30 July 2012

Made It Back to the Classroom Monday 7/30

My Made It Mondays projects are sadly coming to an end since teachers must report back this Thursday.  So I thought I'd share all the great things I've been making to prepare for Meet the Teacher and setting up a cute classroom.

#1 "Sea" What to Expect in 4th Grade - Hallway Bulletin Board with Clothespin Tacks
I used black fabric and black&white polka dot trim to setup the board.  I just hate when flourescent lights fade butcher paper, so I did fabric in the hallway too this year!! Then I used my HobbyLobby pre-dyed black clothespins hot glued to thumbnail tacks from Michael's to hang student advice/artwork on the wall.  Hopefully this is an eyecatcher as students enter/leave my classroom on Meet the Teacher night.

#2 You're o-FISH-ally in the 4th grade {student gifts}
Well I invested a whopping dollar into my rectangular 3x4 plastic craft bags from the Dollar Tree to put my snack into.  Bought BabyGoldfish on sale at the grocery store.  Stuffed bags about 3/4 full with fish.  Printed labels and stuck onto folded digital scrapbook paper of choice - mine was chevron.  Staple & admire!

#3 Not Your Generic Corkboard:

Last year I seem to have loved posting important emails or calendars on the wall behind my desk up with pushpins.  This created WAAYY TOO many holes in my wall and it could have been much cuter.  I had some extra black fabric lying around but if I didn't cover a corkboard or an existing display board I would end up with scattered remnants of powdery white paint and drywall ALL OVER my beautiful black fabric.  Visited BigLots & bought a generic corkboard for $6.50, painted the frame white, stapled my fabric, and hot-glued fabric ribbon as trim to hide my mistakes.  Then, I used sandpaper to give the frame a distressed shabby chic look to make it pop against an already white wall.   Finally, I added some rhinestone-embellished clothespin tacks to hold notes/important papers (5 - for the five days of the school week?!?)  My goal is to go through this every Friday after the kids are gone so I still have room to post new & important info.

#4: Dry-Erase Countdown Until .... sign
Classroom Freebies Manic MondayThis was definitely something I knew I wanted in my classroom as soon as I saw it on pinterest.  I changed the clipart color from green to blue to match my color scheme and just decided to countdown until students' first day back-to-school since it is now in the single digits!!  I love how versatile this sign is, we can countdown until important tests, assemblies, field trips, holidays, birthdays, etc.  The possibilities are really endless!  If you'd like the blue candystriped template for your project, I'm sharing it as a free download here.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you are able to leave me a comment below - I just love hearing what other creative minds have to say.

Also, I can't wait to visit other blogs through the Made It Monday linky hosted by Tara at 4th Grade Frolics and see what you've been creating lately.  :)

29 July 2012

Celebrate Giveaways Sunday #3 & a mini classroom preview

 Here's the latest update on current giveaways around the teaching blogiverse:

1. Sassy in Second: Back in the Groove giveaway
2. Finally in First: Mega giveaway
3. Wild About Words: New Masterpiece giveaway
4.Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans: 500 follower giveaway
5. Lanier's Lions: 100 follower giveaway
6. Miss V's Busy Bees: 200 follower giveaway
7. The Elementary Adventure: 100 follower giveaway
8. Simply Sprout: 20,000 views giveaway 
9. Kindergarten in Heels: 50 follower giveaway
10. Bright Concepts 4 Teachers: 100 follower giveaway 
11. What the Teacher Wants: Erin Condren giveaway

Also, I spent the past couple of days setting up my bulletin boards and discovering new projects "to tackle" in my classroom.  One of those new projects I discovered was the lovely fact that district sent the tech department in to "reclaim" printers from classrooms while teachers were not around to ask questions or give any of their 2 cents.  All our teachers have been used to a district laser printer in their classroom FOREVER, but now since there's no money left in the budget to repair or send us toner - they've visited grade levels and left only one printer behind for the entire pod to share.  No note, no email, nothing - had to talk to the secretary to have her update me on the memo I never received.  Well, I thought, "fine, I guess I can live with sending a child down to fetch the papers I've printed."  But the printer they chose to leave behind was the oldest one that leaves huge gray streaks on every page so when you go down to the Xerox machine to run off classroom worksheets, each page is covered in massive gray streaks.  Given how OCD I am with the way things appear visually, this was a HUGE dealbreaker!  So thus began my search for a personally purchased printer.  Here's a mini preview of how things are looking:

"Sea" What to Expect in 4th Grade - hallway bulletin board

MY printer (ignore the cord jungle)

Had to showcase the printer on ZEBRA!!

new Skippy Bandito toy has found his home!
I love these tower fans - always have kept two in my classroom!

