are :)

Thanks for stopping by.  I love your comments, and try to write back to each and every one, so I'd love to hear from you.  I don't know when all of you go back to school, but here's to wishing you the best school year yet !  Cheers :)



Sunday, July 29, 2012

50 Followers Freebie!

Well it's officially the last weekend before I go back to work, and I just can't believe it ! I was finally able to get in my classroom yesterday and WOW do I have some work to do?!  I stayed for several hours and got some stuff done, but there's a long road ahead of me before Open House on Thursday.  We are furloughed Monday so that leaves me with 2 and a 1/2 days to get ready - Eeeekkk!!!

I did get to attend our district's New Teacher Orientation yesterday, and hear some great speakers. As excited as I am every year about school starting, sometimes it's great to be reminded of what it felt like to have the anticipation of a first year teacher.  It was also awesome to hear the stories of triumph in the classroom...and those hilarious tales of that first year.  I'm sure you all remember!!  With that being said, I have a refreshed excitement for the school year..and I hope you all have a wonderful start, as well. :)

Now on to the important stuff...

It's a Freebie!!
I am so thrilled to have 50 FOLLOWERS!!!  Y'all are the best & I am so excited.  Because I haven't figured out the whole giveaway thing yet, I'm trying my first "freebie", & I'm hoping this works. I'm a little polka-dot crazy, and my room is all black, white, pink and green (for the froggies!) with tons of polka dots. I've been asked about posting pictures, and I promise to do that next week :)  Anyway, on to the freebie...."Where Are We?" Cards
Just click on the link, print, laminate, & you're good to go !  I hole punch mine, put them on a binder ring, and hang them on a Command hook right outside my door.  One of my classroom helpers is the "Card Changer" so they are in charge of making sure it gets changed every time we leave.   Hope you enjoy! If you have a problem with the download, let me know.  Oh, and I used a font from Kevin & Amanda... LOVE them!! :)

Michelle at Kindergarten in Heels is doing a huge 50 Follower giveaway... a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  Amazon is my favorite & who doesn't love a giveaway?!  Hop over there & check it out !

Pinterest Love
  So, I'll admit it, I have a slight addiction to all things Pinterest-y. I spend hours just looking through all the amazing things on there. I thought I'd share my most recent fave:

 A big kudos & thank you to Miss Kindergarten for this awesome idea. 

The foam dice are from Dollar Tree - I went today and picked up FIVE bags ~ of 50 cubes.  Amazing.  I love that you can color code the vowels, consonants, blends and digraphs to make words. AND she provides the recording sheets/mats for you. Such a great idea! I'm sure some of you have already seen this on her site, but I wanted to pass it along to anyone who hasn't because I'm super excited !!

Well, I'm keeping it short tonight (what?? huh?). I hope you all enjoy the freebie & as always, thanks for stopping by ! :)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Super Star Student, A Linky & Awards

 Okay, so it must be said that I L.O.V.E Target ~ especially SuperTarget.  I actually went to two ~ yes two ~ on vacation.  Then, I went to another one today when I visited my bestest friend in the world in Alabama.  I think I may have a problem...  Is there a group for that?

  Anyhoo ~ I did come across a great find:
They're chair covers!!! I kid you not ~ just after I did the post about making my own. You can see those here.  They were in the Dollar Spot, among all the other cuteness I found ( I really think I could spend at least half my paycheck in the Dollar Spot sometimes).  Anyway, I have been looking for a way to recognize Super Star Students in my classroom, and haven't come up with anything. I think these will help. Just slip them over their chairs & POOF!  :)

So, tell me, do you recognize these things in your room?? Other than chair covers, I need some ideas people! :)

A Linky?  Yes, please!
  Kelly at Teacher Idea Factory is doing a linky for Rockin' Resources...or the things, as a teacher, you just can't live without.  

So, here goes...

1)  A personal laminator... 
The VERY best $35 I've ever spent. Our laminator at school is junk not working very well, so I depend on this all the time! 

 2)  Ticonderoga pencils...
When it says they're "The World's Best Pencil", they're not kidding.  For 10 years, I searched high and low for pencils that wouldn't eat my sharpener up, and these work perfectly...every time!!  I have asked that parents only buy these, but I doubt that'll happen, so Office  Max was running them "BOGO". yay!

 3)  Tubs...
All shapes & sizes... I love them. I have so many that some are just sitting there unused, but I can't seem to help myself... Love love love.
Okay, so the next two are things I WANT ~ desperately ~ not have.
4) MEGAtimer
It's 24" x 16.5 inches big, and can be seen all the way to the back of the classroom. I think it can even be magneted to the board!   I really think I need this...funny how wants quickly turn to needs.

