Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday Made It...A Day Late & a Dollar Short

It's crunch time, friends...  tomorrow is my first official day back at work.
The kids come back next week, so I have some time to get some stuff done, but I'm starting to believe there's simply NOT enough time in the day to get it all done.

I FINALLY got into my classroom for the first time yesterday...and boy, it's a mess! We worked til a little after 5, and when I left, I wasn't sure I had gotten anything done. Does anyone else ever feel that way, or is it just me? So, I came home & worked on finishing up some Monday Made Its. 

 Yeah, I'm a day late... and I'm always a dollar short, especially with my excessive school supply shopping lately... eeek!

If you follow me on Instagram (and I would LOVE it if you would), you've already seen some of this, but I still had to share! :)  I love linking up with 4th Grade Frolics..so here we go!

#1 -  "The" filing cabinet is DONE!!  Woo hoo!!
Doesn't it look awesome??? MB came up to school and did all the contact-papering for me. I'm a pretty lucky gal :)  I ordered the contact paper back at the beginning of June, but couldn't get into school to get it done. But, now... finito.... I absolutely LOVE it ! It turned out even better than I had hoped!

#2 Prize Spinner...
   A few weeks ago, with one of the favorite pins linky parties, I posted this...
I showed it to Dear Ole' Dad, and now I have this....

You can get the original tutorial *here*, but basically it's a lazy susan from Ikea... painted black. Then, we taped it off with Frog Tape, and I painted grey chalkboard paint over the top. (the black looks like electrical tape in this picture, but it's really painted lines).  Then, took a regular board, covered in chevron contact paper (left over from the file cabinet redo), then used some handy-dandy E6000 glue & stuck the wheel to the board.

There are little dowels in each triangle, and a zip-tie at the bottom right, so when you spin the wheel, it makes that "tikka tikka tikka " sound like the big prize wheels at the fair make!

The original version used nails, but I was afraid of the nails coming out, so we just glued those little dowels in the lazy susan instead.

So, now I have to come up with ideas of how I am going to use it.  I was thinking the kids who move their "clip" to "above and beyond behavior" could spin it to choose their prize ... 
    OR when our warm fuzzy jar fills up, we can spin it to choose our reward...
        OR brain breaks.

AHHH... The possibilities are endless but I really don't know what to do. I used the chalkboard paint so I could change my mind, but if you have ANY suggestions, please share!! :)

Monday Made It for the Home...
  If you haven't figured out yet, I do love me some chevron.  Home, school... I don't care. Just love it. 
  So, I needed something to go on my newly painted bedroom wall, and I saw something similar on Pinterest. Just bought the frame and a plain letter at Hobby Lobby (Hello! 50% off!), then covered the letter in the same paper. Now I"ve just got to get it on the wall.  This makes my heart happy!

   Well, that's about it for me & my "Made It's".  Everything else I've been working on has consisted of printing, cutting, laminating, and cutting again.  I've got some more projects up my sleeve, but right now, I gotta get all this school stuff done.

    Today.. you know, the last full day of summer... was spent in downtown Atlanta traffic & at a Dr's appt. Good times!!  So, back to work I go !!  When do YOU go back to school?? 

OH!!  Before I go.... have you heard about the SLANT box??
  Jameson at Lessons with Coffee had this great idea and, along with Mrs. Price as Mrs Price's Kindergators, we came up with this cute flyer to promote the SLANT Box!! 

  You can read all about it at Jameson's blog (link above), but basically you sign up & you will be paired with someone else... You fill a box with goodies, and then you get to receive a box of goodies every single month. You have to sign up by the 3rd to do it this month, so head over there and sign up. How much fun, right??!?!!!   I know I'm excited... I mean, who doesn't love getting some good ole fashioned REAL mail full of good stuff?!  Every month will have a theme, and you can read all the rules and stuff on Jameson's blog. Just had to share. The more, the merrier!!

Allright, gotta get to work.....As always, thanks for stopping by! :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Throwback FRIDAY - Parent Handbooks Tutorial

Friday! Friday! Friday!
  WAIT..it's summer...EVERY day is Friday..or whatever day you want it to be!  Just 5 more days for me...so I'm gonna love up on some Friday, for sure! :)

So, I'm a little late for Throwback Thursday, so we'll call this Throwback Friday. 
   My parent handbook has gotten the single most pins on Pinterest, and I get a lot of emails for a template.