26 July 2012

First Day Jitters & Only One Week Left!!

Fierce in Fourth is hosting a "First Day Jitters" blog hop.  Hop on over to link up your top 3 jitters.  Here's what is causing me the most anxiety for the upcoming school year:

1. New Principal: Our district did some major reassignments of district supervisors and principals this school year.  Many principals were shuffled around, and others altogether left the district, while many district personnel have assumed their very first principalships.  Our school is in the lucky position to receive the latter.  Let's just say it's going to be an interesting year of change with our new princ.

2. Oh Boy!: We are boy heavy with expanding class sizes in 4th grade this year.  At the end of May, before summer enrollment even started, I had 17 boys and 13 girls.  I dread to see how much larger my class has grown since then, we'll know for sure on August 7th - students' first day back!

3. Heat Advisory / No Lunch Recess Days:  Starting school at the beginning of August means returning to triple digit temperatures during above average humidity.  If a Heat Advisory has been called, then we have the privilege of entertaining our students during lunch recess inside the classroom.  We've been known to have 2 full weeks of no teacher lunches to ourselves with the assigned lunch recess monitors conveniently M.I.A. during this time - I mean they don't even have the common courtesy to offer us a bathroom break!  I guess I was spoiled at my previous school.

AAHHH!!! There's only one week left before teachers have to officially report back to work.  For me, it's only 6 days left before the meetings begin!! I am a mentor teacher, so that means I have to go back even earlier to meet up with the newbie teachers I'll be mentoring at their summer orientation.  The district is offering to open the schools Friday - Sunday with air conditioning, so I'm probably going to plow through setting up my classroom, that way I can focus on unit planning & preparing lesson materials for the first week of school.  Hopefully I can finish in 2 days, that way I can share my photos on my Sunday blog post and relax until Wednesday - fingers crossed :D

23 July 2012

I Hopped On the Box Tops Bandwagon!

Well I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for yet another installment of Made It Monday!  You didn't have to go far to see what I made first, it's that vibrant blog header up above! I wanted to switch it up to something festive as I realize that August 1st, my report date, is not that far away anymore!  Hopefully it's not too overwhelming on your monitor, but I was really inspired by the happy colors on the design  of my Thirty-One thermal tote win - thanks again Desiree!

Made-It #1: I too teach at a Box Tops fundraising school and decided to give an empty almonds can a makeover to serve as my one-stop Box Tops dropoff center.  Originally I had seen this idea posted on LearningInWonderland as she dressed up a leftover cookie container.  Then I saw TheSilverLining use zebra duct tape to refurbish an empty Kleenex box, and I was super inspired!  Sometimes I can get stuck in a rut and think I have to replicate someone else's idea down to the leftover container they used, so I'm glad someone shared their duct-taped tissue box.

At my school, our Box Tops get collected monthly so I knew that my container didn't need to be too large and I couldn't resist the fabulous turquoise lid that Walgreens used for packaging!  The supplies I used to repurpose the can were a 12x12 lime green scrapbook page, glue, tape, and scissors.  My step-by-step photo tutorial below shows that the undressed container also has a beautiful silver shimmer to it as well, I'm already imagining shiny silver containers to organize desk supplies.
What else do you think I could use these cute little containers for?

Also, I went back-to-school shopping with a teacher friend of mine and found the Wal-Mart 88 cent section.  I spotted some pencil-shaped classroom accents for 88 cents.  Last year I paid too much at Lakeshore for the DJ Inkers pencil accents.  This led to Made-It #2: Teacher Fridge Magnets.  We pass these magnets out on Meet the Teacher night and that way our contact info is easily available to parents.  Consider getting some 2x4 shipping labels and magnetic tape while you're there and you'll be ready to pop some of these babies out as soon as you return to your home computer station. :)

And just in case you're as much of a Chihuahua freak as I am - this was in my email:

22 July 2012

Happy Celebrate Giveaways Sunday #2!!

