Thursday, August 28, 2014

School Supply Chaos or Calm?

I love office/school supplies!  
I think all teachers proudly, or secretly, love them.

I started my 16th year of teaching this past Wednesday and sorting and organizing all the supplies my first graders brought in was top priority.  Over the years I've figured out a good way that works for me so I can help students sort their supplies, organize their supplies AND keep track of who is missing which supplies.  My colleague across the hall saw what I was doing and thought it was great and wanted a I thought others might like to see what it is.
I just print out a bunch of class lists and then put the name of a school supply item at the top.  Then, one item at a time, they take their things out and show them to me.  If they don't have a certain item they have to come up and tell me so I can highlight their name on my list.   Then, later in the day during my prep, I fill out a note for each kiddo who is missing something and send it home.

It works really well and this year I bound all my lists together so I could easily flip through them as we were sorting and organizing.  

Hope your week (whether it was your first, not your first or not even back to school yet) was great!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Five for Friday

Yesterday was my first day back to a new school year!  Setting up my classroom is my FAVORITE time of year.  Of course I go in before the official first day because there is no way to set up an elementary classroom in one day!

Since it's Friday, I'm linking up with

to share what has made me 'as happy as a clam' this week.

4,000 ft. up in the mountains exploring Summit Lake.
We went to pick blueberries and instead found cool rocks and this guy paragliding with a motor!
This guy!

This is my beautiful baby boy who turns 2 on Sunday!  He is funny, he's silly, he gives the best hugs, he has AMAZING verbal comprehension and has potty training down!  I'm so excited to decorate for his monkey-themed party and even more excited that my husband is dressing up as The Man in the Yellow Hit from Curious George :-)
Washi tape!
I finally figured out what it is and now I love to put it everywhere!
Added a strip to my mailboxes/cubbies area for extra cuteness!
Spray paint!
This kind is THE bomb: bonds to plastic, has built in primer & dries in 10 minutes!
 My classroom is an outer space theme with the colors black, white & red and 
as the Rolling sing, "I want to see it painted, painted black!" So nothing is safe: bookshelves, bins, lamps, etc!  I use a big painting tarp outside and go crazy :-)
My mobile listening center BEFORE....boring!
Ooh, much better....but not 100% finished.
My garden!
It's a small raised bed garden and I LOVE taking care of it and eating from it! 
This is a carrot I picked tonight...looks like a monster!  Those are mini chocolate chips for eyes and I've named him Herman.  He'll be delicious for lunch tomorrow, wha ha ha ha ha!

La vie est belle chez moi!
Life is good here!

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clever Decorative Trick & Writing Dude DEAL

If you have an area in your classroom where you need to put "stuff" but don't want anyone to see it I have a decorative trick for you!
All you need is a curtain rod and a piece of fabric.
The End Result: a stool and an entire basket of gym shoes is hidden in there!

 Fold the fabric down 1-2" to create a pocket for the curtain rod.
Use fabric glue or a sewing machine to adhere the raw edge to the fabric.
Use pinking shears (sewing scissors with triangle edges) if you don't want to or can't sew the raw edges under so fraying isn't visible.  The criss cross cut of the pinking shears eliminates fraying!

Put the curtain rod through the pocket and then attach it between hard spots and twist until it stays in place. 
The curtain rod used here is very thick and long. 
 There are different lengths and thicknesses of rods to accommodate many different areas where they may be used.

If the area you want to hide is lacking a spot to put the curtain rods, then you can improvise and use mounting hooks like this and rest the curtain rod on the hooks.

I love, figuratively, killing two birds with one stone: you hide "stuff" and decorate at the same time!

Now here's the DEAL:
This is my beloved Writing Dude.  I've developed 15 SmartBoard lessons that teach (and review) K-2 students the key skills and concepts they need to become successful writers.  The theme music and interactivity of each lesson are my student's favorites!

The deal is that you can purchase my MEGA pack (all 15 lessons) for only $8. 

This MEGA pack is up on TPT right now for $12.50 but I've gotten involved with a new company and website for teacher created materials called EdBazaar where I'm offering it for $8 so I can help introduce teachers to this new site.

Click on "Language".
Scroll down to find the Writing Dude MEGA Pack.

I'm very appreciative of EdBazaar's President, Vasumathi Senthil, because I feel like I'm part of the team that is launching this website.  He gave me a one-on-one tutorial via phone on how to become a vendor and use the site to upload teaching many company Presidents do that I wonder?

So I encourage you to go check out the site!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday Apps #9

Apps make the world go round....well not quite, but they do make our mobile devices go.  I stumble upon apps, I find apps on Pinterest and Facebook and seek out apps on AppsGoneFree. 

So I was at Target this week and saw some cute drawers for my classroom and took a picture of them with my phone.  But, knowing how bad my memory can be, I wondered "Is there an app that lets you write on pictures so I won't forget later?"  I stopped my cart and looked through the app store and found just what I needed: Phonto!
This app is available for both the iPad and the iPhone and is FREE.  

Here's how it works:
Start with a blank canvas and a photo.

Add a filter if you want.
Click on the 'Add Text' button to do so.

Choose the font you want and center it.
Make your text the size and color you want and place it wherever you want on your photo.
In addition to tagging pictures for later, here's how else it could be used:

-You can (cutely) post pics to Facebook, Instagram, etc.

-Students could take pictures of classroom work, happenings, etc. and type the caption.  These pictures can be used on your classroom blog, your classroom newsletter, e-mailed to parents, playing in a slideshow out in the hallway at Parent-Teacher Conferences.

-You can take photos all year long of what you are doing in the classroom with students to provide evidence to your principal for the purpose of teacher evaluation (i.e. The Danielson Framework which our district has adopted).

I would LOVE to hear your ideas for using this app if you try it out.  
It's FREE and FUN!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five for Friday

This was my last full week of freedom...I report back next Thursday!  So I'm excited that I'm finally linking up with
to share what has kept me as happy as a clam this week!

On our way back to Anchorage from an overnight trip to the Kenai Peninsula, we stopped at one of my favorite places, Portage Glacier and we played with rocks on the beach.  There was driftwood everywhere and I had such fun spelling out names with my soon-to-be first grade daughter.
My last name :-)
Yardwork and landscaping!
BEFORE: but after I had pulled the tall weeds.
AFTER: weed fabric, mulch, new trees and rocks
We've lived in our house now for a year and we never had to do any outside work in our yard, so this is all new to me and I LOVE it!  The original owners put a TON of money into landscaping but this back slope was super neglected.  Without the weed fabric, the fireweed and other weeds grow taller than me (5'4) and I'm not joking. So I thought laying down weed fabric was a better alternative to using a machete to get rid of it all!  The length of this is about 50 was hard work but so fun :-) 
I promised myself that before setting foot in my classroom to start setting it up I would work very hard on planning for the year.  I've always wanted to do this but get wrapped up in getting my room ready that it always happens at the last minute.

My new favorite work spot is Starbucks and as soon as I plug into the Erik Satie station on Pandora, and drink my white chocolate mocha, I'm off!

I finally went in to take a peek and start setting up my room...once my planning was 75% done :-)  I always set my desk up first and bounce around from there.

I can't help it...I love taking pictures of flowers, especially zooming in on them.  And with all the sunlight we get up here, the flowers grow amazingly big!
a yellow dahlia

I hope you had a good week back at school -or- have a great last weekend before heading back -or- enjoy more time off before heading back...I think I got everybody :-)