I don't have a template because, truth be told,  they are hand-made with some old school scissors and tape.
My first year teaching, I worked with a lady that had been making these for 30 years. She showed me how to do it, and I've been making them ever since. It's just some old school cut and paste, but parents really LOVE them every year! 

So, I decided to create a little tutorial so y'all can make them for yourselves :)

There are 10 steps, so bunches of pictures to come.... you've been warned!

HERE is the link to the PowerPoint with the defined boxes already made for you. It's not a PDF so you can use it as a template to make your own book/content. There are no "cute" fonts or anything, but I've provided you with the boxes to fit the pages.

And there you have it... . A Back to School Parent Handbook, customized JUST the way you want it ! :)I put these out on Open House night & then send them home on the first day with the kids who weren't able to make it. It explains EVERYTHING about our classroom, provides parents with contact information, and alleviates a lot of questions.  I love it, and the parents do, too!

I hope I have answered your questions about how to make these & it all makes sense. Thanks to Khrys for letting me use her handbook creation for the tutorial....and her SUPER cute KB fonts! If you'd like to check out these fonts, you can get them at her TpT store here.

     If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me!

Also, if you'd like a PDF of this tutorial to print, click HERE!

Happy Weekend, friends.....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Is It Already That Time??? And Some Homework for Ya!

Oh wow... time sure is moving way too fast for me
Is it already time to go back to school?? Yikes!

I have exactly 6 days of freedom left....and one of those I have to present at our New Teacher Orientation, so I wouldn't necessarily call it freedom.

I've been spending my time shopping...YAY SHOPPING...and FINALLY working on some TpT stuff. I have definitely been a slacker!

So, I'll be honest - I'm not really ready for school to start back. (Warning: Debbie Downer time...)
  I love my late mornings/early afternoons...you know, the kind withOUT an alarm clock...ahhhhh
  I love my eat lunch whenever, use the bathroom whenever I feel the urge & I don't have to cram those necessities into whatever little time I might get that day.

  I can wear flip flops every.  single.  day.    We can't wear them to work, so my love of flip flops is even stronger.

  I love not knowing if it's Tuesday or Saturday,... all the same to me!

But, it's time... and I DO love my job.  So, today's trip to Target (and all the awesomeness that place beholds) has actually got me more excited about returning to the world world...check out this booty!
   What you see here is just happiness! GOODBYE, Debbie Downer!!!

       Chevron Washi Tape. (what, WHat?)...  Chevron G2 Pens (my fave!).... SCENTOS pens (who knew?!)...  magnetic contact paper (how cute!), giant paper clips on stands (cause I need these, for sure)...and the list goes on & on.

  Yay for going back to school.... wow, how my attitude is already changing :)

  I've also been working on my August homework packet for TpT.  I got such an amazing response to my Summer Common Core packet, and my weekly homework freebies that I thought I would create a MONTHLY pack of weekly homework.... and I did :)

So, here's how this works. ...for me, anyway.
   I send home weekly homework on Mondays...and it's due on Fridays.  That means I only check homework on Fridays..easy peasy, lemon squeezy. It sure makes my life better.

  Anyway, this pack has FOUR days of homework for FOUR weeks. It's divided up by week & day...

It's also Common Core aligned for both math and language arts...

And, it includes a parent letter & weekly student checklist with place for spelling words.
I staple the checklist to the front of the homework & students have to "check off" what's completed. We send home spelling homework and sight words, too, so that's why it's on there.  Then, I write the weekly spelling words on the bottom, which the parents can either leave there & cut off and keep. 

When the week is over, the kids turn in the whole packet... signed by the parent(s)...and I check for completion (we don't take homework GRADES, just completion).

I initial the checklist, pull it off, and keep for homework documentation. Yay!

So, that's it... a whole month's of homework done, and done!

If you'd like to check it out, click <HERE>!

Allright, time for some more shopping...  I'm so jealous of all of you who get money from your schools or from your PTA/PTO... unfortunately, we don't get any of that, but apparently, that hasn't stopped me yet! ha!   Off to find some of that super cute chevron border I keep seeing. Must. Have.

