Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'm in Complete School Mode!

Wow! I have been busy, busy, busy with school projects for the past several weeks. I have been spending at least one eight hour day a week, sometimes two days, working completely in my classroom. It may sound like work to some, but I look at these days as time to myself and a complete stress-release. I have completed numerous Pinterest projects, new room arrangements, TPT projects, and much more. I am just going to post several pictures of my accomplishments during the past few weeks and will try to link the photos to where I got the ideas. Thank you to all the teachers out there that share their genius ideas with the rest of us!

One of my first Pinterest projects I tackled was this weekly "mystery person" can. I created it out of an old disinfectant wipe container, scrapbook paper, and a label I created on Powerpoint. Click HERE to visit the Growing Kinders blog for more information on the way I plan to use it this year with my students.

 I know I posted a picture of my enhanced filing cabinet, but I did finally take it up to my classroom and found a perfect spot for it.
 Another project that I started and finally finished last week was organizing and labeling all of my mentor texts and read-alouds in baskets. I keep these books near my desk in my teacher corner.
 I also made new subject labels for my daily agenda board. Students check this board every afternoon and copy the details into their personal agenda page. I have this personal agenda page available in my TPT store HERE.
 This was a big project! I completely emptied my metal cabinet of random supplies and craft items and organized it. I got rid of a lot of items I haven't even touched for five years. It was very refreshing!
 My next project was to move my Math Workshop rotation board to a smaller scale. I placed it on my closet door which minimized the space. I like it a lot better here.
 The list of directions for each Math Workshop station is now on the front doors of my metal cabinet. I used $1 pocket charts from Target and will use dry-erase markers each day to  list the new directions for my students to refer to. If you are interested in Math Workshop, visit Clutter-Free Classroom on TPT.
 Next, I create a small grammar reference wall for my students. I will be using a daily grammar practice program for morning work. These posters on the wall will assist students on skills they may see on a daily basis during morning work. Students must refer to the grammar reference wall before asking questions they may have about grammar terms and skills. I personally created all of these grammar reference posters and have them in my TPT store HERE!
 I also decided to try the homework club this year. You can visit Lessons for Laughter HERE for more information. I also have three versions of this product at my TPT store for FREE. The Homework Club board on the right was made by my amazing fourth grade colleague, Sabrina. I created the file for her and she pieced it together. I love the bow she added! So cute!
 You can also find this next project at my TPT store. I created a Writing Process clip chart for students to track their progress when publishing a writing piece. They will each have a numbered clothes pin and will attach it to the step of the writing process they are currently working on. This system will also allow me to view who is ready for an individual writing conference. I have NINE different styles of these Writing Process Posters in my TPT Store HERE!
 I know I have posted several pictures of my classroom library in many postings. This is my favorite part of my entire classroom. I added a new shelf last week to make more room for my favorite authors baskets. I have worked so hard over the years to maintain and add to my library. I just have a huge passion for children's literature and am in love with my collection.
 I rearranged my teacher corner yet again. I am obsessed. The last picture I posted of it triggered me to think that arrangement of the shelves and file cabinets were off balance. I know I am crazy. It would have bugged me all year if I didn't find a balanced solution. I'm sure I will find something else that bugs me and I will just have to fix it, but here is the most recent arrangement! LOL!
 Another new Pinterest project I am going to try this year is the Daily Absent files. For more information, click HERE! My goal is to have all absent papers placed in the corresponding day file, where absent students can get there work.
 I rearranged my student desk again into three long groups. I have always started the school year with five small groups. I know I am just overwhelming myself with change this year!
 Here are my name tags. Instead of writing student names myself, this year I typed their names in a MSWord document, printed them out, and attached them to the blank name plates. I also used my Cricut to cut out Mickey parts to add to the cuteness! I'm okay with the "culture of cuteness" in the classroom!! Wink, Wink!
 Here is my new alphabet! I think it matches better than my huge other one I had last year!
 Here is a view of my name tags attached to desks and my new alphabet above the board.
 I am also going to try the 100 Club Reading Program in place of my old monthly reading log program. Click HERE for more information and to purchase this exciting program!
 .... and last, but not least are my Helper of the Day lanyards. This cute idea came straight from my amazing fourth grade colleague Sabrina! I caught her making them and I had to make some too! My two helpers of the day will have the privilege to wear these lanyards proudly, or not! LOL!
I am sure this isn't all I have done, but it was all that I thought to take pictures of! I hope you enjoyed yourself and thanks for stopping by! Have a happy new school year!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Classroom Time

Working in my classroom is always so soothing for me during this time of the year. I had a chance to work several hours in my room yesterday and I felt very accomplished when I left.  I have a major problem where I can't stop thinking about teaching and my classroom, no matter where I am!  I constantly catch myself thinking about getting back to the classroom and decorating, what items I am going to buy or make next, and what my new students will be like.  I get excited about planning the first few days and weeks of school, new classroom and desk arrangements, and receiving my class list and schedules from my administrator! I have to confess... I have an obsession! I just cannot understand how some teachers can wait until a few days before school starts to get back into their classroom for the first time. I'm lucky to work in a district that allows us in our rooms during the majority of the summer. The only time we are not allowed in, is when they are waxing the floors in the building. I personally like to have my classroom completely set up and ready to go before the end of July, so all I have to focus on during the beginning of August is planning, copying, and visiting with my colleagues!