Well I made a cute button for it and everything, so it looks like I'm keeping with this weekly Sunday tradition.  I'm doing this so I can help myself keep track of the giveaways I've entered, and share the info with my followers!  So here are the latest and greatest teaching blog giveaways (that I've found so far) this week:

1. Life Is Sweet...In Kindergarten (B2S bundle)
2. A Cupcake for the Teacher (COACH keychain)
3. Kinder Alphabet (back-to-school bundle)
4. LearningInWonderland (2012-2013 calendar)
5. Primary Graffiti (Chevron Reading Genre Posters)
6. Curls and a Smile (1000 follower giveaway begins 7/23)
7. Just Reed (Erin Condren lesson plan book)
8. Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files (custom block signs)
9. Swimming Into Second (10 days of giveaways-day4)
10. Reading Toward the Stars! (207 follower giveaway)
11. Carried away in Kindergarten (200 follower giveaway)
12. Diving Into Learning (Vegas Jackpot giveaway)
13. Falling Into First (300 follower Thirty-One giveaway)
14. Down the Learning Road (100 follower giveaway)
MY WINNINGS UPDATE:  I also was greeted with not one, but two congratulatory emails that I won prizes from giveaways I entered last week!  First, I won Skippyjon Jones ears from Anita. It turns out that I was the winner by default because the original winner already owned the ears & generously wanted someone else to enjoy the prize, which ended up being me! Thank You!!! :)
       Second, I just found out from Desiree at KindersOnTheBlocks that I won her 1st blogiversary Thirty-One Thermal Tote!  It's so stinkin cute with the polka dots, the bright pattern on top, not to mention the personalization!  THANKS AGAIN, I can't wait to open my presents once they arrive in the mail! (It truly is Christmas in July!)

20 July 2012

A Liebster & A Freebster :)

I want to give a BIG THANKS to Brianne at frombehindthelavenderdoor, Vicky at keepcalmandimagine AND Allison at busyteacherlove  for sharing the Liebster Blog Award with me. This award was created to give recognition to blogs with 200 or less followers, and it means "dearest" or "favorite" in German. I am a newbie to the blog world and definitely appreciate this! Thanks again ladies!!

Here is what you do if you receive this award:
1. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
2. Thank the person who gave it to you, and link back to them. (at TOP of post)
3. Nominate 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blog.
So here are my nominees…
Be sure to visit these super cute blogs - I’m excited to find 5 new blogs to follow!
Freebie Friday brings you the "Brownie Points" classroom incentive printable.  Brownies are pre-sized to fit the baking pan from Dollar Tree.  Just print, cut out the brownies, laminate, cut again & add magnetic tape! Brownie Points are a positive classroom incentive to reward your class for whatever you want to give them an extra "congrats" for.  For example, I awarded my class brownie points whenever another adult gave us a compliment, but it could also be awarded for awesome 100% effort from the entire class, etc.  You may also want to make the compliment worth two brownie points if it is coming from a principal.  As soon as all the brownies are in the pan (as seen in my photo), the class earns their brownie party! :)

19 July 2012

Thrifty Thursday & The Winner Is ...

Back-to-school season has always meant adding a few new items to my wardrobe.  I've made it a personal tradition to always wear something new (even if it's an accessory) on Meet the Teacher night.  This year, it will be my 5th annual "Meet the Teacher" night and I found the cutest outfit while bargain shopping this past Tuesday.

Tuesday was planned for a family fun day of girls shopping with me, my sister who teaches Kinder, and my Nana (our sweet lil' senior citizen discount!)  The first stop was good ol' GW (the GoodWill.)  I love scouring the racks for name-brand items like AnnTaylor, WhiteHouseBlackMarket, or Express since I have champagne tastes with a teacher's salary.  However, since I refuse to pay more than $20 for a single item of clothing, I really am perfectly fine with owning brand name hand-me-downs instead of buying it at full retail from the original store.
Things for the classroom

We visited 2 different GW's in the richer part of town and I scored some quality add-ons to my teacher wardrobe: bebe pants, AnnTaylor's The LOFT light gray flared pants, a Charlotte Russe white&black plaid tank with pockets, and an AnnTaylor black ruffled tank.  Aside from clothes, I also found two unused 3rd-4th grade workbooks and 5 high-interest classroom library novels.  And of course, another terracotta pot to do a makeover on.  After Nana's senior citizen discount, I only spent $25 for all of this merchandise at The Goodwill. :)

A-MAZ-ING ! ! !
Afterward, we spotted a Ross and discovered Tuesday was their senior discount day, so we went in just to "look around."  Immediately, I found myself in the shoe section and just about passed out with disbelief when I spotted this unbelievable deal.  Shoes marked at a reduced price of 49 cents; I only have dreamed of offers like these!  Being in one of my favorite accent colors, gold - I had to sweep these up and continued to search the shoes for any blemishes or size differences.  They were in perfect condition, and a steal of a deal you can rarely find at a yard sale, let alone a retail store.