And, to make these...
A Rocky Top Teacher came up with these little beauties & I've got to make them. It's just super cute chevron paper in your plain ole' pen & VOILA... instant cuteness!  Yes, please! 
She posted them on Instagram today, and if you're not following her, you MUST... so cute!

And if you're not following me on Instagram, I sure would love it if you would ! Just click the little icon on the right sidebar!

Okay, so I'm all sorts of random today, so thanks for sticking with me.....AND, as always, thanks for stopping by!! :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm FREE....and on Instagram!

Well, friends, it's offiicial.. it's 7:30 in the a.m, and I am officially free for the last remaining 8 days of summer. I finished ALL my grad work, after staying up all night, and now I can enjoy a little summer...and maybe get some stuff done for my classroom.

I have never ever, ever, EVER been this far behind.

     No lesson plans.
        No planner created or filled out.
            Very little cute stuff bought (I did buy SOME
                things...shopping is my sanity)
                     And no getting into the classroom until next
                          Monday. Then I report to work on
Enter panic mode.

I guess it will get done when it get's done right?!  The only thing I HAVE done is start on the "cleaning out the files" process..
     A.K.A..  The "you are a tree killer and should be better at organizing your files and not wasting so much paper" process...
Anyway off to try to catch some zzzzz'ss  for a couple hours before I figure out what to do with all this freedom! :)

Oh, and I finally jumped on the Instagram bandwagon - cause I'm cool like that, and apparently, very slow to catch up with what all the cool kids are doing.

I'd love it if you'd follow me... the little button thingy is on the right side of my blog... you know, over there ---------->>>> under my button, or you can find me at #firstgradefairytales

Let me know you're following me, so I can follow you too. Summer is PRIME time for cuteness, and I would really love to keep up with all your awesomeness via Instagram :)

Happy Tuesday folks... !

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I'm Bacccckkkk.... for Favorite Pins Friday!

Hi Friends...
   I'm back...and I have been a bad, bad, blogger. It's been two weeks since I've posted,and I honestly feel awful about it. I'm been so bogged down with grad work, and then I took a very MUCH needed vacation to the beach for 9 long days. It was fabulous!  This was my view...

   I've always said I could live at the beach, but I realized last week that if I did... I wouldn't get ANY work done. None. Nada. :)

   Anyway, so I got back from the beach and went to visit my parents. When I walked in the door, this is what I saw....

Is this the cutest thing you have ever seen?  Yeah, it is. :)

So, while I was at the beach, the most wonderful parents ever (ok, I'm biased, but still...) got my rocking chair all finished. Dad got all the stripping, sanding & repainting done while Mom worked super hard on my super cute new cushions.

Hello Chevron!! :)  They are both very crafty and talented, that's for sure. I was so excited, I literally almost peed my pants.

Anyway, now that I've shared my recent most prized possession, it's time to link up with The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday!! I'm almost late, but not quite...
 Favorite Teaching Pins...
  Mr. Greg at Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten is a genius!!  I am so excited to make these. I swear my kids eat glue sticks...or a ninja comes in at night to sell them on the black market. Either way, they last like 36 seconds, and I am so excited that someone has figured out a solution to this problem. I think I could buy a new house with the $$ I've spent on glue!  There's a YouTube video link on here, too, so you can see exactly how to make them. Yay!

A magnetic curtain rod for holding anchor charts. Um, yes please!  I've read some reviews & many say that the Wal Mart brand doesn't have really strong magnets, but that the ones from Lowe's really hold well. Heading that way this weekend. Isn't this an awesome idea??  Thanks, Sugar & Spice!

Another fabulous idea for a magnetic curtain rod... I mean, how cute & inviting is this?? 
The idea comes from Mrs. Guntorius' First Grade.

UCreate came up with this fabulous and super cute idea. I've already bought my lazy susan from Ikea & can't wait to make one. I'm thinking it will be great for having the kids choose their rewards for "above and beyond" behavior... I'm not sure yet, but I am in LOVE with this idea!  Click the link for the tutorial :)

For the home....
 The clutter on my fridge drives me crazy, but honestly, I've just let it stay that way. 
This pin has given me new inspiration! Dollar Tree frames - easy and CHEAP!