 5)  Center Talkers
They, really, they talk!! You can record  center instructions on them & the kids just press a button and listen to them when they get to centers.  The little ones record up to 10 seconds and the block ones up to 30. WOW!!!  There's also a lock so kids can't rerecord the message, or delete it.  Kinda pricey, but they make me happy. They're called Talk Blocks and can be found at the link.

Now on to the awards...
I'm truly humbled by these awards, and want to make sure I say thank you to Cindy at Kindergarten Love and Miss Cosby at You Might Be a First Grader for the honor.  

  The rules:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you.(check!)
2.  Post the award to your blog.
3.  Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.
Two Tacky Teachers
Kelly Teach
Heads Carolina, Tails Alabama
Hop'n Dots Teaching Blog
Mrs. Brown's Blog
4.  Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

Now for the rules...
1. Follow the person who gave me the award. 
2. Link back to the person that gave me the award. 
3. Pass to 15 new bloggers and then let them know they have received the award.   
This was SO hard !!! There are so many blogs out there & so many with awards, so I have tried my best to find those of you that haven't been awarded this yet. If I accidentally gave it to you twice, think just how awesome you are ! !:)  
12. i teach 1:1 

So sorry for the long post..but had a lot to say !!  Thanks for stopping by!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It & Newbie Blogger Blog Hop

Hi there !! I can't believe I will have kids in my classroom exactly two weeks from today. Crazy !!  On top of just getting back from vacation, I feel like I'm running against the clock trying to get it all done. Anyway, it's Monday & I'm linking up again with 4th Grade Frolics for a Monday Made It !
Okay, Okay, so I didn't make it today. But, I made these the week before I left for the beach and wanted to share.  These are my fancy new chair covers for my classroom!  (Remember, I can't get in my school so be kind with the quality and the improvisation of objects for the pictures..haha!)
They look much cuter in the classroom, but I digress...

These are sewn together, and believe me when I say I am  NOT a good sewer (is that a word?), so if you can sew a straight line, you can do this.  And, if you can't can use that iron-in sticky adhesive stuff. I know that's not the actual name, but I can find it if you need it.

Anyway, I bought 7 yards of duck canvas. It holds up better. This will make approximately 25 covers.

You lay it out, and measure 16" wide and 30" long for each cover. Like this:

Then, you fold one side (the flap that will be INSIDE and go OVER the chair) up 9 inches. Then, fold it down 1 inch to make a hem.  This will create one "pocket" that slides over the chair.
That's my mom being helpful :)

Then, you turn it over to the other side (the side you have NOT folded up yet), and fold up 8 inches, and fold down a 1 inch hem...essentially doing the same thing.


You can choose to just sew these up if you want to, but you'll have a raw edge. That's why I put ribbon around mine.

So, you take 7/8" ribbon of choice...line up the sides as even as possible...and pin the ribbon around it.

Then, you sew....a straight line.  Just sew from one end the other on both sides, and you're done ! :)

Now, my mom has an embroidery/monogram machine (again, not the right word, but I'm going with it), so she put my cute little frogs on there.  I wish I could help you with this part, but I'm officially out of my area here. :)

Anyway, finished product:

The pictures are awful, but they work perfectly in the classroom. I have made these before, and they lasted me about 6 years before I needed to make new ones.  They didn't really have to be replaced, but I wanted new fresh ones :)  This is great for classrooms with or without desks...for kids to keep journals and folders. They hold up great, and can be washed every summer. Just hang them up to dry so they don't shrink.  Voila!

My Monday-Made-It for Home
Yay!  Hydrangeas are my favorite so I was super excited.  Just a tip - Garden Ridge (if you have one) is MUCH cheaper than Hobby Lobby, even with the coupon.  The letter is from HL, though :)

Lastly, the Newbie Blogger Blog Hop... 
As a new blogger, I'm trying all kinds of linkys, so I wanted to join in on the Newbie Blogger Fun.
I linked up with Janis from Grade Three is the Place For Me to introduce myself.  

Here is what people are sharing:  
    1.  what state you are in
    2.  your current teaching position

    3.  your teaching experience
    4.  when you started blogging
I live in Georgia where I teach first grade, and have been doing that for 11 years.  I taught one year in Kindergarten and am so thankful there are those of you out there that love it.  You are wonderful people!  While I miss having a para-pro, I love my firsties the best :)  I just started blogging at the beginning of this month, and am still trying to get the hang of it.  It's super fun, and I'm loving all of the great people I'm "meeting".  Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Happy Monday !!



Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Major Award

You can't imagine my surprise today when, in taking a break from beach packing, I opened up my email and found that I had received an award from a fellow blogger! I immediately thought to "A Christmas Story" and the dad's glowing appreciation of his fra-gee-lay award.  A BIG thank you to Crystal at Ms. Jones' Junction for the honor!!

Anyway,here are the requirements for accepting this award:

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.  Done, Thanks Crystal !
2.  Include a link to their site... Check !
3.  Include the award image on your blog...Done!
4.  Include 7 random facts about yourself. Oh wow, this part will be harder...ummmm
  • I am originally from Tennessee ( GO VOLS!), grew up in Alabama, and now live in Georgia. I'm a southern mutt, but I love it. I went to 4 elementary schools, 2 middle, and 1 high school and while it was awful at the time (do we have to move again??), I wouldn't trade it for the world!
  • I have an irrational fear of opossums and alpacas.  I wish I could explain it, but the sheer thought of either of those things run chills up my spine. To be honest, I'm pretty much a scaredy-cat in all arenas and don't sleep for a couple days after a scary movie. 
  • I am a shoe hoarder.  The first step is admitting you have a problem right?  I seriously own almost 100 pair of shoes, and as much as I know it's completely ridiculous, I can't help myself.  My boyfriend threatens to call Dr. Phil every time I come home with a new pair.
  • As for my fella...MB...we've been together for four years, and live 100 miles apart.  It's hard work, but worth it.  Oh, and I hate the word "boyfriend"... I'm 35 and it just sounds goofy to me. But, I guess it's better than Man Friend..???  haha
  • I'm a complete klutz. No..I really am. Despite my love of shoes, they usually do me more harm than good, and I'm not all that great bare-footed either.  My nickname is "Gracie" (for my obvious lack thereof) and I fall...a lot ! 
  • My second favorite place...well it probably ties with the beach... is a big ole' cotton field ! I really have a complete fascination with cotton.  MB lives WAY out in the country, while I live smack dab in suburbia, so I get my kicks driving out and walking through the vast cotton fields that cover Alabama and Georgia.  Just beautiful I think.  
  •  I love to laugh and every night, I read my "nightly funnies".  I go to Pinterest, click on humor, and spend about 10-15 minutes laughing at the someecards and things people post.  I have an appreciation for sarcasm, so it just cracks me up.  Since I'm definitely NOT a morning person, I end my day with a smile and a laugh and hope it carries over to the next morning :)
5.  Nominate 15 other blogs for this award (I tried to nominate newbies like me!)
6.  When nominating, be sure to include a link to their site...
7.  Let bloggers know they have been nominated.   I am leaving a comment on  the most recent post on each of the 15 blogs!!

  1. Be Sew Crafty -  She is so crafty and I love it ! :)
  2. You Can Make the Sunshine Anytime - Such a sweet blogger, and she has great ideas!
  3. Thoughts from Adulthood - A fellow beach bum, she posts some really good stuff.
  4. Mrs. Hoffer's Spot - She makes me laugh & I love her posts :)
  5. Creekside Teacher Tales - She's a new blogger & has the cutest animal print stuff. Check her out !
  6. First Graders from Outer Space - I just love her blog & her creativity ! She's a new blogger, so please go show her some love.
  7. Being Mrs. Gentry - Not a teaching blog, but if you love to decorating and crafts, this is your place. She has beautiful things!
  8. At Home in First - Great blog with great pictures! I just love her grey & yellow theme.
  9. 2nd Grade Glance - Such a cute blog, and she has some great TPT resources to share !
  10. 1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray - Such a fun blog with some really good Common Core materials :)
  11. Burst Of First -Such a cute and resourceful blog !
  12. Stay Calm and Teach On - A new blogger with SUPER cute idea.  Love it !
  13. My Tales of a Fourth Grade Teacher - Another new blogger that I can't wait to follow.  She has a shared love for Pinterest, so of course, I love it :)
  14. "I Peed a Little" & Other Adventures in 1st Grade - Her blog makes me literally LOL.  She is too funny & shares all the fun and hilarious adventures of teaching little ones.
  15. A First Grade Fairy Tale - With a name so similar, I had to check her out. Very cute!
Well, now I'm off to share with other bloggers and bask in the glory of winning a "major award"....and I better be quick, we're leaving in 2 hours! (Yes, we are hitting the road at 2 a.m. so we can have the whole day tomorrow..crazy, yes...but oh so worth it !)  Have a wonderful weekend ! :)

Kelly :)

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Love & The Beach

    So, I saw this pillow on Pinterest, and it just about sums me up.  I love faith....puppies...the football... chocolate.... crafting.... cotton... and the beach! Not necessarily in that order, but I am leaving for the beach in about 24 hours, and I absolutely cannot wait. It's something I look forward to every summer ~ the last peaceful time before school starts.  Don't get me wrong, I love my  job, but sometimes I wish someone could come teach for me the first few weeks (and the last few), and it would be perfect :) Anyway, my point is that really really loving something (anything!) gets you through the worst times, the grumpiest moods, and the most frustrating days. 