After raiding the clearance section, I left Ross with my new Meet the Teacher Night outfit - black & white polka dot blouse ($9), red capris ($6), and new wedges (49 cents).  My fun extras were black Roxy flip flops ($15) and a zebra racerback ($5).  I spent no more than $35 at Ross - which meant I stayed to my strict $60 budget that I allowed myself to do in daily damage.  WOOHOO!
$60 haul @ The Goodwill & Ross

My b&w chihuahua, Mia, loved the black&white blouse!

The Winner of My First-Ever Giveaway Goes To: PerrineCurry @ ModernKindergarten
Congratulations and Happy Winnings!  Thank you to all those who helped make this giveaway a success, I truly appreciate all of your kind words and suggestions.  As far as my next life cycle unit, I had the most votes for frogs & butterflies - yet I really like the thought of creating one that hasn't been done before - so maybe I will just bundle all of the animal units I can create together.

16 July 2012

Made It Monday!

Made-It #1: So one of my summer DIY pins was to make these awesome pin-spired Day of the Dead planters. I always seem to have the worst luck when it comes to growing plants and the crafty diva who originally shared this tutorial used succulents.  Perfect, I thought to myself!  How hard can it be to kill a drought hardy plant? So a trip to Joann's & Wal-mart's garden section later and I had everything I needed to get my craftin' on. Just potted the plants this morning and these new babies will be chilling in my backyard until school starts up again. I love how they all have their own unique personalities - but I think the mohawk guy is my favorite! Meanwhile, I'll be crossing my fingers that I don't kill them before then:

So there  you have it, it's my Made It of the week.  Link up your creations or just become inspired with 4th Grade Frolics:

In back-to-school shopping news, I just went to OfficeMax & swiped 10 packs of yellow Sharpie highlighters for $1 per pack - meaning 40 highlighters (a class set with a few extra) to last thru the year :) I'm so happy because I teach test-taking strategies with these puppies all year long, and the kids learn to "jail the detail" and not to go "highlighter happy" on their pages!  Also, something you should know about OfficeMax is if you're a teacher with their MaxPerks card you can automatically double the limit printed on their couponed items (like their 12 ct permanent Sharpies last week) and limits on other items don't apply according to the checkout gal I had today! Yay for teacher-advantage shopping perks!

Made-It #2: Well I also ended up making some cute craftivities to go along with my life cycle units.  All you'll need is a paper plate, paint or markers, gluestick, scissors, and colored pencils.  Whipped 'em out while watching The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All special - I think she loves Arie more cuz she's so attracted to him (I personally don't think he's cute at all) but in the end I predict she will choose Jef because he will be the better dad & family guy.

REMINDER: If you haven't entered my first-ever giveaway, time is a ticking.  The lucky winner will be the brand new owner of a spectacular sunflower life cycle unit! Click on the image below:

15 July 2012

It's Celebrate Giveaways Sunday :)

So I'm penning the phrase, "Celebrate Giveaways Sunday" - here's to hoping I keep up with it.  Are you obsessed with entering giveaways in hopes of winning more great freebies?  Well then don't miss out on these opportunities below - not to mention, enter my 1st EVER giveaway, see the previous post :)
Teaching Joys (125 follower giveaway)
Rowdy in Room 300 (burlap sign giveaway)
Kinders on the Block (1st blogiversary giveaway)
Fourth Grade Fanatics (100 follower giveaway)
 Polka Dots & Pencils (100 Follower Giveaway)

There's No Place Like Second Grade! (giveaway)

Faithful in First: 400 Follower Giveaway

Crayons & Curls: Skippyjon Jones Giveaway

Mrs. Castro's Class: 100 Followers Giveaway

Just keep thinking a la Charlie Sheen, "Winning!" each time that I grab another giveaway entry!