This is from Etsy (click the link), but I'm already working on my own version. We took down part of an old fence & the boards have just been lying around. I can't wait to repurpose them into this... and it will be perfect for my spare bedroom re-do. Yay! 

So, onto food.... how could I resist?
     If I actually spent as much time cooking as I do pinning yummy recipes, everyone would be a lot happier, I'm sure... Anyway, here's my recent faves...
Peanut butter bars.... just like they used to serve in school lunchrooms. Can't have them anymore because of all the allergies, but, boy, do I miss them?! I'm hoping these turn out HALF as yummy as I remember.

Cheese? Bread?  Together ? Sign me up!

Ok,so it's WAYYYY too hot to even think about chili, but I can't wait to try this in the fall.. mmmmm.....

Lastly, a little funny that hits WAY too close to home..
 Yeah, I'm doomed... 

So, that's it for me, friends. I'm so happy to be back & can't wait to see everyone's favorite pins :) 

I really miss the beach... can I go back now??  Ahhhhhh.....

 Happy Weekend!!  Only a week and a half 'til it's time to go back to school. Wow... time sure is flying by!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Reflections for the 4th & Throwback Thursday

Happy 4th of July !!
I hope you are all taking time to enjoy the day with your friends & family, and we all take a little time to remember what this day is about - Independence.  I am so thankful to all the brave souls that have stood up, fought for, and died for my freedoms. 

I read this today and knew I had to share... it's a little long, but worth the read....

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the
Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before
they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred
honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were
farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships
swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton,
Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13
children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.

Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of
this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of
the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our
fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books
never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So,
take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: Freedom is never free!
(Shared from David Hill)

Wow, right??  That piece just really touched me, and I wanted to share. 

Now, on to Throwback Thursday....

    Here's another post that has been pinned a lot & I thought I'd revisit it..

*Originally posted October 25, 2012....

You know those days when everything kinda comes together and you're like "ahh... I think they're finally getting it!".  I love those days.  I often spend time wishing there were more of them. but I have to remind myself that my kiddies are just babies, and they are inundated with SO much stuff everyday.  So, with that in mind, when something finally clicks, it' awesome! :)Anyway, I had one of those days today & it was great. Top that off with a 3 hour dinner with one of my most favorite people in the world, and I'd call Thursday a WiN. 

Anyway, wanted to share a cute little activity that I did today . .. thanks to a great first grade team mate . . . that my kids loved.

How many of you have a bunch of these laying around?
We get so many in our mailbox, and unfortunately, not many parents order the books, so we send a couple home & do the online order thing . . . which leaves me with books of these.  I typically toss them, but then my colleague suggested a great activity for reinforcing our study on fiction vs. nonfiction.

We have been identifying & discussing non-fiction text features, and focusing on how we can compare and contrast the two.  So, today, we took out all these little flyers, and went to sorting.

I started with our Sorting Circles that we usually use for math.
Each student got two of them & labeled inside the circle either "fiction" or "nonfiction". ( Well, I labeled to save time and because I'm just slightly OCD!) Then, they started cutting pictures of books and sorting them inside their circles.

Then, they had to move their "stickies" to a divided piece of manilla paper and glue down their choices.

Lastly, because their choices seem to be only made my sight, they wrote in their Guided Reading notebooks answering these questions.
You can see the full text <HERE>. I just put them up & the kids wrote (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!).

Some responses were :
 I know my choices were fiction books because they:
* Had drawings instead of photos
* Were stories about things that couldn't really happen
* Had characters

I know my choices were non-fiction books because they:
* Had photographs of real animals or things
* Gave facts about a topic

I THINK the non-fiction books MIGHT have:
* a glossary
* a table of contents
* an index
* captions

....etc.. You get the point. Anyway, the kids did GREAT & loved the activity. Easy, cheap & successful.  Definitely a win :)

  It's a great way to use all those fliers & it was an easy way for me to assess who really "got it" and who might need more help with the concept.  Hope you like it ! 

Have a HAPPY 4th of July and an even better weekend !! :)