    I have been spending the last few days making more stuff for my classroom & I can't wait to share them with you.  I also can't wait to get into my classroom to actually put it all together and see that it (hopefully) comes together like I want it to.  I go back to work July 31st and the kids come back on August 6th so summer is most definitely coming to a close, & I've been working to get it all together.

    Anyway, just a little bit more about me.  So, what is it that you love?

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Monday Made It !

    I just posted yesterday, but I thought I'd try to link up with 4th Grade Frolics and Monday Made It. So, I thought I'd share my new "sign" I made for my classroom rules.  I have gotten so bored with my poster, and other ways I've tried posting them, so I gave this a try.  

    I went to Hobby Lobby and bought two sets of paper party plates (thanks 40% coupon!)
    I then typed up my rules and inserted them into circles with text boxes on Word, printed & laminated. I hot glued the plates together, then the rules on top, strung with ribbon on the back, and there you have it. Easy and, I think, pretty cute! :)
    Full size view. Unlike a lot of you out there, I can't get into my school right now so a bedroom door will have to do ! :)

    My classroom has a frog theme, so the rules are written around that. We call them our F.R.O.G.S. Rules (which doesn't sound grammatically correct, but I'm gonna go with it!).  When I hang it in my classroom, I want to add more ribbon to the top and a cutesy bow.  So, there you have it ...Happy Monday Made - It ! :)

    Kelly :)

    Folders, Folders, Folders!

     Hi all ~
        First of all, thanks to everyone who stopped by and for all of your sweet comments. And, a BIG THANK YOU to Mrs. D from The Silver Lining for all of her help and the shout out.  I'm slowly, but surely, trying to get the hang of this blogging thing!

        Now, on to folders. I don't know about you, but I spend my summer impatiently anticipating the Back to School sales. This year, our kids start back on August 6th, so I was in an even bigger rush to start getting ready for the new year.  Well, friends, the sales started today!! :)  My first order of business?  Folders!

       I start the year with the standard homework folder, center folder, and a fluency folder. I thought I'd share them with you. :)

       Fluency Folder:
          In an effort to increase fluency amongst my 1st graders, I started sending home weekly Fluency Folders. At my school, we use the Read Naturally program. So, on Monday, each child reads a leveled passage to me and earns a "cold score". They are supposed to practice at least twice a night as part of their homework, and then they re-read the same passage to me on Friday, earning a "hot score".  Parents sign off during the week, and you would be amazed at their progress!

    I use the recording sheet to keep track of their progress and just continue to staple new ones on top to keep record all year!  I also have a data sheet I use with CAFE to monitor comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary.  I will be MORE THAN HAPPY to share those with you if someone can please tell me how to add a document (PDF or Word) on here :)

        Center Folders:
        I originally got this idea from  Ms. M's blog @ . Instead of hole punching the other side, I used already hole punched folders from Wal-Mart, and super cute duck tape and voila...double folders!
    The first section is for Guided Math, finished & unfinished work, and the second half for Guided Reading. I'm so excited to use these this year !!

       Lastly, Homework Folders:
    For years, I searched for the best way to do homework folders.  This is what I have used for the last few years, and it works perfectly for me.  I invest in the poly folders so they last all year.
    On the inside, I put a pencil holder for all transportation notes, money (if it's not there, I don't know to look for it!), and sight word rings I make each student.
    Yeah, it's sideways AND upside down...definitely don't have the hang of this. Sorry!!

    Anyway, the next part is the notes pages. I put about 15-20 pieces of notebook paper to use for parent communication only. The little sticker asks parents not to remove the paper, and for it not be used for homework. This has really helped me keep up with correspondence throughout the year.

    Sideways again...Arghh!!

    Lastly, there are 2 sheet protectors for a) monthly calendar b)behavior calendar c) sight word list and d) the student's reading log.

    I send home homework on Monday, and check on Fridays. This system has worked flawlessly so far, so I thought I'd share.

    Thanks again for all of your support. Oh, and if anyone can tell me how to load documents, I'll do that for the Fluency Folder and CAFE sheets ASAP.  I'll also accept any suggestions on loading pictures correctly ..haha.. THANKS!

    Have fun with all the school supply sales !! :)