As for my accomplishments yesterday, I cleaned out and organized my closet so I could store more 4th grade curriculum from the other teachers in my grade level. I am one of just two teachers in my building that has a massive closet. I am always more than happy to store things from my fellow teachers in my grade level to help them feel that their classroom is less cluttered. They do not have the closet I do, so I like to assure them that I consider my closet the "4th grade closet", so it truly belongs to all four of us. I also rearranged a few of my shelf placements and put table cloths and curtains out.
Another big project I accomplished was to switch out my classroom library baskets from my old white ones to new black ones. My fourth grade buddy gave me close to 20 new black baskets that she only used one year and I bought 20 more from Dollar General for 2 for a $1. Since my main color scheme is black, red, and yellow, I thought the black made my library really "pop". Here is a before and after shot:

I was also able to make several new baskets featuring my favorite authors, genres, and series that I didn't have specific baskets for before. I just need to make some new signs for those soon!

Last, but not least, I wanted to share a picture of a great flea-market find I discovered last week. I have been in search for a book display shelf for many years. I have always wanted one to display our current classroom read-alouds and unit literature. This wonderful shelf is exactly what I wanted and I found it for an awesome price. I LOVE it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Great News and TPT FREEBIES Reminder!

I'm so excited! This morning our head custodian sent our faculty an email confirmation that our building is finished with summer maintenance and we are welcome back in the building to work in our classrooms. Hurray! We have an amazing head custodian and summer staff. They know how antsy we teachers are and try their hardest to get us back in as early as possible every year! I always like to work at least one full day a week in July to get my room ready so I don't feel rushed the week before school starts. I honestly really prefer to get it close to finished so I can really relax the week before school starts.

As for the layout of my classroom this year, I am going to rearrange things a little bit. I did go into my classroom one day during June summer school and moved my kidney bean table and my desk area to the same corner. I moved my actual desk against the wall and placed my kidney table slanted, facing the classroom in the same corner. I used to have the kidney table in the adjacent corner, but this year I want to contain all of my teacher areas into one corner, so my students have more room for book-nook areas and group meeting places.  I hope I will like it. Here is a picture I took that day after I moved the table over.
The small rectangle you see in the left corner may not stay there. That is where the kidney table use to be. The rectangle table used to be where my desk is now. It use to have my computer on, but I have my computer on my actual desk now. I have to keep the table for my student teacher I will be getting this year. That will be her teacher desk during her sixteen weeks of student-teaching. I just don't know if I will keep it in that spot or not. Decisions, decisions...

I plan to go up and work in the classroom Tuesday for several hours. I'm so excited to put it back together and make all the new changes that I have on my "To-Do List". Thank goodness for Pinterest!

Remember, if you are interested in a freebie from my store, take a look at the post before this one. Only one follower has commented on that post and has already received her freebie. There is one freebie left, so head on over to that post and leave a comment. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blogger Failure Confirmed!

It is definitely confirmed now! I am a BLOGGER Failure! It has now been since February that I have posted anything. I always have really good intentions, but I just never get around to posting anything. I do find myself exploring other amazing blogs and drooling over super teachers' creations, but I can never seem to find a time to post myself. I am going to try better now, I promise! However, I did just sign up for my last few master classes for the fall semester and I do have a three-year-old's birthday to start planning in August, on top of school starting... so we will see how I do. For all of you who do stumble upon my boring blog again, I would like to give away a freebie to the first three followers to comment on this post. All you have to do is leave me a comment and make sure you follow me. My first three commenters will receive any product under $10.00 from my TPT store for FREE! You can find my TPT store HERE!  Here are some products you may find over at my store.


As for what is going on in my "teacher world" right now, there are a lot of new changes coming this next school year. The first major change is that our school is getting a new principal. My wonderful principal that hired me six years ago has resigned to take a position at a local university. I am very sad to see her go, but am very happy with her replacement. I think our new administrator will be fabulous for our school. Another amazing change is in relation to my grade level. No, I'm not switching grade levels, but my very dear friend gets to come back to fourth grade from teaching third grade last year. I absolutely love working with her and she has become such a close friend of mine over the past year. She is so much like me and has the same passion for teaching that I do. She has shown me what true collaboration looks and feels like. I missed her dearly last year and my prayers were answered when it was approved for her to move back to my grade level this year. The last major change also affects my grade level. Another fourth grade teacher that I have taught with for six years is moving to another district, so we have a completely new addition to fourth grade moving up from second grade. She is such a highly motivated, dedicated, and creative teacher. She also shares my same passion for teaching and technology, and I can't wait to work with her this year. Plus, she is also one of my blog buddies. You can find her blog over at! She is fabulous!

I want to leave you with one picture of my latest project for my classroom. I am keeping my same theme from last year which was black/red/yellow/white polka dots with Mickey Mouse as my inspiration. Here is a picture of my records filing cabinet, now redone to match my theme.

Remember, the first three followers to comment will receive a free item (under $10) from my TPT Store! Thanks for following!